July 21, 2000
The Honorable Madeleine K. Albright
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Madame Secretary,
As you prepare for your trip to South East Asia, including Indonesia, I want to reiterate my very deep concern about the inter-communal violence and paramilitary atrocities still being committed against the people of the Molucca Islands.
President Abdurrahman Wahid's actions in declaring a state of civil emergency and announcing plans to rotate troops who fail to maintain neutrality are welcome but clearly inadequate. As you doubtless know, the religious leadership of the region, including the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Amboina, have called on the United Nations to intervene, a proposal which President Wahid has thus far rejected. Whatever the right formula, it is essential that the Indonesian government take decisive action both to control its own military and to disarm the murderous militia armies.
I know you share these concerns. I can only urge you to make the strongest case possible that order be restored immediately and that international aid agencies be allowed to carry out their essential humanitarian work, needed now more than ever.
With best wishes for the success of your trip, I remain
Bernard Cardinal Law
Archbishop of Boston
Committee on International Policy
United States Catholic Conference