"We were just working our way out of the mess it left"
(Walt Rostow, on inheriting
Eisenhower’s Indonesia policy)
The 25th of January, five days after Kennedy’s inauguration, Secretary of State Dean Rusk received a lengthy telegram from the ambassador in Djakarta. "The time has come," the ambassador urged, "[...] when US interests demand reassessment of the situation in Indonesia and review of our policy and courses of action." For the first time since Indonesian independence, the US had been seriously challenged by the communists in the area, he declared, and "the economic, military, [and] psychological programs which formerly [were ]good enough, no longer can assure [the] achievement of [the]US minimum objective of preventing Indonesia from falling under Communist control."
Ambassador Howard Palfrey Jones’ letter introduced the Kennedy administration to a little known country—its problems and heritage of failed American intervention largely left unmentioned by the previous administration. The new signs of major Soviet involvement caused immediate concern, and the administration decided to reassess the situation and US policy in the area. They soon reached the conclusion that Indonesia through its size, resources and location was of critical strategic importance to he Pacific rim, and hence to US national security. The lingering problems of colonial heritage now threatened to turn into open crises, and then destabilize the whole region as well as endanger US commitments in East Asia. Simultaneously, any US actions could seriously affect US relations towards a close NATO ally. The negative prospects turned Indonesia into a major and immediate concern for the administration, but no clear and active policy existed to build upon except for one of non-commitment and European priority. Throughout the year, contentions inside the administration on the formation of a new, overall policy arose and no singular policy was agreed upon. However, the foundations of a new policy emerged, based on Asian priority, personal relations, military aid and economic involvement. While the administration slowly worked out the basic premises and direction of its new policy, the negative development in Indonesia accelerated, eventually turning the lingering problems of 1961 into the acute crises of 1962.
The immediate cause for the critical situation regarding Indonesia policy were the combination of two factors, Ambassador Jones argued: An apparent Soviet decision in 1960 that "it could not afford [to] have the largest Communist Party outside China mainland in Asia go down [the] drain," and their choice to use the long stalemated conflict between the Netherlands and Indonesia over West Irian1 as their entry gate to take over Indonesian political agendas. Simultaneously, the Dutch ignited the situation with a provocative flag-showing cruise to West Irian by aircraft carrier Karel Doorman. The Soviet grasped the opportunity by offering a "sky’s-the-limit" political support of the Indonesian cause, combined with unprecedented amounts of economic and military aid to an Indonesian regime just recently spurned by Eisenhower in their request for the same military and economic support.
The US made a thorough new evaluation of Indonesia’s strategic importance, and concluded that its potential resources, size, and strategic critical location made keeping Indonesia outside Soviet influence vital to US national security. In the administration’s eyes, the Soviet policy promoted conflict and could easily make Indonesia economically and militarily dependent on Moscow.
The next weeks, State department and the National Security Council staff initiated a revision of US policy towards Indonesia. The triggering factor behind the revision may well have been the potential crisis around the West Irian issue. Clearly, the stakes had been raised with the Soviet initiative and Dutch provocation. Still, many other reasons influenced the decision for re-evaluation. The new administration held fundamental different views on the neutralist third world countries than the previous one had. Third world neutralism like Indonesia’s, was no longer frowned upon, but just as often regarded as a possibility for future Western alignment. The Kennedy administration also held a higher regard for the importance of Pacific Asia than the previous administration had done, although one should not overestimate the differences this early in the new president’s term. Furthermore, mainland Southeast Asia emerged more clearly as a major Cold War conflict area, pulling neighboring Indonesia with it in perceived urgency. Combined with the new administration’s desire to put their own mark on policy, thorough re-evaluation was a very natural thing to do from all these general concerns.
The existing relationship between Indonesia and the United States begged particularly for review: From the Eisenhower years, the new administration had inherited a stalemate threatening to turn into diplomatic hostilities if not actively countered: After the misfortunate US intervention on behalf of a regional rebellion against Djakarta in 1958, little had been done to mend the poor relations between Djakarta and Washington—the main exception being a small burst of military aid in 1958, mainly intended to soften the landing when subversive policies crashed. Relations were still at a freeze, and the personal hostility between the two countries’ leaders had not helped them to thaw. If any policy at all, the existing policy was one of wait-and-see while trying to avoid any controversies. Cooling off an already cold relation seemed hardly a tolerable long-term policy towards a major country courted by the Bloc, unless one intended to re-assume subversion or sought continued future alienation.2
After the 1958 rebellion, military subversion or any locally based intervention against the Djakarta nationalist government had furthermore ceased to be promising options:3Sukarno had replaced parliamentary democracy with "Guided Democracy" and gained control over foreign policy. 4There was little hope of immediate change in the Indonesian regime, now that the island rebels were all but crushed. The different guerillas were weak and scattered, and the remaining pro-West political parties were reduced in power and popularity. Previous hopes of splitting the centralized government, even if only into a federation, seemed vain.
Only the central Indonesian army command under general Abdul Haris Nasution and the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) under chairman Dipa Nusantara Aidit were close to having the strength to challenge Sukarno. Neither of the two seemed to have the will or confidence for such a venture in the near future. Their strength and support also relied heavily on Sukarno and the delicate balance he was perceived to keep between the two opposite parties in the power triangle. A challenge to Sukarno would have been a dangerous road to follow for both parties.
Finally, no other individual leader seemed to be popular enough with the general public to be able to replace Sukarno as a president the masses would accept. Two possible exceptions were former vice president and prime minister Mohammed Hatta, which the US actively had supported previously, and the Sultan of Jogjakarta. Both Hatta and the Sultan were however sidelined, and seemed further from the power circles than ever. In conclusion, there seemed to be no prominent Indonesians left for the US to support outside the existing tripolar balance of power, personalized in Sukarno, Aidit and Nasution. The two non-communists in this triangle had both been personally as well as politically alienated by the previous administration: Sukarno through Eisenhower’s displayed personal hostility, Nasution through the US’ repeated rejections of his personal led quests for military support after 1959, and both Nasution and Sukarno through the US military support of the regional rebellion in 1958, which in many ways were targeted directly against Nasution and Sukarno.
Ambassador Howard Jones in Djakarta had since the 1958 rebellion argued for US re-establishment of close ties to the central army command in Djakarta and Indonesia, ties which once had made left-wing press brand Nasution and the army leadership as "the Sons of Eisenhower". For Jones, the administrative change in Washington provided an opening. The ambassador set out to convince the officials of the White House and State Department of the importance of Indonesia and the soundness of his own strategy. The rising crisis over West Irian became the issue that made Washington listen.
The basic premise for any approach to Indonesia and strategy was the strategic importance of the Indonesian-controlled areas. The population was at the time the world’s fifth largest, and the location forced all major trade routes between The Far East and points west to pass through or near Indonesian territory. The wealth of natural resources was enormous, and included critical raw materials like oil, tin and rubber.
The threats to Western interests from a communist Indonesia were estimated a bit differently by the staffs and persons involved, although generally as serious. A comparatively mild judgment was the one of Robert H. Johnson of the National Security Council (NSC) staff. In a memorandum on US interests with respect to West New Guinea, Robert Johnson stated that "[...] the loss of Indonesia could be as significant as the loss of mainland Southeast Asia [...]"5
The Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) went further in a memorandum to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on US strategic interest in Indonesia.6 Not only would communist military bases in Java and Sumatra outflank all the SEATO nations as well as The US strategic military position in Southeast Asia, it would also "clearly isolate Australia and New Zealand, serve as a communist launching area for covert and overt operations against the Philippines, and deny the Free World countries the tremendous oil, tin and rubber resources which the United States seeks to deny the communists." The psychological impact of such a communist victory would further "have a major effect on the Free World military forces of Asia and their continued alignment with the United States." The Chiefs feared that a chain reaction would follow, culminating in an eventual relinquishment of all principal US bases in the Far East.
On the other hand, a more friendly Indonesia would "significantly enhance the US military position in Asia."7 Indonesia could be expected to exert a commanding influence on all the other non-communist Asian states, the Chiefs continued, and accordingly the matter of Indonesian alignment should be referred to the National Security Council on a priority basis, and a major effort to salvage Indonesia from communism was of "utmost national urgency" for the Unites States, concluded the Chiefs. McNamara used only days to concur in the assessments and conclusion, and assured the Chiefs that he would take actions according to the estimated importance.
The most dramatic assessment came from the Commander in Chief of the Pacific (CINCPAC), Admiral Harry Felt during a 1962 Senate hearing.8 With the basis that the Indonesian archipelago sat squarely on the major trade routes between the United States, Northern Pacific and the Near East, Admiral Felt argued that whoever controlled the archipelago, controlled the entrance to the Indian Ocean from the Pacific. "Simple geography" would make the fall of Indonesia into communist hands nothing less than "a catastrophe to the free world": Australia and New Zealand would be isolated, even directly threatened along with the Philippines. The almost inevitable effect would be the soon fall of the rest of neutral Southeast Asia to communism. United States influence in all Southeast Asia would be "menaced". The fall of the "Rice Bowl," as Congress colloquially called Southeast Asia, would in turn have dangerous effects on the rest of Asia. In particular, India would probably be a cause of great concern, since it was dependent on food from the area.
One should notice the different interests and circumstances involved in presenting the assessments. The Joint Chiefs expressed clear concern, with general Lemnitzer and CINCPAC in Hawaii as the most visible protagonists for Indonesia’s military importance and current volatility. The general political milieu in Washington DC, however, acted ignorant or indifferent to this part of the world. Laos and Viet Nam were better known, but the impression of Indonesia was "of just another of the Balkanlike countries of Southeast Asia blowing its big trumpet."
A 9reflection of this ignorance was the brief argument of importance included in many of the statements, memos and notes concerning Indonesia. In hindsight, the general impression is that there was a constant need of both imprinting the importance of Indonesia to external readers, as well as reassuring those who already were concerned that their concern was real. In the jargon used by the Joint Chiefs, a military assessment reflecting their deep concern, but not more than that, may thus have ended up as the catastrophe-scenarios they actually presented of an emergent communist Indonesia. The almost eschatological phrases used on Indonesia mimicked those used to describe Southeast Asian importance in general, adding to the mingling of the Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asian strategic concerns. Likewise, the Chiefs, wittingly or not, may have felt a need to justify their growing involvement in Southeast Asia. To the non-distinguishing audience among the general public and Congress, Indonesia could not then be estimated much lower in importance than mainland Southeast Asia.
The strategic assessments of Indonesia were all set in the context of Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific in general.10 There is little doubt that the fate of the different countries in the two areas were deemed by both the Chiefs and others as closely intertwined. A recurring concern, expressed among others by The Joint Chiefs of Staff and Robert Johnson of the NSC staff, was the fear of being outflanked in Viet Nam by a hostile Indonesia. Actions take in one area would seriously affect the other, the Chiefs concluded in October 1961, and any decisions to prevent communist expansion thus should be considered in this light. 11 Because of the close strategic connections made between these areas by all parties, the importance attached to Indonesia did not lessen the importance of mainland Southeast Asia. In view of this connection, the Chiefs’ strategic concerns regarding Indonesia is probably most correctly interpreted as practically the same as regarding Indochina.
The impression of the American Ambassador in Djakarta was that Washington maintained two scenarios for possible communist expansion in the area: The first scenario was in line with the "well-known domino theory." In Ambassador Jones’ interpretation, the domino theory implied that if Viet Nam fell to communism, the neighboring countries would follow in line, with Thailand as the first major country likely to fall. The theory had a wide range of supporters, and in Indonesian matters the theory is most visible in assessments from the Joint Chiefs. The theory’s most prominent opponent was the Secretary of State, Dean Rusk.
The second scenario was best called the leap frog theory. It implied that the communists would concentrate their next efforts on Indonesia, leap-frogging over mainland Southeast Asia, and thus catching the rest of Southeast Asia "in a pincers" between communist China and Indonesia. Then there would only be a matter of time before the entire area would become communist.12
The different scenarios had in common that the fate of Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific were intertwined. However, in Washington many tended to treat the two enormous areas as a single unity rather than as connected, but very different and complex singular countries. Particularly did Congress tend to treat countries as well as larger regions somewhat arbitrarily. When a little known country like Indonesia came up, the Congressmen as well as representatives of the administration would also tend to shift the debate to a country or region they knew more about. A June 1961 debate on "International development and security" during the aid hearings in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee illustrates the tendency,
SOVIET ASSISTANCE TO INDONESIA
Secretary McNamara. Witness the recent agreement with Indonesia in which my recollection is that the Soviet Union agreed to supply several hundred millions dollars worth—[deleted] of highly sophisticated weapons to Indonesia. I think we are facing up to the military security requirements of our nation. We have endeavored to relate one item of expenditure to another as it affects that.
The Chairman. Who do you think Indonesia is threatening?
Secretary McNamara. I am simply saying that the Soviet Union thought it important enough to agree to spend [deleted] hundreds of millions to support Indonesia. This is indicative of what will happen throughout the world if we withdrew our support.
I want to emphasize we have been spending over $40 billion a year on our Defense Establishment. I presume that you might conclude, just as the committee may have concluded that our position in certain of these foreign nations has been weakened, that our position vis-a-vis the Soviet Union and national defenses can weaken. But surely that is not a reason to cut our national defense budgets.
The Chairman. They are not comparable. That is an irrelevant consideration completely. The relations in a military sense between the United States and Russia seem to me quite different from what we are talking about here. I do not see the relevance.
Take Iran as an example. [...]
[the discussion continues on Iran and Turkey, and there is not further mention of Indonesia is in this context] 13
Here we can see that a specific question from the Chairman regarding Indonesia is answered by a more general reference to the Soviet Union and the general cold war competition. When the debate again becomes more specific, it is on Iran and Turkey. Another example from earlier in the same debate demonstrates a similar episode, here McNamara answers a question from the Chairman regarding Indonesia, India and Pakistan, but only refers to Pakistan and India, although his point easily transfers to Indonesia,
The Chairman. Have you ever considered that the primary responsibility ought to be, in the case of Korea, Japan’s, which is now quite able to maintain forces. In south Asia [sic] why shouldn’t India, Indonesia, and Pakistan which are big populous countries, with great potential, assume the primary responsibility, and we merely back them up? Have you ever considered that?
