Gestapu: How the US Used an Indonesian Massacre to Deepen the Sino-Soviet Split

National security advisor Kissinger and President Nixon described their visit to Chairman Mao Zedong in February 1972 – fifty years ago this month – as ‘turning a page of history’ but they never mentioned how rapprochement was linked with one of the worst massacres in the 20th century. This Cold War shroud has not yet been lifted.

Kissinger’s aide, Winston Lord, was not so reticent.[1] He explained that the visit had become possible only when the ‘Sino-Soviet bloc was no longer a bloc’ and praised the State Department whose China-expert, Marshall Green, was one of the thirteen persons in Nixon’s delegation to Beijing. The nitty-gritty of splitting the Sino-Soviet bloc had long been the work of Green before he was an aide to Secretary of State William Rogers.

By the late ‘60s, Moscow and Beijing, once Cold War allies, were deadly enemies. Beijing feared nuclear attack, large tank battles had occurred in north-east China and the Uyghur people in the south-west had received Soviet support. Along parts of the Chinese border, forty divisions of Soviet troops (half a million men) were threatening.

Not until twenty-five years after the visit did Green begin to explain his role in the Sino-Soviet split. In an Archival interview, he said: “I was in on this from the beginning…I was very close to our intelligence people, and some of our intelligence people were extremely well informed.”[2]

Green was in the select group whose strategy of “driving a wedge between Moscow and Beijing” was first formulated in the Rockefeller Brothers panel-report in 1958. Participating also were both Kissinger and Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Allen Dulles, who died in 1969. Green confirmed that he had always been close to Allen Dulles, even when working with Secretary of State John Foster Dulles (Allen’s elder brother). During the 1958 Taiwan Strait crisis when China and USA narrowly avoided conflict, Green was ‘crisis manager’. Kissinger had then advocated ‘limited nuclear war’, five years before China acquired its first nuclear device.

The Sino-Soviet bloc, at that time, was still intact although ideological differences between Beijing and Moscow were first detected by US observers in the 1950s. Allen Dulles’ Indonesia adviser, Guy Pauker, told me (in correspondence) that his associate Allen S. Whiting, was the first person to verify the Sino-Soviet split.

In 1961, however, DCI Dulles did not fully inform President Kennedy about the Sino-Soviet split, and deliberately let it be known that the ‘split’ might be a Cold War ploy. Although JFK removed DCI Dulles from office later that year, his influence hardly diminished.

On behalf of the Rockefeller oil empire and the ‘military-industrial complex’, Dulles was pursuing regime change in Indonesia, formerly the world’s richest colony. Removing President Sukarno, however, was contrary to President Kennedy’s strategy. The full extent of this glaring disparity is obvious now, but apparently not in November 1963.

JFK’s intended visit to Jakarta in early 1964 threatened to disrupt the final stage in a plan for regime-change which Dulles had started in 1958. This is explained more fully in my book, JFK vs Allen Dulles: Battleground Indonesia.

Once the rationale for ousting Sukarno was melded with the Sino-Soviet rift, even the Joint Chiefs regarded JFK’s long-planned visit to Sukarno as anomalous. Kennedy was unaware of the intense rivalry between Moscow and Beijing to win the support of the Indonesian Communist party (PKI). Each was separately seeking the support of the PKI because outside the Sino-Soviet bloc the PKI was the world’s largest communist party. It had three million members and 20 million sympathizers. Moscow and Beijing each wanted to gain advantage over the other in their ideological struggle, so each was wooing the PKI as the next largest party outside the bloc.

Marshall Green, as US ambassador to Indonesia 1965-69, assisted army general Suharto to replace President Sukarno, the founding father of Indonesia. Despite Dulles’ labelling Sukarno a communist, his fervent nationalism was readily vouchsafed – by Richard Nixon, when vice-president in the 1950s, after meeting Sukarno in Jakarta; and in 1961, by JFK, when Sukarno visited Washington.

