Would Allen Dulles have resorted to assassinating the President of the United States to ensure the achievement of his ‘Indonesian strategy’?
This is the central question addressed by Greg Poulgrain in his extraordinarily important book, The Incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesian Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles.
Two days before President John Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, he had accepted an invitation from Indonesian President Sukarno to visit that country the following spring. The aim of the visit was to end the conflict (Konfrontasi) between Indonesia and Malaysia and to continue Kennedy’s efforts to support post-colonial Indonesia with economic and developmental aid, not military. It was part of his larger strategy of ending conflict throughout Southeast Asia and assisting the growth of democracy in newly liberated post-colonial countries worldwide.
He had forecast his position in a dramatic speech in 1957 when, as a Massachusetts Senator, he told the Senate that he supported the Algerian liberation movement and opposed colonial imperialism worldwide. The speech caused an international uproar and Kennedy was harshly attacked by Eisenhower, Nixon, John Foster Dulles, and even liberals such as Adlai Stevenson. But he was praised throughout the third world.
Of course JFK never went to Indonesia in 1964, and his peaceful strategy to bring Indonesia to America’s side and to ease tensions in the Cold War was never realized, thanks to Allen Dulles. And Kennedy’s proposed withdrawal from Vietnam, which was premised on success in Indonesia, was quickly reversed by Lyndon Johnson after JFK’s murder. Soon both countries would experience mass slaughter engineered by Kennedy’s opponents in the CIA and Pentagon. Millions would die. Subsequently, starting in December 1975, American installed Indonesian dictator, Suharto, would slaughter hundreds of thousands East-Timorese with American weapons after meeting with Henry Kissinger and President Ford and receiving their approval.