The Case Against Henry Kissinger

Part Two

Crimes against humanity

by Christopher Hitchens

Harpers magazine, March 2001



On November 9, 1970, Henry Kissinger authored National Security Council Decision Memorandum 93, which reviewed policy toward Chile in the immediate wake of Salvador Allende's confirmation as president. Various routine measures of economic harassment were proposed (as per Nixon's instruction to "make the economy scream"), with cutoffs in aid and investment. More significantly, Kissinger advocated that "close relations" be maintained with military leaders in neighboring countries, in order to facilitate both the coordination of pressure against Chile and the incubation of opposition within the country. In outline, this prefigures the disclosures that have since been made about Operation "Condor," a secret collusion among military dictatorships across the hemisphere, operated with the United States government's knowledge and indulgence.

The actual overthrow of the Allende government in a sanguinary coup d'etat took place on September 11, 1973, while Kissinger was going through his own Senate confirmation process as secretary of state. He falsely assured the Foreign Relations Committee that the United States government had played no part in the coup. From a thesaurus of hard information to the contrary, one might select Situation Report No. 2, from the Navy Section of the United States Military Group in Chile and written by U.S. Naval Attaché Patrick J. Ryan. Mr. Ryan describes his close relationship with the officers engaged in overthrowing the government, hails September 11, 1973, as "our D-Day," and observes with satisfaction that "Chile's coup de etat [sic] was close to perfect." Or one may peruse the declassified files on "Project FUBELT"- the code name under which the CIA, in frequent contact with Kissinger and the 40 Committee, conducted covert operations against the legal and elected government of Chile.

What is striking, and what points to a much more direct complicity in individual crimes against humanity, is the microscopic detail in which Kissinger kept himself informed, after the coup, of Augusto Pinochet's atrocities. On November 16, Assistant Secretary of State Jack B. Kubisch delivered a detailed report on the Chilean junta's execution policy, which, as he notes to the new secretary, "you requested by cable from Tokyo." The memo goes on to enlighten Kissinger in various ways about the first nineteen days of Pinochet's rule. Summary executions during that period, we are told, totaled 320. (This contrasts with the publicly announced total of 100 and is based on "an internal, confidential report prepared for the junta" to which American officials are evidently privy.) Looking on the bright side,

On November 14, we announced our second CCC credit to Chile $24 million for feed corn. Our long-standing commitment to sell two surplus destroyers to the Chilean navy has met a reasonably sympathetic response in Senate consultations. The Chileans, meanwhile, have sent us several new re' quests for controversial military equipment.

Kubisch then raises the awkward question of two American citizens murdered by the junta- Frank Teruggi and Charles Horman-details of whose precise fate are still, more than a quarter century later, being sought by their families. The reason for the length of the search may be inferred from a telegram, dated February 11, 1974, which reports on a meeting with the junta's foreign minister and notes that Kubisch raises the matter of the missing Americans "IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NEED TO BE CAREFUL TO KEEP RELATIVELY SMALL ISSUES IN OUR RELATIONSHIP FROM MAKING OUR COOPERATION MORE DIFFICULT.'

To return, via this detour, to Operation "Condor": "Condor" was a machinery of cross-border assassination, abduction, torture, and intimidation coordinated among the secret police forces of Pinochet's Chile, Alfredo Stroessner's Paraguay, Jorge Rafael Videla's Argentina, and other regional caudillos. This internationalization of the death-squad principle is now known to have been responsible for the murder of the dissident general Carlos Prats of Chile (and his wife) in Buenos Aires, the murder of the Bolivian general Juan Jose Torres, also in Argentina, and the maiming of a Christian Democratic Chilean senator, Bernardo Leighton, in Italy, to name only the most salient victims. A "Condor" team also detonated a car bomb in downtown Washington, D.C., in September 1976, killing the former Chilean foreign minister, Orlando Letelier, and his aide, Ronni Moffitt. United States government complicity has been uncovered at every level of this network. It has been established, for example, that the FBI aided Pinochet in capturing Jorge Isaac Fuentes de Alarchon, who was detained and tortured in Paraguay, then turned over to the Chilean secret police and "disappeared." Astonishingly, the surveillance of Latin American dissident refugees in the United States was promised to "Condor" figures by American intelligence.

Stroessner has been overthrown; Videla is in prison; Pinochet and his henchmen are being or have been brought to account in Chile. And what of Kissinger? All of the above-cited crimes, and many more besides, were committed on his "watch" as secretary of state. And all of them were and are punishable under local or international law or both. It can hardly be argued, by himself or by his defenders, that he was indifferent to, or unaware of, the true situation. In 1999 a secret memorandum was declassified, giving excruciating details of a private conversation between Kissinger and Pinochet in Santiago, Chile, on June 8, 1976. The meeting took place the day before Kissinger was due to address the Organization of American States. The subject was human rights. Kissinger was at some pains to explain to Pinochet that the few pro forma remarks he was to make on that topic were by no means to be taken seriously. My friend Peter Kornbluh has performed the service of comparing the "Memcon" (Memorandum of Conversation) with the account of the meeting given by Kissinger himself in his third volume of apologia, Years of Renewal:

The Memoir: A considerable amount of time in my dialogue with Pinochet was devoted to human rights, which were, in fact, the principal obstacle to close United States relations with Chile. I outlined the main points in my speech to the OAS which I would deliver the next day. Pinochet made no comment.

The Memcon: I will treat human rights in general terms, and human rights in a world context. I will refer in two paragraphs to the report on Chile of the OAS Human Rights Commission. I will say that the human rights issue has impaired relations between the U.S. and Chile. This is partly the result of Congressional actions. I will add that I hope you will shortly remove these obstacles....I can do no less, without producing a reaction in the U.S. which would lead to legislative restrictions. The speech is not aimed at Chile. I wanted to tell you about this. My evaluation is that you are a victim of all left-wing groups around the world and that your greatest sin was that you overthrew a government that was going Communist.

The Memoir: As Secretary of State, I felt I had the responsibility to encourage the Chilean government in the direction of greater democracy through a policy of understanding. Pinochet's concerns.... Pinochet reminded me that "Russia supports their people 100 percent. We are behind you. You are the leader. But you have a punitive system for your friends." I returned to my underlying theme that any major help from us would realistically depend on progress on human rights.

The Memcon: There is merit in what you say. It is a curious time in the U.S. . .. It is unfortunate. We have been through Viet Nam and Watergate. We have to wait until the [1976] elections. We welcomed the overthrow of the Communist-inclined government here. We are not out to weaken your position.

In an unpleasant way, Pinochet twice mentioned the name of Orlando Letelier the exiled Chilean opposition leader, accusing him of misleading the United States Congress. Kissinger's response, as can be seen, was to apologize for the Congress and (in a minor replay of his 1968 Paris tactic over Vietnam) to suggest that the dictator hope for better days after the upcoming elections. Three months later, a car bomb in Washington killed Letelier, the only such outrage ever committed in the nation's capital by agents of a foreign regime (and an incident completely absent from Kissinger's memoirs). The man responsible for arranging the crime, the Chilean secret policeman General Manuel Contreras, has since stated in an affidavit that he took no action without specific and personal orders from Pinochet. He remains in prison, doubtless wondering why he trusted his superiors.

"I want to see our relations and friendship improve," Kissinger told Pinochet (but not the readers of his memoirs). "We want to help, not undermine you." In advising a murderer and despot, whose rule he had helped impose, to disregard his upcoming remarks as a sop to Congress, Kissinger insulted democracy in both countries. He also gave the greenest of green lights to further crossborder and internal terrorism, neither of which could have been unknown to him. (In his memoirs, he does mention what he calls Pinochet's "counter-terrorist intelligence agency.") Further colluding with Pinochet against the United States Congress, which was considering cutting off arms sales to human-rights violators via the Kennedy Amendment, Kissinger obsequiously remarked,

"I don't know if you listen in on my phone, but if you do you have just heard me issue instructions to Washington to [defeat the Kennedy Amendment] if we defeat it, we will deliver the F-5Es as we agreed to do."

The foregoing passage is worth bearing in mind. It is a good key for decoding the usual relationship between fact and falsehood in Kissinger's ill-crafted memoir. (And it is a huge reproach to his editors at Simon & Schuster, and Weidenfeld & Nicolson.) It should also act as an urgent prompting to members of Congress, and to human-rights organizations, to reopen the incomplete inquiries and thwarted investigations into the multifarious crimes of this period. Finally, and read in the light of Chile's return to democracy and the decision of the Chilean courts to pursue truth and justice, it repudiates Kissinger's patronizing insult concerning the "irresponsibility" of a dignified and humane people, who have suffered very much more than verbal insult at his hands.

A rule of thumb in Washington holds that any late disclosure by officialdom will ,~ contain material that is worse than even the cynics suspected. In September 2000, however, the CIA disgorged the results of an internal inquiry on Chile, which had been required of it by the Hinchey Amendment to the Intelligence Authorization Act for that fiscal year. And the most hardened critics and investigators were reduced to amazement:

"Support for Coup in 1970. Under "Track lI" of the strategy, CIA sought to instigate a coup to prevent Allende from taking office after he won a plurality in the 4 September election and before, as Constitutionally required because he did not win an absolute majority, the Chilean Congress reaffirmed his victory. CIA was working with three different groups of plotters. All three groups made it clear that any coup would require the kidnapping of Army Commander Rene Schneider, who felt deeply that the Constitution required that the Army allow Allende to assume power. CIA agreed with that assessment. Although CIA provided weapons to one of the groups, we have found no information that the plotters' or ClA's intention was for the general to be killed. Contact with one group of plotters was dropped early an because of its extremist tendencies. CIA provided tear gas, submachine-guns and ammunition to the second group, mortally wounding him in the attack. CIA had previously encouraged this group to launch a coup but withdrew support four days before the attack because, in ClA's assessment, the group could not carry it out successfully."

This repeats the old canard supposedly distinguishing a kidnapping or abduction from a murder, and once again raises the intriguing question: What was the CIA going to do with General Schneider once it had kidnapped him? (Note also, the studied passivity whereby the report "found no information that the plotters' or CIA's intention was for the general to be killed." What would satisfy this bizarre criterion?) But then we learn of the supposedly unruly gang that actually took its instructions seriously:

"In November 1970 a member of the Viaux group who avoided capture recontacted the Agency and requested financial assistance on behalf of the group. Although the Agency had no obligation to the group because it acted on its own, in an effort to keep the prior contact secret, maintain the good will of the group, and for humanitarian reasons, $35,000 was passed."

"Humanitarian reasons." One has to admire the sheer inventiveness of this explanation. At 1970 prices, $35,000 was, in Chile, a considerable sum. Not likely the sort of sum that a local station chief could have disbursed on his own. One wants to know how the 40 Committee and its vigilant chairman, Henry Kissinger, decided that the best way to dissociate from a supposedly loose-cannon gang was to pay it a small fortune in cash after it had committed a cold-blooded murder.

The same question arises in an even more acute form with another disclosure made by the CIA in the course of the same report. This is headed "Relationship with Contreras." Manuel Contreras was the head of Pinochet's secret military police, and in that capacity organized the death, torture, and "disappearance" of innumerable Chileans as well as the use of bombing and assassination techniques as far afield as Washington, D.C. The CIA admits early on in the document that it

"had liaison relationships in Chile with the primary purpose of securing assistance in gathering intelligence on external targets. The CIA offered these services assistance in internal organization and training to combat subversion and terrorism from abroad, not in combating internal opponents of the government."