Prior to that visit, JFK had requested a briefing paper from Allen Dulles. It conveyed a bleak prospect of CIA influence ever being able to change the internal affairs of Indonesia, endeavouring to discourage Kennedy from interfering. It obliquely mentioned the use of violence – which was anathema to Kennedy. The CIA bare-boned response to President Kennedy was as follows:

Unfortunately, this is a situation in which the influence that the United States can exert, at least in the short run, is extremely lim­ited, if (as must be assumed) crude and violent intervention is ex­cluded.[3]

Sukarno’s popular support came from millions of poor, landless peasants, many of whom were rice farmers attracted to the PKI promise of land-reform. The ‘bleak prospect’ came from the PKI possibly being voted into government, but after the first elections in 1955, there was never a second national election before the physical annihilation of the party began in 1965. The CIA Briefing warned about

untrammelled continuation of Communist growth as long as President Sukarno is at the helm. Such growth, however, cannot continue indefinitely without leading to a Communist takeover – most likely by constitutional, less likely by revolutionary means.[4]

When Allen Dulles was DCI, all his attempts to kill Sukarno failed. In the 1962-65 period, still operating from his former office in Foggy Bottom, Washington, rather than the new CIA headquarters at Langley, and utilising his 50 years of experience and contacts in intelligence, the plans for regime change in Indonesia underwent a change of tactics.

The PKI itself became the focus with the goal to see it banished from the body-politic, depriving Sukarno of his principal power-base and thereby achieving regime change. As testament to the evil genius of Dulles, the new focus on the PKI itself had additional advantages. This method of regime change in Indonesia would also bring to bear the geo-political implications of the Sino-Soviet split. It was a formula that would also win Cold War carteblanche support from the Joint Chiefs of Staff – and this consideration, in 1963, in terms of stopping Kennedy’s visit to Jakarta, proved crucial.

Then in 1965-66 the rice-farmers associated with the PKI, whose only crime was to have been born into poverty, were physically eliminated – a human tragedy later described ‘as one of the worst massacres of the 20th century’ by a CIA female employee. The Cold War political repercussions of this regime change were far-reaching. About one million persons were incarcerated and many starved to death. A similar number met their death by mutilation, sharp instruments, machetes or were simply shot. Sarwo Edhie, one of the generals so prominent in the killing that he became known as ‘the bloodhound of Central Java’, said it might have been three million. Speaking about the annihilation of the PKI (decades later, for the Archives) Marshall stated:

The Indonesian cataclysm was far more momentous than has generally been recognized. …The world never grasped the significance of those times …the Chinese and Russians began to point the finger of blame at each other. Indonesia in 1965-67 changed the course of world events.[5]

Green referred to “the reversals Maoism suffered in Indonesia in 1965-66.” He praised Zhou Enlai for his pragmatism in reacting to the reversals and called him “one of the greatest men of this century” and the decision to invite Nixon to meet Mao was part of this praise. The LA Times labelled Green as Zhou Enlai’s counterpart yet any claim of official US involvement in what happened in Indonesia always met with denial: a sine qua non if the cataclysm was to have the desired effect in terms of splitting Moscow and Beijing. As a topic of foreign affairs in US government and media, Indonesia became a largely forgotten region and was rarely mentioned.

Suharto ousted Sukarno with Green’s help, so his presence in the 1972 delegation was kept low key. Mao was so frail that he was constantly attended by two nurses, even during the brief sixty minutes with Nixon. Both Zhou Enlai and Kissinger realised any adverse impact on his health could have jeopardized rapprochement so both Green and Rogers were excluded from meeting Mao. This prescription allowed Kissinger to promote himself, despite Roger’s protests, and the following year became Secretary of State. Green commented that being excluded “was very difficult for me to take, but that was the policy.”

