32. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia 1

938. Djakarta’s 1802.2 On eve Bangkok meeting, prospects major progress not promising in absence any signs acceptable formula on guerrilla question in offing. Seems obvious Indonesians will have to give at least part on this question if meeting not to break down at outset. Main effort all participants obviously must be some forward motion on guerrilla question and at least preliminary discussion other issues to permit negotiations to continue.

For Djakarta: Department concurs approach to Subandrio suggested last three numbered paragraphs reftel.3 In addition these points, you should also make following:

Subandrio must expect and be prepared tackle guerrilla question before going into political matters. Must also be prepared give some ground on this question. GOM knows that most of world will accept logic their position this issue and will have to insist on some rectification to protect their position.
Since Attorney General’s mission, US has been poised at watershed in relations with Indonesia. Subandrio and Sukarno aware our basic sympathy for Indonesia and our desire to be helpful. Attorney General mission itself ample proof of this. But ball now entirely in Indonesian court. We can be of no further help to them, politically or otherwise, if current cease-fire and talks break down. We now need from Indonesians same degree initiative in moving toward settlement that we took last January. No point asserting that we should put pressure on other side rather than Indonesia. We have already done maximum [Page 63]possible in encouraging others to understand Indonesian position and meet GOI half-way.

For Kuala Lumpur: You should let Razak know we are urging Indonesians (1) to take more responsible position on guerrillas, and (2) to start spelling out what they mean by “sweetening the pill.” If Indonesians give any indication at Bangkok that they moving in this direction, we hope he will hear them out fully, explore their proposals and not reject their approaches out of hand. If Indo terms unacceptable, he should either make counter offer or defer discussion to later meeting.

We see minimum objective Bangkok meeting as that of preventing further deterioration and keeping negotiation process going. We recognize that Malaysians, as aggrieved party and with elections coming up, find current situation hard to take. Even though present cease-fire far from satisfactory to Malaysians, however, it is preferable to all-out resumption Indonesian military confrontation—particularly when number of indications suggest time may be working in Malaysia’s favor.

Re question Thai observers, we pleased have Razak’s assurance (Kuala Lumpur’s 773)4 that question will be settled prior Bangkok meeting. Leisurely pace and delicate sensitivities demonstrated by Malaysians to date, however, leave impression that they (and perhaps Thais as well) do not really understand why prompt pre-positioning observers so important their position. If you think it will help, suggest you continue express our active interest in getting them moving.

In this connection, we puzzled why Razak feels observers need access Indonesian side border before they can be effective. Understanding on observers was that they are to investigate incidents, which presumably will only occur Malaysian territory. “Seeing what Indonesians up to” is eminently not part their agreed function, and any suggestion it be made part thereof almost sure cause whole observer concept to collapse.

For Bangkok: Suggest you convey to Thanat general outline foregoing prior meeting, emphasizing that minimum objective must be to keep talks going and keep cease-fire reasonably intact. Re his comment that he would welcome any formulae that may occur to us (Bangkok’s 1406),5 suggest you point out that we feel main thing is to get Indonesians to surface their terms for “sweetening the pill.” Once these in sight, we could all start looking for possible formula.

Re Razak compromise language on guerrilla withdrawals (Kuala Lumpur’s 773), suggest you mention it to Thanat and suggest he may [Page 64]want discuss it further with Razak. If Thanat thinks any chance Indonesians buying it, he might want to consider tactic of presenting it himself as compromise if Indos reject fifth cease-fire point proposed first Bangkok meeting.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDON–MALAYSIA. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Ingraham, cleared by Cuthell, and approved by Green. Also sent to Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok and repeated to Manila, London, Canberra, and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. In telegram 1802 from Djakarta, February 28, the Embassy reported that there was very little domestic opposition to Sukarno’s “crush Malaysia” campaign and that confrontation enjoyed wide support in Indonesia. Still the Indonesian military was anxious to avoid a direct clash with the British and there were no indications of major military preparations in Kalimantan, just stepped up paramilitary operations. The Embassy suggested steps to induce Indonesia to make a 180 degree turn and accept a peaceful settlement. (Ibid.)
  3. In these paragraphs of telegram 1802, the Embassy suggested a pre-conference approach to Subandrio to: 1) reaffirm the importance of progress at the Bangkok talks, 2) emphasize the necessity for a further definition of the cease-fire, and 3) urge that Indonesia make known its position on a political settlement at Bangkok, that is “put cards on table and get negotiating process started.” (Ibid.)
  4. Dated February 28. (Ibid.)
  5. Dated February 29. (Ibid.)