184. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia1

777. Ref: Djakarta’s 1780 rptd addressees.2

Appears from here that Indonesian military leaders’ campaign to destroy PKI is moving fairly swiftly and smoothly, that Subandrio’s days numbered,3 and that Sukarno might be travelling abroad before long giving military even freer hand to develop and install new govt. May well be that these developments will move so rapidly that we may be confronted within weeks with situation we have hoped for, i.e. a new govt, emerging or in being, that we can begin to talk to and deal with.
As you indicated in para 5 reftel, Japan and Germany are in best position to offer early assistance. In these circumstances would [Page 386] like your views on feasibility (from point of view of exposure) and desirability of you, Saito and Wertz meeting informally together as required to concert on tactics and strategy and block out suggested lines of action for the three countries and possibly others. If idea commends itself to you, we would make this suggestion formally to Japan and Germany. We would, of course, inform UK, Australia and New Zealand of foregoing and keep them clued in.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 INDON. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Berger and approved by William Bundy. Repeated to Tokyo, Bonn, and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. In telegram 1780 from Djakarta, December 15, the Embassy reported on discussions with the German and Japanese Ambassadors in Indonesia about requests for economic assistance from North American Director Helmi of the Indonesia Foreign Office on behalf of the Army. (Ibid.)
  3. In Intelligence Memorandum OCI No. 3164/65, December 13, the Office of Current Intelligence of the Central Intelligence Agency provided background on Subandrio and suggested that he was “a barometer of the President’s relations with the army. If Sukarno feels that he is not strong enough to resist army pressure, Subandrio is likely to be removed from Indonesian political life. If he continues to survive in office, this may be a sign that the President feels he can out-wait and out-maneuver the army leadership.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. VI, 11/65–5/66)