Indonesia 1958:  Nixon, the CIA, and the Secret War

Nixon chaired the 5412 committee that ran the Indonesian "rebellion"

         This was important administratively because by that time Frank
      Wisner, the CIA Deputy Director of Plans, had set up his forward
      headquarters in Singapore and at the direction of the 5412
      Committee of the National Security Council, headed by Nixon, Wisner
      occupied that faraway headquarters himself.  (It should be noted
      that in 1958 Allen Dulles was the head of the CIA, his brother John
      Foster Dulles was the Secretary of State, Eisenhower was President,
      and Nixon, as Vice President, chaired the clandestine affairs
      committee, then known as the "Special Group 5412/2."  In other
      words nothing was done in Indonesia that was not directed by Nixon.
      If an action had not been directed by the NSC, then it was done
      unlawfully by the CIA.)
         In 1958 Allen Dulles would have brought such a major operation
      to the attention of the Special Group and he would operate with its
      approval.  This was an essential step in national policy because it
      then empowered the Department of Defense to provide the necessary
      support requested by the CIA.  Much of this fell within the area of
      my responsibility at Air Force Headquarters, and I was kept
      informed on a regular basis of approved action and of Nixon's keen
      interest in this project.

    the following appeared in the August, 1976 issue of "Gallery" magazine:
              Indonesia 1958:  Nixon, the CIA, and the Secret War
                            By L. Fletcher Prouty
               reprinted here with the permission of the author

              Blood ran in the streets.  Villages were wiped out
              and a million people massacred in a battle for the
              riches and political control of Indonesia.  Nixon
               and the CIA wanted Sukarno overthrown.  But the
                   creator of Indonesia knew how to fight.

      A letter from one of the most beautiful women in the world lies
      buried in a stack of mail on President Ford's desk.  Written in
      Paris on July 24, 1975, by Dewi Sukarno, the former First Lady of
      Indonesia and widow of Dr. Achmed Sukarno, the charismatic Father
      of Indonesia, the letter is an appeal to President Ford for a
      complete explanation of the CIA-led and supported rebellions that
      took place in Indonesia in 1958 and 1965.
         It is not well known in the United States that the 1958
      rebellion led to a major Indonesian civil war.  The CIA-inspired
      uprising in Indonesia, unlike the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, was
      a full-scale military operation.  The Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961
      was made by a thin brigade of about 1,500 Cuban exiles trained by
      the CIA in Guatemala.  But the 1958 Indonesian action involved no
      less than 42,000 CIA-armed rebels supported by a fleet of bombers
      and vast numbers of four-engine transport aircraft as well as
      submarine assistance from the U.S. Navy.  It also involved a major
      training and logistical supporting effort on the part of the
      Philippines, Okinawa, Taiwan, and Singapore.  But despite this
      massive armed force, the 1958 rebellion, like the Bay of Pigs
      invasion, was a total failure.  Sukarno's army drove the rebels on
      Sumatra and Celebes into the sea.
         There are some who might call the 1965 uprising a success.  At
      least the rebels were not driven into the sea.  However, for the
      United States it was a fantastically costly endeavor.  The
      rebellion ended in the most massive and ruthless bloodbath since
      World War II.  While the headlines in the United States dealt with
      the slaughter in Vietnam, the press of the rest of the world heaped
      blame on the United States for the barbaric massacre in Indonesia.
      The victorious new government of General Suharto proceeded to
      assassinate nearly one million people.  This terrible slaughter and
      the ensuing imprisonment of tens of thousands of Indonesians
      stirred Dewi Sukarno to seek President Ford's assistance in gaining
      the release of her countrymen from prison.
         Dewi Sukarno has received no answer.  But even without a reply
      she knows.  The silence from Washington speaks for itself.  A
      denial, if true, would have come without hesitation.  The
      Indonesians know.  The Latins had a phrase for it, "Is fecit cui
      prodest"--the perpetrator of a crime is he who profits by it.
      Today, major U.S. enterprises are plundering the raw material
      wealth of Indonesia--rubber, tin, and oil--in a manner that is more
      vile than what is happening in Chile.  And there is no one to stop
         Achmed Sukarno was one of those rare men who rose during the
      hours of crisis to unite one hundred million people and lead them
      out of the ashes of World War II.  Sukarno came to liberate his
      country from the Japanese, the Dutch, the Portuguese, and from all
      others who were ready to enslave his country once again.  He
      established his government on the "Five Pillars":  (l) belief in
      one supreme God (2) just and civilized humanity (3) unity of
      Indonesia (4) democracy (5) social justice.
         Sukarno was forced to thread his way between communism and
      capitalism.  His independence made him both friends and enemies.
      His worst enemies came from his polyglot people who are scattered
      over more than 3,000 islands.  These islands make up the world's
      largest archipelago;  they stretch along the equator for over 3,400
      miles and are located in Southeast Asia between the Philippines and
      Australia.  From one of these islands came Lt. Col. Alex
      Kawilarang, the military attache serving in Washington who was to
      defect to the rebel forces and lead the rebel contingent on
      Sumatra, the Indonesian island richest in natural resources.