Green’s link with the human tragedy that occurred in Indonesia needs to be seen in light of the fact that the great majority of those killed were simply rice-farmers. There is no question that the political impact of their death led to Suharto’s dominance and outlawing of the PKI in Indonesia, but at the same time – regarding the Sino-Soviet dispute – the impact it had in terms of ‘driving a wedge between Moscow and Beijing’ was devastatingly effective. Green expounded in the Library of Congress interview:

The breakdown of democratic centralism in China has been ascribed to China’s reversal in Indonesia. Those reversals may also help account for subsequent changes in China’s policies – from the extremism of the Cultural Revolution which was so disastrous that it led to a kind of counter-revolution, under Zhou Enlai. [6]

When Nixon was on the presidential campaign-trail in 1967, he visited Jakarta where Green briefed him on how Suharto had come to power. The massacre of the PKI had widened the ideological dispute between Moscow and Beijing and was turning ideological rivalry into armed clashes. When I interviewed Adam Malik in his house in Jakarta, in 1983, shortly after he had stepped down as vice-president of Indonesia, he told me about U-2 flights monitoring the Sino-Soviet tank battles on the Ussuri River along the border of north-east China. His frankness was a surprise, indicating a close association with the CIA, but I did not realize he was dying of cancer at the time; he passed away less than one year later. (And more than a decade later it was confirmed that Malik had indeed been a ‘CIA asset’.)

As I recount in my book, JFK vs Allen Dulles, when Malik’s adjutant Adhayatman requested that he tone down his answers to my questions, I was surprised when Malik turned to his adjutant and said, with a slight reprimand, he’d tell me whatever he wanted to tell me. I also recall that his hair-dye, which he must have applied shortly before I’d arrived at his house, was dripping onto his white shirt; but not until long after the interview did I realise he was lifting a great weight from his conscience because his death seemed imminent. The Japanese wartime naval spy, Nishijima, known as the ‘godfather of Indonesia’, had arranged the interview. The sobriquet was out of respect for the assistance he provided with the historic Proclamation in 1945 and then he helped his protégé Malik to announce Indonesian independence around the world. So Nishijima might have given Malik an opportunity to unburden his soul, as it was he who first emphasised Sino-Soviet matters.

Malik was the person whom Marshall Green used to meet secretly – in a ‘clandestine’ way, he explained – when he wanted to communicate with Suharto in Jakarta. Not until much later in 1966 did Green ever talk in public with Suharto; and before then, each studiously avoided the other if attending a public function. Or sometimes, Green said, they might exchange the wink of an eye across the room to acknowledge each other’s presence. This suggests there was still concern that the damage done to Sino-Soviet relations as a result of the Indonesian cataclysm might still be undone by open fraternization between Green and Suharto. But how close was Green’s involvement in the horrific events perpetrated by Suharto which marked a turning point in the Cold War?

To answer this we need to bring Indonesia into focus, starting with the weeks following the 20th anniversary of Indonesian independence on 17th August 1965. Tension between the PKI and the Indonesian army, exacerbated by Sukarno’s failing health, was increasing every day. Indonesia was on the brink of catastrophe. Sino-Soviet rivalry was evident even among the small group surrounding PKI leader, D.N.Aidit, and Beijing held more sway than Moscow. The Maoist idea of forming a ‘fifth force’ by arming the workers and peasants as another force, separate from the airforce, army, navy and police, brought strong disapproval from Indonesian army leaders.

There was little prospect of holding a national election while Indonesia and Malaysia were engaged in hostilities (referred to as ‘Confrontation’). Previous research has revealed the spark that started Confrontation also involved Allen Dulles.[7]He had arranged for small-arms to be landed on the coast of Sarawak by CIA gun-runner Frank Starr and given to a group of 2000 youths (mostly Chinese) referred to as the Clandestine Communist Organization. William Andreas Brown (who later became the US ambassador to Israel) handed over the weapons.

Confrontation was thrown onto the laps of politicians in Jakarta who took the bait. Sukarno was blamed but he was not involved in starting Confrontation. He and President Kennedy in 1963 tried to stop the sporadic armed clashes between Indonesian and British forces along the Sarawak-Indonesian border. Because US Congress disapproved and blocked US Aid, this conflict was jeopardizing Kennedy’s strategy not just for Indonesia but for all Southeast Asia. JFK wanted Indonesia ‘on side’ in the Cold War before fully addressing Vietnam. The success he was anticipating with Indonesia would enable him to impose his peaceable option as a solution in Southeast Asia.

