238. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson 1

Earlier in the week I was visited by two Indonesian army officers, both of whom are in Suharto’s inner circle of advisers. They stated very frankly that their purpose was to establish a personal channel of communications between General Suharto and you. They said that although American officials were invariably sympathetic to Indonesia’s stated need for assistance, follow up was disappointing. They said Suharto hopes that you will breathe a greater sense of urgency and generosity into the American response to Indonesia’s aid requests.

It is not clear to what extent they were actually speaking for Suharto. There are reasons to suspect they were simply trying to enhance their own influence by proving they can bring home the bacon.

In any event, I think it is time that we take another look at the rather restrained approach we have taken thus far to Indonesia aid requests. I also think it is time to consider whether some initiative on our part could not be used to start the foundation of a personal relationship between you and General Suharto. With that end in mind, [Page 513]I have asked Marshall Wright 2 to go into the whole problem of Indonesian aid deeply and urgently.

I am attaching a memorandum of my meeting with Suharto’s representatives.3

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. VIII, 6/67–8/68, [2 of 2]. Confidential. There is an indication on the memorandum that the President saw it.
  2. Rostow added the following footnote at this point: “Bill Jorden’s new No. 2.”
  3. A July 19 memorandum for the record of Rostow’s meeting with Generals Humardani Sudsjono and Colonel Ali Murtopo on July 18 prepared by Marshall Wright of the NSC staff is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. VIII, 6/67–8/68, [2 of 2]. A record of Sujorno’s and Murtopo’s July 17 meeting with Vice President Humphrey, prepared on July 19, is ibid., Name File, Vice President, Vol. II. An account of their meetings with Berger on July 17 is in telegram 10175 to Djakarta, July 20. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 INDON) A summary assessment of their visit and all their meetings including those with key members of Congress is in telegram 10759 to Djakarta, July 21. (Ibid.)