331. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State 1

Secto 200/3310. Subject: Secretary’s Meeting with President Suharto, July 1. Following is approved memorandum of conversation:

Summary: Suharto appeared pleased and reassured by Secretary’s presentation, in which Secretary made clear President Nixon had wanted him to brief Suharto on Peking and Moscow Summits, more recent Kissinger visit to Peking and implications results these meetings for East Asia and other areas and for world peace. End summary.
Foreign Minister Adam Malik, Chief of Presidential Secretariat General Sudharmono (who took notes) and Widodo, Suharto’s regular interpreter, were present on Indonesian side, and Asst. Secretary Green and Ambassador Galbraith accompanied Secretary.
The Secretary said President Nixon had stressed importance of Secretary’s visit to Indonesia, and his desire that Secretary brief Suharto fully on summits. Secretary gave Suharto letter from President.2 Secretary said he would speak first generally and then invite Suharto’s views. Secretary stressed there were no secret agreements with either Peking or Moscow. President Nixon had made clear to both that we were continuing unchanged our policies toward, and our relations with our friends and allies.
The Secretary said we believe that talks in Peking and Moscow had tended to reduce tensions and could lead to further negotiations and reduction of threats toward independence of countries like Indonesia. But we had no intention of letting down our guard. We would base nothing on trust and make no concessions, but we would be prepared to take any reciprocal action to further reduce tensions.
In case of China, because there had been no conversations for 22 years, great deal of initial conversation concerned getting to know each other. Chinese felt it necessary make full statement of their dogma for the record. Once that was out of the way, talks turned to bilateral matters and to relationships in Pacific. Two sides agreed to put Taiwan [Page 715]aside and let that issue take its course. U.S. made clear it would continue its treaty and diplomatic relationships with Taiwan but would conduct these in way not hostile to PRC. We agreed have contacts in Paris, UN, and through special emissaries to Peking. Increased trade and exchanges are in offing, but they likely to expand gradually. In this way general improvement relations could ensue without disturbing U.S. relations with Taiwan. Treaties and relationships in Pacific with Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and others would also not be disturbed.
Secretary said with respect to Vietnam, U.S. would withdraw its troops but in process make sure North Vietnam does not overrun South Vietnam. We believe PRC recognizes that U.S., having reduced troop strength Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, etc., has no territorial aspirations in East Asia. Also PRC recognizes U.S. presence has stabilizing influence; that if U.S. left vacuum would result and be filled by Soviet presence or revived Japanese militarism. President Nixon had emphasized that we would maintain our troops in Pacific and there would be no change in our relations with our allies.
Secretary said that Kissinger had recently followed up on bilateral exchanges, students, athletic teams, scientists, etc. He had discussed Vietnam with PRC. PRC evidently wants negotiated settlement. They don’t want Soviet position strengthened in Vietnam. They have not permitted Soviets to use their ports which has helped make mining North Vietnam harbors so successful. We think Chinese prefer negotiated settlement Vietnam and will help, but we are not sure how much influence they can exert.
In order avoid PRC suspicions Kissinger reported to PRC on Moscow visit.
Secretary said it is difficult to judge Chinese intentions and it is possible they might be deceitful and take advantage. He said there is no one who understands this better than President Nixon who intends to be wary. The U.S. will make no concessions nor base anything on trust but will be prepared to take any reciprocal action to reduce tensions.
Suharto asked Secretary to advise further on possibilities for settling Vietnam problem. Secretary said he thought possibilities for negotiated settlement were good but question was when it might take place. There are different theories about whether it is more likely to occur before or after our elections.
Suharto noted that in USPRC communiqué there was reference to Bandung principles and noninterference in internal affairs of others. He also noted contradiction between this and PRC’s announced support for “oppressed peoples” and for “wars of national liberation”. [Page 716]will continue and for this reason we have to be sure that independent nations are strengthened not only militarily but economically. Secretary expressed pleasure at Indonesian economic progress and in support U.S. able to give this worthy Indonesian objective.
Suharto wondered whether there was possibility that Vietnam would emerge as communist country something like Yugoslavia. Secretary said he thought South Vietnam growing stronger and has good chance to survive as independent entity. They were fighting well on ground where there were no longer U.S. combat troops. All Vietnamese refugees go south not north, which gives some indication of where they feel most comfortable. North Vietnam had charged that Government South Vietnam were puppets. Once U.S. troops departed they couldn’t make that argument. We think if there were ceasefire now South Vietnam would be able to stand and there would be a political contest over time to see who would prevail. Our judgment is that people of South Vietnam would not support communists, Secretary said.
Suharto said that within framework U.S. attempts to reduce tensions and reach settlement with communists, Indonesia sought to strengthen its resilience against subversion. His visits to Australia, New Zealand and Japan have been in that context. Secretary said we had been pleased with Indonesian initiatives and with success of Suharto’s visits. In our talks with Australians and New Zealanders we had said we would cooperate in any way we could in support and in context Indonesian independence and nonalignment.3
Before turning to subject of Moscow Summit Secretary said we had been impressed with Chinese friendliness toward Americans and had impression that Chinese trust Americans more than they do Russians. Chinese know we will continue our alliances and support our friends but don’t look upon U.S. as threat to them as much as they do Soviets.
