216. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (McNaughton) to Secretary of Defense McNamara 1



  • NSC Discussion on Indonesia, 1100, 4 August 1966
[Page 458]


Embassy Djakarta and the State Department have recommended the resumption of limited US economic and military assistance to Indonesia on a short-range emergency support basis. Purpose of this assistance is to encourage the Army-dominated government to take much-needed steps to put Indonesia’s economic house in order. However, there is no military justification for a resumption of MAP for Indonesia; the proposed military assistance would be largely for political and economic purposes, to support civic action projects and strengthen US rapport with the Indonesian military through training of Indonesian military officers in US service schools.


The State Department has prepared a paper for the NSC meeting (Tab A)2 which concludes that the new Indonesian Government has made sufficient progress in reversing President Sukarno’s foreign and domestic policies to justify USG consideration of short-range economic and military assistance. State’s recommendations are based on proposals contained in Embassy Djakarta’s 144 (Tab B),3 which includes specific MAP funded projects. However, these actions would have to be preceded by a Presidential Determination as required under Section 620(j) of the Foreign Assistance Act and by the removal of certain legal obstacles to the resumption of aid arising from provisions of the Hickenlooper Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act. The JCS have recommended (Tab C)4 a small and highly selective military assistance program that would include support for civic action projects and a CONUS training program for Indonesian officers.

We are in general agreement with the State Department paper, except that we see no military justification for a military assistance program at this time. The civic action proposal is essentially a political effort designed by the Indonesian Army to improve its image with the public and to avoid large demobilization. While a case can be made that economic and financial assistance to Indonesia is now in the US interest, the same is not true of military assistance. The US has little to gain by building up the Indonesian Armed Forces, which are among the best equipped of any indigenous armed force in Southeast Asia. The Indonesian Army is fully capable of maintaining internal security in the major islands and has received more equipment from the Soviet Union and the United States than it has been able to use. On the other hand, it might be very advantageous to the US to have substantial [Page 459]numbers of young Indonesian officers study in US service schools, as well as in civilian institutions, and also for the USG to support the Indonesian Army’s civic action program by providing technical advice, spare parts for engineering equipment, and perhaps some new equipment.


There appears to be no military justification for a MAP in Indonesia in the foreseeable future.
Training (especially CONUS training) is probably a good idea. I recommend it (in US).
I recommend against other MAP items. I do not want a “non-training” MAP program resumed in Indonesia. The civic action program has political importance, however. I therefore urge that technical assistance, spare parts for civic action equipment, etc., be covered by AID (which may be hard legally) or through sales financed by the Indonesian budget.
John T. McNaughton 5
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files, FRC 70 A 6648, 000.1 Indonesia, 1966. Secret. Drafted by Nuechterlein and rewritten by McNaughton.
  2. Not attached, but see enclosure to Document 215.
  3. Not attached, but see footnote 2, Document 213.
  4. In JCSM-473–66, July 25, attached but not printed.
  5. Printed from a copy that indicates McNaughton signed the original.