Secretary McNamara.Yes, sir, I have, and I have examined the economic indexes for those nations.
India is a large country. [...] But at the present time, if my memory serves me correctly, its average income is on the order of $65 a year, which is just on the verge of starvation. The same thing is true of Pakistan.
[the debate continues on India and Pakistan’s abilities and compares them to China’s. There is not further mention of Indonesia is in this context ]14
On the other side, the greater perspective of the Pacific Rim and Southeast Asia as a whole were kept in the background in daily policy issues in the administration. Among the reasons for this was the compartmentalized organization of the State Department with a separate desk for Indonesia, which had its own experts and responsibilities. Among the NSC staff, the responsibilities were generally given according to the aides personal preferences, rather than according to geographic or strategic proximity. For instance, NSC aide Robert Thompson would from 1964–65 concentrate on China and Indonesia, while Robert Komer, who was the most active in the NSC staff on Indonesian affairs from 1961—63, from 1964 on moved his efforts to Vietnam. However, these divisions to some extent were countered by the relative small size of the Far East office, which made broader informal contact customary.15
The overall fears were still in core the same as elsewhere in the world: Communist control. In 1961, the fear was concentrated on Sino-Soviet control over Indonesia. After the Sino-Soviet split became evident, the worry shifted to Communist Chinese control, possibly even a takeover. A war between the Indonesian army and Indonesian communists allied with Communist China was a possible preceding scenario which could turn out be long term. What the US would do in any of these situations was unclear by 1961. But it was very clear that both situations had to be avoided. As put in the general US Policy Guideline of 1961: "United States national interest demands that every possible step be taken to encourage a pro-West orientation of Indonesia or, at the least, a genuinely neutral position"16
The new phase in US Indonesia policy started as a crisis management of the West Irian situation, but soon expanded into a long-term effort to turn the whole of Indonesia in Western direction. During this evolving effort, West Irian was reduced to be the first major obstacle on the way. It was through the immediacy of the crisis, however, that the administration came to realize, and afterwards emphasize, the strategic importance and priority of Indonesia for US interests.
West Irian, the Western half of Papua and the final Dutch colonial remnant in the former Dutch Indies, was no fresh issue on the State Department’s desk. Left out of the Indonesian independence agreement, the territory had been a constant, but low-noise problem ever since. In the Djakarta nationalists’ eyes, West Irian was the symbol of complete anti-colonial liberation. More personally, it was the domain of the Dutch concentration camps where many nationalist leaders, including Sukarno, had spent time before independence.
To the Dutch government, it was an economic uninteresting and inhospitable wasteland, populated by a small number of uneducated and backwards Papuans which needed years of supervision before they could be given any self-rule. However, the Papuans had little in common with the ethnic Malays of Indonesia, and had enjoyed a slightly different colonial rule than the rest of the Dutch East Indies. Under any circumstances, the island of Papua could not be allowed to become Indonesian—for reasons mysterious to the Americans.
To the Australians, which since World War II had overseen the former German colony of East New Guinea, constituting eastern Papua, the enormous Papuan island was a buffer zone against the Asian countries further north and against possible communist attacks. How much the Australians did not want to see the island in the hands of an unstable, left-leaning Indonesian regime, a scenario of armed conflict on their very borders was even worse.
The US position had been one of public neutralism and behind-the-scenes support of the Dutch and Australian wishes to keep West Irian non-Indonesian: In the public, the US claimed no opinion on the preferred status of the territory. Secretly, Secretary John Foster Dulles as late as in 1958 allegedly had promised the Netherlands support in case of any military confrontation with Indonesia, and the US had forwarded dire warnings to Indonesia against the use of military power to take over the territory.
The important question to the US was now why the Soviet suddenly took such a keen interest in this far off part of the remote and little known Indonesian archipelago. Here, the US had been the dominant foreign actor alongside the Dutch since independence, even if the involvement generally had been limited in scale by US standards. Now, the tables were turned: Sino-Soviet Bloc aid to Indonesia during the end of the 50s and early 60s constituted almost the same amount as all aid to all the other non-bloc countries added together. The figures reached nearly twice the size of the assistance forwarded to the United Arab Republic, which ranked second.17
The Indonesian Minister of Defense, army general Abdul Haris Nasution, had since 1958 been on several arms-procuring missions to Moscow, notably one in January 1961 where he conducted talks with First Vice-Chairman of the Council of Ministers Anastis Mikoyan and Defense Minister Rodion Malinovsky. Among the items agreed upon were a new Sverdlovsk-class cruiser, a few destroyers, W-class submarines, PT boats, surface-to-air and air-to-ground missiles, torpedoes, antiaircraft guns, MIG-21 fighter planes and Tu-16 jet medium bombers.18 Small arms, artillery and tanks had also been forwarded. The items were mainly given on credit, and the inflow were scheduled to reach speed by late 1961.
The size of the deal was what troubled Washington most. The economic aid received from the Communist countries made Indonesia rank among India and the United Arab Republic in major targets for what was called "bloc economic penetration."19 In military assistance, only Cuba ranked on the same level. Although more concentrated in Cuba, the assistance to Indonesia reached a wider range of modern weapons and equipment. 20
The immediate background for the arms build-up was the West Irian conflict.21 Reportedly, the Soviet and Chinese Communist ambassadors in Djakarta individually had told the Indian ambassador that they would supply the Indonesian armed forces with arms and ammunition if an attack were made against Indonesia. 22 Unbeknownst to the Americans at the time, a deal was actually made in secret with Khrushchev by Subandrio on one of his Moscow visits early in the conflict—its exact nature is unknown beyond that it included Soviet support. To Khrushchev's displeasure, Subandrio revealed the deal to the American just a year later during the West Irian negotiations. 23 The revelation then only confirmed what the Americans had believed from the beginning.
The arms shipments would shift the decks by late 1962, the US military assessed.24 After that, it was unlikely that the Dutch would stand a chance even against an unsupported Indonesia in an all-out armed confrontation over West Irian. Still, the US military feared Bloc pressure on the Indonesians to take action on an earlier stage. A premature action might make an excuse for Bloc nations to send forces of their own, even turning the conflict into one of direct superpower involvement. On a short-term basis, the arms gave the Bloc an opportunity to fight a low-risk war, proxy or direct, against a NATO power. 25
As Indonesia's military self-confidence grew alongside popular expansionist feelings, the chances of open military conflict grew as well. A well-timed provocation could very well be all it took to start an open war between the Netherlands and Indonesia, Washington feared. The Bloc aid may in fact have been devised to not only bolster Indonesia against the Dutch, but to actually provoke them into a war. Particularly dangerous was the possibility that someone in the Bloc saw a war as in their immediate interest, and decided to stage a provocation.26
One scenario was that a staged provocation by strategically placed Bloc military personnel could start off a series of increasing reprisals. A lesser provocation could alternatively raise the public demand for invasion of West Irian up to heights that Sukarno and the military no longer could resist without losing power to the PKI. The PKI fervently advocated a conflict, and with both success and gain to themselves. Furthermore, Soviet personnel probably had the possibility to instigate provocation. By 1961 they held active posts as pilots and submarine commanders in the Indonesian military.27
In either case, an external or internal conflict over the West Irian issue would be of gain to the Bloc. As long as the West Irian conflict was unresolved, the only guarantee against such a provocation was SukaIn either case, an external or internal conflict over the West Irian issue would be of gain to the Bloc. As long as the West Irian conflict was unresolved, the only guarantee against such a provocation was Sukarno and the Indonesian military leaders' assurances that no foreigner would ever get in the position to provoke a conflict. Such assurances were not sufficient comfort for American policy makers when seeing a costly, semi-controlled and massive arms build-up in a on of the world's hot areas.
On a long term basis, the fear of Soviet-controlled bases on Indonesian territory were higher than the immediate threat of a humiliating defeat for the Netherlands in a colonial war. Especially did the US Air Force's RAND reports, authored by Guy Pauker, stress the danger of Soviet military presence. Indonesia's strategic placement made it ideal for naval bases, especially submarines. Missile bases were also a possibility, threatening several nearby countries and military installations. Bloc military control over bases and de-facto closure of the waters surrounding the archipelago were unwanted, but possible scenarios. Hence, US intelligence kept a close watch on possible build-ups of missile and submarine bases, and reports of signs that possibly could be interpreted as base build-ups were issued regularly and with a wide range of sources. Indonesia seemed to have become a point of where the Bloc concentrated military resources—and hence, the US had to pay attention and decide for reactions.
In addition to the military aspect, the Soviet aid influx had influence on other areas of importance to the US. One aspect was the one of good will among Indonesian policy makers, of buying friendship through token gifts and influencing public opinion. That the Soviets wanted to court an aspiring leader of the neutralist countries was no surprise. Yet, Sukarno was not a man to be easily bought by material help, something the Americans themselves had learned. The US could not assume that the Bloc knew less. While the Indonesian public opinion and some military leaders were more susceptible to be swayed by help, Sukarno was not, and Sukarno was the man to sway in foreign policy issues. Still, Sukarno regularly used the unconditional Soviet public support as an argument to get American support for West Irian, and at times with success.
There were several other consequences of the aid as well, implicating more tacit reasons for the Soviet influx: The amounts of aid were much higher than necessary for public relations purposes. Most of the Soviet priorities were not visible nor potentially popular projects. They were concentrated on military aid, often hidden and remote.28 Only reluctantly did Khrushchev let himself be convinced to fund prestige projects like the Asian Games stadium, a stadium which gave more prestige to Sukarno than it did to Khrushchev. 29 The Soviet aid furthermore did not improve the general economic situation of Indonesia, Washington reasoned. Even the industrial aid were, wittingly or not, of unwanted and damaging inflationary character. 30 However, these analyses were those of the informed Americans observers—to the general public, the Soviet effort was a success in regards to both PR and economic helpfulness.
As it quickly turned out, East Bloc military support was well above what the recipient was able to absorb.31 Bloc personnel became vital both in manning and maintenance of the equipment, besides training Indonesians in use. In particularly, this applied to the technically demanding equipment forwarded to the navy and air force. Over 500 bloc military technicians were in Indonesia by 1961, the highest figure among all non-bloc countries and close to doubly the number of counterpart Western personnel. Over 5000 Indonesians were under, or had finished, training in the East Bloc. Even then, the training program was inadequate to provide Indonesia with independent control of the new equipment. Thus, the Soviet Union were able to make the Indonesian military increasingly dependent on Bloc expertise as well as on spare parts and future maintenance from the Bloc. While the US military aid were focussed on low-tech small arms with only limited potential for later dependency, the USSR effort was focussed on sophisticated air force and navy equipment which was demanding in both personnel and spare parts.
On the other hand was the problem of equipment dependency neither inevitable nor ignored. The US got repeated assurances from both Sukarno and the Indonesian military leaders that they were well aware of the problem, and that they in no way would let themselves be dependent on Soviet personnel in critical places. The Indonesian arguments were supported by the US' own experiences: Sukarno's tactics, Washington suspected, was to extract aid from both blocs and set the two Blocs up against each other in hope for a local aid race.
Nobody from the American side had any desire of taking part in an aid race. However, the attempt to forge such a race had a positive side: It meant that the Soviets were facing the same problems as was the US was when it came to Sukarno's reactions and predictability. Sukarno could be expected to keep both sides courting, not wanting to marry either of them. Furthermore, it was clear that the Indonesian army had no desire of becoming dependent on Bloc-type arms. Arms standardization was at the time an issue in the army, where equipment until now had been drawn from a wide range of sources. Both the army leadership and their American liaisons wished the standards to be American. Nonetheless, the navy and air force increasingly sought their new arms from the Bloc, not the US.
The need for Bloc arms was undesirable, but understandable from the American point of view. General Nasution's many visits to Moscow in search for military aid did not lessen his standing as basically pro-West among the informed Americans, nor did it make the Soviet look on him as a friendly person.32 It was the US who had put Nasution in this very situation by denying military aid in sufficient amounts, argued ambassador Jones among others. Nasution had tried the US first. When denied, he had only reluctantly gone to Moscow. The Soviet had first offered military aid in 1956, but the Indonesians had not accepted any invitations until 1958, when the rebellion had begun. 33 Moreover, any strengthening of the Indonesian army, was positive in itself. Since the army was facing an internal standoff with the PKI, it was natural that Nasution and the army accepted aid anywhere they could get their hands on it. 34 On the other hand, in the military internal balance the Bloc aid strengthened the more Bloc-friendly Navy and Air Force on the army's behalf.
Factors reducing the effect of the Soviet influx were quality and logistics. Already by late 1961 it became clear that much of the Bloc weaponry could not be fully utilized, since the influx was too high for Indonesia to absorb. The US also expected some equipment troubles due to the hot and humid Indonesian climate. Nevertheless, the supplies were regarded by the US as highly modern and efficient, which in short time would significantly enhance the military capabilities of Indonesia.
It should only take a few years before it turned out that the equipment were of much less use than the US had expected. The Air Force was troubled by malfunctioning aircrafts. The Navy tried to return some submarines and ships, with the reason that they were unusable and obsolete.35 A prestigious destroyer turned out to be a personnel-demanding Soviet surplus, redirected to Indonesia because it was cheaper to redirect it than to scrap it. 36 On one side, all the troubles led to further dependence on Soviet maintenance. On the other, it lessened the impact of the military aid, and in the long run turned the military professionals to desire alternative and more reliable suppliers, which in most cases would mean the West.
