FROM OIL TO ORE: US Vested Interest

(DARI MINYAK KE BIJIH: Kepentingan Tetap A.S.)

In his speech to Indonesian civil/ military and local Papuan Community Leaders on June 13, 1963 in Kotabaru (Jayapura), Indonesian Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Information, Dr. H. Ruslan Abdul Gani stated, '…you all know, what our president on his vocation in Japan recently, besides meeting Tengku Abdulrachman (Malaysia), had also spared most of his time to settle OIL business with the Americans. Peoples are not true - who always say that Soekarno is anti America - it had been proven that when in Japan President KENNEDY sent Soekarno a delegate to settle OIL BUSINESS…' He further stated that '…COLONIALISM is originated by CAPITALISM: what capitalism? If it's trade industrial - it won't be so cruel. If it's Financial-Capitalism, namely Capital Investment - it will be more cruel, for the exploitation policy WILL NOT be considered based on RESOURCES OWNERS' will but based on respective objective factors, prevailed within each investing country…'


Pre-war Oil Exploration by the Dutch in West Papua began in 1930s, however the Dutch government did not want to continue issuing individual concessions. The government wanted to grant a single exclusive concession for the entire territory to one entity, so that it would have a political acceptable excuse for refusing the Japanese companies that had already approached the government for concession. The situation finally lead to the establishment of a new consortium, the NNGPM (Nederlandsch NieuW Guinea Petroleum Masstchappij), but two major oil companies already active in the East Indies, namely, Battafsche Petroleum Mascchappij (Dutch) and Standard Oil (USA - the generic name linked with the Rockefeller Oil Empire as the companies operating were Standard Oil subsidiaries).

In 1935, NNGPN received a concession covering 100,000 square kilometers of West Papua's coastline and low hills, which was later enlarged to 250,000 square kilometers. One of the bases to carry out oil exploration during that time was established in Babo.

In 1936, test drilling on the Klamono anticline in the western Bird's Head produced a very encouraging strike. Exploration and test-drillings also went ahead on Mogoi-Wasion and Misool, however, operations were soon interrupted by the World War II.

Nishijima was the first Japanese to organize crude oil supply for Japan from Indonesia (Sumatera) in the 1950s. Nishijima confirmed his and his superior - Admiral Meada's - awareness of the cast crude oil potential in West Papua, of which Dutch were aslo aware.

The Dutch Naval Chief Staff informe US Navy Admiral King when Gen. MacArthur was mounting the invasion of the Phillipines in 1944 en route to Japan. The oil field he referred to was the same as the Japanese accessed during the war - it was located south of Sorong, approximately 10 km east inland from a natural deep water port, currently known as Kasim Marine Terminal.

Compared to other two small oil fields discovered by the NNGPM before the Japanese WWII invasion, Klamono and Magoi-Wasian, this oild field had far greater potential. The Americans estimated up to 25,000 bblls per day, and the oild was of quality that never before been found anywhere in the world - it need no refining!

One of the US top persons in the US contracting company that was working on this site before the Japanese invasion that did have the knowledge of this oilfield was the person linked with the US Intelligence during and after the war - the person was George de Mhrenschildt - whose name some might recognize as one of the more important persons investigated (but never interviewed) by the Warren Commission set up after the assassination of the President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

One of the top US wartime intelligence officers, who played an important role in the US government during the postwar struggle for Indonesia independence, was Dean Rusk (later Secretary of State for President Kennedy). Rusk headed the Rockefeller Foundation in the 1950s.

A third American to be included as one of those aware of the remarkable wartime oil discovery in West Papua was the former top lawyer of Standard Oil, was Allen Dulles. Dulles resumed his position in 1962 after President Kennedy forced him to resign from his position as Director the Central Intelligence Agency.

In mentioning Dulles, de Mohrencshildt and Rusk, we are touching on the subject of how the military-industrial complex in the USA wielded influence in the US government, for the influence it had then, and still has today, in undermining Papuan Self-Determination was, and is, immense.


The Freeport Sulphur Company was formed on July 12, 1912 by Eric Swenson. Its charter was to construct the US second Frasch process sulfur mine, that involved the construction of a 'free port' at the mouth of the Brazos River, on the Gulf of Mexico due south Houston Texas.

