etmnlong.gif (2291 bytes) spacer East Timor, Indonesia excerpt from
Radio Interview with former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
New York and Company (WNYC - New York), Host Leonard Lopate March 19, 1999

Lopate: In the memoir you mention Indonesia several times but never East Timor. Yet you and President Ford left Jakarta one day before Indonesia’s invasion of the country and a State Department memorandum says you and Ford gave approval to President Suharto’s invasion. They did so with 90% of their weapons coming from the United States.

Kissinger: The a (pauses). I don’t know what State Department memorandum you are talking about. We were told at the airport as we left Jakarta that either that day or the next day they intended to take East Timor. Secondly, I can’t say that we were great experts on East Timor; it’s a population of 800,000.

Lopate: 200,000 of whom have died since that invasion.

Kissinger: That may be so, but I am saying what did we know at the time. It looked to us like the Indian occupation of Goa a few years earlier. And it happened in a year when southeast Asia, Indochina had collapsed. So it wasn’t a question of approval but of not being able to do anything about it.

Lopate: Well in the case of Indonesia we are talking about a country that is rich in natural resources. We really overlooked an awful lot in the Suharto years and it is only now that the Indonesians gaining some kind of revenge.

Kissinger: I think you have a very peculiar perspective on foreign policy if I may say so.

Lopate: Probably. I’ve never worked in government.

Kissinger: You have a very one-sided approach. I think any objective person would say that tremendous economic strides were made in Indonesia during the Suharto period.

Lopate: But they have all fallen apart haven’t they. The countries going through a terrible economic turmoil.

Kissinger: No, they fell apart due to the Asian economic crisis and Indonesia is now going through a very big political crisis.

Lopate: But the crisis is brought upon partly by the fact that only a few people were making all the money and they were the friends of Suharto.

Kissinger: That just isn’t true. I’m not here to defend Suharto. He came into power as result of a communist coup. The communists killed 22 of 24 Indonesian generals.

Lopate. He overthrew Sukarno. Let’s go past Indonesia ...

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