27. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State 1

2872. From Forrestal for Harriman, Marshall Green and Cleveland. Attorney General has approved fol message to be dispatched as soon as possible to Macapagal, Sukarno and Tunku; information Bangkok, Canberra and London:

“I have just reported to President Johnson on my fruitful discussions with you, with leaders of Malaysia, the Philippines and the United Kingdom, and with the Foreign Minister of Thailand. I want to tell you again how much I appreciated the courtesy and consideration with which you received me. President Johnson agrees with me that we can all look with real satisfaction at the results of these discussions which were due largely to the frank and constructive spirit with which you approached them. If this spirit can be maintained through the crucial weeks that lie ahead, there is no doubt that your nation and its neighbors will have gone far to achieving a stable and mutually beneficial peace.

I have also just reported to the Secretary General of the United Nations2 and have told him that all three nations were agreeable to having Thailand designated by him as the disinterested party who would observe and investigate any incident which may occur on either side of the borders in Kalimantan during the period of the conferences. The Secretary General will no doubt be getting in touch with your representatives at the United Nations in New York, and I hope that the appropriate arrangements can be made simply and quickly.

In the meantime, it is essential in my judgment, that the spirit of our discussions be maintained, that every effort be made to avoid armed clashes, that political offensives, both overt and covert, be suspended, and that all parties exercise the utmost restraint in responding to real or imagined provocation by another.

Finally, I hope that the three countries will extend full cooperation to the Secretary General and to Mr. Thanat Khoman, Foreign Minister of Thailand, who are undertaking a most difficult role. They both deserve our thanks.”

For Djakarta: At meeting today in NY, SYG told Attorney General that Indonesian Amb. Palar had reported Indonesian Govt not willing [Page 54]have SYG act in designating Thailand as investigator of incidents. SYG agreed to designate Thailand if he received assurances from Indonesian Govt that this was acceptable. Attorney General later saw Amb. Palar and asked him to report to President Sukarno and Dr. Subandrio Attorney General’s clear understanding in Djakarta that Indonesians were agreeable to having SYG act in designating Thailand. Amb. Jones, who was present these conversations, should take this matter up orally with Subandrio and/or Sukarno at time he delivers letter. Amb. Jones should also emphasize extreme importance of avoiding provocative action during pre-conference period.

For example, presence of Indonesian troops in North Kalimantan or sabotage or similar activities in Singapore or on Malaysian peninsula, would be disastrous.

For Manila: AFP ticker reported today on suggestion, presumably by Lopez, that tripartite ministers’ meeting take place Manila instead of Bangkok. If this is true, Amb. Stevenson should emphasize to Macapagal real dangers of this kind of maneuver. It was with great difficulty that Attorney General was able to get all parties agree to have Thais exercise their twin role as organizers of Tripartite Meeting and investigators of incident. At request of all parties, including Macapagal, Attorney General has requested Thais to take on this job, and has just reported this to SYG. This reported activity by Philippines could undermine entire fragile structure.

For Bangkok: You should inform Thanat substance of this message.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDON–MALAYSIA. Secret; Priority; Limdis.
  2. The account of Kennedy’s hour meeting with U Thant is in telegram 2880 from USUN, January 28. (Ibid.)