Collection (herafter R)
THE UNDER SECRETARY OF STATE
March 18, 1965
MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT
Subject: Proposed Mission for Ellsworth
Bunker to Indonesia
Our relations with Indonesia are on the verge of falling apart.
Sukarno is turning more and more toward the Communist PKI. The Army,
which has been the traditional countervailing force, has its own
problems of internal cohesion.
Within the past few days the situation has grown increasingly more
ominous. Not only has the management of the American rubber plants
been taken over, but there are dangers of an imminent seizure of the
American oil companies.
Under these circumstances, Secretary Rusk and I feel it essential to
get a clear, objective reading of the situation.
Ambassador Jones has been in Djakarta for seven years. He is tired
and worried. He has done everything possible to advance American
interests through his close personal relations with Sukarno, but that
line seems pretty well played out.
Before we recommend to you some of the hard decisions that may be
required over the next few weeks we think it would be valuable to have
Ellsworth Bunker make a fresh and objective reading of the situation.
After he had reported his conclusions we would be in a better position
to advise whether
a. You should send Bunker to Djakarta as Ambassador;
b. You should send someone less prestigious; or
c. The post should be left vacant as an expression of our
dissatisfaction pending an improvement in relations.
We recommend, therefore, that Ambassador Bunker be asked to pay a
brief visit to Djakarta. He is prepared to leave next Wednesday. His
mission would have the following objectives:
1. He could carry a letter from you to Sukarno. Because of
Sukarno's respect for you this might be the means of temporarily
stabilizing the situation.
2. He could make use of his own prestige with the Indonesians (you
will recall he was the man who nogotiated the West New Guinea
settlement) to try to get a commitment from Sukarno to take a
more moderate course.
3. He would be able to recommend the decisions we may be forced to
make regarding the further evacuation of personnel; the handling of
the problem of the oil companies, etc.
If you think well of this idea, we will prepare a draft letter from
you to Sukarno which Ambassador Bunker could deliver. Meanwhile, the
mere fact that Sukarno knew that Ambassador Bunker was proposing to
visit Djakarta on your behalf could have a stabilizing effect.
George W. Ball
Lyndon B. Johnson Library