188. Memorandum From the Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Komer) to Chester L. Cooper and James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff1

Since you guys are less suspicious than Bundy that I am horning in on Indonesia, note Djakarta’s 2092.2 Here’s the first time I’ve seen Marshall Green himself shifting ground and recommending that he be allowed to tell the Army we would join in providing emergency aid if really needed.

Marshall is a quick study; he’s also the man on the spot. So perhaps we should use his views as a lever to move our reluctant FE friends.

It’s also worrisome to me when we do nothing but discourage the Japs, Germans, and others who come in to ask whether they should now contemplate aid. It’s one thing to say that we think it too soon to talk of aid, but quite another to avoid even indicating that if things continue to go well we would probably change our tune.

With things still breaking our way in Indonesia,3 I cannot understand the reluctance of State even to get ready to exploit it. If they think the President would be reluctant, I’ll bet they’re wrong. He was very forthcoming on Ceylon, and even bought aid to the UAR when we convinced him.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Robert W. Komer, Indonesia, Nov. 63–Mar 66, [1 of 3]. Secret. A copy was sent to McGeorge Bundy.
  2. In telegram 2092 from Djakarta, January 19, Green reported that Helmi of the Indonesia Foreign Office reiterated his plea for emergency assistance for the Army from western countries. Helmi suggested that 300,000 to 350,000 tons of rice, 50 million yards of cotton cloth, and medical supplies were needed to prevent friction within the Army ranks and disillusion among the general public. Helmi estimated the cost at $50 million and suggested that western donors share the burden. Green recommended telling Helmi that he (Green) would meet with Suharto and Nasution to explore the question of aid and at least give them assurances that emergency aid would be forthcoming when the time was right. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 INDON)
  3. In OCI No. 0481/66, January 3, “The Changed Political Scene in Indonesia,” the Office of Current Intelligence of CIA stated that Indonesia was at “a major turning point in its history. The era of Sukarno’s dominance has ended.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. VI, 11/65–5/66) In a January 7 memorandum to William Bundy, Cuthell suggested that “in the months and years ahead it is clear that the Indonesian military, and more particularly the Army, will dominate as it has never before the Indonesian political scene.” (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, EA/Indonesia Files: Lot 70 D 3, Pol 2 Gen)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.