Major Department



College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


BA (Bachelor of Arts)

Session and Year of Graduation

Spring 2018

Honors Major Advisor

Alyssa Park

Thesis Mentor

Stephen Vlastos


This thesis investigates the Unites States’ policy in Indonesia and the U.S. government’s response to the massacre of up to one million Indonesians who were labeled communists by ant-communist forces in Indonesia in 1965-1966. The U.S. knew at the time that mass murder was occurring in the archipelago nation. However, President Lyndon B. Johnson and his administration kept silent in addition to providing covert support for the perpetrators of one of the worst massacres of the twentieth century. Through this support, the United States helped topple the incumbent Indonesian President Sukarno and his anti-Western policies, and welcomed the coup leader—General Suharto and his anti-Communist authoritarian regime that ruled Indonesia until 1998. The paper seeks to understand how and why the Johnson administration kept silent about the violence, as well as the level of support offered to the perpetrators of this massacre. The anti-communist purge that occurred in Indonesia from 1965-1966 and the United States’ response to the killings reveal the Cold War objectives of the United States in Southeast Asia. Thus, it is necessary to recognize the United States’ global outlook in the midst of the Cold War to understand the degree of their actions or inaction towards the conspicuous mass killings in Indonesia. Of particular interest in this paper is the depth and quantity of U.S. news coverage on the mass murder in Indonesia between October 1965 and August 1966. It is necessary to look at Johnson administration memorandum, telegrams, and conversations relating to international politics. It is equally important to look at the contemporary news coverage of Indonesia in the United States and abroad.

Total Pages

55 pages


Copyright © 2018 Brian Miner