303. Memorandum of Conversation1



  • U.S. Military Assistance to Indonesia

[Omitted here is the list of participants which is identical to that in Document 302.]

The May 28 meeting returned to the subject of U.S. military assistance raised by Foreign Minister Adam Malik during the May 26 meeting but not discussed because of lack of time.

At the earlier meeting, Malik said that Indonesian hopes for a peaceful solution of Southeast Asian problems should not lead it to neglect its own internal defense. Economic development remains Indonesia’s top priority, he added, but Indonesia must also prepare for the worst possible eventuality. Recent developments affecting Cambodia have created concern in neighboring countries and have given rise to the expectation in some quarters that Indonesia might help defend neighboring states if a more serious situation developed. At present, Indonesia could not do so, Malik said.

Referring to President Nixon’s July 1969 conversation with President Suharto in Djakarta on military assistance, Malik said the Indonesian Navy and Air Force remain in a most difficult position. Most of their equipment originated in the Soviet Union which continues to take a hard-nosed attitude regarding spare parts. Malik said there was not time to go into details but the Indonesian Armed Forces could discuss the problem with their counterparts. In this respect, Malik mentioned the possibility of the United States sending a delegation to Indonesia to determine its needs. In conclusion, Malik pointed to the presence of Admiral Sudomo in President Suharto’s official party as an indication of the importance Indonesia places on the defense aspect of national development.

At Malik’s request, Mr. Masters summarized the current status of the Military Assistance Program for Indonesia. He noted that the Indonesian Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Defense Liaison Group in [Page 654]Djakarta seem to have reached a general understanding on the items to be included in the FY 1971 program, which is to be increased almost threefold over the current annual level. Mr. Masters mentioned in particular that the U.S. hopes to help within budgetary limitations to meet the Air Force’s requirement for trainer and close support aircraft, the Navy’s need for patrol craft, and all of the Services’ needs for communication and electronic equipment. As for the latter requirement, Mr. Masters noted that a U.S. technical team has just completed an in-country survey and is now drawing up its recommendations.

Mr. Malik asked if support for the police is to be included in the expanded program. Mr. Masters said that the U.S. was tentatively thinking of allocating approximately $300,000 of the FY 1971 program to meet police requests for communications equipment, subject to the findings of the technical team which had also explored police needs in this field.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 INDON. Secret. Drafted by Masters and Gardner, and approved in U on June 10. The memorandum is part II of III; part III is ibid., part I is Document 301. The meeting was held in the Cabinet Room at the White House.