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The Incubus of Intervention: conflicting Indonesia strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles



Chapter 2 of 'Incubus' (JFK,Dulles and Hammarskjold) contains new information on the MOTIVE behind the plane-crash which caused the death of UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold in 1961. This information came from an interview conducted with George Ivan Smith, who was the right-hand man of Hammarskjold. In your opinion, shouldn't the frame-of-reference for the 3-month UN investigation currently being conducted into the cause of the Hammarskjold plane crash also include the MOTIVE behind the role of Allen Dulles?
48 e Incubus of Intervention
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld
Kennedy’s Planned Trip to Jakarta
In the Foreword to my book on Malaysian Confrontation, Pramoedya
Ananta Toer, one of Indonesias leading writers, commented on President
Kennedy’s anticipated visit to Jakarta in early 1964: Kennedys plans to
meet Sukarno in Indonesia never came to pass: that we all know, for he
was murdered….
Pramoedya drew attention to the planned visit without elaborating,
apart from saying that Kennedy, and Indonesias President Sukarno, had to
disappear from the stage of history. Half a century has elapsed since these
two leaders ‘disappeared’ and with them the political positivity of the now
forgotten plan to visit Jakarta. Instead, in the mid-1960s, a proliferation of
violence and military mentality suused the nation. Indonesia still bears
the scars. is outcome was in stark contrast to the ‘Indonesia strategy’
Kennedy was planning in 1963. Working in conjunction with Sukarno
whose perennial aim was to unify his nation, JFK’s intended visit was lost
in the turgid history of that time.
Kennedy’s proposed visit to Jakarta ‘in April or May of 1964’ accord-
ing to the long serving US ambassador in Indonesia, Howard Jones, was a
strategy to end Malaysian Confrontation. is period of hostility between
Indonesia and Malaysia, involving armed skirmishes and provocative
political posturing, fell short of war. It started in early 1963 as Indonesian
‘protest’ against the British format of decolonisation which was simply
lumping together its disparate colonial possessions in Southeast Asia to
ensure the numbers of Chinese overall were in the minority. e reaction
in Washington to Confrontation resulted in US aid to Indonesia being
reduced to a trickle. Reopening these aid channels was part of Kennedy’s
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JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 49
rationale in making the trip because Indonesia was a vital component
of his larger strategy in Southeast Asia. Planning the visit to Jakarta
involved several months of negotiation before Kennedy and Sukarno
reached an agreement; then on November 20th the visit was formally
announced. Because of the tragedy in Dallas a few days later, the visit
did not occur. ‘e assassins bullet put an end to our plans and disposed
of the immediate prospects for settlement of the Malaysia dispute, wrote
Jones.1 Confrontation continued up to 1965/6 when President Sukarno
was ousted by General Suharto.
As shown in my book e Genesis of Konfrontasi, from archival
evidence and interviews, Sukarno was not the instigator of Malaysian
Confrontation. Instead, the principal Indonesian player was the Foreign
Minister, Subandrio, who ran the largest intelligence service in Indonesia
and fully expected to be the next president. As well, Confrontation did
not start without various covert actions by persons linked to both British
intelligence (MI6) and American intelligence (CIA), centred in Singapore
and operating outside the aegis of government.
President Sukarnos role in Confrontation underwent a change aer
Kennedy’s assassination. Initially, when Indonesia became embroiled in
the conict not of his doing, Sukarno’s public statements were designed
to steer a course through dangerous political currents beyond his control,
whereas aer November 1963 he was attempting to regain leadership of
this anti-British, anti-colonial campaign. is change in Sukarno was
reected in the expression ‘Ganjang Malaysia, popularised in Western
media as ‘Crush Malaysia. Earlier, Sukarno had disagreed with this
interpretation, and actually performed for the media to demonstrate his
meaning. ‘Ganjang’, he explained, was like nibbling food in your mouth
to check it for taste – as would a politician, checking for any disagreeable
taste of colonialism – then spitting it out! Territorial acquisition was not
on the menu in Malaysian Confrontation. Nevertheless critics of Indo-
nesia2 readily depicted Confrontation as expansionism because it came
1 Howard Palfrey Jones, Indonesia: e Possible Dream, Gunung Agung, Singapore,
1980, p. 298. (First ed. 1971, Hoover Institution Publications).
2 Nor were critics simply along East-West lines in the Cold War conict, as Beijing
fully supported Confrontation but Moscow did not. Continued hostilities
delayed Indonesian elections which Moscow wanted in order to open the door to
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50 e Incubus of Intervention
hard on the heels of Sukarnos sovereignty dispute over Netherlands New
Guinea, a dispute in which President Kennedy’s role had proved crucial.
Sukarno commanded great respect as the founding father of Indo-
nesian independence, but he himself was unable to halt Confrontation
because it was driven by domestic political rivalry. Having ousted the
Dutch from New Guinea, Indonesia in 1963 was still seething with anti-
colonial venom. ere were three rival streams of Indonesian opposition
to Malaysia – one linked with Subandrio, another with the Indonesian
communist party (PKI) and another with the Indonesian army. ese
three disparate groups were involved in the initial border skirmishes
with Sarawak in east ‘Malaysia’ being defended by British troops, in
the throes of decolonisation. e intermittent conict drew criticism
from Washington through the US ambassador in Jakarta who explained
that the US government agreed that ‘Malaysia’ was the best format for
decolonisation. en, in September 1963, aer the burning of the British
Embassy in Jakarta, bilateral relations with USA were strained to the point
where aid for Indonesia was reduced to a minimum. Kennedy’s eorts
to ensure his aid program would not falter now attracted criticism from
British ocials who ‘told the White House with increasing frequency that
UK and US interests regarding Indonesia were beginning fundamentally
to diverge.3 Republican Congressman William S. Broomeld claimed that
Indonesia was misusing US assistance. Support to cut US aid came from
a clique of other Congressmen including Mathias, Gross and Findley.
Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon then endorsed the ‘Broomeld amend-
ment’, demanding that Indonesia be dropped from the list of recipients of
US aid. ’I say we should wipe it o the aid program, he declared.4
Kennedy’s planned visit to Jakarta was a radical move to re-open all
funding as this was a vital part of the ‘follow-up strategy’ he had set in
place aer intervening in 1962 in the anti-colonial dispute with the Dutch.
In Indonesia, Kennedy’s intervention had stirred popular euphoria in
government for the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). Moscow’s disapproval of
Confrontation was strong but subdued to avoid Sino-Soviet rivalry which – as the
PKI were already involved in Confrontation – would advantage only Beijing.
3 Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with Guns, p. 98.
4 Baskara T. Wardaya, SJ, Cold War Shadow – United States Policy toward Indonesia,
1953–1963, Galang Press, Yogyakarta. 2007, p. 377.
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JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 51
his favour, and this continued into 1963, such was the young American
presidents charisma. e Bay of Pigs, the Congo, Berlin, Laos, Vietnam,
the Cuban missile crisis – the Cold War crises confronting him were
making global headlines which for Indonesian readers kept ‘JFK news’
current, well past the highpoint of the New York Agreement in August
1962. In terms of implementing his ‘follow-up strategy’ to the sovereignty
crisis, the ideal time to exploit pro-JFK sentiment was in 1963, yet the
proposed date for the visit to Jakarta in early 1964 would still benet
from the kudos surrounding President John F. Kennedy. His ‘footprint
of fame’ had been greatly enhanced by intervening in the New Guinea
dispute: unresolved since independence in 1949, it had created its own
anti-colonial niche in Indonesias collective psyche.
Malaysian Confrontation in 1963 had caused the delay and then the
Bloomeld Amendment, cutting the funding for his Indonesia strategy,
le JFK no alternative. Only then did he resolve to make the Jakarta visit
and employ his charisma as the last political weapon at his disposal.
Success for Kennedy’s visit to Jakarta depended upon the response of
the Indonesian populace; and this (in late 1963) was still very positive.
So it seemed a forgone conclusion that he would have achieved his goal
because of the degree of veneration for JFK in Indonesia, combined with
the eloquence of Indonesias President Sukarno for whom there was still
widespread adulation. e politics of personality was the only weapon
at the disposal of both Kennedy and Sukarno to bring Confrontation
to a stop, and it was their intention to employ it jointly, and to the full,
once the US president was in Jakarta. During his three years in oce,
Kennedy’s image and reputation had acquired a very positive aura
throughout Asia and Africa far surpassing his predecessor, President
Eisenhower. e 43-year old president was seen as pro-Indonesian – his
new political stance and willingness to act decisively, capped o by his
intervention in the sovereignty dispute, was in stark contrast to the blatant
political interference of his 70-year old predecessor.
Indonesians and especially Sukarno, whose oratorical skill was
well-honed over four decades, welcomed the new style, the new era, as
heralded in the inaugural address.
...Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike,
that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans – born
in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace….
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52 e Incubus of Intervention
JFK’s political opponents ensconced in Washington throughout the 1950s
were unaccustomed to a president asserting such personal control. It was
his forte, especially in foreign policy. ‘Kennedy’s instinctive style which
was one of personal and intimate command5 took on unprecedented
importance and became a threat to the political strategy of his opponent
because it meant he was highly likely to implement the aims of his
Jakarta trip.
Kennedy was aiming for a seismic shi of Cold War alignment in
Southeast Asia – bringing Indonesia ‘on side. As Bradley Simpson stated
(in 2008):
One would never know from reading the voluminous recent literature on
the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and Southeast Asia, for example,
that until the mid-1960s most ocials [in the US] still considered Indonesia
of far greater importance than Vietnam and Laos.6
Kennedy wanted to ensure that Indonesia was secure before implementing
any policy decision regarding the US presence in Vietnam. e two
interrelated parts of his action plan aer the New Guinea sovereignty
dispute involved utilising the predominantly pro-US Indonesian army,
and large-scale US aid for development projects in Indonesia. Both
Kennedy and his opponents in Washington pursued a paradigm of
modernisation which had emerged in the late 1950s using the military
as the most cohesively organised group in undeveloped countries.
