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PRESIDENT SUKARNO

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Presidency
1945-1967

Revolution 
1945-1949

Permesta 
1958

 Gestapu
1965

Supersemar
1966-1967

 

 

 EARLY YEARS

 

 

US Relations 

CIA in Indonesia

 DIPLOMACY 

NSA documents

UK Relations

 

  

 

 

 


Introduction

Profile

Diplomacy

Development

Sukarno years

Suharto years

Overview

Government

US relations

Economy

1965 Gestapu

 World Bank/IMF

History

Current Affairs

New Beginning

Business

Silent Genocide

Globalization

 

 SPECIAL REPORTS

Global Rulers

  Rule By Secrecy

 US Relations 60s-98

Suharto Obit

Corruption

East Timor

 

PRRI PERMESTA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PRRI PERMESTA - THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO BRING DOWN SUKARNO

 

 

 

 

Subversion as a Foreign Policy

 

Feet to the Fire

In 1957
President Eisenhower, his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, and the CIA
-- unbeknownst to Congress or to the American public --
launched a massive covert military operation in Indonesia.


Its aims were to topple or weaken Indonesia's populist President Sukarno, viewed as too friendly toward Indonesia's Communist Party, and to cripple the Indonesian army.

The CIA, run by Allen Dulles, the brother of the secretary of state, funneled financial support and weapons to rebel colonels on the islands outside Java, seat of the government. In the ensuing civil war, thousands of civilians were killed; the Indonesian army put down the rebellion and crushed noncommunist political parties; Sukarno's centralized regime became more authoritarian and jettisoned parliamentary government.

Historian Audrey Kahin, editor of the journal Indonesia, and Cornell professor of international studies George Kahin have written a disturbing, scholarly expose of a major covert operation that paved the way for the Indonesian army's massacre
of half a million people in 1965-66 with Washington's support.
The authors maintain that Indonesia's communist party was essentially a homegrown nationalist movement and that the Eisenhower administration's fears were misguided

It involved among other things the supply of thousands of weapons, creation and deployment of a secret CIA airforce and logistical support from the Seventh Fleet.

The operation has been kept almost totally secret from the American public for nearly 40 years.
This CIA operation proved to be even more disastrous than the Bay of Pigs-

 

 

 

 

USA

UK

Australia

On March 14, 1958
US Secretary Dulles meeting with Foreign Minister Casey of Australia
and British Secretary Selwyn Lloyd, raised the question as to
possible recognition of the rebel regime in Sumatra
(Source: Howard Jones - Indonesia, a Possible Dream p116)

 

 

CIA Director Allen Dulles had told the National Security Council on February 27 that
if the dissident movement failed, Indonesia would move into the Communist camp.
At this point Eisenhower told the council that the United States "would have to go in"
to prevent a Communist take-ove

 

 

 

 As the situation worsened, Secretary Dulles and other State Department officials had discussed with Eisenhower the possibility of covert assistance to the rebels.
The President authorized a confidential message to the rebel leaders, telling them that
if they mounted a "stubborn resistance" to the expected attack by government forces,
the United States would offer some form of recognition, which would in turn permit overt U.S. support.

 

 

 

In 1957, President Eisenhower, his secretary of state, John Foster Dulles,
and the CIA -- unbeknownst to Congress or to the American public-- launched a
massive covert military operation in Indonesia.

During the 1950s the Eisenhower administration provoked and strongly abetted a major rebellion and then civil war in Indonesia that tore the country apart. Aiming to replace and transform its political leadership, the administration launched what was then the largest U.S. covert operation since World War II, involving not only the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) but also the U.S. navy and a camouflaged American airforce.

 

 

Indonesia 1957-1958

Dwight D. Eisenhower had emphatically denied charges that the United States
was supporting the rebellion against President Sukarno.

"Our policy," he said at a press conference on April 30,
"is one of careful neutrality and proper deportment all the way through so as not
to be taking sides where it is none of our business."

 

 

Aviator Pope was captured carrying a set of incriminating documents,
including those which established him as a
pilot for the US Air Force and the CIA airline CAT.

 

 

13 January 1959
Pat Landry, leader of the Padang (Sumatra-Indonesia) advisory team
receives the Intelligence Star for his efforts from CIA Director Allen Dulles

(Source: "Feet to the Fire" by Conboy & Morrison)

 

 


Editor's Note:
Who ignored the hard facts?

NY Times editorial:
On 9 May, an editorial in the New York Times had stated:
It is unfortunate that high officials of the Indonesian Government have given further circulation to the false report that the United States Government was sanctioning aid to Indonesia's rebels. The position of the United States Government has been made plain, again and again. Our Secretary of State was emphatic in his declaration that this country would not deviate from a correct neutrality ... the United States is not ready ... to step in to help overthrow a constituted government.
Those are the hard facts. Jakarta does not help its case, here, by ignoring them.

 

 

 

Subversion as a Foreign Policy:
The secret debacle of Eisenhower and Dulles in Indonesia

 Its aims were to topple or weaken Indonesia's populist President Sukarno, viewed as too friendly toward Indonesia's Communist Party, and to cripple the Indonesian army. The CIA, run by Allen Dulles, the brother of the secretary of state, funneled financial support and weapons to rebel colonels on the islands outside Java, seat of the government. In the ensuing civil war, thousands of civilians were killed; the Indonesian army put down the rebellion and crushed noncommunist political parties

 

 

Feet to the Fire: CIA Covert Operations in Indonesia, 1957-1958
Kenneth Conboy (Author), James Morrison (Author)

Feet to the Fire fills a gap long closed to historians and outsiders interested in Indonesia. The authors' extensive interviews and apparent access to hitherto classified documents have filled in the lacunae on this controversial episode. The work stands alone in its detailed accounting of a controversial period in US-Indonesian relations. --

Col. John B. Haseman, USAF, Ret., U.S. Defense Attaché in Indonesia, 1990-1994

 

 

 

 


AURI Captain
Ignatius Dewanto

Indonesian AirForce Captain Ignatius Dewanto
shot down Alan Pope's B-26 Invader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERMESTA LEADERS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERMESTA

With the conclusion of Indonesia's long and arduous struggle for independence most of its people believed there would be a rapid improvement of social and economic conditions. During the early years of independence some progress was made in this direction, most prominently in education, and for the time being at least Indonesian society did become somewhat more egalitarian than in the colonial period. But the degree of improvment fell far short of expectations, and disillusionment and frustration led increasingly to an understandable tendency to blame the central government in Jakarta for the inadequate measures taken to meet the expectations that had been aroused during the revolution.

As the young republic lurched from crisis to crisis, Jakarta's monopoly over the copra trade seriously weakened North Sulawesi's economy. Illegal exports flourished and in June 1956 Jakarta ordered the closure of Manado port, the busiest smuggling port in the republic. Local leaders refused and Jakarta backed down. As in Sumatra there was a general feeling that the central government was inefficient, development was stagnating and money was being plugged into Java.