In 1932, Freeport's search for new reserves led the company to Louisiana, where it bought the sulfur rights to Grande Ecaille from three petroleum companies. While Grande Ecaille was being developed, the company became interested in minerals other than sulfur, and in the potential of overseas operation.

By 1940, the Nicaro Nickel Company was chartered as subsidiary of Freeport Sulphur for the production of nickel from Cuban ores. Freeport's commodities increased. Annual sulfur production grew to one million tons and the company - with a contract to supply nickel to the US Government - began construction in Cuba of full-scale plant to produce nickel from lateritic ores. By the time this operation was shut down in 1947, it had supplied 63 million pounds of nickel to the war effort.

In the mid 1950's Freeport's mining and production facilities were in Texas, Louisiana and Cuba, and its corporate headquarters were in New York City. During this decade Freeport chartered the Moa Bay Mining Company to produce nickel and cobalt from ores at Moa Bay, Cuba.

In 1959, just after the company shipped its first boat-load of nickel, Fidel Castro's government expropriated the Moa Bay Mine. The loss of this nickel operations triggered further world-wide diversification. In the same year, Freeport Sulphur's Exploration Manager - and later Freeport Minerals president - Forbes K. Wilson, based on Jan van Gruisen (an Oast Borneo Maatschappij mining engineer) recommendations on Jean Jacques Dozy's geological reports, flew to The Hague, Netherlands to meet Dozy, to obtain first-hand information about the "Ore Mountain."


Early oil exploration at Babo, was indirectly responsible for the biggest mineral find in West Papua.

In 1963 Jean Jacques Dozy, a young exploration geologist, and one of the world's first photo-geologist, arrived in Bobo to work on the aerial mapping of the oil concession area. Dozy's doctoral research had taken him to the highest part of Bergamo Alps in north Italy for mapping work, and his first tour-of-duty in the East Indies was in the lowlands of Bornea. When he arrived in West Papua, Dozy recalled, the coastal charts were full of blanks. As it was said, one of Dozy's favorite sheets, which he regrets having lost, carried this notation in one of its blank areas: "Here a tax collector has been eaten."

The manager of the Babo operations was Dr. Anthon H. Colijn, a lawyer who also happened to be the son of Holland's prime minister. Colijn was aboard the Sikorsky on one of its trial flights in West Papua, to test the aircraft's operating ceiling under local conditions. After an hour of climbing, the plane reached altitude of 4,000 m. and Colijn saw the Cartensz peaks paking above the clouds in the distance. He was a great lover of mountains, and a rabid alpinist, and could not resist having a look. At its maximum working altitude of 5,000m, the old plane could not come down abreast of the mountains.

When the plane reached the mountains, Colijn made a very important discovery: The Cartensz did not just fall off on the northern slopes. There was a whole system of valleys and glaciers hidden there.

Back in the club at Babo that night, Colijn report caused excitement. 'Mt. Cartensz was still virgin, and the wildest dreams kept the few alpinist in tropical Babo awake.'

Colijn and Dozy immediately begal laying plans to get there. Using aerial photographs shot from the window of the Sikorsky. Dozy was eventually able to put together a provisional sketch map of the area.

By this time a new pilot had arrived at Bobo, marine flying officer Frits J. Wissel. He was an expert pilot, a talented writer, and, conveniently, an enthusiastic alpinist. On one of his flights for the company, he became the first outsider to see the Paniai Lakes, which were called the Wissel Lakes in his honor until Indonesia took over the administration of the territory. Colijn chose Dozy and Wissel as his companions for the upcoming expedition.

Their expedition started from the oil survey camp Aika on the coast on the morning of October 23, 1936 -Colijn and Dozy (without Wissel who was to support the team with food droppings) and a few porters, using seven long canoes upstream. From there they walked and reached Cartensz Weide on November 23, 1936.

Wissel soon caught up, and the expedition moved camp to Cartensz Weide on November 26, 1936. Two days later (Sat. Nov. 28, 1936) 'Ertsberg' was surveyed. Dozy dubbed this ore body 'Ertsberg' Dutch for 'Ore Mountain.'