Such flat prose, based on a distinction between the "external targets" and the more messy business of internal dictatorial discipline, invites the question: What external threat? Chile had no foreign enemy except Argentina, which disputed some sea-lane rights in the Beagle Channel. (In consequence, Chile helped Mrs. Thatcher in the Falklands war of 1982.) And in Argentina, as we know, the CIA was likewise engaged in helping the military regime to survive. No, Chile had no external enemies to speak of, but the Pinochet dictatorship had many, many external foes. They were the numerous Chileans forced to abandon their country. Manuel Contreras's job was to hunt them down. As the report puts it,

"During a period between 1974 and 1977, CIA maintained contact with Manuel Contreras Sepulveda, who later became notorious for his involvement in human rights abuses. The U.S. Government policy community approved ClA's contact with Contreras, given his position as chief of the primary intelligence organization in Chile, as necessary to accomplish the ClA's mission, in spite of concerns that this relationship might lay the CIA open to charges of aiding internal political repression."

After a few bits of back-and-forth about the distinction without a difference (between "external" and "internal" police tactics), the CIA report states candidly,

"By April 1975, intelligence reporting showed that Contreras was the principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy within the Junta, but an interagency committee directed the CIA to continue its relationship with Contreras. The U.S. Ambassador to Chile urged Deputy Director of Central Intelligence [General Vernon] Walters to receive Contreras in Washington in the interest of maintaining good relations with Pinochet. In August 1975, with interagency approval, this meeting took place.

In May and June 1975, elements within the CIA recommended establishing a paid relationship with Contreras to obtain intelligence based on his unique position and access to Pinochet. This proposal was overruled, citing the U.S. Government policy on clandestine relations with the head of an intelligence service notorious for human rights abuses. However, given miscommunications in the timing of this exchange, a one-time payment was given to Contreras."

This does not require too much parsing. Some time after it had been concluded, and by the CIA at that, that Manuel Contreras was the "principal obstacle to a reasonable human rights policy," he is given American taxpayers' money and received at a high level in Washington. The CIA's memorandum is careful to state that, where doubts exist, they are stilled by the "U.S. Government policy community" and by "an interagency committee." It also tries to suggest, with unconscious humor, that the head of a murderous foreign secret service was given a large bribe by mistake. One wonders who was reprimanded for this blunder, and how it got past the scrutiny of the 40 Committee.

The report also contradicts itself, stating at one point that Contreras's activities overseas were opaque and at another that

"[w]ithin a year after the coup, the CIA and other U.S. Government agencies were aware of bilateral cooperation among regional intelligence services to track the activities of and, in at least a few cases, kill political opponents. This was the precursor to Operation Condor, an intelligence-sharing arrangement among Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay established in 1975."

So now we know: The internationalization of the death-squad principle was understood and approved by American intelligence and its political masters across two administrations. The senior person concerned in both administrations was Henry Kissinger. Whichever "interagency committee" is meant, and whether it is the 40 Committee or the interagency committee on Chile, we are led back to the same source.

On leaving the State Department, Kissinger made an extraordinary bargain whereby he gifted his papers to the Library of Congress (having first hastily trucked them for safekeeping to the Rockefeller estate at Pocantico Hills, New York) on the sole condition that they remain under seal until five years after his death. Kissinger's friend Manuel Contreras, however, made a mistake when he killed an American citizen, Ronni Karpen Moffitt, in the Washington car bomb that also murdered Orlando Letelier in 1976. By late 2000, the Federal Bureau of Investigation had finally sought and received subpoena power to review the Library of Congress papers, a subpoena with which Kissinger dealt only through his attorneys. It was a start, but it was pathetic when compared with the efforts of truth-and-justice commissions in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay, which have now emerged from years of Kissinger befriended dictatorship and are seeking a full accounting. We await the moment when the United States Congress will inaugurate a comparable process and finally subpoena all the hidden documents that obscure the view of unpunished crimes committed in our names.


In the second volume of his trilogy of memoirs, Years of Upheaval, Henry Kissinger found the subject of the 1974 Cyprus catastrophe so awkward that he decided to postpone consideration of it:

"I must leave a full discussion of the Cyprus episode to another occasion, for it stretched into the Ford Presidency and its legacy exists unresolved today."

This argued a certain nervousness on his part, if only because the subjects of Vietnam, Cambodia, the Middle East, Angola, Chile, China, and the SALT negotiations all bear legacies that are "unresolved today" and were unresolved then. (To say that these matters "stretched into the Ford Presidency" is to say, in effect, nothing at all except that this pallid interregnum did, historically speaking, occur.)

In most of his writing about himself (and, one presumes, in most of his presentations to his clients) Kissinger projects a strong impression of a man at home in the world and on top of his brief. But there are a number of occasions when it suits him to pose as a sort of Candide, naive and ill prepared and easily unhorsed by events. No doubt this pose costs him something in self-esteem. It is a pose, furthermore, that he often adopts at precisely the time when the record shows him to be knowledgeable and when knowledge or foreknowledge would also confront him with charges of responsibility or complicity.

Cyprus in 1974 is just such a case. Kissinger now argues, in the third volume of his memoirs, Years of Renewal, that he was prevented and distracted, by Watergate and the deliquescence of the Nixon presidency, from taking a timely or informed interest in the crucial triangle of Greece, Turkey, and Cyprus. This is a bizarre disclaimer: the phrase "eastern flank of NATO" was then a geopolitical commonplace of the first importance, and the proximity of Cyprus to the Middle East was a factor never absent from American strategic thinking. There was no reason of domestic policy to prevent the region from engaging his attention. Furthermore, the very implosion of Nixonian authority, cited as a reason for Kissinger's own absence of mind, in fact bestowed extraordinary powers upon him. To restate the obvious once more: When he became secretary of state in 1973, he took care to retain his post as "special assistant to the president for national security affairs," or, as we now say, national security adviser. This made him the first and only secretary of state to hold the chairmanship of the 40 Committee, which, of course, considered and approved covert actions by the CIA. Meanwhile, as chairman of the National Security Council, he held a position in which every important intelligence plan passed across his desk. His former NSC aide, Roger Morris, was not exaggerating by much, if at all, when he said that Kissinger's dual position, plus Nixon's eroded one, made him "no less than acting chief of state for national security."

Kissinger gives one hostage to fortune in Years of Upheaval and another in Years of Renewal. In the former volume he says, quite plainly: "I had always taken it for granted that the next communal crisis in Cyprus would provoke Turkish intervention"-i.e., would at least risk the prospect of a war within NATO between Greece and Turkey and would certainly involve the partition of the island. That this was indeed common knowledge may not be doubted by any person even lightly acquainted with Cypriot affairs. In the latter volume, wherein Kissinger finally takes up the challenge implicitly refused in the first volume, he repeatedly asks the reader why anyone (such as himself, so burdened with Watergate) would have sought "a crisis in the eastern Mediterranean between two NATO allies."

These two disingenuous statements need to be qualified in the light of a third one, which appears on page 199 of Years of Renewal. Here, President Makarios of Cyprus is described without adornment as "the proximate cause of most of Cyprus's tensions." Makarios was the democratically elected leader of a virtually unarmed republic, which was at the time in an association agreement with the European Economic Community, as well as a member of the United Nations and of the Commonwealth. His rule was challenged, and the independence of Cyprus threatened, by a military dictatorship in Athens and a highly militarized government in Turkey, both of which sponsored right-wing gangster organizations on the island, and both of which had plans to annex the greater or lesser part of it. In spite of this, "intercommunal" violence had been on the decline in Cyprus throughout the 1970s. Most killings were, in fact, "intramural": of Greek and Turkish democrats or internationalists by their respective nationalist and authoritarian rivals. Several attempts, by Greek and Greek Cypriot fanatics, had been made on the life of President Makarios himself. To describe his person as the "proximate cause" of most of the tensions is to make a wildly aberrant moral judgment.

This same aberrant judgment, however, supplies the key that unlocks the lie at the heart of Kissinger's chapter. If the elected civilian authority (and spiritual leader of the Greek Orthodox community) is the "proximate cause" of the tensions, then his removal from the scene is self-evidently the cure for them. If one can demonstrate that there was such a removal plan, and that Kissinger knew about it in advance, then it follows logically and naturally that he was not ostensibly looking for a crisis-as he self-pityingly asks us to disbelieve-but for a solution. The fact that he got a crisis, which was also a hideous calamity for Cyprus and the region, does not change the equation or undo the syllogism. The scheme to remove Makarios, on which the "solution" depended, was in practice a failure. But those who willed the means and wished the ends are not absolved from guilt by the refusal of reality to match their schemes.

It is, from Kissinger's own record and recollection, as well as the subsequent official inquiry, quite easy to demonstrate that he did have advance knowledge of the plan to depose and kill Makarios. He admits as much himself, by noting that the Greek dictator Dimitrios Ioannides, head of the secret police, was determined to mount a coup in Cyprus and bring the island under the control of Athens. This was one of the better-known facts of the situation, as was the more embarrassing fact that Brigadier Ioannides was dependent on American military aid and political sympathy. His police state had long since been expelled from the Council of Europe and blocked from joining the EEC, and it was largely the advantage conferred by his agreement to "home port" the U.S. Sixth Fleet, and host a string of U.S. air force and intelligence bases, that kept him in power. This lenient policy was highly controversial in Congress and in the American press, and the argument over it was part of Kissinger's daily bread long before the Watergate drama.

Thus it was understood in general that the Greek dictatorship, an American client, wished to see Makarios overthrown and had already tried to kill him or have him killed. (Overthrow and assassination, incidentally, are effectively coterminous in this account; there was no possibility of leaving such a charismatic leader alive, and those who sought his removal invariably intended his death.) This was also understood in particular. The most salient proof is this: In May of 1974, two months before the coup in Cyprus's capital, Nicosia, which Kissinger later claimed came as a shock to him, he received a memorandum from the head of his State Department Cyprus desk, Thomas Boyatt. Boyatt summarized all the cumulative and persuasive reasons for believing that a Greek junta attack on Cyprus and Makarios was imminent. He further argued that, in the absence of an American demarche to Athens, warning the dictators to desist, it might be assumed that the United States was indifferent to this. And he added what everybody knew: that such a coup, if it went forward, would beyond doubt trigger a Turkish invasion.

Prescient memos are a dime a dozen in Washington after a crisis; they are often then read for the first time, or leaked to the press or to Congress in order to enhance (or protect) some bureaucratic reputation. But Kissinger now admits that he saw this document in real time, while engaged in his shuttle between Syria and Israel (both of them within half an hour's flying time of Cyprus). Yet no demarche bearing his name or carrying his authority was issued to the Greek junta.

A short while afterward, on June 7, 1974, the National Intelligence Daily, which is the breakfast-table reading of all senior State Department, Pentagon, and national security officials, cited an American field report, dated June 3, that stated the views of the dictator in Athens:

"loannides claimed that Greece is capable of removing Makarios and his key supporters from power in twenty-four hours with little if any blood being shed and without EOKA assistance. [EOKA was a Greek-Cypriot fascist underground, armed and paid by the junta.] The Turks would quietly acquiesce to the removal of Makarios, a key enemy . . . Ioannides stated that if Makarios decides on some type of extreme provocation against Greece to obtain a tactical advantage, he (loannides) is not sure whether he should merely pull the Greek troops out of Cyprus and let Makarios fend for himself, or remove Makarios once and for all and have Greece deal directly with Turkey over Cyprus' future."

This report and its contents were later authenticated before Congress by CIA staff who had served in Athens at the relevant time. The fact that it made Brigadier Ioannides seem bombastic and delusional-both of which he was- should have underlined the obvious and imminent danger.

