top of page

Indonesian Crisis Appears Settled — For Now

Feb. 6, 1964 - The Foreign Ministers of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia reached preliminary agreement today on some of the steps to be taken in supervising a ceasefire along the border between Malaysia and Indonesia on the island of Borneo. The three countries sent separate but virtually identical messages to U Thant, Secretary General of the United Nations, saying they had formally asked Thailand to supervise the ceasefire. “We would be grateful,” the messages said, “if in your capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations you would designate the Government of Thailand to perform this task.” The messages added that a carefully supervised ceasefire was necessary to create a favorable atmosphere for a meeting of the heads of state of the three countries.

Raiders from Indonesian Borneo began carrying out forays into the territories of Sarawak and Sabah (formerly North Borneo) after the creation of Malaysia last year. In addition to the two Borneo regions, Malaysia also comprises Malaya and Singapore. Both Indonesia and the Philippines have refused to recognize the new nation. The Indonesians assert that the federation represents a British maneuver to retain influence in Southeast Asia. The Philippines’ objection to the nation is based on an old territorial claim to Sabah.

Last month, the Johnson Administration, worried about a possible spread of the Borneo border fighting, sent Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy (pictured with President Sukarno of Indonesia) to meet with the leaders of the three countries. As a result of Mr. Kennedy’s diplomacy, an agreement was reached on a ceasefire.


bottom of page