For immediate release, 27 July 2001
For more information:
Archive director Tom Blanton, 994-7000
CIA STALLING STATE DEPARTMENT
ARCHIVE POSTS ONE OF TWO DISPUTED VOLUMES
STATE HISTORIANS CONCLUDE U.S. PASSED NAMES OF COMMUNISTS
TO INDONESIAN ARMY, WHICH KILLED AT LEAST 105,000 IN 1965-66
WASHINGTON, D.C., 27 July – 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, apparently by mistake,
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medical treatment, and has been replaced by his vice-president, who is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
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
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.
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.
Foreign Relations of the
United States, 1964-68
Table of Contents
(Note: This table is posted in sections corresponding
to the divisions of the original)
Johnson Administration VolumesIX
Note on U.S. Convert Action Programs
Sukarno's confrontation With Malaysia:
Sukarno's confrontation With the United States:
December 1964 - September 1965189
Coup and Counter Reaction:
October 1965-March 1966300
The United States and Suharto:
April 1966-December 1968427