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Full text of "Struggle For Asia"

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Struggle for Asia 



56-06763. 



950 191 s 

LOT 13.50 _ 
Struggle for Asia 



56-06763 





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STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 



STRUGGLE FOR 
ASIA 



by 

Sir FRANCIS LOW 




A 

FREDERICK A. PRAEGER 
NEW YORK 



BOOKS THAT MATTER 

Published in the United States of America in 1955 by 

Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., Publishers, 150 East 52nd Street, 

New York 22, N.Y. 

All rights reserved 



Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 55-11624 
Printed in Great Britain 



FOREWORD 

THIS BOOK is not meant for experts on individual Asian coun- 
tries. It is intended to supply a background on Asian affairs 
for the average citizen, the man or woman who has neither 
the time nor the inclination to pursue intensive research, but who 
reads the daily papers and is frequently puzzled by developments 
which occur in Asia developments that have often a very impor- 
tant bearing on the affairs of the West. 

It is not the purpose of the book to praise or blame the workings 
of the Asian mind, but to explain them to Western readers as un- 
deniable facts which must be taken into account in world affairs. 
Many people in the West will violently disagree with the attitude of 
some Asian countries towards world problems, especially Commu- 
nism; all I can say is that a knowledge of modern Asia's background 
should enable the Western critic to understand, even if he does not 
sympathize with, the Asian point of view. Understanding, in turn, 
may bring a better appreciation of how to help Asia's new democ- 
racies to resist a form of government which is as repugnant to their 
nationalism as it is to the West. Only by a thorough comprehension 
of Asian susceptibilities can the West make its most effective con- 
tribution to the attainment of that co-operation between East and 
West which is vital to the future of humanity as a whole. 

I have to acknowledge with gratitude the help I have received 
from the Foreign Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office and 
the Royal Institute of International Affairs, all of which have fur- 
nished factual information. My grateful thanks are also due to my 
wife, who has assisted in various ways to complete the task. 

FRANCIS Low 



CONTENTS 

Chapter Page 

FOREWORD v 

1 THE EAST AWAKENS i 

2 ASIA'S "TORMENT OF THE MIND" n 

3 THE MIDDLE EAST 16 

4 JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 26 

5 THE TRAGEDY OF CHINA 39 

6 DANGER IN INDONESIA 49 

7 PHILIPPINES MAKE^HEADWAY 61 

8 BURMA'S TRIUMPH 67 

9 A CONTINENT DIVIDES 79 

10 INDIA: DEMOCRACY'S TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 91 

11 TROUBLED PAKISTAN 104 

12 INDEPENDENT CEYLON 116 

13 TERRORISM IN MALAYA 122 

14 KOREA'S AGONY 133 

15 RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 144 

16 TODAY'S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA'S POSITION 159 

17 THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 172 

1 8 INDIA AND CHINA 189 

19 THE COLOMBO POWERS 199 

20 THE MANILA TREATY (SEATO) 212 

21 THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 223 

INDEX 235 

vii 



LIST OF MAPS 

Page 

A MAP OF THE MIDDLE EAST 20 

KOREA AND JAPAN 137 

ASSOCIATED STATES OF INDO-CHINA 151 

SOUTH-EAST ASIA 215 



Chapter One 
THE EAST AWAKENS 



& SIA'S POLITICAL RENASCENCE is one of the most portentous 
L\ world developments of the twentieth century. Just over a 
JL jLhundred years ago the peoples of Asia had either resolutely 
sealed themselves off from all contact with the West or were in- 
capable of defending themselves against Western governments 
which backed the demands of adventurous European and American 
traders. The great continent slumbered, immersed either in its own 
culture and civilization or in its own internal quarrels. Well might 
Matthew Arnold write: 

The East bow'd low before the blast 
In patient, deep disdain. 
She let the legions thunder past, 
And plunged in thought again. 

When in 1853 the American Commodore Perry sailed into Uraga 
harbour in Japan with a mandate from his government to secure, if 
possible, the opening of trade relations with the United States, the 
local inhabitants fled in panic from the foreign "barbarians ". A year 
later when Commodore Perry, with the help of ten ships and two 
thousand men, was able to arrange the opening of the ports of 
Shimoda and Hakodate to American trading interests, he piously 
wrote: "Thus ends my visit to Japan, for which praise God". (One 
wonders how those words would have sounded in American ears on 
the day of Pearl Harbour.) 

But long before this and for half a century afterwards European 
powers steadily acquired possessions in Asia. Between 1847 and 1 868 
Russia annexed Chinese territory which carried die Tsar's empire 
to the China Sea, and after a hard struggle established Russian 
dominion over the independent principalities in central Asia, east 

B I 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Caucasus and Turkestan. All these regions and peoples are now 
within the iron grip of Russian Communism. Meanwhile other 
European nations had not been idle. With the opening of the Cape 
route the Portuguese, Dutch, Spaniards, French, and British had 
pushed their way eastwards by sea and had taken over control of 
Asian territory stretching from Arabia to the Philippines, The dawn 
of the twentieth century saw Western administration established 
over vast regions and populations, with China shackled by a series of 
treaties forced upon her by the leading Western powers, including 
the United States of America. Only Japan, awakened from her rigid 
isolationism by Commodore Perry, showed signs of that tremen- 
dous challenge to the West of which she became the spearhead. 

Yet it had not always been so. To go back to prehistoric times, 
central Asia or Iran may well prove to have been the area where man 
evolved. South-west Asia is now regarded as the most likely scene of 
the earliest cultural development, and certainly the earliest civiliza- 
tion, in the history of mankind. All the great religions of the world 
Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam, to say no tiling of 
Judaism, Zoroastrianism and Taoism originated in Asia. When 
Europe went into the decline of the Middle Ages it narrowly 
escaped complete conquest by waves of Asian invaders. The Huns 
under Attila reached the neighbourhood of Chalons-sur-Marne 
before being stopped in the fifth century. Much later the Turks, in 
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, established themselves in the 
Balkans, and only the death of Muhammad the Conqueror in 1481 
prevented an assault on Italy. 

But the most dangerous of all Asian threats to Europe came from 
the Mongols under Jenghis Khan and his successors in the thirteenth 
century. Out of the vast steppes between China and Siberia swept 
one of die finest armies the world has ever seen, a mass of magnifi- 
cently trained horesmen whose success as a fighting machine was due 
not so much to quantity as to quality. The Mongols, aided by 
strategy and speed far ahead of those of contemporary Western 
armies, smashed their way through heavier ajtid better-armed troops 
whom they scattered like chaff before the wind* Had it not been for 
the death of their Khan after their conquest of Poland, Silesia aad 
Hungary, and their withdrawal to elect a successor, the Mongols 



THE EAST AWAKENS 

might have brought the whole of Europe under their sway. As it was, 
they left the "West licking Its wounds and wondering what had hit it. 
The vivid impress left on Western minds by the Mongol irruption 
finds expression in the writings of Marco Polo. Mr. Maurice Collis 1 
in his book on Marco Polo's travels in the thirteenth century men- 
tions that when he reached Balk, the former capital of Bactria now 
part of Afghanistan and the most easterly of the Greek states 
founded by Alexander the Great Marco Polo, "in spite of his 
admiration for Kublai Khan and the exploits of the Mongols, took 
pride in the thought that a European conqueror had once penetrated 
so far into the East". Mr. Collis goes on: 

"We have to remember that no other European had been able 
to accomplish so much; even the great Roman Empire had 
stopped at the Euphrates. Nowadays, the feats of Alexander 
hardly move us, because we have seen all Asia fall under our 
power. But in the thirteenth century particularly after the Mongol 
invasions tod the sack of part of Europe by these orientals, 
Alexander's reputation was at a dizzy height. Although there had 
been, a pause in the invasions and the Mongols seemed to be 
settling down, the danger remained that they might attack again. 
How wonderful, therefore, to think that once a European had 
succeeded, not only in marching victoriously as far as Balk, but in 
planting a kingdom there, an outpost of Europe against the 
dwellers of the steppe." 1 

This excursion into ancient history is made with a purpose. It 
recalls that at one time Asia came near to dominating Europe 
militarily. It helps to explain something which has surprised and 
puzzled many Western observers who noted die early successes of 
the Japanese against Western troops in. the second World War, 
the stalemate brought about in Korea by the intervention of Chinese 
" volunteers " against the highly modernized United Nations forces 
in 1950, Viet-minh victories over the French in Indo-China in 1954 
and the astounding tenacity of the (mostly Chinese) terrorists in 
Malaya. Nor should we leave out of account the magnificent per- 
formance of the former Indian Army in two world wars, although 
part of that glory was shared by its British officers. We are faced 
1 Marco Polo, by Maurice Collis (Faber and Faber). 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

with the undoubted fact that the Asian soldier, be he Mongoloid or 
Caucasian, and provided he is properly trained and equipped, is 
capable under his own officers of holding his own with the best 
troops of the West. That, in the context of world affairs today, is a 
solemn thought. 

It is a particularly solemn thought when we reflect on Asia's 
immense possibilities. Asia is by far the world's largest and most 
populous continent. It occupies about a third of the total land surface 
of the globe. It is larger than the two American continents combined; 
it is half as big again as Africa and four times the size of Europe. 
Asia's population exceeds that of the rest of the world by over 200 
millions; in 1940 it was estimated at 1,196 millions compared with 
974 millions for the remainder of the earth. Included in the continent 
are two countries, India and Japan, whose population is increasing 
faster than that of any other part of the world except South America. 
(This raises problems for both Asia and the West which will be dis- 
cussed later.) Its peoples are a mixture, mainly Caucasian in the 
West, Mongoloid in the East and Malay on the southern fringes; 
they vary in colour from almost white to brown and yellow. Its 
chief religions are Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam; Christianity has 
made very little impact on Asia as a whole and the recent growth of 
nationalism and Communism are not propitious for its spread. 
Asia's millions are mostly engaged in agriculture, but industrialism 
is rising, particularly in Japan, which led the way, in Asian Russia, 
India and China. The continent's importance as a producer of 
rubber and tin needs no emphasis, but of late its oilfields, especially 
those in Arabia, have under Western exploitation assumed world- 
wide significance. 

Culturally Asia may be said to have stagnated in the last few cen- 
turies as much as it did politically, but in historical times the cultures 
of China, India and Japan were all in their own way remarkable. 
When we talk of the cultural debt which Europe owes to Greece 
and Rome, we must remember that China, the world's oldest 
existing State with authentic history dating back to the twelfth 
century B.C., has a cultural tradition infinitely older than that of the 
West. Again to quote Mr. Maurice Collis, 1 Hang-chow, the capital 
1 Marco Polo, by Maurice Collis (Faber and Faber), 



THE EAST AWAKENS 

of the Sung dynasty Chinese empire situated south-west of modern 
Shanghai, was in the thirteenth century " the greatest intellectual and 
artistic centre in the world, .greater than any which had ever existed 
anywhere, including classical Rome, and greater than any which has 
since come into existence, including Paris and London, because it 
could look back on a much larger and more solid evolution of 
intellect". True, the China of Mr. Mao Tse-tung is not the China of 
the Sung dynasty, but we cannot forget that Asia has a background 
of culture unparalleled in history. During the last few centuries Asia 
may have stagnated as did Europe in the Middle Ages, yet the 
significant fact for the "West is that the world's biggest continent is 
today in the grip of a revolution. Who can say that this rebirth may 
not ultimately have results as momentous to humanity as the last 
century produced in Europe and America? 

The revolution which has taken place in Asia, and is still in pro- 
gress, is a complicated affair. Its roots lie deep in a revolt against 
Western domination. But that is only part of the story. Super- 
imposed on Asia's nationalism is a struggle for economic and social 
regeneration caused by the impact of Western ways of life and 
ideas on masses of humanity which for centuries have patiently 
endured as their predestined lot the twin afflictions of poverty 
and want. They lived under the shadow of famine and pestilence, 
of maladministration and corruption. It would be fascinating to 
speculate on the course which the history of Asia would have 
followed if its peoples had not been rudely disturbed by the restless 
West; its evolution would certainly have been much slower. As it 
happened, the transfer of power from the feudal rulers to the middle 
classes and then to the masses, which in Europe took centuries to 
achieve, was telescoped over large parts of Asia into a remarkably 
short period. 

That is why nationalism in Asia is so frequently mixed up with 
Communism, and why Asians themselves sometimes have great 
difficulty in distinguishing between the two. As an Indian journalist 
is reported to have said to an American colleague: "You tell me 
that Dr. Ho Chi-minh is a Communist. But if he is fighting against 
the French in Indo-China for the freedom of his country he must be 
a nationalist!" Ever since the stirrings of Asiaa nationalism against 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Western domination began the Communists have been quick to 
exploit this feeling. "Down with imperialism and colonialism" 
embodying one of Lenin's maxims has Jong been one of the chief 
rallying cries of Asian Communists directed from Moscow; it is a 
cry which finds a ready echo in the heart of every Asian nationalist 
sincerely devoted to the cause of his country's freedom from outside 
control Little wonder, therefore, that the average Asian does not 
today see clearly and unequivocally the menace to human liberty 
which the Western world knows to exist in Communism. 

Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, put the matter 
succinctly in his opening address to the Eleventh Conference of the 
Institute of Pacific Relations in October 1950. "When Indonesia 
was struggling for its freedom," he said, c< it seemed a monstrous 
thing to ask any country to support Dutch imperialism there. . . . 
No argument in any country of Asia is going to have weight if it 
goes counter to the nationalist spirit of the country, Communism or 
no Communism. That has to be understood." In other words, when 
Asian countries were struggling to free themselves from Western 
dominion, Public Enemy No. i was not Communism; it was 
"Western imperialism". That feeling persists today even after Wes- 
tern imperialism has practically ceased to exist. Happily there are 
distinct signs among the nations of South-East Asia that the threat 
of Communist "imperialism" to their newly acquired democratic 
way of life is beginning to be realized. 

Other reasons exist for Asia's recent complacence about Commu- 
nism. For centuries the tradition of government in the East has been 
autocratic, and in a country like China, for example, individual free- 
dom to men and women of the toiling peasant masses means very 
little. What they are mainly concerned about is food, shelter and 
personal security. Any indigenous system of government which 
promises and provides these things is to be welcomed. Fine resound- 
ing phrases about the liberty of man, the virtues of parliamentary 
democracy and complete freedom of franchise pass high over the 
head of the average peasant, obsessed as he is with the essentials of 
existence. In China, at any rate, parliamentary democracy as the 
West understands it was never given a chance. 

But to return to the rise of Asian nationalism. It cam be laid with 



THE EAST AWAKENS 

truth that before Europe interfered in the affairs of Asia during the 
past century there was very little of what we today might call an 
Asian feeling, that is, a feeling by Asian countries of being part of an 
international community. In the words of a Japanese writer: 1 
"Asiatic countries have been brought into an ' international com- 
munity* in the European sense more or less forcibly by outside 
pressure. It was as a reaction to this pressure brought to bear on 
Asiatic countries by the European world as a whole that elementary 
nationalistic feelings first began to take shape in all these countries. 
. . . Nationalism in this first, pre-modern, state developed in the form 
of the ideology of * expelling the barbarians' ". 

The lack of an Asian feeling in earlier times is clearly evident from 
reference to history. It cannot be said that when emissaries from the 
England of Queen Elizabeth I appeared at the Court of the Emperor 
Akhbar in India there was much community of feeling between the 
Moguls and their Chinese neighbours of the type which Christian- 
ity engendered in Europe. On the contrary, in China and Japan the 
attitude of the rulers was one of supreme contempt for any kind of 
foreigner. From outside "barbarians" they expected nothing but 
homage. The Chinese Emperor Ch'ien Lung, in declining to accept 
an ambassador from Britain in die reign of George III, pontifically 
replied: "Our dynasty's majestic virtue has penetrated into every 
country under Heaven and kings of all nations have offered their 
costly tribute by land and sea". That type of attitude was not 
exactly calculated to promote the community spirit either in Asia or 
anywhere else. It was only when the China of Sun Yat-sen a century 
later was trying to free itself from the "unequal treaties" imposed by 
European powers that there spread throughout Asian countries a 
feeling of comradeship in revolt. 

It began with Japan's dramatic victory over the Russians in the 
Russo-Japanese war of 1904-5. Japan's contribution to the rise of 
nationalism in Asia and the growth of an all-Asia feeling was 
remarkable, if peculiar. Alone among the larger countries of Asia 
Japan eluded the grip of the West. After the restoration of the 
emperor's authority in 1871 the ruling class in Japan never lost its 

1 Nationalism in Post-War Japan t by Masao Maruyama (Japan Institute of Pacific 
Relation*). 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

power; instead it consolidated that power on a basis which made 
Japan in effect the world's first modern totalitarian state. With that 
amazing adaptability which is their distinguishing feature, the 
Japanese quickly realized that the strength of the West rested on 
industry, and that the only way to compete with the West was to 
develop industry along Western lines. "Machinery and technique 
we shall take from them," said a well-known Japanese leader of the 
restoration period, "but moral virtues we have among us." 

Therein lay the secret of Japan's astonishing rise to world power. 
The ruling classes, by carefully eliminating all "dangerous thoughts " 
inimical to the regime, inspired and directed the aggressive national- 
ism which brought Japan through many triumphs to disaster in 
1945. Yet forty years earlier Japan's victory over Russia the first 
victory of an Asian over a European nation for centuries sent a 
thrill of pride throughout the continent. It stirred up a flicker of 
nationalism, of revolt against the West, from one end of Asia to the 
other. The Japanese became the spearhead of Asia's political 
renascence. Unfortunately they conceived themselves not merely 
the spearhead but the leader, director and sole authority on the sub- 
ject. In vain did Sun Yat-sen, the founder of modern China, re- 
iterate in Japan and elsewhere his belief that the independence 
movement in Asia would succeed only if all Asian peoples stood 
together. The Japanese ruling classes believed themselves to be the 
divinely inspired instrument of Asian regeneration; they regarded 
with typical Eastern contempt all other efforts in that direction. 

Thus was born the " Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere", 
proclaimed in 1938 as Japan's infallible remedy for Asia's ills. There 
is no doubt that Japan's ultimate aim was to extend her power over 
the whole continent, or at any rate the greater part of it That is 
clearly evident from the policy enunciated by the Tokio cabinet 
after the outbreak of the second World War, which provided 
Japan's rulers with a unique opportunity of realizing their expan- 
sionist ambitions. The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was 
to apply to China (which Japan was then trying to subjugate) 
Manchukuo, French Indo-China, Siam, Malaya, Borneo* the 
Dutch East Indies, Burma and possibly India, although it was con- 
ceded that India might fall to German or Russian control. 



THE EAST AWAKENS 

One would have thought that to the countries included in the 
Japanese scheme the prospect of jumping from the Western frying 
pan into the Japanese fire would offer little attraction, but it was the 
astute way in which Tokio set about its business which won their 
support at least in the beginning. U Nu, the Prime Minister of 
Burma, 1 frankly records that when Japan entered the second World 
War her reputation throughout Asia was poor owing to her 
aggression against Nationalist China, yet the Burmese nationalists in 
effect exclaimed: "Here is our leader against Western rule". 
Simultaneously with the attack on Pearl Harbour there was loosed 
from Tokio a flood of propaganda announcing Japan's policy of 
"Asia for the Asians" and the end of white domination. 

As country after country fell to the Japanese as far east as Burma 
the conquerors duly set up indigenous governments, but these had 
little real power so long as the Japanese army commanders were in 
effective control. In fact disillusionment reached such a stage in 
Burma that Burmese nationalists under Aung San rebelled against 
their overlords and offered their co-operation to the British 
authorities during the campaign which led to the ejection of the 
Japanese by British and Indian troops of the Fourteenth Army. It 
was only when the Japanese saw defeat staring them in the face in the 
Pacific that, as a dying kick at their enemies, they handed over power 
wherever they could to the peoples they had claimed to liberate. 

In this way Japan made her biggest practical contribution to the 
freedom of Western-controlled Asian countries. The inhabitants of 
these countries could not forget that under Japanese domination 
they had achieved at least the trappings of independence; they had 
tasted responsibility, and in most cases as a result of the Japanese 
surrender thay had acquired arms on a considerable scale. That is 
why, despite the sufferings caused in South-East Asia by the Japanese, 
despite die brutalities of their troops, there is surprisingly little 
hostility to Japan throughout the region today except in China and 
the Philippines. The general attitude of the intelligentsia is that 
whatever Japan's motives may have been she did at least strike a 
blow for Asian freedom, and that as far as war guilt is concerned she 
was more sinned against than sinning. 

1 Burma Under the Japanese, by Thakin Nu (Macmillan and Co. Ltd.). 
B* 9 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

This point of view found expression in what seemed to die West 
the astonishing decision of Mr. Justice Pal, the Indian member of the 
International Military Tribunal for the Far East, who contended 
that Japan could not be accused of aggression since her belligerence 
was the inevitable reaction to Western imperialism! Much on the 
same lines was India's attitude towards the Japanese peace treaty of 
1951 which she refused, greatly to America's annoyance, to sign. 
Mr, Jawaharlal Nehru's Government declined to be a party to the 
treaty because its terms did not concede to Japan "a place of honour, 
equality and contentment among the community of free nations"; 
these conditions, India maintained, were not fulfilled because of the 
continued United States occupation of die Ryukyu and Bonin 
islands. Strange though this attitude may appear in Western eyes, it 
does represent an Asian feeling, and in no way can that feeling be 
roused more quickly than by interference from the West. 

Asia may be a vast continent comprising many diverse races, 
creeds and cultures, yet there is one issue on which its strangely 
assorted congeries of nationalities is in agreement: it resents any 
attempt by Europe or America to settle its problems by force or 
otherwise without Asian consent and co-operation. The old sus- 
picion of the West dies haxd. Burns's passionate declaration in 
"Does Haughty Gad Invasion Threat?": 

"For never but by British hands 

Maun British wrangs be righted!" 

finds an echo in Asia, which substitutes " Asian" for "British". And 
this sentiment is as strong in the Arab States, in Iran and in the 
Commonwealth group of nations of which India is the centre as it is 
in Communist China. Asia badly wants all kinds of Western help, 
but it must be given on Asia's terms; there must be no strings 
attached. The new Asia stands for equaEty: what it bitterly resents 
is any feeling of inferiority in its dealings with the West Unless the 
West recognizes this fundamental fact, relations between East and 
West can never be harmonious. 



10 



Chapter Two 
ASIA'S "TORMENT OF THE MIND' 



,_j STRUGGLE WHICH is taking place in Asia today is a struggle 
for Asia's soul no less than for the continent's material wel- 

fare. "There is torment in our minds," said Mr. Jawaharlal 

Nehru in his address to the Eleventh Conference of the Institute of 
Pacific Relations, "and there are all kinds of questions before us 

which we seek to answer It (the torment) takes different shapes 

in different countries, of course, and it is a problem for us ultimately 
to understand and to solve, with the help of others, I hope, but the 
burden is ours. Others can help, as others can hinder, but they cannot 
solve it for us." 

This torment of the Asian mind arises from the clamant need to 
provide a decent standard of living for the 1,200 million human 
beings who constitute Asia's population. It is no exaggeration to say 
that on the ability of Asia, with or without Western help, to solve 
this gigantic problem may well depend the destiny of mankind. 
Here, again, the impact of the West on Asian countries during the 
last hundred years is largely responsible for the nature of the social 
and economic crisis with which Asia is faced. When the Western 
Powers took over control of large parts of the East, when they set up 
trading stations in countries nominally independent, they eventually 
upset the balance of Asia's traditional social and economic system; 
they opened a doorway on a hitherto unknown world. 

No one can deny that in many respects the Western coloniaag 
powers did an immense amount of good. They created stable 
r6gimes in place of the former insecurity; they stimulated the pro- 
duction of primary commodities and minerals for which there was a 
world demand; they brought wealth in the shape of trade to the 
territories concerned; they built roads, railways and irrigation works, 
and they improved the standard of public health. But they disturbed 

IX 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

the ancient social order and what Mr. Edwin Montagu, British 
Secretary of State for India during the first World War, called the 
"pathetic contentment" of the masses. As the result of Western 
exploitation designed, it must be confessed, mainly for the benefit 
of the Western countries involved money flowed into Eastern 
lands but it seldom benefited the people in greatest need of it. 
Thanks to Western trade and enterprise there grew up a small sec- 
tion of the community in each country that took full advantage of 
the influx of wealth, but for various reasons, including the rapid 
increase of population where work was available under conditions of 
internal peace, the standard of living of the peasantry, which con- 
stitutes the bulk of Asia's peoples, did not rise. In many cases it 
actually fell in relation to world standards. 

The latest available official figures reveal a tragic state of affairs. 
According to the Economic Survey of Asia and the Far East, 1947, the 
income per head in terms of 1946 U.S. dollars amounted to 23 in 
China, 35 in Indonesia and 43 in India compared with 1,269 for the 
United States of America and 660 for Great Britain, Much of this 
disparity is, of course, due to the terrific pressure of the population 
on the land in East Asia, a circumstance for which the Western 
Powers cannot be blamed except in so far as their exploitation and 
protection contributed to it by the lessening of famine, pestilence 
and internecine wars. In Japan, for example, a country which never 
came under Western occupation until after the second World War, 
there are 3,300 people to every square mile of cultivated land, 1,900 
in Java, 1,100 in China and 940 in India. In the United States before 
the last war the figure was something like 36 persons to the square 
mile not the cultivated mile, it is true, but even if we double the 
figure the result is sufficiently staggering. 

As Professor W. Macmahon Ball 1 points out, the colonial powers 
usually failed to distinguish between economic progress and social 
security, and while a poor man may be content to stay poor in a 
poor man's country he may not be content to stay poor in a rich 
man's country. In other words, the gross inequality between the 
standard of living of the Western trader and the Asian middle class 

1 Nationalism and Communism in East Asia, by "W, Macmahon Ball (Melbourne 
University Press). 

12 



ASIA S TORMENT OF THE MIND 

which benefited from his activities on the one hand, and the vast 
mass of indigenous population on the other, could not fail in time to 
create active discontent. 