At about the same time, Kissinger received a call from Senator J. William Fulbright, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Fulbright had been briefed about the impending coup by a senior Greek dissident journalist in Washington named Elias P. Demetracopoulos. According to Demetracopoulos, Fulbright told Kissinger that steps should be taken to avert the planned Greek action, and he gave three reasons. The first was that it would repair some of the moral damage done by America's indulgence of the junta. The second was that it would head off a confrontation between Greece and Turkey in the Mediterranean. The third was that it would enhance American prestige on the island. Kissinger declined to take the recommended steps, on the bizarre grounds that he could not intervene in Greek "internal affairs" at a time when the Nixon Administration was resisting pressure from Senator Henry Jackson to link U.S.-Soviet trade to the free emigration of Russian Jewry. However odd this line of argument, it still makes it quite impossible for Kissinger to claim, as he still does, that he had had no warning.

So there was still no American high-level concern registered with Athens. The difficulty is sometimes presented as one of protocol or etiquette, as if Kissinger's regular custom was to whisper and tread lightly. Ioannides was the de facto head of the regime but technically only its secret police chief. For the U.S. ambassador, Henry Tasca, it was awkward to make diplomatic approaches to a man he described as "a cop." But again I remind you that Henry Kissinger, in addition to his formal diplomatic eminence, was also head of the 40 Committee, and therefore the supervisor of American covert action, and was dealing in private with an Athens regime that had long-standing ties to the CIA. The 1976 House Committee on Intelligence later phrased the problem rather deftly in its report:

"Tasca, assured by the CIA station chief that loannides would continue to deal only with the CIA, and not sharing the State Department desk officer's alarm, was content to pass a message to the Greek leader indirectly.... It is clear, however, that the Embassy took no steps to underscore for loannides the depth of U.S. concern over a Cyprus coup attempt. This episode, the exclusive CIA access to loannides, Tasca's indications that he may not have seen all important messages to and from the CIA Station, loannides' suggestions of U.S. acquiescence, and Washington's well-known coolness to Makarios have led to public speculation that either U.S. officials were inattentive to the reports of the developing crisis or simply allowed it to happen..."

Thomas Boyatt's memoranda, warning of precisely what was to happen (and echoing the views of several mid-level officials besides himself), were classified as secret and still have never been released. Asked to testify at the above hearings, he was at first forbidden by Kissinger to appear before Congress and was finally permitted to do so only in order that he might avoid a citation for contempt. His evidence was taken in Executive Session, with the hearing room cleared of staff, reporters, and visitors.

Matters continued to gather pace. On July 1, 1974, three senior officials of the Greek foreign ministry, all of them known for their moderate views on the Cyprus question, publicly tendered their resignations. On July 3, President Makarios made public an open letter to the Greek junta, which made the direct accusation of foreign interference and subversion:

"In order to be absolutely clear, I say that the cadres of the military regime of Greece support and direct the activities of the EOKA-B terrorist organization.... I have more than once so far felt, and some cases I have almost touched, a hand invisibly extending from Athens and seeking to liquidate my human existence."

He called for the withdrawal from Cyprus of the Greek officers responsible.

Some days after the coup, which eventually occurred on July 15, 1974, and when challenged at a press conference about his apparent failure to foresee or avert it, Kissinger replied that "the information was not Iying around on the streets." Actually, it nearly was. It had been available to him round the clock, in both his diplomatic and intelligence capacities. His decision to do nothing was therefore a direct decision to do something, or to let something be done.

To the rest of the world, two things were obvious about the coup. The first was that it had been instigated from Athens and carried out with the help of regular Greek forces, and was thus a direct intervention in the internal affairs of one country by another. The second was that it violated all the existing treaties governing the status of the island. The obvious and unsavory illegality was luridly emphasized by the junta itself, which chose a notorious chauvinist gunman named Nikos Sampson to be its proxy "president." Sampson must have been well known to the chairman of the 40 Committee as a long-standing recipient of financial support from the CIA; he also received money for his fanatical Nicosia newspaper Makli ("Combat") from a pro-junta CIA proxy in Athens, Mr. Savvas Constantopoulos, the publisher of the pro-junta organ Eleftheros Kosmos ("Free World"). No European government treated Sampson as anything but a pariah during the brief nine days in which he held power and launched a campaign of murder against his democratic Greek opponents. But Kissinger told the American envoy in Nicosia to receive Sampson's "foreign minister" as foreign minister, thus making the United States the first and only government to extend de facto recognition. (At this point, it might be emphasized, the whereabouts of President Makarios were unknown. His palace had been heavily shelled and his death announced on the junta's radio. He had in fact made his escape, and was able to broadcast the fact a few days afterward-to the enormous irritation of certain well-placed persons.)

In Washington, Kissinger's press spokesman, Robert Anderson, flatly denied that the coup- later described by Makarios from the podium of the United Nations as "an invasion"-constituted foreign intervention. "No," he replied to a direct question on this point. "In our view there has been no outside intervention." This surreal position was not contradicted by Kissinger when he met with the Cypriot ambassador and failed to offer the customary condolences on the reported death of his president-the "proximate cause," we now learn from him, of all the unpleasantness. When asked if he still recognized the elected Makarios government as the legal one, Kissinger doggedly and astonishingly refused to answer. When asked if the United States was moving toward recognition of the Sampson regime, his spokesman declined to deny it. When Senator Fulbright helped facilitate a visit by the escaped Makarios to Washington, the State Department was asked whether he would be received by Kissinger "as a private citizen, as Archbishop, or as President of Cyprus?" The answer? "[Kissinger]'s meeting with Archbishop Makarios on Monday." Every other government in the world, save the rapidly collapsing Greek dictatorship, recognized Makarios as the legitimate head of the Cyprus republic. Kissinger's unilateralism on the point is without diplomatic precedent and argues strongly for his collusion and sympathy with the armed handful who felt the same way.

It is worth emphasizing that Makarios was invited to Washington in the first place, as elected and legal president of Cyprus, by Senator William J. Fulbright of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and by his counterpart, Congressman Thomas Morgan, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Credit for their invitation belongs to the above-mentioned Elias Demetracopoulos, who had long warned of the coup and who was a friend of Fulbright's. It was he who conveyed the invitation to Makarios, who was by then in London meeting with the British foreign secretary. This initiative crowned a series of anti-junta activities by this guerrilla journalist and one-man band, who had already profoundly irritated Kissinger and become a special object of his spite. At the very last moment, and with a very poor grace, Kissinger was compelled to announce that he was receiving Makarios in his presidential and not his episcopal capacity.

Since Kissinger himself tells us that he had always known or assumed that another outbreak of violence in Cyprus would trigger a Turkish military intervention, we can assume in our turn that he was not surprised when such an intervention came. Nor does he seem to have been very much disconcerted. While the Greek junta remained in power, his efforts were principally directed to shielding it from retaliation. He was opposed to the return of Makarios to the island and strongly opposed to Turkish or British use of force to undo the Greek coup (Britain being a guarantor power with a treaty obligation and troops on Cyprus). This same counsel of inertia or inaction-amply testified to in Kissinger's own memoirs as well as everyone else's-translated later into equally strict and repeated admonitions against any measures to block a Turkish invasion. Sir Tom McNally, then the chief political adviser to Britain's then foreign secretary and future prime minister, James Callaghan, has since disclosed that Kissinger "vetoed" at least one British military action to preempt a Turkish landing.

This may seem paradoxical, but the long-standing sympathy for a partition of Cyprus, repeatedly expressed by the State and Defense departments, make it seem much less so. The demographic composition of the island (82 percent Greek, 18 percent Turkish) made it more logical for the partition to be imposed by Greece. But a second best was to have it imposed by Turkey. And once Turkey had conducted two brutal invasions and occupied almost 40 percent of Cypriot territory, Kissinger exerted himself very strongly indeed to protect Turkey from any congressional reprisal for this outright violation of international law and promiscuous and illegal misuse of American weaponry. He became so pro-Turkish, in fact, that it was if he had never heard of the Greek colonels (though his expressed dislike of the returned Greek democratic leaders supplied an occasional reminder).

Not all the elements of this partitionist policy can be charged to Kissinger personally; he inherited the Greek junta and the official dislike of Makarios. Even in the dank obfuscatory prose of his own memoirs, however, he does admit what can otherwise be concluded from independent sources. Using covert channels, and short-circuiting the democratic process in his own country, he made himself a silent accomplice in a plan of political assassination, and when this plan went awry it led to the deaths of thousands of civilians, the violent uprooting of almost 200,000 refugees, and the creation of an unjust and unstable amputation of Cyprus that constitutes a serious threat to peace a full quarter century later.

On July 10, 1976, the European Commission of Human Rights adopted a report, prepared by eighteen distinguished ~ jurists and chaired by Professor J.E.S. Fawcett, resulting from a year's research into the consequences of the Turkish invasion. It found that the Turkish army had engaged in the deliberate killing of civilians, in the execution of prisoners, in the torture and ill-treatment of detainees, in the arbitrary collective punishment and mass detention of civilians, and in systematic and unpunished acts of rape, torture, and looting. A large number of "disappeared" persons, both prisoners of war and civilians, are still "missing" from this period. This number included a dozen holders of United States passports, which is evidence in itself of an indiscriminate strategy when conducted by an army dependent on American aid and materiel.

Perhaps it was a reluctance to accept his responsibility for these outrages, as well as his responsibility for the original Sampson coup, that led Kissinger to tell a bizarre sequence of lies to his new friends, the Chinese. On October 2, 1974, he held a high-level meeting in New York with Qiao Guanhua, vice foreign minister of the People's Republic. It was the first substantive Sino-American meeting since the visit of Deng Xiaoping, and the first order of business was Cyprus. The memorandum, which is headed "TOP SECRET/SENSITIVE/EXCLUSIVELY EYES ONLY," has Kissinger first rejecting China's public claim that he had helped engineer the removal of Makarios. "We did not. We did not oppose Makarios" (a claim belied by his own memoirs). He says, "When the coup occurred I was in Moscow," which he was not. He says, "My people did not take these intelligence reports [concerning an impending coup] seriously," even though they had. He says that neither did Makarios take them seriously, even though Makarios had gone public in a denunciation of the Greek junta for its coup plans. He then makes the amazing claim that "we knew the Soviets had told the Turks to invade," which would make this the first Soviet-instigated invasion to be conducted by a NATO army and paid for with American aid.

A good liar must have a good memory. Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory. So perhaps some of this hysterical Iying is explained by its context: the need to enlist China's anti-Soviet instincts. But the total of falsity is so impressive that it suggests something additional, something more like denial or delusion, or even a confession by other means.


Cyprus was not the first instance in which a perceived need to mollify China outweighed even the most minimal concern for human life elsewhere. On April 6, 1971, a cable of protest was written from the United States Consulate in what was then East Pakistan, the Bengali "wing" of the Muslim state of Pakistan, known to its restive nationalist inhabitants by the name Bangladesh. The cable's senior signatory, the consul general in Dhaka, was named Archer Blood, though it might have become known as the Blood Telegram in any case. Sent directly to Washington, its purpose was, quite simply, to denounce the complicity of the United States government in genocide. Its main section read:


This was signed by twenty members of the United States' diplomatic equipe in Bangladesh and, on its arrival at the State Department, by a further nine senior officers in the South Asia division. It was the most public and the most strongly worded demarche, from State Department servants to the State Department, that has ever been recorded.

The circumstances fully warranted the protest. In December 1970, the Pakistani military elite had permitted the first open elections in a decade. The vote was easily won by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the leader of the Bengali-based Awami League, who gained a large overall majority in the proposed National Assembly. (In the East alone, it won 167 out of 169 seats.) This, among other things, meant a challenge to the political and military and economic hegemony of the Western "wing." The National Assembly had been scheduled to meet on March 3, 1971. On March 1, General Yahya Khan, head of the supposedly outgoing military regime, postponed its convening, which resulted in mass protests and nonviolent civil disobedience in the East.