Perhaps the most serious long-term dependency threat, in US eyes, was however independent of the military effects: namely the threat of economic dependency. Most of the military equipment were forwarded in exchange of long term credits. The down payments were steep for the pressured economy of Indonesia. Standard term for economic credits were 12 years repayment with 2.5% interest, but almost half of the total credits were small credits on worse terms. The economic credits and grants from the Sino-Soviet Bloc were by September 1962 about $640 million, of which around $600 million were credits from the USSR. The military credits, however, exceeded $1 billion. The USSR share of the military support was about $800 billion. The US already regarded the economic crisis as the most potent weapon of the PKI.37 The Soviet aid added another threatening aspect to the turmoil. The conclusion made in State Department was clear: "The problem of repayment, especially in view of Indonesia's critical economic situation , is a serious one which gives the bloc considerable leverage over Sukarno." 38 Ironically, the United States, which in Indonesian press was dubbed "leader of the imperialist nations," accordingly made independence into one of its most oft-used phrases in economic policy argumentation with Indonesian leaders.
Indonesian relations were among the first national security issues to enter the new President’s agenda. The US-Indonesian relations were by January 1961 dominated by two lingering sources of collision: The unsolved debate over the still Dutch territory West Irian, and the cold freeze in relations to the Indonesian Government which succeeded US support to the 1958 regional rebellion against Djakarta. By January 1961, massive Soviet aid influx to Indonesia was making the West Irian issue critical. The administration, backed by general reasons to reassess the policies of its predecessor, hence made a thorough new evaluation of Indonesia’s strategic importance, and concluded that its potential resources, size, and strategic critical location made keeping Indonesia outside Soviet influence vital to US national security. In the administration’s eyes, the Soviet policy promoted conflict and could easily make Indonesia economically and militarily dependent on Moscow. Already from winter 1961, the administration emphasized how the policies of national security and alignment was closely interwoven with private and public economic activity, and that economic activity involving Indonesia from this cause was a central policy concerns.
The US had a number of strategic interests in Indonesian economy. A considerable amount of private investments and exports from Indonesia involved US parties. In addition, the region’s trade routes that went through Indonesia needed to be secure. Indonesian economy furthermore held a value of its own as a key to political change. The exploit of economy as a key to political change evolved during 1961 and 1962 into an active and central part of US policy.39 Meanwhile, the US kept detailed intelligence on the Indonesian economic development.
During the Indonesian war of freedom, US opponents of Indonesian freedom had argued that Indonesia was the "cork" that kept the Netherlands floating. Since 20% of Dutch economy rested on incomes from the Dutch East Indies, taking these incomes away from the Dutch would ruin the their economy.40 Indonesia by the early 1960s was no longer the cork of any big economy, and definitely not the US one. The main strategic value of Indonesian economy was in how it affected the Indonesian political situation 41.
Still, in some limited areas Indonesian economy had direct impact on the US. Indonesian exports of rubber commanded one third of the world market, and a notable share of the US imports. Tin and copra also held appreciable market shares, although not enough to make any significant difference for the US. More important was that Indonesian rubber and petroleum production to a large degree were controlled by US and British companies. Huge investments were made by large American corporations in these fields, and American citizens were occupied in the production throughout the archipelago. In a global context, the investments gave only limited proceeds, but the future potentials seemed almost limitless. The potentials for expansion in producing and refining raw materials, more than anything, made Indonesia to the oft-referred glorious prize of Asia.
Indonesian economy was moreover a vital part of the local economy of Southeast Asia and the Southwest Pacific. Especially was Malaysia with Singapore in many areas closely connected to Indonesian economy, both officially and in the gray and barter markets. Rubber and petroleum were the two most important goods in the formal trade patterns. Singapore was still the only major port for Indonesian exports. In addition to the strategic importance of Indonesian waters for international shipping, keeping economic stability in the area was valuable to the US administration; economic stability being a part of the general stability of Southwest Pacific and Southeast Asia. Stability concerns in this context included making the neighboring countries economically viable, and being able to run goods through the local seas.
When expanding the Pacific context, Japanese economic interest was another, though currently smaller consideration. Many of the Japanese investments had been made on US encouragement, hence the US were confronted with some responsibility by the Japanese.42 The Japanese had at times been reliant on Indonesian raw materials previously. During World War II, Japanese battleships, airplanes and tanks had operated almost exclusively on Indonesian oil. 43 In the beginning of the sixties, this was not the case anymore: Japan relied on other sources for the thrust of their vital raw materials. In a long-term perspective, however, it was likely that situation would revert to the previous close economic relationship between the two countries. Already now, the Japanese were starting to seek other sources than the Middle East for their petroleum. 44
The final regional concern was China and the other communist countries of Asia. The US actively sought "to deny the communists" the "tremendous oil tin and rubber resources" of Indonesia.45 These resources would be increasingly important for whomever was controlling access to them, and thus had to stay out of communist hands.
The state of Indonesian economy was not good. The transition from a colony to a nation had involved major costs. The Dutch had left Indonesia without any significant amount of educated locals, and both the economy and administration of the economy suffered badly from lack of skills—both elementary and advanced, and in a wide range of fields. When the Indonesian government expelled Dutch nationals in 1957–58, the need for administrative expertise became acute. The Dutch left with a good part of their investments, while Indonesia had to struggle with debts to their former colonizer. All in all, the Dutch claimed approximately $240 million from the Indonesians, while Indonesian and IMF figures fixed the number to $51.7 million in 1961.46
Another array of expulsions in 1959–60, this time of ethnic Chinese without Indonesian citizenship, worsened the economic crisis even more. Political instability had also troubled the government, making it difficult to follow a coherent economic policy. There had been 12 different cabinets only between 1949 and 1958, before elections were suspended and the elected Parliament dissolved. Sukarno himself, was no man of numbers or careful economic planning47. The rebellion of 1958 had topped the crisis: Smuggling and black economy rose to new heights, thus shrinking the government’s incomes.
At the same time, the war demanded higher spending from the Djakarta government, both because of military expenditures and the general civil costs resulting from warfare. A relative calm based on spending of foreign reserves and expropriations had started in 1960, after the rebellion was crushed. The calm ended abruptly when inflation exploded in September 1961 and foreign reserves ran out.48 At the same time, military spending expanded into nearly 50% of the State Budget, even excluding the "special" budget for West Irian recovery. 49
Essentially, Indonesian economy was still a peasant economy. Roughly 70% of the populations still lived in rural areas. Over 50% of GNP came from agriculture, merely 15% from industrial activity.50 Concentration of land ownership was not the major problem in Indonesia as in other Southeast Asian countries—partly due to Dutch land reforms. On the other side, there was traditionally a cleft between the former slave-run Sumatran economy and the more farmer/peasant oriented economy of Java. 51 Sumatra was still the main producer of export articles, and held most of the foreign investments, while Java was the richer in people and food production.
Food had been something Indonesia chiefly could supply for itself, but in the early 60s the need for imported rice increased, approaching 10% of total consume. Rice production however, still increased more than the 2,5% annual rise in population52, and was in 1960 30% above the 1935–39 average. Increases, though, were not in yields but in acreage, leaving much to be desired in efficiency. Rice import cost the government a rough $100 million p.a. Combined with rice subsidies for military and civil servants, it constituted a notable part of expenditures. Problems with infrastructure and lack of agricultural and administrational expertise was the main hinder for a satisfying food production. The potential for Indonesia in food production was still higher than its needs.
Potentials was a recurring issue in US assessments of Indonesian economy. The Department of State valued Indonesia to be the third or fourth richest nation in the world, if properly developed.53 Still, Indonesia had for some years been just as much retracting as advancing in many areas, especially economic ones. On the bright side had literacy been raised from 10 to 50% in only a few years. Education was one of the Djakarta governments notable achievements. An advantage for development in Western direction was that English was now a language commonly taught in secondary schools. The bulk of educated Indonesians were thus both young and internationally able within the Western sphere, laying the basic groundwork for a US-planned future economic development of Indonesia’s vast resources.
The Indonesian government put forward a new eight-year National Development Plan in 1961. The plan continued where two previous large scale economic plans had ended—even though the previous plans, made in 1951 and 1956, had not been very successful. The new plan was made during the short period of optimism after the rebellion and the seizure of Dutch enterprises, but before inflation and West Irian spending had exploded. The plan had two stages. The first stage was expensive and focussed on increasing self sufficiency in food and clothing wile preparing the ground for the second part. The second stage focussed on industrial development.
The plan was first met with a certain amount of skepticism in the US, mostly due to its predecessors’ failures. The new plan’s poetic style and emphasis on cultural and national development, alongside economic, did not help to soften its welcome. In some eyes, poetry was exactly the right word to describe the plan. Even the in the considerate, moderated words of the Humphrey report54, the plan was deemed unrealistic at best. 55 The expenditures were higher than expected incomes. The incomes were moreover estimated to be much higher than was realistic, particularly from oil. The scheduling of the different parts of the plan was not properly timed, or unrealistic individually. The priorities for investments were wrong. The plan wanted to infuse capital before there were any apparatus ready to absorb the capital. Furthermore, the tools of economic control in a planned economy were not properly utilized, ignoring price control among other things. At the same time, proper height was not taken for inflation and other side-costs of the program.
Still, in US eyes the plan was a step forward. The plan had stronger political support than the previous ones had had, especially from Sukarno. This meant hopefully that economic issues actually had Sukarno's attention56. Outside experts like George Kahin of Cornell meant the plan, though by itself unimpressive, was an indication of better economic prospects 57. Guy Pauker of the Air Force RAND Corporation thought the plan very well could be deliberately vague and flowery. The purpose was very likely to silence critical voices and make real economic planning behind the scenes. In the view of the Humphrey team, the plan was a definite improvement in economic realism in political planning. The national and cultural focus was only to be expected, and could be necessary to ensure support, the Humphrey team thought. 58 The plan, although faulty, was a serious effort at thinking rational about economic issues. And finally: The plan made specifically room for adjustments along the way, which the US could use to teach and advice. 59 Hence, the plan provided an opening for the US to influence economic policy without giving the impression of taking too much prestige or control from Sukarno. In actual policy, the National Development Plan was to be the main entry gate for US economic aid and influence on planning, with the Humphrey team as the legitimizing gate opener.
Exploitation of natural resources were the economic most interesting area for the US. American companies were heavily involved in production through several large American-owned estates. Until the 1960s rubber had been the most important resource, and the US Government kept a close watch on Indonesian rubber production.60 There was also some strategic importance attached to stable rubber supplies to the West, and Indonesian rubber were used in products ranging from tires to toothbrushes and packaging.
Rubber played an acute role in Indonesian economy. Measured in dollars, the yearly value of Indonesian rubber exports approximated nearly one half of all Indonesian export incomes.61 In 1960 the total amount of actual export shipment of rubber was valued to $347 million. 62 Of the total sum, $122 million came from estates while $185 million’s worth was produced by smallholders. In 1961, the total sum had been reduced to $307 million. Later on, export incomes from rubber would diminish even more rapidly, hurt by the confrontations with Malaysia and Singapore.
Singapore shipped until the confrontation about 50% of all Indonesian rubber exports. Total export tonnage from Indonesia averaged in the early sixties well over 650.000 metric tons a year, which constituted a third of world production63. The largest importers were the US and, until 1963 the UK. Together they bought more than half the Indonesian production 64. Britain was taking most of the smallholders’ export, the US largely from the US-owned estates. Of US rubber imports, 20–25% normally came directly from Indonesia 65. The US share of Indonesian exports, however, more than doubled when the US took over much of British and Malaysian imports in 1964. Malaysia, Japan, and the Soviet Union were also notable buyers, while China rose from third to second largest buyer after the Konfrontasi trade embargo was imposed on Malaysia.
The important rubber estates were mainly US-owned, running on fresh contracts which technically surrendered the production rights to the Indonesian Government over periods from 5 to 20 years.66 Important estates included the US Rubber Estate in Kisaran and the Goodyear "Wingfoot" estate. Once a pioneer in modern estate planning, the ailing Wingfoot was still the world’s largest single rubber estate . The production had however been harvested without necessary replanting for a long time, thus leaving future profits uncertain. The problem of old trees along with competition from synthetic rubber-substitutes was perceived by US analysts as one of the major flaws, not only in the Wingfoot estate, but in the whole economy of rubber-reliant Indonesia.
Petroleum was on the other hand a rising contributor to Indonesian economy. A quarter of all exports were now petroleum products, and both the relative and actual export values were steadily increasing.67 Like rubber, oil was mainly a Sumatran product, but East Kalimantan and Java were also showing promise. Also like rubber, the petroleum industry had traditionally been dominated by Western owners. 68 Western interests had by the turn of the decade actual investments of over $400 million in Indonesian petroleum. 69 Including oil reserves and near future perspectives, the Department of State valued the investments to over a billion dollar.
As the largest of the US-based actors, Caltex70 controlled the crude oil production with approximately 85% of all exports. Stanvac 71 was the other major American player in crude, although producing no more than about 5% of exports. The remaining 10% was produced by Indonesian state companies PERMINA and PERTAMINA. In 1963, total export of the waxy Indonesian crude was about 94 million barrels, or 22 000 metric tons. 72 Of world production, this constituted 1.7%. The exports of refined petroleum products were dominated by Royal Dutch Shell. 73 Of the yearly export of approximately 43 million barrels, Shell produced over 32 million, while Stanvac produced the bulk of the remaining share.
The recipient countries of Indonesian petroleum were also Western. Japan, Australia and the US, along with the Philippines, imported nearly all of the crude, while Malaysia until 1964 bought nearly 60% of the refined products.74 Oil, unlike rubber, were mostly sold directly into international markets, transported on tankers. A Western actor not found in other economic or political areas was heavily involved here: A large share of the Indonesian tanker fleet were leased Norwegian ships.
There were also many other minor export products. Largest of these were tin. Tin and copra together made up nearly 10% of total export incomes. Another 10 percent came from coffee, tea, tobacco and vegetal oils. The remaining tenth came from various sources. Apart from tin, the US saw little individual political significance in these exports. The value of the tin incomes in Indonesian economy was at times also overvalued by US policy makers75. The old mantra of rubber-oil-tin-copra still gave resonance, although the importance of tin and copra now were minor. Still, the politically inferior Sumatra, controlling most of these resources, was by that control secured a special concern in strategic discussions.