Just as the victory of Japan over Russia at the beginning of the 
century kindled the spark of nationalism in many Eastern lands, so 
the Russian revolution during the first World War attracted the 
keen attention of Eastern sociologists. In the early nineteen-twenties 
bearers of the new Communist gospel spread to all parts of Asia, and 
it cannot be denied that that in the period between the two World 
Wars the Eastern mind was tremendously struck by the much 
advertised planned progress achieved in Russia. It was no good 
pointing out to these enthusiasts that a democratic government could 
have done the same thing in a more humane manner; what the East 
noted was that the Russian proletarian leaders had overthrown their 
imperial and feudal masters and had pulled themselves and their 
country up, so to speak, by their own boot-straps. It was also of 
little avail to argue that the Communist reorganization of Russia 
involved the callous destruction of many of its inhabitants and great 
suffering for others, that cultivators were being forced into collecti- 
vized farms, and that for the ordinary citizen there was no freedom 
of thought or speech. 

To the Easterner, hardship and authoritarian rule are not the evils 
they appear to the West. The rest of Asia, for instance, seemed to be 
singularly unmoved by the liquidation of about two million fol- 
lowers of General Chiang Kai-shek officially described as "bandits 
and reactionaries" by Mr. Mao Tse-tung's Government after the 
Communists had established themselves in power in China. To 
Eastern peoples struggling for political freedom the most impressive 
thing about Communism was that the Russian leaders appeared to 
have found an answer to mass poverty and misery, and that they had 
done so by abolishing both imperialism and capitalism, the two 
systems they associated with the Western Powers which had so long 
exercised authority over them. 

To the Western mind this will seem a lamentably lop-sided view, 
which totally ignores the grimmer aspect of Communist rule. But 
as one who long resided in the East I can only give the facts as I saw 
them; I can only repeat the arguments which I heard so often. 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Moreover, during the second World War the Western democracies 
themselves extolled the deeds of their ally, the Soviet State, and the 
magnificent performance of the Russian army in defence of its 
homeland was regarded in Asia as yet another proof of the virtues of 
the Soviet regime. The wonder is that, outside China, Communism 
has not achieved much greater headway among Eastern peoples 
than it has actually done. 

This brings me to a feature of the struggle between nationalism 
and Communism in Asia which may seem strange to people in the 
West. From its earliest days the Marxist creed was directed by its 
disciples in Europe and America almost exclusively to industrial 
workers in the cities who constituted the proletariat on whom the 
Communist state was to be built. The men of the Kremlin looked 
for recruits among poorly paid wage earners in factories; so strongly 
did this idea persist that for many years Marshal Stalin had obviously 
no faith in Mr. Mao Tse-tung's movement among the peasants of 
north-west China. Indeed, it is one of the ironies of fate that the 
great hero of China today, the foreigner whose portrait is carried in 
every procession alongside that of Mr. Mao Tse-tung Marshal 
Stalin is one who not many years ago treated the Chinese Com- 
munists with something approaching contempt. 

In Asia the most fruitful field for Communism is to be found in 
the rural areas. This is not really surprising when we consider the 
facts. Communism appeals to the "under-privileged", that class of 
people who consider that they are not getting from society the kind 
of treatment to which they think they are entitled. In Asia the people 
to whom this description best applies are the peasants who, as I have 
noted earlier, have struggled for centuries against famine and pesti- 
lence, maladministration and corruption, insecurity and the tyranny 
of rapacious landlords. They constitute in every case the vast bulk 
of the population, since there has not yet grown up in Asia the large 
landless proletariat to be found in the West 

In India, for example, the cotton textile worker never loses touch 
with the land; Ms fnain idea in working in a cotton mill is to sup- 
plement the family earnings, and at regular intervals most mill- 
workers return to their family holdings in the mofussii It was not the 
Bombay miUhand who fell a victim to Communism a few years 

14 



ASIA S TORMENT OF THE MIND 

ago when the call to action was sounded. Far from it; he proved to 
be a staunch nationalist. The people who provide India's Central 
and State legislatures with the majority of their Communist mem- 
bers live in the rural areas of Hyderabad, South India and Bengal. 
This rule applies generally to the whole of Asia; peasant support 
gave the Chinese Communists the strength which enabled them to 
seize control of the country. Today the position may have changed; 
the Peking Government is now reported to have more party mem- 
bers among city workers than it has in the districts, but that does not 
alter the basic cause of its success. Nor does it disprove the claim that 
if Communism in China lost its appeal to the peasants it would soon 
lose its dominance in the country. It is among the peasantry of Asia 
that the Communist appeal to the masses must be fought and over- 
come. To discover how the battle is going it is necessary to examine 
the growth of nationalism, Communism and social revolution in the 
main countries and groups of countries in Asia. 



Chapter Three 
THE MIDDLE EAST 



K r OTHiNG ILLUSTRATES MORE vividly the rise of nationalism in 
Asia than a glance at the map. Since the beginning of the 
^. I century there has spread across the face of the "changeless 
East" of Victorian days a rash of sovereign states, some of which 
started their careers as mandates under the League of Nations. The 
first World War saw the end of the old Turkish empire in what is 
now generally known as the Middle East, and in its place we have 
the Arab States Saudi Arabia (which threw off the Turkish yoke in 
1913), Syria, the Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq together with the 
Jewish state of Israel, After the second World War came a second 
and much greater development of nationalities in the East and Far 
East. Six new independent natipns sprang into being India, 
Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma, Indonesia and the Philippines. Two others, 
Korea and Viet Nam, were nominally given their independence 
but their territory is at present a bone of contention between the 
two major power blocs. The remaining Associated States of Indo- 
China, Laos and Cambodia, had their independence guaranteed 
under the Geneva agreement of 1954. China, Persia and Afghanistan 
have all been released from any hint of Western control. 

Only scattered fragments of Asia's vast bulk remain under Wes- 
tern administration; they include Malaya, with Singapore island; 
Sarawak, Brunei and North Borneo in the island of Borneo; and 
Hongkong all British together with three small Portuguese 
possessions in India Goa, Daman and Diu which are a constant 
irritant to the Indian people and the cause of much ill feeling between 
the Governments of India and Portugal. (The last of a series of petty 
French enclaves in India were handed back in 1954.) By far the most 
important of these territories is Malaya, one of die world's chief 
sources of rubber and tin, which would probably have been 

16 



THE MIDDIE EAST 

self-governing today had it not been for the mixed character of its 
population and the clash of different nationalities in its political 
make-up. It will thus be seen that to all intents and purposes Asia's 
battle for nationalism has been won. "Where Western influence per- 
sists it does so either by agreement with those concerned or on the 
understanding that its ultimate aim, as in Malaya, is full self- 
government. 

It is difficult to split Asia into political blocs in the same way as one 
can demarcate clear lines of division in the West. While all Asian 
nations, with the exception of Israel, can claim to be "Asia minded" 
when it comes to dealing with the West, some of them differ 
sharply in their relations with one another. India and Pakistan, for 
example, disagree violently over Kashmir; Delhi and Colombo 
quarrel because of the treatment of Indians in Ceylon, and Com- 
munist China regards her old enemy Japan as little better than an 
American colony. 

Yet the continent does fall into several more or less well defined 
groups. Whatever their future attitude towards each other may be, 
Russia in Asia and China at present form a solid Communist mass. 
On the other side of the curtain, associated with the Western powers 
of the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty (popularly known 
as SEATO after its Western counterpart NATO) for defence against 
Communist aggression, either open or subversive, are the Philip- 
pines, Siam and Pakistan, three nations which have little in common 
except the pact signed at Manila towards the end of 1954. 

The most outstanding group is that known as the Colombo 
Powers, comprising the major part of Britain's erstwhile Asian 
empire and the former Dutch possessions. They include India, 
Pakistan and Ceylon, which became member states of the Common- 
wealth on achieving independence; Burma, which is now outside 
the Commonwealth but is closely associated with it; and Indonesia, 
the successor state of the Netherlands East Indies, a somewhat weak 
brother whose internal affairs are still rather chaotic. Although 
Pakistan signed the SEATO pact, which the rest of the Colombo 
Powers dislike, nevertheless Pakistan continues to be a member of 
the group. 

The Colombo Powers believe in the parliamentary form of 

17 



STRTJGG1E FOR ASIA 

democracy which most of them inherited from the British; they are 
strongly opposed to Communism in their own countries and have 
no intention, if they can manage it, of allowing a Communist 
administration to take the place of their present party governments. 
But this does not mean their acceptance of the American view of 
Communism as a curse which should be banished from the earth; 
they recognize the right of any country, Eastern or Western, to 
adopt Communism if it so desires, and they are prepared to live in 
harmony with it provided it does not attempt to impose its views on 
them by force. They still suffer from what I would call a hangover 
from Western occupation, and although imperialism aid colonial- 
ism have departed they continue to regard these ogres with a lively 
horror which Communism does not inspire. To that extent they 
live in the past, though signs accumulate that they are catching up 
with the times. 

Finally, we have the Middle East group of predominantly Muslim 
nations embracing Afghanistan, Persia, Turkey, the Arab States 
(which include Egypt), and Israel. In none of these states, except 
Persia, is nationalism threatened internally by Communism to any 
great extent, and I therefore propose to deal very briefly with them. 
Two things are of special significance in the Middle East today. The 
first is that, with the exception of Turkey which is definitely allied 
to the West, all Middle East countries share to a remarkable degree 
South-East Asia's antipathy to any kind of Western " imperialism", 
and are as touchy as die rest of the continent about political strings 
being attached to Western help. 

The second is that there hangs over the whole region the shadow 
of Russia. In Victorian days the ogre was Russia of the Tsars; today 
it is Russia of the Communists, thereby demonstrating the truth of 
the old adage that while a country's form of government may 
change its national outlook remains unaltered. Tsarist Russia 
hungered for an outlet to the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. 
Communist Russia has never disguised its desire for control of the 
Dardanelles, while the mineral wealth of the Middle East recently 
revealed by Western exploitation must constitute to the hierarchy 
of the Kremlin an attraction vasdy greater than access to the Persian 
Gulf did to St. Petersburg. If South-Ea&t Asia is one of the world's 

xS 



THE MIDDLE EAST 

richest areas in rubber, tin and rice, the Middle East possesses 
enormous wealth in oil; its petroleum reserves are estimated at 
nearly 55 per cent of the world's total. 

Up to the time of the second World War the British Empire, 
based on the sub-continent of India, the Suez Canal and Palestine, 
provided a powerful bulwark against possible Russian aggression in 
the Middle East. Today that power has almost completely dis- 
appeared. The countries in the front line of any Russian move 
towards historic objectives are Persia and Turkey. For some time 
after 1907 both Britain and Russia had, by agreement, their spheres 
of influence in Persia. This control ceased before the days of Reza 
Shah, the strong man of modern Persia, but it was revived during 
the second World War when Reza Shah's intrigues with the Nazis 
led to the occupation of the country by British and Russian forces. 
In 1943 the "Big Three" allied powers the United States, Russia 
and Britain guaranteed Persia's full independence and territorial 
integrity after the war. Russia's part in this agreement was com- 
pleted, under strong American pressure, by the withdrawal of all 
Soviet troops in 1946. 

Once again Persian nationalism, which has persisted for centuries 
despite great difficulties and periodic disruptions, asserted itself. It 
came into sharp conflict with Britain in 1951 over the long-standing 
agreement between the Persian Government and the Anglo- 
Iranian Oil Company to extract, refine and market the product of 
the Persian oilfields. The repeated political crises and mob disorders 
which marked the opera bouffe regime of Dr. Musaddiq, the cham- 
pion of oil nationalization, ended in his overthrow in 1953 by 
General Zahedi, whom the Shah appointed as bis successor but who 
had to use the army in order to assert his authority. The lesson for 
the West in the whole sorry episode is that in insisting on oil 
nationalization Dr. Musaddiq had Persian sentiment solidly behind 
him. Where he erred grievously was in refusing a reasonable offer 
and in using the Tudeh or Workers' Party, a Communist organiza- 
tion, to demonstrate on his behalf. The Tudeh Party came into 
existence after the last war. Following an attempt on the hfe of the 
Shah in 1949 it was dissolved, but Dr. Musaddiq's unscrupulous 
employment of Tudeh mobs kept it alive, and it was not until after 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 




EGYPT 



tflhe 



Tehran* 

H " vt 1 B S PERSIA 

'^ffean 



SAUDI 
ARABIA 



z 

M 






>i^ 



^7" 



ETHIOPIA 



tOO WO JOff 400 500 MM 

Scale Miles 



ARABIAN 



5 A 



A MAP OF THE 
MIDDLE EAST 



THE MIDDLE EAST 

his overthrow that firm action was taken against the party. Late in 
1954 the Government of General Zahedi (succeeded in 1955 by 
Hussein Ala) announced the discovery of an extensive Tudeh Party 
organization inside the army and in the labour camp at Abadan; 
over 500 officers and technicians were arrested and a number 
executed. It was claimed on behalf of the army that these officers 
had joined the Tudeh Party during Dr. Musaddiq's regime, which 
had nearly destroyed discipline in the armed forces. 

