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

14367. Subj: Letter to Suharto from President Nixon.

General Westmoreland is carrying letter from President Nixon to President Suharto. Text follows.

“General Westmoreland’s visit with you presents an excellent opportunity to set forth to you my views on the importance of your country’s security and continuing economic development and my determination to maintain our support for your outstanding efforts in these vital areas.

In my letter to you of December 11,2 I outlined the extent to which I share your concern for strengthening the foundations of Indonesia’s security and economic well being. In this regard, I recognize the strains placed on Indonesia’s resources by the problems of strengthening its [Page 707]security while also maintaining the momentum of economic development which your country has attained under your dedicated leadership. We in the United States want to do everything we can to assist you in meeting this formidable challenge.

I also understand the concern which you expressed to Ambassador Galbraith recently over the threat which Communist expansionism— whether originating in Moscow, Peking, or Hanoi—poses for Indonesia and Southeast Asia. I welcome your interest in helping to strengthen the other Southeast Asian nations so that they may cope with this threat, as well as your plans to improve Indonesia’s cooperation through ASEAN and particularly with Japan and Australia.

In the light of these considerations, I want to tell you that, despite the severe limitation which our Congress has placed upon funds for military assistance, we will continue our military assistance for Indonesia this fiscal year at a level at least equal to that of last fiscal year. Further, I am asking the Congress for funds to increase our military assistance to you in Fiscal Year 1973. I believe this assistance on our part, together with our contributions through the Inter-Governmental Group for Indonesia, constitutes one of the most important means by which the United States can help to insure that the tremendous progress realized during the past six years under your leadership is not lost, but will indeed continue.

I also want to reassure you, as I have on earlier occasions, that the United States intends to remain in Asia to play a balancing role in the stability of the region, and that we will stand firmly behind all of our treaty commitments. Toward these ends, we will retain sufficient air, naval, and ground forces in Asia in order to accomplish these purposes.

Indonesia has a vital role to play in the future peace, prosperity, and stability of Southeast Asia and Asia as a whole. As I recently conveyed to you through Ambassador Galbraith, I shall have your country’s interests very much in mind as I go to Peking and then to Moscow in the coming months. Knowing your keen interest in my trips, I will plan to be in touch with you when I return as to their results, and I would appreciate your reaction to these missions. I will hope, too, that you will feel free to pass any thoughts on these and other matters to General Westmoreland which he may report to me upon his return.

With warm personal regards,


(signed) Richard Nixon.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, ORG 7 JCS. Secret; Exdis. Text received from the White House, cleared by Theodore J. Heavner (EA/IMS) and by Robert T. Curran (S/S), and approved by Charles S. Whitehouse (EA).
  2. See Document 324 and the footnotes thereto.