Sat, 01 Oct 1994

Nasution says he never intended to unseat Sukarno

JAKARTA (JP): General Abdul Haris Nasution, Indonesia's most senior surviving military figure, says he never had the slightest intention of wresting power from president Sukarno during the political turmoil of the mid-1960s.

Nasution, 75 years old, said in an article that although relations between Sukarno and him had not been good since Nasution was ousted from the military hierarchy structure in 1962, rumors about his plans to grab power from Sukarno are slanderous.

It was simply "unthinkable" that he, or any other general at that time for that matter, would attempt to wrest power from Sukarno. Even if there was any notion for it, it would've been impossible given the situation before and after Oct 1,. 1965, Nasution wrote.

The article, distributed to a number of press publications this week, is timed for the commemoration of the Pancasila Sanctity Day which falls today, on Oct. 1.

It was on Oct. 1, 1965 that the Army, led by a young major general Soeharto, foiled a coup attempt launched by the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) the previous night.

Six generals were abducted from their homes in Jakarta the night before and were brutally murdered. Their bodies were then ditched into a dry well in the Lubang Buaya (Crocodile Hole) area in East Jakarta.

Lubang Buaya is now a museum where every Oct. 1 the Pancasila Sanctity Day is solemnly commemorated.

Nasution, a target of the abduction, managed to escape but lost his daughter and his adjutant in the process.

The PKI justified its action on the pretext that it was preempting an attempt by a number of Army generals, led by Nasution, to grab power from Sukarno.


Nasution recalled that in the aftermath of the Oct. 1 incident, Sukarno gradually stripped him of all remaining positions of influence because of persistent rumors about his desire to grab power.

He said he and the six murdered generals were victims of betrayal by the PKI.

Nasution recalled that he and other Army generals at one time even wrote to Sukarno offering to be put in a tribunal to answer the charges.

He pointed out that the Army generals, including Soeharto, who then was in charge of the Army, continued to remain loyal to Sukarno until he was removed from power by the People's Consultative Assembly in 1967.

He underlined later the fact that the coup perpetrators, during the trials, admitted that allegations of a military power grab was concocted as part of their strategy.

Describing the Sept. 30, 1965 event as a tragedy that nearly wrought havoc on the nation, Nasution said it was only for the grace of God that the communist coup attempt failed, especially in light of their carefully worked out plans and preparations. (emb)