Persia enjoys a massive amount of American aid. After his acces- 
sion to power, General Zahedi received from President Eisenhower 
the promise of $47 million as emergency aid in addition to the 
$23 million already granted for Point Four schemes, and the follow- 
ing year the total of emergency aid was raised to over $100 million 
in order to ride the country over the period until the resumption of 
oil exports began to bring in revenue. Britain provided a loan of 
-10 million. Persia needs all the foreign help she can get for 
the strengthening of her army and vigorous measures to raise the 
economic condition of the masses. The Tudeh Party, although driven 
underground, is still a force in the land, and will have to be reckoned 
with if living standards do not improve. American anxiety to pre- 
vent Communism gaining control in Persia can well be understood 
in view of the country's key position in the cold war. If Persia fell to 
the Communists, the whole of the vast oil resources of the Middle 
East along the Persian Gulf littoral would lie at Russia's back door. 

Turkey at the western end of the Russian Middle East line is in a 
far more dangerous position than Persia. The Turks have the 
iron curtain on both their European and Asian frontiers Bul- 
garia in Europe and Russia in Asia. They are under no illusions 
about Russia's ambitions, which were made painfully clear to them 
at the close of the last war. Moscow proposed a revision of the 
Montreux Convention governing possession of the straits between 
the Black Sea and the Aegean which would have given the Black 
Sea states, including Russia, Bulgaria and Rumania, a privileged 
status and what was vastly more important ensured joint defence 
of the straits by Russia and Turkey. Soviet pressure made itself felt 
in other ways in Balkan affairs and in backing for the Georgian 
demand for a large tract of Turkish territory embracing the towns 

21 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

of Kars, Ardahan and Artvin. It is true that in 1953 Moscow 
officially renounced these and other unjustified demands, but the 
damage had already been done. 

In self-protection Turkey accepted American military aid and 
economic help in 1949. Three years later she joined the North 
Atlantic Treaty Organization, rejecting Russia's protests by pointing 
out that she was entitled to take purely defensive measures and 
recalling that Moscow had in 1945 and 1946 given unofficial sup- 
port to claims on Turkish territory. Coupled with its definite alliance 
with the West, the Turkish Government in 1953 took stern action 
against local Communists. 

Up to 1954 Turkey's relations with the Arab States were not 
friendly. Most of these states owe their national existence to the 
allies of the first World War and, in particular, to the British, whose 
forces were mainly responsible for freeing them from Turkish 
domination. Syria and the Lebanon came under an unhappy 
French mandate which did not end until the second World War; 
the British mandate in Iraq ceased in 1932 and was replaced by a 
treaty which gave Britain the use of two air bases in the country, and 
the British Government entered into a special defence arrangement 
with the state of Transjordan, now known as Jordan. 

In the years between the two wars and afterwards increasing 
wealth poured into Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the smaller shaikhdoms 
of the Persian Gulf as the result of Western development of the 
Middle East's oil resources. Yet this did little to lessen the Arab 
States* typical Asian suspicion of the West; they adopted the policy 
of playing off Soviet Russia against the Western powers until 
Moscow's ephemeral support of the Jews in Israel's war of indepen- 
dence profoundly disillusioned and disgusted them. Their anti- 
Communist feeling does not, however, prevent the Arab States 
from following Russia and other Asian nations into the " anti- 
colonial" lobby whenever issues of that type affecting the West are 
raised in die United Nations. Western help is welcomed so long as 
it is unencumbered; as one writer put it, dollars and understanding 
are regarded by the Arab nationalists as unrequited exports due to 
them by the West. 1 

1 Annual Register, 1951 (Longmans, Green and Co.). 
22 



THE MIDDLE EAST 

Within their own countries most Arab politicians have a whole- 
some dread of Communism. Their states are largely feudal in 
character; the people look to ruling families or "strong men" for 
leadership, and in all members of the group Communism is kept in 
check, often drastically so. Militarily the Arab States are weak, and 
the majority of them suffer as Muslim nations seem liable to do 
from highly unstable regimes. They are intensely jealous of one 
another; their main causes of difference spring from the conquest by 
Saudi Arabia of the Hejaz territory of King Hussain after the first 
World War. His two sons of the Hashimi dynasty were given the 
thrones of Jordan and Iraq, and for some time supporters of the 
dynasty toyed with the idea of creating a "Fertile Crescent" con- 
federation which would include not only Iraq and Jordan but the 
smaller states of Syria and the Lebanon. Any idea of a union of this 
kind was fiercely opposed by Egypt, which, considered itself the 
leader of the Arab States, and by Saudi Arabia, whose ruling house 
saw a powerful rival in a union of the "Fertile Crescent" type. 

The only cementing factor among the Arab States is their com- 
mon hatred of Israel, which established its borders in the teeth of 
armed Arab and Egyptian opposition when Britain gave up the 
Palestine mandate. They are linked politically by the Arab League, 
and for defence purposes by the Arab Security Pact, both of which 
bodies have as their chief objective united action in their dealings 
with the Jewish state. Egypt also used the League to secure as far as 
possible the support of the other Arab nations in her struggle with 
the British Government over the Suez Canal base. 

The Arab States* attitude towards their fellow Muslim nation, 
Turkey, was coloured firstly by the ancient grudge which they bore 
against the Turks as their former overlords. Secondly, with Turkey 
and Persia interposed between them and Russia, they professed to 
see Turkey as a handmaid of the West while they remained vir- 
tuously aloof from such entanglements. A Middle East defence 
organization in which America, Britain and Turkey would play a 
leading part was scornfully rejected by the League, obsessed as it was 
with its own private quarrels, 

Turkey's isolation from her Asian neighbours came to an end in 
1954 with the signing of a treaty whereby Turkey and Pakistan 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

agreed, among other things, to strengthen "peace and security". 
This development, obviously inspired by America because of 
United States military aid to both countries, was followed by staff 
talks between the two Muslim nations, which together possess 
armed forces totalling over half a million tough fighting men. So 
striking a move towards filling up the Middle East power vacuum 
created by Great Britain's departure aroused deep interest among the 
Arab States. Almost simultaneously two events helped to relieve 
East- West tension. The first was the Persian oil agreement; the 
second (and much more important from the Arab League point of 
view) was the settlement of the Suez Canal dispute. The Anglo- 
Egyptian agreement had one remarkable result; not only did it 
remove Egypt's main grievance against the West but it established 
a direct link between Egypt and Turkey by making the Egyptians 
at Britain's request a party to reactivation of the base in the event 
of aggression against Turkey as well as against the Arab States. 

These developments coincided with increasingly friendly over- 
tures between Turkey and Arab League countries. They were of 
special concern to Iraq which, as Turkey's nearest neighbour, 
appreciated the strength of a Turco-Pakistan alliance supported by 
America and the West. After a visit to Istambul, Senator Nuri 
es-Said, the Iraqi Premier, outlined the two factors guiding Iraq's 
foreign policy her proximity to Turkey and Persia, and the Arab 
League decisions of 1949 and 1950. These decisions envisaged co- 
operation with the West provided there was a settlement of the 
Suez Canal issue and a solution of the differences with Israel The 
first problem, he said, had been solved and only the second remained. 

Nevertheless it was clear that the idea of a link-up with the Turco- 
Pakistan pact was very much in die minds of Baghdad's rulers. The 
first big step in this direction was the conclusion of a mutual defence 
treaty, open to others to join, between Turkey and Iraq early in 1955. 
Soon afterwards the British Government adhered to the treaty, and 
the way was clear for the handing over to the Iraq authorities of 
the air bases at Lake Habbaniya and Shaiba, given to the British 
under an earlier agreement. Their continued occupation would have 
been an offence to Iraqi nationalism after the transfer by Britain 
to Egypt of the Suez Canal base. From the point of view of the 

24 



THE MIDDLE EAST 



West the solution was a most satisfactory one, since it definitely 
allied Iraq with, the anti-Communist front. As in Persia, there exists 
in Iraq a good deal of public sensitiveness to any form of co-opera- 
tion with the West which smacks of subjection to c * imperialism". 
Arab xenophobia is actively fostered by the Communists, and it 
is not without significance that a recent ordinance promulgated 
by the Iraq Government contains strong measures to deal with 
Communism and similar activities, including deprivation of 
citizenship rights and detention for those who, as Communists 
are thereby "in the service of a foreign Communist state". Iraq 
suspended diplomatic relations with Russia early in 1955. 

The trend is unmistakable. Turkey and Pakistan, the two anchors 
of the Middle East defence chain, are earnestly striving to get Persia, 
Syria, the Lebanon and Jordan to join Iraq as links in the centre des- 
pite bitter Egyptian opposition to a move which destroyed Egypt's 
commanding position in the Arab Security Pact. The Turco- 
Pakistan appeal may in time succeed in winning over at least some of 
the countries invited to participate. Many Arab states are now re- 
ceiving arms from the West. If they can be persuaded that Israel has 
come to stay, the way would be clear for a comprehensive Middle 
East front against Communism. Despite their obsession with un- 
wanted Israel, the Arab States are beginning to be impressed by the 
danger to which their newly found wealth in oil would be exposed 
in the event of a serious Communist threat to Persia or Turkey, a 
danger shared by Pakistan because of its prpximity to Persia and the 
Persian Gulf. Their need for defence reliance on the West is ad- 
mitted by themselves. 



Chapter Four 
JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 



WHEN WE COME to consider the rise of nationalism in Asia 
and the various forms which it took, the first question 
that naturally springs to mind is: why did Japan among 
Asian countries 

"So get the start of the majestic world. 

And bear the palm alone? " 

Why did Japanese nationalism develop in a manner so different from 
that of Japan's great neighbour, China? Both were feudal empires; 
both were closed to foreign ''barbarians" until the West forced its 
contact upon them in the nineteenth century; both were countries 
with a predominantly rural economy. 

The answer lies not only in die differing character of the peoples 
and their rulers, but in their reactions to Western exploitation. The 
Chinese were from their earliest days a self-sufficient people, with 
their history as a civilized state going back to over a thousand years 
B.C. They occupied a great continental land mass watered by some 
of the world's mightiest rivers, and despite dynastic upheavals the 
great bulk of the peasantry pursued its tillage of the soil generation 
after generation in a seemingly endless chain. At a time when 
Chinese civilization was already old, a mixed group of immigrants 
from various parts of the mainland of Asia was struggling to estab- 
lish itself on a string of islands skirting the coast. The immigrants had 
first to deal with the local inhabitants, the Ainus, whom they finally 
banished to the northern island of Hokkaido. 

In many respects the early Japanese resembled the early immigrant 
setders in England; they were a seafaring, fisMng and agricultural 
people. From their Ainu predecessors they borrowed some of the 
ideas incorporated in their primitive religion, Shintoism, and from 
that rdigion there evolved some of the outstanding traits of tke 

26 



JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 

Japanese national character a passionate love of country, a belief 
in the divine origin of the ruling house and a determination to face 
death rather than dishonour. Living on islands off the coast of a 
great continent which could supply their wants, the Japanese were 
accustomed to take things from abroad and adapt them to their 
needs; they had nothing of the self-sufficiency of the Chinese. In 
addition they possessed what one writer has described as "the quick 
open mind of the child, with its eager admiration for the clever 
grown-up who can do so many tilings . . . quick to learn from other 
races". 1 It was this faculty, coupled with the political astuteness of 
her ruling class, which made Japan a world power almost before the 
urge towards nationalism in other Eastern countries had begun to 
take shape. 

Japan, in effect, stepped from mediaevalism to modernity almost 
at one bound. Several factors, apart from the ones mentioned, con- 
tributed to tliis feat. For many centuries before the Meiji restoration 
of 1871, which marked the turning point in Japan's history, the 
country was ruled by one or other of a number of clans or noble 
families who exercised power in the name of the emperor. (A some- 
what similar system prevailed in Nepal, where the ranas governed 
the country on behalf of the king.) From the twelfth century on- 
wards the men who controlled Japan were called shoguns or generals, 
and the shogunate was still functioning when, some eighteen years 
after Commodore Perry's first historic visit, the feudal nobility 
decided after an internal struggle to restore the authority of the 
imperial house. 

This had one remarkable result; for the Japanese feudal lords and 
people it was an easy step from the shogunate to the Western liberal 
idea of a monarch ruling on the advice of his ministers which, in 
their sudden burst of enthusiasm for Western methods, they desired 
to adopt. The difference between the change-over in China and that 
of Japan is well summed up in a recent Japanese study: 2 
"In China the fact that the country was long exposed to the en- 
croachment of Western imperialism, owing to the lack of 
adaptability on the part of the old ruling class, had the effect of 

1 History of the World. (Odhams Press, Ltd.) * Nationalism in Post-War >pa, 
by Masao Maruyama (Japan Institute of Pacific Relations). 

27 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

imposing the task of basically revolutionizing the old socio- 
political structure upon the nationalist movement, which has 
been fighting against foreign imperialism. This probably explains 
the combination in varied forms of anti-imperialist movement 
and social revolution that formed an unbroken tradition of 
Chinese nationalism from the days of Sun Yat-sen through 
Chiang Kai-shek to Mao Tse-tung. 

