25. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom 1

4456. For Attorney General from Secretary. My warm congratulations on the job you have done in Tokyo, Manila, Kuala Lumpur and Djakarta. It may well prove to be a major turning point in the entire position in Southeast Asia. As a minimum you have obtained public commitments from Sukarno which give us powerful leverage to restrain him from rash action in the future.

In your talks in London2 you should emphasize that we were not presuming to interfere in someone else’s problem but that we were faced with a major watershed in the future of our own relations with Indonesia. President could not make a determination to proceed with aid in the face of Indonesian guerrilla action against Malaysia. On the other hand to discontinue aid would lead to complete rupture with Indonesia, seizure by them of major US investments, and firm implantation of ChiCom influence in Indonesia through PKI. You were highly successful in staying out of the details of a possible solution but you did prepare an opportunity for Sukarno to back away without undue loss of face and got for the Tunku a publicly declared suspension of military confrontation which must relieve him.

Again, my warm personal thanks.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 US–KENNEDY. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted and approved by Secretary Rusk.
  2. In a January 24 message to Rusk, Home stated that he looked forward to meeting Robert Kennedy, but he added that,” Sukarno’s rantings about continuing confrontation by other means do not encourage me to think that he has in any way changed his spots or altered his aim which he has just reiterated as ’crush Malaysia.’ ” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Malaysia, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63–3/64)