In March 1957 the military leaders of both southern and northern Sulawesi launched a confrontation with the central government, with demands for greater regional autonomy. They demanded more local development, a fairer share of revenue, help in suppressing the Kahar Muzakar rebellion in Southern Sulawesi, and a cabinet of the central government led jointly by Soekarno and Hatta. At least initially the "Permesta" (Piagam Perjuangan Semesta Alam) rebellion was a reformist rather than a separatist movement.

Negotiations between the central government and the Sulawesi military leaders prevented violence in southern Sulawesi, but the North Sulawesi leaders were dissatisfied with the agreements and the movement split. Inspired, perhaps, by fears of domination by the south, the leaders declared their own autonomous state of North Sulawesi in June 1957. By this time the central government had the situation in southern Sulawesi pretty much under control but in the north they had no strong local figure to rely upon and there were rumors that the USA, suspected of supplying arms to rebels in Sumatra, was also in contact with the North Sulawesi leaders.

The possibility of foreign intervention finally drove the central government to seek military support from southern Sulawesi. Permesta forces were driven out of Central Sulawesi, Gorontalo, the Sangihe Islands and from Morotai in Maluku (from whose airfield the rebels had hoped to fly bombing raids on Jakarta).

The rebels' few planes (supplied by the USA and flown by Filipino, Taiwanese and US pilots) were destroyed. US policy shifted, favoring Jakarta, and in June 1958 central government troops landed in North Sulawesi. The Permesta rebellion was finally put down in mid-1961.

The effect of both the Sumatran and Sulawesi rebellions was to strengthen exactly those trends the rebels had hoped to weaken. Central authority was enhanced at the expense of local autonomy, radical nationalism gained over pragmatic moderation, the power of the communists and Soekarno increased while that of Hatta waned, and Soekarno was able to establish his "Guided Democracy" in 1959.

North Sulawesi prospered under the New Order Government of President Soeharto, which took office in 1967. Many of the economic reports (but few of the political reforms) sought by the Permesta rebels were implemented. The province has a tolerant, outward-looking culture and it will be interesting to see what the future holds after the recent implementation of Regional Autonomy, the very idea that Permesta fought

 

 

 

Remembering Permesta

Thursday, 16 December 2010 20:21
Fifty years on, memories of civil war are kept alive in North Sulawesi

On 4 March 2007, a ceremony was held in the remote village of Kota Menara in North Sulawesi to mark the 50th anniversary the birth of Permesta, a protest movement that became part of an armed conflict between the Indonesian state and some of its outlying regions in the late 1950s. As visitors approached the village along a narrow bumpy road that led off the main highway from Manado, the provincial capital, they passed three large posters of former Permesta leaders – Ventje Sumual, Joop Warouw and Alex Kawilarang – prominently displayed for all to see. Nearby an equally large banner read ‘Welcome to the Permesta Tourism Destination of Kota Menara in the Jubilee Year of the Universal Struggle Charter, 2 March 2007’.

Kota Menara itself was neat and clean, as though it was ready to receive guests. A crowd was gathering around a big blue tent in the middle of the village, where a stage had been erected and a display of red and white flags and representations of the Indonesian coat of arms created the impression that an important national event was about to be celebrated. Another large poster containing the words of the Permesta charter – under its unabbreviated title of Perjuangan Semesta (Universal Struggle) – added an air of dignity and solemnity to the occasion. A banner over the stage called on adherents to the charter to unite in the interests of the Indonesian people and their republic, while in front of the stage the names of the charter’s signatories were listed on another large poster. The overall effect was to make Permesta a part of the Indonesian nation and its history.

Universal struggle
The Permesta charter was signed by representatives of military and civilian groups in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on 2 March 1957. It expressed a demand for greater regional autonomy and a determination to resist the over-centralised direction being taken by the Indonesian state, thus registering a political protest against the government of the day. However it did not see itself as a secessionist movement. Colonel Ventje Sumual, the commander of the Eastern Indonesia Military District, declared at the time that Permesta ‘is in no way meant to be a breaking away from the Republic of Indonesia’.

Within months, the movement had extended to the Manado and Minahasa regions of North Sulawesi, where the Minahasan local army commanders soon declared their solidarity with a new regional protest movement that was proclaimed in West Sumatra on 15 February 1958. This movement called itself Pemerintah Revolusioner Republik Indonesia (PRRI, The Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia), and when the two movements found common cause as PRRI/Permesta, the stage was set for armed conflict. Within days, the central army leadership in Jakarta despatched troops to storm the two regions, thus sparking a civil war.


There was also an international dimension to the conflict. Amid the Cold War tensions of the time, the United States interpreted the dissatisfaction that had been brewing in the regions as a desire for secession. From the US perspective, a secessionist movement in Sukarno’s Indonesia was to be encouraged, because its success would contribute to the US aim of confining the influence of the Indonesian communists to the island of Java. Through the CIA and its allies, Washington flooded Sulawesi and West Sumatra with arms and supplies, pushing the Permesta and PRRI groups towards an ill-advised military campaign against the central government. In the end, PRRI/Permesta was a humiliating failure, both for the US and its local allies. The fallout left deep scars, not only on the US-Indonesia relationship, but also on social and political life in the regions concerned. Throughout the rest of the Sukarno period, local communities in Sulawesi and West Sumatra were viewed with suspicion by the central government, and local elites had little access to the political intrigues and networks that influenced the course of events in the capital.

Memory and history
The outcome of the regional rebellion had a decisive impact on the written history of PRRI/Permesta. As early as August 1958, while conflict was still ongoing, the Army high command published a history of the movement that demonised its founders and their intentions and declared the ‘Universal Struggle’ to be already lost. Subsequently, Indonesian historiography gradually marginalised and simplified the history of PRRI/Permesta, reducing the complexity and multidimensional character of the movement. After more than 50 years only very few academic historians have given it serious attention. For the survivors, however, the history of those events of 50 years ago is clearly embedded in memory.

The commemoration that took place in Kota Menara in 2007 was the climax of a number of events marking the jubilee of Permesta in North Sulawesi. The formal ceremony that day included a Sunday church service and intercessory prayers led by representatives of all the Christian denominations in the area, as well as a long address by the head of the newly-established district of South Minahasa, to which Kota Menara belonged. This was followed by a festive meal, as a number of Permesta reunion groups chatted and mingled in a celebratory and nostalgic mood. Some proud former fighters, both men and women, came wearing military fatigues, complete with their red berets. Some spontaneously expressed their nostalgia by singing songs from the time of the civil war. Others told humorous stories of their experiences at the time.

