306. Memorandum From John H. Holdridge of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Your Meeting with General Sumitro

Indonesian General Sumitro, whom you met in Djakarta last year, is arriving in Washington June 22 for the expressed purpose of seeing you and following up on your conversation with General Alamsjah about U.S. arms aid to Indonesia and Indonesian military assistance to Cambodia. (We will not be able to set the specific time of your meeting until after he arrives.) Although State is very much aware of Sumitro’s visit, the arrangements have been made through the special channel and not by State. Sumitro will, in fact, probably want to short-circuit State (although a protocol call on Ambassador Green is in order) on the grounds that he will expect to get more by dealing directly with you and Defense.

Sumitro’s Anticipated Position

  • —He will hope to obtain a firm U.S. program for Indonesia which will re-equip a substantial part of the Indonesian armed forces with U.S. military hardware. (He will not wish to get into specifics, since a military mission under General Umar will be arriving soon to discuss details.)
  • —He may justify the need for a MAP program on the grounds that the Indo-China situation poses a grave threat to the entire Southeast Asian region, and that Indonesia has an important regional defense role. He will probably explain that Indonesia’s previous Communist sources of arms are now excluded.
  • —He may also argue that Indonesia’s needs for economic development preclude picking up this burden through Indonesian resources.
  • —He will probably raise the matter of Indonesia’s plan to send 15,000 Communist-pattern weapons to Cambodia. He will want immediate U.S. replacement of these stocks, as a special program and not part of the regular MAP.
  • —He will solicit your help in getting favorable action out of Defense and State.

Your Recommended Position

  • —You recall with pleasure your talk with Sumitro and his associates last summer in Djakarta. You are glad to welcome Sumitro to Washington.
  • —As the President told President Suharto, we want to be as helpful as possible in responding to Indonesia’s arms needs. There are of course Congressional and budgetary constraints on what we can do, but within these parameters we will try to work out an appropriate program. (You might wish to mention that we have already more than trebled Indonesian MAP.)
  • —As discussed by the President and President Suharto, the matter of arms aid to Cambodia is urgent. You hope that Indonesia can move soon on this, not only to meet the military needs in Cambodia, but to give the Cambodian Government a needed psychological boost. You appreciate, though, the desirability of maintaining Indonesia’s non-aligned image, especially while Japan, Malaysia, and Indonesia are following up the Djakarta Conference.
  • —You might wish to ask Sumitro how these arms would be delivered, and whether he thinks secrecy could be maintained. (Possibly the U.S. could render some assistance in delivery, either directly or through third parties.)
  • —You hope that Sumitro will have useful discussions with people in the Pentagon. Your staff members have been in touch with responsible people there in setting up meetings. The question of our replacing stocks of Indonesian arms sent to Cambodia can be discussed in them.
  • —You believe it would be useful, too, for Sumitro to talk with Ambassador Green. All of us—those in the White House, Defense, and State—want to be helpful.
  • —You understand that General Umar will be coming soon with a mission to go into details of U.S. military aid. He and his group will be welcome. You anticipate that further details will be worked out afterwards at Djakarta between our respective military representatives.
  • —(If Sumitro raises. You are glad to hear that our technicians have arrived to inspect the Bandung ammunition plant, and hope that conversion to handle AK–47 ammunition can proceed rapidly.)

Points to Avoid

—Implying any substantive role for Alamsjah in our arrangements. Since he was here with Suharto we have learned [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]that senior officers among the Indonesian military [Page 661]have become sensitive over the way that Alamsjah functioned within the Suharto party. (Alamsjah is only a Brigadier General.) This smacks of Indonesian palace politics, of which we want no part. If the matter arises, you might note that you dealt with Alamsjah merely as Suharto’s emissary, and as a transmission-belt for carrying the President’s views to Suharto.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Kissinger Office Files, Box 101, Backchannel Messages 1970, Indonesia, HAK/Sumitro 1970 [1 of 2]. Kissinger saw it.