West Papua Advocacy Team: Open Letter to Westmont
College on Kissinger and West Papua
We are writing to express our deep concern about
Westmont?s planned sponsorship of a paid speaking engagement with former
Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Secretary Kissinger was deeply involved with some of the most
unfortunate moments in U.S. foreign policy, infamously scripting the
military coup in Chile and green lighting the
Indonesian invasion of East Timor
by Indonesia. He shares with President Nixon responsibility for our
disastrous policy in Indochina.
Dr. Kissinger's central role in the great human tragedy which engulfed West
Papua under Indonesian occupation constitutes grounds for his prosecution as
a war criminal.
Less well known is Dr. Kissinger's role in the human
tragedy in West Papua which transpired while he was National Security
Adviser and Secretary of State. West Papua, a land of largely Christian
and animist Melanesian people, were progressing toward independence from
Dutch colonial control. In 1962, the U.S., seeking to appease Indonesia
in an act of cold war real politic, negotiated a UN mandate for
neighboring Indonesia in West Papua.
In 1969 the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia perpetrated a blatant
fraud in West Papua by annexing that area under the rubric of a clearly
fraudulent "Act of Free Choice." Violating its commitment under the UN
mandate to administer a genuine ballot, Indonesia, after several years
of brutal military occupation, instead engineered a 1969 ballot among a
small group of Papuans who "voted" for annexation under conditions of
extreme intimidation. Both before and after the "vote," Indonesian
security forces employed military force against Papuan civilians
pressing for a genuine act of self determination. Thousands of Papuans
died in this severe repression which continues to this day.
In his capacity as National Security Adviser and subsequently as
Secretary of State, Dr. Kissinger orchestrated critical U.S. diplomatic
and military support for this repression, including overseeing provision
of U.S. OV-10 Bronco aircraft which strafed and bombed Papuan villages.
Dr. Kissinger's central role in the great human tragedy which engulfed
West Papua under Indonesian occupation constitutes grounds for his
prosecution as a war criminal.
A decision by Westmont College to accord a paid speaking engagement to
Dr. Kissinger is wholly inconsistent with Westmont's reputation as a
highly regarded Christian institution.
- Charles Farhadian, PhD, Professor, Religious Studies. Westmont
- Edmund McWilliams, retired U.S. senior Foreign Service Officer,
- for the West Papua Advocacy Team
- Octo Mote, Chair, West Papua Negotiator Team
more on Kissinger
see also West Papua Report