To the US, the challenge was to secure all these interests: The trade routes, the US investments and the raw materials. The safeguarding of economic interests had to be coordinated with a response to the challenge from the Bloc over West Irian and with the general strategic situation. The time to evolve a strategy came with the new administration’s general re-evaluation of policies. The upcoming visit of Sukarno to Washington provided an opportunity to talk business with the Bung Sukarno.76
"International relations are human relations" was a favorite quote of Sukarno’s.77 To observers and policy analyzers, it often seemed like it was Sukarno’s personal whims and feelings to other state leaders that determined official relations with their respective countries rather than strategic and political concerns. One of these countries was the USA. 78 Sukarno had felt humiliated by Eisenhower on more than one occasion . A story Sukarno used to illustrate his problems with the wrong kind of Americans, was when Eisenhower had kept Sukarno waiting for ten minutes in the ante room when Sukarno visited the White House—an episode Sukarno later would recall with blossoming rhetoric at numerous occasions. 79
Well aware of Sukarno’s emphasis on personal relations and the previous presidential unwillingness to forge such relations, ambassador Jones set out to convince president Kennedy of the importance of establishing personal rapport and perceived friendship with Sukarno. A scheduled world trip by Sukarno provided an opportunity, since the trip included a private visit to the US, as well as an official Kremlin visit.
Jones’ argumentation fell on fertile ground: Already in mid-February, Secretary Rusk forwarded a "strong recommendation" of inviting Sukarno to Washington. The main argument for the invitation was exactly Sukarno’s belief that the United States was "opposed to him personally" and "that it is, in fact, ‘plotting’ against him." Furthermore,
These feelings, supported in Sukarno’s view by the failure of President Eisenhower to accept repeated invitations to visit Indonesia, by our refusal to support Indonesian claims on West New Guinea and by the open hostility of the United States Press, have played an important part in influencing him to closer and more cordial relations with the USSR.
Thus admitting the US’ own responsibility for alienating Sukarno, Rusk saw an opportunity in Sukarno’s warm welcome greetings to Kennedy as the new American pres Thus admitting the US’ own responsibility for alienating Sukarno, Rusk saw an opportunity in Sukarno’s warm welcome greetings to Kennedy as the new American president. Sukarno had showed "strong evidence of a desire for closer cooperation with the United States" and "clearly indicated" that he hoped for a new view on Indonesia from the Kennedy administration. Rusk urged the president to "seize this opportunity to support [Sukarno’s] desire for a warm personal relationship with you and to encourage him to closer cooperation with us." When following Rusk’s recommendation, Kennedy also made an implicit decision to make personal relations an important aspect of US-Indonesian official relations.80
Meanwhile, the re-assessments of Indonesia and US policy towards Indonesia continued within State Department and the White House National Security staff. In front of the debate lingered the West Irian issue, and how the US should handle the emerging crisis. One possibility was invoking a UN trusteeship over the territory. The trusteeship idea, first promoted by George McGhee of the State Department’s Southwest Pacific office, would provide the Dutch with a way to retire gracefully. However, a trusteeship would also rely on that Sukarno realized that a trusteeship was the only practical way of removing Dutch control.
The trusteeship idea met strong critique. White House aide Robert Komer informed his superior Deputy National Security Advisor Walt Rostow that a trusteeship might have succeeded five years ago, but not with the current Indonesian military strength and the existing balance of interests in the United Nations. Instead, Komer recommended to offer Indonesia a promise of "early effective control with as much face-saving for the Dutch as possible." Director of Central Intelligence John McCone made similar points in a personal memorandum to McGhee.
Secretary Rusk noted that McGhee’s study was incomplete: It lacked the consideration of price in money and personnel, much of which probably had to be paid by the US. The Secretary raised the question of whom was supposed to be the agent of a trusteeship: the General Assembly, the Secretary General or the Trusteeship Council, hinting at all three parties’ inability to administrate "almost a million people" and pointing at the difficulties of authority for a local governor. As an alternative, Rusk floated the idea of a compendium of three or four countries to administer a trusteeship. However, Rusk did not heed McCone and Komer’s arguments against the practicality of the very notion of a trusteeship.81
The Embassy in Djakarta refused to enter a discussion of pros and cons on the issue, but urged the US to take action immediately, rather than keep the decade-long discussion of which stand the US should take on the issue. Hence, the Embassy in reality was asking for an open pro-Indonesian stance from Washington.
Despite the Embassy’s urgings, the debate ended up in a dispute over whether to side with the Dutch or the Indonesians. The State Department’s European office staunchly and unanimously supported the Dutch plan for an independent West New Guinea, by manners signalizing that it was self-evident that their views were the most significant for the US. The White House staff, led by Robert Komer and Robert Johnson, just as fervently advocated surrendering the territory to Indonesia, based on the "self-evident fact" that the territory sooner or later inevitably would become Indonesian. The only possible effect of not supporting the Indonesian claim, they argued, would be to further alienate Indonesia. Articulating realpolitik, they argued that there could be no possible gains whatsoever from supporting the Dutch’ colonial stubbornness. The different Asian offices in State floated somewhere in between the two opposing sides, with time approaching the White House staff. However, Secretary Rusk clearly favored the Europeanists’ support of the Dutch. As long as the President remained aloof, this meant that US policy remained one of official non-involvement while seeking a way to Papuan independence through some form of UN trusteeship.
State Department also sought advice from other institutions, both inside and outside the government. A thoroughly argued and dissenting opinion which connected West Irian and economy with personal issues, came from Deputy Director for Plans in the CIA, R.M. Bissell jr. His analysis blamed Sukarno’s domestic policy for the current, bleak-looking situation with rising communist influence and withering of local anticommunist forces. Most influential was his argument that the economic situation caused by Sukarno’s policy was a major threat for the coming year, since a continued crisis at worst would provoke a communist take-over, at best let the PKI continue to increase their popular support and power. Sukarno himself was the problem, not through his ideological whims or Bloc courtship, but through his economic policies. In the situation, Indonesian control over West Irian would only be exploited as a victory to the communists, and thus strengthen Indonesian ties with the USSR. A West Irian under Indonesian control was therefore against US interests, but only as long as Sukarno remained president.82
Bissell admitted that given the current situation, "in the shadow of a threat of war," the US would most likely be forced to take a stand. Still, no options seemed recommendable. Both the "carrots" of military and economic aid had previously failed, and would only sustain Sukarno’s damaging regime. The "stick" was no real option, as any US stick "would be too feeble to destroy the regime" and if used, only accelerate the process towards chaos, a chaos the PKI would then exploit. However, Bissell was strongly opposed to any increase in aid, and recommended the President to use the upcoming presidential meeting to "convince Sukarno of the firmness of the United States position."83
Hardly necessary to say, Bissell’s arguments were met with scorn among the Jonesians—the White House aides led by Robert Komer who favored Ambassador Jones’ strategy of befriending strategic Indonesians to build up anticommunist forces. The very basic CIA concept of Sukarno as "the devil incarnate" and as an active procommunist was faulty at heart, argued Komer, since the very basic nationalism Sukarno represented was the exact opposite: Indonesian nationalism was in the long term bound to run afoul with the Chinese communists, if the US played their cards right.84
From outside, different scholars were consulted. Among them were Guy Pauker of the Air Force-sponsored RAND Corporation and George McT. Kahin of Cornell University. Besides discussions on different trusteeship variants, a disagreement showed up in the question of whether an Indonesian victory in West Irian would gain the communist side or not: Pauker felt it would, while Kahin meant it was uncertain. On the whole Pauker, was more pessimistic on the outlook than Kahin. An idea floated by White House aides Walt Rostow and Robert Johnson for using an economic aid plan as substitute for support in the West Irian case, would not work when it came to Indonesian goodwill, felt Pauker. Pauker advised that the President should seek out a personal and social relation during the visit, rather than delve into hardcore political issues.
Just two weeks before the Sukarno visit was scheduled, Dutch Foreign Minister Joseph Luns flew in to Washington for talks with Kennedy and Rusk on how to solve to West Irian problem. The Dutch put pressure on the US for supporting their case further. Specifically, the Dutch pressed for the US to "deter" the Indonesians further, and not to leave a NATO ally "in the lurch." Luns referred to previous arrangements made with Dean Acheson and inferred associations to the possibility of another Congo.85
Luns admitted that the Dutch forces in West Irian would be "no match" to the Bloc-supported Indonesians. However, they did not expect any immediate attacks, and would be warned in good time by intelligence if an attack would come. Still, US had to put power behind words to make sure the Indonesians did not attack. The real source of the problem was Sukarno personally. Sukarno would not stop with West Irian, Luns speculated, while drawing parallels to Hitler’s takeover of Sudetenland. Sukarno could continue into Portuguese Timor and Australian New Guinea. Luns followed up by comparing the Netherlands-West Irian relation with US relations towards Cuba, making Kennedy disagree heartily.
When confronted with the idea of a UN trusteeship, Luns made it clear that a trusteeship serving as a guise for later Indonesian take-over was out of the question. When pressed for the real reasons for the Dutch to stay in West Irian, Luns fell back to "a sense of task, of mission," a reason JFK dryly accepted "since there was certainly no other explanation".86
The talks revealed a difference in approach between Rusk and Kennedy. Kennedy was more skeptical to the Dutch demands and often sarcastic in his personal remarks to Luns, and he did not give much room for the Dutch to press for commitments. The posture reflected the most current US tactic before the Sukarno visit: Not to give any parties assurances, but to feel out Sukarno and let him live in the hope until a final decision came up.
On the other side, Rusk assured Luns after Kennedy had left that the US still supported West Irian independence, and that the US hence was leaning to the Dutch, not Indonesian side in the question. Furthermore, Rusk committed the US to explore different trusteeship formulas with the UK and Australia, besides with the Dutch—but without conferring with the Indonesians. Rusk’s reversion of Kennedy’s careful posture irritated the White House aides and made Komer and Robert Johnson accuse Rusk of making serious trouble for the whole West Irian strategy just days before the Sukarno visit.87
The internal discussions of strategy details continued up until right before the visit. In the end, a common minimum agreement of policy and view of Indonesia was enacted. In the final recommendations from State, the influence of Komer and Robert Johnson in the White House was visible: The strategy was to be deliberately be vague on the specifics, but still tell Sukarno that the US believed that West Irian would end up as Indonesian. While the State Department had for time being settled on a trusteeship formula with Malaya as the trustee, Sukarno was to be told that no plan existed.88
Other major questions to be discussed were general world issues, the future of the US oil companies in Indonesia, the imprisoned US bomber-pilot Allen Pope, besides military and economic aid and the new Indonesian 8-year national development plan. The prime focus, however, was to be personal relations: The visit should provide a red carpet treatment in all manners, with the president extending "personal warmth" and "[...]willingness to discuss—as one statesman to another—your domestic objectives and international perspectives".89 An abundance of formal and personal gifts was to be sprinkled over Sukarno, even a plan for an ostensibly spontaneous gift of a helicopter were laid. Not only should the gifts show friendliness, they were also a part of the general strategy of demonstrating material abundance, that the US had the "the resources, competence, and leadership to ‘win’ the cold war". 90
Sukarno met with Kennedy in the White House on April 24 and 25. Alongside Sukarno and Kennedy were among others Secretary Rusk, Foreign Minister Subandrio and the respective ambassadors. The formal parts of the talks centered round the topics of West Irian, political ideologies and possible aid. The West Irian talks were a success, insofar Sukarno accepted the concept of UN trusteeship as a face-saving device. An opening for further negotiations had arrived, concluded Robert Komer afterwards.
On the other side, Sukarno wanted more US support to his West Irian cause, arguing that the USSR had no problems lending their. Also, Sukarno wanted the support quickly, and referred to the popular demand for military action in Indonesia "I cannot always keep my people in my hands. [...] Give me more grip on my people.." Only with quick US support, Sukarno could provide a calm climate.91
The parties also talked lengthily around the concepts of communism and nationalism in Southeast Asia and Indonesia. Sukarno and Subandrio emphasized that the Indonesian people would never become communist. Although the communist party was well organized, they were "90% nationalists." Indonesian socialism was nationalistic, built on Indonesian identity as well as Marx and Islam. The parties used considerable time to exploit the details of, among other things, Indonesian traditions for consensus-based decision making, as well as Sukarno’s Pantjasila-ideology and its roots in nationalism, Islam and Indonesian culture.
Kennedy’s grip and interest in the details of Pantjasila and Indonesian society clearly impressed Sukarno, perhaps particularly as a contrast to the previous US political leadership’s lack of understanding of the same issues. A common ground were found in the discussions of independence: A country could never be independent as long as its economic assets were controlled from abroad, argued Sukarno, after agreeing to Kennedy’s arguments on the communist threat to Indonesian independence.92
Sukarno furthermore agreed to allow US military and economic support. Most notable was the acceptance of a military civic action plan and to dispatch a team of US economic experts to evaluate the Indonesian national development plan.93 The US should then help development according to the experts’ advice. 94
The gifts were also exchanged, including the planned "impulse gift": the helicopter: The last day of the visit, Kennedy accompanied Sukarno in a helicopter flight from the South Grounds of White House to the airport. Kennedy queried Sukarno on whether he liked the helicopter they were flying. When Sukarno responded in the positive, Kennedy asked if the Indonesian President would like to have one exactly like it—implicating that the two presidents would then be flying the same helicopter. Sukarno, in increasingly good mood during the visit, had no objections to this final US proposal. As a personal rapport-building exercise, the Sukarno visit culminated here, seemingly in warm friendship, mutual understanding and spontaneous generosity.