On March 25,1971, the Pakistani army struck at the Bengali capital of Dhaka. Having arrested and kidnapped Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and taken him to West Pakistan, it set about massacring his supporters. The foreign press had been preemptively expelled from the city, but much of the direct evidence of what then happened was provided via a radio transmitter operated by the American consulate. Archer Blood himself supplied an account of one episode directly to the State Department and to Henry Kissinger's National Security Council. Having readied the ambush, Pakistani regular soldiers set fire to the women's dormitory at the university and then mowed the occupants down with machine guns as they sought to escape. (The guns, along with all the other weaponry, had been furnished under American military-assistance programs.)

Other reports, since amply vindicated, were supplied to the London Times and Sunday Times by the courageous reporter Anthony Mascarenhas and flashed around a horrified world. Rape, murder, dismemberment, and the state murder of children were employed as deliberate methods of repression and intimidation. At least 10,000 civilians were butchered in the first three days. The eventual civilian death toll has never been placed at less than half a million and has been put as high as 3 million. Since almost all Hindu citizens were at risk by definition from Pakistani military chauvinism (not that Pakistan's Muslim co-religionists were spared), a vast movement of millions of refugees-perhaps as many as 10 million-began to cross the Indian frontier. To summarize, then: first, the direct negation of a democratic election; second, the unleashing of a genocidal policy; third, the creation of a very dangerous international crisis. Within a short time, Ambassador Kenneth Keating, the ranking American diplomat in New Delhi, had added his voice to those of the dissenters. It was a time, he told Washington, when a principled stand against the authors of this aggression and atrocity would also make the best pragmatic sense. Keating, a former senator from New York, used a very suggestive phrase in his cable of March 29,1971, calling on the administration to "PROMPTLY, PUBLICLY AND PROMINENTLY DEPLORE THIS BRUTALITY." It was "MOST IMPORTANT THESE ACTIONS BE TAKEN NOW," he warned, "PRIOR TO INEVITABLE AND IMMINENT EMERGENCE OF HORRIBLE TRUTHS."

Nixon and Kissinger acted quickly. That is to say, Archer Blood was immediately recalled from his post, and Ambassador Keating was described by the president to Kissinger, with some contempt, as having been "taken over by the Indians." In late April 1971, at the very height of the mass murder, Kissinger sent a message to General Yalya Khan, thanking him for his "delicacy and tact."

We now know of one reason why the general was so favored at a time when he had made himself-and his patrons-responsible for the grossest crimes against humanity. In April 1971, an American Ping-Pong team had accepted a surprise invitation to compete in Beijing, and by the end of that month, using the Pakistani ambassador as an intermediary, the Chinese authorities had forwarded a letter inviting Nixon to send an envoy. Thus there was one motive of realpolitik for the shame that Nixon and Kissinger were to visit on their own country for its complicity in the extermination of the Bengalis.

Those who like to plead realpolitik, however, might wish to consider some further circumstances. There already was, and had been for some time, a "back channel" between Washington and Beijing. It ran through Nicolae Ceausescu's Romania; not a decorative choice but not, at that stage, a positively criminal one. To a serious person like Chou En-Lai, there was no reason to confine approaches to the narrow channel afforded by a blood-soaked (and short-lived, as it turned out) despot like the delicate and tactful Yabya Khan. Either Chou En-Lai wanted contact, in other words, or he did not. As Lawrence Lifschultz, the primary historian of this period, has put it:

"Winston Lord, Kissinger's deputy at the National Security Council, stressed to investigators the internal rationalization developed within the upper echelons of the Administration. Lord told [the staff of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace] "We had to demonstrate to China we were a reliable government to deal with. We had to show China that we respect a mutual friend." How, after two decades of belligerent animosity with the People's Republic, mere support for Pakistan in its bloody civil war was supposed to demonstrate to China that the U.S. "was a reliable government to deal with" was a mystifying proposition which more cynical observers of the events, both in and outside the U.S. government, consider to have been an excuse justifying the simple convenience of the Islamabad link-a link which Washington had no overriding desire to shift."

Second, the knowledge of this secret diplomacy and its accompanying privileges obviously freed the Pakistani general of such restraints as might have inhibited him. He told his closest associates, including his minister of communications, G. W. Choudhury, that his private understanding with Washington and Beijing would protect him. Choudhury later wrote, "If Nixon and Kissinger had not given him that false hope, he'd have been more realistic." Thus the collusion with him in the matter of China increases the direct complicity of Nixon and Kissinger in the massacres.

Only a reopened congressional inquiry with subpoena power could determine whether there was any direct connection, apart from the self-evident ones of consistent statecraft attested by recurring and reliable testimony, between the secret genocidal diplomacy of 1971 and the secret destabilizing diplomacy of 1975. The task of disproving such a connection, meanwhile, would appear to rest on those who believe that everything is an accident.


One small but significant territory has the distinction of being omitted-entirely omitted-from Henry Kissinger's memoirs. And since East Timor is left out of the third and final volume (Years of Renewal) it cannot hope, like Cyprus, for a hasty later emendation. It has, in short, been airbrushed.

The date of the Indonesian invasion of this small neighboring country-December 7, 1975-is significant. On that date, President Gerald Ford and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, arrived in Hawaii, having concluded an official visit to Jakarta. Since they had come fresh from a meeting with Indonesia's military junta, and since the United States was Indonesia's principal supplier of military hardware (Portugal, a NATO ally, had broken relations with Indonesia on the point), it seemed reasonable to inquire whether the two leaders had given the invaders any impression amounting to a "green light." The president was evasive:

"When he landed at Hawaii, reporters asked Mr. Ford for comment on the invasion of Timor. He smiled and said: "We'll talk about that later." But press secretary Ron Nessen later gave reporters a statement saying: "The United States is always concerned about the use of violence. The President hopes it can be resolved peacefully."

The literal incoherence of this official utterance-a peaceful resolution to a use of violence- may perhaps have possessed an inner coherence: the hope of a speedy victory for overwhelming force. Kissinger moved this suspicion a shade nearer to actualization in his own more candid comment, which was offered while he was still on Indonesian soil. He told the press in Jakarta that the United States would not recognize the republic declared by FRETILIN (Revolutionary Front for the Liberation of East Timor) and that "the United States understands Indonesia's position on the question."

So gruesome were the subsequent reports of mass slaughter, rape, and deliberate starvation that bluntness fell somewhat out of fashion. The killing of several Australian journalists who had witnessed Indonesia's atrocities, the devastation in the capital city of Dili, and the stubbornness of FRETILIN's hugely outgunned rural resistance made East Timor an embarrassment to, rather than an advertisement for, Jakarta's new order. Kissinger generally attempted to avoid any discussion of his involvement in the extirpation of the Timorese-an ongoing involvement, since he authorized backdoor shipments of weapons to those doing the extirpating-and was ably seconded in this by his ambassador to the United Nations, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who later confided in his memoir, A Dangerous Place, that in the matter of East Timor the initial invasion toll was "almost the proportion of casualties experienced by the Soviet Union during the Second World War." Moynihan continued:

"[T]he United States wished things to turn out as they did, and worked to bring this about. The Department of State desired that the United Nations prove utterly ineffective in whatever measures it undertook. This task was given to me, and I carried it forward with no inconsiderable success."

The terms "United States" and "Department of State" are here foully prostituted, by this supposed prose master, since they are used as synonyms for Henry Kissinger.

Twenty years later, on July 11, 1995, Kissinger was confronted with direct questions on the subject. Publicizing and promoting his then latest book, Diplomacy, at an event sponsored by The Learning Exchange at the Park Central Hotel in New York City, he perhaps (having omitted Timor from his book and from his talk) did not anticipate the first line of questioning that arose from the floor. Constancio Pinto, a former resistance leader in Timor who had been captured and tortured and had escaped to the United States, opened the bidding:

PINTO: I am Timorese. My name is Constancio Pinto. And I followed your speech today and it's really interesting. One thing that I know you didn't mention is this place invaded by Indonesia in 1975. It is in Southeast Asia. As a result of the invasion 200,000 people of the Timorese were killed. As far as I know Dr. Kissinger was in Indonesia the day before the invasion of East Timor. The United States actually supported Indonesia in East Timor. So I would like to know what you were doing at that time.

KISSINGER: What was I doing at that time ? The whole time or just about Timor? . . . What most people who deal with government don't understand is one of the most overwhelming experiences of being in high office. That there are always more problems than you can possibly address at any one period. And when you're in global policy and you're a global power, there are so many issues....We had at that time, there was a war going on in Angola. We had just been driven out of Vietnam. We were conducting negotiations in the Middle East, and Lebanon had blown up. We were on a trip to China. Maybe, regrettably, we weren't ever thinking about Timor. I'm telling you what the truth of the matter is. The reason we were in Indonesia was actually accidental. We had originally intended to go to China, we meaning President Ford and myself and some others. We had originally intended to go to China for five days. This was the period when Mao was very sick and there had been an upheaval in China.... So we cut our trip to China short....

Timor was never discussed with us when we were in Indonesia. At the airport as we were leaving, the Indonesians told us that they were going to occupy the Portuguese colony of Timor. To us that did not seem like a very significant event, because the Indians had occupied the Portuguese colony of Goa ten years earlier, and to us it looked like another process of decolonization. Nobody had the foggiest idea of what would happen afterwards, and nobody asked our opinion, and I don't know what we could have said if someone had asked our opinion....

Now there's been a terrible human tragedy in Timor afterwards. The population of East Timor has resisted, and I don't know whether the casualty figures are correct. I just don't know, but they're certainly significant, and there's no question that it's a huge tragedy. All I'm telling you is what we knew in 1975. This was not a big thing on your radar screen. Nobody has ever heard again of Goa after the Indians occupied it.... And to us, Timor, look at a map, it's a little speck of an island in a huge archipelago, half of which was Portuguese. We had no reason to say the Portuguese should stay there....

ALLAN NAIRN: Mr. Kissinger, my name is Allan Nairn. I'm a journalist in the United States. I'm one of the Americans who survived the massacre in East Timor on November 12, 1991, a massacre during which Indonesian troops armed with American M-16s gunned down at least 271 Timorese civilians in front of the Santa Cruz Catholic cemetery as they were gathered in the act of peaceful mourning and protest. Now you just said that in your meeting with Suharto on the afternoon of December 6, 1975, you did not discuss Timor, you did not discuss it until you came to the airport. Well, I have here the official State Department transcript of your and President Ford's conversation with General Suharto, the dictator of Indonesia.... It has been edited under the Freedom of Information Act, so the whole text isn't there. It's clear from the portion of the text that is here that in fact you did discuss the impending invasion of Timor with Suharto, a fact which was confirmed to me by President Ford himself in an interview I had with him. President Ford told me that in fact you discussed the impending invasion of Timor with Suharto and that you gave the U.S....

KISSINGER: Who? I or he?

NAIRN: That you and President Ford together gave U.S. approval for the invasion of East Timor. There is another internal State Department memo.... This is a memo of a December 18 1975, meeting held at the State Department. This was held right after your return from that trip, and you were berating your staff for having put on paper a finding by the State Department legal adviser Mr. Leigh that the Indonesian invasion of East Timor was illegal, that it not only violated international law, it violated a treaty with the U.S. because U.S. weapons were used, and it's clear from this transcript, which I invite anyone in the audience to peruse, that you were angry at them first because you feared this memo would leak and second because you were supporting the Indonesian invasion of East Timor.... If one

looks at the public actions, sixteen hours after you left that meeting with Suharto the Indonesian troops began parachuting over Dili, the capital of East Timor. They came ashore and began the massacres that culminated in a third of the Timorese population [being killed]. You announced an immediate doubling of U.S. military aid to Indonesia at the time....

