On January 21, 1997, ETAN issued an Action Alert regarding the likely nomination of Stanley Roth as Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, which had been floated in the Washington Post and other newspapers.
We are concerned about Mr. Roth's long record of support for Suharto and other Asian dictators, and suggested that Americans contact President Clinton and Secretary Albright to urge the appointment of someone with a commitment to making human rights a priority in U.S. foreign policy.
The alert generated broad response from people concerned about East Timor and Indonesia, as well as others involved with Korea and the Philippines who had also differed with Roth over the years.
As of this writing, there has not been an announcement of his nomination, although most other State Department posts at this level have been filled. On February 26, the Washington Post "In the Loop" column by Al Kamen included the following:
"On the East Asia front, another NSC director, Stanley Roth, appeared to have sewn up the counterpart job at the State Department, but some sources are saying that other candidates are still in the mix, including Susan Shirk, director of the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation at the University of California at San Diego, and Richard J. Kessler, staff director for Asia and the Pacific at the House international Relations Committee and before that in the same posting on the Senate side."
Many organizations have communicated their views, and a number of Senators and Congresspeople have communicated privately to the Administration. Here's one statement:
February 3, 1997, Sharon Silber, Ph.D.
Jews Against Genocide, a New York-based human rights organization, announced today their opposition to the consideration of Stanley Roth as Assistant Secretary of State for Asia in the U.S. State Department. "Mr. Roth," said an organization spokesperson, Sharon Silber, Ph.D., "has a history of working on behalf of repressive governments throughout Asia including the Indonesian, South Korean and Philippine dictatorships. His nomination for the position of Assistant Secretary for Asia would be a disaster for the cause of human rights in the region and is likely to encourage atrocities such as the Indonesian oppression and genocide in East Timor. In the past, Mr. Roth has opposed efforts to link the sale of U.S. weapons with human rights, for example, advocating the continued sale of arms to Indonesia allowing the 1991 Dili Massacre. He has consistently opposed the sanctioning of Asian governments for human rights abuses including the use of torture, forced resettlement and sterilization, the suppression of religious and ethnic identity and the killing of civilians. As New Yorkers, as Jews and as concerned citizens of the world, we strongly urge that Mr. Roth not be considered and that a candidate more sensitive to the human rights issues in the region be identified."