Simpson has outlined how the ‘US governments embrace of military
modernization’ in the early 1960s followed on from the March 1959
Draper Committee Report which called for using the armed forces of
underdeveloped countries ‘as a major transmission belt of socio-economic
reform and development’.
Admiral Arleigh Burke and CIA director Allen Dulles argued at a June
18 NSC meeting [1959] that the United States ought to expand military
training programs in Asia to include a wide range of civilian responsibili-
ties and to encourage Military Assistance Advisory Groups (MAAGs)
to ‘develop useful and appropriate relationships with the rising military
5 omas Preston, e President and His Inner Circle Leadership Style and the
Advisory Process in Foreign Policy Making, Columbia University Press, 2001, pp.
6 Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with Guns, Stanford University Press, 2008, p. 5.
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JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 53
leaders and factions in the underdeveloped countries to which they were
assigned’. A few months later the semi-governmental RAND Corporation
held a conference at which Lucian Pye, Guy Pauker, Edward Shils, and other
scholars expanded on these ideas.7
Admiral Arleigh Burke, Dulles and Pauker were ‘promoting the Indo-
nesian armed forces as a modernizing force’ (a strategy linked to Dulles’
role in the 1958 Outer Islands Rebellion – see Chapter 4) and, continues
the army simultaneously pursued a counterinsurgency strategy against
internal opponents while greatly expanding its political and economic
power following the 1957 declaration of martial law and the takeover of
Dutch enterprises.
By the time Kennedy came to oce, much of Southeast Asia-related
US policy was infused with military modernisation theory. Civic action
programs gured highly in Kennedy’s strategy in Indonesia, utilising the
army but also the police, designed to counterbalance the attraction the
PKI had for impoverished farmers – like moths to a light in the hope of
salvation. e infrastructure and poverty reduction programs were tied to
US funding and framed around the assessment made by Tus University
Professor Donald Humphrey. He recommended that US aid to Indonesia
starting in 1963 should be in the order of US$325–390 million. Europe
and Japan were to have contributed almost half of this, but Kennedy’s aid
program soon encountered diculties in the Congress.
While still acutely wary of policy interference as occurred with the
Bay of Pigs like an inaugural ‘wake-up call’, Kennedy had no way of
ascertaining how his Indonesia strategy actually threatened the Indonesia
strategy of his opponents. Nevertheless, the fact that JFK insisted on
denying the CIA any part in his own negotiations with Sukarno is an
indication of the serious distrust he held by 1963. Earlier in 1961, when
Dulles was at the height of his power and JFK had been in oce only
a few months, he had requested a Brieng Paper from the CIA, prior
to President Sukarnos visit in April 1961. e advice given President
7 Simpson (p. 69) has incorporated quotations from the Memorandum of Discussion
at the 410th Meeting of the NSC, Washington. FRUS, 1958–59, Vol. XVI, pp.
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54 e Incubus of Intervention
Kennedy was that ‘we should not now entertain any major increases in the
scale of economic or military aid to Indonesia. Mindful of Allen Dulles
and Guy Pauker as the mouthpiece of military modernisation, Kennedy
must have interpreted such advice as hypocritical. Similarly, the CIA
advice on whether or not Kennedy should support Sukarno’s quest to
oust the Dutch from New Guinea lacked not so much insight as vision;
it oered only a bleak prospect, saying that whichever way the President
moved it would not alter the inexorable rise to power of the PKI.
It would be gratifying to be able to propose an alternative course of action
by the United States which would stand a good chance of turning the course
of events in Indonesia in a constructive direction. Unfortunately, this is a
situation in which the inuence 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.8
Kennedy chose to support Sukarnos claim to the Dutch territory
and follow through with precisely the opposite to what the CIA had
advised – an economic aid program to counter the PKI by addressing
poverty through civic aid and development projects. When the funding
restrictions imposed by Congress brought JFK’s follow-up plan to a
standstill and he resolved to make an historic visit to Jakarta to restart
the US aid project, the threat to Dulles’ strategy le no option. In the
same way that Dulles had oered Kennedy no option in the 1961 Brieng
Paper, in 1963 Kennedy’s decision to visit Jakarta le no option for
Dulles (whom JFK had already ushered to the political sidelines). We can
surmise how the exit of Dulles in 1961 may have seemed a positive move
for Kennedy and one that should have helped him in 1963 implement
the Indonesia policy he wanted. While Dulles’ removal from oce did
little to diminish his inuence, it could only have exacerbated the threat
created by Kennedy’s plan to visit Jakarta. Dulles simply had no answer
to counter Kennedy’s dramatic personal initiative to visit Jakarta: or to
re-contextualise the same comment from the 1961 Brieng Paper given
8 FRUS, Vol. XXIII, Southeast Asia, Doc. 155. ‘Memorandum from the Deputy
Director for Plans, Central Intelligence Agency (Bissell) to the President’s
Special Assistant for National Security Aairs (Bundy)’. Attachment ‘Indonesia
Perspectives, see paragraphs 9 & 10.
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JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 55
Kennedy, Dulles had no answer in 1963 ‘if (as must be assumed) crude
and violent intervention is excluded’.
In two crucial aspects, Kennedy’s plan clashed with the ongoing
strategy of ‘regime change’ which DCI Dulles had set in motion six
years earlier. Firstly, JFK intended to utilise the Indonesian army as
‘servants of the state’ of Indonesia, not for the army to assume power.
And secondly, Kennedy’s intention was to maintain the presidency of
Sukarno. Unbeknown to Kennedy, his plan to use the army was in eect
commandeering the same asset intended by Dulles to implement regime
change. Not only was JFK usurping the benets of the transformation
occurring as a result of US training of Indonesian army ocers – a process
which David Ransome labelled with the pithy description, a ‘creeping coup
d ’e t a t ’ 9 – but ensuring Sukarno remained president would prevent the full
military option. Kennedy would not simply have overruled his opponent
but, in addition, keeping Sukarno as president would have prevented
gaining untrammelled access to natural resources, a project which had
been many years in the planning. We may surmise Kennedy was partially
aware that his overall plan was making use of a military option still
in its preparatory stage, simply from the large number of Indonesian
army ocers being trained in the US. eir common ground was ‘the
ideological focus of US ocials on the military as a modernizing force, but
where Kennedy was starkly at odds with his Washington opponents was
his determination to retain Sukarno as President of Indonesia.
e visit to Jakarta was premised on an understanding between
Kennedy and Sukarno to bring Malaysian Confrontation to an end,
while JFK was in Jakarta. Howard Jones, US Ambassador in Jakarta from
1958, was well acquainted with Sukarno and fully aware that the key
to achieving this important political change was Kennedy’s charisma,
combined with the adulation and respect he commanded. Together,
Kennedy and Sukarno could bring about a cessation of Malaysian
Confrontation but, as Jones observes in his book Indonesia: the Possible
Dream, ‘Sukarno could not initiate a settlement of the dispute himself.10
9 David Ransome, ‘e Berkeley Maa and the Indonesian Massacre, Ramparts 9,
1970, pp. 26-49.
10 Howard Palfrey Jones, Indonesia: e Possible Dream, Gunung Agung, Singapore,
1971, p. 296.
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56 e Incubus of Intervention
JFK’s Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, in personal correspondence
with me (January 8, 1992)11 wrote: ‘President Kennedy made it clear that
confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia should be stopped....
Only aer several months of negotiation with the Indonesian President
did Kennedy agree to the proposed visit, aer three requests by Sukarno.
e one precondition set by Kennedy was his insistence on achieving a
‘successful outcome. Rusk conrmed in writing the arrangement with
Sukarno: ‘President Kennedy made it clear that confrontation between
Indonesia and Malaysia should be stopped, not merely for the duration
of Kennedy’s visit but on a permanent basis. However, it was not con-
frontation that was stopped but rather, the visit by Kennedy himself.
For Sukarno, Kennedy’s precondition meant declaring a permanent
cessation of hostilities during the actual visit of the American president;
while for JFK himself, a ‘successful visit’ meant ending the hostilities
which were jeopardising the Indonesia strategy he had initiated in 1962
and which Malaysian Confrontation in 1963 was threatening to turn into
just another ‘Cold War fatality’.
As part of a wider Southeast Asian tour, the visit was described by
JFK as one that would provide a much needed boost to his chances for re-
election. is tongue-in-cheek explanation understated the real political
signicance which the visit held for Kennedy himself. Now with a half-
century of hindsight, the adverse repercussions of not making that trip
to Jakarta are more clearly delineated in terms of the tragedy that befell
Indonesia in 1965. In Cold War terms, Kennedy’s Indonesia strategy
held every chance of success – indeed, the very likelihood of success
compelled the decision to prevent the trip. For Dulles’ Indonesia strategy,
Kennedy’s intention to support and prolong the Sukarno presidency was
political anathema.
Why Kennedy Retained Allen Dulles
Between election and inauguration, John Kennedy had 72 days to survey
the tumult of domestic and international issues soon to be encountered as
the 35th President. Some of these, among other issues, included political
11 Personal correspondence with Dean Rusk when he was retired, at the School of
Law, University of Georgia. is letter was signed January 8, 1992, although Rusk
and I corresponded over a decade starting October 25, 1982.