We were neither half-hearted soldiers nor separatists! We gave everything for Indonesia!’
Amid the festive mood, a small circle of former Permesta leaders were engaged in serious conversation. ‘Those old soldiers have no idea of the political dimensions of Permesta,’ complained one old battalion commander. Nun Pantouw, another former commander and intelligence officer now confined to a wheelchair, said little, but he still radiated his former charisma. As the talk passed back and forth among the group, Lengkong Worang, who led the Permesta deputation to the signing of the peace accord that marked the end of the fighting in 1961, kept returning to the same theme: ‘It is not right to call Permesta a rebellion, let alone a separatist movement,’ he declared. Referring to the first comprehensive study of the Permesta movement in English, Barbara Harvey’s Permesta: Half a Rebellion (translated into Indonesian as Permesta: Pemberontakan Setengah Hati or Permesta: A Half-Hearted Rebellion), Worang exclaimed, ‘We were neither half-hearted soldiers nor separatists! We gave everything for Indonesia

A new generation
lThe golden anniversary of Permesta has now passed. However the labour of memory continues. Reunions, discussion groups and online discussion forums are some of the venues where the remaining Permesta actors, their families and friends, keep the memories alive, as they try to understand the movement and the civil war which they or their relatives experienced. The largest of these groups is the Facebook page ‘Permesta bukan Pemberontakan!’ (‘Permesta was not a Rebellion!’). The page states that the group is not setting out to create a new movement, but merely to provide a space where people can exchange information and stories about their grandparents’ experiences at the time of Permesta. With more than 3000 members, the group is open to anyone who wants to participate. Stories, recollections and opinions all circulate on the site. Some are nostalgic, others provide historical information, while still others make purely rhetorical claims. The initiators hope that the site will provide good feedback for ‘our beloved North Sulawesi’.

Most of the major actors have gone. Herman Nicolaas ‘Ventje’ Sumual – the last surviving commander of PRRI/Permesta, passed away on 28 March 2010. His gravestone inscription cites in English the words of St Paul, ‘I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.’ Now, a new generation is collecting stories, facts and interpretations that help them understand the events that have shaped their communities and their nation. Somewhere between memory and history, the past continues to be kept alive.

Amelia Liwe (amelia.liwe@gmail.com) recently completed a PhD in Southeast Asian History
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
.

 

 

 



INDONESIA: "SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE"

THE INDONESIAN anti-aircraft fire hit the rebel B-26 and the two-engine bomber plunged toward the sea, its right wing aflame. The pilot, an American named Allen Lawrence Pope, jumped clear and his parachute opened cleanly. But as he drifted down onto a small coral reef, the chute caught a coconut tree and Pope's right leg was broken.

It was May 18, 1958, and the twenty-nine-year-old pilot had just completed a bombing and strafing run on the Ambon Island airstrip in the Moluccas, 1,500 miles from Indonesia's capital at Jakarta. It was a dangerous mission and Pope had carried it off successfully. But when the Indonesians announced his capture, Ambassador Howard P. Jones promptly dismissed him as "a private American citizen involved as a paid soldier of fortune."

The ambassador was echoing the words of the President of the United States. Three weeks before Pope was shot down, Dwight D. Eisenhower had emphatically denied charges that the United States was supporting the rebellion against President Sukarno.

"Our policy," he said, at a press conference on April 30,
"is one of careful neutrality and proper deportment
all the way through so as not to be taking sides where it is none of our business.


"Now on the other hand, every rebellion that I have ever heard of has its soldiers of fortune. You can start even back to reading your Richard Harding Davis. People were going out looking for a good fight and getting into it, sometimes in the hope of pay, and sometimes just for the heck of the thing. That is probably going to happen every time you have a rebellion."

But Pope was no freebooting soldier of fortune. He was flying for the CIA, which was secretly supporting the rebels who were trying to overthrow Sukarno.

Neither Pope nor the United States was ever to admit any of this -- even after his release from an Indonesian jail in the summer of 1962. But Sukarno and the Indonesian Government were fully aware of what had happened. And that awareness fundamentally influenced their official and private attitude toward the United States. Many high-ranking American officials -- including President Kennedy -- admitted it within the inner circles of the government, but it is not something that they were ever likely to give public voice to.

Allen Pope, a six-foot-one, 195-pound Korean War ace, was the son of a moderately prosperous fruit grower in Perrine, just south of Miami. From boyhood he was active and aggressive, much attracted by the challenge of physical danger. He attended the University of Florida for two years but left to bust broncos in Texas. He volunteered early for the Korean War, flew fifty-five night missions over Communist lines as a first lieutenant in the Air Force, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war Pope returned to Texas, got married, had a daughter, and was divorced. He worked for a local airline but found it dull stuff compared with the excitement he had experienced as a combat pilot in the Far East. And so in March of 1954 Pope signed on with Civil Air Transport, an avowedly civilian airline based on Formosa. He spent two months flying through Communist flak to drop supplies to the French at Dienbienphu. CAT grew out of the Flying Tigers and inherited much of its technique and swagger.

Pope found the outfit congenial. After Dienbienphu he renewed his contract, rising in three years to the rank of captain with a salary of $1,000 a month. He met his second wife, Yvonne, a Pan American stewardess, in Hong Kong. They settled down in a small French villa outside Saigon and had two boys.

Big-game hunting in the jungles of South Vietnam was their most daring diversion. Pope was ready for an even more dangerous challenge when the CIA approached him in December, 1957. The proposition was that he would fly a B-26 for the Indonesian rebels, who were seeking to topple Sukarno. A half-dozen planes were to be ferried in and out of the rebel airstrip at Menado in the North Celebes from the U.S. Air Force Base at Clark Field near Manila. In the Philippines the planes would be safe from counterattack by Sukarno's air force.

The idea of returning to combat intrigued Pope, and he signed up. His first mission, a ferrying hop from the Philippines to the North Celebes, took place on April 28, 1958. That was two days before President Eisenhower offered his comments about "soldiers of fortune" and promised "careful neutrality ... We will unquestionably assure [the Indonesian Government] through the State Department," he declared, "that our deportment will continue to be correct."

But Sukarno was not to be easily convinced. A shrewd, fifty-six-year-old politician, he was a revolutionary socialist who led his predominantly Moslem people to independence after 350 years of Dutch rule. Sukarno knew he was deeply distrusted by the conservative, businesslike administration in Washington. A mercurial leader, he was spellbinding on the stump but erratic in the affairs of state. He was also a ladies' man (official Indonesian publications spoke openly of his "partiality for feminine charm" and quoted movie-magazine gossip linking him with such film stars as Gina Lollobrigida and Joan Crawford) and has had four wives.

In particular, Sukarno was aware of Washington's understandable annoyance with his sudden turn toward the Left: he had just expropriated most of the private holdings of the Dutch and had vowed to drive them out of West lrian (New Guinea); he had requested Russian arms; and he had brought the Communists into his new coalition government.