KISSINGER: Look, I think we all got the point...

NAIRN: My question, Mr. Kissinger, my question, Dr. Kissinger, is twofold: First, will you give a waiver under the Privacy Act to support full declassification of this memo so we can see exactly what you and President Ford said to Suharto? Secondly, would you support the convening of an international war-crimes tribunal under U.N. supervision on the subject of East Timor, and would you agree to abide by its verdict in regard to your own conduct?

KISSINGER: I mean, uh, really, this sort of comment is one of the reasons why the conduct of foreign policy is becoming nearly impossible under these conditions. Here is a fellow who's got one obsession . . . he collects a bunch of documents, you don't know what is in these documents...

NAIRN: I invite your audience to read them.

It's interesting to notice the final decomposition of Kissinger's normally efficient if robotic syntax in that final answer. It's also interesting to see, once again, the operations of his denial mechanism. If Kissinger and his patron Nixon were identified with any one core belief, it was that the United States should never be, or even appear to be, a "pitiful, helpless giant." Kissinger's own writings and speeches are heavily larded with rhetoric about "credibility" and the need to impress both friend and foe with the mettle of American resolve. Yet, in response to any inquiry that might implicate him in crime and fiasco, he rushes to humiliate his own country and its professional servants, suggesting that they know little, care less, are poorly informed, and are easily rattled by the pace of events. He also resorts to a demagogic isolationism. This is as much as to claim that the United States is a pushover for any ambitious or irredentist banana republic.

This semiconscious reversal of rhetoric also leads to renewed episodes of hysterical and improvised Iying. (Recall his claim to the Chinese that it was the Soviets who had instigated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.) The idea that Indonesia's annexation of Timor may be compared to India's occupation of Goa is too absurd to have been cited in any apologia before or since. What Kissinger seems to like about the comparison is the rapidity with which Goa was forgotten. What he overlooks is that it was forgotten because ( 1 ) it was not a bloodbath on the scale of Timor and (2) it completed the decolonization of India. Timor represented the cementing of colonization by Indonesia. And, quite clearly, an Indonesian invasion that began a few hours after Kissinger had left the tarmac at Jakarta airport must have been planned and readied several days before he arrived. Such plans would have been known by any embassy military attaché and certainly by any visiting secretary of state. We have, in fact, the word of C. Philip Liechty, a former CIA operations officer in Indonesia, that

"Suharto was given the green light to do what he did. There was discussion in the embassy and in traffic with the State Department about the problems that would be created for us if the public and Congress became aware of the level and type of military assistance that was going to Indonesia at that time. . .. Without continued heavy U.S. Iogistical military support the Indonesians might not have been able to pull it off."

The desire to appear to have been uninvolved may-if we are charitable arise in part from the fact that even Indonesia's ~ ~ foreign minister, Adam Malik, conceded in public a death toll of between 50,000 and 80,000 Timorese civilians in the first eighteen months of Indonesia's war of subjugation: in other words, on Kissinger's watch, and inflicted with weapons that he bent American laws to furnish to the killers. Now that a form of democracy has returned to Indonesia, which in its first post-dictatorial act renounced the annexation of East Timor and-after a bloody last pogrom by its auxiliaries -withdrew from the territory, we may be able to learn more exactly the extent of the quasi-genocide.

Kissinger's arrogance in 1975 did not dispose of two matters of legality, both of them in the province of the State Department. The first was the violation of international law by Indonesia, in a case where jurisdiction clearly rested with a Portuguese and NATO government of which Kissinger (partly as a result of its support for "decolonization") did not approve. The second was the violation of American law, which stipulated that weapons supplied to Indonesia were to be employed only in self-defense. State Department officials, bound by law, were likewise bound to conclude that United States aid to the generals in Jakarta would have to be cut off. Their memo summarizing this case was the cause of the tremendous internal row that is minuted below:


Participants: The Secretary [Henry Kissinger] Deputy Secretary [Robert] Ingersoll Under Secretary [for Political Affairs Joseph] Sisco Under Secretary [Carlyle] Maw Deputy Under Secretary [Lawrence] Eagleburger Assistant Secretary [Philip] Habib Monroe Leigh, Legal Advisor Jerry Bremer, Notetaker

Date: December 18, 1975 Subject: Department Policy

The Secretary [Kissinger]: I want to raise a little bit of hell about the Department's conduct in my absence. Until last week I thought we had a disciplined group; now we've gone to pieces completely. Take this cable on Timor. You know my attitude and anyone who knows my position as you do must know that I would not have approved it. The only consequence is to put yourself on record. It is a disgrace to treat the Secretary of State this way....

What possible explanation is there for it? I had told you to stop it quietly. What is your place doing, Phil, to let this happen? It is incomprehensible....

Habib: Our assessment was that if it was going to be trouble, it would come up before your return. And I was told they decided it was desirable to go ahead with the cable.

The Secretary: Nonsense. I said do it for a few weeks and then open up again.

Habib: The cable will not leak.

The Secretary: Yes it will and it will go to Congress too and then we will have hearings on it.

Habib: I was away. I was told by cable that it had come up.

The Secretary: That means that there are two cables! And that means twenty guys have seen it.

Habib: No, I got it back channel-it was just one paragraph double talk and cryptic so l knew what it was talking about. I was told that Leigh thought that there was a legal requirement to do it.

Leigh: No, I said it could be done administratively. It was not in our interest to do it on legal grounds.

Sisco: We were told that you had decided we had to stop.

The Secretary: Just a minute, just a minute. You all know my view on this.... No one has complained that it was aggression.

Leigh: The Indonesians were violating an agreement with us.

The Secretary: The Israelis when they go into Lebanon-when was the last time we protested that?

Leigh: That's a different situation.

Maw: It is self-defense.

The Secretary: And we can't construe a Communist government in the middle of Indonesia as self-defense ?

Leigh: Well...

The Secretary: Then you're saying that arms can't be used for defense?

Habib: No, they can be used for the defense of Indonesia.

The Secretary: Now take a look at this basic theme that is coming out on Angola. These SOBs are leaking all of this stuff to [New York Times reporter] Les Gelb.

Sisco: I can tell you who.

The Secretary: Who?

Sisco: [National Security Council member William] Hyland spoke to him.

The Secretary: Wait a minute-Hyland said . . .

Sisco: He said he briefed Gelb.

The Secretary: I want these people to know that our concern in Angola is not the economic wealth or a naval base. It has to do with the USSR operating 8,000 miles from home when all the surrounding states are asking for our help. This will affect the Europeans, the Soviets, and China.

On the Timor thing, that will leak in three months, and it will come out that Kissinger overruled his pristine bureaucrats and violated the law. [Italics added.] How many people in L [the legal adviser's office] know about this?

Leigh: Three.

Habib: There are at least two in my office.

The Secretary: Plus everybody in the meeting so you're talking about not less than 15 or 20.

You have a responsibility to recognize that we are living in a revolutionary situation. Everything on paper will be used against me.

Habib: We do that and take account of that all the time....

The Secretary: Every day some SOB in the Department is carrying on about Angola but no one is defending Angola. Find me one quote in the Gelb article defending our policy in Angola.

Habib: I think the leaks and dissent are the burden you have to bear....

The Secretary: . . . This is not minor league stuff. We are going to lose big. The President says to the Chinese that we're going to stand firm in Angola and two weeks later we get out. I go to a NATO meeting and meanwhile the Department leaks that we're worried about a naval base and says it's an exaggeration or aberration of

Kissinger's. I don't care about the oil or the base but I do care about the African reaction when they see the Soviets pull it off and we don't do anything.... The Chinese will say we're a country that was run out of Indochina for 50,000 men and is now being run out of Angola for less than $50 million....

The Secretary: It cannot be that our agreement with Indonesia says that the arms are for internal purposes only. I think you will find that it says that they are legitimately used for self-defense.

There are two problems. The merits of the case which you had a duty to raise with me. The second is how to put these to me. But to put it into a cable 30 hours before I return, knowing how cables are handled in this building, guarantees that it will be a national disaster and that transcends whatever [Deputy Legal Adviser George] Aldrich has in his feverish mind.

I took care of it with the administrative thing by ordering Carlyle [Maw] not to make any new sales.

How will the situation get better in six weeks?

Habib: They may get it cleaned up by then.

The Secretary: The Department is falling apart and has reached the point where it disobeys clear cut orders.

Habib: We sent the cable because we thought it was needed and we thought it needed your attention. This was ten days ago.

The Secretary: Nonsense. When did I get the cable, Jerry?

Bremer: Not before the weekend. I think perhaps on Sunday.

The Secretary: You had to know what my view on this was. No one who has worked with me in the last two years could not know what my view would be on Timor.

Habib: Well, let us look at it-talk to Leigh. There are still some legal requirements. I can't understand why it went out if it was not legally required.

The Secretary: Am I wrong in assuming that the Indonesians will go up in smoke if they hear about this ?

Habib: Well, it's better than a cutoff. It could be done at a low level.

The Secretary: We have four weeks before Congress comes back. That's plenty of time.

Leigh: The way to handle the administrative cutoff would be that we are studying the situation.

The Secretary: And 36 hours was going to be a major problem?

Leigh: We had a meeting in Sisco's office and decided to send the message.

The Secretary: I know what the law is but how can it be in the U.S. national interest for us to give up on Angola and kick the Indonesians in the teeth? Once it is on paper, there will be a lot of FSO-6's who can make themselves feel good who can write for the Open Forum Panel on the thing even though I will turn out to be right in the end.

Habib: The second problem on leaking of cables is different.

The Secretary: No it's an empirical fact.

Eagleburger: Phil, it's a fact. You can't say that any NODIS ["No Distribution": the most restricted level of classification] cable will leak bur you can't count on three to six months later someone asking for it in Congress. If it's part of the written record, it will be dragged out eventually.

The Secretary: You have an obligation to the national interest. l don't care if we sell equipment to Indonesia or not. l get nothing from it. ~ get no rakeoff. But you have an obligation to figure out how to serve your country. The Foreign Service is not to serve itself. The Service stands for service to the United States and not service to the Foreign Service.

Habib: I understand that that's what this cable would do.

The Secretary: The minute you put this into the system you cannot resolve it without a finding.

Leigh: There's only one question. What do we say to Congress if we're asked?

The Secretary: We cut it off while we are studying it. We intend to start again in January.

Nobody, it must be said, comes out of this meeting especially well; the secretary's civil servants were anything but "pristine." Still it can be noted of Kissinger that, in complete contrast to his public statements, he (1) forbore from any mention of Goa, (2) did not trouble to conceal his long-held views on the matter, berating his underlings for being so dense as not to know them; (3) did not affect to be taken by surprise by events in East Timor; (4) admitted that he was breaking the law; and (5) felt it necessary to deny that he could profit personally from the arms shipments, a denial for which nobody had asked him.

That Kissinger understood Portugal's continuing legal sovereignty in East Timor is shown by a NODIS memorandum of a Camp David meeting between himself, General Suharto, and President Ford on the preceding July 5,1975. Almost every line of the text has been deleted by official redaction, and much of the discussion is un-illuminating except about the eagerness of the administration to supply naval, air, and military equipment to the junta, but at one point, just before Kissinger makes his entrance, President Ford asks his guest: "Have the Portuguese set a date yet for allowing the Timor people to make their choice?" The entire answer is obliterated by deletion, but let it never be said that Kissinger's State Department did not know that Portugal was entitled, indeed mandated, to hold a free election for the Timorese. It is improbable that Suharto, in the excised answer, was assuring his hosts that such an open election would be won by candidates favoring annexation by Indonesia.

