170. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand 1

749. Ref: Djakarta’s 1333.2

In view assurances reftel re Sukendro’s role, agree we should proceed to process request for medical supplies, both because request explicitly made and because medical supplies relatively innocuous if fact of our assistance surfaced.
We are looking separately into question of communications equipment passed from Djakarta [less than 1 line of source text not declassified], prefer to keep this subject in Djakarta-Washington channel, and do not believe subject should be discussed with Sukendro. If he raises it, we would, however, like to know more precisely what he has in mind.
We do not have specific request from Sukendro for anything else. Apart from medical supplies, what he has done to date is to give us general outline of supply problem which Army faces and general outline his prospective shopping list. Since other questions such as supply of arms would present us with additional serious problems not involved in medical supplies issue, we do not wish to pursue subject with Sukendro for the present.
We understand Sukendro still in Bangkok. Mission should approach him through established channel and tell him following:
We are willing to act on his request for medical supplies, and are now reviewing list in terms availabilities, locations, means of covert purchase and pricing. We are having trouble with some items on list [Page 358] which we cannot identify by nomenclature given, and would like keep in touch with Sukendro or someone he designates for clarification. If Sukendro wishes to handle personally, we would like to know where he will be in next few days so that list of questioned items can be sent to him.
When we have completed study of package we will communicate again with Sukendro and will inform him re size of package and any large discrepancy in time of availability of component parts. In meantime we would like Sukendro’s views as to preferred method and place of delivery.
In delivering foregoing message would like to be sure our representative does not speculate about possibility favorable action any further items other than to indicate our general willingness to consider Army requests for small-scale covert assistance. Representative should also tell Sukendro that we will be glad to talk to him outside Indonesia about limited covert assistance, but that before Washington can consider any substantial assistance it will need to know more about Army’s political views and intentions and Army’s attitude toward US-Indonesian relations. Representative should add that in order obtain this information he understands we are attempting to set up political contact with Indonesian Army in Djakarta through our DCM.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 INDON. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Cuthell, cleared in draft with William Bundy and with Henry Koren, Deputy Director for Intelligence Coordination, INR, and approved by U. Alexis Johnson. Also sent to Djakarta and repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD and DOD for the Office of Secretary McNamara. U. Alexis Johnson sent a memorandum to the 303 Committee explaining the Army’s request for medical assistance and submitting a draft of this telegram for approval. McGeorge Bundy approved the draft with minor changes, CIA gave its approval directly to Koren, and Vance telephoned U. Alexis Johnson with Defense approval. (National Security Council Files, Special Group/303 Committee Files, Subject Files, Indonesia) The 303 Committee noted on November 4 that these approvals were obtained by telephone. (Ibid., 303 Committee Minutes, 11/16/65)
  2. In telegram 1333 from Djakarta, November 4, Green stated that he was “completely satisfied as to General Sukendro’s credential as a spokesman for Nasution-Suharto on aid matters.” Green recommended urgent action on limited covert assistance, especially Sukendro’s request for medicines—“a one shot operation involving relatively small amounts of money”—while holding back on long term aid. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 INDON)