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Cablegate: Codel Payne and Hdac Find Receptive Audience In

VZCZCXRO3155
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #1930/01 1970320
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160320Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5445
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 0911
RUEHPB/AMEMBASSY PORT MORESBY 3365
RUEHSV/AMEMBASSY SUVA 0104
RUEHUM/AMEMBASSY ULAANBAATAR 0077
RUEHWL/AMEMBASSY WELLINGTON 1594
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RHHJJPI/USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 001930

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

CORRECTED COPY (CLASSIFICATION REVISED IN PARAGRAPH 1)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV EAID KDEM ID
SUBJECT: CODEL PAYNE AND HDAC FIND RECEPTIVE AUDIENCE IN
JAKARTA

REF: A. JAKARTA 1892 (CODEL MEETS DEFMIN)

B. JAKARTA 1845 (CODEL MEETS SBY)
C. JAKARTA 1759 (CODEL SCENESETTER)

JAKARTA 00001930 001.2 OF 002


SUMMARY
-------

1. (U) On July 4-7, CODEL Payne visited Jakarta as part of
the House Democracy Assistance Commission's (HDAC) ongoing
legislative strengthening program in Indonesia. In a
whirlwind three-day visit, CODEL Payne met with President
Yudhoyono (Ref B), Defense Minister Juwono (Ref A) and top
legislators from the Indonesian House of Representatives
(DPR). CODEL Payne engaged with parliamentarians on a host
of issues and in a variety of fora at the DPR, in a series of
breakfast and lunch meetings, and during a reception at the
Ambassador's residence for members of the DPR's
U.S.-Indonesia Caucus. Throughout their visit,
Representatives Donald Payne (D-NJ), David Dreier (R-CA), and
James Moran (D-MD) consistently stressed the need to develop
an independent Indonesian legislature, and noted the
importance of attracting talented, independent DPR support
staff as part of this process (Note: presently the DPR
largely relies on civil servants employed by the Secretariat
and accountable only to the Executive branch for staffing.
End Note). Indonesian interlocutors from the President on
down to individual parliamentarians proved receptive to this
message, and demonstrated a palpable enthusiasm for HDAC's
mission that was reportedly lacking during HDAC's two
previous trips to Indonesia. In the most notable
manifestation of the DPR's obvious enthusiasm for the visit,
DPR Speaker Agung Laksono urged CODEL Payne to sign a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the
relationship between HDAC and the DPR; however, the
delegation declined to sign the Indonesian text. HDAC will
consider proposing its own MOU language instead. End Summary.

CODEL PAYNE MEETS SPEAKER LAKSONO
---------------------------------

2. (U) On July 5, CODEL Payne met with Speaker Laksono,
Commission I Chairman Theo Sambuaga, and Inter-Parliamentary
Vice Chairman Andi Ghalib. Chairman Laksono welcomed the
CODEL to Indonesia, spoke about his own efforts at
legislative reform, and agreed with the CODEL's assessment
that a stronger legislature would help expedite the
democratic consolidation process in Indonesia. Congressman
Payne recounted for the Speaker the group's conversation
earlier that day with President Yudhoyono (Ref B), and noted
that the President had also endorsed the idea of a stronger
independent legislative branch of government. Congressman
Payne underscored HDAC's belief that the DPR would need to
bolster the number of expert staff available to help
Indonesian legislators conduct the nation's business. He
further emphasized that the DPR's current staffing structure,
currently under Executive branch oversight, should be
reformed to develop a staff cadre that would report directly
to the legislative branch.

3. (U) Congressman Dreier briefed the Speaker on HDAC's
mission and noted that Indonesia was the Commission's largest
and most geopolitically significant partner. Bearing in mind
the DPR's previous sensitivity to the optics of receiving
democratic strengthening assistance from the United States,
Dreier noted that democracy was still a work in progress in
the United States as well. Congressman Moran discussed the
importance of accounting for past human rights transgressions
as a necessary step towards progressing as a nation, and
highlighted the need for additional resources to help the DPR
continue to develop as an effective institution.

