329. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State 1
1163. Eyes Only For General Westmoreland From Ambassador Galbraith. Subject: Letter to Suharto From President Nixon. Ref: State 014367.2
- I accompanied General Westmoreland in his call on President Suharto afternoon February 3. Chief of Staff Umar and President’s interpreter, Widodo, also present. General Westmoreland told Suharto President Nixon had taken keen interest in General’s visit to Indonesia at invitation General Umar and had called Westmoreland to White House few days before he left Washington and had asked Westmoreland [Page 710]to pass to Suharto President’s personal esteem for accomplishments Suharto Government and President’s continuing interest in Indonesia. Suharto thanked Westmoreland and spoke briefly of the value he placed on his relations with President and on assurances he has received from Nixon on continued support for economic and military programs.
- Suharto spoke of the priority given economic development in the Indonesian budget and of the austerity imposed on the armed forces which receive only a small part of total budget resources, barely enough for upkeep. Suharto said it was hoped and expected that in another few years and with economic development promising to gain some momentum, additional budget resources could be made available for the development of the Indonesian armed forces. He said Indonesia’s armed forces understood and agreed to this approach.
- Westmoreland gave Suharto letter reftel which Suharto read. Westmoreland then explained that although President had asked Congress for appropriations which would have supported $25 million MAP for Indonesia, Congress had cut overall appropriations for military assistance by 40 percent, that President hoped to provide Indonesia with at least $18 million for MAP which, together with $2.3 million provided in excess supplies and other excess items which might be found useful to Indonesia, should raise total for MAP above $18 million for FY–72. Westmoreland also mentioned no-cost lease arrangement on ships for Indonesian navy. Westmoreland said utilization all these sources might produce figure approaching $25 million and President Nixon hoped to be able to do better for Indonesia in following fiscal year.
- Suharto said he understood President’s problems with Congress. He said $25 million MAP was itself less than Indonesia hoped for and felt it needed.
- I told Suharto that I monitored our MAP program very closely and that with amount of money which we hoped to make available and with prospect of somewhat more in following year I thought we would be alright. Suharto said our ability to plan a program on a two-year basis at the $25 million level should be alright.
- Westmoreland said he also brought assurances from President Nixon that in connection with his forthcoming trip to Peking there would be no changes in U.S. policy affecting Indonesia. The President would keep Suharto informed on results of his trip and on anything that transpired of interest to or affecting Indonesia. Suharto indicated his understanding of President Nixon’s purposes and his appreciation that President Nixon was keeping him informed.
- Suharto said he would be going to Australia and New Zealand in next few days on state visit. He hoped to explore with governments [Page 711]those two countries assessment of common threat of communism in area and desirability of closer understanding and cooperation among nations in area facing that threat. Suharto indicated he hoped to develop with Australia and New Zealand, and also with Japan, common view on how to face threats to peace and security in this area. Suharto mentioned the saber jet squadron which Australia will be providing Indonesia, indicating that these planes would be helpful in maintaining Indonesia’s pilot proficiency. Westmoreland indicated that he too would be going to Australia and New Zealand, though slightly ahead of Suharto.
Comment: It was apparent that there had been some difficulty in arranging for Westmoreland’s appointment with Suharto, presumably because the latter is preparing for his state visits mentioned above and because he was involved immediately after the meeting in ceremonies connected with recent weddings his daughter and son. This probably explains why Suharto did not encourage a broader discussion Southeast Asian problems. There was, however, some indication that Suharto was aware of extensive discussions Westmoreland had over two-day period with Army Chief of Staff Umar on other subjects such as Westmoreland’s observations on situation in Indochina.