However, the reality was far from one of mutually felt friendship. While Kennedy seemed to gain Sukarno’s trust, Sukarno insulted and repelled Kennedy. Secretary Rusk described the meeting as one of the few occasion where the President lost control over his "Irish temper" in official surroundings. The cause was Sukarno’s choice of candid topics and his lengthy, flowering monologues: Kennedy didn’t approve neither of lengthy-talking visiting statesmen nor flowery words, and Sukarno kept diverting the subject to "Gina Lollobrigida and other sex-symbols." Kennedy visibly disapproved of this subject, trying to get Sukarno to talk of more serious matters. The West Irian issue was discussed much less than hoped for. Shortly after Sukarno returned to Indonesia, he added insult to injury by inviting Jaqueline Kennedy on a private visit to see him in Djakarta without JFK. "Of the many men on the world scene [Kennedy] had to deal with," recalled Walt Rostow later, "the two he disliked the most were Diefenbacker and Sukarno."95
Before the visit, Sukarno was described in the President’s briefing papers as someone who "[combined] strong charismatic qualities with adept Machiavellianism," a man who without a power base of his own played everybody else against each other, invoking total subordination from his surroundings while securing popular political strength based on personal loyalty. To achieve the ends of personal power, Sukarno had constructed ideologies and political concepts "devoid of genuine content" and he had no interest in administration and economy, only in personal power. In short, he was one of many leaders who had debased from the hero of an independence movement into a somewhat corrupted power-seeker, who now led his country in an unfortunate manner.96
After the visit, the whole administration’s impression of Sukarno turned even more than before to that of a "lecher." The active use of derogative terms when talking of Sukarno spread further into State and the White House. Sukarno was by a growing number of people seen as a "contemptible, morally corrupted and rogue Leader of State." Although the usage of derogative terms still varied, the sense became increasingly one of dirty hands when dealing with the Bung.
The notable exception was Ambassador Jones. Whatever Jones personally may have felt of negative emotions towards Sukarno, he did not express them neither at the time or later. Quite contrary, Jones actively sought Sukarno’s friendship and trust, and gained it to the degree where his opponents in Washington whispered of disloyalty and the Djakarta press called him "Sukarno’s lapdog". The descriptions were far from the truth, Jones became through his personal access to Sukarno decisive for securing US interests at several later occasions.
The close relationship between Sukarno and the US Ambassador was built on several factors: One was Jones’ personal abilities: His quest for Sukarno’s trust relied on empathy, cultural understanding, and diplomatic skills as well as courage, stubbornness and quite a talent for ignoring critic from both Americans and Indonesians. Also contributing to Jones’ quest was his local experience and, by being the longest-serving ambassador, his official role as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Djakarta. Jones furthermore ruled his embassy with an iron fist, determined not to let any activities pass him by. The embassy’s actions were his actions, and he made it a condition for continuing in his post that all US activities in Indonesia should be his responsibility. This concern was a direct consequence of the events of 1958, where the Embassy had been unaware of the CIA’s role in the rebellion. Accordingly, the Ambassador during his tenure had more than one confrontation with the CIA station officials in Djakarta as well as with State Department officials and superiors at home. However, he also had the trust and support of the White House, making him able to gain presidential guarantees for his demands and policies. The close relationship Jones established with Sukarno was a result of a conscious and long-term effort and the effort had presidential sanction. But it was also one that was increasingly frowned upon as Sukarno’s standing lessened back in Washington.
In Congress and the American press, Sukarno was given considerably less slack than he was by the Ambassador and the White House. Representative William S. Broomfield of the House Foreign Affairs Committee expressed the mood by calling the Bung a "despot," an "international juvenile delinquent" and "a Hitler"97. References to Hitler, Germany in the thirties, Munich and appeasement was in the following years a recurring theme among critics of the Kennedy administration’s policies toward Sukarno, well fed by the Dutch and conservative analysts.
The press found a grateful subject for scorn in Sukarno’s vivid lifestyle and rhetoric. The CIA’s smearing campaign against Sukarno from previous years had prepared the ground well for widespread distaste against his sexual conduct.98 Still, to most of Washington, the impression of Indonesia and its leader was neither one of special friendship nor particular distaste, it was an impression of insignificance and remoteness, it was still of "just another one of the small Balkanlike countries of Southeast Asia blowing a big trumpet." 99
Based on reports of Sukarno’s inclination to regard foreign policy as a personal rather than official affair, President Kennedy decided to invite Sukarno to Washington. The visit had two primary objectives: To forge a personal relationship with Sukarno and to discuss the West Irian issue with Sukarno. However, internal disagreement in the administration rose over US objectives as well as strategy in West Irian. On one side, the Europeanists with Rusk’s support sought Papuan independence and emphasized their obligation and friendship to the Netherlands. On the other, the Asianists, or Jonesians, centered around the NSC aides and Komer, sought to facilitate the "inevitable" transfer of West Irian to Indonesia in order to create Indonesian goodwill. The strife impeded US strategy before the visit, particularly when Secretary Rusk reverted President’s Kennedy’s careful posture towards the Dutch Foreign Minister Luns during talks, and hence obstructed the US strategy by making commitments to one part before any talks had been initiated. On the other hand, the White House’s detailed plan to imprint Sukarno with an image of Kennedy’s warm and personal friendship succeeded. Yet, Sukarno made a negative impression on Kennedy. The alleged friendship was a deliberate political strategy in direct opposition to both the personal feelings of Kennedy and the general feeling towards Sukarno inside and outside the administration. The forging of personal bonds became henceforth central in the US attempt to influence Indonesian policy. The first of effect of this personal policy was when Sukarno, eased by Kennedy, allowed a US expert team to survey and comment the new Indonesian national economic policy plan, with the explicit intention of bringing US aid in to support the revised plan afterwards.
During the Kennedy-Sukarno talks in Washington, Kennedy had suggested to send a professional, high-profile American economic survey team to Indonesia. Formally, the team’s task was to evaluate a recently published Indonesian 8-Yera plan for economic development, and recommend changes as well how the US could support the Indonesian development plan. From the American side, the hope was that the US could gain some influence on Indonesia by influencing its economy, and the plan provided an opportunity to increase US involvement. Somewhat Surprisingly, Sukarno accepted Kennedy’s proposal on the spot. A team was quickly formed, and delivered their report in different versions during the first half of 1962. Through the set up a broad program for economic development, based on current American growth theory, a development which could bring the Indonesian economy closer to the Western economy. The administration also sought to increase the military aid to Indonesia, mostly as tokens of good will, but met resistance from Congress and the US military.100
Since the Indonesian independence, the US had steadily forwarded a limited amount of economic aid to Indonesia. The reasons for aid were general, and there seemed to be no clear, long-term, planned effort for the Kennedy administration to continue. By 1962, total US aid to Indonesia had reached near $800 million101. This included $169 million extended pre-independence and a $100 million loan from the Export-Import Bank in 1946. The Agency for International Development had put in $179 million over the years, while $269 million had been given under the PL 480 Fprogram. The different Military Aid Programs (MAP) had amounted to $75 million. Official numbers recorded that US foreign aid averaged about $50 million in the years 1956–61, except for a dip in 1958 and 1959 to $24 and $17 million 102. In comparison, the Soviet alone was claimed to have put in over $1,8 billion all in all.103
Preliminary results from the Humphrey research team were disseminated in bits and pieces from fall 1961 and until the final version was ready by summer 1962. 106 A version of the report was delivered to Sukarno on behalf of President Kennedy in June
The report proved to be solid craftsmanship: thorough and with an analytical and pragmatic approach. The recommendations followed the premises given by the political situation, not trying to forward much visible, immediate political change.107 "Sustainable" and sound development based on local leadership and ideas were the immediate objectives of the proposed projects. Focussing on "sustainable" economic development, the Humphrey team's plan satisfied the political concerns of both countries. The plan's focus was Western-style economic growth, which ultimately required a fair amount of Western alignment. At the same time, the plan maintained a professional profile, with a pragmatic, non-interventionist approach to the political situation of Indonesia. The general intention was stated to be nothing less than strengthening the national independence and long-term economic solidity of Indonesia.
A summary of the political, social and economic conditions of the young nation were included in the plan, along with detailed examinations of the state and progress of the Indonesian economy. As scheduled, the team wrote an evaluation of the new 8-year Indonesian National Development Plan. They then presented the objectives and criteria for United States aid , before summing up in concrete and detailed recommendations for new aid programs.
The recommendations for new aid programs were the most interesting part of the survey. There were twelve new programs totaling between $325 and $390 million, excluding the separately run Food for Peace and military aid programs. In most cases the sums covered a period of five years. Of the amount, roughly $200–235 million would be financed by the United States through grants and loans, mostly under the umbrella of Agency for International Development (A.I.D.). The US also continued a $17 million p.a. educational grant program. The remainder was to be financed multinationally. All in all, the new aid programs would more than triple the previous yearly US commitments, from a $20 million 1957–61 yearly average to between $56 and $63 million p.a. for the next five year period. 108
Most of the programs concentrated on improving conditions for existing industries and sources of foreign exchange, and make these industries more efficient. Building and maintaining infrastructure received the highest priority alongside improving logistics. A recommended program for transportation reached a total of nearly $50 million. Mainly consisting of loans, the investments would be concentrated on railroads, with smaller sums dedicated to roads, sea transport and air transport. A $18 million energy program should help to stabilize power supply by connecting regional power grids.109 A loans-based $100 million program for replenishment of inventories was the single largest program. Additional programs for management training and control systems contributed to what the Humphrey team considered to be a high-yield program. 110 To alleviate the problem of excess industrial capacity, the team recommended setting up a loan program approaching $60 million for spare part depots, besides mobile and permanent machine shops. Combined with training of machinists and mechanists, the spare parts program would yield the greatest immediate return of any investment. 111
In the rubber industry, a program for intensive replanting was desperately needed. Even if it would mean a setback in short-term earnings, the program was deemed economically viable enough to have the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) provide the necessary loan of $45 million. The tin industry, on the other hand, needed less immediate investments, although Indonesia had failed to fill its quota in the international market the recent years. A $12 million loan-based program for surveys were recommended, giving existing mines the possibility to exploit new findings. 112 In addition, the team recommended a $2-$3 million program for any other mineral and forest resource surveys, provided they seemed appropriate. 113
Another industry-supporting program was the program for providing fixed capital to light industries through the Indonesian State Development Bank, meant to aid newly established companies.114 However, since the Indonesian State demanded these funds to go through State channels, parts of the program should await the establishing of a private development bank, thus putting light pressure on the Indonesian government to encourage ventures in the private sector. Lack of trust in the Indonesian bureaucracy probably aided the team in making capital infusions for the industry only a conditional recommendation.
Education and training had been the main US commitments in traditional aid to Indonesia for the last years, and the survey was optimistic about the results of increasing efforts here. A grant program of total $30-$40 million should be "invested in human capital."115Fellowships for graduate study in the United States covered a quarter of the investments, another quarter provided Indonesia with American professors to support new or strengthened university faculties. A small, but important part of the military aid effort was also included under the educational program: Namely a minor sum for technical equipment and teacher training under the civic action program; the Indonesian army’s program of training soldiers for return to civilian life. 116 All in all, a sum of $5 to $7 million for technical equipment and teacher training was divided between the Indonesian army’s program and the Indonesian Ministry of Education. In addition, the team envisaged $2–3 million for smaller primary and secondary school projects, focusing on English language training. The remaining $4-$8 million, was set up for spending on new scientific institutes. Besides the immediate positive effect of education, these programs all had the effect of building networks of personal contact between Americans and Indonesians, and exposing a group of the Indonesian elite to American culture. 117
A regional center for technological research located in Bandung earned a separate aid program. Local expertise, were necessary, the Humphrey team reasoned, since Western technicians found it difficult to thinA regional center for technological research located in Bandung earned a separate aid program. Local expertise, were necessary, the Humphrey team reasoned, since Western technicians found it difficult to think in terms of any other environment than their native ones. The expertise also needed research on technical methods more appropriate to local needs than the Western ones. A center for such research could service a wide region of neighboring states, have an international profile, and should be viewed as more of a broader aid initiative than just unilateral aid to Indonesia . Other Asian countries could be provided with similar institutions to provide a network. The $10 million grant program, concludes the report, "could be one of the most successful demonstrations of American friendship and interest."118 Similar aid programs included a $1 million UN program for demographic and economic statistics and a $3 million educational grant program to supplement the existing agricultural education and research program. 119
The team also considered and rejected other projects. Some of these are of particular interest, as they re-arrived on later political agendas. One such program was the later much talked-about transmigration program, an Indonesian program for moving people from overpopulated Java to other islands. The surveyors reasoned that this program made sense per se, but had not been successful this far. Financially, it was already too tied up internally for the US to get involved in. Besides, improvements in transportation and economic conditions would over time stimulate spontaneous movement, thus rendering the whole program superfluous.120
The project of an American firm for an integrated rayon complex was flatly discouraged, since the economic foundations were not sound and the technology too complicated. Vague plans for the construction of petro-chemical plants were too vague to evaluate, and a few other projects should await better use of existing resources. The team finally saw no reasons for getting involved in projects where other nations were better suited or prospects already looked good without involvement. The goal, stated the report, was solely to encourage economic development and a sound economy, "in the belief that a prosperous and developing nation will have the best chance of maintaining independence."
The aid recommendations both in terminology and practical priorities reflected the stages of Walt Rostow’s theory of economic growth. Using the terms of this theory, Indonesia had moved from the traditional society to the transitional society, but had not reached the take-off society. "[...] in the familiar metaphor of growth we feel that Indonesia is not yet ready for the take-off but has only recently left the hangar," the team concluded. "However, location, climate, human and natural resources are such that when the plane does take-off it has the potential to fly high and fast."121 The teams’ recommendations focused on points that would facilitate the transition to the take-off phase, namely alleviation of acute managerial and technical problems, general education, management training, basic infrastructure and investment capital. Already now, the Indonesian army was implicitly given a role in the future economic growth of Indonesia particularly through the recommendation to divert a large share of the programs for managerial and business training to the army. 122
In 1958, the US had first determined that their best bet for avoiding a future communist take-over was the Indonesian army.123 Under pressure from Ambassador Jones and others, deliveries of military aid to Indonesia were then forced in speed. The military equipment supplied had been light and designed only for internal defense. 124 Neither was the amount particularly impressive. The main objective was to signal friendship to Nasution and the army, which was especially urgent after the Eisenhower/Dulles-intervention in the 1958 rebellion.
The current running military aid program for Indonesia had evolved from the speedy efforts of 1958 into a flexible, but still planned effort.125 The Country team in Djakarta, consisting of the heads of all the local US missions and led by Ambassador Jones, had designed the base program. The program was formally submitted by the Commander in Chief of the Pacific (CINCPAC) in Hawaii, and covered originally the period 1963–1967.