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JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 57
unrest in the Congo, Laos, Vietnam and Berlin. Two such issues actually
ballooned into potential crises during his time as President-elect. One of
these involved Cuba, the other Indonesia and both involved Allen Dulles
as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI). President Kennedy for various
reasons had retained Dulles from the Eisenhower administration, a fateful
inheritance from the ailing incumbent.
When Kennedy began organising his administration as President-
elect, the first press announcement he made was that Allen Dulles
would remain as DCI. In nding ‘the best person for the job’ to meet
the multifarious demands of staffing the new administration, staff
which nally included een Rhodes scholars, Kennedy oen adopted a
bipartisan approach. Surely, choosing Dulles indicated that Kennedy did
not regard him as being among the ‘opponents in Washington’? Yet within
the rst three months of the Kennedy presidency, Dulles had inicted
so much political damage this question does not bear answering, but
simply prompts another: why, then, did Kennedy retain Dulles as DCI?
Dulles was an icon of US intelligence. Since 1916 – before John Fitzgerald
Kennedy was even born – Dulles had served in that specialised eld
under every US president since Woodrow Wilson.
Another reason for retaining Dulles was linked to the narrow victory
over Republican presidential contender, Richard Nixon. e winning mar-
gin of votes – only 120,000 out of a total of 69 million12 – was attributed
to Kennedy’s success in the televised debates. eodore Sorensen, Ken-
nedy’s speechwriter and special counsel throughout most of his political
career, from Congressman to Senator and then President, described the
debates as ‘the primary factor in Kennedy’s ultimate victory’.13 e tele-
vised debates in October 1960 were the rst time such an event was held
although nowadays televised debates between presidential candidates
are the norm. For Kennedy and Nixon, there were four debates, four
unprecedented opportunities to reach millions of Americans, and the
rst (which was on domestic policy) had an audience of 70 million. e
second and third debates were questions and answers, while the fourth
debate was on foreign policy, and this was where Allen Dulles played his
hand. Castro and Cuba ‘only 90 miles from our shore’ had been much
12 e electoral margin was 303–219.
13 eodore C. Sorensen, Kennedy, Harper & Row, NY, 1965, p. 197.
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58 e Incubus of Intervention
in the news during the year of presidential campaigning and claimed
an important part of the fourth debate. Nixon already knew that the
CIA was planning an invasion of Cuba, but of course could not mention
this during the debate; but Dulles had provided Kennedy a strategically
timed brieng on Cuba shortly before the debate. Dulles did not divulge
information about the invasion – that would come at Palm Beach when
he was President-elect and during his rst week of oce – but at this
stage Dulles gave Kennedy the edge with other intelligence which proved
crucial during the debate. And crucial too, it seems, when the time came
for Kennedy to decide whether or not to retain Dulles as DCI. Dulles’
brieng must have seemed like a godsend when Kennedy was analysing
the votes that won him the presidency.
There was still another reason for Dulles being included in the
President-elect’s first announcement. After winning the Democratic
nomination, Kennedy had requested two persons to prepare separate
reports on the anticipated transition from Republican to Democratic
administration. ese two persons were Columbia professor Richard
Neustadt and Clark Cliord whom Sorensen described as ‘a Washington
attorney’. His former experience, however, included special counsel
to President Truman during the 1948 presidential campaign against
omas E. Dewey. Special counsel for Dewey was Allen Dulles who was
also ‘the condential link on foreign policy matters between the Truman
administration and the Dewey campaign.14 So in 1960, bipartisanship
in relation to Allen Dulles was revisiting Cliord’s earlier contact with
Dulles. In both reports, Kennedy was advised to retain Dulles as DCI
(and J. Edgar Hoover as director of the FBI).15 Ironically, in May 1961
aer the Bay of Pigs asco, Kennedy invited Cliord into the President’s
Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board to ensure the accuracy and unbiased
nature of the intelligence being supplied to the President. Neustadt had
14 Peter Grose, Gentleman Spy – e Life of Allen Dulles, Andre Deutsch, London,
1994, p. 288.
15 Frederick Kempe suggests another reason (for Kennedy’s ‘unconventional decision
to retain Allen Dulles and J. Edgar Hoover) was ‘perhaps to prevent release of
damaging intelligence about his past’. Without supporting evidence and as the
nature of the intelligence is not specied, one must assume this is conjecture.
Frederick Kempe, Berlin 1961: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Most Dangerous Place
on Earth, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 2011, p. 52.
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JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 59
recommended the directors of ve ‘sensitive positions’ remain unchanged,
but of these only Dulles and Hoover were retained. Sorensen quipped
that, of the ve, ‘Kennedy kept only the rst two, whom the dinner guests
the previous evening had reportedly suggested be the rst to be ousted’.16
e intelligence on Cuba, which Dulles provided to Kennedy before
the crucial debate with Nixon, gave the Democratic candidate a clear
advantage over his Republican rival. More than just highlighting Dulles’
familiarity with Cuba, this showed Dulles was investing in the possibility
of Kennedy winning the presidency. Perhaps even more than this, it
showed Dulles (who through family and social connections knew ‘Jack’
Kennedy, his wife and the extended family) already had his measure of
the man. Dulles knew that Kennedy would not leave this debt unpaid.
As it turned out, the narrower the margin of winning votes, the greater
seemed the debt, and if Dulles’ brieng before the historic debates could
be described as a pre-election psychological strategy, it worked perfectly.
Kennedy’s perceived familiarity with the issue of Cuba may have proved
crucial in winning the debate, but Dulles’ duplicity soon became apparent.
In Kennedy’s rst week in oce, it was his unfamiliarity with the issue
of Cuba, or rather, the CIAs half-baked invasion of Cuba, that proved
to be an international embarrassment for the new president. Sorensen
commented: ‘e Bay of Pigs had been – and would be – the worst defeat
of his career’.17
Fidel Castros Cuba, not Indonesian Papua, became the bête noir of
US foreign policy aer the CIA invasion force foundered in the Bay of
Pigs on April 18, 1961. Castros declaration of a socialist state and the
importing of Soviet missiles led to a nuclear stando. While Kennedy
negotiated with Khrushchev, the world, collectively, held its breath. Cuba,
16 Sorensen, p. 230.
17 Sorensen, p. 308. Subsequent assessment of the Bay of Pigs asco by General
Maxwell Taylor concluded it was ‘militarily marginal. e Taylor Committee
(which included Admiral Arleigh Burke, Allen Dulles and Robert Kennedy)
found that ‘the invasion plan had become quite specic well before the Kennedy
administration took command. Using only 1400 Cubans on the beachhead meant
that ‘victory was never a possibility’. Providing US air support was tantamount
to US invasion which Kennedy refused. e net outcome was heightened Cold
War tension. From this perspective the Bay of Pigs, win or lose, was not averse to
Dulles’ wider strategic interests.
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60 e Incubus of Intervention
however, had not become the touchstone of Cold War tension without the
initial input from Allen Dulles.
Apart from the generational dierence, JFK and Dulles both were
in office alongside their siblings, JFK’s younger brother Robert as
Attorney General and DCI Dulles’ elder brother John Foster Dulles
was Eisenhower’s Secretary of State. e depth of experience in the two
Dulles brothers was unprecedented, starting from the Versailles Treaty
with John Foster drawing up the reparations agreement and Allen in the
intelligence section. Between them was always a erce sense of rivalry
to achieve results in international aairs, continuing the sibling rivalry
that had persisted throughout their childhood. John Foster was rstborn
and favourite whereas Allen, born seven years later with a clubfoot, was
always trying to prove he was as good as Foster, if not better. It was Allen,
not Foster, who had always wanted to be Secretary of State. ere had
already been two family members in that oce – an uncle in the Wilson
presidency and their maternal grandfather, in the Harrison presidency –
yet it was John Foster not Allen who achieved that goal when Eisenhower
became president in 1953.
If there was any similar in-family rivalry in the Kennedy clan, it
disappeared aer the deaths of the eldest son during the war and the eldest
daughter soon aer the war. In the case of John and Robert Kennedy
when JFK was president, the two brothers were intensely reliant on each
other’s abilities and tended to act as one unit, as in Robert’s negotiations
with President Sukarno and Dutch Foreign Minister Luns in the New
Guinea sovereignty dispute. In Kennedy’s various elections starting in
1952, culminating in the presidency, Robert was his trusted campaign
manager. In the rst Eisenhower administration, the link between John
Foster as Secretary of State and Allen as Director of Central Intelligence,
on both ocial and family levels, was seen by the media as benecial to
the national interest. e Dulles brothers were perceived as having created
their own legend even before serving together under Eisenhower. While
acting together, however, they were not one unit as the Kennedys were
in the 1960s. e media reaction to this was oen expressed in religious
terms, JFK being the rst Catholic to reach the oce of president. John
Foster followed his father in the Presbyterian faith, attending church every
Sunday, whereas Allen had adulterous aairs for most of his working life
without jeopardising his lifelong role in intelligence.
Incubus Chap2.indd 60 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 61
Similar indiscretion by John Kennedy may have led to the political
pressure referred to by Frederick Kempe18 for retaining Allen Dulles
and J. Edgar Hoover. Allen revelled in intelligence whereas John Foster
oen chose to adopt the State Department mentality of knowing as
little as possible about sordid operational details of intelligence. Grose
expounds this point further, saying that Allen always claimed his duty was
intelligence, and policymaking was John Foster’s responsibility but ‘Allen
was ever imaginative in devising intelligence operations that by their very
nature determined the shape of national policy’.19
When John Foster Dulles passed away in April 1959, aer two years
of failing health because of colon cancer, Allen’s covert intelligence
operations entered an even more radical stage. Allen began taking bigger
risks. John Foster had not wanted Allen to succeed him as Secretary of
State and bluntly told him so, closing the door on that lifelong ambition.