In contrast to this development in China, the men who des- 
troyed the old regime and seized political control of a unified 
state in Japan were themselves representatives of feudal forces. 
Prompted by the need of countering the pressure from Western 
powers, they achieved the unification of the country under the 
authority of the Throne by rapidly liquidating the decentralized 
feudal forces, and carried through modernization 'from the top* 
by adopting the policy of creating *a wealthy nation and a strong 
army'. Under these circumstances, the extent and form of 
modernization were naturally determined by the supreme 
objective of strengthening the ruling power as rapidly as possible." 
Thus it was that Japan escaped the long struggle which other 
Asian nations had to endure either in establishing a completely new 
constitution in place of the old, as in China, or in gaining indepen- 
dence from foreign control, as in India and Indonesia. The men who 
really seized power in modern Japan, mostly from the old warrior 
class, broadened the basis of government just sufficiently to give it 
the outward appearance of Western parliamentary democracy, but 
they sternly discouraged the import of ideas which would have 
made the revolution as complete as it has been in, say> India and 
Pakistan. Instead, they concentrated on developing a highly 
nationalistic spirit with loyalty to the emperor and to the country as 
its twin supports. They had litde difficulty in achieving their pur- 
pose, since the whole trend of Japanese tradition and sentiment 
helped to inculcate these ideas. 

Simultaneously with the stimulation of national feeling, Japan's 
rulers adopted with amazing rapidity Western industrial skill and 
technique. Here again success was quickly won by centralizing 
power in the hands of a few big firms, the Zaibatsu, whose position 
in the world of commerce and industry became like that of the old 

28 



JAPAN S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 

feudal lords in shogunate days. Economic development, particularly 
industrialization, brought its inevitable concomitant, the growth of 
an urban working class which for a time threatened the country 
with a social revolution of the "Western type owing to low wages and 
poor conditions of employment. But those at the head of affairs 
rode the storm successfully by encouraging expansionist ideas aimed 
at making the foreigner pay. The grievances of the peasantry, who 
exhibited anti-capitalist sentiment owing to low prices for their 
produce, were dealt with in similar fashion, the ringleaders being 
ruthlessly suppressed and the rigbt wing elements heartily sup- 
ported. Thus began Japan's long record of foreign adventure under 
her chauvinistic rulers which ended temporarily at any rate in 
the catastrophe of 1945. 

At no time before Japan's defeat in the second World War 
could Communism within the country claim to be a nationalist 
movement. On the contrary, it was regarded as a poisonous creed by 
the fire-eating nationalists who ran the government, while the mass 
of the people disliked it because of its disrespect for the emperor and 
the fact that it was a subversive import from abroad. Yet Japan was 
included in the list of Eastern countries to which emissaries were 
sent from Moscow after the Communist regime established itself in 
Russia. At the First Congress of the Toilers of the Far East held in 
Moscow early in 1922 Zinoviev declared: "There is no issue without 
Japan; the Japanese proletariat holds in its hands the key to the 
solution of the Far Eastern question, and the presence at this Con- 
gress of the representatives of the Japanese workers is our only 
serious guarantee that we are at least starting on our way to a direct 
solution of the problem". Later in the year the Communist Party of 
Japan was secretly organized in Tokio with the help of the Comin- 
tern. It encountered many vicissitudes until its suppression and 
practical disappearance during the second World War. 

In the period of relative political freedom which followed the 
first World War the Japanese Communist Party contrived to 
infiltrate into the growing Japanese labour movement and at one 
stage secured control of the Japan Labour Union Council. Up to this 
stage the ultra-nationalists who ran the administration made no 
systematic attempt to stamp out the party, merely contenting them- 

29 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

selves with confiscating Communist literature and arresting persons 
whom they considered guilty of subversive activities. But in 1928, 
alarmed at the growing influence of the Communists, the govern- 
ment of Baron Tanaka suddenly undertook a nation-wide drive 
against them, in the course of which some fifteen hundred "danger- 
ous elements" were arrested. Thereafter the party went under- 
ground, but it continued a running fight with the authorities in 
which it secured a certain amount of support in the form of protests 
against the despatch of Japanese troops for expansionist wars in 
Manchuria and China. 

By this time Japan had become to all intents and purposes a police 
state, completely dominated by people whose gospel was a militant 
nationalism and who trampled underfoot most of the rights which 
the public had secured under the Meiji constitution. For Japan the 
period of the second "World War began in 1937 with the "China 
Incident " in reality a full scale war against Nationalist China 
and became total with die attack on Pearl Harbour in 194.1. In those 
days of stress and strain, when "un-Japanese" activities of any kind 
were savagely suppressed, organized Communism practically 
disappeared from die country. 

It is one of the ironies of history that Communism did not raise 
its head again in Japan until the American occupation of 1945. Even 
after the surrender, the Japanese government which functioned un- 
der General MacArthur, the Supreme Commander for the Allied 
Powers, continued to enforce security measures against the Com- 
munists. But that restraint did not last long. About a month after his 
appointment General MacArthur announced sweeping reforms in 
accordance with the Allied Potsdam Declaration; all obstacles to the 
growth of "democratic tendencies" amongst die Japanese people 
were to be removed. The Japanese Government were ordered not 
merely to release all political prisoners but to suspend all laws which 
interfered with freedom of thought, speech, religion and assembly. 

The Allied idea was, of course, to help to build up in Japan 
democratic forces hostile to the jingoism of her former rulers 
forces which would work with the Allies on a liberal democratic 
basis. General MacArthur's declared aim was to take Japan along 
"the middle road to democracy", and in economics to achieve "a 

30 



JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 

capitalist system based upon free private competitive enterprise." 
In the numbed state of public feeling in Japan after defeat, the 
aniy party which was able to take immediate advantage of the 
Allied declaration was the Communist Party, which saw in it a 
golden opportunity to promote its creed. On release from gaol 
Communist leaders toured the country; they addressed meetings 
calling for the overthrow of the existing order and its replacement 
by a "people's government"; Communist literature poured from 
the printing presses. The party outlined a programme of action 
aimed at setting up a Communist state on lines familiar elsewhere. 
Nevertheless the Communists made little impression on the new 
broad-based electorate which voted in the first elections to the Diet 
under the Allied regime; they secured only three seats out of a total 
of 466. Inside the Diet their main demand was for further purging of 
undemocratic elements amongst the parties constituting the first 
post-war government, with incessant calls for the punishment of 
war criminals whom they broadly hinted were to be found inside 
the government fold. 

Oddly enough, the Occupation gave them for the first time a 
really patriotic rallying cry; they described Japanese governments 
under General Mac Arthur as "servants of foreign imperialists" and 
on this issue they probably came nearer to the popular mind than on 
any other item in their programme. For a time they contemplated 
an alliance widi the Socialists and would have used that party's 
strength in the Diet to further their own ends had the Socialists, like 
Barkis, been willin', but the Socialists were too "middle of the road" 
to relish such unruly bedfellows. 

Moreover, the Communists were becoming increasingly in- 
volved in labour troubles which were bound to result in a clash with 
the authorities. So strong was their influence in the trade unions by 
1947 that they attempted to organize a general strike to relieve dis- 
tress caused by inflation. This proved abortive but, undismayed, 
they proceeded the following year to work for a general strike of 
government employees, a poorly paid section of the community. 
It was at this point that they incurred the direct wrath of General 
MacArthur. On his expressing the view that no person in the public 
services should resort to strike action, the government of Mr. 

31 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Ashida promulgated an anti-strike ordinance, thereby effectively 
drawing the Communists' teeth. 

To add to their discomfiture the country began to feel the 
beneficent effects of American economic help, with the result that 
the trade union leaders started to move away from the Communists. 
Yet, strange to relate, the party scored its biggest parliamentary 
success in the general elections to the Diet in the early part of 1949, 
when it won 35 seats. This gain alarmed the right wing groups led 
by the new premier, Mr. Yoshida, who from then onwards watched 
for an opportunity to strike. He had not long to wait. Egged on by 
Moscow and by Cominform strictures, and encouraged by the 
number of Communist-indoctrinated Japanese prisoners of war 
returned to Japan by the Russians, the Communists became in- 
creasingly militant; they sponsored strikes, demonstrations, riots and 
finally violence in which U.S. troops were attacked. Nor were 
relations between the Allied Occupation forces and the Communists 
improved by the war which U.N. mostly American troops were 
fighting in Korea against North Korean and later Chinese Commu- 
nist armies. 

By this time the earlier impulse to democratize and disarm the 
Japanese was beginning in America to give way to a policy of 
building up Japan as a Far East buffer against Communist Russia 
and Communist China. Early in 1950 General MacArthur declared 
that the Japanese Communist Party had "cast off the mantle of 
pretended legitimacy and assumed instead the role of an avowed 
satellite of an international predatory force and a Japanese pawn of 
alien power policy, imperialistic purpose and subversive propa- 
ganda". A few months later the Supreme Commander ordered Mr. 
Yoshida's government to ban from public service all members of the 
Central Committee of the Japanese Communist Party. In a scathing 
denunciation of the party's policy General MacArthur accused its 
leaders of a whole series of actions "which would set the stage for 
the eventual overthrow of constitutional government in Japan by 
force". 

The five-year-old manage de convenance between die Communists 
and the rulers of occupied Japan had ended. Widi the Supreme 
Commander's words ringing in his ears, Mr* Yoshida took 

32 



JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 

progressive steps to suppress Communist activities; all Communist 
newspapers and magazines were banned, warrants were issued for 
the arrest of Communist leaders, the Communist-dominated 
Federation of Labour Unions was dissolved and the Government 
proceeded to dismiss all civil servants with Communist sympathies. 
Other signs of the swing to the right were the return to public life of 
a large number of politicians, economists and writers who had been 
purged immediately after the Occupation, and the creation of a 
National Police Reserve of 75,000 men to deal with mob violence. 
The signing of the peace treaty with Japan the following year 
brought a further accession of strength to the parties in power. 
With the disappearance of the Supreme Commander of the Allied 
Powers they became masters in their own house, subject, of course, 
to the security agreement with the U.S. which gave America the 
right to deploy its land, sea and air forces throughout Japanese 
territory "for the purpose of contributing to the maintenance of 
international peace and security in the Far East". The first signs of 
Japan's independence in foreign affairs caused some twinges of mis- 
giving in Commonwealth countries, but they were definitely anti- 
Communist. Russia's policy in the Far East was denounced, and the 
Soviet Mission in Japan was drastically reduced. 

Since then there has been a steady return to pre-war conditions in 
Japan, coupled with a revival of Nihon Seishin, the "Spirit of Im- 
perial Japan". Many of the liberal reforms incorporated in the 
MacArthur-inspired constitution of 1946 Have been whittled down. 
Almost immediately after the peace treaty came into effect in 1952 
various "Occupation-initiated" laws were modified; these included 
measures for the prevention of subversive activities, labour regula- 
tions, changes in the control of the police and the release of war 
criminals. The net result of these "modifications", which aroused 
much opposition in the Diet and throughout the country from 
Socialists and other left wing bodies, including labour, was to place 
power in the hands of the Central authorities in a manner reminis- 
cent of pre-war Japan. 

A further step in the same direction was the revision of the anti- 
monopoly laws which meant that Zaibatsu, the Japanese equivalent 
of "big business", was restored to its former place in the country's 

c 33 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

economy. Opposition to the curtailment of labour rights encouraged 
the Communists, who had been driven underground, to instigate 
serious disturbances in Tokio on May Day of 1952, but by doing so 
they played into the hands of Government supporters. Right wing 
Socialists, who voted in the Diet against the Government's policy of 
restrictions on labour, were embarrassed by public disgust with the 
rioters. 

All other changes in post-war policy were, however, over- 
shadowed by rearmament. A clause in Japan's 1946 constitution re- 
nounced war as a sovereign right of the nation and prohibited the 
maintenance of an army, navy or air force. That clause was inserted 
at the instance of the United States, yet its virtual abrogation seven 
years later was due to American initiative. The position was clearly 
stated by Mr John Nixon, the U.S. Vice-President, during his visit 
to Tokio in 1953* "If disarmament was right in 1946," he said, "why 
is it wrong in 1953? . . "Why does not the United States admit for 
once that it made a mistake? . . . I'm going to admit right here that 
the United States did make a mistake in 1946." The National Safety 
Force, which was held to conform to the constitution by existing 
purely for purposes of internal security, was in 1954 being trans- 
formed into a powerful National Defence Force with American aid 
under the Mutual Security Act. The expanded Maritime Safety 
Force contains the nucleus of a navy, and an American-supervised 
revival of armaments production is under way. Communist 
aggression in Korea and Indo-China and the victory of Commu- 
nism in China provided the reasons for this remarkable change of 
front. General Chiang Kai-shek's complete collapse altered the 
whole complexion of Far East politics for the United States. 

Yet it would be wrong to assume that the Japanese are whole- 
heartedly behind the American drive for rearmament. There are 
many conflicting cross-currents. A section of the intelligentsia, sup- 
ported by Socialist and labour groups, is genuinely afraid that 
rearmament will lead to a repetition of the madness which involved 
Japan in the biggest disaster in her history. 

The Socialists are divided into two parties or wings, their differ- 
ences being mainly over foreign policy. Right wing Socialists, while 
willing to co-operate with the West, wish to end Japan's exclusive 

34 



JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 

dependence on America, to avoid becoming involved in treaties like 
SEATO, and to establish "good neighbour" relations with Com- 
munist China and the Soviet Union. The left wing group is strongly 
against Japanese rearmament, demanding the disbandment of all 
armed forces, the abolition of American bases in Japan, the con- 
clusion of non-aggression pacts with Russia and China and the 
summoning of an Asian economic conference, including China, to 
draft a development plan for Asia. Both parties were strongly urged 
to unite by the British Labour Party delegation which visited Japan 
at the close of its tour of China in 1954, but up to the present they 
have failed to comply with that advice, although in principle they 
agree with it. Recent election successes have encouraged the left 
wing to refuse to compromise on their principles. 

