222. Memorandum From Vice President Humphrey to President Johnson 1
- Memorandum of Conversation with Adam Malik
I met with His Excellency Adam Malik, Foreign Minister of Indonesia, at the Sheraton Ritz Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sunday, September 25, 1966. Accompanying Mr. Malik were his aide, Mr. Widjatmika, and General Suharto’s personal advisor, Colonel Soejono.
Mr. Malik expressed his appreciation of my seeing him in Minnesota. He said that he was specifically requested by General Suharto to extend his personal greetings and recognition of my encouragement to the anti-Communist forces of his country, dating back to 1963.
Mr. Malik reported on his conversations with U.N. Secretary- General U Thant and indicated he expected Indonesia to be formally re-seated at the General Assembly by Wednesday or Thursday of this week. In response to my questions and in the course of our conversation about Indonesia’s future U.N. role, Mr. Malik stated that as part of its transition from President Sukarno’s leadership, which had favored the admission of Communist China to the U.N., his government’s delegation this year would abstain and thus retreat from their previous position. He stated that he and his government preferred a two-China policy in the U.N.
Mr. Malik stated that his government desired to strengthen its relations with Taiwan and was, in fact, entering into an agreement for Taiwan to process cotton to provide Indonesian clothing.
Mr. Malik made clear to me his country’s sympathetic understanding of the U.S. role in Asia and Vietnam. He has instructed his government’s representative in Cambodia to try to open channels of communication to Hanoi. He stated that General Suharto’s success in defeating the Indonesian Communist forces was directly influenced by the U.S. determination in South Vietnam. He too hoped for a negotiated settlement to end the bloodshed and commended your heroic efforts in this regard. But he made it clear that a U.S. withdrawal and a Communist victory in Vietnam would be a direct threat to his country.[Page 471]
Mr. Malik was uncertain as to how effective a role his government could play in Vietnam. He deeply regretted that his private conversations with President Marcos of the Philippines as to Indonesia’s possible mediation role there was reported to the U.S. press by Marcos. He said this would set back their efforts for the time being.
He and General Suharto understand that with Indonesia’s large population and great potential wealth they could play a major future role in Asia and the U.N. They would like to do this increasingly as a friend of the U.S. For the moment, however, they are severely handicapped by a dire economic emergency. Their own government’s political stability depends upon their being able to provide food and clothing for their people.
Mr. Malik, in response to my question, agreed with the U.S. early reluctance to take the lead in helping the new Indonesian government and thus possibly provide President Sukarno with ammunition in that country’s internal political struggle. Colonel Soejono, however, speaking for General Suharto, felt the concern was unwarranted. This was the only difference between the two to manifest itself. Both, however, were now eager for immediate aid.
Specifically, Indonesia requires large amounts of rice and is attempting to obtain rice not only from the U.S. but also from Burma, Thailand and some from Taiwan. They need much more from the U.S., however, than they now have reason to believe they will receive.
Indonesia’s cotton need is also great and Mr. Malik referred to the U.S. overabundance of cotton. He said Indonesia is eager not only for PL 480 aid in cotton but would like to begin making commercial purchases under long-term credits.
I suggested increased uses of wheat and bulgar, but was told that there was a consumer resistance due to a lack of understanding and custom. Mr. Malik agreed that it would be in the long-term interest of Indonesia for wheat and bulgar to be increasingly introduced.
Mr. Malik emphasized that his country’s urgent rice and cotton needs were also essential to feed and clothe the troops. With the ending of confrontation on the Malaysian border and to keep the military from becoming restless, it was necessary to keep the large numbers of troops in Indonesia satisfied and occupied. General Suharto intends to turn the army into a public works engineering corps to improve internal transportation problems and undertake similar projects.
Mr. Malik hoped you would recognize that his government has acted responsibly and expeditiously to help itself and to play a responsible role in the world community. He pointed to the ending of the confrontation in Malaysia and to the U.N. readmission as examples. He also assured me that his government was taking all proper steps to meet its economic problems.[Page 472]
- is working closely with the World Bank and the IMF and intends to join the Asian Development Bank.
- is cooperating fully with the Tokyo group of creditor nations.
- is about to enact new legislation to encourage foreign capital investment.
- is eager to sign an agreement with the U.S. for an investment guarantee program.
- would like to begin a student, leadership, and cultural exchange program with the U.S.
- would like USIA assistance in providing low-cost paperback books for students in both English and Indonesian.
The conference concluded with my urging Mr. Malik to keep in very close touch with Ambassador Green in Jakarta. I assured Mr. Malik that the Ambassador had our government’s greatest confidence. Mr. Malik expressed his respect and warm friendship for Mr. Green and his appreciation of Mr. Green’s understanding and cooperation. He also stated his satisfaction at his meeting in Washington with Assistant Secretary of State Bundy and with the assistance already under way in food, cotton and spare parts. He expressed his hope that I would continue to maintain a personal interest in a democratic Indonesia and would continue to keep in touch with him.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Vice President, July 1, 1966, Vol. II. No classification marking.↩