He recommended that his successor be Christian Herter who was
reliant on crutches because of osteoarthritis. Christian Herter and Allen
Dulles were not close friends, despite being acquainted since the First
World War. With a new Secretary of State for the remaining twenty-one
months of the Eisenhower administration, the change in dynamic in the
upper echelon of power inuenced Allens mode of operations. As well,
John Fosters death no doubt served as a reminder to Allen of his own
mortality. He was, aer all, almost 67 years old when retained by Kennedy
as Director of Central Intelligence. He was reaching the end of his
career and the culmination of a major project centred on the Indonesian
archipelago which had rst caught his attention years earlier. e CIA-
assisted ‘covert operation’ in Indonesia, the Outer Islands rebellion
(otherwise known as the PRRI-Permesta rebellion which is examined
in Chapter 4) was but one part of this major project. Allen Dulles has
been openly linked with this rebellion which started in February 1958. It
ended almost immediately, although for the next few years he maintained
a supply of weapons for the rebels because continuing conict ensured
the ocially declared ‘state of emergency’ also continued. is eectively
delayed the holding of elections in Java and precluded the possibility of
18 See note 15, p. 58.
19 Grose, p. 341.
Incubus Chap2.indd 61 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
62 e Incubus of Intervention
the Indonesian communist party attaining any increased representation
or political power through the ballot box.
As a result of his vast experience in diplomacy, oil, intelligence and
state aairs, Allen Dulles had at his disposal a network of contacts which
he used in his Indonesia project. Ultimately, he was aiming for regime
change, the essential ingredient of which was a central army command.
Aware of the immense potential of natural resources in Netherlands New
Guinea since pre-war days, Dulles wanted the Dutch territory to become
part of Indonesia. While this was achieved on Sukarnos watch, it was
done only because the central army command was already amassing in
the corridors of power awaiting regime change.
When Kennedy ocially ended Dulles’ role as Director of Central
Intelligence on November 29, 1961, Allen’s network of contacts was like
an intelligence tsunami held in abeyance. e president described the
departing DCI in prophetic terms:
I know of no other American in the history of this country who has served
in seven administrations of seven Presidents – varying from party to party,
from point of view to point of view, from problem to problem, and yet at
the end of each administration each President of the United States has paid
tribute to his service – and also has counted Allen Dulles as their friend.
is is an extraordinary record, and I know that all of you who have worked
with him understand why this record has been made. I regard Allen Dulles
as an almost unique gure in our country.
Yet Dulles still commanded enormous inuence. e newly appointed
director, John McCone, with legions of sta moved into the new building
at Langley. Ironically, in the design and construction of the new head-
quarters, Dulles had played a prominent role, but he never occupied the
new building. He still kept his former oce and, as well, took up another
with Sullivan and Cromwell, the legal rm in which he had worked with
John Foster in the 1930s, representing Rockefeller oil interests and the
myriad of subsidiaries. Allen had not actually married into the Rockefeller
family as John Foster had done, but nevertheless his lifelong association
with Standard Oil made him an essential member of the extended
family. In the years between the First and Second World Wars, there was
no legal restriction on someone like Allen Dulles sharing his expertise
between private enterprise and the State Department as mentioned by
John D. Rockefeller, at 98 years of age, openly expressing his thanks in
Incubus Chap2.indd 62 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 63
his pre-Second World War publication, Random Reminiscences of Men
and Events:20
We did not ruthlessly go aer the trade of our competitors and attempt to
ruin it by cutting prices or instituting a spy system…. One of our greatest
helpers has been the State Department in Washington…. I think I can
speak thus frankly and enthusiastically because the working out of many
of these great plans has developed largely since I retired from the business
fourteen years ago.
Rockefeller’s reputation as ‘the richest man in history’ was not
achieved without the acumen of Dulles gaining entry into oil rich regions,
from the ‘Near East’ to the ‘Far East’, when European colonial power was
still dominant. e important mining and oil exploration conducted
in Netherlands New Guinea shortly before the Second World War (as
revealed by Jean Jacques Dozy in Chapter 1) was an important part of
the ‘oil-intelligence project’ which focused on Indonesia in its entirety.
Ensuring West New Guinea changed hands, from Dutch to Indonesian
control, became an integral part of Allen Dulles’ political strategy which
then proceeded with the already advanced plan for ‘regime change’ in
Indonesia. e problem was: for Dulles’ strategy, JFK’s notion of visiting
Jakarta to support Sukarno, ensuring he would remain president, was
political anathema.
♣ ♣ ♣
Pre-war development in the New Guinea territory was meagre – with
half a dozen small colonial settlements, scattered around the far-ung
coastline. ese had begun as a cluster of army encampments at the
turn of the century in response to the US gaining control of the nearby
Philippines. Within a few years, the giant US company, Standard Oil,
which then was inseparable from the name Rockefeller, had initiated a
takeover bid for Dutch oil interests in the Indies. e Dutch responded
by joining forces with the British in 1907 to form Royal Dutch Shell.
is started decades of pressure from Rockefeller oil interests to gain
exploration rights in the vast, unmapped Dutch territory of New Guinea.
Ultimately, in May 1935, with the formation of the Netherlands New
20 John D. Rockefeller, Random Reminiscences of Men and Events, Doubleday, Doran
& Co. Inc., Garden City, New York, 1937, p. 57.
Incubus Chap2.indd 63 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
64 e Incubus of Intervention
Guinea Petroleum Company21 which had 60% controlling US interest,
Standard Oil was successful, but only with the help of their top European-
based lawyer, Allen Dulles. NNGPM, as the company was called, was
formed with the approval of Sir Henri Deterding, general manager of
the Royal Dutch Shell group of companies since 1900. Deterding and
Rockefeller, in former days, had been erce opponents in the global oil
business. When Allen joined his brother John Foster Dulles in Sullivan
and Cromwell, the top Wall Street legal rm, his rst big case in 1928
brought him face to face with Deterding. Despite the silver hair and
penetrating black eyes which helped to create a Napoleonic presence,
Deterding backed down and Allen Dulles won. Yet by the mid-1930s,
when NNGPM was formed, Dulles and Deterding shared a common
interest in the new leader of Germany, Adolf Hitler. Dulles had wasted
no time in arranging to speak with Hitler personally, soon aer he came
to power in 1933, and Deterdings friendship with Hitler led to million
dollar donations. However, the key element which swayed Dutch opinion
in the formation of NNGPM was the evidence that Japanese units were
secretly conducting oil exploration in New Guinea territory. Without
American assistance the Dutch could do little to assert colonial control
and Dulles used the political tension generated by the Japanese incursion
of colonial sovereignty to push through the 60% US controlling interest
Leading up to the Second World War in the Pacic, the Japanese
Navy formulated a grand theory of expansion, not merely as an answer to
the problems the Japanese army was facing in its program of expansion in
China, but as a grand theory of new development. It was called ‘the march
to the South’ or Nanshin-ron. Here lay the wealth of the Netherlands East
Indies; here there was oil, and in populous Java a market for the Japanese
product. For natural resources, the eyes of the Japanese Navy turned to
New Guinea. ey envisaged this vast island (more than twice the total
area of all the islands of Nippon) becoming the source of raw materials
for a new imperial Japan. Nanshin-ron took shape with industrial speed in
the upper echelons of Japanese Naval Intelligence which used a vanguard
21 Nederlandsche Nieuw Guinea Petroleum Maatschappij, NNGPM was comprised
of Royal Dutch Shell (40%), Standard Vacuum Oil and Standard Oil of California
Incubus Chap2.indd 64 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 65
of shing ships estimated by Dutch Intelligence to number as many as
500. Admiral Suetsugu, Commander of combined Japanese eets and later
Minister of Home Aairs, described these ‘shermen’ as an integral part
of the ‘March South. Japanese anthropologists were dispatched to collect
information on the tribespeople of New Guinea. e concern about
Japanese intrusion as expressed by Jean Jacques Dozy (in the interview
in Chapter 1) was part of this pre-war expansion utilised by Allen Dulles
to gain the 60% US controlling interest in NNGPM.
Aer the Pacic War, geologists attached to General Douglas Mac-
Arthur’s forces remained in the Dutch territory for most of the next
decade conducting exploration. Only some of their ndings were released,
such as nickel on Gag Island, which (as mentioned above) was 10% of
world nickel reserves. ere was no mention of Dozy’s gold discovery.
During the 1950s, neither Dulles nor the Dutch political hierarchy was
willing to admit that the real issue at the centre of the sovereignty dispute,
which so loudly proclaimed the territory had no natural resources, was
how to gain control over the gold, copper and oil that lay waiting to be
discovered. During the 1950s, using the Cold War to his advantage, Allen
Dulles’ strategy took shape.
At the same time as the Bay of Pigs another crisis was occurring
in Indonesia, lesser known but with the same potential for superpower
conflict. This dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands, over
sovereignty of the western half of New Guinea, pitted the US-Dutch
NATO alliance against Soviet support for Indonesia. Kennedy’s settlement
of this crisis and his follow-up strategy to bring Indonesia ‘on side’ in the
Cold War came under threat with Malaysian Confrontation – hence the
planned visit to Jakarta.
Introducing Indonesia
Before looking at Kennedy’s role in the sovereignty crisis, let me re-
introduce Indonesia which aer China, India and USA now has the
fourth largest population in the world. Indonesia had emerged from
the ‘colonial era’ only a decade before Kennedy’s involvement. When
he expressed criticism of colonial rule (as he did at the UN General
Assembly, September 25, 1961, upon the death of UN Secretary-General
Dag Hammarskjöld) he chose his words carefully to apply not only to the
Incubus Chap2.indd 65 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
66 e Incubus of Intervention
colonised peoples of Africa generally but also to Indonesia specically.
