58. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Thailand1

226. Depcirtel 252.2 From replies to reftel3 following appears consensus on current status Malaysian dispute:

Neither principal appears interested in continuing formal direct negotiations in absence clear exits from Tokyo impasse. Current level guerrilla activity is low, and Indos engaged in diplomatic activity to develop further support from Soviet Union, North Korea, and North Viet-Nam. GOM preoccupied with internal problems, and attention likely to be focused inward in first weeks following Tunku’s return.
Thanat initiative for resort to salutary secret preparatory diplomacy appears best and perhaps only way to avoid creating in AACC another imposing but empty negotiating mechanism.
Phils are committed to publicized direct negotiations and, in view foregoing, their role for present essentially unconstructive. Macapagal and Lopez for personal and domestic political reasons appear determined however to pursue role of mediator and probably cannot be diverted.

Under circumstances Dept feels that, while approach outlined cirtel 252 as modified by posts’ comments still valid, time for pursuing it does not seem to have arrived. Agree with Kuala Lumpur 150 that Thai participation in AACC is essential and therefore Phils must be committed to naming Thais as their rep on AACC before Malaysians announce choice Nigerians. Prior and secret Phil agreement is therefore necessary first step in implementing plan, but difficult to accomplish in context current Phil efforts. As Phils run up against GOI-GOM footdragging on resumption formal talks opportunity may then arise for essential Lopez-Thanat liaison. In absence such liaison Lopez likely conclude Thanat working against him.

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For Bangkok: Department believes that at this stage best procedure would be for you to review current situation with Thanat, drawing on cirtel 252, Manila, Djakarta and Kuala Lumpur responses thereto, and this telegram in order ascertain Thanat’s views. Would be preferable if you could do this before Thanat meets Razak, but would like to avoid having Thanat cite any ideas or problems raised as originating with USG. Request you emphasize importance some sort of liaison with Phils and suggest time may have come for Thanat to invite Lopez to Bangkok for strategy session. If Thanat prefers, we would undertake to tell Macapagal we believe his and Thanat’s efforts should be coordinated, suggesting Macapagal send Lopez to Bangkok.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDON–MALAYSIA. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Underhill and Cuthell and approved by Green. Repeated to Manila, Djakarta, and Kuala Lumpur.
  2. In circular telegram 252, August 7, the Department presented its views on prospects for the Indon-Malaysian dispute. It believed that the Afro-Asian Conciliation Commission (AACC) must be pursued and not rejected by Malaysia. The basic obstacle to peace remained Indonesian guerrillas in East Malaysia and the Department suggested that the AACC might be able to convince Sukarno to withdraw them. Such a plan would require careful prearrangement and prior acceptance. (Ibid.)
  3. The major replies are in telegrams 165 from Bangkok, August 9; 150 from Kuala Lumpur, August 10; 273 from Manila, August 11; and 249 from Djakarta, August 11. (All ibid.)