U.S. Department of State 
Background Notes:  Indonesia, December 1995 
Bureau of Public Affairs 
 
 
December 1995 
Official Name:  Republic of Indonesia 
 
PROFILE 
 
Geography 
 
Area:  2 million sq. km. (736,000 sq. mi.). 
Cities:  Capital--Jakarta (est. 8.6 million).  Other cities--Surabaya 
(2.4 million), Medan (1.7 million), Bandung (2 million), Semarang (1 
million).  
Terrain:  More than 17,000 islands, the large ones consisting of coastal 
plains with mountainous interiors.   
Climate:  Equatorial but cooler in highlands. 
 
People 
 
Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Indonesian(s).   
Population:  195 million.   
Annual growth rate: 1.6%. 
Ethnic groups:  Javanese, Sundanese, Madurese, coastal Malays, Bataks, 
many others.   
Languages:  Indonesian (official), local languages, the most important 
of which is Javanese.   
Education:  Years compulsory--nine.  Literacy--85%.   
Health:  Infant mortality rate--58/1000 live births.  Life expectancy--
men 61, women 65.   
Work force (90 million, 1995 est.):  Agriculture--50%.  Commerce--15%.  
Services--14%.  Manufacturing--11%.  Other industry--10%.   
 
Government 
 
Type:  Independent republic.   
Independence:  August 17, 1945.   
Constitution:  1945. 
Branches:  Executive--president (head of government and chief of state).  
Legislative--500-member House of Representatives (DPR), 1,000-member 
People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).  Judicial--Supreme Court.  Under 
the 1945 constitution, two other government bodies (the Supreme Audit 
Board examines government accounts and the Supreme Advisory Council  
advises the president on matters of state) are considered branches of 
government on the same level as the executive, legislative, and judicial 
branches.  
Subdivisions:  27 provinces (including three special territories), 
divided into 241 districts and 56 municipalities. 
Political parties:  Golkar (federation of groups), Indonesian Democracy 
Party (PDI), United Development Party (PPP).  
Suffrage:  Universal at 17 and for married persons regardless of age 
(except for members of the armed forces, who do not vote). 
 
Economy  
 
GDP (1994):  $174 billion.   
Annual growth rate:  7.3%.   
Per capita income:  $908.  	 
Natural resources:  Oil and gas (8% of GDP), bauxite, silver, tin, 
copper, gold, coal. 
Agriculture (17% of GDP):  Products--timber, rubber, rice, palm oil, 
coffee.  Land--17% cultivated. 
Manufacturing (24% of GDP):  Products--garments, footwear, electronic 
goods, furniture, paper products. 
Trade (est.):  Exports--$40 billion:  Oil and gas, plywood, textiles and 
apparel.  Imports--$32 billion:  raw materials for industry and capital 
goods.   
 
U.S.-INDONESIAN RELATIONS 
 
The United States has important economic, commercial, and security 
interests in Indonesia because of its growing economy and markets and 
its strategic location astride a number of key international straits.  
Relations between Indonesia and the U.S. are positive.  The U.S. played 
an important role in Indonesian independence in the late 1940s.  The 
U.S. and Indonesia maintain cordial and cooperative security 
arrangements although the two countries are not bound in any formal 
security treaties. 
 
The United States and Indonesia share the common goal of maintaining 
peace, security, and stability in the region and maintain a dialogue on 
threats to regional security.  The United States has welcomed 
Indonesia's contributions to regional security, especially its leading 
role in helping achieve a settlement in Cambodia and in mediating among 
the many territorial claimants in the South China Sea.  The United 
States and Indonesia maintain a modest but fruitful program of military 
cooperation which includes military training, ship and aircraft visits, 
joint exercises, and mutual visits of ranking military officers. 
 
Friction points in the bilateral political relationship in recent years 
have centered on human rights, especially in East Timor, and also on the 
rights of workers.  In 1992, the U.S. Congress suspended the 
international military and education training (IMET) program for 
Indonesia in response to a November 12, 1991, shooting incident in East 
Timor involving Indonesian security forces and peaceful Timorese 
demonstrators; this congressional restriction remains in effect.  The 
U.S. supports UN efforts to promote a dialogue between Indonesia and 
Portugal to resolve their differences regarding the political status of 
East Timor. 
 
On worker rights, Indonesia was the target of two 1992 petitions filed 
under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) legislation.  The 
petitions argued that Indonesia did not meet recognized international 
norms for labor relations because of excessive military involvement in 
legitimate labor activity and severe restraints on the right to organize 
a union.  A formal GSP review was suspended in February 1994 without 
terminating GSP benefits for Indonesia, but an active dialogue continues 
on worker rights issues. 
 
