48. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1
- Paper for NSC Discussion of Indonesia
Enclosed is a paper on Indonesia and the Indonesia-Malaysia dispute for consideration at the National Security Council meeting originally scheduled for May 12 and now scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Friday, May 15.2 Should circumstances warrant, a brief supplemental paper covering last-minute developments will be submitted later. This paper makes the following salient points:
Indonesian guerrilla activity in Malaysian Borneo is continuing, although there has been a marked lull in recent weeks. Sukarno may be planning a substantial step-up shortly, however, to force the Tunku into an early summit meeting on Sukarno’s terms. Sukarno’s real intentions are not clear, but there is a possibility he actually wants a peaceful settlement. Both the Army and the PKI would probably oppose a settlement but it is unlikely that either could block it if Sukarno accepts it. Sukarno’s terms for settlement have not been spelled out but probably include, as a minimum, some sort of pro-forma reascertainment of popular opinion toward Malaysia in Sabah and Sarawak which he could claim as a victory for internal consumption.
Internally Indonesia is in major difficulty. The economy is in bad shape and continues to deteriorate. A regional revolt in Sulawesi is causing additional strain. Neither, however, is likely to shake Sukarno’s hold on the country.
We have been exerting diplomatic and (through aid) economic pressure on Sukarno to abandon confrontation and work out a peaceful settlement. The most promising current initiative has been taken by Macapagal, who has contacted Sukarno and the Tunku to urge an early summit meeting of the three.[Page 103]
No change is recommended in U.S. aid policy. We should continue to refrain from a formal Presidential Determination, at least until early June.
- Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. II, Cables and Memos, 6/64–8/64, [2 of 2]. Secret. No drafting information appears on the memorandum, but a covering memorandum to another copy indicates that the paper had “internal State and AID clearances” and Harriman and Bell approved its transmittal to the White House. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDON–MALAYSIA)↩
- Discussion of Indonesia at the NSC meeting of May 15 was canceled; see
Foreign Relations, 1964–1968, vol. I, Document 156.↩