118 Cablegram From Spender to Casey

Cablegram, Washington, 19 October 1951

1846. SECRET

Rusk called me in this afternoon to inform me of a development which had occurred on the possible widening of security arrangements for the Pacific area. You will recall from paragraph 8 of my 1828[1] of 16th October that Rusk had raised this matter with me informally. Rusk said that on 18th October, the Charge d'Affaires of the Indonesia Embassy had on instructions, from his Government, approached an officer in the State Department Office of South East Asian Affairs and enquired in the most cautious and noncommittal terms as to American thinking on Indonesia's possible association in security arrangements for the Pacific area. The precise questions which the Charge d'Affaires asked were:

(1) In what security arrangements did the United States expect Indonesia to participate as a result of the Japanese Peace Treaty, and (2) What would be the United States attitude to possible Indonesian participation in a Pacific Pact with the United States or with one or more of the countries in the Pacific area already having security arrangements with the United States.

To the first question the officer had replied that the Peace Treaty itself did not lead to any expectation on the part of the United States for Indonesian participation, in any security arrangement. To the second he said that the United States would regard with interest any spontaneous move on the part of the Indonesian Government to be associated in security arrangements for the Pacific area.

2. Rusk then told me that some four or five months ago, he had discussed generally with the Indonesian Ambassador, the question of possible Indonesian interest in security arrangements for the Pacific area and had gained the impression that any step in this direction by Indonesia would not be politically possible at present. He had, however, also gained the impression that the Indonesian Ambassador was personally interested in Indonesia's participation in a security arrangement. He therefore connected the Charge d'Affaires approach with the Indonesian Ambassador's presence in Djakarta at the present time. At the time of his original conversation, Rusk had informed the Indonesian Ambassador that he would be happy to discuss this matter further with him if the attitude of the Indonesian Government towards security arrangements should alter at any time.

3. Rusk said he intended to call in the Indonesian Charge d'Affaires in the near future and inform him in general terms that the United States would view with sympathetic interest a desire of the Indonesian Government to be associated in security arrangements. Rusk's comments to the Charge d'Affaires would be of such a nature as to keep the pot boiling until the Indonesian Ambassador returned to Washington.

4. He canvassed the desirability of soundings being made by the Australian Government but we reached to conclusion that - (a) Soundings certainly at this stage were inadvisable.

(b) That in any event it would be better to wait until we had a clearer picture of what the Indonesian's themselves had in mind. In this connexion Rusk referred to the possibility that the Indonesians might see the connection between participation in a security arrangement and the issue of Dutch New Guinea.

5. I gained the impression that Rusk was pleased with the Indonesian approach and would do whatever he could [to] encourage the Indonesians. I shall keep you informed of developments.

1 Original dated 17 October. It reported that Rusk had asked Spender on a personal basis whether the Australian Government had any views 'regarding the widening of security arrangements for the Pacific Area'. Spender 'gathered the impression that the issue of a wider Pacific Security arrangement was not being considered officially in the State Department but that Rusk and some of his colleagues had been discussing this matter informally'.

[NAA : A1838, 250/7/10, i]