The plan was designed to give a broad coverage to the Indonesian Armed Forces, and not only the army. The Navy and Air Force were courted, as they in 1961, somewhat vaguely, were deemed to have a better potential of resisting PKI than the army had. Courting and assistance meant selected items of equipment as well as local training and bringing Indonesian personnel abroad for training and "exposure" to the United States. The total size of the program ran about $20–25 million, the main focus still being on items for keeping internal security. The plan did allow some symbolic prestige items, however. The Indonesians should furthermore be made well aware of the solely token nature of the plan. On no account would the US get into a local military aid race with the USSR. The plan was kept meager.
For the policy makers in State Department the aid plan was too meager. An interagency review of military aid later in 1961 provided an opportunity to review the military aid program.126 The Commander in Chief of the Pacific had suggested a slim $14 million program for the next two years. For the State Department, this was too little to satisfy their needs in order to befriend the Indonesian army. By the end of December 1961, State Department came up with a rough suggestion to a new program for Indonesia. Over a period of two years, the sum of aid should be $53.3 million, rather than CINCPAC's suggested $14 million. Of the $53 millions, $24 million would go to the key program: Small arms standardization for the army. The Navy would get $12 million, and US training of army personnel (KKO) $2 million. $3.3 million were put up for a new army communications system. More uncertain were the entries for the Indonesian Air Force (AURI) and the Mobile Brigade (Mobrig), the paramilitary federal police force. 127 AURI had requested spare parts for their American C-130 planes, which would probably not be supplied. The reason given for the denial were formalistic.
The Mobile Brigade were put up for $10 million, half of which were arms and ammunition and the other half vehicles.128 It was uncertain whether the vehicle part should be financed under the civil A.I.D. programs, since it was A.I.D. that had been funding Mobrig up to now. The Mobrig itself was an undoubted priority recipient, and had been so since 1950. In 1950, the US had started to support the Mobrig as a counter-insurgency substitute when the Indonesian government refused to allow the US any involvement in the conventional armed forces. 129 The American intention was to build up a civil, anti-Communist controlled armed force specialized in countering internal communist subversion—in contrast to conventional armies which usually were formed to resist an invading force. A conventional invasion was then deemed to be an unlikely scenario in Indonesia, in Dean Acheson's words: "[the Communist threat]can best be dealt with by strengthening the Indonesian constabulary." 130 In 1954, Eisenhower had reinforced Truman's commitment to the Mobrig by giving Indonesia the first program under the new Civil Police Branch. 131 The US training of officers and material support continued largely unchanged into the Kennedy administration.
As a civilian controlled force closely connected to the different prime ministers and Sukarno, the Mobrig also had functioned as a balancing force towards army political pressure.132 Thus, the Mobrig support had until now contributed in keeping the army out of political office. A new effort in military aid with focus on civic action would imply that the support given to the army and the Mobrig would be more coordinated from the US side, "civic action" being the current pet name in Washington for counterinsurgency. 133 At the same time, the army had recently gained more control over Mobrig through the martial law regulations, making the prospect of an eventual army integration of Mobrig possible. 134
The new priorities and figures of the military aid to Indonesia were largely based upon the wishes of general Nasution and the Indonesian army.135 The State Department had previously gotten Congressional approval for the general parts of program, but still awaited Department of Defense approval for the vital arms standardization part. The main obstacle was CINCPAC, who had strong objections against supplying the light arms to Indonesia. CINCPAC’s reasons are unclear, but one may assume they included objections to enforcing Indonesia militarily, given the West Irian conflict and Sukarno’s apparent drift towards communism. While the administration had been able to secure Congressional approval for fiscal year 1962, there was still no guarantee for approval of the second part of the program next year. Not only would CINCPAC probably still be skeptic, the Congress and general public did not lightheartedly approve military aid to a country ruled by the increasingly unpopular Sukarno.
The April 1961 meeting between Kennedy and Sukarno had led to the formation of a US economic survey team, which evaluated the Indonesian National Development Plan and recommended what future economic involvement the US should have in Indonesia. The team’s report outlined a US economic aid program directly targeted at economic growth. The team based its recommendations on the scattered existing aid programs, but expanded and redirected them in line with current theory for sustained development and economic growth, tripling the US commitment and outlining additional funding from other Western countries. The team took height for cultural differences, were careful not to offend Indonesian sensitivities, and were mild and indirect in its criticism of the Indonesian National Development Economic Plan. Although the plan was in itself not recommending a specific policy—besides the implementation of its model for economic development—the plan did contain examples of mild political guidance, for instance in its choice to provide managerial training for the army. In addition to the largely civilian aid outlined in the Humphrey report, State Department sought to expand the military aid program for Indonesia, basing its actual item recommendations on the Indonesian army’s expressed needs. The proposed military aid consisted mostly of token items for contact and good will purposes, but also included managerial training and a counterinsurgency program. Both the civilian and military aid programs continued a long time US commitment to the National Police and its paramilitary Mobile Brigade, regarding the Mobrig as the primary vanguard against internal communist subversion. However, the increased military aid plan met internal administrative resistance from CINCPAC as well as external skepticism. The prospect of an imminent Dutch-Indonesian stand-down over West Irian further endangered Congress funding of both the administration’s new aid programs.
While the preparations for the upcoming aid effort in Indonesia slowly went along, the crisis of West Irian had to be handled. Without a solution to this crisis, there was little hope of achieving anything else in Indonesia. The Sukarno visit and preceding talks with Dutch Foreign Minister Joseph Luns had showed hope: Both two parties had opened up for some kind of a trusteeship solution. Still, there were vast differences between the two. While Indonesia only saw a trusteeship as a face-saving device to let the Dutch give up West Irian to Indonesia, the Dutch saw the trusteeship as phase towards West Irian independence. Both sides also continued to work for their causes in other forums, with other nations and with both open and more hidden means.
Ever since January, Robert Komer and Robert Johnson of the White House and Ambassador Jones had argued that time was running out. In the beginning of May, their argument had been reinforced by two events: The successful Sukarno visit, and the announcement of a Sukarno visit to Moscow in the beginning of June. The US expected unconditional Soviet support to Sukarno’s cause, and if the US still looked like it was leaning more towards the Dutch side than to the Indonesian, it was probable that Sukarno would use the occasion to take a step towards the Bloc, and the likelihood of military action in West Irian would become higher. The situation had to be pre-empted.136
Kennedy decided to send Sukarno a letter that privately assured Sukarno of a favorable outcome, while it officially stated a more neutral US stance. The letter was the first top-level action in a new phase of the West Irian strategy: To actively work for a trusteeship solution utilizing the UN and Malaya. Kennedy and Rusk settled on the strategy for West Irian in the end of May, and got the letter out to Sukarno just before he left for Moscow in the first days of June.137
The strategy was built out of four alternatives Rusk had presented to the President in the end of May. The first alternative was to "continue our policy of ‘neutrality’," meaning to urge for negotiations and against violence, but to do nothing more. This alternative was discarded, since it was "running out": It could not be exploited much further, and neither negotiations nor peace seemed to be closer now than just a few months ago. However, this alternative was what the Australians preferred.138
The second alternative was to work towards a "Melanesian Federation," which would include both the Australian and Dutch parts of the Papuan island, as well as some surrounding islands. The federation would be under a UN trusteeship until it was sufficiently developed as to become an independent nation. Although principally the best alternative, it would take too long to prepare the opinion in Australia and the Netherlands, and even longer to develop the area sufficiently.
The third option was a UN trusteeship with the Netherlands as a short term trustee. Basically, it was a face-saving device for transferring the territory to Indonesia, although formally the General Assembly would decide the future of West Irian some time into the trustee period.
The forth option was a variant of the third, only with Malaya as the trustee. This last alternative would also leave a more open-end prospect to the future of the area. Thus it made allowances to the Dutch, which demanded that there was no talk of Indonesian take-over after a trusteeship, and the Indonesians that demanded a guarantee for the outcome of such a trusteeship. An "open end" alternative was the only possible way, Rusk concluded. Although the Australians would oppose both trusteeship ideas, they would eventually accept them if they were accepted by the Dutch and Indonesians. The course of action ahead, would then be to sound out the two, while approaching the UN General Secretary, Malaya and Australia.139
During the summer, State Department conducted informal talks with the Dutch. The talks were conducted mainly through the Dutch embassy in Washington and were partly held on Dutch initiative. There was "no meeting of minds." When August emerged and no real progress had been made, the US informed the Dutch, Indonesia and Australia that they had decided to postpone further talks to the 16th UN General Assembly (UNGA) later that fall, and pursue their trusteeship strategy there.140
Talks did not end with the Indonesians, however. Sukarno was scheduled in mid-September for another visit to Washington, this time with President Modibo Keita of Mali on a formal visit on behalf of the Belgrade conference. Before the visit, the internal debates in the administrations continued along the old lines. An agreement on how hard to push Sukarno or the Dutch seemed more in the blue than ever. The State’s UN preparations were still lenient on the Netherlands. The White House as an answer increased their pressure for "getting tough" with the Dutch, arguing that the issue had now become to important to be decided by State Department.141
In terms, the situation in West Irian were now moving from a "crisis" to a "blow up".142 "In talking with Sukarno," Komer argued in a memo to Kennedy, "we must bear in mind that we are heading almost inexorably toward a major crisis over West Irian [...]." 143 The Soviets were pushing behind the scenes for a confrontation, and since "the rest of the world will see this as a pure anti-colonial issue, [the US] will be in a real dilemma." 144 The situation had dragged out for so long, admitted Komer, that "at any rate, if we take steps toward a solution giving West Irian to Indonesia, we’ll buy no credit for it; instead we’ll look as though we succumbed to a Soviet-backed power play." 145 Still, the threat of a communist Indonesia was worse: "What price holding on to mainland Southeast Asia if we have a hostile Indonesia at its back?" 146 Concluding his arguments for a pro-Indonesian decision, Komer wrote, "Like Angola, this is a case where European interest must be subordinated; unlike Portugal, however, Holland would be unlikely to cut off its nose to spite its face." 147
The Sukarno-Keita visit gave no opportunity to discuss West Irian with Sukarno. Other issues were raised instead, related to the Belgrade discussions and Sukarno’s increasingly pro-Soviet viewpoints during the conference. As a whole, the visit provided little for the US except for a chance to reaffirm the perception of friendship in Sukarno. Sukarno, on his side, had during the conference and visit managed to lessen his standing even further in the public and Congress.
More promising than Sukarno’s visit were the succeeding two-week visit of other prominent Indonesian politicians and bureaucrats, led by Minister of Basic Industries, Chaerul Saleh. The visit was made on a US request and as a follow-up of the economic agreements made during Sukarno’s previous visit. The focus was on economic issues, and especially the coming Humphrey report and its consequences. For the US it was an opportunity to influence one of the most prominent Indonesian ministers, and the visit held symbolic value and provided hope for the slow work of aligning Indonesian economy with the Western economies.
The 16th United Nations General Assembly started in October. Already from the outset, the Indonesians expressed their skepticism: Subandrio felt little lust to confront the Dutch publicly in the UN environment, but preferred "private solutions."148 The Netherlands continued to play tactical games, both versus the Indonesians and the US, which soured the situation. Walt Rostow accused Luns for "playing us for fools," and while the whole NSC staff impelled that it was time to "talk very frankly with the Dutch," the President ordered the UN team to "lean gently" instead 149
The result was a mess. In a few hectic weeks suggestions, models and tactics floated around and shifted, until the US settled for a new "two-bite"-approach. The two-bite approach basically differed little from the original "open-end" approach from May, where the first "bite" was relinquishment of Dutch sovereignty and the second bite was an open end for final decision on the fate of the territory—in reality implying Indonesian takeover.150
Yet, the US delegation, which "considered [the Dutch] insistence on self-determination something of a sham," failed to express their views to the Dutch. Instead, they gave the Dutch the impression that they thought their proposal was a step forward, while putting harder pressure on the Indonesians than on the Dutch. Thus they alienated the Indonesians. When it became clear that the US would "never" vote for the Dutch proposal, they managed to alienate the Dutch, as well.
Failing to settle for a side, the US mission suggested that the US should take a "plague on both your houses" line in their arguments. The White House staff disapproved of any such strategy. Knowing that Kennedy leaned towards their viewpoints, they tried to get the President to personally intervene on their behalf and force State Department to take a more pro-Indonesian stance. The US own’ trusteeship suggestion was not good enough to be worth an all-out effort to save it in the UN, they argued, and alienating both parties certainly was not very fruitful. The President refrained from intervening directly at this time, but most likely let State know more informally what he felt about the issue.
In mid-November, "unaware" of any Presidential wishes and only a day after the White House aides made their final effort the make Kennedy intervene, Rusk decided to float the US resolution draft. Then, the Indonesians had just made a specific request to the US not to do so, and the flotation was hence interpreted as an act of direct enmity by the Indonesians, moving the US into the "against"-category. The American proposal failed before the Assembly, and as all the other parties’ proposals did the same, the fiasco was a fact: "Thus, the end result of all the months of work has been to put us in worse position vis-à-vis the Indonesians than we have ever been in the past," Robert Johnson summarized.
During the session, the Joint Chiefs of Staff through general L.L. Lemnitzer sent out a their strongest memorandum emphasizing the strategic importance of Indonesia. Although prepared for a long time, the timing of the memorandum could be seen as an attempt to press for a solution. The Chiefs criticized "the apparent lack of determination" in the US efforts till now, and stated that there was "no expectation that the US effort in its present scope will alter the deteriorating course of events." 151
The failure of the UN strategy made the Chief’s points of strategic importance and urge to take action even more dramatic than they ordinarily would have been. This was the "end of one phase and [we] must design another," Robert Johnson wrote.152"So with the failure of our UN gambit, the time has come to take the gloves of and adopt a frankly pro-Indonesian stance while there’s still time to get some political capital out of it," Komer added. 153
In the State department, morale was low, and Johnson accused State of having "no recognition whatsoever of the fact that negotiations can succeed."154 The blame for the failures, Johnson added, was the fuzziness and internal divisions in State Department, besides Rusk’s personal dislike of Sukarno.