4. (U) Chairman Laksono closed the meeting by asking the
CODEL to consider endorsing a formal MOU with the DPR that
would commit HDAC to long-term assistance in the form of
exchanges, technical assistance, and continued cooperation.
Representative Payne thanked the Speaker for the proposed
MOU, characterizing it as a clear symbol of the DPR's
seriousness of purpose, and agreed to review the document
carefully.


JAKARTA 00001930 002.2 OF 002


CODEL PAYNE ENGAGES WITH THE DPR
--------------------------------

5. (U) The three Congressmen and six staffers in CODEL Payne
participated in an intense series of meetings at the DPR that
stretched out over the better part of two days. The
Representatives met at one point or another with the Speaker,
the DPR Reform Implementation Team, the Legislative Council,
the DPR Administration Committee, the Finance and Banking
Committee, leaders from all ten political party factions,
groups of legislators from all ten party factions, alumni
participants in a 2006 HDAC exchange to the United States,
the U.S. Indonesia Caucus, and USAID's legislative
strengthening partners. CODEL Payne staffers participated in
many of the same meetings and also periodically broke away to
meet with staff members from the Speaker's office, expert
staff from political party factions, expert staff from all 11
DPR Commissions, expert staff from the Legislative Council,
and the Director of the DPR's information center. One
measure of the intensity of the program was the fact that at
two separate points during the visit, the Congressmen and
staffers participated in six concurrent meetings at the DPR.

6. (U) In meetings with the DPR's Legislative Group and its
Reform Implementation Team, Indonesian parliamentarians
consistently highlighted the issue of inadequate funding as
the DPR's most pressing concern. DPR members agreed with
CODEL Payne's assessment that responsibility for staffing the
DPR should no longer lie with the executive branch, and they
demonstrated a sense of urgency about the need for greater
reform. In a meeting with the DPR's Administration Committee,
several parliamentarians shared their candid views about what
they perceived as a USG effort to promote "U.S. style
democracy in Indonesia." Congressman Dreier responded that
HDAC sought simply to assist other legislatures by way of
example and through the exchange of information and
experiences. There was no such thing as a perfect democracy,
Dreier added, before noting that even with the benefit of
over two hundred years of experience, the United States had
room for improvement.

7. (U) During the course of their individual meetings with
DPR members from the different factions, Congressmen Payne,
Dreier, and Moran addressed questions about U.S. foreign
policy, discussed concerns related to the impact
globalization, and reviewed a variety of other issues of
mutual interest. In Congressman Payne's meeting with the
largest party in the DPR, Golkar, he stressed the importance
of interacting with one's constituents, and noted to the
group's collective astonishment that he visits his district
nearly every week. Several parliamentarians remarked that
funding constraints precluded them from visiting their
constituents more than once or twice a year. In Congressman
Dreier's meeting with the second largest faction, PDI-P, and
several smaller parties, Dreier presided over a lively
exchange that touched on Iraq, Papua, and the challenges of
democratic consolidation.

8. (U) In their July 11 meeting with Commission XI, the DPR
committee charged with oversight of finance and banking
issues, Congressmen Dreier and Payne emphasized that the U.S.
Congress sets the federal budget. Congressmen Payne and
Dreier then outlined for their Indonesian counterparts the
detailed mechanics of the U.S. budget process, before
underscoring the U.S. House's role in initiating all
spending. Congressman Dreier pointed out that the House and
Senate have the right to disagree with the President, and
vice versa, before noting that the Framers crafted the
Constitution in such a way that there would always be a
healthy clash of ideas between the legislative and executive
branches. In closing the meeting, both Dreier and Payne once
again emphasized the importance of employing independent
staff members directly accountable to their superiors, and
emphasized that they would never allow outside influences to
direct their staffing decisions.

9. (U) CODEL Payne has cleared this cable.
HUME

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