In August 1977, then Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke traveled to Indonesia to meet with Suharto in the midst of one of the Indonesian military’s brutal counterinsurgency campaigns in East Timor in which tens of thousands of East Timorese were being killed. According to Brad Simpson, Holbrooke visited officially to press for human rights reform. Once Suharto was met by Holbrooke, Suharto was praised for Indonesia’s human rights improvements and was told that Holbrooke in fact welcomed the steps that Indonesia had taken to open East Timor to the West, allowing a delegation of congressmen to enter the territory under strict military guard, where they were greeted by staged celebrations, welcoming the Indonesian armed forces. Simpson alleges that "Behind the scenes, Holbrooke and Zbigniew Brzezinski played point in trying to frustrate the efforts of congressional human rights activists to condition or stop US military assistance to Indonesia and in fact accelerated the flow of weapons to Indonesia."
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