From the start of its independence in 1949 until 1951 Indonesia was a parliamentary democracy. The power of the central government was balanced and diffused by the local powers of Indonesia's six major and 3,000 minor islands stretching in a 3,000-mile arc from the Malayan peninsula. But in February, 1957, on his return from a tour of Russia and the satellites, Sukarno declared parliamentary democracy to be a failure in Indonesia. He said it did not suit a sharply divided nation of close to 100,000,-000 people. Besides, the government could not successfully exclude a Communist Party with over 1,000,000 members.

"I can't and won't ride a three-legged horse," Sukarno declared. His solution was to decree the creation of a "Guided Democracy," It gave him semi-dictatorial powers while granting major concessions to the Communists and the Army.

The Eisenhower Administration feared that Sukarno would fall completely under Communist domination. And that, of course, would be a genuine disaster for the United States. Although its per capita income of $60 was one of the lowest in the world, Indonesia's bountiful supply of rubber, oil and tin made it potentially the third richest nation in the world. And located between the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Asia and Australia, it commanded one of the world's principal lines of communication.

Many of Indonesia's political leaders, particularly those outside of Java, shared Washington's apprehensions about Sukarno's compromises with the Communists. And many in the CIA and the State Department saw merit in supporting these dissident elements. Even if Sukarno were not overthrown, they argued, it might be possible for Sumatra, Indonesia's big oil producer, to secede, thereby protecting private American and Dutch holdings. At the very least, the pressures of rebellion might loosen Sukarno's ties with the Communists and force him to move to the Right. At best, the Army, headed by General Abdul Haris Nasution, an anti-Communist, might come over to the rebels and force wholesale changes to the liking of the United States.

On February 15, 1958, a Revolutionary Council at Padang, Sumatra, proclaimed a new government under the leadership of Dr. Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, a forty-seven-year-old Moslem party leader and former governor of the Bank of Indonesia. A multi-party cabinet was established, with representation from Java, Sumatra and Celebes.

Sukarno declared:

"There is no cause for alarm or anxiety. Like other countries, Indonesia has its ups and downs."

General Nasution promptly asserted his allegiance by dishonorably discharging six high-ranking officers who had sided with the rebels. A week later Indonesian Air Force planes bombed and strafed two radio broadcasting stations in Padang and another in Bukittinggi, the revolutionary capital forty-five miles inland. The attack, carried out by four old U.S. planes, succeeded in silencing the rebel radios.

In testimony to Congress early in March, John Foster Dulles reiterated the United States pledge of strict neutrality.

"We are pursuing what I trust is a correct course from the point of international law," he said. "And we are not intervening in the internal affairs of this country ..."

On March 12 Jakarta announced that it had launched a paratroop invasion of Sumatra, and the next week the rebels formally appealed for American arms. They also asked the United States and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization to recognize the revolutionary government.

On April 1 Dulles declared:

"The United States views this trouble in Sumatra as an internal matter. We try to be absolutely correct in our international proceedings and attitude toward it. And I would not want to say anything which might be looked upon as a departure from that high standard."

A week later, commenting on Indonesia's announcement that it was purchasing a hundred planes and other weapons from Communist Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslavakia, State Department spokesman Lincoln White declared:
"We regret that Indonesia turned to the Communist bloc to buy arms for possible use in killing Indonesians who openly opposed the growing influence of Communism in Indonesia."

Jakarta responded angrily that it had turned to the Communists only after the United States had refused to allow Indonesia to buy $120,000,000 worth of American weapons. Dulles confirmed the fact the same day but claimed the Indonesians were rebuffed because they apparently intended to use the weapons to oust the Dutch from West Irian.
"Later, when the Sumatra revolt broke out," Dulles added, "it did not seem wise to the United States to be in the position of supplying arms to either side of that revolution ...
"It is still our view that the situation there is primarily an internal one and we intend to conform scrupulously to the principles of international law that apply to such a situation."

During the night of April 11, some 2,000 Indonesian Army troops launched an offensive against the rebels in northwest Sumatra, and at sunrise on April 18 a paratroop and amphibious attack was hurled against Padang. Twelve hours later, after modest resistance, the rebel city fell. Turning his troops inland toward Bukittinggi, Nasution declared he was "in the final stage of crushing the armed rebellious movement."

Throughout that month Jakarta reported a series of rebel air attacks against the central government, but it was not until April 30 that the United States was implicated. Premier Djuanda Kartawidjaja then asserted that he had proof of "overt foreign assistance" to the rebels in the form of planes and automatic weapons.
"As a consequence of the actions taken by the United States and Taiwan adventurers," Djuanda commented, "there has emerged a strong feeling of indignation amongst the armed forces and the people of Indonesia against the United States and Taiwan. And if this is permitted to develop it will only have a disastrous effect in the relationships between Indonesia and the United States."

Sukarno accused the United States of direct intervention and warned Washington "not to play with fire in Indonesia ... let not a lack of understanding by America lead to a third war ...
"We could easily have asked for volunteers from outside," he declared in a slightly veiled allusion to a secret offer of pilots by Peking. "We could wink an eye and they would come. We could have thousands of volunteers, but we will meet the rebels with our own strength."


On May 7, three days after the fall of Bukittinggi,* the Indonesian military command charged that the rebels had been supplied weapons and ammunition with the knowledge and direction of the United States. The military command cited an April 3 telegram to the Revolutionary Government from the "American Sales Company" of San Francisco. Robert Hirsch, head of the company, confirmed that he had offered to sell the arms to the rebels but said he had done so without clearing it with the State Department. In any case, he said, the arms were of Italian make and none had been delivered.

The State Department flatly denied the accusation, and the New York Times editorialized indignantly on May 9:
"It is unfortunate that high officials of the Indonesian Government have given further circulation to the false report that the United States Government was sanctioning aid to Indonesia's rebels. The position of the United States Government has been made plain, again and again. Our Secretary of State was emphatic in his declaration that this country would not deviate from a correct neutrality. The President himself, in a news conference, reiterated this position but reminded his auditors, and presumably the Indonesians, that this government has no control over soldiers of fortune ...

"It is always convenient for a self-consciously nationalistic government to cry out against 'outside interference' when anything goes wrong. Jakarta ... may have an unusually sensitive conscience. But its cause is not promoted by charges that are manifestly false ...

"It is no secret that most Americans have little sympathy for President Sukarno's 'guided democracy' and his enthusiasm to have Communist participation in his government ...
"But the United States is not ready ... to step in to help overthrow a constituted government. Those are the hard facts. Jakarta does not help its case, here, by ignoring them."


The following week, one day after the United States officially proposed a cease-fire, Allen Pope was shot down while flying for the rebels and the CIA. However, the Indonesian Government withheld for nine days the fact that an American pilot had been captured. On May 18 it announced only that a rebel B-26 had been shot down.

