1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by "Free Choice"
Washington, D.C., July 27, 2001 – George Washington University's National Security Archive today posted on the Web (www.nsarchive.org) one of two State Department documentary histories whose release the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is stalling, even though the documents included in the volumes were officially declassified in 1998 and 1999, according to public State Department records. The two disputed State Department volumes cover Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines in the years 1964-68 and Greece-Turkey-Cyprus in the same period.
The CIA, as well as action officers at the State Department, have prevented the official release of either volume, already printed and bound by the Government Printing Office. The National Security Archive obtained the Indonesia volume posted today when the GPO shipped copies to various GPO bookstores; but the Greece volume is still locked up in GPO warehouses.
The Indonesia volume includes significant new documentation on the Indonesian Army's campaign against the Indonesia Communist Party (PKI) in 1965-66, which brought to power the dictator Suharto. (Ironically, Suharto's successor, ex-President Wahid, is on his way to Baltimore this week for medical treatment, and has been replaced by his vice-president, who is the daughter of the man Suharto overthrew.) For example, U.S. Embassy reporting on November 13, 1965 passed on information from the police that "from 50 to 100 PKI members were being killed every night in East and Central Java…."; and the Embassy admitted in an April 15, 1966 airgram to Washington that "We frankly do not know whether the real figure [of PKI killed] is closer to 100,000 or 1,000,000 but believe it wiser to err on the side of the lower estimates, especially when questioned by the press." On page 339, the volume seems to endorse the figure of 105,000 killed that was proposed in 1970 by foreign service officer Richard Cabot Howland in a classified CIA publication.
On another highly controversial issue – that of U.S. involvement in the killings – the volume includes an "Editorial Note" on page 387 describing Ambassador Marshall Green's August 10, 1966 airgram to Washington reporting that an Embassy-prepared list of top Communist leaders with Embassy attribution removed "is apparently being used by Indonesian security authorities who seem to lack even the simplest overt information on PKI leadership at the time…." On December 2, 1965, Green endorsed a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the Kap-Gestapu movement leading the repression; but the December 3 CIA response to State is withheld in full (pp. 379-380).
The CIA's intervention in the State Department publication is only the latest in a series of such controversies, dating back to 1990 when the CIA censored a State volume on Iran in the early 1950s to leave out any reference to the CIA-backed coup that overthrew Mossadegh in 1953. The chair of the State Department historical advisory committee resigned in protest, producing an outcry among academics and journalists (see "History Bleached at State," New York Times editorial, May 16, 1990, p. A26: "At the very moment that Moscow is coming clean on Stalin's massacre of Polish officers, Washington is putting out history in the old Soviet mode."). Congress then passed a law in 1991 requiring the State Department volumes to include covert operations as well as overt diplomacy, so as to provide an accurate historical picture of U.S. foreign policy, 30 years after the events.
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1. Editorial note from the Indonesia volume on the number of Indonesian PKI members who were killed in 1965-66, pp. 338-340.
2. Editorial note from the Indonesia volume on the U.S. Embassy's role in providing lists to the Indonesian Army of PKI members, pp. 386-387.
2a. Ambassador Green's December 2, 1965 endorsement of a 50 million rupiah covert payment to the "army-inspired but civilian-staffed action group [Kap-Gestapu]... still carrying burden of current repressive efforts targeted against PKI...." The document immediately following, presumably CIA's response to this proposal from December 3, 1965 (written by William Colby of CIA's Far East division to the State Department's William Bundy), was withheld in full from the volume. (pp.379-380)
3. Description of the declassification review of the Indonesia volume, written by the State Department historian, p. VII. This includes the official description of the "High Level Panel" which makes final decisions on acknowledgement of covert operations.
4. State Department Historical Advisory Committee's summary as of September 1, 1999 of the "Status of Johnson and Nixon Era FRUS High Level Panel Covert Action Cases" (2 pages). This document shows that the Panel decided on April 20, 1998 to acknowledge covert action in Indonesia, that the CIA completed review of the documents on August 28, 1998, and that the volume then went into page proofs, "however, publication has been delayed." The summary also shows that CIA completed its review of the Cyprus-Greece-Turkey volume on May 14, 1999, that the volume was in revised page proofs as of September 1 and was expected to be published by December 1999.
5. Excerpts from the House of Representatives' final version of Public Law 102-138, signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991, which requires that the Foreign Relations of the United States series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions and significant U.S. diplomatic activity.
6. Title page and table of contents of the Indonesia volume.
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