US Ambassador Jones, who was in Jakarta before Marshall Green, explained to JFK that Sukarno did not start Confrontation and needed Kennedy’s help to end it. For this purpose, JFK resolved to visit Jakarta in early 1964. Former Secretary of State Dean Rusk confirmed this in a handwritten letter to me.[8] JFK’s aim was to stop Confrontation. This would allow Congress to re-open US Aid to Indonesia. JFK’s trip would have prefaced the successful implementation of Kennedy’s strategy to bring Indonesia on side in the Cold War. Yet the very likelihood of success, of JFK stopping Konfrontsi and securing the Sukarno presidency, had adverse implications of which Kennedy was not fully aware. It created a dire threat to Dulles’ Indonesia strategy which had been years in the planning and now included the Sino-Soviet factor which brought implicit support from the Joint Chiefs.

For Rockefeller interests, there was an added bonus in regime change. Neither Sukarno nor JFK (who in 1962 had ousted the Dutch colonial presence from West New Guinea, an untouched equatorial territory with snow-capped mountains and an area greater than California) realized it contained the world’s largest primary deposit of gold. Dutch Foreign Minister Luns[9] certainly knew, and when he attempted to negotiate joint exploitation of the deposit with the company that still operates the mine today, he was given a blunt refusal.

The 2021 revenue for the US company, Freeport Indonesia, which now mines copper and gold, was $9 billion. This was part of the worldwide Freeport-McMoRan company whose 2021 revenue exceeded $21 billion. Freeport-Indonesia’s first output in 1972 started a few months after Nixon visited Mao Zedong. A Freeport company director told me, two decades ago, the Freeport mine has ‘enough gold for 200 years’ of mining.

* * * * *

Allen Dulles had interfered in Indonesian internal affairs in 1958, fomenting civil war. This was the biggest CIA operation outside Vietnam even though George Kahin, Cornell’s top Indonesia specialist, later explained that few persons in USA ever became aware of it. As a consequence of Dulles’ intervention, Sukarno’s cabinet became so army-dominated that it was described by Robert Collier, US Army Attaché in the Jakarta embassy, as the “Army’s doll”.[10] Compared to the PKI’s single representative who had a minor role in Sukarno’s cabinet, there was a preponderance of army officers as ministers. In August 1965, because of the profligate army elite combined with the cost of Confrontation, the Indonesian army controlled 70% of the Indonesian economy.[11]

The PKI had lots of potential but, in reality, little power. What occurred in Indonesia on Green’s watch was the wholesale destruction of the PKI. Working alongside him was Robert Martens, an expert on Soviet Russia from the US embassy in Moscow. A list[12] of 5000 PKI leaders to be eliminated was given by Green and Martens to Suharto via Malik’s adjutant, Adhayatman. Macabre as this detail is, it is but a minute fraction of the grotesque total number of deaths and, as the horror unfolds, Green’s fingerprints were on more than just the list. This serves to highlight the gruesome logic on which the mass killing of the PKI was predicated – and I tend to think that Adam Malik became aware of this only after the event, causing him to reassess his own role in that dark time: the greater the death toll, the more it fueled Sino-Soviet separation.

Six Generals

It started on 1st October 1965 when six army generals were killed, for which major-general Suharto blamed the entire PKI under the leadership of D.N. Aidit. After meeting Mao in Beijing and talking with generals Suharto and Nasution in Jakarta, Aidit still had hope of reducing tension between the army and the PKI.

A CIA Intelligence Memorandum prepared five days after the killing of the generals states that “… it does not seem likely that party chairman Aidit would have approved the murder of the generals or even the change of government. The Indonesian situation, both foreign and domestic, was highly favourable to the Communists…” [13]

In CIA documents from 1964 accessed by Geoffrey B. Robinson, in The Killing Season, Suharto and Nasution were listed as the top two anti-PKI generals. Nasution was a Batak from Sumatra with a military style that was frank and efficient. Suharto was Javanese, but the difference between them was far more than ethnic. Nasution had none of Suharto’s political duplicity which he concealed so well that he seemed ‘progressive’ to PKI observers. In any case, the CIA had already noted in the 1961 briefing for JFK that Nasution was not the man to replace President Sukarno.

