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Frans Kaisiepo
4th Governor of Irian Jaya[a]
In office
26 November 1964 – 29 June 1973
DeputyAgus Subekti
Mohammad Sarwono
Preceded byEliëzer Jan Bonaÿ
Succeeded byAcub Zainal
Personal details
Born(1921-10-10)10 October 1921
Biak, Department of New Guinea, Dutch East Indies
Died10 April 1979(1979-04-10) (aged 57)
Jayapura, Papua, Indonesia
  • Anthomina Arwam
  • Maria Moorwahyuni (m.1973)

Frans Kaisiepo (10 October 1921 – 10 April 1979) was a Papuan politician and Indonesian nationalist. He served as the fourth Governor of Papua Province. In 1993, Kaisiepo was posthumously declared a National Hero of Indonesia (Indonesian: Pahlawan Nasional Indonesia) for his lifelong efforts to unite West Irian with Indonesia. As the representative of Papua province, he was involved in the Malino Conference, where the formation of the United States of Indonesia was discussed.


Kaisiepo was born on the island of Biak on 10 October 1921. He studied at Sekolah Guru Normal at Manokwari. Kaisiepo, and later attended a Civil Administration course at the School of Civil Service in New Guinea.

Indonesian nationalism

In 1945, Kaisiepo met Sugoro Atmoprasodjo at the School of Civil Service. They quickly found common ground due to their shared support for Indonesian independence. Kaisiepo often held discreet meetings to discuss the annexation of Dutch New Guinea by the Republic of Indonesia.

In July 1946, Kaisiepo was the West New Guinean delegate and only Papuan native at the Malino Conference in South Sulawesi. As Speaker, he suggested the territory be called "Irian", explaining the word means "steamy" in his native Biak.[1] In the same month, the Freedom Party of Indonesia (Indonesian: Partai Indonesia Merdeka) was founded by Kaisiepo in Biak, with Lukas Rumkoren as the party's elected leader.

In August 1947, Silas Papare led the raising of the Indonesian red and white flag to commemorate Indonesia’s Independence Day. This action resulted in the arrest of all participants by Dutch police. They were locked up for more than three months. During that time Kaisiepo and Johans Ariks took on Papare's role. Ariks later learned of plans to integrate West Irian as a territory of Indonesia, instead of fostering its autonomy.

Kaisiepo was involved in a rebellion in Biak in March 1948, protesting against Dutch rule. In 1949, he rejected an appointment as delegate leader of Dutch New Guinea in the Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference, since he felt the Dutch were attempting to dictate to him. Because of his resistance, he was imprisoned from 1954 to 1961.

Political career

Upon release from prison in the year 1961, he established the Irian Party that strove to unite Netherlands New Guinea with the Republic of Indonesia. To envisage the decolonization of Netherlands New Guinea, President Sukarno made a speech that established the Trikora (Tri Komando Rakyat, "People’s Triple Command") on 19 December 1961 in Yogyakarta.[2] The command's goals were:

As a result of this historic address, many chose to enlist in the armed forces, as part of Operation Trikora.[citation needed]

Due to the Trikora Action,[citation needed] the Netherlands Government was forced to sign an agreement known as the New York Agreement on 15 August 1962 12:01 hours. The transfer of government administration to UNTEA occurred on 1 October 1962. The transfer of West Irian to Indonesia was conducted by the United Nations the following year on 1 May 1963. Meanwhile, the Indonesian government would be entrusted with developing the region from 1963 to 1969, and at the end of that year the Papuans would have to decide whether or not to join Indonesia or remain autonomous.

The first governor of Irian was Elieser Jon Bonay, who held the office for less than a year (1963–64). In the beginning, Bonay sided with the Indonesians. However, in 1964 he used the Act of Free Choice in Irian Jaya to call for the independence of West Irian as a separate country; this request was forwarded to the United Nations. His action caused him to resign from his post in 1964, when Frans Kaisiepo replaced him as governor. His resignation without a replacement disappointed Bonay and propelled him to join the Free Papua Movement operating in-exile in the Netherlands, becoming one of its prominent figures in the process.

Kaisiepo's term as governor of Irian strove to promote Papua as part of Indonesia. This encouraged support within the state for the Act of Free Choice's option of unification, as opposed to full independence, despite huge opposition from most Papuan natives. In 1969, Irian was admitted to Indonesia as Irian Jaya (later Papua) Province. For his efforts in the unification of Papua with Indonesia, he was elected an MP for Papua in the People's Consultative Assembly elections of 1973 and was appointed to the Supreme Advisory Council in 1977 as its representative for Papuan affairs.

Kaisiepo died on 10 April 1979. He was interred in the Cendrawasih Heroes Burial Site (Indonesian: Taman Makam Pahlawan Cendrawasih) in Biak.


Frans married Anthomina Arwam and had three children. The couple remained together until Arwam's death. On 12 November 1973, he married Maria Magdalena Moorwahyuni from Demak, Central Java. They had one child together.


10,000 rupiah banknote depicting Frans Kaisiepo
10,000 rupiah banknote depicting Frans Kaisiepo

Due to his meritorious service, Frans Kaisiepo was awarded the Trikora and the Act of Free Choice Medal of Merit by the Indonesian government. Frans Kaisiepo desired national unity, and worked toward that goal all of his life. He was honored posthumously as a National Hero of Indonesia[3] on the 30th anniversary of the handover of Papua to Indonesia in 1993.

He is also the namesake of the local airport serving Biak, known as the Frans Kaisiepo International Airport. An Indonesian naval ship, KRI Frans Kaisiepo, is named after him.

Kaisiepo is among the historical figures chosen to be depicted in the recent 2016 edition of Indonesian rupiah banknotes, particularly the Rp10,000 valued note.[4]



  1. ^ At the time Kaisiepo came into office, the name of the Province was “West Irian”. The name later changed to “Irian Jaya” whilst Kaisiepo was still in office. It is now known as Papua Province.


  1. ^ Chris Lundry, Separatism and State Cohesion in Eastern Indonesia (PhD dissertation), Arizona State University, Phoenix, 2009, p. 166
  2. ^ Singh, Bilveer (2008). Papua: geopolitics and the quest for nationhood. Transaction Publishers. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-4128-1206-1.
  3. ^ "Daftar Nama Pahlawan Nasional Republik Indonesia" [List of Names of National Heroes of the Republic of Indonesia]. Awards of the Republic of Indonesia (in Indonesian). Indonesian State Secretariat. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
  4. ^ "BI to Issue New Print Banknotes, Mint Coins with Heroes Images". Cabinet Secretariat of the Republic of Indonesia. Retrieved 28 December 2016.