He spoke of
the exploitation and subjugation of the weak by the powerful, of the many
by the few, of the governed who have given no consent to be governed,
whatever their continent, their class, or their color.22
European dominance in navigation, military technology and trade
ensured the peoples of the Indonesian archipelago for centuries remained
at the beck and call of colonial powers. As described by George Kahin,
one of America’s most prominent Indonesia specialists, it was ‘probably
the world’s richest colony … (or) ranked just aer India in the wealth it
brought to a colonial power’.23
It is our collective unfamiliarity with this vast country which has led
to our failure to ascertain how closely intertwined it was with the fate of
President Kennedy. He very early recognised the signicance of Indonesia
not only in the political destiny of Southeast Asia but also in the outcome
of the Cold War.
Indonesia is by far the largest country in Southeast Asia, both in
population and in area. Forty-eight degrees of longitude on the equator,
Indonesia covers almost one-seventh of the circumference of the globe
and has long been prized for its abundant natural resources. Over a
timeframe of three and a half centuries, the archipelago gradually came
under Dutch colonial control, region by region. As a reection of Dutch
colonial wealth, the 17,000 islands were once described as a ‘belt of
emeralds’ slung around the equator. Sulawesi, Kalimantan and Sumatra
– three of the ve main islands – are intersected by the equator but the
other two, Java and Papua, are entirely in the southern hemisphere. Not
until the 20th century did Bali become part of the Dutch Realm and, aer
thirty years of war in the western extremity of the archipelago, so too did
Aceh. In the eastern extremity, the territory of Netherlands New Guinea
was twenty-three percent of the total area of the Indies and virtually
22 President John F. Kennedy’s address in the United Nations General Assembly,
September 25, 1961, following the death (now deemed assassination) of UN
Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld.
23 Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy: e Secret
Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia, e New Press, New York, 1995, p. 20.
Incubus Chap2.indd 66 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 67
untouched – a wilderness with jungle and precipice (in one location
3000m of sheer cli) rising to cloud-forest, snow-capped mountains and
glaciers, just below the equator – yet on international maps ‘Dutch’ since
Napoleonic times. Colonial administration in Netherlands New Guinea,
according to the ocial Dutch historian on the eve of World War Two
(WW2) when the Japanese Imperial Army occupied the Indies, covered
only ve percent of the territory. So on August 17, 1945 when Sukarno
declared independence, and General Douglas MacArthur’s troops had
already re-occupied Netherlands New Guinea, we can say approximately
95% of the territory was occupied by the indigenous Papuan people. It
was still ‘the land of the Papuas’24 as named by the Portuguese when
they had unsuccessfully attempted to colonise the territory in the early
16th century.
During the four years after Sukarno proclaimed independence,
Indonesians (mainly in Java and parts of Sumatra) desperately opposed
all attempts to recolonise. On December 27, 1949, the Dutch relinquished
sovereignty of the Netherlands East Indies but retained the territory
of New Guinea, announcing a plan to develop it further and bring the
indigenous people to independence. However, a campaign to oust the
remnant colonial Dutch presence from New Guinea began in the early
1950s. Indonesia claimed the rightful extent of its territory was from
Sabang Island, the western extremity of the Indonesian archipelago, to
Merauke in the east, a distance of 5390 kilometres (3350 miles).
Ironically the anti-colonial campaign was focused on the continuing
Dutch presence in New Guinea rather than the continuing Dutch presence
in Indonesia, as pointed out by Herbert Feith.25 In newly independent
Indonesia, he explained, referring to Indonesia at the start of the 1950s,
‘the largest chunks of economic power’ were still mainly in Dutch hands
– ‘estate agriculture, the oil industry, stevedoring, shipping, aviation,
modern-type banking … internal distribution, trade, manufacturing and
24 e Portuguese, who came mainly for spice and gold, used to delineate the
(Indonesian) archipelago with a rhyming expression, ‘from the Nicobars to the
Papuas. e Nicobar Islands (now part of India) and the Andaman Islands were
north-west of Sumatra, and south of Myanmar (Burma) in the Bay of Bengal. e
Spice Islands were west of the ‘land of the Papuas’.
25 Herbert Feith, e Decline of Constitutional Democracy in Indonesia, Cornell
University Press, Ithaca and London, 1962, p. 104.
Incubus Chap2.indd 67 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
68 e Incubus of Intervention
insurance’ as well as exporting and, to a lesser degree, importing. It was
no wonder that Sukarno oen declared that the struggle for indepen-
dence was ongoing, his ‘revolution’ not yet nished. Nevertheless, former
Foreign Minister Sunario26 pointed out that, in the late 1950s, ‘US sources
were providing covert funding for the Indonesian army to promote the
anti-colonial campaign against the Dutch in New Guinea. Even though
Sunario did not conrm the identity of the ‘US sources’, it should be
pointed out that the Indonesian army by 1959 had benetted immensely
from Sukarno’s seizure of Dutch assets in Indonesia, as part of the New
Guinea campaign. (Consequently, the Dutch companies pressured the
Dutch government to relinquish sovereignty in New Guinea, so they could
resume business as before in Indonesia.) e money from ‘US sources’
was not simply to assist the army as an investment against the PKI, but
was explicitly for the anti-Dutch campaign to ensure it was not unduly
inuenced by the eusive campaign mounted by the PKI, even though
these two anti-colonial streams ran in parallel. Sunario’s information
was in the same vein as the concern expressed at that same time in the
late 1950s by a prominent Australian politician, Dr Evatt, Leader of the
Opposition in the Australian parliament and former President of the UN
General Assembly. Evatt pointed to the possible involvement of US oil
interests in the Indonesian quest to oust the Dutch from New Guinea,
when he declared on November 14, 195727: ‘Surely we are not going
to have an argument as to who should have the sovereignty of Dutch
New Guinea unless the exploitation of that territory by certain interests
is involved’.
Aer losing the Indies temporarily to Japan in 1942 and then losing
the Indies permanently to Indonesia in 1949, it was not until the 1950s
that the Dutch attempted to impose their stamp of colonial rule on the
New Guinea territory. is brief period has been recalled in a positive
light by many elderly Papuans in the coastal, urban areas because they
enjoyed a vast improvement in health and education, but as the Dutch
presence increased so did the anti-colonial cry of Indonesia. e claim
that the territory should not have been excluded from being part of
26 Personal interviews in the house of Sunario, January 1988. See footnote 14,
Chapter 1, Roeslan Abdulgani also referred to this source of US funding.
27 Hansard Reports, 1957, p. 882.
Incubus Chap2.indd 68 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 69
Indonesia in 1949 only grew louder. e dispute reached crisis level when
Indonesia had acquired a centralised army command and arms from
the Soviet Union, two of the three things that led to a settlement of the
dispute. e third was US intervention.
A centralised command was an historic step forward for the Indone-
sian army. Prior to the CIA-assisted 1958 rebellion, the Indonesian army
command system across the archipelago was a fractured patchwork of
regional commanders fending for their troops. Sukarno himself was in
part responsible for creating this disjointed army command in response
to an attempted coup in 1952. With little nancial support from Jakarta,
the head of the army General Nasution had less control over his far-
ung battalions than the respective colonels in the Outer Islands, and
the CIA exploited this ‘tyranny of distance’. e dramatic change in army
command structure, which was brought about by the PRRI/Permesta or
Outer Islands Rebellion was engineered on a grand scale by Allen Dulles
during the second Eisenhower administration.
Yet the end result of CIA interference in Indonesian internal aairs
via the 1958 Rebellion was depicted as failure at the time, and has
consistently been depicted as failure since that time. is holds true only
if the stated goal of the CIA was the same as the actual goal. Even more
than ve decades later, media analysis of the goal of the Outer Island
rebels is still portrayed as secession, as covert US support for ‘rebels in
the Outer Islands that wished to secede from the central government in
J a k a r t a ’. 28 e actual goal of Allen Dulles had more to do with achieving
a centralised army command in such a way as to appear that the CIA
backing for the rebels failed. Dulles was able to deceive, or was capable
of deceiving, friend and foe alike, all those who were monitoring the
covert operation’ with secession in mind as the stated goal. In the
opinion of Howard Jones written more than a decade aer he was the US
Ambassador in Jakarta in 1958: ‘To the outside world, the conict was
pictured as anti-Communist rebels against a pro-Communist government
in Jakarta. In fact, it was a much more complex aair, involving anti-
28 Kyle C. de Bouter, ‘Curbing Communism: American motivations for intervening
militarily in Indonesia and Dutch Newspaper Representations, 1953–1957’.
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus University
Rotterdam, November 2013, p. 3.
Incubus Chap2.indd 69 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
70 e Incubus of Intervention
Communists on both sides.29 In reality, Dulles’ aim was the formation
of a central army command from the very start of the rebellion, while
the perception of failure served as a lure to his Cold War opponents in
Moscow. From the Cold War perspective, the perceived failure of the
CIA operation oered Moscow an opportunity to increase its inuence,
which it did through an arms deal so large that it forced a conclusion to
the Netherlands New Guinea sovereignty dispute.
The chief intelligence officer for the rebels was Colonel Zulkifli
Lubis and the army commander under Sukarno was General Nasution.
