214. Intelligence Note From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State Rusk 1

No. 468


  • The New Indonesian Cabinet—A Setback for Sukarno

The new cabinet whose composition was announced by General Suharto on July 25 represents a major step in the campaign to ease President Sukarno out of effective power and into a figurehead role. Although Sukarno fought hard to induce the MPRS (Peoples Consultative Congress) to give him a voice in the cabinet’s formation and lobbied tirelessly for his cronies and against the new leadership, General Suharto managed to retain the upper hand and name only his own people to key positions.

Only Minor Concessions to Sukarno . The Triumvirate of the previous cabinet remains intact. Suharto will himself be Chairman of the Presidium and Minister for Defense and Security; Adam Malik will be First Minister for Political Affairs and will remain Foreign Minister; Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX will retain his previous responsibilities but with the new title First Minister for Economics and Finance. The other two first ministers and members of the Presidium are Idham Chalid, leader of the NU (Orthodox Scholars) Party, for People’s Welfare, and Sanusi Hardjadinata, a PNI figure (Indonesian Nationalist Party) with the industry and development portfolio. The presence of these two politicians in what is otherwise a cabinet of technicians is primarily a concession [Page 449]to Sukarno and the parties. However, the two leading Sukarno hacks from the last cabinet, Ruslan Abdulgani and Johannes Leimena, have been dropped, despite the President’s desperate efforts on their behalf. The pro-Western Ambassador to Thailand, Burhanuddin Mohamed Dian, has been named Information Minister to replace Abdulgani. One of the most significant changes requires that the 24 regular ministers report directly to the Presidium, which Suharto heads, instead of to the President, who is no longer prime minister but only chief of state.

The Great Leader Apparently Submits. Taken together, these developments represent a major blow to Sukarno’s position and influence, a blow which he seems to be accepting without a fight. Wire services report that the President confirmed the announcement of the Suharto slate and indicated that he would deliver a speech at the swearing-in ceremony.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. VII, 5/66–6/67. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. The CIA’s Office of Current Intelligence prepared an Intelligence Memorandum, No. 1685/66, July 30, entitled “The New Indonesia Cabinet,” which provided analysis of the cabinet and biographical information on its new members. (Ibid.)