    |                                                                     |
    |    His Excellency President Gerald Ford The White House             |
    |    Washington, D.C.                                                 |
    |                                                                     |
    |                                                                     |
    |    Dear Mr. President,                                              |
    |       As the widow of the late President Sukarno and being the      |
    |    only member of the family living overseas, I address myself      |
    |    to you, being deeply alarmed and disturbed by numerous and       |
    |    persistent reports in the international press.  For instance,    |
    |    the CIA is said to have spied on my husband:  manufactured a     |
    |    fake film in order to slander the good name and honor of         |
    |    Sukarno:  prepared an assassination attempt against him and      |
    |    conspired to oust him from power to estrange him from the        |
    |    Indonesian people by accusing him of collaborating with          |
    |    international communism in betrayal of Indonesian                |
    |    independence, which of course was totally absurd.                |
    |       My husband has repeatedly informed me that he was fully       |
    |    aware of these immoral, illegal, subversive, anti-Indonesian     |
    |    activities against his beloved Indonesia, his people, and        |
    |    against him personally.                                          |
    |       I would like to request from you, as well as from the         |
    |    responsible Congressional Committees in the United States a      |
    |    full explanation about these reports and reprehensible           |
    |    practices as carried out by an official United States            |
    |    Government Agency in the name of several American Presidents     |
    |    and Governments.                                                 |
    |        Both in 1958 and in 1965, the CIA directly interfered in     |
    |    the internal affairs of Indonesia.  In 1958, this monstrous      |
    |    action led to civil war.  In 1965, it led to the ultimate        |
    |    takeover by a pro-Amencan military regime, while hundreds of     |
    |    thousands of innocent peasants and loyal citizens were           |
    |    massacred in the name of this insane crusade against             |
    |    international communism.  Still today, ten years later, many     |
    |    tens of thousands of true patriots and Sukarnoists are locked    |
    |    up in jails and concentration camps being denied the simplest    |
    |    and most elementary human rights.  American companies and        |
    |    aggressive foreign interests are indiscriminately plundering     |
    |    the natural riches of Indonesia to the advantage of the few      |
    |    and the disadvantage of the millions of unemployed and           |
    |    impoverished masses.                                             |
    |       I must now ask you, Mr. President, in the name of freedom     |
    |    and justice, in the name of decency in relations between         |
    |    states and statesmen, between powerful nations and developing    |
    |    lands, in the name of the Indonesian people and the Sukarno      |
    |    family:  did the United States of America commit these           |
    |    hideous crimes against Indonesia and against the founder of      |
    |    the nation?  Will your Government be prepared to accept          |
    |    responsibility for these evil practices?  Over one hundred       |
    |    million Indonesians have been brainwashed, as was the rest of    |
    |    the world by the present regime's propaganda to believe that     |
    |    the communists carried out the insurrection.  My countrymen,     |
    |    as well as everyone else, have the right to know the truth of    |
    |    the historic facts.  It will be the painful duty for America     |
    |    now to reveal the CIA involvement in Indonesia and release       |
    |    all information and documents relevant to who really             |
    |    initiated the terrifying bloodbath that led to the overthrow     |
    |    of the legal Government and to the inhuman treatment in house    |
    |    arrest lasting three years until my husband's death.             |
    |       In closing, I would like to strongly appeal to you, Mr.       |
    |    President, to use your influence with the military regime in     |
    |    Jakarta, to immediately free those many thousands of             |
    |    political prisoners, men and women, former cabinet ministers,    |
    |    writers and journalists, who I know are entirely innocent of     |
    |    the crime of treason they have been accused of.  If the          |
    |    United States were to be instrumental in helping to improve      |
    |    the fate of so many thousands of courageous compatriots, I       |
    |    think the entire Indonesian nation would be grateful and         |
    |    Indonesians would regain their confidence in America's           |
    |    intentions towards the Third World.                              |
    |                                                                     |
    |                                           Respectfully,             |
    |                                                                     |
    |                                           R. S. Dewi Sukarno        |
    |                                           July 24, 1975             |

