Press cutting

Liquidating Sukarno

The Times, 8 August 1986, page 12

Amazing revelations from the other side of the Atlantic. In a book to be published this autumn, The CIA A Forgotten History (Zed Books) the American author William Blum reproduces part of a sensational 1962 CIA report which suggests Supermac and JFK talked about "liquidating" the troublesome President Sukarno of Indonesia. The author of the CIA report, which has been declassified under the American Freedom of Information Act, states: "I have concluded from the impressions I have received in conversations with Western diplomats that President Kennedy and PM MacMillan agreed on the following matters in their recent meeting and will attempt to carry these things out." He goes on: "They agreed to liquidate President Sukarno, depending upon the situation and available opportunities. (It is not clear to me whether murder or overthrow is intended by the word liquidate)." Sadly for history, the name of the CIA officer who penned this extraordinary report has been deleted.

It apparently refers to a meeting between the leaders in Washington from April 27 to 29, 1962. At the time, Sukarno was vehemently opposed to a British-backed plan to create a Malaysian Federation, consisting of Malaya, Singapore, Sarawak, North Borneo and British-protected Brunei. CIA mischief in the abortive 1958 coup to overthrow Sukarno is well documented. It is not known if any Anglo-US action was taken following the supposed discussion. Sukarno eventually lost power to General Suharto in 1967. He died of natural causes three years later.

Lord Stockton was not available for comment this week, but his grandson, Alexander, tells me that a check on the private papers at his home, Birch Grove, has revealed "no such items" on the Kennedy-Macmillan agenda. One of the most highly-placed MI6 officers at the time assures me he had no knowledge of the alleged discussion. Nor does he believe that liquidate could have meant bumping Sukarno off. "However, they might well have discussed the best way of getting rid of this awkward fellow."