Nevertheless, with Pope in Indonesian hands things began to move rapidly in Washington. Within five days: (1) the State Department approved the sale to Indonesia for local currency of 37,000 tons of sorely needed rice; (2) the United States lifted an embargo on $1,000,000 in small arms, aircraft parts and radio equipment -- destined for Indonesia but frozen since the start of the rebellion; and (3) Dulles called in the Indonesian ambassador, Dr. Mukarto Notowidigdo, for a twenty-minute meeting.
"I am definitely convinced," said the ambassador with a big smile as he emerged, "that relations are improving."

But the Indonesian Army was not prepared to remain permanently silent about Pope. On May 27 a news conference was called in Jakarta by Lieutenant Colonel Herman Pieters, Commander of the Moluccas and West Irian Military Command at Ambon. He announced that Pope had been shot down on May 18 while flying a bombing mission for the rebels under a $10,000 contract.

Pieters displayed documents and identification papers showing Pope had served in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for CAT. He said Philippine pesos, 28,000 Indonesian rupiahs, and U.S. scrip for use at American military installations were also found on the American pilot. Pieters said 300 to 400 Americans, Filipinos and Nationalist Chinese were aiding the rebels, but he did not mention the CIA.

Many Indonesian officials were outraged by Pope's activities, and accused him of bombing the marketplace in Ambon on May 15. A large number of civilians, church bound on Ascension Thursday, were killed in the raid on the predominantly Christian community. But the government did its best to suppress public demonstrations.

Pope was given good medical treatment, and he could be seen sunning himself on the porch of a private, blue bungalow in the mountains of Central Java. Although the Communists were urging a speedy trial, Sukarno also saw advantages in sunning himself -- in the growing warmth of United States policy. Pope's trial was delayed for nineteen months while Sukarno kept him a hostage to continued American friendliness.

Late the next year, however, Sukarno found himself in a quarrel with Peking over his decision to bar Chinese aliens from doing business outside of the main cities of Indonesia. The powerful Indonesian Communist Party was aroused over the issue and Sukarno may have felt the need to placate them.


Pope was brought to trial before a military court on December 28, 1959. He was accused of flying six bombing raids for the rebels and killing twenty-three Indonesians, seventeen of them members of the armed forces. The maximum penalty was death.
During the trial, which dragged on for four months, Pope pleaded not guilty. He admitted to flying only one combat mission, that of May 18, 1958. The other flights, he testified, were of a reconnaissance or non-combat nature. Contrary to the assertion that he had signed a $10,000 contract, Pope insisted he got only $200 a flight.

The court introduced a diary taken from Pope after his capture. It contained detailed entries of various bombing missions. Pope contended it listed the activities of all the rebel pilots, not just his. He replied to the same effect when confronted with a pre-trial confession, noting that he had refused to sign it.
Asked what his "real motive" had been in joining the rebels, Pope replied: "Your honor, I have been fighting the Communists since I was twenty-two years old -- first in Korea and later Dienbienphu ...
"I am not responsible for the death of one Indonesian-armed or unarmed," he asserted in his closing plea. "I have served long enough as a target of the Communist press, which has been demanding the death sentence for me."

On April 29, 1960, the court handed down the death sentence, but it seemed unlikely that the penalty would be imposed. It had not once been invoked since Indonesia gained its independence eleven years before.
Pope appealed the sentence the following November, and when it was upheld by the Appeals Court, he took the case to the Military Supreme Court. Mrs. Pope made a personal appeal to Sukarno on December 28 during the first of two trips to Indonesia, but she was offered no great encouragement despite the prospect of improved relations between Sukarno and President-elect Kennedy.

Sukarno received an invitation to visit Washington a month after Kennedy took office. The Indonesian leader had been feted by President Eisenhower during a state visit to the United States in 1956; and he had more or less forced a second meeting with Eisenhower at the United Nations in the fall of 1960. But on most of his trips to the United States, Sukarno felt snubbed. Kennedy's invitation clearly flattered and pleased him.

The two men sat down together at the White House the week after the Bay of Pigs. The meeting went well enough, but Kennedy was preoccupied with the CIA's latest failure at attempted revolution.

During the visit Kennedy commented to one of his aides:
No wonder Sukarno doesn't like us very much.
He has to sit down with people who tried to overthrow him.

 

Still Sukarno seemed favorably disposed toward the new Kennedy Administration. The following February, during a good-will tour of Indonesia, Robert Kennedy asked Sukarno to release Pope. (Secret negotiations were then far advanced for the exchange the next week of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers and Soviet spy Rudolph I. Abel. And the White House was favorably impressed with the tight-lipped Mr. Pope as contrasted with Powers, a CIA pilot who talked freely about his employer.)

Sukarno's first reaction to Robert Kennedy's request was to reject it out of hand, but when the Attorney General persisted, he agreed to take it under consideration. Six months later, on July 2, 1962, Pope was freed from prison without prior notice and taken to the American Embassy for interrogation by Ambassador Jones and other officials. Then he was put aboard a Military Air Transport Service plane and flown back to the United States.

   
Pope was hidden away for seven weeks and the State Department did not reveal his release until August 22. Pope insisted there had been no secret questioning (such as that to which Powers was subjected by the CIA on his return from Russia). The State Department's explanation of the long silence was that Pope had asked that the release be kept secret so he could have a quiet rendezvous with his family.

Back in Miami, Pope settled down to what outwardly seemed to be a happy relationship with his family; but in December, Mrs. Pope filed for divorce, charging him with "extreme cruelty" and "habitual indulgence in a violent and ungovernable temper."
At the divorce hearing on July 2, 1963, Mrs. Pope testified that on his return from Indonesia, her husband insisted upon keeping a loaded .38-caliber pistol by their bedside, despite the potential danger to their two young boys. She also asserted that Pope had sent her only $450 since he had left her seven months before.
Mrs. Pope made no mention in the proceedings of her husband's work for the CIA. A security agent of the government had warned her that it would be detrimental to her case if she talked about her husband's missions. She did not, and Pope did not contest the divorce.
"There's an awful lot of cloak-and-dagger mixed up in this," said her Miami lawyer, Louis M. Jepeway, who otherwise refused to talk about the case. "I can understand it, but I don't have to like it."
Mrs. Pope won the divorce and custody of the children on grounds of cruelty. But she received no financial settlement because Pope was declared outside the jurisdiction of the court.

On December 4, 1962, Pope had put his things in storage -- some personal items, ten stuffed birds, four animal heads, one stuffed animal, antelope antlers and water-buffalo horns. Then he left the country to go to work for Southern Air Transport. The Pentagon described this airline as a civilian operation holding a $3,718,433 Air Force contract to move "mixed cargo and passenger loads on Far East inter-island routes." Its home address was listed as PO Box 48-1260, Miami International Airport. Its overseas address was PO Box 12124, Taipeh, Formosa.

However, when asked what sort of work Southern Air Transport did, the company's Miami attorney explained that it was a small cargo line which simply "flies chickens from the Virgin Islands."
The attorney was Alex E. Carlson, the lawyer for the Double-Chek Corporation that had hired the American pilots who flew at the Bay of Pigs.

