65. Memorandum From the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara 1



  • US Policy Towards Indonesia (U)
Reference is made to a memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense (ISA), I–12, 723/64, dated 21 August 1964,2 subject as above, which requested the comments of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on a Department of State draft memorandum regarding the future course of US policy towards Indonesia.3
The Joint Chiefs of Staff concur generally in the substance of the draft memorandum. However, they do not consider that Indonesian [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] should be terminated completely at this time. In spite of President Sukarno’s Malaysian policy, the United States has maintained close ties with members of the Indonesian Armed Forces. Provision of arms and ammunition has been suspended, but [1 line of source text not declassified]—serves to preserve this US contact as a source of intelligence and possible future influence without indicating support for Sukarno’s Malaysian policy.
In reviewing the draft memorandum, the Joint Chiefs of Staff took into consideration the following:
Contacts maintained between US and Indonesian military personnel have been beneficial from an intelligence gathering aspect, as well as for maintaining US influence among the Indonesian military leaders. Desirably, this link should be continued insofar as practicable.
The major military implications which might be associated with further deterioration of US/Indonesian relations are set forth in the Appendix hereto.4 Briefly, the principal military implication for the United States is the adverse effect on US military posture in Southeast Asia which could result from Indonesian reaction to a change in US policy. This could require the United States to undertake deterrent action or emergency evacuation of US citizens and certain allied nationals. [Page 142]Even if such actions involved minimum force deployments, re- sources committed could affect other deployments, including those being considered to meet the situation on the Southeast Asian mainland. 4. It is recommended that the Department of State be advised:
That the Joint Chiefs of Staff concur generally in the substance of the draft memorandum. The proposed course of action might prevent an open diplomatic break in the face of deteriorating US/Indonesian relations.
That the Joint Chiefs of Staff consider that a closely monitored Indonesian [1 line of source text not declassified]—should be continued for intelligence purposes and for possible future influence upon key Indonesian leaders.
Of the military implications in paragraphs 13 through 15 of the Appendix.
That consideration should be given to the timely notification of SEATO and ANZUS Allies of any impending change in US policy towards Indonesia.
For the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
Curtis E. LeMay
Acting Chairman
Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Indonesia. Secret.
  2. Not found, but summarized here.
  3. The copy of the draft memorandum is attached to an August 25 memorandum from McNaughton to McNamara in which McNaughton stated that he agreed with the JCS view that the intelligence sources and contacts with the Indonesian military that would be preserved by [text not declassified] could be valuable. (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Indonesia) For the Department of State memorandum as sent to the President, see the attachments to Document 67.
  4. Attached but not printed.