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Occidental Preacher, Accidental Teacher : The Enigmatic Clive Williams, Volume One, 1921-1968

Author :  Shannon L. Smith

Product Details

Big Hill Publishing, Victoria, Australia
ISBN 9780645691719
Format PaperBack
Language English
Year of Publication 2024
Bib. Info x, 254p. Includes Index ; Bibliography
Product Weight 406 gms.
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Product Description

“Australian confidant Clive Williams, who is now visiting the Acting President’s home, reports that he has never seen Soeharto so depressed or distracted. According to Williams, Soeharto stares into space during meals, oblivious to conversation except that touching on rice shortages.” (US Embassy, Jakarta 1968) *** The name Clive Williams has long been kept secret from the public. Those who met him were only a few select politicians, diplomats, business people and journalists and they had national interest, and sometimes self-interest, in keeping his name and his position out of the public spotlight. An Australian, Clive Williams was not a conventional spy, nor diplomat. He was a lot more! He was Indonesian President Soeharto’s closest confidant for more than three decades. They were neighbours and had almost daily meals together. ‘Om’ Clive, as the Soeharto children and grandchildren called him, was part of the inner sanctum of the ruling family. Born in Geelong in 1921, Williams was just a few months older than Soeharto. After several years preaching in remote Australia as a Jehovah’s Witness, Williams graduated from their prestigious Gilead Bible School in New York before arriving in war-torn, newly-independent Indonesia in late 1950 as a missionary. In the mid-1950s Williams was befriended by Colonel Soeharto and his wife and began providing English classes for his army officers. In time Soeharto became President of Indonesia, and Williams followed him into a life of friendship, secrecy and especially loyalty. Williams was always highly sought after by foreign diplomats and journalists. How much did Williams know about Soeharto’s ambitions and thinking in advance of the 1965 Coup D’etat? What was Williams telling the American Government about the internal machinations of the nascent Soeharto government in 1967? What did the Australian Government know about Williams’ relationship with the new Indonesian President in 1968? To what extent did Javanese mysticism affect Soeharto’s decision-making? Williams would come to broker business deals, political playoffs and diplomatic stalemates on behalf of the Indonesian President. And as his English language instructor, would provide Soeharto with his most important diplomatic weapon, fluency in English – to some, Williams was the “President’s Whisperer”. No other Australian, in a non-diplomatic capacity, has ever been as influential on Australian foreign policy and international relations. This is the first of two volumes telling the story of the enigmatic Clive Williams – at once a missionary, English teacher, US intermediary, humanitarian, business power broker, cattle rancher and Australian back-channel diplomat.

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