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

2119. Deptel 1093.2 I had hour and half talk with Sukarno alone this morning, at least half of time being devoted to discussion of problems connected with possibility of peaceful settlement of Malaysia dispute.

Despite absence of Subandrio who was tied up with preparatory AA conference, I decided to make all points in reftel as I concluded I would not have another opportunity until after AA conference. In [Page 83]doing so, however, I told Sukarno I hoped that he and I and Subandrio could hold meeting together in near future to clarify issues in connection this question once and for all.

Sukarno denied flatly that Indos had changed their position since March 17 understanding had been reached (Embtel 1920 to Dept)3 except with regard to continuing tripartite talks at Ambassadorial instead Min level. In all other respects he reconfirmed position as reported reftel—indeed I read him excerpt from reftel which he confirmed as representing his attitude. He had reconsidered question of Ambassadorial talks he said because he was convinced they would not get anywhere and he preferred Ministerial talks, although he repeated he was quite prepared to enter summit talks without preparatory talks. I pointed out difficulties of this in view of fact that Tunku could not be expected to enter summit talks unless guerrillas had been withdrawn.

I felt Ministerial talks would be necessary to accomplish dual purpose of withdrawal of guerrillas and achieving progress toward political formula for settlement. Sukarno indicated he was agreeable to this, “We have not shifted our position,” he repeated.

During course of discussion I bore down heavily on Yani’s public statement that cease fire means legalization guerrilla pockets and of Indo moves to reinforce Borneo guerrillas and mount terrorist campaign in mainland Malaysia. Sukarno denied flatly that Yani’s statement meant what I implied. He said it was simply a matter of semantics and not intention to distort cease fire understanding reached with Attorney General. It was he said simply another way of saying “stand- fast.” He then repeated what he understood cease fire to mean: (1) no shooting; (2) standfast; (3) no mopping up; (4) no withdrawal. He admitted cease fire had been only partially successful, then accused British troops of “bestiality, not merely atrocity” in decapitating captured guerrilla by putting rope around his neck attached to a helicopter.

My comment on terrorist campaign in mainland drew fire. Sukarno denied these were Indo guerrillas, said I must remember there were many Malays on mainland whose sympathies did not lie with Malaysia. Then accused British-Malaysians of planning bombings and ambush in south Sulawesi. When I pressed him for evidence, he said GOI had this week arrested two Malaysians in Djakarta who confessed. He assured me with some heat that foreign support of recent troubles in Sulawesi had been established.

Reverting to peaceful settlement of Malaysia dispute, Sukarno said he could not understand why everybody seemed to think that it was so difficult a problem. “The whole mess can be cleared up by one [Page 84]simple act” he said—then referred in general terms to some method of implementing Manila agreement by ascertainment of public opinion in Kalimantan. “My position is clear” Sukarno said, “I prefer Sarawak and Sabah as free nations to join other free nations within framework of Maphilindo” but he insisted “if they stick to Malaysia, if Kalimantan people prefer to join Malaysia, I will also recognize Malaysia.” He then repeated earlier statement that said he had felt “insulted and humiliated” over establishment of Malaysia on Sept 16 before the UN survey had been completed. This was “real tearing up of Manila agreement” he said hotly.

In commenting on the Washington-Bangkok feeling that Indos had shifted their position, Sukarno revealed that Gen Yani had had frank talk with Thai General who was here to discuss sending observers to Kalimantan and had outlined Indo position as I had reported it.

At another point, Sukarno revealed his intention to wage vigorous campaign to get second AA conference to condemn Malaysia. I pointed out conference was long way off, probably would not be held until next fall—did he mean he had no intention to reach political settlement in interim? “Tell the Tunku to put a little water in the wine,” he said in indicating clearly that he did want a settlement but that as Subandrio had put it, GOM should “sweeten the pill.”

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDO–MALAYSIA. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Bangkok, Canberra, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, London, Singapore, CINCPAC for POLAD, and USUN.
  2. In telegram 1093, April 8, the Department instructed Jones to meet with Sukarno and Subandrio and “steer them back toward tolerable position” by stressing that it seemed that Indonesia had retreated from its acceptance on the Lopez formula; was taking a new hard line on guerrilla withdrawals and, in fact, was intensifying its campaign; and seemed to be trying to force Tunku to accept a summit without prior guerrilla withdrawals. Jones was to state that if Indonesia sincerely wanted a peaceful settlement, it must “(a) cease equivocations and accept Lopez formula in accordance procedure agreed to at March 17 meeting, and (b) call immediate halt to guerrilla reinforcements and terrorist activities.” (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 2, Document 39.