The killing of the six generals was a turning point in Indonesian history because it led to mass murder, regime change and three decades of Suharto’s New Order. A group known as the 30th September Movement was blamed. This group had intended to kidnap the generals and bring them before President Sukarno to explain a rumour that a so-called ‘Council of Generals’ was planning to oust Sukarno on October 5th, 1965. Instead, the generals were killed and Suharto accused the Movement and the PKI, using the acronym, Gestapu or G-30S-PKI, which became an epithet of evil.[14]

The two army officers who set up the 30th Sept.Movement were Lt.Colonel Untung and Colonel Abdul Latief.  Untung was later executed but until his final moments always believed his friend Suharto would intervene to save his life. Latief was imprisoned in 1965 and I spoke with him in Cipinang prison, ten months before his release in March 1999.

Killing the generals was not on the agenda, Latief declared adamantly. He restated the intention of the 30th September Movement was to kidnap the generals and take them to President Sukarno. The timing for this action was five days before the 5th October because their friend, Suharto, had advised them (as mentioned above) that was when the ‘Council of Generals’ would move against Sukarno.

“Suharto was one of us,” Latief told me with determination. He sat absolutely upright in the chair, his jaw defiant, but I could see a lifetime of suffering in his eyes. He’d spent thirty-three years in prison because his friend Suharto had so blatantly exploited the Movement. It was his honor and duty to protect the president, but Suharto – who had all the inside information by virtue of being a ‘silent member’ of the Movement – turned a kidnapping into a turkey shoot.


Over a period of 13 years, Nasution and I spoke together many times. One of the more surprising things he said was about the six generals. His explanation for the responsibility for their death was the direct opposite of Suharto’s 30-years of propaganda, claiming that the PKI was responsible for the death of the generals.

When troops came in the early morning hours to collect the generals, they also came for Nasution. It was very nearly seven generals killed, but he narrowly escaped. In the shooting, his adjutant was taken and his young daughter killed. It was at this point in our conversation that Nasution said that his wife always blamed Suharto for the death of their daughter. For the rest of her life, Nasution said, his wife never again spoke to President Suharto. Nasution was in effect saying Suharto was behind the killing of the generals. When I repeated this to him, slowly and deliberately, he simply looked at me silently. Suharto was still in power when he said this in 1996.

Linking Suharto to the death of the generals was surprising enough, but when I asked about possible CIA involvement, Nasution opened a political can of worms by linking Suharto and Sjam who was the person in PKI intelligence directly under Aidit. Sjam’s evidence in military trials blamed Aidit entirely.

Before the killing of the six generals on 1st October 1965, Suharto was head of ‘Kostrad’ or Army Strategic Reserves Command (the main unit ready for combat in the Indonesia army). Sjam was known to have ID that gave him free access to Kostrad headquarters, that is, access to Suharto and both his top intelligence officers who had first worked with Suharto in central Java a decade earlier.

One of these was Ali Murtopo, and the other was Yoga Sugama who in the mid-1950s had participated in training in the UK with British intelligence.

Nasution said that Suharto and Sjam had been seen together visiting Seskoad, the army officer training school in Bandung. Suharto had completed some training there a few years earlier, so it was not unusual for him to be visiting Seskoad, even though Colonel Sutarto who ran the training program was a well-known CIA-asset. But for Nasution to say that Suharto was together with Sjam at Seskoad was highly unusual. Guy Pauker (from USA) often visited Seskoad, but when I asked if he’d met either Suharto or Sjam, he replied in the negative, although he said he had heard about Suharto from friends. Pauker also limited his negative answer to a fixed location, Seskoad.

Sjam’s link with Suharto is the key to the whole tragic mass-murder. Close analysis of Sjam’s actions over the year or so, preceding the killing of the generals, reveals that Sjam was preparing for a pro-Suharto outcome in the final showdown between the army and the PKI. The Sjam-Suharto link was stronger than the Sjam-Aidit link.

