Vice President Mondale told President Suharto yesterday that the United States had reacted favorably to the release of 10,000 political prisoners from Indonesian jails last December.
Talking to reporters after a 90-minute meeting with Suharto at the palace, Mondale said Suharto had reaffirmed his decision to release the remaining 18,000 prisoners in batches by the end of next year.
The detainees have been held without trial on suspicion of having Communist sympathies since the abortive Communist coup in 1965.
Mondale said he discussed the human rights issue with President Suharto and informed him of the favorable reactions to the release program in the United States.
"The American people attach great importance to it," he said of the program.
Mondale also met eight non-official Indonesians, including a civil rights lawyer and outspoken government critic, Adman Buyung Nasution.
"It is American policy also to have consultations with people who are in the government," Mondale said.
Mondale conferred earlier with his Indonesian counterpart, Adam Malim.
On military cooperation, Mondale said the United States government has prepared to provide Indonesia with a squadron of A4 fighter aircraft to strengthen the Indonesian Air Force.
Many Indonesian Air Force planes, mostly Soviet MIG19 or MIG21 models have been grounded since the Soviet Union stopped supplying spare parts after the 1965 uprising.
"I underscore the importance President Carter and the United States attach to the commitment that the U.S. will continue to play a constructive role in the Pacific region," Mondale said.
Mondale said he also told Suharto the U.S. Department of Energy has approved a price formula for the sale of Indonesian natural gas to the United States. He did not disclose details other that to say it provided for escalation in prices under an agreed formula.
He said the site for a natural gas distribution plant was still being discussed. Recent reports said it would locate somewhere in Southern California and that both Oxnard and Long Beach were being considered.
Mondale's visit to Indonesia was his third stop on an Asian tour that has taken him to Manila and Bangkok.
American officials traveling with the vice president said he was suffering from a sore throat during his talks first with Malik and Suharto.
Today Mondale flies in Air Force Two to Canberra, Australia. He will also visit New Zealand before returning to Washington.