         What is not generally known about the complex Indonesian
      struggle is the role that was played by the then Vice President of
      the United States, Richard M. Nixon, and the bitter aftermath that
      involved the sudden ouster of Allen Dulles' protege, Frank Wisner,
      who at that time was the head of the clandestine arm of the CIA.
      After Watergate, when Anthony Lukas wrote in his book "Nightmare,"
      about the growing mistrust between Nixon and the Director of 
      Central Intelligence, Richard Helms, he could have added that
      since the 1958 Indonesian rebellion there were many in the CIA who
      made a career of hating Nixon because of what he had done to Frank
      Wisner, among others.
         The Indonesian campaign began rather casually as so many CIA
      ventures do.  Few if any ever originate at the top.
         During an unguarded conversation in Washington the Indonesian
      military attache mentioned earlier made it known to certain U.S.
      military acquaintances that there were many prominent and strong
      people in Indonesia who would be ready to rise against Sukarno if
      they were given a little support and encouragement from the United
      States.  It happened that one of those U.S. military friends he
      talked to was not a military man at all, but a member of the CIA.
      The provocative words got back to Frank Wisner, then the Deputy
      Director of Plans.  He was in charge of the CIA's clandestine
      activity and he authorized agents to follow up on that first
         The Indonesian attache was wined and dined and encouraged to
      talk more.  Reasons for the attache's return to Indonesia on
      official business were successfully arranged.  He was accompanied
      by CIA agents traveling under the cover of "U.S. military"
      personnel.  During this visit they spoke with rebel leaders.  They
      learned enough about the potential strength of this opposition to
      encourage the CIA to set in motion its biggest operation up to that
         In the Philippines there was a strong nucleus of military men,
      chief among them a Colonel Valeriano, who had been President
      Magsaysay's military assistant.  He had also worked on paramilitary
      exercises with the CIA during the Magsaysay campaign against the
      leftist rebel Huk movement.  This military group had gained
      considerable power during the Magsaysay tenure.  Many of these
      special warfare experts from the Philippines had volunteered for
      duty in South Vietnam in 1955 when the CIA was deeply involved in
      providing undercover support for the new and uncertain regime of
      President Ngo Dinh Diem.
         By early 1958 these Filipinos and their CIA counterparts were
      prepared to involve the Philippines in the rebellion against
      Sukarno by setting up special warfare "Green Beret" training bases
      and by providing the Indonesian revolutionary council with
      clandestine air bases.  One of those bases was on Palawan, the most
      western island of the Philippine archipelago, in the vicinity of
      the airfield at Puerto Princessa on Honda Bay.  The other base was
      on the big southern island of Mindanao, near Davao Gulf.
         Concurrently, in Washington, operations were being organized.
      Frank Wisner took over direct command of the everyday operations of
      the Indonesian project.  A large staff under Desmond Fitzgerald of
      the Far East Division was set up.  The most active element of this
      special staff came from the CIA's clandestine Air Division which at
      that time was under the control of Dick Helms.  As the plans
      expanded for this major undertaking, requirements for military
      equipment, people, aircraft, weapons, bases, submarines, and
      communications skyrocketed.
         In the Pentagon there are thousands of nondescript offices in
      which all sorts of tasks are done.  One of these unobtrusive
      offices was an Air Force Plans Division office.  One day in 1958
      two men from the CIA entered that office.  After being identified
      they were permitted entrance to an interior office that was the
      "Focal Point" office for all U.S. Air Force Support of the
      clandestine operations of the CIA.  I had established that office
      in 1955 on orders from Gen. Thomas D. White, then Chief of Staff of
      the Air Force.  This came about after several meetings with Allen
      W. Dulles, the Director of Central Intelligence, and others.  When
      the CIA men entered that office in 1958, I was still in charge.
         The agents outlined the Indonesian Plan, the Philippine support
      and training program, and told me about their own special
      operations staff that had been put together specifically for this
      vast project.  Then they urgently requested light bombardment
      aircraft and long-range transport aircraft.  We decided to take a
      number of twin engine B-26 aircraft out of mothball storage, put
      them through a retrofit line, and modify them so that they could be
      armed with a special 50-caliber machine gun package of eight guns,
      in the nose of the plane.  This would give the B-26 more firepower
      than it ever had during the Korean War or World War II.  The
      project was given top priority and covered in deep secrecy.
      Programs for pilot training and the recruitment of "mercenaries"
      were established.
         Concurrent with our work the CIA was putting together a
      "wartime" operational staff.  Lt. Gen. Earl Barnes, who had been a
      senior air commander during World War II under Gen. Douglas
      MacArthur, was brought in to run all clandestine air activities.
         At that time Gen. Lyman L. Lemnitzer was Commander in Chief of
      the Ryukyu Command on Okinawa.  One day he received a call from
      General David M. Shoup, the U.S. Marine Commander on Okinawa,
      asking if the Army could spare 14,000 rifles for a Marine
      requirement.  Surprised at the Marine request for such a large
      order of guns, Lemnitzer acquiesced nonetheless and ordered the
      transfer of these weapons on the condition that they would be
      quickly replaced.[1]
         High on the ridge line of central Okinawa overlooking the city
      of Naha there was a modest size "Army" installation that hustled
      with considerable activity.  This was the main CIA operational base
      in the Far East.  It was under the direction of Ted Shannon, one of
