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

969. Ref Embtel 2092.2

Suggest DCM reply to Helmi along following lines: We wish to convey to Helmi and through him to Generals Nasution and Suharto two basic interrelated and inseparable thoughts:
The US continues to be interested in the welfare, progress and independence of the Indonesian people and is prepared assist GOI in its efforts achieve these objectives, and
Only the Government of Indonesia can create the conditions in which it is possible for USG to play this role.
The lack of favorable response to Helmi’s previous overtures is not due to any negative attitude or lack of friendship or sympathy, but rather to fact that Indonesia has not yet created situation in which the US can be of assistance to Indonesia.
Following are major elements still missing:
In regard both emergency and development aid, we must be sure we are dealing with cohesive and effective GOI which can and will use it effectively.
We can only deal openly and publicly with Indonesian Government on matter of aid. It is impossible for a democratic country such as the US, responsible to Congress and to its people, to give substantial assistance covertly.
Cooperation with Indonesia has never been conditioned on US–GOI agreement on all issues, but US people could not give, nor Indonesian people accept, assistance when the US is being publicly identified by highest GOI officials as arch enemy of Indonesian people.
Under these circumstances US can do nothing but wait. Initiative is in Indonesian hands not in our own.
FYI. We do not wish Helmi, nor through him Suharto-Nasution, to get idea US assistance merely awaits green light from Army leadership. Process of basic political and economic change begun in weeks following October 1 with elimination PKI has slowed down. (It is significant Helmi-Suharto now see substantial aid from West given to a GOI still headed by Sukarno with Sukarno hopefully prepared accept aid as act of grace.) There is presently no evidence that assurance of [Page 395] US and other foreign assistance would accelerate and not retard changes which Indonesia in its own interest must make. Army discouragement on aid prospects under present circumstances may in fact by necessary additional spur to move it into further action.
Believe DCM should not suggest direct contact between you and either Suharto or Nasution on subject US assistance at this time. Fact of meeting at our initiative will be interpreted as conclusive evidence US in fact eager provide assistance in present circumstances if way can be found. Also, in context current Sukarno-Subandrio campaign against you and Embassy, meeting with either of top generals would seem inconsistent with both Nasution’s and Malik’s advice.3 End FYI.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID (US) INDON. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Drafted by Underhill, cleared by Cuthell and Barnett, and approved by Berger. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. See footnote 2, Document 188.
  3. In telegram 2138, January 22, the Embassy reported that DCM Galbraith made the points enumerated in this telegram to Helmi who accepted with “relatively good grace although he was obviously disappointed.” Helmi clearly believed that the United States was being too negative in the face of the Army’s real needs and achievements of the past four months, but he would pass the U.S. position to the Army. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID (US) INDON)