Among Conservative right wing elements there is a feeling of 
irritation at the idea of Japan being re-armed merely as an advanced 
base for America in the Far East. Former service interests increasingly 
take the view that Japan should strive for a position of complete 
independence and neutrality, uncommitted to either the American 
or Russian power blocs. In the words of a newspaper correspondent 1 
there exists today "sharp and unmistakable evidence of Japan's 
fundamental Asian as opposed to Western or Communist 
interests", and her conviction that "India's neutralist, third-force, *a 
plague on both your houses* policy is the right horse to back in the 
international stakes". Nationalism and neutrality are undoubtedly 
gaining strength in the country. 

Japan's importance in the world of the future is concisely 
summed up in the foreword to a recent exhaustive study of Com- 
munism in that country by two American research scholars: 2 
"Strategically dominating the eastern edge of the great Eurasian 
land mass, equipped with an industrial plant which in the aggre- 
gate dwarfs that of the few manufacturing centres of Asia, and 
possessing a population of 84 million highly industrious, skilled 
and literate people, Japan still remains the strategic centre of 
Eastern Asia. Its industrial capacity could spell the difference 

1 The Sunday Times, October 3, 1954- 

8 Red Flag in Japan, by Rodger Swearingen and Paul Langer (Harvard University 
Press). 

35 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

between success and failure for the economic hopes of Commu- 
nists or liberals in that whole part of the globe. Japanese military 
power could be even more immediately decisive." 
Japan is today faced with two vital problems on the solution of 
which must depend her relations with her Asian neighbours and the 
West. They are her increasing population and her urgent need for 
export markets. In 1936 Japan's population was in the region of 
70 millions; in 1950 it had risen to about 83 millions. At the present 
rate of increase, namely over a million a year, it may reach the 
hundred million mark in the next twenty years. These extra 
millions are at present fated to occupy much less space than their 
pre-war predecessors owing to the loss of Manchuria and Korea, 
the cession to Russia of South Sakhalin and the Kurile islands, and 
the placing under American trusteeship of the Okinawa and 
Ogasawara islands of the Ryukyu group. Eventually this growing 
population, in a country where population density is higher than 
anywhere else in the world, may exercise a profound influence on 
Japan's foreign policy. 

But of more immediate concern is the need to balance Japan's 
economy by additional exports to pay for the import of food and 
raw materials. The problem was set forth in a 1953 official document 
as follows: "the future of Japan is inextricably bound to a foreign 
trade cycle whereby food and raw materials are imported, the raw 
materials are processed into finished goods, the finished goods are 
exported for foreign exchange to finance the import of more food 
and raw materials". Before the second World War Japan kept the 
cycle going by her control over parts of the Asian mainland; 
nearly half her exports went to Korea, Formosa and China com- 
pared with about 5 per cent in 1951. Some of Japan's most valuable 
raw materials, including coking coal and iron ore, came from China. 
It is obvious that without American subsidies on a vast scale Japan 
is dependent on China and South-East Asia markets. So far as China 
is concerned, trade both ways is hamstrung by the embargo on the 
export of strategic goods enforced by the United States a source of 
considerable irritation to die Japanese business community and 
government. One of the reasons for America's alarm over Commu- 
nist expansion in South-East Asia by way of lado-China was 

36 



JAPAN'S AGGRESSIVE NATIONALISM 

realization of the fact that if the region was cut off from trade with 
Japan, that country's position outside the Communist orbit would 
become most precarious. Mr. Yoshida, when Prime Minister, on 
several occasions emphasized Japan's trade needs in this sphere. 
** China," he said, "is a natural market whether it is Communist or 
not"; and again, "Geography and economic laws will, I believe, 
prevail in the long run over ideological and artificial trade barriers". 

Meanwhile tempting offers of trade with Japan are being made by 
both Russia and China, their object being to detach the country as 
far as possible from America. Japan is very anxious to secure 
fishery rights in Russian and Chinese waters; Japanese business men 
are becomingly increasingly attracted by the possibilities of trade 
with countries beyond the iron and bamboo curtains, and Mr. Chou 
En-laf s carefully calculated offer of a non-aggression pact to a group 
of members of the Diet visiting Peking in 1954 created a deep 
impression as it was intended to do in Tokio. Any return to nor- 
mal diplomatic relations between Russia and Japan would, how- 
ever, almost certainly involve consideration of Tokio' s claims on 
Moscow, which include the return of the southern Kurile and 
other islands occupied by Russia since 1945 and the repatriation of 
Japanese war prisoners still held by the Soviet. 

Some economic relief was in prospect towards the end of 1954 by 
Japan's admission to die Colombo Plan, the Commonwealth- 
sponsored development project for South-East Asia, and her 
reparations agreement with Burma, which opens the way to trade 
with that country. Japan's membership of the Colombo Plan 
should also lead to reparations settlements and trading facilities with 
Indonesia and the Philippines, two other war-ravaged neighbours 
which, with Burma, refused to sign the San Francisco peace treaty 
because of Japan's refusal to pay tie heavy war damage compensa- 
tion demanded by them. Mr. Yoshida's tour of America, Britain and 
other Western countries, undertaken in 1954 despite strong opposi- 
tion from his political opponents, was likewise designed to secure 
not merely more aid from the United States, but increased trade with 
the West. His failure to realize the high hopes reposed in him was 
mainly responsible for his enforced resignation on Iiis return, and his 
replacement by Mr. Ichiro Hatoyama, leader of the Democratic 

37 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Party, who formed a caretaker government until the elections of 
1955. Mr. Hatoyama would have been Premier much earlier had he 
not been frowned on by General Mac Arthur; his ascent to power 
was yet another sign of the rising tide of Japanese nationalism, 
impatient of Mr. Yoshida's supposed subservience to Washington. 
The elections, which took place in February, confirmed Mr. 
Hatoyama in his position and, incidentally, the strength of the 
other conservative elements with which the Democratic Party 
may eventually unite. 

Japan's underground Communists are turning more and more 
towards their Chinese brethren and away from Moscow. Peking is 
giving them every encouragement to do so by a policy of sweet 
reasonableness. By 1954 the pro-Chinese section had definitely won, 
and militant tactics were discarded in favour of cautious penetration 
of trade unions and advocacy of policies not far removed from those 
of the left wing Socialists. The Communists have, of course, to move 
carefully and to make use of fellow travellers and left wing Socialists 
to advocate nothing more drastic than trade with China, the stop- 
page of Japanese rearmament and the end of treaty relations with 
America. Their total membership is believed to be about 100,000, of 
whom half are active, but the actual work of the party is in the hands 
of a relatively small group. 

Compared with Japan's trade unionists they are insignificant. 
The strength of the trade union movement is the outstanding factor 
in Japan's industrial life today; it includes several million workert 
and it has been conducting strikes for better conditions on a scale 
unheard of in pre-war days, when trade unions were illegal. Com* 
bined with the Socialists, the trade unions form a solid left wing 
element new to Japanese political life. The danger is that parliamen- 
tarianism in Japan may be discredited by scenes of the kind which 
occurred in the Diet in the middle of 1954, when screaming, fighting 
members had to be ejected by the police. Should parHamentary 
democracy fail, its place would almost certainly be taken, not by 
Communism, but by an authoritarian form, of nationalism. Per- 
sonalities still coiiDLt for more than parties in Japan's political life. 



Chapter Five 
THE TRAGEDY OF CHINA 



ONE DAY DURING the second World War there came into my 
office in Bombay an American war correspondent who had 
just returned from Chungking. He had travelled to and 
from General Chiang Kai-shek's war-time capital "over the hump", 
as the air route linking Calcutta with Chungking across the moun- 
tains of Yunnan was known. It was by means of this singularly 
unpleasant air lift that the Western allies conveyed supplies to, and 
maintained contact with, Nationalist China during the war; 
journalists, especially American journalists, used it frequently. 
"Well, how goes the war in China?" I asked my American visitor 
after he had expressed himself freely and forcefully on the discom- 
forts of the journey. His reply astonished me. "What that 

country wants," he exploded, "is fifty years of British rule." 

I was astonished for two reasons; firstly, because the Generalissimo 
and his attractive wife were at that time the darlings of the White 
House, and secondly, every American from President Roosevelt 
downwards took an exceedingly poor view of British "colonial- 
ism", particularly as it applied to India. I soon gathered the reasons 
for the war correspondent's disgust. According to him, American aid 
to China in the shape of supplies and munitions, in the transport of 
which American lives were risked daily "over the hump", suffered 
gross misuse after reaching Chungking. They never got to the Nation- 
alist soldier who was supposed to be fighting the Japanese invader. 
Either they were stored away by regional commanders in preparation 
for the private war after the war, or they found their way for cash 
payments to the Japanese through third parties operating in the large 
stretches of no man's land dotting the Chinese landscape. Myinform- 
ant rated the Nationalists' chances of survival in China after the war 
at fifty-fifty, but as events turned out he was hopelessly optimistic. 

39 



STRUGGLE FOK ASIA 

This story explains in part the reason for China's tragedy. China 
had a nationalist movement, the Kuomintang, which established 
itself over a large part of the country and led the fight against 
foreign "imperialism" not only from the West hut from China's 
Eastern neighbour, Japan. But the movement perished miserably 
owing to the crassness of its leaders, who failed to live up to the 
principles of its founder. 

The tale of Kuomintang corruption and nepotism needs no 
repetition; those who know him say that General Chiang Kai-shek 
himself is an upright man, but he exercised no control over his 
entourage and was apparently prepared to go on accepting and 
depending upon American help to such an extent that it was usual 
for the Communists to describe the Nationalist Government as anti- 
national in the sense that it was supported by a foreign power. 

But what really proved decisive in the end was the Kuomintang 
leaders' loss of touch with the people who really mattered to them, 
the peasant^ and the small but important merchant class; they looked 
instead to the big landowners whose main idea was to preserve their 
privileges. Thus, when the real test came after the second World 
War, there was no public will to fight for the Kuomintang. The 
nationalist movement passed to the Communists who, ironically 
enough, are today almost as much dependent on another foreign 
power, Russia, as the Kuomintang was on the Americans. The 
difference is this: the Communists under Mr. Mao Tse-tung carried 
out their pledges of reform to the peasants, and for the present at any 
rate the new order has the backing of the masses. Whether that sup- 
port will continue in view of Mr. Mao Tse-tung's reported inten- 
tion to introduce collective farms at some future date is another 
matter, but as far as one can see ahead the Communist grip on China 
is secure. 

In Japan the first stirrings of nationalism were centred by the 
ruling class in the person of the emperor. In China die situation was 
reversed. To begin with, the emperor was not Chinese at aU; he was 
a Manchu, with the result that the embryo stages of Chinese 
nationalism were directed not against the foreigner but against the 
ruling house. Secondly, China is a vast country with a huge popula- 
tion compared to Japan, and at the time the West knocked heavily 

40 



THE TRAGEDY OF CHINA 

on China's door internal conditions were of the kind described by 
Mr. William L. Holland: 1 

"The country was decentralized, and even at the end of the 
Manchu dynasty (1912) was largely without modern transporta- 
tion and communication. There was a widespread small merchant 
class but no national market. The main functions of the imperial 
government were to collect the grain tax, repair irrigation works, 
put down rebellion, and conduct foreign relations. The monarchy 
was absolute, but its intervention in local life was necessarily 
limited by the vastness of the country and the nature of its 
economy. Provincialism and localism reigned supreme, and 
society was regulated mainly by the family and village elders, the 
gentry being the key political force." 

It was not until the beginning of the present century that a 
Western-educated member of the Chinese intelligentsia from Can- 
ton called Sun Yat-sen enunciated a nationalist creed, but even then 
the emphasis was purely on internal reform. Early members of the 
revolutionary party swore to, overthrow the Manchu dynasty, to 
establish a republic and to solve the agrarian question "on the basis 
of the equitable redistribution of the land". (Note the importance 
which the founders of Chinese nationalism gave to land reform.) 
Sun Yat-sen laid down three principles for which the party should 
work, namely, nationalism, democracy and "the people's liveli- 
hood". 

These three principles, he insisted, must be achieved in three 
stages. The first was the suppression of political "bosses" or 
"war-lords" as they came to be called who had usurped authority 
in the provinces; the second was the education of the-people, and the 
third was the establishment of popular self-government on Western 
lines. Although Sun Yat-sen believed in parliamentary democracy 
he was also familiar with Marxist ideas, a fact which explains some 
subsequent developments. 

But Sun Yat-sen* s was only one of many voices raised in the first 
decade of the twentieth century against the existing order in China; 
in a country of vast distances and poor communications his followers 

1 Asian Nationalism and the West. Edited by W. L. Holland for the Institute of 
Pacific Rektions (The Macmilkn Company, New York). 

C* 41 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

were really no more than a Cantonese party whose "Western 
affiliations did not necessarily commend them to nationalists else- 
where. So, when the Manchu dynasty collapsed almost of its own 
inanition in 1912, its prestige completely destroyed by its failure to 
hold its own against the "foreign barbarians** from the West, there 
was no party organized on a really national basis to take its place. 