      the Agency's most powerful agents.  It was Shannon's office that
      had actually requested 42,000 rifles from General Shoup and since
      the order was so large Shoup had been unable to supply them, and
      had therefore borrowed 14,000 from the Army.
         On nearby Taiwan, the CIA had another large facility--a "Navy"
      base known as the Naval Auxiliary Communication Center (NACC).
      This "Comm Center" controlled a large and very active air base a
      few miles south of Taiwan's capital, Taipei, and the huge Air
      America facilities near Taipei and the city of Tainan.
         The B-26 bombers were ready to fly and a special ferrying
      arrangement was made with the Air Force to fly them across the
      Pacific to the Philippines and Menado.
         Rebel Indonesians, trained and equipped in the Philippines, were
      returned to Sumatra.  Some were air-dropped and others landed on
      the beach from submarines that the U.S. Navy was operating, in
      support of the CIA, in the oceans south of Indonesia near the
      Christmas Islands.
         The war was on.
         On Feb. 9, 1958, rebel Colonel Maluddin Simbolon issued an
      ultimatum in the name of a provincial government, the Central
      Sumatran Revolutionary Council, calling for the formation of a new
      central government.  Sukarno refused and called upon his loyal army
      commander, General Abdul Haris Nasution, to destroy the rebel
      forces.  By Feb. 21 loyal forces had been airlifted to Sumatra and
      had begun the attack.  The rebel headquarters was in the southern
      coastal city of Padang.  Rebel strongholds stretched all the way to
      Medan, near the northern end of the island and not far from
         This was important administratively because by that time Frank
      Wisner, the CIA Deputy Director of Plans, had set up his forward
      headquarters in Singapore and at the direction of the 5412
      Committee of the National Security Council, headed by Nixon, Wisner
      occupied that faraway headquarters himself.  (It should be noted
      that in 1958 Allen Dulles was the head of the CIA, his brother John
      Foster Dulles was the Secretary of State, Eisenhower was President,
      and Nixon, as Vice President, chaired the clandestine affairs
      committee, then known as the "Special Group 5412/2."  In other
      words nothing was done in Indonesia that was not directed by Nixon.
      If an action had not been directed by the NSC, then it was done
      unlawfully by the CIA.)
         In 1958 Allen Dulles would have brought such a major operation
      to the attention of the Special Group and he would operate with its
      approval.  This was an essential step in national policy because it
      then empowered the Department of Defense to provide the necessary
      support requested by the CIA.  Much of this fell within the area of
      my responsibility at Air Force Headquarters, and I was kept
      informed on a regular basis of approved action and of Nixon's keen
      interest in this project.
         The rebellion flared sporadically from one end of Indonesia to
      the other.
         While the CIA was supporting up to 100,000 rebels, the State
      Department professed innocence.  The U.S. ambassador, Howard P.
      Jones, maintained that the United States had nothing to do with the
      rebellion and he protested the capture of the American oil
      properties.  On the other hand, Sukarno had asked for more arms aid
      from the United States.  He must have had strong suspicions about
      the source of rebel support.  The vast number of guns, the bombers
      and heavy air transport aircraft dropping hundreds of tons of arms
      and equipment, as well as submarines supporting beach operations
      were just too sophisticated to be anything but major power ploys.
      Thus, his appeal for U.S. arms aid had the ring of gamesmanship.
         Playing along with the game, John Foster Dulles issued a
      statement saying that the United States would not provide arms to
      either side.  And while he was publishing that falsehood, the
      United States furnished and piloted B-26 bombers, and these were
      bombing shipping in the Makassar Straits.  Some had even flown as
      far south as the Java Sea.  Almost immediately all insurance rates
      on shipping to and from Indonesia went on a wartime scale and costs
      became so prohibitive that most shipping actually ceased.  The
      bombing attacks, kept so quiet in the United States that they
      hardly made the news, were being viewed with great alarm by the
      rest of the world.  What was "Top Secret" in Washington was barroom
      gossip in the capitals of the world.
         While Wisner communicated with Washington clandestinely, anyone
      in the bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, in the Peninsula
      Hotel in Kowloon, or even on the streets of Istanbul, could learn
      all about the "American CIA attack" on Sukarno.
         The CIA was demanding so much support for its far-flung
      operations that a top-level committee was established in the
      Pentagon.  Its purpose was to keep track of how much war equipment
      was being requested and sent to Indonesia.  Not unlike the
      Lemnitzer-Shoup rifle problem, there were problems in the Pentagon
      because of the way the CIA requested equipment through phony
      "military" cover channels.
         Early in this operation I had put some men from my office into
      the air-combat section in the Philippines, and the Air Force was
      reasonably well aware of what was going on.  But that was not so
      for the other services.  At the time, Admiral Arleigh Burke was the
      Chief of Naval Operations.  He went one step further than we did.
      At the height of the rebel operations, Burke sent his Chief of
      Naval Intelligence, Admiral Luther Frost, to Jakarta, Indonesia's
      capital, where he stayed for several months carrying on a delicate
      relationship with the American ambassador and with the Indonesian
      naval chiefs.  This, while U.S. Navy submarines were aiding the
      rebels south of Sumatra.  It turned out to have been a masterful
      gambit because later, when the rebellion collapsed, the U.S. Navy
      was able to declare innocence.  The Air Force was not so fortunate.
         The pretense that the U.S. Government was in no way involved in
      this massive civil war against Sukarno was wearing thin.  It was a
