The Eisenhower Administration and Indonesia during the First Cabinet of Ali Sastroamijojo, 1953-1955

ASIA FORUM with Dr. Richard Mason

Research Fellow and Head, Center for American Studies, Institute of Occidental Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan, Malaysia 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013, 10:00-11.30


The Cold War initially focused on Europe but it promptly spread to encompass the entire globe. By the early 1950s, the Cold War belligerents began to compete bitterly for the allegiances of the newly independent states. Many of the newly independent states, however, had from the outset, decided not to take side in the Cold War, preferring to follow a policy of non-alignment. Indonesia is one example of such a state.

This seminar will discuss the policies of the Eisenhower administration toward Indonesia during the first cabinet of Ali Sastroamijojo, 1953-1955. Despite their profession to non-alignment, all the Indonesian cabinets before the advent of the Ali cabinet had leaned toward the West. Ali was determined to restore the policy of ‘non-bloc’ and non-alignment in the Cold War. Adding to the United States’ concerns, the tenure of the Ali cabinet coincided with the Sino-Soviet ‘peace offensive’ toward the non-aligned and neutral states. An examination of the interplay between the United States’ policy of containing communism and Indonesia’s policy of non-alignment in the Cold War would serve to illuminate upon the dynamics and the intricate nature of the Cold War in Southeast Asia during the 1950s.

Dr. Richard Mason is currently Research Fellow and Head, Center for American Studies, Institute of Occidental Studies, at the National University of Malaysia. His main research interests are in the areas of the Cold War, with particular reference to Southeast Asia.  In addition to articles in scholarly journals, Dr. Mason has edited, together with Abu Talib Ahmad, Reflections on Southeast Asian History Since 1945 (2006); and 1948 Insurgencies and the Cold War in Southeast Asia Revisited (2009), He has recently completed a monograph, Shaping the Post-colonial World (in press), a comparative study of the United States’ reactions to the anti-colonial revolts in Indonesia and Vietnam at the end of the Pacific War. He is currently completing a book-length study, Containment and the Challenge of Non-alignment: The United States and Indonesia, 1950-1959.


To attend, RSVP by September 17, 2013 to Mr. Andreas Mälarstedt at

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.