Meanwhile, the Dutch and Indonesians were stepping up their preparations for confrontation. The Dutch issued a flag for the Papuans and gave the colony a new name, to be used after independence: West Papua.155 The Indonesians continued their war preparations, and during fall, Soviet military supplies kept pouring in. The time was approaching, the US feared, when the Indonesian would attack. In Washington, they apprehended that the announcement would come in one of the annual speeches of Sukarno in mid-December, and they learnt that Sukarno would hold a war-or-peace-meeting just a few days before these speeches were about to begin.
Once more, Kennedy decided to send Sukarno a letter. Kennedy proposed to host secret negotiations, if the Indonesians only would refrain from using power.156 Sukarno received the letter right before the meeting, and discussed it with Ambassador Jones in a telling episode:
Djakarta, December 11, 1961, 4 p.m.
1033. Embtel 1025. President was in irritable mood when I arrived at Palace. He had been up entire previous night watching shadow play performance of old Javanese myths, a favorite pastime of his when weighing important decisions.
Because of his mood he was difficult to handle, constantly interrupting with emotional outbursts against the Dutch as I made points [...]. Nevertheless I managed to cover all the ground in detail, and in the end I was talking to him like a Dutch uncle for first time in my relationship with him and he was taking it.
Perhaps most telling point I was able to make was when President was talking about Indonesian youth becoming impatient, "fed up," as he said, with hearing about peaceful solution which did not come to pass.
"Mr. President," I said, "I know you pretty well. Here you are in a position where attainment of your objectives by peaceful means is in sight. Almost you could say it is just around the corner. I know that you would never forgive yourself if you sacrificed the lives of your young people while solution was so close. What would the verdict of history be?"
This argument seemed to strike home, and Sukarno rather than resenting my comments, looked solemn and thoughtful. Then his mood changed again and he returned to charge against the Dutch.
"I am fed up to here," he burst out, holding his hands at eye level to make his point. "I can’t stand any more of it."
Again I argued that it made no sense after being patient for so long to resort to force just at the moment when long sought goal was in sight.
Sukarno dramatically pressed his closed fists against the sides of his head. "I can’t believe it," he said. "The Dutch won’t do it (relinquish sovereignty in West Irian or transfer administration to Indonesia)."
"You don’t know the Dutch," Sukarno declared. "The only thing the Dutch understand is the use of force." The US, Sukarno said, should "go to the Dutch and tell them."
"That’s just what we are proposing to do," I replied. "We are proposing to go and sound them out as to the next steps that can be taken. But we cannot do this if you are going to take precipitate action."
"Time, time, time," the President retorted excitedly. "I have run out of patience and we are running out of time. My people are impatient. There will be a mass meeting of one million people this week to demand that I give them the order to march on West Irian. What will I tell them? They already think I am getting soft, getting too old for action."
"You are the best judge of what to say to your own people," I said, "but as between peace and war to gain your objective, as long as there is a chance of a political solution, your people will choose peace."
"No," the President retorted sharply; "they would not; our youth are getting too impatient."
At this point I asked if I were correct in my feeling that he appreciated the proposed US initiative.
"Yes," Sukarno said warmly, "I appreciate it very much. If your people will talk to the Dutch I’ll appreciate that deeply, and please thank President Kennedy for his letter." He went on to ask when he could expect to hear something, and I pointed out that these things take time, and there was no way I could assure him when progress could be reported.
I asked whether he would inform his military leaders at peace-or-war meeting December 11 of President Kennedy’s message and my comments, and he replied that he would, but he soon swung back to his favorite subject.
"Luns, Luns, Luns," he burst out. "He is full of hate. He’s a scoundrel. The [US Government] is going to have to tell him he’s got to transfer admin to Indonesia."
We then discussed the question of self-determination. "You aren’t giving self-determination to Katanga in the Congo, are you?" Sukarno asked. "How about self-determination for Texas? You must understand I can’t accept self-determination for a part of our territory."
When I made the point that the US was unalterably opposed to the use of force and we were convinced that world opinion would be against Indonesia if they resorted to force, Sukarno retorted, "even peaceful India is about to use force in Goa."
He then said, moodily, "there comes a time when a man must do what he must do. And at that time he must disregard everybody else."
"No, Mr. President," I countered. "Not when he has a reasonable alternative. A young boy will kick or strike out just because he is controlled by his emotions. But a mature man who has acquired wisdom will weigh the alternative." I thought perhaps I had gone too far on this point but the President nodded, sighed "yes, a man needs wisdom, great wisdom."
He then noted that George Washington had paid no attention to those who counselled [sic] him it was wrong to wage war against the British.
There was a basic difference, I pointed out. We had exhausted all peaceful means; as in the case of his own revolution, we felt only force was left to us. The question he faced was to attain the objective by peaceful means. I was certain, I said, he would not wish to do this [sic]. Sukarno nodded, "you are right, of course." But he was discouraged and did not believe the Dutch would ever agree to any solution which would result in Indonesia acquiring the territory. "You owe it to yourself, your people and the world to give us a chance to try," I argued. "We have agreed to talk to the Dutch, but we have to have time."
"Please tell Pre"Please tell President Kennedy," Sukarno said finally, "first, I thank him for his letter; second, that I welcome your approaching the Dutch; third, that we do not have much time. We are not asking for the Dutch to acknowledge Indo sovereignty over WNG. But we do insist on Indo administration of the territory."
I adverted to what Subandrio had said December 8 [...] about the desirability of bilateral negotiations.
"Yes," the President said. "But the Dutch must come to the conference table without reservations, without pre-conditions, such as self-determination. And they must be willing to see administration turned over to Indo. If through the borrowing hand of the UN, all right. But he made it clear he was thinking of a short period, a year, after which Indo would be the administrator.
We closed our conversation by my asking him which was his favorite Wajang Kulit (shadow play) character.
Without hesitation, Sukarno replied that the Warrior King was his favorite. He never permitted a Wajang Kulit show at the palace unless this particular character appeared in it. "He’s the one I’m interested in," Sukarno said.157
Comment:This extraordinary interview seems to me highly revealing of the kind of man with whom we are dealing. There is no question that when I first saw Sukarno, he was rarin-tearin ready to go. Javanese mysticism which is an important part of his makeup was clearly ascendant. I am satisfied that President Kennedy’s letter has brought him back to reality for some time being. The important thing is that we press vigorously for settlement while this period of relative calm lasts.
In the following days, Sukarno held his aggressive "Trikora"-speech, he formed the tripartite West Irian "Mandala" command, a National Defense Council and called for "confrontation on all fields." He also wrote a return letter to Kennedy where he cleared the way for open conflict. Although Kennedy’s original letter, in Washington’s eyes, had softened Sukarno and postponed an Indonesian attack for now, there was now no telling when hostilities would begin.
Christmas in Washington became one of hectic activity under "the shadow of war." State Department tried fervently to get the parties to talk. The mood was pessimistic: The NSC staff gloomed over how State Department still fumbled in their "funniness," while war could break out anytime. In State Department, the Far East Office was under the new leadership of Averell Harriman, Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern affairs since November.159 The Jonesian Harriman made for changes: State finally settled for the White House view that any trusteeship only was to facilitate an Indonesian take-over—but for the Europeanists, the strategy was a bitter defeat.
On January 15. the Dutch warship Hollandia sank an Indonesian torpedo boat outside the West Irian coast. Foreign Minister Subandrio declared to the world that "this means war," later adding that Indonesia now had reached the end of the rope. For once, Washington, and even ambassador Jones, had to admit that the "Iago of Indonesia" seemed to be telling the unvarnished truth. While, optimistically believing that the Indonesians only sought occasional clashes to gain sympathy and force their case into the UN again, the chances of a full scale conflict and possible Bloc intervention were now too high to ignore. The time of presidential letters and wavering between the sides had ended, and they had ended in military clashes. 160
The first year of Kennedy’s administration was characterized by turmoil in the relations toward Indonesia. The increasing heat of the West Irian dispute landed in the new administration’ lap, and the administration had to decide what to do about it before it evolved into a major crisis. The Soviet courtship to Indonesia and unrelenting support for Indonesia’s claim to the Dutch colony of West Irian turned the West Irian dispute into an arena of Cold War contention. The Soviet support was backed by a massive influx of military and economic aid, disturbing Washington. It soon became all to visible that the current freeze in relations would mean letting the Soviets run the show, and Indonesia would gradually swivel into the communist sphere of influence, possibly even becoming a communist country.
Indonesia was little known to most of the decision makers. The case of West Irian forced the administration to re-evaluate the strategic and economic importance of Indonesia to US interests. The importance was high, concluded the administration, particularly as a strategic hub and as the gateway between the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Economic interests included US investments in raw materials like oil and rubber, besides the safety of major trade routes which ran through Indonesian waters. Even more important was the enormous economic and military potential of a fully developed Indonesia. These factors, combined with strategic connection to Southeast Asia, made the US decide that they had a vital interest in keeping Indonesia neutral or pro-West, since a communist Indonesia could easily tilt the whole area towards communism. Still, it seemed hard to convince both those outside the administration as well people inside that the basic facts of size, location and current Soviet courtship mattered as much as the figures in the analyses suggested that they did.
The administration were not able to take to the full consequence of their analyses. Throughout the year they kept arguing on how to handle the relation. In particular, there was a dispute over both strategy and objectives in the West Irian dispute: The White House staff, with occasional support from the President, wanted to force the Dutch to relinquish West Irian in the name of realpolitik and the greater Cold War good. The State Department, led by Rusk and the "Europeanists" of the different European desks sought West Irian independence in order to satisfy the Dutch. The President rarely stepped down to take concrete action, despite his aides urgings. The internal bickering led to an inconclusive policy which in turn finally led to an ill-fated search for solution during the 16th UN General Assembly. The UN session ended in US alienation of both parties and the crisis evolving into the brink of war, with the first serious armed clash taking place in January 1962.
Concurrently with the frenetic events of West Irian, the foundation of a new, broader policy towards Indonesia evolved. The Sukarno visit in April became the crucial point. Here, a personal relationship between Kennedy and Sukarno was consciously wrought. The personal rapport which evolved during the meetings had a local counterpart in the good relationship between the US Ambassador in Djakarta and Sukarno. The factor of personal relationships became the single most important factor in keeping the West Irian conflict from bursting into war, with a few Presidential letters at crucial moments defusing the tension.
The Sukarno visit also led to a new effort in US aid to Indonesia. Although still vague and in an initial phase, a long-term strategy to turn Indonesia towards the West through economic means became the main thrust of the broader strategy towards Indonesia. Central in this strategy was a planned effort in aid. To outline the effort, a team of economic experts under the leadership of Don. Humphrey were sent to Indonesia. The effort should be coordinated with a new Indonesian 8-year development plan. A limited increase in military aid was also sought, although it met resistance from the US military and outside the administration. The aid was mostly token aid meant to display good will and strengthen the US friendly Indonesian army leadership, and did not compete with the USSR input in size. However, the new long term aid strategy could not evolve further as long the West Irian issue remained unsolved. In January 1962, a solution seemed further away than ever.
2 Walt Rostow (interviewee), recorded interview by Richard Neustadt (interviewer), April 11, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library, p. 80
3 Bunnell 1969: [ca p50]; Walt Rostow (interviewee), recorded interview by Richard Neustadt (interviewer), April 11, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library, p. 80
4 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 215, Memo, R. Johnson to M. Bundy, December 18, 1961
5 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 198, Memo, JCS to McNamara, October 13, 1961
6 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 198, Memo, JCS to McNamara, October 13, 1961
7 Adm. Felts testimony for House Foreign Affairs Committee, 14. may 1963, (pp. 1408–1440 of Congressional record), folder 17 "MAL-INDON", Hilsman papers, box 2, JFK Library, p. 1408; Paper, "Guidelines of US policy in Indonesia", 11.03.61, "General 61–63", "SEA 61–63", box 21, Thomson papers, JFK Library, p1
8 Jones 1971: 202; Charles Baldwin (interviewee), recorded interview by Dennis J. O Brien (interviewer), March, 1969, Oral History Program, JFK Library, p68
9 Indonesia was categorized both as being in Southeast Asia and in the Southwest Pacific. While the Southwest Pacific area always included Indonesia, the Southeast Asia area in daily use often only referred to mainland Southeast Asia. Yet, when Indonesia was mentioned specifically, is was more often in the Southeast Asian than Southwest Pacific context. The inconsistent usage reflects on one hand how diffusely the phrases were interpreted in Washington, and hence sheds light on Washington’s thinking. In the other hand, it is harder to tell in hindsight what countries is specifically referred to when a source uses the phrase Southeast Asia.