* The rebels then moved their capital to Menado, which fell late in June.

 

 

 


Indonesia 1957-58

In chapter six of the book, we discussed the coup against Indonesia's Sukarno in the mid-1960s. However, this was only the final act in a drama that had begun in the 1950s, when U.S. officials decided that Sukarno's regime was at the very least complicit with the local (and quite large) communist party.

When, for various reasons, the country's military began splintering on the important “outer” islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi, Washington resolved to employ “all feasible covert means to strengthen the determination, will and cohesion of the anti-Communist forces in the outer islands, particularly in Sumatra and Sulawesi, in order through their strength to affect favorably the situation in Java, and to provide a rallying point if the Communists should take over Java.” Shortly after this, the U.S. began to send arms to the rebels, at first discreetly and then via airdrop from U.S. planes. On the more distant island of Sulawesi, where the regime lacked air power, the CIA also used civilian contract pilots to carry out tactical air strikes.

In addition, policy makers began to consider the prospect of overt intervention by U.S. forces at some later point, but this would have required the rebels not only to proclaim a counter-government, which they did in February 1958, but also to hold on to enough territory to back up that claim. Barring that, the only other possibility of overt intervention would be if the situation descended into chaos, for example, if the Sukarno regime threatened U.S. property or bombed oil fields, something which the government carefully avoided.

Thus, the U.S. had to rely on the rebels doing well against the regime, and it rapidly became clear that the latter's military abilities were “much better than we thought.” The rebels were simply in no position even to “put up a stubborn resistance” to the regime's expected offensive in Sumatra, and this ruled out U.S. recognition or more overt aid.
Soon, the government forces had retaken Sumatra and the U.S. was faced with a choice between major escalation, which would create enormous political problems for the U.S. and might well lead to active Indonesian reliance on “Soviet bloc aid,” and switching to a different anticommunist partner, namely the Indonesian military, which was signaling for U.S. support.

By May, most of the major policy makers in Washington had come around to the idea of a switch, and the final nail in the rebel aid coffin came when an American contract pilot was shot down and found to have documents on him making clear his U.S. affiliations. The U.S. quickly shifted its stance, stating piously that the situation in Indonesia was a matter for the Indonesians themselves to settle, withdrawing most of the CIA personnel helping the rebels, and initiating a military assistance program for its new anti-Sukarno allies. Some years later, as we saw above, the U.S. bet on the military would pay off. 1

1) Ad Hoc Interdepartmental Committee on Indonesia, “Special Report on Indonesia,” 3 September 1957, FRUS 1955-1957 , vol. 22: doc. 262; also docs. 221, 265, 268; Dulles, in telephone call with Burke, 28 March 1958, quoted in Kahin and Kahin (1995: 149); Dulles in meeting with Eisenhower, 15 April 1958; Jakarta to State, 12 May 1958; both FRUS 1958-1960 , vol. 17: docs. 62, 91; also docs. 68-70, 72-3, 85-9, 93-4, 96-8, 103; Conboy and Morrison (1999). It should be noted that the editors of the FRUS 1958-1960 volume on Indonesia (vol. 17) acknowledged that significant documents were withheld by the CIA; to get a fuller picture of the decision making behind U.S. aid to the rebels, it is necessary to consult Kahin and Kahin (1995).

 

 

 


THE INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT -- INDONESIA: "SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE"


THE INDONESIAN anti-aircraft fire hit the rebel B-26 and the two-engine bomber plunged toward the sea, its right wing aflame. The pilot, an American named Allen Lawrence Pope, jumped clear and his parachute opened cleanly. But as he drifted down onto a small coral reef, the chute caught a coconut tree and Pope's right leg was broken.

It was May 18, 1958, and the twenty-nine-year-old pilot had just completed a bombing and strafing run on the Ambon Island airstrip in the Moluccas, 1,500 miles from Indonesia's capital at Jakarta. It was a dangerous mission and Pope had carried it off successfully. But when the Indonesians announced his capture, Ambassador Howard P. Jones promptly dismissed him as "a private American citizen involved as a paid soldier of fortune."

The ambassador was echoing the words of the President of the United States.
Three weeks before Pope was shot down, Dwight D. Eisenhower had emphatically denied charges that the United States was supporting the rebellion against President Sukarno.

"Our policy," he said, at a press conference on April 30, "is one of careful neutrality and proper deportment all the way through so as not to be taking sides where it is none of our business.

"Now on the other hand, every rebellion that I have ever heard of has its soldiers of fortune. You can start even back to reading your Richard Harding Davis. People were going out looking for a good fight and getting into it, sometimes in the hope of pay, and sometimes just for the heck of the thing. That is probably going to happen every time you have a rebellion."

Going home

But Pope was no freebooting soldier of fortune.
He was flying for the CIA,
which was secretly supporting the rebels
who were trying to overthrow Sukarno.

Neither Pope nor the United States was ever to admit any of this -- even after his release from an Indonesian jail in the summer of 1962. But Sukarno and the Indonesian Government were fully aware of what had happened. And that awareness fundamentally influenced their official and private attitude toward the United States. Many high-ranking American officials -- including President Kennedy -- admitted it within the inner circles of the government, but it is not something that they were ever likely to give public voice to.

 

 

Allen Pope, a six-foot-one, 195-pound Korean War ace, was the son of a moderately prosperous fruit grower in Perrine, just south of Miami. From boyhood he was active and aggressive, much attracted by the challenge of physical danger. He attended the University of Florida for two years but left to bust broncos in Texas. He volunteered early for the Korean War, flew fifty-five night missions over Communist lines as a first lieutenant in the Air Force, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

After the war Pope returned to Texas, got married, had a daughter, and was divorced. He worked for a local airline but found it dull stuff compared with the excitement he had experienced as a combat pilot in the Far East. And so in March of 1954 Pope signed on with Civil Air Transport, an avowedly civilian airline based on Formosa. He spent two months flying through Communist flak to drop supplies to the French at Dienbienphu. CAT grew out of the Flying Tigers and inherited much of its technique and swagger.
Pope found the outfit congenial. After Dienbienphu he renewed his contract, rising in three years to the rank of captain with a salary of $1,000 a month. He met his second wife, Yvonne, a Pan American stewardess, in Hong Kong. They settled down in a small French villa outside Saigon and had two boys.

Big-game hunting in the jungles of South Vietnam was their most daring diversion. Pope was ready for an even more dangerous challenge when the CIA approached him in December, 1957. The proposition was that he would fly a B-26 for the Indonesian rebels, who were seeking to topple Sukarno. A half-dozen planes were to be ferried in and out of the rebel airstrip at Menado in the North Celebes from the U.S. Air Force Base at Clark Field near Manila. In the Philippines the planes would be safe from counterattack by Sukarno's air force.
The idea of returning to combat intrigued Pope, and he signed up. His first mission, a ferrying hop from the Philippines to the North Celebes, took place on April 28, 1958. That was two days before President Eisenhower offered his comments about "soldiers of fortune" and promised "careful neutrality ... We will unquestionably assure [the Indonesian Government] through the State Department," he declared, "that our deportment will continue to be correct."


