The violence – which was a taboo topic in Indonesia for almost 50 years and remains extremely sensitive even today – was unleashed after communists were accused of killing six generals at the end of September 1965, Rebecca Henschke reports from Jakarta.
According to one from US embassy staff in East Java, dated 28 December 1965, “victims are taken out of populous areas before being killed and bodies are buried rather than thrown in river” as they had been previously.
Brad Simpson, founder and director of the Indonesia and East Timor documentation project, pushed for the files’ release “These documents show in great detail just how aware US officials were of how many people were being killed,” said Simpson, noting “the US stance at the time was silence”.
When the BBC showed Gen Widjojo the documents released on Tuesday, he said: “I cannot say anything to justify or reject what is explained in these documents, but basically the tragedy of 1965 was a struggle for power between the Communist Party and the army.”
“We should bring all parties concerned together to share their experiences but there must be one condition – the victims, they have to be at peace, they have to move on and see in reflection the tragedy of 1965 from the point of view of Indonesia in 2017.”