Attempts to introduce the parliamentary system of government 
were little better than a mockery. A revolutionary general, Yuan 
Shih-kai, set up an administration which was but a pale shadow of 
imperial rule and in a few years the whole tiling disintegrated. 
Central authority faded out, and war-lords, each claiming to be 
China's national leader, appeared in almost every province. Civil 
strife spread throughout the country. From this deplorable fiasco 
sprang two far-reaching and, for the West, unfortunate conse- 
quences. Western parliamentary institutions, which had never 
really been given a chance, were completely discredited, and the 
conviction grew that without military power reforms were im- 
possible. 

The first World War and the Russian revolution gave fresh 
stimulus to the intelligentsia and to the growing commercial classes 
who were disgusted with the gangsterdom prevailing in China, 
Japan's war-time demands, and the fact that she looked upon China 
as little better than a Japanese province, helped to arouse a really 
national consciousness, as also did the provisions of the Versailles 
Treaty handing over Germany's former special rights in Shantung 
to Japan. The various nationalist parties, including Sun Yat-sen's 
Kuomintang, began to draw closer together. 

Meantime Marxist-indoctrinated agents from Moscow appeared 
on the scene; the new Soviet regime was anxious to get in touch 
with nationalist movements all over the East for the good reason 
that they provided a fruitful field for the propagation of Communist 
ideas. Russia had been quick to declare her intention of renouncing 
all tsarist government rights and extra-territorial privileges, in- 
cluding Russia's share of the Boxer indemnity, thereby creating in 
China a feeling as favourable to Moscow as it was unfavourable to 
the West. 

The Chinese Communist party was founded in 1921 by a group of 

42 



THE TRAGEDY OF CHINA 

intellectuals which included Mr. Mao Tse-tung, a farmer's son, but 
for some years it exercised very little influence. Had the Western 
powers taken more interest in Sun Yat-sen's movement, had they 
responded to his appeals for help, the growth of nationalism in 
China might have followed a different course. As it was, Sun Yat-sen 
decided in 1923 to link up with the Communists for the purpose of 
achieving his nationalist objectives, declaring that he would no 
longer look to the Western powers. "Our faces", he said, "are 
turned towards Russia." The Chinese Communists, in view of their 
own lack of success, jumped at the chance of working with so 
striking a revolutionary figure. 

Having turned his face towards Moscow, Sun Yat-sen reorgan- 
ized the Kuomintang on thoroughly Communist lines with the 
help of Russian advisers like Borodin and Joffe. Russian officers 
trained the Kuomintang army. Western democratic methods were 
abandoned for rigid centralization of the Soviet type, and even 
when the Kuomintang government was established in Nanking it 
was made entirely responsible to the party, which in turn was con- 
trolled by its central executive committee. The whole paraphernalia 
of Communism, including security police and strict censorship, 
found its way into the Kuomintang machine. Nevertheless Sun 
Yat-sen never subscribed to the Communist creed; in fact he pub- 
licly stated that it was not suitable for China. All he wanted was its 
co-operation in die task of carrying out his programme of national 
unification and freedom from "unequal treaties". 

The death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925 was a severe blow to the 
Kuomintang, and it was significant of the change which had come 
over die nationalist movement that the leadership went, not to a 
civilian, but to the commander of the party's fighting forces, 
General Chiang Kai-shek. Therein lay the seeds of the party's ruin, 
since whatever qualifications General Chiang Kai-shek may have 
possessed as a soldier, he lacked those qualities of statesmanship 
which the Kuomintang desperately needed. His early successes in 
the field were, however, remarkable. Setting out in 1926 from the 
south, he rapidly secured control of the provinces and cities of the 
lower Yangtse-kiang valley. By the time his National Government, 
established at Nanking, was fully in the saddle two years later, 

43 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

General Chiang Kai-shek ruled more of China than any other 
administration since the fall of the Manchu dynasty. 

Before this event an important development occurred; General 
Chiang Kai-shek broke with the Communists. Tension between the 
two wings of the combined parries, which increased as success 
crowned their military effort, reached such a pitch in 1927 that the 
Nationalist leader turned on his Communist allies with complete 
remorselessness. Accusing them of treachery, he executed or im- 
prisoned large numbers and the remainder fled into the interior. 
General Chiang Kai-shek was now in undisputed command of the 
situation. During his march northwards he had strongly emphasized 
the nationalist character of his party; blatantly anti-foreign and 
particularly anti-British slogans aroused enthusiasm wherever the 
Kuomintang armies appeared. Britain was at this time the chief 
concessionaire in China through treaties obtained from the Manchu 
dynasty. 

The year 1928 saw General Chiang Kai-shek with the ball at his 
feet. Now was his chance to put into force the third of Sun Yat-sen's 
principles, namely, reforms aimed at the economic security of the 
people "the people's livelihood". True, his problems were 
immense, and in die teeth of tremendous difficulties an effort was 
made. Land reform laws were passed, but they were never carried 
out. Corruption and nepotism at party headquarters created a 
privileged class which soon wanted to maintain things as they were, 
with the result that the great mass of China's poverty stricken 
peasants was unaffected by the advent of the National Government. 
In short, the Chiang-Kai-shek regime became mainly a family con- 
cern the "Soong dynasty" as it was dubbed an oligarchy of 
vested interests instead of a democracy. 

Far different was it with the Communists. Banished into the 
remote regions of Kiang-si province north of Canton, they launched 
a class war against the landlords in areas they controlled by con- 
fiscating their property and redistributing it to the poorer classes. As 
each district was reorganized in this fashion it was protected against 
Kuomintang authority by highly disciplined and skilfully led 
guerilla bands. The Communists retained a precarious hold on 
Kiang-si until increasing government pressure compelled them in 

44 



THE TRAGEDY OF CHINA 

1934 to make one of the most remarkable treks in history the 
"Long March" across the country to north-west China. Here they 
stayed with their headquarters at Yenanin Shensi province until they 
joined with the Kuomintang in the war against Japan, and finally 
emerged to sweep all before them in the civil war which followed. 

Here also there rose to unchallenged leadership the massive figure 
of Mr. Mao Tse-tung. His triumph within the party did not mean a 
break with Russia, but it did signify the adaptation of Communism 
to Chinese conditions by methods most likely to appeal to the 
Chinese. The retreat from Kiang-si into another remote rural 
province and the success of Mr. Mao Tse-tung in the struggle for 
leadership were probably responsible for Marshal Stalin's long held 
view that the Chinese Communists were of no great consequence. 

Meantime the Kuomintang was fighting a battle on two fronts. 
The early nineteen-thirties found it still waging war against the 
Communists while becoming more and more involved with Japan, 
which in 1931 invaded Manchuria, set up the puppet state of Man- 
chukuo and began to treat China as a Japanese preserve. General 
Kai-shek devoted more of his energies to fighting the Communists 
than to resisting the Japanese, a policy which gave rise to growing 
indignation among his nationalist followers and particularly among 
the educated classes of the big cities. Force had to be used by the 
authorities to quell student demonstrations. But by the time the 
Japanese invaded China in 1937 Moscow had indicated its approval 
of a world-wide common front against the "fascist enemy", and for 
the second time the Kuomintang and the Communists joined hands 
in pursuit of a national policy. 

Their co-operation continued until Japan's surrender to the Allies 
in 1945. But it left the Kuomintang in a far worse position than the 
Communists; driven by the Japanese out of the seaports and cities 
of the densely populated Yangtse valley to remote Chungking, the 
Kuomintang lost contact with the people. It came more and more 
to rely on die landlords of Schechwan province and on American 
aid. The Communists, on the other hand, seemed to thrive on the 
war against the Japanese; they extended their twin policy of 
"sovietizing' 1 whatever territory fell to their^power and of organi- 
zing the peasants in guerilla warfare. 

45 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Thus, when the war ended, the position of the two contestants 
for the control of China had radically altered. While the Kuomin- 
tang had atrophied, the Communists had expanded both their 
territory and their armed forces, the latter with munitions captured 
from the Japanese and with the covert help of Russia. Yet great 
things were expected of General Chiang Kai-shek on his return to 
Nanking; had he seized his opportunity he might have won the day. 
Unfortunately the Kuomintang was a spent force. It showed no 
vigorous leadership in any effort to redress economic grievances; 
instead it contributed to a rapidly worsening situation by uncon- 
trolled inflation to keep its army in being. By 1947 even the Ameri- 
can ambassador had to admit that the people were sick of the 
Nationalists. With characteristic astuteness Mr. Mao Tse-tung had 
meantime changed his tactics to meet new conditions. Less drastic 
schemes of land redistribution were adopted at an agrarian con- 
ference to please all but the bigger landlords. 

When civil war again broke out in 1946 after the failure of 
General Marshall's mission to unite the rival parties, General Chiang 
Kai-shek was doomed from the start; the people had lost the will to 
support him. Even his last prop, that of nationalism, was under- 
mined by his opponents. The Mao Tse-tung Communists pro- 
claimed themselves to be the real Chinese nationalists by denouncing 
the Kuomintang as the hireling of a Western power. The military 
collapse of the Kuomintang was as swift as its rise to power twenty 
years earlier; as its fortunes waned, General Chiang Kai-shek 
stepped down from leadership while his successors tried to reach a 
compromise settlement with the Communists. When these attempts 
failed, as they were bound to do, he resumed charge of the remainder 
of the Nationalist armies in the south-east and eventually evacuated 
them to the island of Taiwan or Formosa, where he established Ms 
headquarters in Taipeh. 

Conquest of Formosa was on Mr. Mao Tse-tung's programme for 
1950, but the lack of a navy and air force, coupled with President 
Truman's order to the U.S. navy to neutralize the island because of 
Communist aggression in Korea, stopped all ideas of invasion. 
Peking, which became the capital of Communist China, obviously 
hoped that internal revolt would seal the fate of the Nationalists; in 

46 



THE TRAGEDY OF CHINA 

this it was disappointed. The Kuomintang Government, of which 
General Chiang Kai-shek had resumed the presidency, not only 
suppressed all efforts at revolt, hut set about reforming itself, re- 
organizing its army and enforcing land measures which it had 
failed to implement on the mainland. Its offer to send troops to 
fight alongside the United Nations forces in Korea was refused, 
although at one difficult stage in the war many Americans looked 
longingly at General Chiang Kai-shek's idle divisions. 

The present position is that General Chiang Kai-shek rules over 
Formosa as President of the Chinese "National Government" 
which, strange to relate, retains its seat on the General Assembly of 
the United Nations solely because of American insistence. Over the 
whole of the Chinese mainland the sway of the Communists 
is unchallenged; it has even been extended to remote Tibet, for- 
merly under nominal Chinese suzerainty but now described 
officially as the "Tibet region of China". General Chiang Kai-shek 
hopes that at some future date, when the Chinese get sick of their 
Communist masters, he will stage a successful return to his native 
land; he claims to have a million men throughout the country 
ready to rise at his bidding. Of any such campaign there are no signs 
at present, nor a$ far as one can see. 

This does not mean that the Chinese people as a whole are in love 
with Communism. They are in the hands of a group of resolute men 
the "elite" necessary for every Communist coup who are bent 
on imposing on them Communism as a state religion in place of out- 
worn Confucianism. Following the example of Russia, Mr. Mao 
Tse-tung's motto is "Catch them young"; among the children the 
old Confucian idea of first loyalty to the head of the family is being 
replaced by first loyalty to the head of the state. The transformation 
is not without success. Mr. Frank Moraes, 1 editor of The Times of 
India, who visited China with the Indian cultural mission in 1952, 
records a British resident as saying: "If Mao's regime lasts another 
twenty years a generation will grow up which is completely Com- 
munist". Two years later the special correspondent of The Times* 
wrote: "mdoctrination still captures the minds and enlists the 

1 Report on Mao's China, by Frank Moraes (THe Macmillan Company, New York). 

2 lie Times* October 6, 

47 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

enthusiasm of youth. The girls especially seem responsive, and one 
might almost think Peking to be full of no one but earnest, pig- 
tailed adolescents". 

The British resident's view is no doubt echoed by Mr. Mao Tse- 
tung, but in the meantime he has vast problems on his hands. Money 
must be squeezed out of a predominantly agricultural economy to 
pay for a vast corps of officials, a standing army of up to three 
million men, and the creation of heavy industries essential to re- 
armament and civilian requirements. In 1953 figures showed that 
food production was not up to standard and unemployment was 
increasing. A directive issued by the Central Committee of the 
Communist Party at the end of 1953 makes it clear that collectiviza- 
tion is considered the only solution, and that "a conflict among the 
rural areas" may be expected before the end is achieved. Realiza- 
tion of this fact and its possible dangerous consequences have since 
induced the Peking authorities to postpone collectivization. China's 
rapidly growing population constitutes the country's biggest in- 
ternal problem. 

