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Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
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Army planned to overthrow Sukarno in 1965: US declassified files

  • Marguerite Afra Sapiie
    Marguerite Afra Sapiie

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, October 18, 2017 | 03:58 pm
Army planned to overthrow Sukarno in 1965: US declassified files In this file photo, then Army chief Gen. Ahmad Yani (left) shares a light moment with president Soekarno (center) who just awarded an award for female soldier Herlina Kasim (right) (Rigel Wahyu Nugroho/File)

Newly declassified US government files have revealed that the Indonesian Army planned to overthrow Sukarno after failing to convince him that the now-defunct Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) was behind the failed coup attempt against him.

The documents, made public on Tuesday after a declassification review that started under Barack Obama’s administration, has shown that US diplomats at the Jakarta Embassy had details and ongoing knowledge of the political upheaval that swept through Indonesia at the height of the cold war in 1965.

In a telegram dated Oct. 12, 1965 sent by US ambassador to Indonesia Marshall Green to US Secretary of State, Green reported a conversation with the German Ambassador to Indonesia, who revealed a possibility of the Army deposing Soekarno, who was then known as an anti-Western figure close to communist regimes.

The Army’s representative was said to have approached the German ambassador after Sukarno refused to read papers demonstrating the evidence of “PKI complicity in Sept. 30 movement” presented by the Army, referring to the failed coup attempt that took the lives of six Army officers.

 “[The Indonesian] Army is now considering possibility of overthrowing Sukarno himself and is approaching several Western Embassies to let them know that such a move is possible,” the telegram read.

The Army representative, however, emphasized that the Army was still considering and had yet to come to a decision about deposing Soekarno. “If it was done, it would be through a sudden move without warning and Sukarno would then be replaced by a combined civilian-military junta,” the telegram said, quoting the statement of the Army’s representative. (ahw)

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