My extended interviews with both Lubis and Nasution (which began in
Jakarta in 1983) have led to this completely dierent explanation for the
so-called ‘CIA defeat’ in 1958. (As mentioned above) when Lubis declared
‘the Americans tricked us, he was referring to the executive branch of
government, not those in Sumatra. Nearly all the Americans who were
involved onsite in Indonesia, genuinely helping the rebels, did not realise
the rebellion was only the rst stage of a larger intelligence scenario and
their perception that the rebellion failed became an integral part of Dulles
stratagem. In short, this 1958 operation (which is more fully explained in
a later chapter) was an example of Dulles’ genius in intelligence. Another
example was when Soviet penetration was suspected in the intelligence
service of the British in the 1950s. It was Allen Dulles who rst doubted
the allegiance of Kim Philby before he nally defected to Moscow in 1963,
an insight that may have helped generate Dulles’ failsafe stratagem in the
Indonesian Outer Islands.
e combination of John Foster as Secretary of State and Allen as
DCI during the Eisenhower presidency brought the surname ‘Dulles’ into
the public limelight in the early post-war years, so much so that Allen
Dulles became the face of US intelligence. is ocial appointment was
acknowledgement of Allens known achievements and brought into play
his vast underlying experience. ere was implicit trust that his private
networks and host of contacts (not only from the Second World War but
also as far back as the First World War) would somehow be used in the
service of the nation. is was not to be the case. Allen Dulles, the Cold
War warrior par excellence, used these ‘unknown capabilities’ to achieve
29 Howard Palfrey Jones, Indonesia: e Possible Dream, p. 71.
Incubus Chap2.indd 70 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 71
his own ends, which ultimately for the nation was a disservice. Many of
his friends from the wartime Oce of Strategic Services (OSS) utilised
their skills when re-employed under DCI Dulles in the 1950s and 1960s.
Earlier, with the Cold War looming when Dulles was OSS station chief in
Berlin, working alongside him was a young Henry Kissinger.30 Allen had
already acquired a legendary status as OSS station chief in Berne during
the Second World War, and (as I mentioned in the Introduction) it was
Allen Dulles whom the Japanese approached with the rst indication of
surrender. Perhaps the highest accolade, however, came from Sir Kenneth
W.D. Strong who ‘dominated Britains spy services for twenty-ve years
and who was the top British representative in the surrender of German
forces in Italy after initial negotiations conducted by Dulles. Strong
declared Allen Dulles was the ‘greatest intelligence ocer who ever lived’.31
Allen Dulles – Accused
From the First World War to the Warren Commission, Allen Dulles’
life was immersed in the world of intelligence, dealing with issues that
ranged from empire to armaments, national security to regime change,
oil, military and many other matters. In Berne during the Second World
War, the assistance he provided the Allied war eort from contacts within
Germany and his own expertise was nothing less than extraordinary;
so much so that in the following decade, Dulles was regarded as an
icon of US intelligence and any accusation to the contrary was readily
dismissed. However, six years aer his death in 1969, a US investigation
chaired by Senator Frank Church produced a dierent prole of Allen
Dulles. As part of fourteen reports on US intelligence activities, the
Church Committee revealed that some of the activities former DCI Allen
Dulles engaged in were nefarious in the extreme and these included the
assassination of foreign leaders.
30 Kissinger was involved with Allen Dulles and the Rockefeller Brothers Panel in the
late 1950s investigating the Sino-Soviet dispute, and he helped formulate the goal
to ‘drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing. He was on the Freeport McMoRan
board 1988–95.
31 Srodes, James, Allen Dulles Master of Spies, Regnery Publishing, Washington
DC, 1999, p. 6.
Incubus Chap2.indd 71 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
72 e Incubus of Intervention
e Church Committee found that
the political assassination of Patrice Lu-
mumba in the Congo, which occurred
three days before Kennedy’s inaugura-
tion, was directly instigated by Dulles. In
arranging for an agent to kill Lumumba,
Dulles had left a paper trail revealing
his role in the form of a telegram to
Leopoldville, September 24, 1960:
We wish [to] give every possible sup-
port in eliminating Lumumba from
any possibility resuming governmental
e Church investigation found that
two days later the Congo CIA station
ocer (Hedgman) contacted a CIA go-
between named Joseph Scheider (alias Joseph Braun) who did not himself
kill Lumumba but was responsible for the group of persons who did.
Answering a Church Committee question, Hedgman replied:
It is my recollection that he (Dulles) advised me, or my instructions were,
to eliminate Lumumba.
By eliminate, do you mean assassinate?
Hedgman: Yes.32
e killing of Lumumba, before he had served three months as the
rst Prime Minister of the Congo, involved much brutality and torture.
is was public knowledge at the time; later, when added to the heinous
role of Dulles as outlined in the ndings of the Church Committee, it
shocked the nation, indeed, shocked the world.
Political instability, created by the mineral rich province of Katanga
wanting to break away from newly independent Congo, was fuelled by
the killing of Lumumba. In September 1961, in the wake of the violence
that erupted aer Lumumba’s death, the UN Secretary-General, Dag
Illustration 2.1: Patrice Lumumba
– postage stamp (2 kopecks). Issued
posthumously by the Soviet Union.
32 US Senate, An Interim Report of the Select Committee to Study Governmental
Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, ‘Alleged Assassination Plots
Involving Foreign Leaders’, W.W. Norton & Co. Inc., N.Y. 1976, p. 24.
Incubus Chap2.indd 72 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 73
Hammarskjöld, became involved in mediation between the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Katanga. A few minutes aer midnight on
Sunday, September 17, 1961, as the UN plane carrying the Secretary-
General and 15 others was approaching the Ndola airstrip in Northern
Rhodesia (today Zambia), it crashed, killing all.
Two Rhodesian enquiries in early 1962 concluded ‘pilot error – a
misreading of the altimeters’ – had brought down the DC6, known as
the ‘Albertina’. However, in March 1962, an investigation by the United
Nations did not rule out sabotage although it fell short of stating ocially
that assassination was suspected. e Church Committee in 1975 did
not make any links between Dulles and Hammarskjöld, and a 1993
investigation by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Aairs concluded the
pilot had made an error in judging altitude. Persistent investigation by
George Ivan Smith, who was the Secretary-General’s spokesman and
close friend, unearthed a disturbingly vital clue that the plane was forced
down as a result of interference by hostile aircra. Whether this caused
the crash remained inconclusive. In 1997, more documentary evidence
on the death of Dag Hammarskjöld emerged – whether accidentally or
deliberately, we may never know – attached to another document, but
otherwise unrelated to the widespread investigation carried out by the
South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). is chance
discovery provided the impetus for a new enquiry which was started in
2012 by the Hammarskjöld Commission. It acknowledged the TRC and
examined the documents and letters in some detail to decide if any new
evidence justied re-opening another investigation into the death of the
Secretary-General. e report of the Hammarskjöld Commission was
published in September 2013, een years aer the TRC documents had
rst emerged, and a Report tabled in the UN.33
In August 1998, the TRC Chairman, Archbishop Desmond Tutu,
had called a press conference and released eight documents.34 ese
33 See: United Nations General Assembly, Sixty-eighth Session A/68/800, 21 March
2014, Agenda item 175, ‘Investigation into the conditions and circumstances
resulting in the tragic death of Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the
party accompanying him.
34 He handed the originals over to the South African Minister of Justice, Dullah
Omar, who commented no further on this matter before dying of cancer in 2004.
Incubus Chap2.indd 73 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
74 e Incubus of Intervention
papers and letters were additional material discovered in a folder from
the National Intelligence Agency. A member of the TRC had requested
the folder, seeking information on a 1993 assassination in South Africa,
and the additional material happened to be in that same folder the TRC
received. e additional sheets of paper referred to an ‘Operation Celeste’
– a plan to assassinate Dag Hammarskjöld – and the letters showed Allen
Dulles was involved. Details were included about a small bomb to disable
the outside steering mechanism on the underside of the plane carrying
the UN Secretary-General in September 1961. e documents bore the
letterhead of the South African Institute for Maritime Research (SAIMR)
and the name of Allen Dulles was specically mentioned.
UNO [United Nations Organisation] is becoming troublesome and it is
felt that Hammarskjöld should be removed. Allen Dulles agrees and has
promised full cooperation from his people….35
Information from Dulles included the type of plane the UN Secretary-
General would use and the date he would arrive. More importantly,
even though the letter was signed by a person at SAIMR, it was directly
conveying the words of DCI Dulles. As mentioned above, when Dulles
initiated the killing of Lumumba, the evidence brought before the
Church Committee was written by Dulles: ‘We wish [to] give every
possible support....
e wording here seems relatively innocuous but in the context
of the Church Committee investigation, the sinister import in Dulles’
euphemism acquires a meaning far more signicant. It is the order to
kill – but not read as such without the explanation from the CIA station
chief in the Congo that Dulles requested him to kill Patrice Lumumba.
Otherwise the euphemistic expression ‘give every possible support’ might
well have been interpreted as if Dulles had played a secondary role when,
in fact, he initiated the action that led to the assassination of Patrice
Lumumba. In the case of Hammarskjöld, the TRC document states that
Dulles promised ‘full cooperation’ but this was written by a ‘commander’
of SAIMR, the intelligence organisation mentioned in the documents. e
same commander then states:
35 Susan Williams, Who Killed Hammarskjöld? e UN, the Cold War and White
Supremacy in Africa, Hurst & Co., London, 2011, p. 200.
