Wed, 09 Jul 2003

U.S. Embassy and its wall

I am writing to clarify the position of my embassy concerning our request to construct a wall in front of our chancery on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan.

As residents of Jakarta are well aware, since last September two lanes of traffic in front of the embassy have been closed, unsightly barriers and barbed wire have been erected and over 100 police have been deployed on a round-the-clock basis. The reasons for these measures are unfortunately all too understandable, given the world situation, and we are grateful for the superb cooperation of the Indonesian authorities in providing this excellent protection.

Now, however, we would like to return the area in front of the embassy to the people of Jakarta. Our proposal is to construct a solid wall, three meters high, inside the current fence line. This would allow us to remove the barriers and barbed wire and reopen the two lanes of traffic.

We are not seeking to replace the existing fence, but simply to build a solid wall inside our property. This would require the governor of Jakarta to make an exception to city bylaws concerning nonresidential buildings.

We propose to build the wall one meter behind the existing fence so that we may preserve a number of beautiful trees, and accommodate underground hydraulic, electric and plumbing equipment.

I hope we can work together in a spirit of friendship so that we can restore this important symbolic area to its former beautiful state.

RALPH L. BOYCE, Ambassador, U.S. Embassy, Jakarta