164. Memorandum From the Assistant for Indonesia (Nuechterlein) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Friedman)1



  • Establishment of Inter-Agency working group on Indonesia

On October 29 Mr. Cuthell, Director of the State Department’s Office of Southwest Pacific Affairs, called a meeting to discuss measures that might be taken to prepare for an insurgency situation in Indonesia. Present were Mr. Cuthell, his deputy Mr. Underhill, State’s Indonesian [Page 344]desk officer Mr. Goodspeed, Mr. [name not declassified] of CIA and myself representing DOD.

The current situation in Indonesia was discussed briefly and it was agreed that there has been a sufficient deterioration in the security of central Java to warrant contingency planning in Washington of how the United States might aid the Indonesian Army if it requested our assistance. A joint State-Defense cable to Embassy Djakarta was finalized, asking for the Embassy’s estimate of what items of equipment and other materials the Indonesian Army might need if armed insurgency should develop suddenly.2 In addition, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] submitted a report [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]3 which indicated that the security situation in Java might be considerably worse than reported thus far by the Embassy and that the Army might have difficulty coping with large-scale Communist insurgency. It is apparent that the Army’s greatest deficiency is in short-range communications equipment to support sustained operations against PKI guerrilla operations. Longer range communications equipment, between islands and perhaps also with other countries, may also be required if large-scale warfare breaks out. As DOD no longer has a military officer in Indonesia with communications expertise, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is sending a specialist in this field to review the communications situation with U.S. Mission officers (he will not talk to Indonesians) and his report should help clarify the Indonesian Army’s needs in this field.

It was agreed that for the moment, at least, the Indonesian Army probably has most of the equipment it needs to deal effectively with any PKI insurgency. What the U.S. might be requested to supply would be small quantities of specific items which are in short supply or in a poor state of repair. We would probably be requested to channel delivery of such items through a third country, such as Thailand or the Philippines. Therefore, it was agreed that we should not plan in terms of a resumption of MAP but rather a covert plan of assistance in which DOD would work [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to insure the minimum risk of exposure. If the amount of equipment turns out to be more costly than [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] is able to handle, DOD may be asked to find ways to augment this effort. DOD was requested to determine quietly what stocks of communications equipment and other items that might be requested by the Indonesian Army are available in Thailand and what would be the means of getting it quickly in response to an urgent request.

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The working group will meet again on November 3. It is expected that a reply to the joint State-Defense message as well as a report from the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] specialist will then be in hand. Hopefully, it will then be possible to plan more precisely for the types of equipment and other materials that the Indonesian Army may need to meet a serious insurgency situation.

D.E. Nuechterlein4
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 5127, Indonesia 000.1 Sensitive, 1965. Top Secret; Sensitive. Friedman was the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in charge of Far Eastern Affairs. Also sent to Admiral Blouin, Director of the Far East Region, ISA.
  2. Telegram 544 to Djakarta, October 29. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 INDON)
  3. Not further identified.
  4. Printed from a copy that indicates Nuechterlein signed the original.