Subject: US Catholic Bishops write Pentagon
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 08:38:35 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <>

United States Catholic Conference Department of Social Development and World Peace
3211 4th Street N.E.
Washington, DC 20017-1194

April 21, 1999

The Honorable William S Cohen
Secretary, Department of Defense
1000 Defense
The Pentagon Washington, DC 20230

Dear Secretary Cohen,

The escalating violence being reported daily from East Timor is a matter of gravest concern to us. Unprovoked attacks against defenseless civilians by armed paramilitaries, already resulting in a number of confirmed deaths and large numbers of wounded, foster ever greater instability in the region and threaten the U.N.-supervised vote on autonomy scheduled for July.

In most of these instances, the Indonesian military forces in East Timor are reported to have done nothing to stop the violence and appear even to have facilitated the assaults.

Bishop Carlos Ximenes Belo has described the killings that took place at the church in the town of Liquisa on April 6, 1999, as another Santa Cruz, recalling the infamous massacre in Dili in 1991. The attack on defenseless refugees at the home of the local legislator and brother of the former Indonesian-appointed governor, Manuel Carrascalao, illustrates the nature of the brutality that these forces are carrying out. Irish Foreign Minister David Andrews was present in Dili during the April 17 attacks and witnessed the collusion between Indonesian military and police and the so-called militias.

Shootings have continued to take place in Dili in these last few days Bishop Belo is persuaded that a well-orchestrated campaign by the Indonesian military is at work, seeking to create conditions that will make it impossible for the promised vote to be held.

It is the Bishop's view that the United States should do far more to exert its influence on Jakarta. For my part, I believe that the United States and its allies have an obligation to convey to Jakarta the unambiguous message that the "militias" must be disarmed and disbanded.

With thanks for your attention to this critical matter I remain

Sincerely yours,

Most Reverend Theodore E McCarrick
Archbishop of Newark Chairman, International Policy Committee
U.S. Catholic Conference

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