On November 9, 1979, lack Anderson's syndicated column published an interview with ex-President Ford on East Timor along with a number of classified U.S. intelligence documents relating to the 1975 aggression. One of the latter papers describes how Indonesia's generals were pressing Suharto "to authorize direct military intervention," while another informs Ford and Kissinger that Suharto would raise the East Timor issue at their December 1975 meeting and would "try and elicit a sympathetic attitude." The relatively guileless Ford was happy to tell Anderson that the American national interest "had to be on the side of Indonesia." He may or may not have been aware that he F was thereby giving the lie to everything ever said by Kissinger on the subject.


As we have now seen, Kissinger has a j' tendency to personalize his politics. His policies have led directly and deliberately to the deaths of anonymous hundreds of thousands but have also involved the targeting of certain inconvenient individuals: General Schneider, Archbishop Makarios, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. And, as we have also more than once glimpsed, Kissinger has a special relish for localized revenge.

It seems possible that these two tendencies converge in a single case: a plan to kidnap and murder Elias P. Demetracopoulos, a distinguished Greek journalist with an unexampled record of opposition to the dictatorship that disfigured his homeland between 1967 and 1974. In the course of those years, he made his home in Washington, D.C., supporting himself as a consultant to a respected Wall Street firm. Innumerable senators, congressmen, Hill staffers, diplomats, and reporters have testified to the extraordinary one man campaign of lobbying and information that he waged against the military gangsters who had usurped power in Athens. Since that same junta enjoyed the sympathy of powerful interests in Washington, Demetracopoulos was compelled to combat on two fronts, and he made some influential enemies.

After the collapse of the Greek dictatorship in 1974, Demetracopoulos gained access to the secret police files in Athens and confirmed what he had long suspected: there had been more than one attempt made to kidnap and eliminate him. Files held by the KYP-the Greek equivalent of the CIA-revealed that the then dictator, Georgios Papadopoulos, and his deputy security chief Michael Roufougalis, several times contacted the Greek military mission in Washington with precisely this end in view. Stamped with the words "COSMIC: Eyes Only"-the highest Greek security classification-this traffic involved a plethora of schemes. They had in common a desire to see Demetracopoulos snatched from Washington and repatriated. An assassination in Washington might have been embarrassing; moreover, there seems to have been a need to interrogate Demetracopoulos before dispatching him. One proposal was to smuggle Demetracopoulos aboard a Greek civilian airliner; another, to put him on a Greek military plane; and still another, to get him aboard a submarine. If it were not for the proven record of irrationality and mania among the leaders of the junta, one might be tempted to dismiss at least the third of these plans as a fantasy.

One sentence in particular stands out in the COSMIC cables:


Seeking to discover what kind of "cooperation" this might have been, Demetracopoulos in 1976 engaged an attorney-William A. Dobrovir of the D.C. firm of Dobrovir, Oakes, Gebhardt and Scull-and brought suit under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. He was able to obtain many hundreds of documents from the FBI, the CIA, and the State Department, as well as from the Department of Justice and the Pentagon. A number of these papers indicated that copies had been furnished to the National Security Council, then the domain of Henry Kissinger. But requests for documentation from this source were unavailing. As previously noted, Kissinger had upon leaving office made a hostage of his own papers-copying them, classifying them as "personal," and deeding them to the Library of Congress on condition that they be held privately. Thus Demetracopoulos was met with a stone wall when he used the law to try and prise anything from the NSC. In March 1977, however, the NSC finally responded to repeated legal initiatives by releasing the skeletal "computer indices" of the files that had been kept on Demetracopoulos. Paging through these, his attention was not unnaturally caught by the following:

7024513 DOCUMENT= 5 OF 5 PAGE = 1 OF 1

"Well, it's not every day," said Demetracopoulos when I interviewed him, "that you read about your own death in a state document." His attorney was bound to agree, and he wrote a series of letters to Kissinger asking for copies of the file to which the indices referred. For several years Kissinger declined to favor Demetracopoulos's lawyer with a reply. When eventually he did respond, it was only through his own lawyer, who wrote that efforts were made to search the collection for copies of documents which meet the description provided. . . . No such copies could be found.

"Efforts were made" is, of course, a piece of obfuscation that might describe the most perfunctory inquiry. We are therefore left with the question: Did Kissinger know of, or approve, or form a part of, that "cooperation of the various agencies of the U.S. Government" on which foreign despots had been counting for a design of kidnapping, torture, and execution?

To begin with an obvious question: Why should a figure of Kissinger's stature either know about, or care about, the existence of a lone dissident journalist? This question is quite easily answered: the record shows that Kissinger knew very well who Demetracopoulos was and detested him. The two men had actually met in Athens in 1956, when Demetracopoulos had hosted a luncheon at the Grand Bretagne Hotel for the visiting professor. Over the next decade Demetracopoulos had been prominent among those warning of, and resisting, a military intervention in Greek politics. The CIA generally favored such an intervention and maintained intimate connections with those who were planning it. In November 1963 the director of the CIA, John McCone, signed an internal message asking for "any substantive derogatory data which can be utilized to deny [Demetracopoulos] subsequent entry to U.S." No such derogatory information was available, and when the coup came Demetracopoulos was able to settle in Washington, D.C., and begin his exile campaign.

He began it auspiciously enough, by supplying his own derogatory information about the Nixon and Agnew campaign of 1968. This campaign- already tainted badly enough by the betrayal of the Vietnam peace negotiations-was also receiving illegal donations from the Greek military dictatorship. The money came from Michael Roufougalis at the KYP and was handed over, in cash, to John Mitchell by an ultra-conservative Greek-American businessman named Thomas Pappas. The sum involved was $549,000, a considerable amount by the standards of the day. Its receipt was doubly illegal: foreign governments are prohibited from making campaign donations (as are foreigners in general), and, given that the KYP was in receipt of CIA subsidies, there existed the further danger that American intelligence money was being recycled back into the American political process-in direct violation of the ClA's own charter.

Demetracopoulos took his findings to Larry O'Brien, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, who issued a call for an inquiry into the activities of Pappas and the warm relations existing between the Nixon-Agnew campaign and the Athens junta. A number of historians have since speculated as to whether it was evidence of this "Greek connection," with its immense potential for damage, that Nixon and Mitchell's burglars were seeking when they entered O'Brien's Watergate office under the cover of night. Considerable weight is lent to this view by one salient fact: when the Nixon White House was seeking "hush money" for the burglars, it turned to Thomas Pappas to provide it.

Elias Demetracopoulos's dangerous knowledge of this guilty secret, and his incessant lobbying on the Hill and in the press against Nixon and Kissinger's client regime in Athens, drew unwelcome attention. He later sued both the FBI and the CIA-becoming the first person ever to do so successfully-and received written admissions from both agencies that they possessed "no derogatory information" about him. In the course of these suits, he also secured an admission from then FBI director William Webster that he had been under "rather extensive" surveillance on and between the following dates: November 9,1967, and October 2,1969; August 25,1971, and March 14, 1973; and February 19 and October 24, 1974.

Unaware of the precise extent of this surveillance, Demetracopoulos nonetheless more than once found himself brushed by a heavy hand. On September 7, 1971, he had lunch at Washington's fashionable Jockey Club with Nixon's chief henchman, Murray Chotiner, who told him bluntly, "Lay off Pappas. You can be in trouble. You can be deported. It's not smart politics. You know Tom Pappas is a friend of the President." The next month, on October 27, 1971, Demetracopoulos was lunching with Robert Novak at Sans Souci and was threatened by Pappas himself, who came over from an adjacent table to tell him and Novak that he could make trouble for anyone who wanted him investigated. On the preceding July 12, Demetracopoulos had testified before the European subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Congressman Benjamin Rosenthal of New York, about the influence of Pappas on U.S. foreign policy and the Athens dictatorship (and vice versa). Before his oral testimony could be printed, a Justice Department lawyer appeared at the subcommittee's office and demanded a copy of the statement. Demetracopoulos had then, on September 17, furnished a memorandum on Pappas's activities to the same subcommittee. His written deposition closed with the words, "Finally, I have submitted separately to the subcommittee items of documentary evidence which I believe will be useful." This statement, wrote Rowland Evans and Robert Novak in their syndicated column, caused "extreme nervousness in the Nixon White House."

Demetracopoulos then received a letter from Louise Gore. Ms. Gore has since become more celebrated as the cousin of Vice President Al Gore and the proprietress of the Fairfax Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the boy politician grew up. She was then quite celebrated in her own right, as a Republican state senator from Maryland and as the woman who introduced Spiro Agnew to Richard Nixon. She was a close friend of Attorney General Mitchell's and had been appointed as Nixon's representative to UNESCO. Demetracopoulos lived, along with many congressmen and political types, as a tenant of an apartment in her hotel. He had also been a friend since 1959. On January 24, 1972, she wrote to him,

Dear Elias-

I went to Perle's [Perle Mesta's] luncheon for Martha Mitchell yesterday and sat next to John. He is furious at you-and your testimony against Pappas. He kept threatening to have you deported!!

At first I tried to ask him if he had any reason to think you could be deported and he didn't have any answer-But then tried to counter by asking me what I knew about you and why we were friends.

It really got out of hand. It was all he'd talk about during lunch and everyone at the table was listening . . .

Among those present at the table were George Bush, then ambassador to the United Nations, and numerous other diplomats. The attorney general's lack of restraint and want of tact, on such an occasion, and at the very table of legendary hostess Perle Mesta, were clearly symptomatic of a considerable irritation, even rage.

I have related this background in order to show that Demetracopoulos was under surveillance, that he possessed information highly damaging to an important Nixon-Kissinger client, and that his identity was well known to those in power, in both Washington and Athens. Henry Tasca, the United States ambassador in Athens at the time, was a Nixon and Kissinger crony with a very lenient attitude toward the dictatorship. (He later testified before a closed session of Congress that he had known of the 1968 payments by the Greek secret police to the Nixon campaign.) In July 1971, shortly after Demetracopoulos testified before Congressman Rosenthal's subcommittee,

Tasca sent a four-page secret cable from Athens. It began:


This was certainly taking Demetracopoulos seriously. So were the closing paragraphs, which read,



The cable was addressed, as is usual from an ambassador, to Secretary of State William Rogers. Yet it was also addressed-highly unusually-to Attorney General John Mitchell. Mitchell, as we have seen, was the only attorney general ever to serve on Henry Kissinger's supervisory 40 Committee.

The State Department duly urged that "the Department of Justice do everything possible to see if we can make a Foreign Agents case, or any kind of a case for that matter" against Demetracopoulos. Of course, as was later admitted, these investigations turned up nothing, as Demetracopoulos's influence did not derive from any sinister source or nexus. But when he said that the Greek dictatorship had trampled its own society, used censorship and torture, threatened Cyprus, and bought itself political influence in Washington, he was uttering potent truths. Nixon himself confirmed the connection between the junta and Pappas and Tasca on a post-Watergate White House tape dated May 23, 1973. He is talking to his renowned confidential secretary, Rose Mary Woods:

Good old Tom Pappas, as you probably know or heard, if you haven't already heard, it is true, helped, at Mitchell's request, fundraising for some of the defendants.... He came up to see me on March 7th, Pappas did. Pappas came to see me about the ambassador to Greece, that he wanted to-he wanted to keep [Henry] Tasca there.

This same dictatorship had in June 1970 revoked Demetracopoulos's Greek citizenship, so he was a stateless person traveling only on a flimsy document giving him leave to reenter the United States. This fact assumed its own importance in December 1970, when his blind father was dying of pneumonia, alone, in Athens. Demetracopoulos sought permission to return home under a safe conduct, or laissez-passer, and was able to enlist numerous congressional friends in the attempt. Among those who signed a letter, dated December 11, to the Greek government and to Ambassador Tasca were Senators Frank E. Moss of Utah, Quentin N. Burdick of North Dakota, and Mike Gravel of Alaska. Senators Kennedy and Fulbright also expressed a personal interest.

