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


  • Talk With Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Razak

Your talk with Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, Wednesday, October 5. He is the head of Malaysia’s delegation to the UN. He is also the heir apparent to Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman.

You may wish:

To express appreciation for Malaysia’s understanding and support of our position in Viet Nam. (Note: Because of their preoccupation with Indonesia, the Malaysians have made only a small contribution themselves—mainly medicine, flood relief, some training for Americans and Vietnamese in jungle fighting);
Indicate our belief that an Asian initiative on Viet Nam is basically sound and that Malaysia’s support for Thanat’s peace proposal has added to its acceptability.

You are aware that Razak was quoted as saying that Malaysia would send troops to Viet Nam if asked. He claims he was misquoted and said only that he supported the general proposition of foreign assistance.

Razak may raise the following:


Military Assistance

He will come to the White House directly from a talk with Secretary McNamara.2

The British are cutting back in their support, and recently turned down a Malaysian request for $110 million of military aid. In 1965 we gave them a $4 million credit on easy terms for military purchases. [Page 608]Encouraged by that, they may now look to us to fill the hole left by the British.

You might state:

You realize that he has talked with Secretary McNamara and suggest that he follow up on this with Defense and State. Note our heavy commitments, especially Viet Nam. You could point to the intent of Congress to limit MAP recipients to 40; new additions would be difficult. We hope the British will continue as a military supplier and will encourage them in this.


Economic development.

Malaysia launched this year a soundly conceived 5-year development plan. To meet goals, Malaysia will need $630 million in foreign grants and loans. He may ask if we can do more to help.

You might state:

The U.S. joined with 12 other nations last May to discuss aid to Malaysia. We have offered help through the Ex-Im Bank. Future regional development programs will benefit Malaysia. We have continuing programs under Food for Peace and the Peace Corps. If Malaysia takes full advantage of our offers, total aid over the next 5 years could reach $100 million. We will follow Malaysian economic developments with interest and will be alert for any useful contribution we can make.



World price has been declining steadily. Last month it was the lowest in 12 years. Malaysia is deeply concerned; government revenues come mainly from taxes on tin and rubber. They believe sale of our stockpiled rubber is pushing the price down.

You might state:

We are aware of the problem and are concerned for Malaysia’s difficulties. The Department of State and others have the matter under urgent study, and we shall be in touch with the Malaysian government. There are serious budgetary reasons for our disposal policy.

The Deputy Prime Minister will be accompanied by Malaysian Ambassador Ong. Bill Bundy and I will be standing by. I suggest you see Deputy Prime Minister Razak alone at first, then call the rest of us in as you see fit. The Ambassador would consider it an honor to be able to meet with you.

A brief biographic sketch is attached.3

William Jorden 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Malaysia, Vol. IV, Memos, 1965–1968. Secret. Johnson met with Razak from 12:58 to 1:05 p.m. on October 5. The President’s Daily Diary is ambiguous, but apparently the President and the Deputy Prime Minister met alone and were then joined by William Bundy, Ambassador Tun Sri Ong Yok Lin of Malaysia, and Henry Heymann, Officer in Charge of Malaysian Affairs, at the end of the meeting. (Ibid.) No other record of the meeting has been found. The Department of State briefing paper and talking points for the President are in a memorandum from Read to Rostow, October 4. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 MALAYSIA)
  2. McNamara met Razak from 11:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. on October 5 at the Pentagon. They discussed Asian regional organization, Vietnam, possible helicopter sales to Malaysia, Indonesia, the cultural revolution in China, the future British and Australian role in Malaysia and Singapore, and the future of Southeast Asia. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 70 A 4443, Malaysia, 1966 (Malaysia 091.112))
  3. Undated; not attached but a copy is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Vol. 14, Oct. 1–31, 1966.
  4. Jorden signed for Rostow above Rostow’s typed signature.