The CIA account of what happened on 1st October 1965, entitled “The Coup that Backfired” implies the action was PKI-inspired. Summed up in a few words, the CIA account says ultimately the PKI paid the price because, by a stroke of good fortune, Suharto appeared on the scene. However, investigating more closely into what actually happened, strong evidence emerges showing Suharto himself was deeply involved beforehand. This confirmed what both Latief and Nasution told me regarding the death of the six generals.

General Yani killed by preman.

About 4am on October 1st, 1965, seconds after General Yani (head of the Indonesian army) in pyjamas, opened the front door of his house, he was dead. The person who killed him with seven bullets from a Thompson sub-machine gun, changed history. This person was not one of the troops instructed to arrest Yani and take him to President Sukarno, which was the plan of Untung and Latief. This person was wearing ‘street clothes’ or preman (the Indonesian term). He was a hired killer.

The term preman has changed over the last 50 years and now refers more to the man wearing the clothes, the mafia-type hitman. There were preman in some other trucks, like the one that went to Nasution’s house. The person implicated in using preman that fateful night – as explained in my book – was Suharto’s intelligence officer, Ali Murtopo. When Nasution escaped the early morning attack, he hid in darkness for several hours, next door in the yard of the Iraqi embassy. Had he emerged, preman would have finished him off.

A book published in Jakarta in 1967, but missing for 50 years, has re-appeared on the shelves of University Indonesia. The title (in English) is “The Death of Aidit”; the author’s name is Rosamona (one name being common in Indonesia in the 1960s) and it is a government publication with Suharto’s photo as frontispiece. Even Nasution has contributed ten pages or so. It casts the events of 1965 in a completely different light because it refers to preman. If the Indonesian public were told preman, not the PKI, were responsible for the death of Yani and other generals, Indonesia history would have taken another road. The presence of preman in this tragedy was not once mentioned in the years of military trials that started in 1965.

Significantly, the CIA report ‘Indonesia in Upheaval’ (mentioned above) also casts doubt on precisely who fired the shots. The information came from one of Sukarno’s physicians described as “a key figure in army communications”[15] and one who “has been candid about internal matters”. On 3rd October, he provided information about Untung, explaining that his troops (ie the troops from the Palace Guard) “were among those who had gone to the generals’ houses but that it was not clear who had done the firing…” Suharto at this time was loudly declaring it was the communists who had done the firing, and the CIA report takes this same approach, but now, decades later, the evidence from Rosamona is saying preman were present.

Green, in Jakarta, had contacted the State Department the previous day (October 5, 1965) with instructions which read: “Spread the story of PKI’s guilt, treachery and brutality….(and) Bear in mind that Moscow and Peking [Beijing] are in basic conflict regarding Indonesia..” [16]

The 30th Sept. Movement announced on the radio on 1st October, just after 7am, that they were an army group which had kidnapped some generals because of the threat they posed to President Sukarno. Untung and Latief did not even find out about the death of the generals until later in the morning. Suharto, however, who was then working on the inside of the Movement, was well-prepared to blame the entire event on the PKI. That same morning, before 11am., Suharto sent orders to Aceh to begin killing members of the PKI (as Jess Melvin has explained in The Army and the Indonesian Genocide: the Mechanics of Mass Murder).

The presence of preman has never been mentioned in relation to the killing of the generals. Nor has the presence – the onsite presence – of US officials supervising Indonesian army officers when killing the PKI in Central Java. Klaten in central Java was a former PKI stronghold.

In 1966, when mass killing was occurring there, the army operations office in Klaten had two US advisers, a man and a woman, according to onsite witnesses who informed an American sociologist a few years after the event. (See Endnote 361, JFK vs Allen Dulles.) A helicopter also was nearby, apparently the means of transport for the two US personnel. A telegram from the National Security Archive, November 1965, shows that Marshall Green had asked the 7th Fleet political officer under the Commander in Chief for the Pacific for some ‘covert assistance’, including transport. While the killing in Central Java was occurring, the helicopter transported the two advisors to Klaten from some ships offshore – a 23-minute flight in a Huey helicopter.