Neither the Athens regime nor Tasca replied directly, but on December 20, four days after the old man had died without seeing his only son, Senators Moss, Burdick, and Gravel received a telegram from the Greek Embassy in Washington. This instructed them that Demetracopoulos should have applied in person to the embassy- an odd demand to make of a man whose passport and citizenship had just been canceled by the dictatorship. Meanwhile, Demetracopoulos received a telephone call at his home, from Senator Kennedy, advising him not to accept any safe-conduct offer from Greece even if he was offered it. Had Demetracopoulos presented himself at the junta's embassy, he might well have been detained and kidnapped, in accordance with one of the plans we now know had been readied for his "disappearance." Of course, such a scheme would have been extremely difficult to carry out in the absence of some "cooperation" from local American intelligence officials.

Declassified cable traffic between Ambassador Tasca in Athens and Kissinger's deputy, Joseph Sisco, at the State Department shows that Senator Kennedy's misgivings were amply justified. In a cable dated December 14, 1970, from Sisco to Tasca, the ambassador was told,


Concurring with this extraordinary statement, Tasca added that there was a possibility of Senator Gravel attending the funeral of Demetracopoulos Sr. Elias, wrote the ambassador,


The absurdity of this-Demetracopoulos has no record whatsoever of the advocacy or practice of violence-also has its sinister side. Suggested here is just the sort of pretext that the junta might need for a frame-up, or to cover up a "disappearance." The entire correspondence reeks of the priorities of both the embassy and the State Department, which reflect their contempt for elected U.S. senators, their dislike of dissent, and their need to gratify a group of Greek gangsters who are now rightly serving terms of life imprisonment.

Now look again at the computer index disgorged, after years of litigation, from Kissinger's NSC files. It bears the date of December 18, 1970, and appears to apprise Senators Moss, Burdick, and Gravel that Demetracopoulos had met his end in an Athens prison. Was this a contingency plan? A cover story? As long as Dr. Kissinger maintains his stubborn silence, and the control over his "private" state papers, it will be impossible to determine.

Having avoided the trap that seems to have been set for him in 1970, Demetracopoulos kept up his fusillade of leaks and disclosures, aimed at discrediting the Greek junta and embarrassing its American friends. He also warned of the junta's designs on the independence of Cyprus and of American indifference to, or complicity in, that policy. In this capacity he became a source of annoyance to Henry Kissinger. In a Memorandum for the Record on a briefing presented to President Gerald Ford in October 1974, there are references to "derogatory traces from our files" about Demetracopoulos, to "the derogatory blind memo" about him, and to "the long Kissinger memo" on him. Once again, and despite repeated requests from lawyers, Kissinger has declined to answer any queries about the whereabouts of these papers, or to shed any light on their contents. His National Security Council, however, asked the FBI to amass any information that might discredit Demetracopoulos, and between 1972 and 1974, according to papers since declassified, the bureau furnished Kissinger with slanderous and false material concerning, among other things, a romance that Demetracopoulos was allegedly conducting with a woman now dead and a supposed relationship between him and Daniel Ellsberg, a man he has never met.

This might seem trivial, were it not for the memoirs of Constantine Panayotakos, the ambassador of the Greek junta to Washington, D.C. Arriving to take up his post in February 1974, as the ambassador wrote in his later memoirs, entitled In the First Line of Defense,

"I was informed about some . . . plans to kidnap and transport Elias Demetracopoulos to Greece; plans which reminded me of KGB methods.... On 29 May a document was transmitted to me from Angelos Vlachos, Secretary General of the Foreign Ministry, giving the views of the United States ambassador Henry Tasca, which he agreed with, about the most efficient means of dealing with the conspiracies and the whole activity of Demetracopoulos. Tasca's views are included in a memorandum of conversation with the Foreign Minister Spyridon Tetenes of 27 May.

Finally, another brilliant idea of the most brilliant members of the Foreign Ministry in Athens, transmitted to me on 12 June, was for me to seek useful advice on the extermination of Elias Demetracopoulos from George Churchill, director of the Greek desk at the State Department, who was one of his most vitriolic enemies. "

Ambassador Panayotakos later wrote in a detailed letter, which is in my possession, that he had direct knowledge of a plan to abduct Demetracopoulos from Washington. His testimony is corroborated by an affidavit, which I also possess, signed by Charalambos Papadopoulos. Mr. Papadopoulos was at the time the political counselor to the Greek Embassy-the number three position-and was bidden to lunch at the nearby Jockey Club, in late May or early June of 1974, by Ambassador Panayotakos and the assistant military attaché, Lieutenant Colonel Sotiris Yiounis. At the lunch, Yiounis broached the question of kidnapping Demetracopoulos, who was to be smuggled aboard a Greek NATO submarine at a harbor in Virginia.

Papadopoulos, who was Greek ambassador to Pakistan at the time he swore his affidavit, has since said that he was assured that Henry Kissinger was fully aware of the proposed operation. By that stage, the Greek junta had only a few weeks to live because of its crimes in Cyprus. Since the fall of the dictatorship even more extensive evidence of the junta's assassination plans has been uncovered, if only at the Athenian end of the plot. But this was not a regime that ever acted without Washington's "understanding." Attempts to unearth more detail have also been made in Washington. In 1975, Senators George McGovern and James Abourezk, seconded by Congressman Don Edwards of the House Intelligence Committee, asked Senator Frank Church to include the kidnapping plot against Demetracopoulos in the investigative work of his famous committee on U.S. intelligence. As first reported by the New York Times and then confirmed by Seymour Hersh, Kissinger intervened personally with Church, citing grave but unspecified matters of national security, to have this aspect of the investigation shut down.

Some of this may seem fantastic, but we do know that Kissinger was conducting a vendetta against Demetracopoulos (as was Ambassador Henry Tasca); we do know that Kissinger was involved in high-level collusion with the Greek junta and had advance knowledge of the plot to assassinate Archbishop Makarios; and we do know that he had used the American Embassy in Chile to smuggle weapons for the contract killing of General Rene Schneider. The cover story in that case, too, was that the hired guns were "only" trying to kidnap him.

Thus the Demetracopoulos story, told here in full for the first time, makes a prima facie case that Henry Kissinger was at least aware of a plan to abduct and interrogate, and almost certainly kill, a civilian and journalist in Washington, D.C. In order to be cleared of the suspicion, and to explain the mysterious reference to Demetracopoulos's death in his own archives, Kissinger need only make those same archives at last accessible, or else be subpoenaed to do so.


In his furious meeting at the State Department on December 18, 1975, shortly after his moment of complicity with the Indonesian generals over East Timor, Kissinger makes the following peculiar disavowal:

"I don't care if we sell equipment to Indonesia or not. I get nothing from it. I get no rakeoff."

One might have taken it for granted that a serving secretary of state had no direct interest in the sale of weapons to a foreign dictatorship; nobody at the meeting had suggested any such thing. How peculiar that Kissinger should deny an allegation that had not been made, answer a question that had not been asked.

It isn't possible to state with certainty when Kissinger began to profit personally from his association with the ruling circles in Indonesia, nor can it be definitely asserted that this profit was part of any "understanding" that originated in 1975. And yet there is a perfect congruence between Kissinger's foreign-policy counsel and his own business connections. One might call it a "harmony" of interests rather than a "conflict."

Six years after he left office, Kissinger set up a private consulting firm named Kissinger Associates, which exists to smooth and facilitate contact between multinational corporations and foreign governments. The client list is secret, and contracts with the "Associates" contain a clause prohibiting any mention of the arrangement, but corporate clients include or have included American Express, Shearson Lehman Hutton, Arco, Daewoo of South Korea, H. J. Heinz, ITT, Lockheed Corporation, Anheuser-Busch, the Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Coca-Cola, Fiat, Revlon, Union Carbide, and Midland Bank. Kissinger's initial fellow "associates" were General Brent Scowcroft and Lawrence Eagleburger, both of whom had worked closely with him in the foreign-policy and national-security branches of government.

Numerous instances of a harmony between this firm and Kissinger's policy pronouncements can be cited. The best-known is probably that of the People's Republic of China. Kissinger helped several American conglomerates, notably H. J. Heinz, to gain access to the Chinese market. As it was glowingly phrased by Anthony J. F. O'ReilIy, CEO of Heinz,

"Kissinger and his associates make a real contribution, and we think they are particularly helpful in countries with more centrally planned economies, where the principal players and the dynamics among the principal players are of critical importance. This is particularly true in China, where he is a popular figure and is viewed with particular respect.

On China, basically, we were well on our way to establishing the baby-food presence there before Henry got involved. But once we decided to move, he had practical points to offer, such as on the relationship between Taiwan and Peking. He was helpful in seeing that we did not take steps that would not have been helpful in Peking. His relevance obviously varies from market to market, but he's probably at his best in helping with contacts in that shadowy world where that counts."

The Chinese term for this zone of shadowy transactions is guanxi. In less judgmental American speech it would probably translate as "access." Selling baby food in China may seem innocuous enough, but when the Chinese regime turned its guns and tanks on its own children in Tiananmen Square in 1989, it had no more staunch defender than Henry Kissinger. Arguing very strongly against sanctions, he wrote that "China remains too important for America's national security to risk the relationship on the emotions of the moment." Taking the Deng Xiaoping view of the democratic turbulence, he added that "no government in the world would have tolerated having the main square of its capital occupied for eight weeks by tens of thousands of demonstrators." It is perhaps just as well that Kissinger's services were not retained by the Stalinist regimes of Romania, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, which succumbed to just such public insolence later in the same year.

Nor was Kissinger's influence peddling confined to Heinz's nutritious products. He assisted Atlantic Richfield/Arco in the marketing of oil deposits discovered in China. He helped ITT (a corporation that had once helped him to overthrow the elected government of Chile) to hold a path-breaking board meeting in Beijing, and he performed similar services for David Rockefeller and the Chase Manhattan Bank, which held an international advisory committee meeting in the Chinese capital and met with Deng himself.

Six months before the massacre in Tiananmen Square, Kissinger set up a limited investment partnership named China Ventures, of which he personally was chairman, CEO, and general partner. Its brochure helpfully explained that CV involved itself only with projects that "enjoy the unquestioned support of the People's Republic of China." The move proved premature; the climate for investment on the Chinese mainland soured after the post-Tiananmen repression and the limited sanctions approved by Congress. This no doubt contributed to Kissinger's irritation at the criticism of Deng. But while China Ventures lasted, it drew large commitments from American Express, Coca-Cola, Heinz, and a large mining-and-extraction conglomerate named Freeport-McMoRan.

Many of Kissinger's most extreme acts and positions have been taken, at least ostensibly, in the name of anti-Communism. So it is amusing to find him exerting himself on behalf of a regime that can guarantee safe investment by virtue of a one-party ideology, a ban on trade unions, and a slave-labor prison system. Nor is China the sole example here. When Lawrence Eagleburger left the State Department in 1984, having been ambassador to Yugoslavia, he became simultaneously a partner of Kissinger Associates; a director of LBS Bank, a subsidiary of a bank then owned by the Belgrade regime; and the American representative of the "Yugo" mini-car. Yugo duly be came a client of Kissinger Associates, as did a Yugoslav construction concern named Enerjoprojeckt. The Yugo is of particular interest because it was produced by the large state-run conglomerate that also functioned as Yugoslavia's military-industrial and arms-manufacturing complex. This complex was later seized by Slobodan Milosevic, along with the other sinews of what had been the Yugoslav National Army, and used to prosecute wars of aggression against four neighboring republics. At all times during this protracted crisis, and somewhat out of step with many of his usually hawkish colleagues, Henry Kissinger urged a consistent policy of conciliation with the Milosevic regime. (Mr. Eagleburger in due course rejoined the State Department as deputy secretary and briefly became secretary of state. So it goes. )

Much the same can be said for the dual involvement of the "Associates" with Saddam Hussein. When Saddam was riding high in the late 1 980s, and having his way with the departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and throwing money around like the proverbial drunken sailor, and using poison gas and chemical weapons on his Kurdish population without a murmur from Washington, the U.S.-Iraq Business Forum provided a veritable fruit machine of contacts, contracts, and opportunities. Kissinger's partner Alan Stoga, who had also been the economist attached to his Reagan-era Commission on Central America, featured noticeably on a junket to Baghdad. At the same time, Kissinger's firm represented the shady Italian Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, which was later shown to have made illegal loans to Saddam's Baathist regime.

