Interview Green

Kadane: Well, it seems this list [compiled in the embassy in Jakarta] became quite relevant later on after the army attack.

Green: Oh, that's right. It did. That's right.

Kadane: And apparently everybody in the embassy knew about this list, because they were using it as a means of determining who had been caught.

Green: Yeah, that's right.

Kadane: Bob worked with a group, and I believe that quite a number of people who had not been directly involved with it previously, in constructing it, were actually using it though as a sort of tool to assess who had been caught by the army, because everybody wanted to know how the thing was progressing.

Green: Yeah.

Kadane: So maybe at that point you would have been aware that was a -- you can call it a party roster, but it doesn't have to be that term, it could be lists, it could be lists of people who were leaders of the PKI in all the various committees, [Green: That's right] subcommittees, going down in some cases to the provincial, city organizations, the mass organizations, like Gerwani, SOBSI, etc., which you all had, because Bob and that group of people in the embassy had constructed it.

Green: That's right.

Kadane: So you knew who was out there. Bill [Colby] said this meant that you weren't "fighting blind," he said.

Green: No. No. We knew -- we had a pretty clear indication of where the loyalties of these people lay. Of course, another thing is, they broke up the PKI very very rapidly. The extent to which we had any hand in it, that's something I wouldn't know. Maybe you could ask Bob [Martens] whether or not we furnished the information. I know that Bob has told me that we had a lot more information than the Indonesians themselves (Kadane: Yes.), and I think that may well be true. First of all, he was trained in this kind of work, he worked in the Soviet Union. And he told me on a number of occasions, Bob did, that both in Sweden and here that governments did not have very good information on the communist setup and so forth. And he gave me the impression that this information was superior to anything they had. And I have no doubt that was probably true. For one thing, it would have been rather dangerous for anybody in the [Indonesian] government to try to single out who was who in the communist party because the communist party was so pervasive. And they were being fingered.

Kadane: So it meant that basically an Indonesian, maybe in the army or somewhere else, would have trouble constructing such a list, would they not?

Green: They definitely would.

Kadane: It would be tough, wouldn't it? (Green: That's right) first of all because of the terrorized atmosphere, second of all, you just couldn't get access.

Green: That's right, and then the people up the line. In the Air Force, it would have been lethal to do that. [Because Air Vice- Marshall Omar Dhani was considered to be a PKI sympathizer]. That would be true probably in the police, the marines, the navy. In the army, it depended. My guess is that once this thing [the coup of Sept. 30] broke, that the army was desperate for information as to who was who. And, I haven't asked Bob about this, but probably you have -- to the extent the Indonesians came to him or came to rely on him or to give him things, I don't know.

Kadane: Well, he gave the names to Kim Adhyatman, who you may -- you may remember Kim. You remember Kim?

Green: Oh, yes.

Kadane: A man of I think considerable intellect. I talked to him. I went to Jakarta and talked to him about that, and he told me that indeed the names were given to him, that he acted as an intermediary with Suharto's group, but it was sort of complicated - - he gave the names to Malik, he said, who gave them to Suharto.

Green: Yeah. Now, one thing you have to bear in mind is, when we were in Indonesia, we were very careful not to be saying this kind of thing, because Sukarno [Indonesia's president] was forever trying to label the CIA and me as having been the arch perpetrators of all this effort to (word difficult to hear): undermine him...(brief description of the first few days after the Sept. 30 coup, when Sukarno made radio broadcasts accusing Green of interference in Indonesian politics.)

Kadane: I am sure it was an extremely ticklish situation, I can easily imagine -- handled brilliantly in the long run. But so, anyway, this is what Bob has told me, and he said the names did go to the army and were used by the army to track down communists (Green: Yeah.) in various places where they didn't know who was who.

Green: That's right. We had a very good channel between the embassy and Suharto. I did not meet Suharto until May, 1966. I saw him at (inaudible phrase) public functions, not many of them, the generals' funeral, [General] Nasution's daughter's funeral, but meanwhile we were in very close touch with each other through our military attache, Col. Willis Ethel, and through Suharto's military aide, a friend of Ethel's -- the friendship went way back. That was the channel. Then of course, I had a very good channel with [Adam] Malik [Indonesian politician who was a member of a triumvirate with Suharto in the months succeeding the Sept. 30 coup, and who later served as foreign minister and vice president.]

(Green says he talked with Malik about Suharto's purge of communists from the armed services.)

Green: I was a great deal more concerned about outbreaks of fighting among the armed forces [over the anticommunist purge] than I was by the communists...Suharto played that one brilliantly. He let each one of the armed services clean up its own act...

[Discussion about Suharto's strategy, and Green's concern about the potential for outbreaks of violence during the purge of the armed forces in 1966 and later. Green says he is writing memoirs of his tenure in Indonesia, but not using classified materials.)

On Dec. 18, 1989, Green was asked if he had been "unaware that Bob [Martens] transferred these names to the army, this apparently included CIA material, so it was not all unclassified stuff?" Green said, "I do not recollect such a thing," a statement consistent with his earlier assertion that he was not familiar with the details of Martens' files on PKI leaders.

Kadane: Bob said that he had talked about it with you, and he said that you remembered that you had heard about it.

Green: That's possible. Depends on the context in which he said what, you know. I just cannot go on record saying I remembered what he would do or what we was doing -- that kind of thing. Because I frankly, at my level, I was handling other types of things. I relied on what Ed Masters could tell me largely about the political section. I knew of course, he was in the political section, as well. Bob had this background; I knew he was specializing in this field; I knew he kept files; I was very familiar with the process [of collecting the names]. But when it came to what he transmitted to whom -- that kind of thing -- I wasn't involved.

(Inconclusive discussion of whether Martens had been chosen in 1963 to fill the embassy PKI slot as a result of an "inter-agency" decision. "That's quite possible." Green says, "It's a very sensitive thing, and I just don't know." Discussion of policy deliberations in Washington in 1963. There was an inter-agency group that met to formulate policy toward Indonesia, Green says, where a shift in U.S. policy was worked out.)

On Dec. 20, 1989, Kadane asked Green again about his knowledge of the decision by the group of top embassy officials, of which he was a member, (and as related by Masters and Lydman) to release the names.

Kadane: Ed [Masters] said the decision to have Bob [Martens] disseminate the names to an army emissary was made by a group of you, yourself, the station chief Hugh Tovar, Ed himself, the defense attache [Willis Ethel, deceased] and Jack Lydman [Green's deputy].

Green: Yeah.

Kadane: And so he said he remembers those discussions.

Green: Well, I wouldn't gainsay it -- in other words, if he said that were so, I would agree with it. I told you I couldn't remember all these things...