Published on Saturday, July 28, 2001 in the New York Times
Official History Describes U.S. Policy in Indonesia in the 60's
by James Risen
WASHINGTON, July 27 — A supposedly secret State Department history, released today by a private research group, discloses new details of United States policy during the 1965 campaign by the Indonesian Army to wipe out the Communist opposition in Indonesia.
The National Security Archive, a Washington group that pushes for the declassification of government documents, obtained a copy of an official State Department history that describes American policy in Indonesia in the mid-1960's.
Tom Blanton, the archive's director, said that the history had been completed for some time, but that its release had been blocked by the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. Mr. Blanton's group obtained a copy of the history when copies were inadvertently sent by the Government Printing Office to G.P.O. bookstores before they were supposed to be released.
Mark Mansfield, a spokesman for the C.I.A., said an interagency decision to delay the publication had been made to avoid roiling relations at a time of political turmoil in Indonesia. Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of Sukarno, Indonesia's first president, who was ousted after being undermined by the campaign, became the country's leader this week; she replaced Abdurrahman Wahid, who was forced out of office.
Mr. Mansfield said the shipment to government bookstores was accidental.
The history includes documents about American actions during the Indonesian Army's campaign against the Indonesia Communist Party, or P.K.I., in 1965 and 1966. The campaign brought General Suharto to power as the country's dictator, replacing President Sukarno.
In an editorial note, the history describes in detail the difficulty that the United States Embassy in Jakarta had in keeping up with events during the chaotic period.
"The embassy . . . was hampered in its reporting on events in the areas outside the capital by the general confusion and chaos," the history states. "Gradually, the embassy came to realize that Indonesia was undergoing a full-scale purge of P.K.I. influence and that these killings were overlaid with longstanding and deep ethnic and religious conflicts."
The history also includes a Dec. 2, 1965, telegram from Ambassador Marshall Green to the State Department concerning possible American payments to a man described in the memo as "one of the key civilian advisers and promoters" of an organization known as the Kap-Gestapu movement. The memo added that Kap-Gestapu's activities were "fully consonant with and coordinated by the army."
The National Security Archive said the Kap-Gestapu movement had been involved in the army-backed campaign against the Communists.
The memo from the ambassador supported the payment in order to increase the man's standing in the Kap-Gestapu movement. "The chances of detection or subsequent revelation of our support in this instance are as minimal as any black bag operation can be," it stated.
Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company