But Sukarno was not to be easily convinced. A shrewd, fifty-six-year-old politician, he was a revolutionary socialist who led his predominantly Moslem people to independence after 350 years of Dutch rule. Sukarno knew he was deeply distrusted by the conservative, businesslike administration in Washington. A mercurial leader, he was spellbinding on the stump but erratic in the affairs of state. He was also a ladies' man (official Indonesian publications spoke openly of his "partiality for feminine charm" and quoted movie-magazine gossip linking him with such film stars as Gina Lollobrigida and Joan Crawford) and has had four wives.

In particular, Sukarno was aware of Washington's understandable annoyance with his sudden turn toward the Left: he had just expropriated most of the private holdings of the Dutch and had vowed to drive them out of West lrian (New Guinea); he had requested Russian arms; and he had brought the Communists into his new coalition government.

From the start of its independence in 1949 until 1951 Indonesia was a parliamentary democracy. The power of the central government was balanced and diffused by the local powers of Indonesia's six major and 3,000 minor islands stretching in a 3,000-mile arc from the Malayan peninsula. But in February, 1957, on his return from a tour of Russia and the satellites, Sukarno declared parliamentary democracy to be a failure in Indonesia. He said it did not suit a sharply divided nation of close to 100,000,-000 people. Besides, the government could not successfully exclude a Communist Party with over 1,000,000 members.

"I can't and won't ride a three-legged horse," Sukarno declared. His solution was to decree the creation of a "Guided Democracy," It gave him semi-dictatorial powers while granting major concessions to the Communists and the Army.

The Eisenhower Administration feared that Sukarno would fall completely under Communist domination. And that, of course, would be a genuine disaster for the United States. Although its per capita income of $60 was one of the lowest in the world, Indonesia's bountiful supply of rubber, oil and tin made it potentially the third richest nation in the world. And located between the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, Asia and Australia, it commanded one of the world's principal lines of communication.

Many of Indonesia's political leaders, particularly those outside of Java, shared Washington's apprehensions about Sukarno's compromises with the Communists. And many in the CIA and the State Department saw merit in supporting these dissident elements. Even if Sukarno were not overthrown, they argued, it might be possible for Sumatra, Indonesia's big oil producer, to secede, thereby protecting private American and Dutch holdings. At the very least, the pressures of rebellion might loosen Sukarno's ties with the Communists and force him to move to the Right. At best, the Army, headed by General Abdul Haris Nasution, an anti-Communist, might come over to the rebels and force wholesale changes to the liking of the United States.

On February 15, 1958, a Revolutionary Council at Padang, Sumatra, proclaimed a new government under the leadership of Dr. Sjafruddin Prawiranegara, a forty-seven-year-old Moslem party leader and former governor of the Bank of Indonesia. A multi-party cabinet was established, with representation from Java, Sumatra and Celebes.

Sukarno declared: "There is no cause for alarm or anxiety. Like other countries, Indonesia has its ups and downs."

General Nasution promptly asserted his allegiance by dishonorably discharging six high-ranking officers who had sided with the rebels. A week later Indonesian Air Force planes bombed and strafed two radio broadcasting stations in Padang and another in Bukittinggi, the revolutionary capital forty-five miles inland. The attack, carried out by four old U.S. planes, succeeded in silencing the rebel radios.

In testimony to Congress early in March, John Foster Dulles reiterated the United States pledge of strict neutrality. "We are pursuing what I trust is a correct course from the point of international law," he said. "And we are not intervening in the internal affairs of this country ..."

On March 12 Jakarta announced that it had launched a paratroop invasion of Sumatra, and the next week the rebels formally appealed for American arms. They also asked the United States and the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization to recognize the revolutionary government.

On April 1 Dulles declared: "The United States views this trouble in Sumatra as an internal matter. We try to be absolutely correct in our international proceedings and attitude toward it. And I would not want to say anything which might be looked upon as a departure from that high standard."
A week later, commenting on Indonesia's announcement that it was purchasing a hundred planes and other weapons from Communist Poland, Yugoslavia and Czechoslavakia, State Department spokesman Lincoln White declared: "We regret that Indonesia turned to the Communist bloc to buy arms for possible use in killing Indonesians who openly opposed the growing influence of Communism in Indonesia."

 

 

Jakarta responded angrily that it had turned to the Communists only after the United States had refused to allow Indonesia to buy $120,000,000 worth of American weapons. Dulles confirmed the fact the same day but claimed the Indonesians were rebuffed because they apparently intended to use the weapons to oust the Dutch from West Irian.
"Later, when the Sumatra revolt broke out," Dulles added, "it did not seem wise to the United States to be in the position of supplying arms to either side of that revolution ...

"It is still our view that the situation there is primarily an internal one and we intend to conform scrupulously to the principles of international law that apply to such a situation."

During the night of April 11, some 2,000 Indonesian Army troops launched an offensive against the rebels in northwest Sumatra, and at sunrise on April 18 a paratroop and amphibious attack was hurled against Padang. Twelve hours later, after modest resistance, the rebel city fell. Turning his troops inland toward Bukittinggi, Nasution declared he was "in the final stage of crushing the armed rebellious movement."

Throughout that month Jakarta reported a series of rebel air attacks against the central government, but it was not until April 30 that the United States was implicated. Premier Djuanda Kartawidjaja then asserted that he had proof of "overt foreign assistance" to the rebels in the form of planes and automatic weapons.
"As a consequence of the actions taken by the United States and Taiwan adventurers," Djuanda commented, "there has emerged a strong feeling of indignation amongst the armed forces and the people of Indonesia against the United States and Taiwan. And if this is permitted to develop it will only have a disastrous effect in the relationships between Indonesia and the United States."

Sukarno accused the United States of direct intervention and warned Washington "not to play with fire in Indonesia ... let not a lack of understanding by America lead to a third war ...
"We could easily have asked for volunteers from outside," he declared in a slightly veiled allusion to a secret offer of pilots by Peking. "We could wink an eye and they would come. We could have thousands of volunteers, but we will meet the rebels with our own strength."


On May 7, three days after the fall of Bukittinggi,* the Indonesian military command charged that the rebels had been supplied weapons and ammunition with the knowledge and direction of the United States. The military command cited an April 3 telegram to the Revolutionary Government from the "American Sales Company" of San Francisco. Robert Hirsch, head of the company, confirmed that he had offered to sell the arms to the rebels but said he had done so without clearing it with the State Department. In any case, he said, the arms were of Italian make and none had been delivered.