10 FRUS 1961-63 XXIII: 198, Memo, JCS to McNamara, October 13, 1961
11 Jones 1971: p. 38
12 Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on the International Development and Security Act, May 13–June 27 , 1961, Public Statements by the Secretary of Defense, Frames 0691-0750, UPA Microfilms, p. 680
13 Ibid, p. 655
14 See chapter 4, "Feil! Fant ikke referansekilden.", p. *
15 Paper, "Guidelines of US policy in Indonesia", 11.03.61, "General 61–63", "SEA 61–63", box 21, Thomson papers, JFK Library, p. 1
16 See also page * for comparable figures
17 Khrushchev 1974: p325; "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, encl. 5, p2
18 "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, encl. 5, p1
19 Ibid., p2
20 $400 million of arms for the West Irian campaign, after US refusal (Mortimer 1974: p. 187)
21 Note, Thomson to CB, undated, attachment: DIA Intelligence Bulletin, "Assessment of Dutch and Indonesian Forces", January 2 1962, "SEA 61–63/General 61–63", Box 21, Thomson papers, JFK Library
22 Khrushchev 1974: pp. 326–327
23 Note, Thomson to CB, undated, attachment: DIA Intelligence Bulletin, "Assessment of Dutch and Indonesian Forces", January 2 1962, "SEA 61–63/General 61–63", Box 21, Thomson papers, JFK Library
24 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 239, Deptel 2343 (Bonn), February 23, 1962, FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 242, Memo, Komer to Kennedy, February 28, 1962
25 Walt Rostow (interviewee), recorded interview by Richard Neustadt (interviewer), April 11, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library, p50; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 205, Memo, M. Bundy to Kennedy, December 1, 1961, att. B; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 239, Deptel 2343 (Bonn), February 23, 1962, FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 242, Memo, Komer to Kennedy, February 28, 1962
26 Khrushchev 1974:p327
27 Memo, Thomas L. Hughes to Rusk, "Communist Ad Programs in the Free World: Aims and results",12.07.63, "DoS 60–66", "INR 61–63", research memos, Thomson files, box 5, JFK Library, p12; see also general figures info footnote 28
29 Khrushchev 1974: p314
30 Memo, Thomas L. Hughes to Rusk, "Communist Ad Programs in the Free World: Aims and results",12.07.63, "DoS 60–66", "INR 61–63", research memos, Thomson files, box 5, JFK Library, p13
31 "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, encl. 5, p2
32 Khrushchev 1974: p. 324
33 Paper, "Guidelines of US policy in Indonesia", 11.03.61, "General 61–63", "SEA 61–63", box 21, Thomson papers, JFK Library,p3
34 Adm. Felts testimony for House Foreign Affairs Committee, 14. may 1963, (pp. 1408–1440 of Congressional record), folder 17 "MAL-INDON", Hilsman papers, box 2, JFK Library, p1436
35 Memo, Thomas L. Hughes to Rusk, "Communist Ad Programs in the Free World: Aims and results",12.07.63, "DoS 60–66", "INR 61–63", research memos, Thomson files, box 5, JFK Library, p13
36 It could also have been the cruiser. The ship was deemed useless or too costly to be of use in the new Soviet submarine-focussed naval strategy of the late fifties. For the navy of an archipelago it would be more useful, though. (Khrushchev 1974: p.32)
37 "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, Encl.6, p3
38 "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, Encl. 5, p. 1
39 See chapter "US Aid and the Humphrey Team", page *
40 Kahin and Kahin 1995: p29
41 See the "Action Plan" chapter for more.
42 Among other things, Japanese war reparations to Indonesia took form of economic investments and was negotiated by the US.
43 Carlson 1976: pp9–10
44 Morrow 1975: pp184–185
45 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 198, Memo, JCS to McNamara, October 13, 1961
46 "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, Encl. 4
47 Many instances document Sukarno's disinterest in economic figures. Khrushchev personally criticized Sukarno for this during discussions on the economic development (Jones 1971: p. 337)
48 Mackie 1967: pp30–31
49 Mackie 1967: p34
50 UN Statistical Yearbook 1967: p563
51 Jones 1971: p25
52 With the exception of some singular periods, like from 1963 to 1964.
53 Report, "House Foreign Affairs Committee Briefing on Indonesia 8/8/63", "DoS, 60–66, Congressional Relations, 63–64", August 8 1963, Thomson papers, box 5, JFK Library, p57
54 The report of the US economic survey team sent to Indonesia in August 1961. See chapter "US Aid and the Humphrey Team", page *
55 Humphrey report (internal edition), 12 January 1962, Box 115, CF,NSF, JFK Library; Humphrey report (internal July edition), "SEA 61–66, INDON", Econ. Survey Team’s Report, Thomson papers, box 22, JFK Library, pp. 12–20
56 Ibid., p20
57 Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, April 19 1961, "Indonesia General", "jan-march 1961", Box 13, Indonesia, CF, NSF , JFK Library, p2
58 Humphrey report (internal edition), 12 January 1962, Box 115, CF,NSF, JFK Library; Humphrey report (internal July edition), "SEA 61–66, INDON", Econ. Survey Team’s Report, Thomson papers, box 22, JFK Library, p14
59 Ibid., p20
60 State Department filed lengthy annual special rubber reports on Indonesia, giving in-depth details of all sides of production and sales. They were filed in the new State Department file system from 1963/64 under the keywords INCO, RUBBER AND RUBBER PRODUCTION, INDONESIA
61 The following statistics are from Central Bureau of Statistics, quoted in Airgram A-595, Djakarta To State, February 9 1965, "Political Affairs And Relations, INDON-US", 1/1/65, Box 2327, NARA
62 Ibid., Encl. 1. The dollar price is calculated from a fixed rupiah rate of 45.
63 UN Statistical Yearbook 1967: p150
64 Airgram A-595, Djakarta To State, February 9 1965, "Political Affairs And Relations, INDON-US", 1/1/65, Box 2327, NARA, Encl. 3
65 Calculated from US Historical Statistics: table U295–316, p900 and AIRGRAM A-595, DJAKARTA TO STATE, FEBRUARY 9 1965, "POLITICAL AFFAIRS AND RELATIONS, INDON-US", 1/1/65, BOX 2327, NARA, Encl. 3
67 Airgram A-595, Djakarta To State, February 9 1965, "Political Affairs And Relations, INDON-US", 1/1/65, Box 2327, NARA, Encl. 1
68 Ibid., Encl. 2, p1
69 Report, "House Foreign Affairs Committee Briefing on Indonesia 8/8/63", "DoS, 60–66, Congressional Relations, 63–64", August 8 1963, Thomson papers, box 5, JFK Library, p38
70 Caltex was a joint subsidiary of SO-CAL (Standard Oil of California) and Texaco
71 Stanvac was a joint subsidiary of Standard of New Jersey and Socony Vacuum (now Mobil), e.g. "Standard Vacuum"
72 UN Statistical Yearbook 1967: p201
73 Airgram A-595, Djakarta To State, February 9 1965, "Political Affairs And Relations, INDON-US", 1/1/65, Box 2327, NARA, Encl. 2, p1
74 Ibid., Encl. 2, p2
75 See for instance Report, "House Foreign Affairs Committee Briefing on Indonesia 8/8/63", "DoS, 60–66, Congressional Relations, 63–64", August 8 1963, Thomson papers, box 5, JFK Library, p46
76 A friendly nickname for Sukarno, meaning "brother". Often used in the combination "Bung Karno".
77 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 149, Embtel 2426 (Djakarta), February 23, 1961
78 Sukarno in February 1961 referred to the Eisenhower period as "The years the locusts have eaten," poetically continuing that "One [of the] things they have eaten is understanding between American and Asian-African countries who have felt Americans always on the side of colonialism, opposing aspiring new nations." (Ibid.)
79 Actually, the delay was caused by a White House aide who discovered that PKI chairman Aidit accompanied Sukarno. The aid warned the president against a possible episode, should Eisenhower receive such a well-known communist leader in the White House. Eisenhower chose to allow the visit, but the consideration alone were sufficient to insult Sukarno.
80 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 147, Memo, Rusk to Kennedy, February 14, 1961
81 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 148, Memo, Rusk to Under Secretary Bowles, February 18, 1964; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 148, Memo, Rusk to Under Secretary Bowles, February 18, 1964, footnote 2
82 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 155, Memo, Bissell (CIA) to M. Bundy, March 27, 1961
84 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 156, Memo, Komer to M. Bundy, March 27, 1961
85 More specifically, an alleged 1958 promise of US logistic support to the Dutch in case of Indonesian aggression against West Irian. The promise may have been interpreted more strongly by the Dutch than Acheson intended, however, an was never accepted by the Kennedy administration as a binding promise. Also, the US, according to Luns, hindered an Indonesian attack in 1959 by threatening to intervene.
86 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 162, Memo of conversation, the President, Ball, Kohler (EUR) , Amb. Rice, Luns, J.H. van Roijen, April 10, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 163, Memo of conversation, Rusk, Kohler, Amb. Rice, McBride (WE), Luns, J.H. van Roijen, Schiff, April 10, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 164, Memo of conversation, Rusk, Kohler , Luns, J.H. van Roijen, April 11, 1961
87 Ibid.; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 165, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, April 17, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 166, Memo, R. Johnson to Walt Rostow (interviewee), recorded interview by Richard Neustadt (interviewer), April 11, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library, April 18, 1961
88 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 165, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, April 17, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 166, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, April 18, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 167, Memo, Komer to Rostow, April 19, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 168, Memo, Acting Secretary Bowles to Kennedy, April 20, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 169, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, April 21, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 170, Memo, Rusk to Kennedy, April 22, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 171, Memo, Rostow to Kennedy, April 22, 1961
89 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 171, Memo, Rostow to Kennedy, April 22, 1961
90 See note
91 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 172, Memo of conversation, President Kennedy, Rusk, Jones, Steeves, Rostow (US), President Sukarno, Leimena, Zain (Indo), April 24, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 173, Editorial note
93 See chapter 1, "US Aid and the Humphrey Team", p. *
94 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 172, Memo of conversation, President Kennedy, Rusk, Jones, Steeves, Rostow (US), President Sukarno, Leimena, Zain (Indo), April 24, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 173, Editorial note
95 Rusk 1991: pp. 265–267; Walt Rostow (interviewee), recorded interview by Richard Neustadt (interviewer), April 11, 1964, Oral History Program, JFK Library, p89
96 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 169, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, April 21, 1961
97 Jones 1971: 202
98 In fact, during the intervention in 1958 the CIA had gone as far as preparing and distributing a phony video of Sukarno having sex with a whore, using a look-a-like of the Indonesian president. [Schlesinger1978: p....]
99 Jones 1971: 202
100 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 171, Memo, Rostow to Kennedy, April 22, 1961
101 More accurately $764 million by September 1962, "Plan of Action for Indonesia", October 10, 1962, "SEA 61–66/Plan of A. for Indon. (NSAM 179)", Box 22, Thomson papers, JFK Library, encl. 5, p1
; the following figures are summarized and rounded in Report, "House Foreign Affairs Committee Briefing on Indonesia 8/8/63", "DoS, 60–66, Congressional Relations, 63–64", August 8 1963, Thomson papers, box 5, JFK Library, p44;
102 US Historical Statistics: table U75–186, pp872–875
103 Including pre-independence. Report, "House Foreign Affairs Committee Briefing on Indonesia 8/8/63", "DoS, 60–66, Congressional Relations, 63–64", August 8 1963, Thomson papers, box 5, JFK Library, p44
104 One may have in mind when reading the Bloc figures that one of the prime uses of the figures for the administration was to secure funding for US efforts from the Congress. Thus they are prone to generous calculations. There is no indication that this is the case, though, and the numbers are fairly consistent throughout different US sources.
105 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 180, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, July 19, 1961
106 JFK, Thomson Papers, box 22, Southeast Asia 61–66, Indonesia, Economic Survey Team Report 6/62
107 Ibid., p20–23
108 JFK, Thomson Papers, box 22, Southeast Asia 61–66, Indonesia, Economic Survey Team Report 6/62, pp. 26–35 (summary)
109 Ibid., p27
110 Ibid., p28–29
111 Ibid., p27–28
112 Ibid., p29–30
113 Ibid., p31
114 Ibid., p30–31
115 Ibid., p26–27
116 Ibid., p. 26; For more on the civic action program see chapter 2, "Feil! Fant ikke referansekilden."
117 Confer chapter 3, subchapter "Feil! Fant ikke referansekilden.", p*
118 Ibid., pp. 32–33
119 Ibid., p. 32; Ibid., p. 30
120 Ibid, p. 6
121 See also chapter 2, "Feil! Fant ikke referansekilden.", p *
122 For a summary of this shift of policy, see Jones 1971: p127; Kahin and Kahin 1995: pp. 190–195;
123 Adm. Felts testimony for House Foreign Affairs Committee, 14. may 1963, (pp. 1408–1440 of Congressional record), folder 17 "MAL-INDON", Hilsman papers, box 2, JFK Library, p. 1409
124 Paper, "Guidelines of US policy in Indonesia", 11.03.61, "General 61–63", "SEA 61–63", box 21, Thomson papers, JFK Library, p8
125 Letter, Bell to Jones, December 28 1961, "SEA 61-63", "General 61-63", Thomson papers, box 21, JFK Library, pp. 1–3
126 The definition of the Mobrig as paramilitary is a matter of definition, since it changed character throughout its existence. It was mainly a civilian controlled armed force meant to counter the Army, but at times also under Army control alongside the rest of the Indonesian police force.
127 Letter, Bell to Jones, December 28 1961, "SEA 61-63", "General 61-63", Thomson papers, box 21, JFK Library, pp. 1–3
128 Bruce 1983, pp366–367
129 Ibid., p367
130 Ibid., p368
131 Bruce 1986, p473
132 Schlesinger 1978: pp. 498–503; See also chapter 2: "Action recommendations" for more on civic action in Indonesia.
133 Ibid., pp474–475
134 Letter, Bell to Jones, December 28 1961, "SEA 61-63", "General 61-63", Thomson papers, box 21, JFK Library, pp. 1–3
135 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 174, Memo, Rostow to U.A Johnson, May 12, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 175, Memo, U.A. Johnson to Rusk, May 23, 1961
136 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 175, Memo, U.A. Johnson to Rusk, May 23, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 181, Memo, Cleveland to Rusk, July 24, 1961 (Attachment A)
137 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 175, Memo, U.A. Johnson to Rusk, May 23, 1961
138 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 175, Memo, U.A. Johnson to Rusk, May 23, 1961
139 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 179, Memo of conversation, US: Ball, Bell (SPA), Blue (WE), NL: van Roijen, Huydecoper; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 180, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, July 19, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 181, Memo, Cleveland to Rusk, July 24, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 182, Deptel 126 (Djakarta), August 3, 1961
140 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 190, Memo, R. Johnson to Rostow, September 14, 1961
141 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 189, Memo, Komer to Kennedy, September 11, 1961
147 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 196, Deptel 887 (USUN), October 11, 1961.
148 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 197, Memo, Rostow to Kennedy, October 13, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 200, Memo, R. Johnson to M. Bundy, November 6, 1961
150 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 198, Memo, JCS to McNamara, October 13, 1961
151 FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 205, Memo, M. Bundy to Kennedy, December 1, 1961; FRUS 1961–63 XXIII: 206, Memo, Komer to Rostow, November 30, 1961
153 The colony name had been West New Guinea