Dozy recollection of his first meeting with Wilson: "In 1959 this American visits me and says, 'Say you were in New Guinea and found ore body. How big is it?' After twenty three years the shock holding of this question was like somebody holding a pistol to my chest. 'Well' I said, 'It was a wall' - 'about seventy-five meters high, and something similar in length.' 'Oh, oh!' was his reply. He was the first person to go see for himself whether or not I was talking nonsense. I met him again when he came back, and he said, 'It was much bigger than you said!' "

Forbes WIlson's 1960 expedition to the Ertsberg copper deposit was a direct result of the company's world-wide search for mineral deposits to replace its lost in Cuban operations.

By the 1960s, exploration began in Australia, with the company's geologist looking primarily for nickel. Forbes was actually looking for nickel prospects in Indonesia. Drawing fresh lessons from the company's bitter experience in Cuba, it is clear that Forbes didn't want to risk leading the company into a blunt situation by directly entering Indonesia; he wanted Freeport to use Australia as initial stepping stone to support operations in West Papua.

In late 1957, having lost his case in the United Nations, Soekarno took action at home. Dutch citizens were expelled from Indonesia, and most Dutch assets were seized.

Infuriated by initial preparatory steps taken by the Dutch for West Papuan independence - formally commenced on December 01, 1961 - Soekarno declared the 'People's Triple Command' on December 19, 1961. Small units of Indonesian paratroopers were landed on scattered locations in West Papua in order to expel the Dutch by force.

RFK warned Washington that '..Indos will fight unless West Papuan issue is resolved, and this would be full of dire implications for the free world in Asia…' and when he went to Holland he assured the Dutch that, '…based on my conversation with Soekarno, Subandrio (the foreign minister) and others that I was sure they were interested in resolving this whole matter without armed conflict…'

Eventually, intermediate SECRET NEGOTIATIONS between the Dutch and the Indonesians, with Ellsworth Bunker, led to an agreement on August 15, 1962, under which West Papua, after an interim UN administration would go to Indonesia.

Ellsworth Bunker came from the pre-Castro days in Cuba where he was the leading sugar magnate. In his capacity as head of the US Red Cross, Bunker was chosen by the JFK as mediator in the negotiations conducted at the 150-acre 'Huntland Estate', 40km outside Washington, which was owned by E. Howard Hunt (an oil millionaire who, like Bunker was linked with CIA, but better know for his infamous role in the 1972 Watergate Scandal). The Dutch negotiator, van Roijen, had wanted a plebiscite for the Papuans within two or three years after the departure of the Dutch, to decide whether or not they wished to become part of Indonesia, but Bunker forced van Roijen to agree to six years - before the end of 1969 - and secured his reluctant agreement only when Indonesia accepted the role of the UN in conducting the plebiscite. Initially Bunker had promised that when the Dutch left, there would be a one-year interim (commencing Oct. 01) under the UN control before Indonesia moved in to the territory, but then he intentionally shortened it to six months period and forced van Roijen to agree to May 01, 1963, as the date when Indonesia officially assumed control.

There was an advantage for Freeport having in this interim shortened. Had van Roijen insisted on the longer periog, the mining lease on the gold-copper deposit would have expired and Freeport's prospects of gaining access to the gold deposit - rich beyond their expectations - might well have ended then and there.

HommarksjÖld Assassination

UN Secretary General, DAG HOMMARSJÖLD was killed in Congo in a mysterious plane crash - 1961 - while trying to mediate the Congo dispute.

On August 19, 1998, the Chairman of the South Africa Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Desmond Tutu, announced that the Commission had found documents implicating the CIA in the death of Dag HommarksjÖld, the 2nd UN Secretary General.

What set Congo ablaze in 1961 was the assassination of the prominent left-wing political leader, Patrice Lumumba. The US Senate investigation in the 1970s found that CIA Director, Allen Dulles (who had died in 1969) has personally organized an assassin to go to Congo for the purpose of killing Lumumba.

