Thursday, March 27, 2014

Former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, USINDO founder Edward E. Masters dies

Former U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia and USINDO Society founder Edward E. Masters died on March 21, 2014.

Below is an excerpt from an ETAN leaflet handed out at a USINDO event after Suharto died. ( Amb. Masters called the leaflet 'scurillous.' Not one panelist (all former U.S. ambassadors to Indonesia) mentioned Suharto's rights record until asked about it in the question period.

The U.S.-Indonesia Society was founded in 1994 with funding from major U.S. corporations with significant investments in Indonesia to counter the deservedly bad rep Suharto's Indonesia had developed in Washington in the after the Santa Cruz massacre in Dili. In the same leaflet, we wrote that "While USINDO has consistently denied its role as an Indonesian lobby, it has in reality been Indonesia's most outspoken apologist in Washington."

USINDO's announcement of Amb. Masters death can be found here.
Photo from USINDO Society


Edward Masters: U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, 1977-81

Ambassador Masters' tenure in Indonesia coincided with some of the worst atrocities in Indonesian-occupied East Timor and the territory of West Papua, during which time tens of thousands died in massacres led by Indonesia's military, or of starvation and disease attributable to Indonesian military operations. Masters supported the expansion of U.S. military assistance to Indonesia, including the dispatch of A-4 and F-5 ground attack fighters later used in East Timor.

From September 6 to September 8, 1978, Masters traveled to East Timor with nine other foreign ambassadors to view the "basic GOI [Government of Indonesia] approach to the East Timor problem." Masters offered extensive praise of Indonesian efforts in Timor, claiming -- the Indonesian military presence had been much reduced; movement was free; refugees were being cared for; and that Indonesia was devoted to the economic development of the 'province. Masters' visit came at the tail end of Operation Seroja, a territory-wide Indonesian campaign of aerial bombardment, encirclement and forced relocation of tens of thousands of Timorese, in which thousands are reported to have died.  [seeTelegram 12521 from U.S. Embassy Jakarta to State Department, "Ambassador's visit to East Timor: Indonesian Policy and Possible U.S. Response," September 14, 1978 - Source: Freedom of Information Act Release to the National Security Archive]

In December 1979, Masters testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and Pacific Affairs that Indonesia enjoyed widespread support in East Timor, and that starvation there resulted from policies of neglect attributable to the Portuguese.

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