      reasonable cover as long as the United States could plausibly deny
      its role in the action.  But one day, a lone B-26 out of the rebel
      CIA base at Menado, flying low over the Straits of Makassar, came
      upon an Indonesian ship--an ideal target.  The pilot banked to take
      a good run at the ship and began strafing it with those eight
      lethal .50-caliber machine guns.  He was committed to the attack
      before he found out that the freighter was armed.  The B-26 was hit
      and it ditched near the ship.  The pilot, an American named Allan
      Lawrence Pope, was picked up.  Pope was identified as a former U.S.
      Air Force pilot.  The cork was out of the bottle.  Sukarno had his
      proof of U.S. involvement and he played his ace card for an
      international audience.  That one plane and that one pilot cost the
      U.S. Government tens of millions of dollars in ransom and tribute
      during the next several years.
         After the capture of Pope the rebellion rapidly fell apart.
      Loyal forces captured Donggala in central Celebes.  And on far away
      Halmahera, government forces captured Jailolo.  That ended all
      opposition except for the CIA-rebel air base at Menado.  With the
      rebellion all but crushed, except for the continued existence of
      the main CIA force, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles ended the
      embargo of arms to Sukarno and agreed to send aid to the government
      of Indonesia!  What wondrous duplicity!  And Sukarno was not
      fooled.  His forces had been fighting a major civil war inspired
      and clandestinely supported by the United States, while
      concurrently the overt branches of the U.S. Government acted as
      though nothing at all had happened.
         By the end of June 1958 it was all over.  Then a very strange
      and rare (rare in terms of normal bureaucracy) thing happened.
      During the months of this operation it had been my custom to visit
      the CIA special operations center.
         One morning I caught the unmarked, dull-green CIA shuttle bus at
      the Pentagon and rode to the operations center.  I went in.  Not a
      soul was there.  The place had been cleaned out.  Office after
      office was absolutely bare.  Finally I found one secretary.  She
      was sitting in a straight-back chair and her telephone was on the
      floor.  There were tears in her eyes.  She took a call from time to
      time and gave guarded answers about the former members of that huge
      staff.  The entire section had been scattered to the four corners
      of the world.  A large number of top-level, experienced,
      clandestine agents and operators had vanished.  It took our Air
      Force office, skilled as we were in the ways of the CIA, months to
      find some of them again.
         Then we began to piece together what had happened.  With the
      collapse of such a major effort and with the inability of the
      Government to deny plausibly before the world its role in the whole
      sordid affair, blame had to be placed somewhere.  In an
      unprecedented action, Nixon had summarily fired Frank Wisner, along
      with some others.  But Frank Wisner, a longtime OSS and CIA man,
      was a key intelligence officer.  Few knew enough about his career
      to realize that he was senior, by far, to Helms and Colby.
      Clearly, he was Allen Dulles' heir apparent.  When the OSS had been
      deactivated after World War II by President Truman, it was Wisner
      who had kept a tight-knit band of professionals together.  This
      small cadre kept valuable OSS records and, more importantly, they
      had maintained the delicate lines of communication with agents,
      spies, and underground personnel in Eastern Europe, Russia, and
      Germany.  They held this fragile web together.  Without them
      hundreds of people might have been killed and priceless assets
      destroyed.  And Frank Wisner suddenly, almost whimsically, had been
         To a man, the Agency was aroused by this action.  Rightly or
      wrongly, they hated Nixon for this.  I remember being at meetings
      during which the name of Nixon would be mentioned and I have seen
      CIA men bristle and redden as though someone had let a poisonous
      snake loose in the room.  Some vowed he would never become
         Meanwhile the Agency moved to pull itself together.  That one
      deft bloodbath appeared to end things.  There was no Board of
      Inquiry as there was after the Bay of Pigs.  And, remarkably, there
      was no public outcry as there would be a few years later after the
      U-2 scandal.  The agency was busy sweeping things under the rug.
         Meanwhile those special B-26s were all flown back to the States
      and based at Elgin Air Force Base in Flonda.  That was late in
      1958.  By 1959 they began to stir again.  A man named Castro had
      come to power in Cuba.  During those fateful days in April 1961 it
      was those same B-26s that the CIA used to attack Cuba.
         This is the story that Dewi Sukarno is asking President Ford to
      explain to her and to the Indonesian people.  Actually, the 1958
      civil war was child's play compared to the brutal bloodbath of
      1965.  Sukarno was in control after the 1958 disaster and he wrung
      a heavy tribute from the U.S. Government for its indiscretions.
      But in 1965 his game ended, like Allende's in Chile, with defeat.
      An attempted communist coup d'etat was defeated by General Suharto.
      Sukarno never made the great public statement that was to assure
      the success of the coup, and after its defeat and the ensuing
      bloodbath, he was stripped of his power.  After a few years of
      ignominious house arrest the hero of all Indonesia died in 1970.
         What was the story behind Nixon's harsh action against Wisner?
      Was that the deep-rooted reason why CIA top-echelon insiders such
      as Dick Helms really hated and distrusted Nixon?  In later years
      did they take out their grudge against him with a piece of tape on
      a Watergate doorway?  There may never be answers to these
      questions, or perhaps they have been answered already.  It is said
      that when the great volcanic mountain of Krakatoa in Indonesia blew
      up causing the greatest explosion the world had ever known, the
      dust of Indonesia was spread all over the world.  The holocausts of
      1958 and 1965 may have done the same thing.