Incubus Chap2.indd 74 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 75
I want his [Hammarskjöld’s] removal to be handled more eciently than
was Patrice.
is sentence also links SAIMR with Dulles, whom we know already
initiated the killing of Patrice Lumumba. Up until the Church Committee
proved otherwise, Lumumbas death had been regarded as the tragic
outcome of violence initiated by local tribespeople. But the order to kill
Lumumba was given by Dulles, to be carried out by SAIMR, and local
people were involved only in the nal act. Using the similar euphemistic
term of ‘promising full cooperation, an equivalent scenario for Operation
Celeste would have Dulles (from his oce in Washington) initiating the
killing of the UN Secretary-General, and for the operators, SAIMR (as
revealed in the TRC documents) to carry out the assassination using lo-
cally based European mercenaries including a pilot or two in the nal act.
The ‘Operation Celeste’ documents were examined in 2011 by
Susan Williams in her book Who Killed Hammarskjöld with extensive
research into SAIMR. She concluded that it was involved in covert action
over many years, and that its structure was in ‘cells’ which operated
independently. is raises the possibility that ‘Operation Celeste’ involved
SAIMR cells for three separate actions against Hammarskjöld’s plane
involving hostile aircra, a 6kg bomb to disable the steering mechanism
and the altimeters.
ere is a strong possibility that the altimeters were sabotaged as one
way of bringing about a crash. e 2013 Commission presented reliable
evidence that incorrect barometric readings (QNH) were given to the
Albertina by Ndola air trac control. Attention was drawn to the fact
that the voice recordings of the air trac controller at Ndola were turned
o, possibly deliberately. As well, before the Albertina (Hammarskjöld’s
plane) departed for Ndola, where it crashed, there was a four-hour
period when the plane was le unattended. If altimeters in the cockpit
of the Albertina were sabotaged, how was it possible sabotage was not
detected in subsequent testing of the altimeters? In the ‘Comments from
the United Nations’ (attached to the 1962 crash report) it was stated
there could have been a ‘misreading of the altimeters36 as the DC6, just
aer midnight descended to 5000 and was doing a procedural turn
36 See: 1962 UN Crash Report (Appendix 1).
Incubus Chap2.indd 75 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
76 e Incubus of Intervention
in preparation to land when it clipped trees and crashed at 4357. e
action of a small ghter plane, which began to harass the DC6 in the
nal few minutes of descent, made the advice coming from Ndola air
trac control vitally important because the pilot at that moment would
have been relying entirely on air trac control and his own reading of
the altimeters.
Immediately after the crash in September 1961, one of the first
actions was removal of the altimeters. There were two CIA planes
waiting at Ndola airport, ready to oer assistance. e altimeters were
checked in the USA and the all clear was given by J. Edgar Hoover whose
FBI intelligence network oen overlapped with Dulles’ CIA. e 2013
Commission ndings do not seem to have even considered the possibility
that the ‘ocial check’ on the altimeters might have been fraudulent.
Although it has been suggested that a false QNH was given to the Albertina
on its approach to Ndola, all three altimeters were found aer the crash to
be correctly calibrated.37
e Commission tended to dismiss reliable evidence that the Albertina
was given a false QNH on its approach simply because they did not
consider the possibility that J. Edgar Hoover’s check on the altimeters
might have been fraudulent. J. Edgar Hoover’s aliation with Dulles
needs no explanation (other than to say Kennedy re-appointed them both
together). Because the Celeste documents refer to Allen Dulles in the plot
to assassinate the UN Secretary-General, the reliability of the check on
the altimeters must be seriously questioned.
♣ ♣ ♣
In the United Kingdom in 1983, I interviewed two UN ocers, Conor
Cruise O’Brien who was in the Congo at the same time as Hammarskjöld,
and George Ivan Smith who was there soon aer the crash. Both UN
ocials expressed their belief that the Secretary-General was assassinated,
despite the inconclusive evidence of the ocial investigations. ree times
I visited George Ivan Smith38 who lived at Stroud in Gloucestershire.
37 See paragraph 6.5, 1962 UN Crash Report.
38 George Ivan Smith (the ‘Ivan was short for Sullivan) came from Brisbane, my own
home town, so part of our meetings involved some reminiscing. His brother was
in charge of the Boggo Road Prison, which no longer operates, but the memory
Incubus Chap2.indd 76 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 77
He had at rst worked also alongside Hammarskjöld’s predecessor,
Trygve Lie, a Norwegian. The first Secretary-General of the United
Nations resigned in 1953, making way for Dag Hammarskjöld from
Sweden. He and George Ivan Smith worked together over a period of
eight years, becoming close friends. Ivan Smith was a trusted associate
of Hammarskjöld, at times taking on a dual role as spokesman and
condant. It was in this role, Ivan Smith explained to me, discussing
hopes and aspirations, the Secretary-General referred to an impending
UN announcement which Hammarskjöld had been formulating in the
preceding months of 1961. He fully intended to implement his plans upon
his return from the Congo, but he never did and the announcement died
with him! e Secretary-General arrived in Leopoldville on September 13,
1961, a few days before the fatal ight to Ndola where the plane crashed
shortly aer midnight on September 17/18th.
Before Dag Hammarskjöld departed on the mission of mediation
which claimed his life, George Ivan Smith noted that the Secretary-
General was very much focused on the plan he intended to launch at
the UN General Assembly aer dealing with the unrest in the Congo.
Hammarskjöld had been conducting private talks with President
Kennedy about the long running dispute between Indonesia and the
Netherlands over sovereignty of West New Guinea. Leading up to the
General Assembly meeting in 1961, these talks had crystallised into new
UN policy. At the same time, Kennedy had also engaged in condential
discussion on this and other issues with former president, Harry S.
Truman (who one year earlier had doubted whether the youthful JFK
had the foreign policy experience that was needed in the White House.)
During his rst year in oce, Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, so much
won the approval of Mr and Mrs Truman that they were known to stay
overnight with the Kennedy family in the White House.
In terms of wending one’s way through Cold War issues, Kennedy’s
understanding with Hammarskjöld over the proposal to resolve the
New Guinea sovereignty dispute, which now held the potential for
conict with Moscow, no doubt had Truman’s support. Hammarskjölds
in silhouette of guards patrolling along the high imposing walls on Annerley Road
was one of the more enduring images of my childhood. George Ivan Smith died
in 1995.
Incubus Chap2.indd 77 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
78 e Incubus of Intervention
resolve to implement a policy of ‘Papua for the Papuans’ was in eect a
countermeasure to rising Cold War tension, an example of his Swedish-
style ‘third way’ proposing a form of ‘muscular pacism.39 His plan was
to annul all claims to sovereignty other than the indigenous inhabitants
and to announce this at the UN General Assembly in October/November
1961, but his death occurred in September. Surprisingly, Harry S. Truman,
expressing his opinion on the tragic news to reporters of the New York
Times on September 20, 1961, commented enigmatically:
Dag Hammarskjöld was on the point of getting something done when they
killed him. Notice that I said ‘When they killed him.
e report in the New York Times continued:
Pressed to explain his statement, Mr Truman said, ‘at’s all I’ve got to say
on the matter. Draw your own conclusions.
e Hammarskjöld Commission in 2013 commented on the state-
ment to the press made by Harry S. Truman:
ere is no reason to doubt the accuracy of the New York Times’ report.
What we consider important is to know what the ex-President, speaking
(it should be noted) one day aer the disaster, was basing himself on. He
is known to have been a condant of the incumbent President, John F.
Kennedy, and it is unlikely in the extreme that he was simply expressing
a subjective or idiosyncratic opinion. It seems likely that he had received
some form of brieng.40
e UN Secretary-General had Kennedy’s support in formulating
a plan to make the UN a central player in the sovereignty dispute over
Netherlands New Guinea. From Kennedy’s perspective, Hammarskjöld was
proposing a welcome initiative because it would preclude the inevitable
criticism of the alternative decision Kennedy himself would be forced to
make: that is, if the UN did not assume full responsibility for the Papuan
39 See: Robert Skidelsky, ‘Dag Hammarskjöld’s Assumptions and the Future of the
40 UN General Assembly, March 21, 2014, Sixty-eighth session, Agenda item 175,
‘Investigation into the conditions and circumstances resulting in the tragic death of
Dag Hammarskjöld and of the members of the party accompanying him. Annex:
Report of the Commission of Enquiry, Paragraph 11.5.
Incubus Chap2.indd 78 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 79
people in the disputed territory of West New Guinea, then Kennedy
would be forced to choose between Indonesia and the Netherlands.
Hammarskjöld no doubt was aware there would be opposition to his
planned intervention in the Dutch-Indonesian sovereignty dispute, not
only from the two principal disputants, the Netherlands and Indonesia,
but also from both the Soviet Union and China, both of whom supported
Indonesia’s quest to expel Dutch colonial power from New Guinea. While
it cannot be said that the UN Secretary-General or President Kennedy
were oblivious to the personal and political risk they were taking in
pursuing this approach to the New Guinea sovereignty issue, neither
of them seemed fully aware of how high the stakes were; or rather,
how high the stakes were for others who were involved – such as Allen
Dulles. e battle for sovereignty of Netherlands New Guinea, from
Dulles’ perspective, involved far more than the plight of the indigenous
inhabitants: it had become a key issue in the struggle to ‘win’ Indonesia
and so (by virtue of Indonesias internal politics centred on the PKI, and
the oer of Soviet arms to oust Dutch colonial power) also an issue in the
Sino-Soviet dispute. Papua, the PKI and Indonesia itself was all part of the
‘wedge between Moscow and Beijing. Hammarskjöld’s radical initiative
to reclaim Papua from past and future colonial rule – upgrading in the
process the status of the UN to protect indigenous peoples – would have
totally disrupted the Indonesia strategy of Allen Dulles.