Indonesia was graduated from Foreign Military Financing funding in 1991. 
As noted, the IMET program for Indonesia was suspended by the U.S. 
Congress in 1992 because of human rights concerns surrounding East 
Timor. Military cooperative and procurement programs that continue 
include foreign military sales, direct commercial sales, and the defense 
cooperation in armaments program. In 1995, the total value of active 
foreign military sales approached $550 million; in the last few years, 
these have supported Harpoon missiles, F-16s, and torpedoes. 
 
Trade and Investment 
 
U.S. exports to Indonesia in 1994 totaled $2.8 billion.  The main 
exports were machinery, cotton, and aircraft and parts.  U.S. imports 
from Indonesia totaled $6.5 billion, an increase of 20% from 1993.  Main 
imports included footwear, electronic goods, and garments. 
 
The U.S. Government offers loans and loan guarantees from the Export-
Import Bank for exports to Indonesia.  In addition, the Overseas Private 
Investment Corporation provides specific risk and extended risk 
guarantees for U.S. investment in Indonesia.  Further information on 
leading trade prospects, project financing, and investment and trade 
regulations can be found in the Country Commercial Guide to Indonesia 
(available electronically from the National Trade Data Bank--see box--or 
in hard copy from the U.S. National Technical Information Service at 
703-487-4650). 
 
Economic assistance to Indonesia is coordinated through the Consultative 
Group on Indonesia (CGI), formed in 1992.  It includes 19 donor 
countries and 13 international organizations and meets annually to 
coordinate donor assistance.  The July 1995 meetings resulted in pledges 
totaling $5.4 billion, with Japan's contribution at $2.16 billion. The 
United States pledged about $89 million. 
 
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided 
development assistance to Indonesia since 1950.  Initial assistance 
focused on the most urgent needs of the new republic, including food 
aid, infrastructure rehabilitation, health care, and training.   
 
USAID's current program, which supports Indonesia's goal of achieving a 
per capita income of $1,000 by the year 2000, focuses on five 
objectives: 
 
--  Sustained economic growth in the transition from economic 
development assistance to development cooperation; 
--  Improved health and reduced fertility; 
--  Decentralized and strengthened natural resources management; 
--  Strengthened urban environmental management; and 
--  Increased effectiveness of selected institutions which support 
democracy.   
  
Principal U.S. Embassy Officials 
 
Ambassador--vacant 
Charge d'Affaires--Barbara S. Harvey 
USAID Director--Vivikka Moldrem 
Consul General--William H. Barkell 
 
The U.S. embassy in Indonesia is located at Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan 5, 
Jakarta (tel. 62-21-360-360).  U.S. mail to the embassy may be addressed 
to APO AP 96520. 
 
The U.S. consulate general in Medan is at Jl. Imam Bonjol 13, Medan, 
North Sumatra (tel. 62-61-322200/060); the Principal Officer position is 
vacant.  
 
The U.S. consulate general in Surabaya is at Jl. Dr. Sutomo 33, Surabaya 
East Java (tel. (62-31) 582287/8); the Principal Officer is Mark C. 
Eaton. 
 
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS 
 
Indonesia is a republic based on the 1945 constitution providing for a 
limited separation of executive, legislative, and judicial power.  The 
president, elected for a five-year term, is the overwhelmingly dominant 
government and political figure. 
 
The president appoints the cabinet, currently composed of four 
coordinating ministers (in the fields of political and security affairs, 
economic and financial affairs, people's welfare, and industrial  and 
trade affairs), 13 state ministers, 24 ministers, and three high 
officials with status of state minister.  Although the judiciary is a 
separate branch of government, judges are actually employees of the 
executive branch. 
 
Legislative authority is divided between the House of Representatives 
(DPR) and the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR), both renewed every 
five years.  The House--with 400 elected members and 100 members 
appointed from the armed forces (to be reduced to 75 in accord with a 
1995 presidential order)--performs legislative functions, although not 
in the manner of similar bodies in Western democratic systems.  The MPR, 
consisting of the House of Representatives plus an equal number of 
appointed members, meets only once in its five-year term, to formulate 
the overall principles and aims of the government and to elect the 
president and vice president.  Representative bodies at all levels in 
Indonesia shun voting, preferring to arrive at decisions though 
"consultation and consensus." 
 