                      *    *    *    *    *    *    *

[1] the following is an excerpt from an interview conducted with 
    L. Fletcher Prouty on May 6, 1989, regarding his book "The Secret 
    Team, The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and 
    the World," Prentice Hall, (c) 1973.  This segment recounts Prouty's 
    experience when he found out that some things he had been doing for 
    years in support of the CIA had not been known by the senior military 
    officer in the armed forces--the chairman of the JCS--and that they 
    had been done, most likely, in response to other authority.

          . . . Millions and millions of dollars were poured into that
      exercise--a lot of people were involved in it--and it never went
      through any Air Force procurement.   Now, the cleared individual--
      the man in the team--in the procurement offices, made papers that
      covered up this gap.  There were papers in the files but they had
      never been worked on--they were simple dummy papers in the files.
      Now, we could do things like that with no trouble at all.  The U2
      was started like that.  That's how the U2 got off the ground.
      Ostensibly, purchased by the Air Force, but not paid for by the Air
      Force, and so on.
         So, when I say that this team was quite effective, it was very
      effective, very strong, handled a lot of money, worked all over the
      world, thousands of people were involved.  I know, one time, when I
      was speaking to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at that
      time General Lemnitzer, he said, "You know, I've known of two or
      three units in the Army that were supporting CIA.  But you're
      talking about quite a few.  How many were there?"  Well, at that
      time, there were 605.  Well General Lemnitzer had no idea.  It's
      amazing--heres the top man in the military and he had no idea that
      we were supporting that many CIA units.  Not military units--they
      were phony military units.  They were operating with military
      people but they were controlled entirely, they were financed by the
      CIA.  Six hundred and five of them.  And I'm sure that from my day
      it increased;  I know it didn't decrease.
         So, people don't understand the size and the nature of this
      clandestine activity that is designed for clandestine operations
      all over the world.  And it goes back, again, to things we've
      spoken of earlier, that that activity must be under somebody's
      control.  There is no law for the control of covert operations
      other than at the National Security Council level.  And if the
      National Security Council does not sign the directives, issue the
      directives, for covert operations, then nobody does.  And that's
      when it becomes a shambles as we saw in the Contra affair and in
      other things.  But when the National Security Council steps in and
      directs it and holds that control, then things are run properly.
      And we've seen that during the last decade theres been quite a few
      aberrations where they were talking about Iran or Latin America or
      even part of the Vietnam War itself.  In fact, it was in the
      Vietnam War where the thing really began to come apart--it just
      outgrew itself and the leadership role disintegrated.  And we see
      the worst of it in the Iran-Contra affair.