The State Department flatly denied the accusation, and the New York Times editorialized indignantly on May 9:

"It is unfortunate that high officials of the Indonesian Government have given further circulation to the false report that the United States Government was sanctioning aid to Indonesia's rebels. The position of the United States Government has been made plain, again and again. Our Secretary of State was emphatic in his declaration that this country would not deviate from a correct neutrality.

The President himself, in a news conference, reiterated this position but reminded his auditors, and presumably the Indonesians, that this government has no control over soldiers of fortune ...
"It is always convenient for a self-consciously nationalistic government to cry out against 'outside interference' when anything goes wrong. Jakarta ... may have an unusually sensitive conscience. But its cause is not promoted by charges that are manifestly false ...

"It is no secret that most Americans have little sympathy for President Sukarno's 'guided democracy' and his enthusiasm to have Communist participation in his government ...
"But the United States is not ready ... to step in to help overthrow a constituted government. Those are the hard facts. Jakarta does not help its case, here, by ignoring them."

 

 



The following week, one day after the United States officially proposed a cease-fire, Allen Pope was shot down while flying for the rebels and the CIA. However, the Indonesian Government withheld for nine days the fact that an American pilot had been captured. On May 18 it announced only that a rebel B-26 had been shot down.

Nevertheless, with Pope in Indonesian hands things began to move rapidly in Washington. Within five days: (1) the State Department approved the sale to Indonesia for local currency of 37,000 tons of sorely needed rice; (2) the United States lifted an embargo on $1,000,000 in small arms, aircraft parts and radio equipment -- destined for Indonesia but frozen since the start of the rebellion; and (3) Dulles called in the Indonesian ambassador, Dr. Mukarto Notowidigdo, for a twenty-minute meeting.
"I am definitely convinced," said the ambassador with a big smile as he emerged, "that relations are improving."

But the Indonesian Army was not prepared to remain permanently silent about Pope. On May 27 a news conference was called in Jakarta by Lieutenant Colonel Herman Pieters, Commander of the Moluccas and West Irian Military Command at Ambon. He announced that Pope had been shot down on May 18 while flying a bombing mission for the rebels under a $10,000 contract.

Pieters displayed documents and identification papers showing Pope had served in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for CAT. He said Philippine pesos, 28,000 Indonesian rupiahs, and U.S. scrip for use at American military installations were also found on the American pilot. Pieters said 300 to 400 Americans, Filipinos and Nationalist Chinese were aiding the rebels, but he did not mention the CIA.

Many Indonesian officials were outraged by Pope's activities, and accused him of bombing the marketplace in Ambon on May 15. A large number of civilians, church bound on Ascension Thursday, were killed in the raid on the predominantly Christian community. But the government did its best to suppress public demonstrations.

Pope was given good medical treatment, and he could be seen sunning himself on the porch of a private, blue bungalow in the mountains of Central Java. Although the Communists were urging a speedy trial, Sukarno also saw advantages in sunning himself -- in the growing warmth of United States policy. Pope's trial was delayed for nineteen months while Sukarno kept him a hostage to continued American friendliness.
Late the next year, however, Sukarno found himself in a quarrel with Peking over his decision to bar Chinese aliens from doing business outside of the main cities of Indonesia. The powerful Indonesian Communist Party was aroused over the issue and Sukarno may have felt the need to placate them.


Pope was brought to trial before a military court on December 28, 1959. He was accused of flying six bombing raids for the rebels and killing twenty-three Indonesians, seventeen of them members of the armed forces. The maximum penalty was death.


During the trial, which dragged on for four months, Pope pleaded not guilty. He admitted to flying only one combat mission, that of May 18, 1958. The other flights, he testified, were of a reconnaissance or non-combat nature. Contrary to the assertion that he had signed a $10,000 contract, Pope insisted he got only $200 a flight.
The court introduced a diary taken from Pope after his capture. It contained detailed entries of various bombing missions. Pope contended it listed the activities of all the rebel pilots, not just his. He replied to the same effect when confronted with a pre-trial confession, noting that he had refused to sign it.

Asked what his "real motive" had been in joining the rebels, Pope replied: "Your honor, I have been fighting the Communists since I was twenty-two years old -- first in Korea and later Dienbienphu ...
"I am not responsible for the death of one Indonesian-armed or unarmed," he asserted in his closing plea. "I have served long enough as a target of the Communist press, which has been demanding the death sentence for me."

On April 29, 1960, the court handed down the death sentence, but it seemed unlikely that the penalty would be imposed. It had not once been invoked since Indonesia gained its independence eleven years before.
Pope appealed the sentence the following November, and when it was upheld by the Appeals Court, he took the case to the Military Supreme Court. Mrs. Pope made a personal appeal to Sukarno on December 28 during the first of two trips to Indonesia, but she was offered no great encouragement despite the prospect of improved relations between Sukarno and President-elect Kennedy.

Sukarno received an invitation to visit Washington a month after Kennedy took office. The Indonesian leader had been feted by President Eisenhower during a state visit to the United States in 1956; and he had more or less forced a second meeting with Eisenhower at the United Nations in the fall of 1960. But on most of his trips to the United States, Sukarno felt snubbed.
Kennedy's invitation clearly flattered and pleased him.

The two men sat down together at the White House the week after the Bay of Pigs. The meeting went well enough, but Kennedy was preoccupied with the CIA's latest failure at attempted revolution.
During the visit Kennedy commented to one of his aides: No wonder Sukarno doesn't like us very much. He has to sit down with people who tried to overthrow him.

 

 

Still Sukarno seemed favorably disposed toward the new Kennedy Administration. The following February, during a good-will tour of Indonesia, Robert Kennedy asked Sukarno to release Pope. (Secret negotiations were then far advanced for the exchange the next week of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers and Soviet spy Rudolph I. Abel. And the White House was favorably impressed with the tight-lipped Mr. Pope as contrasted with Powers, a CIA pilot who talked freely about his employer.)


Sukarno's first reaction to Robert Kennedy's request was to reject it out of hand, but when the Attorney General persisted, he agreed to take it under consideration. Six months later, on July 2, 1962, Pope was freed from prison without prior notice and taken to the American Embassy for interrogation by Ambassador Jones and other officials. Then he was put aboard a Military Air Transport Service plane and flown back to the United States.

Pope was hidden away for seven weeks and the State Department did not reveal his release until August 22. Pope insisted there had been no secret questioning (such as that to which Powers was subjected by the CIA on his return from Russia). The State Department's explanation of the long silence was that Pope had asked that the release be kept secret so he could have a quiet rendezvous with his family.

_______________

* The rebels then moved their capital to Menado, which fell late in June.

 

http://www.planetmole.org/indonesian-news/reflecting-on-fallen-presidents-indonesia.htmlhttp://www.planetmole.org/indonesian-news/reflecting-on-fallen-presidents-indonesia.html