HommarksjÖld agenda was to settle the dispute in Congo and then flew immediately to Indonesia to settle the dispute between Indonesia and the Netherlands over sovereignty of West Papua. His approach to the sovereignty dispute was utterly different. It did not favour the Dutch nor did if favour Indonesian claim. Instead, the UN Secretary General was promoting Self-Determination for the West Papuan people and he had initiated a revolutionary approach to achieve his plan. UN Officers were to be appointed in a newly independent Papuan government and be answerable only to Papuans, not the UN. Their expertise would assist in the administrative machinery, which often proved the undoing of newly formed states. With this travel of assistance, and Papua being so potentially rich in natural resources, the Papuan economy would have been viable immediately. In turn, THIS WOULD MEAN THE EXCLUSION OF THE GIANT MINING AND OIL COMPANIES which for decades, had been preparing and awaiting a political climate ideally suited to untrammeled exploration. Dog HommarksjÖld was promoting a solution to the West Papuan dispute that would have made years of covert planning by Standard Oil, with its connection straight to the director of CIA, instantly redundant. For this reason, the CIA involvement uncovered in 1998 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission warrants further investigation and needs to utilize a worldwide focus to ascertain the actual motive for the assassination of Dag HommarksjÖld. Allen Dulles himself was an immense worldwide intelligence apparatus so that the killing that took place in Congo, September 1961 might have been motivated by HommarksjÖld's intended involvement around the other side of the world - the Southeast Asia, for instance.

Zilstra's Assassination

The Dutch government in accordance with UN principles of self-determination had established a Dutch Geological Foundation. The managing director, G. Zilstra, had declared his intentions to assist in establishing a viable economy for the newly-independent Papuan state that many people in Holland fully expected to appear. Zilstra had intended to investigate the gold-copper deposit for this purpose. Returning to Holland briefly in November 1962, after the Agreement was signed in August, Zilstra and his wife attended a geological party in the Hague on the night of November 23, and was returning home across the Afsluitdijk (long narrow road across a famous dike) when he was killed by a large truck coming the other way. It simply drove over the driver's section of the car.


By 1966, the stage was set for Freeport to continue with its Ertsberg venture.

The Chairman of Freeport at that time was Longbourne Williams, who head some encouraging news about Indonesia from two executives of Texaco, a company that had been able to retain its large investments in Indonesia even during the height of Soekarno's period of expropriation.

Texaco was successful in large part because of its Indonesian manager, Julius Tahija, a savvy and well-connected businessman, who had served in the military and enjoyed close ties with the government.

Tahija arranged a meeting in Amsterdam between Freeport executives and General Ibnu Sutowo, Indonesia's Minister of Mines and Petroleum. Sutowo told Freeport executives that the Japanese, in particular, had approached him about taking on the development of Ertsberg, but since he felt the US had the best chance of bringing the mine to production quickly, he encouraged Freeport to start up again where it had left off. Freeport president Robert Hills and Forbes Wilson asked Tahija whom he would recommend to help the company negotiate a contract with the Indonesian government a contract with the Indonesian government, and he suggested Ali Budiarjo. This man was a member of Indonesia's inner circle, having served in the 1950s as Secretary-General of Defence and Director of National Development. He fell with Soekarno government in the late 1950s, and during that time he took a masters degree in industrial management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. By 1966 he had set up a law firm, and Freeport became his first foreign client. In 1974, taking over from Forbes Wilson, he became president of PT Freeport Indonesia.

Contract negotiations began in Jakarta in June 1966. Budiarjo's first task was to educate the Freeport executives on the so-called finer points of JAVANESE business ettiquette - "the Americans were ignorant of their political and psychological differences with Indonesians," he said. "Indonesians are not outspoken. They are taught not to question - much less oppose - the opinion of their elders or superiors. I had to explain to the Americans how to draw opinions out of the Indonesians. Also, I told them that they could behave like Americans, but like polite Americans, especially with the authorities." It was at this legal point, all conspirative arrangements begun. Back in the USA, legal counsel, Bob Duke prepared the 'Freeport Contract of Work', and Budiarjo prepared the 'Freeport' Investment Law, that had TOTALLY EXCLUDED TRADITIONAL RIGHTS AND INTERESTS OF THE PAPUANS.

West Papuan Land Rights

The inalienable rights of the West Papuans, including their Land Rights, existed long before the establishment of the Republic of Indonesia.

In 1945 prior to Indonesia's Independence, The Researching Body For Indonesian Independence worked on the new nation's CONSTITUTION. Article 33c, stated that:

The Act of Self-Determination

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