      Ratcliffe:  Following on that you write about Dulles being able to
      "move them up and deeper into their cover jobs"--would this be a
      function of them being there longer than the people who would be
      promoted to something else in time?

      Prouty:  Yes.  When we put them in, they might be somebody's
      assistant.  And they've been there for three years and the man that
      was above them, who was probably a political appointee, leaves and
      they might move this man up there.  Or when a newer political
      appointee comes, he has no knowledge that this man is really from
      CIA.  He's just a strong person in his office and he gives him a
      broader role.  Sometimes these people (chuckling) were working--
      well, one man I know was in FAA and we needed his work to help us
      with FAA as a focal point there.  He'd been there so long the FEA
      had him in a very big, very responsible job, and you might say 90%
      of his work was regular FAA work.  A very strong individual.  Well,
      that meant that when we needed him to help us with some of our
      activities on the covert side of things, he was in a much better
      position to handle this than he had been originally.
         This happened with quite a few of them.  That's why I say in the
      case of Frank Hand, he had been in the Defense Department so long
      that he was able to handle really major operations that weren't
      even visualized at the time he was assigned.  All this carries over
      into many other things.  I pointed out that the Office of Special
      Operations under General Erskine had the responsibility for the
      National Security Agency as well as CIA contacts and the State
      Department, and so on.  Well, as we filled up these positions, some
      of them became dominant in some those organizations, such as NSA.
         Early people in this program have created quite a career for
      themselves in other work.  For instance, a young man in this system
      was Major Haig.  Major Al Haig.  He went up through the system.  He
      was working as a deputy to the Army's cleared Focal Point Officer
      for Agency support matters who was the General Counsel in the Army,
      a man named Joe Califano--a very prominent lawyer today.  When the
      General Counsel of the Army was moved up into the office of
      Secretary of Defense later--in McNamara's office--he carried with
      him this then-Lieutenant Colonel Al Haig up to the office of
      Secretary of Defense.  And during the Johnson Administration when
      they moved to the White House, Califano and Haig moved to the White
      House.  Then during the Nixon time, Haig with all his experience in
      the White House worked with Kissinger.  And you can see that it was
      this attachment through the covert side which gave Haig his ability
      to do an awful lot of things that people didn't understand, because
      he had this whole team behind him.  To be even more up-to-date,
      there was a Major Secord in our system.  And Major Secord is the
      same General Secord you've been reading about in the Iran-Contra
         A lot of these people worked right up into the White House.  And
      there were these same assigned people even at the White House level
      that really were working on this CIA covert work rather than the
      jobs that they seemed to hold, that the public understood was the
      job that they were working for.  It's a much more effective system
      than people have thought it was. . . . 
      Ratcliffe:  You describe what seems to be a very enlightening day
      --an event in 1960 or 1961 when you briefed "the Chairman of the 
      JCS on a matter that had come up involving the CIA and the 
      military." [p.257]  As you described it:

          The chairman was General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, and his
          commandant was General David M. Shoup.  They were close
          friends and had known each other for years.
          When the primary subject of the briefing had ended
          General Lemnitzer asked me about the Army cover unit
          that was involved in the operation.  I explained what
          its role was and more or less added that this was a
          rather routine matter.  Then he said, "Prouty, if this
          is routine, yet General Shoup and I have never heard of
          it before, can you tell me in round numbers how many
          Army units there are that exist as `cover` for the
          CIA?"  I replied that to my knowledge at that time
          there were about 605 such units, some real, some mixed,
          and some that were simply telephone drops.  When he
          heard that he turned to General Shoup and said, "You
          know, I realized that we provided cover for the Agency
          from time to time;  but I never knew that we had
          anywhere near so many permanent cover units and that
          they existed all over the world."

          I then asked General Lemnitzer if I might ask him a
          question.  He said I could.  "General", I said, "during
          all of my military career I have done one thing or
          another at the direction of a senior officer.  In all
          those years and in all of those circumstances I have
          always believed that someone, either at the level of
          the officer who told me to do what I was doing or
          further up the chain of command, knew why I was doing
          what I had been directed to do and that he knew what
          the reason for doing it was.  Now I am speaking to the
          senior military officer in the armed forces and I have
          just found out that some things I have been doing for
          years in support of the CIA have not been known and
          that they have been done, most likely, in response to
          other authority.  Is this correct?"

