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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 28, 1959

JOURNAL ENTRY OF AMBASSADOR VOLKOV: CONVERSATION WITH SUBANDRIO

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    Notes from the journal of B.M. Volkov, Soviet Ambassador to Indonesia, on a meeting with Subandrio, Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs, on December 26, 1958. The two discussed Soviet-Indonesian economic cooperation, Subandrio's request for the Soviets to assist the Indonesian delegation to the Soviet Union, Indonesia's interest in acquiring a cruiser from the Soviets, a visit of Soviet military ships to Indonesia, a new candidate for Indonesian military attaché, and Sukarno's interest in visiting the Soviet Union.
    "Journal Entry of Ambassador Volkov: Conversation With Subandrio," January 28, 1959, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Archive of Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation (AVPRF), fond 091, opis 14, papka 13, delo 5, listy 171-173. Obtained for CWIHP by James Hershberg and translated for CWIHP by Daniel Rozas. Included in CWIHP e-Dossier No. 26. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/112302
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USSR EMBASSY IN INDONESIA

From the journal of
B.M.VOLKOV

RECORD OF CONVERSATION
with Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs SUBANDRIO
26 December 1958

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Copy #1

Iskh. #15
28 January 1959

I visited Subandrio upon his request and had a conversation with him.

1. Subandrio stated that tomorrow, 27 December, or 29 December, he is inviting me and Kolybalov to discuss the draft protocol on the use of loans extended by the Soviet government to the Indonesian government for the construction of industrial enterprises. From the Indonesian side, the discussion of this draft protocol will be attended by Prime Minister Djuanda. Subandrio further noted that in general all questions pertaining to this draft, with the exception of timetables and certain formulations, have already been resolved on the expert level.

I responded with agreement.

2. Subandrio, referring to the request of the Indonesian Army Chief of Staff, Major General A.H. Nasution, asked me in the name of the Indonesian government to give all-around assistance to the Indonesian delegation heading to the Soviet Union, with the aim of acquainting them with the equipment for the engineer corps and to demonstrate to this delegation the manufacture and utilization of such equipment.

I replied that Nasution's request has already been relayed to Moscow and that in the near future (29 December) this delegation is planning to visit the Embassy in order to work out a number of details pertaining to their trip.

3. Emphasizing that he is speaking in confidentially, Subandrio asked me to ascertain the possibility of acquiring a cruiser from the Soviet Union (directly or through a third country). "In the event that the Soviet government is prepared to examine affirmatively this request, bearing in mind on the one hand, its importance to Indonesia, and on the other hand, [Indonesia's] financial means, then we will make an official request." Subandrio also emphasized that the strengthening of the Indonesian navy is extremely important for protecting the territorial waters and internal seas of the country, considering the still existing threat of intervention, as well as the presence of neighboring adversarial countries. "I ask you to relay to the Soviet government," said Subandrio, "our categorical promises that we have no intention of using our navy and our armed forces in general for the liberation of Western Irian [Western New Guinea], as it is maintained by the Western propaganda. We are aware that at this time such actions would bring us into conflict not only with Holland and Australia, but with the great powers as well. Our request for a cruiser is precipitated by the interests of insuring the security of our country.

"Moreover," added Subandrio, "it must be said that, although rumors of disagreement between the different armed forces do not correspond with reality, we are adhering to the policy of maintaining a certain balance. In the past, the navy and the air force were simply ignored, and now we are taking steps to repair the situation. Nasution completely agrees with the necessity of these measures, and with the purchase of the cruiser in particular."

In the course of further discussion, Subandrio again emphasized that they have no intention of using the armed forces in order to liberate Western Irian.

4. I inquired Subandrio whether there had been any developments in the matter of our military ships visiting Indonesia, a question which the minister had put to the previous Soviet ambassador to Indonesia, D.A. Zhukov. Subandrio replied that they had planned this visit for December of this year, but due to the visits of Prasad and Tito, it was decided to postpone it to spring of 1959. Subandrio said further that they are planning to send an official invitation approximately 4 weeks prior to the intended date of the visit.

5. Subandrio stated that the Indonesian Ministry of Defense has selected a candidate for a military attaché and in the near future an agreement will be requested for the office. "We are planning to send him to Moscow," said Subandrio, "during the last days of January, possibly beginning of February, but we are not entirely comfortable with establishing an attaché office in Moscow if a Soviet military attaché office is not established in Jakarta at the same time or even a little earlier. The development of relations between Indonesia and the Soviet Union, and military relations in particular, has presently reached a stage in which a further delay in the exchange of military attaches, which has already been protracted, can hardly be justified.

I promised to inform Moscow of Subandrio's thoughts regarding this matter.

6. Noting that he is speaking confidentially and that the question is still at the examination stage, Subandrio said that President Sukarno, in the course of his trip to Scandinavian countries in the summer of 1959, would like to visit the Soviet Union for a few days in order to take advantage of comr. K.E. Voroshilov's prior invitation to relax in Sochi. An official letter on this question will be submitted following his decision.

I replied that President Sukarno will be always happily received in the Soviet Union. I promised to relay to Moscow our unofficial conversation on this question.

USSR AMBASSADOR TO INDONESIA [ signature]
(B. VOLKOV)