The party system reflects the Soeharto government's determination to 
shift the political focus from Indonesia's deep ethnic, religious, and 
ideological differences, which contributed to the collapse of an earlier 
experiment in parliamentary democracy.  Soeharto's preferred strategy is 
an authoritarian, program-based, development-oriented politics.  Major 
parties are the United Development Party (PPP), composed of various 
Muslim groups, and the Indonesian Democratic Party (PDI), composed of 
Christian, socialist, and nationalist elements.  Parliamentary elections 
held in 1992 gave a 68% majority to Golkar, a federation of groups--
civil servants, youth, labor, farmers, and women--which functions as an 
undeclared government party.  Golkar and appointed members from the 
military dominate the House of Representatives and the MPR. 
 
The armed forces have shaped and staffed Soeharto's New Order since it 
came to power in the wake of the abortive 1965 uprising.  Military 
officers, especially from the army, have been key advisers to Soeharto.  
Under a dual function concept, military officers serve in the civilian 
bureaucracy at all government levels, although there has been a recent 
tendency to reduce the military's direct involvement in the civilian 
bureaucracies. 
 
Indonesia is divided into 27 provinces, including three special 
territories and subdivided into 241 districts and 56 municipalities.  
The governors of provinces are appointed by the president from nominees 
submitted by the provincial legislatures.  The executive branch has 
substantial influence over who is nominated and also may reject a 
provincial legislature's nominees and ask for a new list of candidates. 
 
Principal Government Officials 
 
President--Soeharto 
Vice President--Try Sutrisno 
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Ali Alatas 
Ambassador to the United States--Arifin Siregar 
Ambassador to the United Nations--Nugroho Wisnumurti 
 
The embassy of Indonesia is at 2020 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, 
DC  20036; tel. 202-775-5200-5207; fax 202-775-5365.  Consulates general 
are in New York, Los Angeles, Houston, San Francisco, and Chicago. 
 
TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION 
 
The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the Department of State recommends that Americans avoid 
travel to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and security 
information, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. 
embassies and consulates in the subject country. They can be obtained by 
telephone at (202) 647-5225 or by fax at (202) 647-3000. To access the 
Consular Affairs Bulletin Board by computer, dial (202) 647-9225, via a 
modem with standard settings. Bureau of Consular Affairs' publications 
on obtaining passports and planning a safe trip abroad are available 
from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800. 
 
Emergency information concerning  Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225.  
 
While planning a trip, travelers can check the latest information on 
health requirements and conditions with the U.S. Centers for Disease 
Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at (404) 332-4559 
provides telephonic or fax information on the most recent health 
advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on 
food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. A booklet 
entitled Health Information for International Travel (HHS publication 
number CDC-94-8280, price $7.00) is available from the Superintendent of 
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, tel. 
(202) 512-1800. 
 
Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal 
Government Officials" listing in this publication). 
  
Upon their arrival in a country, U.S. citizens are encouraged to 
register with the U.S. embassy (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" 
listing in this publication). Such information might assist family 
members in making contact en route in case of an emergency. 
 
Further Electronic Information: 
 
Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). Available by modem, the CABB 
provides Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and helpful 
information for travelers. Access at (202) 647-9225 is free of charge to 
anyone with a personal computer, modem, telecommunications software, and 
telephone line. 
 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network. Available on the Internet, 
DOSFAN provides timely, global access to official U.S. foreign policy 
information. Updated daily, DOSFAN includes Background Notes; Dispatch, 
the official weekly magazine of U.S. foreign policy; daily press 
briefings; directories of key officers of foreign service posts; etc. 
DOSFAN is accessible three ways on the Internet: 
 
Gopher:  dosfan.lib.uic.edu 
URL:  gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/ 
WWW:  http://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/dosfan.html 
 
U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a quarterly basis 
by the U.S. Department of State, USFAC archives information on the 
Department of State Foreign Affairs Network, and includes an array of 
official foreign policy information from 1990 to the present. Priced at 
$80 ($100 foreign), one-year subscriptions include four discs (MSDOS and 
Macintosh compatible) and are available from the Superintendent of 
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 37194, Pittsburgh, 
PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250. 
 
Federal Bulletin Board (BBS). A broad range of foreign policy 
information also is carried on the BBS, operated by the U.S. Government 
Printing Office (GPO). By modem, dial (202) 512-1387. For general BBS 
information, call (202) 512-1530. 
 
National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information, 
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet 
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information. 
 
======================================== 
Background Notes Series  --  Published by the United States Department 
of State  --  Bureau of Public Affairs  --  Office of Public 
Communication  --  Washington, DC  --  Series Editor:  Marilyn J. 
Bremner 
 
Indonesia  --  Department of State Publication 7786  --  December 1995 
 
This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without 
permission; citation of this source is appreciated.  For sale by the 
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Washington, DC  20402. 
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