          This started a friendly, informal, and most
          enlightening conversation, more or less to the effect
          that where the CIA was concerned there were a lot of
          things no one seemed to know.  [p.258]

      Can you recount more of the details of this enlightening
      conversation for us?

      Prouty:  Well, you know I referred to it earlier.  It astounded me,
      that day.  I assumed that there were a lot things that the Chairman
      of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was not aware of every day in the Air
      Force, in the Navy, and in the CIA.  But I had never expected such
      a blanket answer, that he didn't know, and that General Shoup
      didn't.  Now, what we were talking about was rather specific.
         At the time of the rebellion in Indonesia when the CIA supported
      tens of thousands of troops with aircraft, and ships, submarines,
      and everything else, in an attempt to overthrow the government of
      Sukarno, we needed rifles pretty quick to support these rebels and
      I called out to Okinawa and found out that the Army didn't have
      enough rifles for what we wanted.  We wanted about 42,000 rifles
      and they had about 28,000.  But that he said he thought he could
      get--General Lemnitzer was a Commander at that time in Okinawa.  So
      he was right up close to this thing.  He said that he'd have
      somebody call the Marine Corps and see what he could get from them.
      Well, it just happened that General Shoup was the head of the
      Marine unit at Okinawa and he said, sure, he could provide the
      extra 14,000.  So without delay, we had 4-engine aircraft--C-54's-
      -flown by Air America crews but under military cover--appeared to
      be military aircraft--come into Okinawa, pick up these 42,000
      rifles, prepared for air drop in Indonesia.  They'd fly down to the
      Philippines and then down to another base we had and then over into
      Indonesia and drop these rifles.
         Well of course, we replaced those rifles.  The General didn't
      know where they were going, we just borrowed them, and the unit
      that borrowed them was military and the call had come from the
      Pentagon.  There was no problem with supplying the rifles.  So
      years later, we replaced them.  Well then when I told him about
      that in the Pentagon, he said he never knew where those rifles went
      and General Shoup said, "you know, Lem, when you asked me for
      14,000 rifles, I thought you wanted them and, of course, being a
      good Marine, I gave you 14,000 rifles."  He said, "you owe me
      14,000."  They were sitting there kidding but they never knew they
      went to Indonesia.  You see, they never knew they were part of a
      covert operation going into Indonesia.
         Well, this is true of a lot of things that go on.  We kept the
      books in the Pentagon.  We covered that.  We got reimbursement for
      it.  That part of it was all right.  And that's what kept it from
      being a problem because as long as General Lemnitzer's forces got
      the 28,000 rifles back and Shoup got the 14,000 back for the total
      of 42,000, they didn't complain to anybody.  They had their full
      strength of rifles.  That's the magic of reimbursement.
         Well, his kind of thing, on an established basis--the units are
      there--when I said there are 605 units, those are operating units-
      -now, some of them may only be telephone drops, because that's
      their function, they don't need a whole lot of people, they're just
      handling supplies, or something like that.  But put this in present
      terms.  When Colonel North believed that he had been ordered to
      take 2,008 Toe missiles and deliver them to Iran--see?--there has
      to be some way that the supply system can let those go.  You can't
      just drive down there with a truck to San Antonio at the warehouse,
      and say, "I want 2,008 missiles." You have to have authority.  And
      2,008 Toe missiles--I don't know what one of them costs, but it's
      an awful lot of money, and somebody had to prepare the paperwork
      for the authorization to let the supply officer release those.  And
      I'm sure they went to a cover unit that North was using for that
      purpose.  But it appears from what we've heard from this that,
      unlike the way we used to run the cover operations, when these
      things got to Iran, these characters sold them them for money.  In
      fact, they sold them for almost four times the listed value of
      these things.
         And this is the problem Congress has been having--is what
      happened to the money after they got there.  And you can see how
      the system developed.  You see, originally, we developed it on this
      one-for-one basis.  Another thing is we never used this kind of
      supply, to deliver grenades to the Contras and charge them $9.00 a
      grenade or whatever it was.  We just delivered the grenades. It was
      part of a Government program.  And the CIA would reimburse the
      Defense Department.  Everything came out even.  We didn't "sell"

                                             daveus rattus   

                                   yer friendly neighborhood ratman


   ko.yan.nis.qatsi (from the Hopi Language)  n.  1. crazy life.  2. life
       in turmoil.  3. life out of balance.  4. life disintegrating.  
         5. a state of life that calls for another way of living.