20. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1

Our Malaysian enterprise seems to be going very well, though we’re only through the first phase. The AG managed to talk Sukarno into suspending military action in Borneo if the Tunku will agree to meet with Sukarno and Macapagal.

Now Bobby goes to Manila to enlist Macapagal’s help, and then to work on the Tunku. Perhaps the toughest problem will be to get the Tunku to agree to meet without insisting on prior Indo recognition. Here Ormsby-Gore’s pitch to you against pressing this on the Tunku is worrisome.2

But Harriman just had a good talk with Gore,3 who understands why we want to forestall any such unrealistic preconditions when there’s at least a 50/50 chance of success of avoiding another nasty crisis in Southeast Asia.

R.W. Komer 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Malaysia, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63–3/64. Secret.
  2. British Ambassador Ormsby Gore met with the President on January 15 at the request of the British Cabinet and stated that the British “hoped that the U.S. would not press Tunku to attend an Asian summit without recognition.” Johnson told the British Ambassador that the United States “would stand firm against Sukarno’s confrontation policy” and McGeorge Bundy reaffirmed that the United States was “not attempting to decide terms of ’Asian solution.’” Bundy suggested to Robert Kennedy that an “essential part of your visit to Tunku may be to determine what part of his position is his own and what part comes from London.” (Telegram 1829 to Tokyo, January 17; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDON–MALAYSIA)
  3. Harriman, Hilsman, and Tyler reviewed the progress of the Kennedy mission with Ormsby Gore on January 18. They emphasized that Sukarno “had come further than we had expected” and urged the British to encourage Tunku to be forthcoming. (Telegram 1021 to Manila, January 18; ibid.)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.