President Suharto of Indonesia presided over a cabinet meeting in Djakarta on Saturday at which the situation in West Irian discussed.
STATE PALACE GUEST HOUSE; MINISTERS ARRIVING AND INTO PLACE; PRESIDENT SUHARTO ARRIVES; INTERIOR MINISTERS SEATED BEFORE MEETING.
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Background: President Suharto of Indonesia presided over a cabinet meeting in Djakarta on Saturday at which the situation in West Irian discussed. It was announced afterwards that it had been decided to increase the pay of the Irianese police, which appears to confirm the impression that poor pay had prompted some members of the police force to join the rebels during the recent uprising, which now seems to have been quelled.
The meeting was held at the State Palace guest house. Among those taking part were Mr. Adam Malik, the Foreign Minister, and Dr. Sunawar Sukowati, the Minister for the Central Bank. The two men are concerned with the West Irian situation, the former because of its international implications and the latter because part of the trouble is thought to be due to the economic situation of the territory.
Before the meeting it had already been announced that an air and sea operation had been organised to send more food and supplies to the remote territory.
Indonesia had undertaken to organise a consultation in West Irian between July 10th and August 5th this year to decide on the territory's future. But the method chosen - a non-voting consensus of 1000 community leaders - has been criticised by some of the local tribesmen, who would prefer a one man, one vote referendum.
A United Nations envoy is helping the Indonesian Government with the organisation of the consultation. He left Djakarta today (Monday) for West Irian to look into the recent troubles there.