305. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Green) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Dear Henry:

As you know, a recent Djakarta message indicates that General Sumitro may arrive here as early as next Monday (June 22) to follow up on the discussions with President Suharto and General Alamsjah last month. We do not yet have detailed knowledge of just what the Indonesians have in mind, but it appears that Sumitro will carry with him two lists. One will include military items they would expect from us to replace any equipment they might give Cambodia, and the other would deal with Indonesia’s own long range military requirements. Sumitro plans to see you first and follow your guidance on others he should talk with in Washington.

The Indonesians apparently then plan to send a second military mission in July to be led by the Army Chief of Staff, General Umar, and including logistical experts from all of the armed services. According to word from Djakarta, the Umar mission will seek a “fixed commitment” from us to re-equip Indonesia’s Armed Forces over the next five to seven years.

President Suharto’s visit here gave new impetus and direction to the Indonesians’ as yet only partially formulated plans to assume a greater role in matters affecting Southeast Asian security. Sumitro’s visit will give us another good opportunity to nudge the Indonesians in the right direction. The Sumitro group will also bring along a few bear traps, however, which we should keep well in view. Principally among these is the Indonesian tendency to read more into what we tell them than we actually intend—to translate our general comments into what they consider broad and binding commitments. For this reason I would like to suggest the following general precepts by which the visit might be handled:

Indonesia’s diplomatic efforts are at a particularly sensitive stage with the Three Nation Committee now engaged in discussions with the Soviet Union. For this and other reasons it is important that the Sumitro visit be treated low key and that every effort be made to avoid publicity.2
Since Sumitro is coming here primarily to talk with you, I believe it important that he get from you a full and realistic assessment of what we can and cannot do to help Indonesia.3 Otherwise, he will not take to heart comments about budgetary limitations and other problems which he may receive at DOD.
In addition to his talks with you, I would welcome an opportunity to talk with Sumitro and suggest we also arrange a courtesy call on General Westmoreland and a “working level” meeting with officers in DOD who have detailed knowledge of MAP matters and possible availability of excess equipment.4
I suggest we tell Sumitro that we welcome the opportunity to get his firsthand views and those of other key Indonesian officials, but we believe that both our interests would be best served by continuing to handle detailed planning in Djakarta.5 For this reason, while we would be delighted to see General Umar, we would suggest that he not bring any large number of experts with him but that we continue to handle details of our MAP in Djakarta through the very effective coordination already developed between HANKAM and our Defense Liaison Group.

If you agree, a copy of this letter might be passed on to Dave Packard and Tom Moorer.6

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 531, Country Files, Far East, Indonesia, Vol. II. Secret; Nodis; Khmer.
  2. A notation apparently in Holdridge’s handwritting next to this sentence reads: “yes.”
  3. A notation in the same handwriting next to this sentence reads: “guidelines of Pres.—encourage be helpful in Cambodia.”
  4. A notation in the same handwriting next to this sentence reads: “yes.”
  5. A notation in the same handwriting next to this sentence reads: “yes.”
  6. A notation in the same handwriting next to this sentence reads: “yes. They can send but we direct.”