In terms of the totality of the disruption, both the UN Secretary-
General and the US President were mostly oblivious to Dulles’ geopolitical
machinations. e eect of Hammarskjöld’s plan bears a striking similarity
to the eect which JFK’s planned visit to Jakarta would have had on Dulles
Indonesia strategy. Because of this similarity, Dulles’ alleged involvement
in the death of Hammarskjöld (through ‘Operation Celeste’) can be seen
as a precedent for Dulles’ involvement in the death of Kennedy.
Hammarskjöld’s planned intervention to settle the New Guinea dispute
peacefully was following ‘unchartered UN guidelines’ but generally came
within the ambit of the 1960 UN Declaration. is was a call for ‘the
speedy and unconditional granting to all colonial peoples of the right
of self-determination. ere were still 88 territories under colonialist
Incubus Chap2.indd 79 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
80 e Incubus of Intervention
administration waiting to become independent national states. Had
the UN Secretary-General succeeded in bringing even half of these
countries to independence, he would have transformed the UN into a
signicant world power and created a body of nations so large as to be
a counterweight to those embroiled in the Cold War. Cameroon, for
example, with a land area the same as West New Guinea, had formerly
been under French and English administrations. In March 1961, the
people of Cameroon conducted voting under the auspices of the United
Nations Plebiscite Commissioner for Cameroons. e people of the
Northern Cameroons decided to achieve independence by joining the
independent Federation of Nigeria, whereas the people of the Southern
Cameroons similarly decided to achieve independence by joining the
independent Republic of Cameroon.
Hammarskjöld was especially concerned about indigenous tribes-
people. In the case of West New Guinea, Hammarskjöld’s intention was
to declare both the Dutch and the Indonesian claims to sovereignty of the
territory as invalid. He proposed to assist the Papuan people by declaring
a role for the United Nations alongside an independent Papuan state,
using UN ocers to advise the main government departments. A United
Nations Special Fund had been established, as he explained in an address
to the Economic Club of New York on March 8, 1960, where he outlined
this revolutionary approach already being implemented in some former
colonial territories in Africa:
We have recently initiated a scheme under the title of OPEX – an abbrevia-
tion of ‘operational and executive’ – whereby the UN provides experienced
ocers to underdeveloped countries, at their request, not as advisers, and
not reporting to the UN, but as ocials of the governments to which they
have been assigned and with the full duties of loyal and condential service
to those governments. OPEX ocials have already been requested by, and
assigned to, several newly-independent countries, and I hope that we may
be able to use the scheme much more widely in the years to come.
As Williams has noted: ‘e activities of the UN in New York were
vigorously scrutinised by the CIA.41 Applying OPEX in West New Guinea,
41 Declassied CIA document, ‘Memorandum for the Record. Subject: Information
concerning the Accidental Death of Dag Hammarskjöld, January 17, 1975,
C00023116, DDRS, cited in Williams, Who Killed Hammarskjöld?, p. 151.
Incubus Chap2.indd 80 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 81
Hammarskjöld was threatening to take the territory and its natural
resources out of the hands of all aspiring colonial powers and out of the
hands of Rockefeller Oil which had rst staked its claim before the Second
World War. is solution to the sovereignty dispute was the antithesis
of what Dulles had planned, using the Cold War to his advantage, by
encouraging Jakarta to purchase Soviet armaments for the Indonesian
Navy and Air Force. Hammarskjöld was constructing a solution for the
Papuan people capable of withstanding Cold War pressure because he
had Kennedy’s support.
Criticism of Hammarskjöld came from both Cold War blocs. In the
ensuing turmoil, both East and West seemed to have their own motives
to ‘remove Hammarskjöld’. e CIA was working conjointly with British
intelligence, according to the Celeste documents, a precursor of the
joint force used to spark Malaysian Confrontation. Given the political
situation in mineral rich Katanga, there was no shortage of mercenaries
but the overriding motive was that ultimate responsibility for the (Irish)
UN troops who were pitted against Katanga lay with the UN Secretary-
General (rather than Conor Cruise O’Brien). e killing of Lumumba had
already displayed a willingness to resort to murder and mayhem, and no
doubt the radicalised mercenary element was capable of taking the life
of the UN Secretary-General. Two mercenaries (according to the 2013
Commission Report) were at the Ndola airport in the group awaiting the
arrival of Hammarskjöld on the night of the crash.
However, the primary motive for Dulles’ participation was not the
same as other participants in this tragic episode. His involvement in the
assassination seemed driven by Cold War issues whereas the Belgian and
British interests were more directly tied to the Katanga dispute. In the
eyes of some, this may have added credibility to the secondary position
Dulles seemed to adopt in ‘Operation Celeste’ – oering ‘…every possible
support...’ but in reality Dulles’ motive to eliminate Hammarskjöld for
interfering in the New Guinea dispute was far greater than any apparent
motive Dulles may have had in the Congo. He was so far ahead of his
contemporaries they did not suspect him of pushing a button, or causing
a death, on one side of the world to benet a covert strategy of his on the
other side of the world.
♣ ♣ ♣
Incubus Chap2.indd 81 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
82 e Incubus of Intervention
When I spoke with George Ivan Smith, he raised two important
points which (in the context of ‘Operation Celeste’) now link Dulles
to Ndola. e rst (as mentioned above) was that Hammarskjöld was
going to announce at the General Assembly in New York his solution
to the West New Guinea sovereignty dispute; and secondly, there was a
CIA plane full of communication equipment, its engines operating but
stationary on the Ndola airstrip, the same night that Hammarskjölds
plane was due to land. Two such planes had just arrived at Ndola but only
one of these was operating on the night, its engines running to provide
power for the communications equipment that the CIA personnel were
using inside the plane. e Commission Report drew attention to the CIA
communication planes:
Also on the tarmac at Ndola on the night of 17 September were two USAF
aircra. Sir Brian Unwin’s recollection, in his evidence to the Commission,
was that one had come in from Pretoria and one from Leopoldville, where
they were under the command of the respective US defence or air attachés.
Of these aircra he said: ‘ose planes we understood had high powered
communication equipment and it did occur to us to wonder later, whether
there had been any contact between one or other of the two United States
planes with Hammarskjöld’s aircra, as they had, we understood, the
capability to communicate with Hammarskjöld’s plane. …I do recall that
when we saw these two planes on the ground we were … saying ‘Wonder
what they’re up to’.
One of the conclusions of the Commission Report was to seek the
voice transmissions from the cockpit of the Albertina in the minute
or so before the fatal crash. e CIA communications plane on Ndola
airstrip, as shown above, had the capacity to communicate with the
Albertina and may well have made a record of the nal words coming
from the Albertina. But given the level of involvement of Allen Dulles,
it is highly unlikely that self-incriminating evidence would ever be made
e Commission Report has drawn attention to several possible
causes of the fatal crash – the presence of another plane that red at
Hammarskjöld’s DC6, the altimeters and a small explosive device to
render the Albertinas steering mechanism inoperable. It is possible (as
mentioned above) that SAIMR tried to utilise all three. e Commission
alluded to the possibility of igniting the explosive device by radio control,
Incubus Chap2.indd 82 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
JFK, Dulles and Hammarskjöld 83
but it remained unclear whether this could have been done from another
plane ying near the Albertina or from the Ndola airstrip.
♣ ♣ ♣
Earlier in his eight-year span as UN Secretary-General, during the
McCarthy era, Hammarskjöld had forcefully evicted Hoover’s FBI men
from the UN building, but in September 1961 the tables had turned and
Hammarskjöld was ousted – by assassination.
As a senator, Kennedy had rst met UN Secretary-General Dag
Hammarskjöld several years earlier, and as President-elect they met
again to discuss the more urgent problems of the world. During 1961,
Hammarskjöld’s proposed intervention in the New Guinea sovereignty
dispute was the solution JFK preferred to solve an unwanted dilemma.
OPEX implemented for the Papuan people meant Kennedy would not
be forced to decide between supporting the colonial administration
of a NATO ally or supporting the Indonesian administration over the
Papuan people against the wishes of a NATO ally. With Hammarskjöld’s
death, the pro-Papua plan was abandoned.42 So the Papuan people in
the western half of New Guinea, who were on the verge of becoming
an independent state under the auspices of the United Nations, were
le hanging in history. Hammarskjöld’s death le Kennedy one of two
options, the Dutch or the Indonesian, but Dulles’ preparation ensured
Kennedy chose the latter.
Hammarskjöld positioned himself (and the role of the UN) between
or above the Cold War blocs. He intended implementing OPEX to resolve
the New Guinea sovereignty dispute but did not take into account the
extent of covert involvement by Standard Oil and Allen Dulles. At the
funeral of Dag Hammarskjöld, September 29, Kennedy described him as
‘the greatest statesman of the 20th century’.
42 In its wake came the ‘Luns Plan, in which the Dutch Foreign Minister proposed a
similarly prominent role for the UN but without the Dutch administration exiting,
as envisaged by Hammarskjöld. According to the son of Joseph Luns, Huub Luns
(whom I interviewed in Amsterdam) explained that before his father announced
the ‘Luns Plan’ to the General Assembly, he knew it would not be approved. We
may well ask: why, then, did he proceed?
Incubus Chap2.indd 83 15/11/2014 1:30:58 AM
... Well-known for grandiose rhetoric and design, this explanation of Sukarno's may yet prove to be correct. [30] After a genocide that purged one million communists party members (not armed militants) from the population, Indonesia was open for American business. [31] West Papua had been given to Indonesia in 1961 in a UN deal brokered by Kennedy, with its status to be ratified or rejected in a referendum held in 1969. ...
Full-text available
This article focuses on the period of 1960-1966, specifically the US-Cuba conflict, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the JFK assassination and the overthrow of Suharto in Indonesia, as a gateway to understanding the Cold War as well as the modern history that preceded and followed the Cold War period.
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