Secretary said there were two reasons Soviets were anxious that President make trip to Moscow: (A) concern over improvement of our relations with PRC (although Soviets did not say so) and (B) economic matters. In this latter connection, major security problems on Chinese/Soviet border as well as on Soviet western frontier had caused big economic drain. Build up of nuclear power was very costly, and no matter how much money Soviets spend, they know U.S. would not let them get ahead. Output of U.S. economy twice that of Soviets, therefore Soviets had embarked on detente in Europe to reduce cost and [Page 717]tensions there and to enable them to focus on Chinese problem. That they were anxious to improve relations with U.S. was borne out by their going ahead with summit despite U.S. mining of Haiphong and bombing North Vietnam. Soviets also feel need for more consumer goods. They need better production facilities, technology and credit.
Secretary said Soviets turned out whole upper echelon of government for talks. As many as twelve members of Politburo were present at one time and this was unprecedented. There was elaborate entertainment. President Nixon addressed Russian people on TV before which his scheduled appearance was advertised and Soviet people were urged to listen.
Seven separate agreements were signed in Moscow. It was worked out so that Brezhnev, Podgorny and Kosygin all signed some of them. These included agreements on health, environment, cooperation in space, prevention of incidents at sea (first agreement between two military establishments since World War II). Most important was the SALT agreement providing for freeze on offensive and defensive weapons. Each side is permitted two ABM sites to defend capitals and one ICBM site each. Without going into details Secretary said both U.S. and USSR know that neither side can strike other without being destroyed by other. If Soviets decide to strike first there is nothing they could do to prevent U.S. from destroying Soviet Union and same thing is true other way around. Thus, unless governments run by crazy people the threat of nuclear exchange is ruled out except by misunderstanding or accidental launch. Procedures have been worked out designed to avoid either of these eventualities. Secretary said we think result of visit will be better relations with USSR at least for a while. We expect that this will result in more exchanges of scientists and others and additional agreements. European Security Conference was discussed and if it can be well prepared it should help reduce tensions in Europe.
Secretary said he had talked about trade with Kosygin who did all the talking in the economic field. We expect over time to work out problems in the economic field. Complication, however, is that USSR has debt to U.S. and this makes it difficult to extend the credit USSR seeks for its trade with U.S.
Secretary said Soviets indicated willingness to help with negotiated settlement on Vietnam. Subsequently Podgorny has gone to Hanoi to present some of the things U.S. talked to Soviets about.
Secretary stressed again there were no secret agreements and nothing discussed with Soviets that would affect nations in this part of the world.
Secretary gave Suharto some atmospherics of Soviet leadership. Although Brezhnev clearly dominates others, one has impression Politburo works together. Brezhnev cultivated others in public. In meetings [Page 718]he did the talking. Kosygin was less active except on economic issues.
On Middle East problems there was not much discussed. Secretary had talked to Podgorny, Gromyko and Kuznetsov and was satisfied Soviets will not promote outbreak of hostilities and want cease-fire to continue.
Suharto expressed concern that because of U.S. and British withdrawals, vacuums would develop into which Soviets would move and that because of Soviet/PRC tensions subversion would increase. Secretary said we would be careful to withdraw in way that would not create vacuum. Secretary noted that in both communiqué in Peking and in statement of principles in Moscow, statement was included about noninterference in affairs other countries. If PRC and Soviets did this, U.S. could talk to them about violation of these principles. It is also possible that because of the conflicts between them they would be less occupied in subverting others. In any event, this was the time for others to strengthen themselves, as Indonesia was doing.
Suharto commented that Indonesian relations with PRC had not been normalized because PRC continued to interfere in Indonesian affairs with slander and support for Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Secretary asked whether their attacks on Indonesia had not been somewhat reduced lately. Suharto said they were relatively less but continued. Secretary commented that we, too, hope for continued improvement in our relations with PRC.
Noting that U.S. doing all it could to encourage American investors, Secretary inquired about Indonesia’s attitude toward foreign investment. Suharto said there was no change. He went on to say that Indonesia had to protect and reserve for domestic capital those fields where Indonesians had capability. Secretary expressed understanding. He said it important that whatever done in this field it be successful. U.S. did not want to encourage any foreign investment that would become an irritant. It was important to work out rules before rather than after private foreign entrepreneur invested. Suharto said that basic principles, including foreign investment law, unchanged but that Indonesia would have to insure that investments were not detrimental to Indonesia and were really in Indonesia’s interest.
Secretary mentioned MAP program and regretted that it had been reduced slightly in past year. He said we had asked for more this year and he was sure that President Nixon would work out some way, over long run, to do what we had said we would do and which we both agreed we should do.
Secretary was pressed by time to leave at this point. Suharto expressed his thanks and sent best regards to President Nixon.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Conference Files 1971–1972: Lot 73 D 323, Secretary’s Trip to SEATO, June 24 to July 12, 1972. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Frederick W. Flott, Special Assistant at the Embassy in Indonesia on July 4; cleared by Eliot S/S); approved by David H. Lissy, Special Assistant to Secretary Rogers. Repeated to Djakarta, Saigon, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Moscow, Canberra, and Wellington. Rogers was in Belgrade July 7–9 for an official visit.
  2. The original letter was delivered by the Secretary to Suharto; telegram Tosec 89/
  3. In a separate meeting with Malik on June 30 Secretary Rogers discussed developments in and observations about Australia, Japan, and the Philippines. Their conversation was reported in telegram 3331 from Belgrade, July 8. (Ibid., Conference Files, 1966–72: Lot 70 D 387, Box 526)