| Andrew Gilchrist |
|Born||19 April 1910|
|Died||6 March 1993 (Age 82)|
|Alma mater||Edinburgh Academy, Exeter College (Oxford)|
British Ambassador to Indonesia who helped arrange a military coup which organized death squads killing more than 500,000 people.
Sir Andrew Graham Gilchrist was a British Special Operations Executive operative who later served as the United Kingdom's Ambassador Indonesia 1962-66, helping set the stage for one of the biggest mass murders after World War 2, where more than 500,000 people were killed after a military coup.
Early career in Foreign Office and SOE
Gilchrist was born on 19 April 1910 in the village of Lesmahagow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy, before reading History at Exeter College, Oxford from where he graduated in 1931. After Oxford he entered the diplomatic service and had his first overseas posting in Siam, now Thailand.
During the war he spent time in a Japanese PoW camp, before being released in a prisoner exchange. He then joined SOE (Special Operations Executive) and was active in intelligence in India and Siam between 1944 and 1945. In a letter to his wife, he wrote harrowing accounts of worker camps along the Kra Isthmus Railway in Thailand under the Japanese.
In his retirement he wrote a scholarly account of Britain's disastrous military collapse in the Pacific Theater. Winston Churchill himself was singled out for criticism, for failing to protect British assets and placing too much reliance on the support of the US Pacific fleet.
After the war, in 1946 he married Freda Grace Slack and they raised three children; Janet (1947), Christopher (1948) and Jeremy (1951). He continued his career with postings to Iceland and Germany. In 1956 he was appointed British Ambassador to Reykjavik, Iceland. His time there included the First Cod War between the two countries. Anecdotes suggest that while the countries were threatening battle, he went fishing with an Icelandic minister.
As UK Ambassador to Indonesia, he dispatched some revealing messages to London. At the time, Britain was part of an extensive US/UK/Australian operation to topple president Sukarno and install a military government. The British part involved black propaganda, supplies of arms and other encouragement.
Gilchrist reported to London that he had always believed that “I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change,” something that indeed happened, as Indonesian Army death squads went on to execute over 500,000 people in the effort to eliminate opposition.
A Quote by Andrew Gilchrist
|Document:Slaughter in Indonesia 1965-66||“I have never concealed from you my belief that a little shooting in Indonesia would be an essential preliminary to effective change.”||5 October 1965||Letter to the Foreign Office|