In the same year-1989-Kissinger made his lucrative connection with Freeport-McMoRan, a globalized firm based in New Orleans. Its business is the old-fashioned one of extracting oil, gas, and minerals. Its chairman, James Moffett, has probably earned the favorite titles bestowed by the business and financial pages, being beyond any doubt "flamboyant," "buccaneering," and a "venture capitalist." In 1989, Freeport paid Kissinger Associates a retainer of $200,000 and fees of $600,000, not to mention a promise of a 2 percent commission on future capital investments made with the Associates' advice. Freeport also made Kissinger a member of its board of directors at an annual salary of at least $30,000. In 1990 the two concerns went into business in Burma, the most grimly repressive state in all of South Asia. Freeport would drill for oil and gas, according to the agreement, and Kissinger's other client Daewoo would build the plant. That year, however, the Burmese generals, under their wonderful collective title of SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Council), lost a popular election to the democratic opposition, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, and decided to annul the result. This development-yet more irritating calls for the isolation of the Burmese junta-was unfavorable to the Kissinger Freeport-Daewoo triad, and the proposal lapsed.

But the next year, in March 1991, Kissinger was back in Indonesia with Mr. Moffett, closing a deal for a thirty-year license to continue exploiting a gigantic gold-and-copper mine. The mine is of prime importance for three reasons. First, it was operated as part of a joint venture with the Indonesian military government and with that government's maximum leader. Second, it is located on the island of Irian Jaya (in an area formerly known as West Irian), a part of the archipelago that, like East Timor, is only Indonesian by right of arbitrary conquest. Third, its operations commenced in 1973-two years before Henry Kissinger visited Indonesia and helped unleash the Indonesian bloodbath in East Timor while unlocking a flow of weaponry to his future business partners.

This could mean no more than the "harmony of interest" I suggested above. No more, in other words, than a happy coincidence. What is not coincidental is the following:

( 1 ) Freeport's enormous Grasberg mine in Irian Jaya stands accused of creating an environmental and social catastrophe. In October 1995 the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a federal body that exists to help American companies overseas, decided to cancel Freeport's investment insurance because of political risk, the very element on which Kissinger had furnished soothing assurances in 1991. OPIC concluded that Freeport's mine had "created and continues to pose unreasonable or major environmental, health or safety hazards with respect to the rivers that are being impacted by the tailings, the surrounding terrestrial ecosystem, and the local inhabitants."

(2) The "local inhabitants" who came last on that list are the Amungme people, whose protests at the environmental rape, and at working conditions in the mine, were met by Indonesian regular soldiers at the service of Freeport-McMoRan and under the orders of Suharto. In March 1996 large-scale rioting nearly closed the mine at a cost of four deaths and many injuries.

Freeport-McMoRan mounted an intense lobbying campaign in Washington, with Kissinger's help, to get its OPIC insurance reinstated. The price was the creation of a trust fund of $100 million for the repair of the Grasberg site after it, and its surrounding ecology, has eventually been picked clean. All of this became moot with the overthrow of the Suharto dictatorship, the detention of Suharto himself, and the unmasking of an enormous nexus of "crony capitalism" involving him, his family, his military colleagues, and certain favored multinational corporations.

This political revolution also restored, at incalculable human cost, the independence of East Timor. There was even a suggestion of a war crimes inquiry and a human-rights tribunal to settle some part of the account for the years of genocide and occupation. Once again, Henry Kissinger has had to scan the news with anxiety and wonder whether even worse revelations are in store for him. It will be a national and international disgrace if the answer to this question is left to the pillaged and misgoverned people of Indonesia, rather than devolving onto an American Congress that has for so long shirked its proper responsibility.

The subject awaits its magistrate.


As Henry Kissinger now understands, /~ there are increasingly noticeable rents ,L. and tears in the cloak of immunity that has shrouded him until now. Recent evolutions in national and international law have made his position an exposed and, indeed, a vulnerable one. For convenience, the distinct areas of law may be grouped under four main headings:

1) International Human Rights Law. This comprises the grand and sonorous covenants on the rights of the individual in relation to the state; it also protects the individual from other actors in the international community who might violate those rights. Following from the French Revolution's "Declaration of the Rights of Man," international human-rights law holds that political associations are legitimate only insofar as they preserve the dignity and well-being of individuals, a view that challenges the realpolitik privilege given to the "national interest." The United States is directly associated with sponsoring many of these covenants and has ratified several others.

2) The Law of Armed Conflict. Somewhat protean and uneven, this represents the gradual emergence of a legal consensus on what is, and what is not, permissible during a state of war. It also comprises the various humanitarian agreements that determine the customary "law of war" and that attempt to reduce the oxymoronic element in this ancient debate.

3) International Criminal Law. This concerns any individual, including an agent of any state, who commits direct arid grave atrocities against either his "own" citizens or those of another state; covered here are genocide, crimes against humanity, and other crimes of war. The Rome Statute, which also establishes an International Criminal Court for the trial of individuals, including governmental offenders, is the codified summa of this law as revised and updated since the Nuremberg precedent. It commands the signatures of most governments as well as, since December 31, 2000, that of the United States.

4) Domestic Law and the Law of Civil Remedies. Most governments have similar laws that govern crimes such as murder, kidnapping, and larceny, and many of them treat any offender from any country as the same. These laws in many cases permit a citizen of any country to seek redress in the courts of the offender's "host" country or country of citizenship. In United States law, one particularly relevant statute is the Alien Tort Claims Act.

The United States is the most generous in granting immunity to itself and partial immunity to its servants, and the most laggard in adhering to international treaties (ratifying the Genocide Convention only in 1988 and signing the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights only in 1992). And the provisions of the Rome Statute, which would expose Kissinger to dire punishment if they had been law from as early as 1968 are not retroactive. The Nuremberg principles, however, were in that year announced by an international convention to have no statute of limitations. International customary law would allow any signatory country (again exempting the United States) to bring suit against Kissinger for crimes against humanity in Indochina.

More importantly, United States federal courts have been found able to exercise jurisdiction over crimes such as assassination, kidnapping, and terrorism, even when these are supposedly protected by the doctrine of state or sovereign immunity. Of a number of landmark cases, the most salient one is the finding of the D.C. Circuit Court in 1980, concerning the car-bomb murder, by Pinochet's agents, of Orlando Letelier and Ronni Moffitt. The court held that "[w]hatever policy options may exist for a foreign country," the Pinochet regime "has no 'discretion' to perpetrate conduct designed to result in the assassination of an individual or individuals, action that is clearly contrary to the precepts of humanity as recognized in both national and international law." Reciprocally speaking, this would apply to an American official seeking to assassinate a Chilean. Assassination was illegal both as a private and a public act when Henry Kissinger was in power and when the attacks on General Schneider of Chile and President Makarios of Cyprus took place.

As the Hinchey report to Congress in 2000 now demonstrates that U.S. government agents were knowingly party to acts of torture, murder, and "disappearance" by Pinochet's death squads, Chilean citizens will be able to bring suit in America under the Alien Tort Claims Act, which grants U.S. federal courts "subject-matter jurisdiction" over a claim when a non-U.S. citizen sues for a civil wrong committed in violation of a U.S. treaty or other international law. Chilean relatives of the "disappeared" and of General Schneider have recently expressed an intention to do so, and I am advised by several international lawyers that Henry Kissinger would indeed be liable under such proceedings.

The Alien Tort Claims Act would also permit victims in other countries, such as Bangladesh or Cambodia, to seek damages from Kissinger, on the model of the recent lawsuit filed in New York against Li Peng, among the Chinese Communist officials most accountable for the 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square.

A significant body of legal theory can be /' brought to bear on the application of "customary law" to the bombardment of civilians in Indochina. The Genocide Convention was not ratified by the United States until 1988. In 1951, however, it was declared by the International Court of Justice to be customary international law. The work of the International Law Commission is in full agreement with this view. There would be argument over whether the numberless victims were a "protected group" under existing law, and also as to whether their treatment was sufficiently indiscriminate, but such argument would place heavy burdens on the defense as well as the prosecution.

An important recent development is the enforcement by third countries-most notably Spain-of the international laws that bind all states. Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish judge who initiated the successful prosecution of General Pinochet, has also secured the detention in Mexico of the Argentine torturer Ricardo Miguel Cavallo, who is now held in prison awaiting extradition. The parliament of Belgium has recently empowered Belgian courts to exercise jurisdiction over war crimes and breaches of the Geneva Convention committed anywhere in the world by a citizen of any country. This practice, which is on the increase, has at minimum the effect of limiting the ability of certain people to travel or to avoid extradition. The Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, and Germany have all recently employed the Geneva Conventions to prosecute war criminals for actions committed against non-nationals by non-nationals. The British House of Lords decision in the matter of Pinochet has also decisively negated the defense of "sovereign immunity" for acts committed by a government or by those following a government's orders. This has led in turn to Pinochet's prosecution in his own country.

There remains the question of American law. Kissinger himself admits that he knowingly broke the law in continuing to supply American weapons to Indonesia, which used them to violate the neutrality of a neighboring territory and to perpetrate gross crimes against humanity. Kissinger also faces legal trouble over his part in the ethnic cleansing of the British colonial island of Diego Garcia in the early 1970s, when indigenous inhabitants were displaced to make room for a United States military base. Lawyers for the Chagos Islanders have already won a judgment in the British courts on this matter, which now moves to a hearing in the United States. The torts cited are "forced relocation, torture, and genocide."

In this altered climate, the United States faces an interesting dilemma. At any moment, one of its most famous citizens may be found liable for terrorist actions under the Alien Tort Claims Act, or may be subject to an international request for extradition, or may be arrested if he travels to a foreign country, or may be cited for crimes against humanity by a court in an allied nation. The non-adherence by the United States to certain treaties and its reluctance to extradite make it improbable that American authorities would cooperate with such actions, though this would gravely undermine the righteousness with which Washington addresses other nations on the subject of human rights. There is also the option of bringing Kissinger to justice in an American court with an American prosecutor. Again the contingency seems a fantastically remote one, but, again, the failure to do so would expose the country to a much more obvious charge of double standards than would have been apparent even two years ago.

The burden therefore rests with the American legal community and with the American human-rights lobbies and non-governmental organizations. They can either persist in averting their gaze from the egregious impunity enjoyed by a notorious war criminal and lawbreaker or they can become seized by the exalted standards to which they continually hold everyone else. The current state of suspended animation, however, cannot last. If the courts and lawyers of this country will not do their duty, we shall watch as the victims and survivors of this man pursue justice and vindication in their own dignified and painstaking way, and at their own expense, and we shall be put to shame.


Christopher Hitchens, formerly Washington editor of Harper's Magazine, is the author of books on the Cyprus crisis Kurdistan, Palestine, and the Anglo-American relationship. He is a regular columnist for Vanity Fair and The Nation.

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