The point is: Green was not merely an onlooker. His expertise was part of a select group, which originally involved DCI Dulles and Kissinger, to implement the plan to split Moscow and Beijing.

Indonesian army officers were in the process of perpetrating killing on a massive scale. Village-farmers were being arrested and killed without any struggle to escape, even when aware of the fate of nearby villages. Month after month this killing continued as army trucks and troops systematically moved through the countryside. Some villages were entirely emptied of their inhabitants, according to Australian journalist Frank Palmos, who (with a Canadian photographer) drove a car to the north-coast of Central Java in early 1966. The rice paddies were empty, he explained (when I spoke with him in October 2021) and he said he naively asked someone, ‘Where have all the people gone?’

Green, in an Archival interview years later, explained why he thought the PKI collapsed: “They certainly were not properly trained and disciplined so that the whole structure, cadres and so forth, was eminently weak. If anything happens of a cataclysmic nature it is going to blow it all away. I think that is fundamentally the reason why the Party collapsed so readily. They obviously couldn’t stand up against the Army and the strains of the moment.”

Although the group which ran the Indonesian operation for regime-change has never been acknowledged, my primary aim has been to explain how President Kennedy also was another victim to be added to the mammoth tally of this Cold War operation started by Allen Dulles.

So when President Nixon and Chairman Mao Zedong described their meeting in 1972 as ‘The Week That Changed The World’, should we now ask if February 21-28 was not the actual turning point? Perhaps it’s more correct to say the killing of six generals in Jakarta, the 1st October 1965, was the real turning point in the Cold War.


3. Frederick P. Bunnell, ‘The Central Intelligence Agency – Deputy Directorate for Plans 1961 Secret memorandum on Indonesia: A study in the Politics of policy formulation in the Kennedy Administration.’ p.160. Report (23pp) is dated 3/27/61. Paragraph 9, p.7
4. Bunnell, p.164
5. Library of Congress, Oral History Interview with Marshall Green, starting May 12, 1987, on Indonesia. Interviewer: Robert J. Martens.
6. (same interview with Martens)
7. See: G.Poulgrain. The Genesis of Konfrontasi – Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia 1945-1965. 2014. p.271, and JFK vs Allen Dulles: Battleground Indonesia, p.186.
8. When Rusk had retired and was living in Georgia, I corresponded with him in the 1990s
9. Joseph Luns was Dutch Foreign Minister for 17 years, tasked with ensuring the gold stayed in Dutch hands. In 1982, I interviewed him at NATO headquarters, Brussels, when he was Secretary-General. Allen Dulles in 1935 set up the company which found the gold.See: JFK vs Allen Dulles, Ch.2.
10. Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955-57 doc.133
11. Rudolf Mrazek, The United States and the Indonesian Military, 1978, vol 2, p.131.
12. Kathy Kadane, ‘US Officials’ Lists Aided Indonesian Bloodbath in ‘60s’, The Washington Post. May 21, 1990
13. Office of Current Intelligence No.2330/65. ‘The Upheaval in Indonesia’. October 6, 1965. Johnson Library, National Security File, Indonesia Vol. V, Memos 10/65-11/65. Central Intelligence Agency.
14. Gestapu is derived from Gerakan (‘movement’ in Indonesian language) and 30S for 30 September, to which PKI was added. This utilised the familiarity of another acronym from the Second World War – Gestapo, the Nazi secret police – which was redolent with fear and loathing. It became GESTAPU-PKI or G30S. Of course, the wartime connotation had little effect on an Indonesian audience but for a Western audience the similarity with Gestapo had immediate impact with negative connotations.
15. See paragraph 16 in above report.

16. Telegram Embassy (Green) to Dept of State. National Archives and Records Admin.RG59, Central Giles 1964-66, POL 23-9 INDON. Secret. ref. 868.

Greg Poulgrain teaches history at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.