320. Memorandum for the President’s File1

SUBJECT

  • The President’s Meeting with Indonesian Ambassador Soedjatmoko

Indonesian Ambassador Soedjatmoko saw the President on July 27 for the purpose of paying a farewell call. Dr. Kissinger sat in. The White House photographer took pictures at the beginning of the meeting.

The President and the Ambassador began by discussing the President’s July 15 China announcement,2 which the Ambassador said marks a change in world history. The President agreed that it represents a massive change in world history—a visit by the leader of the most powerful country in the world to the most populous country.

The President assured the Ambassador that our action relates solely to our relations with Mainland China, and is not in derogation of any of our friends. Indonesia, he continued, is a tremendous force in Asia and in the Pacific. We have told the Indonesians we will assist them in their military programs. Under no circumstances will this Government [Page 693]move in any way against the interests of Indonesia. Dr. Kissinger noted that we have ordered an increase in U.S. military assistance to Indonesia. The President added that we have internal problems to contend with here.

The Ambassador said that it is of principal importance to his country to know what kind of US presence there will be in Asia in the future, in terms of economic and military aid. The President replied that we will continue our economic aid and we will even keep our military presence. Indonesia need have no fear of a US withdrawal.

The Ambassador then commented that what is important is how to place our withdrawal from Vietnam into some future kind of system. It is not enough to give personal assurance—one must make specific proposals. The Ambassador wanted to relieve himself of some anxiety, particularly on Japan. Everything should be done to keep Japan from going nuclear. There must be a concert of world powers, of which one is not assured. But it must be done.

The President emphasized his agreement on the importance of maintaining our world presence. But some, like Fulbright and Mansfield, are a problem. Actually, Mansfield is a great fellow, the President added. But if we get out of Asia, Japan will go nuclear or make a deal with somebody.

The Ambassador emphasized that his country is not worried over the terms of a Vietnam settlement or about the American President. We are worried, he said, about the credibility of the American people’s performance. The Ambassador also commented that Japan is basically a tribal society, with no world view.

The Ambassador then referred to the rubber issue, with which Indonesia was very concerned. [This involved the GSA’s resumption of U.S. rubber stockpile sales, announced July 7.]3 Dr. Kissinger replied that we would look seriously at the counterproposals which had just been submitted by the rubber-producing countries.

The meeting then ended.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Boxes 83–87, Memoranda for the President. Confidential. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The meeting was held in the Oval Office.
  2. President Nixon announced to the nation on July 15 that he had accepted an invitation to visit the People’s Republic of China and that Kissinger had already held talks in Peking with Premier Chou En-lai July 9–11. (Public Papers: Nixon , 1971, pp. 819–820)
  3. Brackets in the source text.