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

853. For Bundy from Ambassador. In Honolulu I met with President and Board of Regents University of Honolulu, and have been offered Chancellorship of East West Center. This looks like challenging responsibility and I am inclined to accept but have deferred decision pending consultation with you, Governor Harriman and Secretary Rusk.

US-Indonesian relations are at moment as sensitive and delicate as I have known them to be. President Johnson’s tremendous victory has been enthusiastically welcomed by leadership here. I have been congratulated personally by all leading Cabinet personalities on Johnson victory which is interpreted here not as meaning any change in US position on Malaysia but as significant in terms progressive approach of USG to fundamental world problems, in particular social and economic advancement of less developed countries. In my opinion, we have in Indo reaction to results of election foundation upon which we can build an effective relationship between our two countries and continue to attempt to exercise intelligent restraint and counsel for moderation. Opportunity to accomplish this, however, is likely to depend upon manner in which transition between Ambassadors is handled.

This situation is well nigh unique. Here we have Indonesian President who, while he is basically opposed to Western influence in his country, has retained a close relationship with the representative of the most powerful Western country with whatever possibility for moderating counsel on our part this may have provided.

The foregoing plus other elements in this situation suggest desirability of personal consultation in Washington. Specifically, the following matters require thoughtful consideration:

Timing and manner of my resignation and announcement and of acceptance of Chancellorship.
How and when to inform Sukarno who could interpret my resignation as fundamental policy change toward Indonesia on part US Government unless convincingly presented to contrary.
Question of timing of my successor’s appointment and means to pave way for him. I would, of course, wish to retain for him as much of whatever influence I have on Sukarno and other members of his government as possible. [Page 178]Looking forward to my new responsibility, a visit to Washington would also provide opportunity to talk with Assistant Secretary McPherson and others concerned with East West Center which would appear useful at this point.

As to timing, I have impression from President Hamilton of University of Hawaii that, although Regents are anxious for me to reach early decision, there is reasonable flexibility re date of assumption new responsibility, provided announcement is handled expeditiously.

If Department perceives no objection, I would plan to come to Washington for brief consultations within next ten days. Please advise.2

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, PER JONES, HOWARD P. Confidential; Exdis.
  2. In telegram 465 to Djakarta, November 13, Bundy suggested that Jones was needed in Djakarta rather than returning to Washington for consultations. Bundy suggested that since Jones’ departure would be traumatic for Sukarno, Jones should “begin withdrawal therapy dropping series carefully graded hints that end of your mission is approaching.” (Ibid.) In telegram 923 from Djakarta, November 19, Jones reported that he informed Sukarno of his impending resignation. (Ibid.) In telegram 1183 from Djakarta, December 24, Jones reluctantly reported that Sukarno had insisted that he ask the Department if he could stay at his post 2 years longer since Sukarno said he “found it difficult to think of doing business with anyone else.” Jones reported that he told Sukarno it would be impossible to report such a request because it would look like he was “making a bid to stay on.” (Ibid.)