The article by States News Service reporter Kathy Kadane in the May 21 Post is accurate in some aspects and inaccurate in others.
First, I want to deny the idea that "I probably have a lot of blood on my hands; but that's not all bad" and that "there's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment." If I said anything like the first, it could only have been a wry remark. As for the remark on striking hard, I did note that the Indonesian army had to strike hard at the Communists when the issue was in doubt -- and I am not referring to the deaths of masses of people. That was largely done at the grass-roots level.
It is true I passed names of the PKI leaders and senior cadre system to the non-Communist forces during the six months of chaos between the so-called coup and the ultimate downfall of Sukarno. The outcome remained very much in doubt during that period, but there was little doubt that Communist forces would resort to a bloodbath.
The real point, however, is that the names I gave were based entirely -- I repeat, entirely -- on the Indonesian Communist press and were available to everyone. This was the senior cadre system of the PKI -- a few thousand at most out of the 3.5 million claimed party members. These were senior party officials at the national level and at the provincial capital and major city level. These were not party rank and file. The non-Communists probably knew much of this information themselves.
The pro-Communist terror leading up to the final coup -- not against Sukarno but against the non-Communist army leaders -- had prevented systematic collection of data on the Communists, and I saw nothing wrong with helping out. I still don't. The fall of Indonesian communism marked the high point of Communist aggressiveness, particularly the then-virulent Maoist version, and it contributed directly to the retreat of China into the Cultural Revolution.
Another inaccuracy in the article should be corrected. As I repeatedly told Kathy Kadane, I and I alone decided to pass those "lists" to the non-Communist forces. I neither sought nor was given permission to do so by Ambassador Marshall Green or any other embassy official.
I also categorically deny that CIA or any other classified material was turned over by me. Furthermore, I categorically deny that I "headed an embassy group that spent two years compiling the lists." No one, absolutely no one, helped me compile the lists in question, and I told the reporter that repeatedly.
The statement by the Indonesian Embassy spokesman cited in the article hits the nail on the head: "The Indonesian people fought by themselves" to eradicate communism. The United States was favorable to the non-Communist cause, but it was not involved except, perhaps, in the very limited way I have mentioned. ROBERT J. MARTENS Bethesda The writer is a retired foreign service officer.