328. Memorandum From the Deputy Director for Coordination, Bureau of Intelligence and Research (McAfee) to the Under Secretary of State (Irwin)1


  • Procurement of Soviet Matériel from Indonesia

Currently negotiations are going on (in a somewhat desultory fashion, as suits the Indonesians) for the clandestine procurement of a MIG–17, MIG–19, and MIG–21, all in operating condition from the Indonesian Air Force. The U.S. Air Force’s offering price is $250,000, a small sum which reflects the fact that the USAF has had previous access to these machines in Korea, Cambodia, and Israel. Additional units are desired, however, for testing.

Indonesia, which obtained a large stock of Soviet armaments during the Sukarno era, has become a prime source of Soviet matériel. Soviet replacements are no longer available to, nor desired by, a pro-Western Indonesian Government. The risks involved in obtaining Soviet matériel covertly, while undeniably present, are minimized by sloppy Indonesian inventory control in the past and consequent Soviet inability to maintain effective surveillance of the matériel. The Soviets are further hampered by travel restrictions, much reduced staff, and a generally hostile attitude on the part of the Indonesian Government and armed forces.

During the past two years the U.S. services have spent some two million dollars for Soviet matériel in Indonesia. The Soviet P–15 surface-to-surface missile, various fire control systems, anti-submarine warfare gear, and the Fan Song radar used in the Soviet SAM system are the major items obtained. All of these items (some still in the original crates) were air-lifted out of Indonesia without incident. In the case of the Fan Song radar three large vans were involved. The Air Force proposed using the huge and conspicuous C–5A which INR refused to agree to. Eventually USAF planes delivering civic action type supplies to the Indonesian services brought back the Fan Song vans on return flights. In all cases extreme care has been taken to do loading in hangars wherever possible and at night by specially vetted Indonesian military teams.

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An outgrowth of the procurement of the P–15 missile was the opportunity to monitor the firing of several P–15 missiles by the Indonesian Navy. When the Indonesians proposed test firings at a target island in the Java Sea, the Naval Attaché, knowing that the Indonesians were scrapping SKORY class destroyers, suggested that one be sold— covertly—to the U.S. Navy and that it be used as a target ship. The Indonesians agreed and with U.S. guidance welded impact gages to the hull and installed a transponder on the mast. They also agreed to film, in color, and “rooster-tail” of the missile when fired and turn the films over to the U.S. The telemetry of the firings (the ship was hit and sank)

INR’s role in the procurement of Soviet matériel is to make certain that the operation has the approval of the Ambassador, the Defense Attaché, [2 lines of source text not declassified]; that the Indonesian Government and the head of the Indonesian service involved approve; and that coordination is complete at the Washington level among State, including the policy bureau, Defense, and CIA.

  1. Source: Department of State, INR/IL Historical Files, Indonesia File. Secret. Drafted by Richard K. Stuart (INR/DDC) and sent through INR Director Ray S. Cline.