Yet it would be wishful thinking for the West to imagine that the 
magnitude of the task facing China's Communist regime must 
necessarily bring about its downfall; Russia's experience, with all 
its strains and sufferings for the people, may be repeated in China. 
The coping stone of the vast monolithic structure governing the 
country was placed in position in September, 1954, when the newly 
elected All-China People's Congress adopted the new constitution 
in fifteen minutes. At its head is Chairman of the Central People's 
Government Council Mao Tse-tung. The next three key men are 
General Chu Teh, commander of die Chinese army, as vice- 
chairman; Mr. Liu Shao-chi, the party's leading theoretician, as 
chairman of the standing committee of the People's Congress, and 
Mr. Chou En-lai as prime minister and minister for foreign affairs. 
Supreme power rests in the hands of these four men who are, with 
the rest of the cumbrous government organization, in theory 
responsible to the People's Congress, which wiU meet once a year 
to rubber-stamp their decisions. The world faces the fact that in 
Cliina Communism has triumphed, and at present shows no 
indication of relinquishing its hold. 

48 



Chapter Six 
DANGER IN INDONESIA 



" ir LEFT INDONESIA FEELING that the Government . . . still did not 
I recognize that Indonesia was steadily plunging down into the 
A kind of chaos which is no good to anybody but the Commu- 
nists. . . . My general feeling about the future of Indonesia is one^of 
gloom." 

So said Sir Percival Griffiths, 1 a skilled observer, in an address to 
the East India Association (India, Pakistan and Burma) early in 1953. 
Unfortunately everything which has happened since then tends to 
confirm the speaker's pessimism. While the country awaits the long 
overdue general elections promised now in 1955 the first since the 
republic was founded the Government depends on the support of 
the Communists to keep it in office, corruption is rampant, the ser- 
vices (civil and military) are riddled with intrigue, the economic 
situation is bad and law and order are unknown in parts of Java, 
Sumatra, the Celebes and the Moluccas. Unless the non-Communist 
parties are strengthened and regenerated by the general election, 
there is a distinct danger that in Indonesia, as in China, power will 
slip from the palsied hands of the nationalists into the grip of the 
Communists. One hopeful factor lies in die possibility that one of 
the bigger nationalist parties will secure sufficient support to 
enable it to rule independently of faction-ridden groups. The next 
few years will be acutely critical in the history of this multi-island 
state. 

Indonesia and its sister island republic, the Philippines, constitute 
the south-eastern fringe of the Asian continent; they consist of an 
almost uninterrupted crescent-shaped string of islands stretching 
from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, The Philippines are a relatively 

* Asian Review, April, 1953 (East and West Ltd.). 
49 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

compact group lying almost due south of Japan. Indonesia, on the 
other hand, straggles for nearly 3,000 miles and comprises about 
3,000 islands, the biggest being Sumatra, Java, the former Dutch 
Borneo, the Celebes and the Moluccas. 

In Java the republic possesses one of the richest in natural resources 
and most densely populated islands in the world; it contains more 
than half the nation's eighty million inhabitants. Together with 
New Guinea, the Dutch part of which is claimed by Indonesia, the 
islands form a screen between the mainland of Asia and the island 
continent of Australia. Their political future is therefore of con- 
siderable importance to both Australia and New Zealand. 

Formerly known as the Netherlands East Indies, the "spice 
islands " which now comprise Indonesia were subject at one time to 
Hindu and Buddhist influence, but in the sixteenth and seventeenth 
centuries they came under the Islamic creed to such an extent that 
today about 90 per cent of the population is Muslim. Religion has 
therefore played a definite part in the growth of Indonesian national- 
ism and it still colours the republic's political outlook. Indeed, ever 
since Holland acquired possession of the islands through her adven- 
turous merchant seamen from the sixteenth century onwards, there 
has always been a hard core of Muslim nationalism; it startled the 
Dutch after the first World War by demanding complete indepen- 
dence. The Dutch authorities dealt as drastically with that request 
as they did with other freedom movements up to die time of the 
Japanese occupation in 1942. When we contemplate the instability 
which afflicts Indonesian political life today we have to admit that 
part of this sad story is due to the character of Dutch colonial rule. 
There are other causes, among them the scattered nature of the 
islands, yet the legacy of European domination cannot be 
ignored. 

Here we can legitimately point to the difference between the 
Dutch and British systems of colonial administration. Whatever its 
shortcomings, the declared policy of British rule in India was the 
eventual achievement of self-government by tie Indian people 
themselves. It was an Englishman who founded the Indian National 
Congress, the great movement into which Mahatim Gandhi 
breathed the life of mass support A government-sponsored system 

50 



DANGER IN INDONESIA 

of higher education in numerous secondary schools and universities 
gave India a relatively small but highly influential middle class and 
intelligentsia, so much so that the problem of the " educated un- 
employed" became a pressing one. Successive Acts of Parliament 
conferred on Indians steadily increasing powers in legislatures and 
governments, culminating before the second World War in a 
constitution which set up autonomy in the provinces and dyarchy 
at the Centre. As the result of unofficial pressure in the legislatures, 
India's fiscal policy towards the end of British rule was framed 
strictly in accordance with Indian interests. 

Dutch rule in Indonesia had many excellent characteristics it 
prevented a land problem by restricting holdings and it conserved 
the village as an institution but it did not provide an incentive to 
self-government or the machinery to achieve it on anything like the 
same scale as did the British raj in India. Leaders like President 
Soekarno and Vice-President Hatta were never given a chance to 
build up a mass supported nationalist movement on the lines of the 
Indian National Congress. Their activities were suppressed in the 
early nineteen-thirties, and they themselves were kept in prison until 
the Japanese occupation of the islands in 1942. Higher education 
was confined to a tiny fraction of the population, a practice which 
certainly avoided educated unemployment but deprived the country 
of that literate middle class on which democracy can be built. 
Furthermore, the Dutch displayed a marked tendency to keep 
business and commercial enterprise in their own hands, thereby 
creating economic discontent. 

The net result was that when the Indonesians declared their 
independence on the Japanese surrender they had neither the 
experience nor the educated backing which the Indian sub-continent 
possessed, and the men who came to power were singularly ignorant 
of economic affairs. They belonged to a small professional class 
which regarded capitalism with a jaundiced eye as one of the mani- 
festations of Western imperialism. This belief lies at the root of 
much of Indonesia's troubles. 

As in most other Eastern countries the Communists formed a 
party in Indonesia soon after the end of the first World War. It spent 
the early years of its existence trying to capture the nationalist 

51 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

movement from the much older Islamic party; in the course of the 
struggle both came in for drastic repression at the hands of the Dutch 
authorities, and when the Communists attempted a revolution in 
1926 it proved completely abortive owing to dissensions among the 
Communists themselves. Since then the party has been irrevocably 
split into two groups, the more orthodox describing the other 
led by Mr. Tan Malaka as Trotskyists. 

During the Japanese occupation the Communists were entirely 
eclipsed by non-Communist nationalist groups. Leaders like Presi- 
dent Soekarno and Dr. Hatta were released and were given every 
encouragement by the Japanese to build up a secular nationalist 
movement in return for support for the Japanese war effort. 
Undoubtedly they did help the Japanese to recruit forced labour and 
an Indonesian militia, but the contact they established with their own 
people contact denied them by the Dutch did much more to 
stimulate a really nationalist feeling than sympathy with Japanese 
aims. In fact, by the time the Japanese were compelled to surrender, 
Soekarno and Hatta had organized a following which was as anti- 
Japanese as it was anti-Dutch. That is why, in die interval between 
the end of the war and the arrival of the first Allied troops, the two 
leaders on August lyth, 1945, proclaimed Indonesian independence, 
backed by the Japanese-trained militia armed with weapons either 
acquired voluntarily from the Japanese or seized from them. 

When British troops eventually landed to take over from the 
Japanese they found, much to their astonishment, a rudimentary 
indigenous government in being. True, its authority did not extend 
beyond Java and certain parts of Sumatra, but it could not be ignored 
and the British, who did not want to become involved in a war of 
independence, counselled the Netherlands Government to take the 
infant republic seriously and to negotiate with its leaders. First 
Dutch reactions were to denounce President Soekarno and his 
followers as Japanese puppets, but when the hard facts of the situa- 
tion dawned on The Hague authorities they agreed to negotiate. 

On two occasions during the long, involved and at times stotmy 
dealings between the Dutch and their former East Indies subjects 
Dutch troops took "police action" which had unforeseen results. 
An attempt by the Dutch garrison in 1947 to force the issue led 

52 



DANGER IN INDONESIA 

President Soekarno to appeal to the United Nations for a settlement, 
and on the call of India and oddly enough of Australia the matter 
was referred to the Security Council. It was during the handling of 
the affair by a Security Council committee that the Dutch took even 
more drastic steps at the end of 1948. After prolonged and futile 
negotiations about the constitution of the proposed " United State 
of Indonesia", Dutch troops occupied Java and Sumatra and 
imprisoned the president, prime minister and other members of the 
republican government despite a cease fire order from the Security 
Council on Christmas Eve. Almost simultaneously guerilla warfare 
broke out all over the islands. 

These events aroused much resentment throughout Asia, and 
especially in India which, having just achieved independence, 
emerged as the champion of all other Asian peoples seeking to throw 
off Western control. Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian Premier, 
took the unusual step early in 1949 of inviting nineteen Asian, African 
and Pacific countries to a conference in New Delhi to discuss the 
Indonesian problem. The only country to refuse the invitation was 
Turkey; Australia sent a delegate and China, New Zealand, Nepal 
and Siam provided observers. The conference took die view that the 
Dutch action was a "flagrant breach" of the United Nations Char- 
ter and recommended a series of measures culminating in the com- 
plete transfer of power for the whole of Indonesia by January, 1950. 

Another effect of the Dutch move was to alienate die British and 
Americans; with the powerful support of the United States and 
Britain the Security Council contrived a settlement on the lines of 
the Delhi recommendations. On December 27, 1949, Holland 
signed a treaty renouncing her sovereignty over the whole of her 
East Indies possessions with the exception of Western New Guinea 
the fate of which was reserved for future consideration in 
exchange for an Act of Union and certain economic concessions. 
Dr. Soekarno was elected first President and Dr. Hatta first Prime 
Minister of the United States of Indonesia, comprising sixteen states, 
territories and autonomous units. 

But the federation did not kst long. Before the end of the year the 
then republic of Indonesia (Java, Sumatra and Madura) had per- 
suaded by pressure or otherwise the other much smaller units to 

53 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 



accept unification, and the new unitary Republic of Indonesia 
came into being in 1950. One reason for the republican urge towards 
a unitary state was to prevent the development of fissiparous ten- 
dencies on the part of some of the autonomous units; the year 1950 
saw a number of such movements, including "Turk" Westerling's 
revolt at Bandoeng and break-away revolts in Macassar and the 
South Moluccas. Negotiations with the Dutch to secure possession of 
Western New Guinea, known to the Indonesians as West Irian, 
failed completely; that territory is still in Dutch hands and remains 
one of President Soekamo's standing grievances against his former 
masters. 

In the early stages of Indonesian self-government the Communists 
played a somewhat peculiar role. The Indonesian Communist 
Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia or PKI for short) was revived soon 
after the declaration of independence in 1945 and was joined by 
Indonesian Communists who had been in Holland in close associa- 
tion with the Netherlands Communist Party. That party took the 
view, as did the Dutch Government, that the republic was a 
Japanese-inspired conception and that the proper course was to 
reunite Holland and Indonesia. Personal contact with the nationalists 
in Indonesia quickly led the Indonesian Communists, who were 
flown out at government expense from Holland, to change their 
views; some joined the Socialists but all agreed on the principle of 
negotiations with Holland for a separate state. 

As negotiations dragged on, circumstances altered. In 1947 the 
Cominform announced its new policy of dividing the world into 
two blocs and called on all true Communists to attack the "aggres- 
sive capitalism" of America and the West; early the following year 
this revised gospel reached the Indonesian Communists through 
their representatives who attended the so-called "South-East Asian 
Youth Conference" in Calcutta. In true Communist fashion they 
turned a political somersault; all previous agreements with the 
Dutch were denounced, and the party swung round to the hostile 
attitude adopted earlier by Tan Malaka's Trotskyists, who in 1946 
had attempted to overthrow President Soekarno in favour of their 
leader. Nevertheless the split between the two Communist groups 
was not healed. The new Communist line caused a division in the 



54 



DANGER IN INDONESIA 

Socialist camp which some Communists had joined, and a section of 
the Socialists came directly under Communist influence. 

Stimulated by an emissary from Moscow the reorganized Com- 
munist Party (PKI) decided in 1948 to attempt a coup d'etat with the 
guerillas at its command, but the revolt went off at half cock and was 
swiftly suppressed by the republican government. Its leaders, most of 
whom perished, failed to appreciate the strength of nationalist feel- 
ing among the masses a feeling of loyalty to President Soekarno 
and to the republic which he had proclaimed. After the collapse of 
the rebels, who received no support from Tan Malaka's strongly 
nationalist Trotskyists, the Prime Minister, Dr. Hatta, repeatedly 
proclaimed that he did not seek to suppress Communism as a doc- 
trine but would resist any attempt to impose it upon the country by 
force. There is no doubt that the vigorous way in which the republi- 
can government dealt with the Communist revolt greatly impressed 
the United States of America and was largely responsible for the 
pressure which Washington brought to bear on the Dutch to grant 
independence to Indonesia after the second "police action". Another 
result of the Communist Party's ill-starred rebellion was the forma- 
tion of the Proletarian Party w^hich believes in Communism but not 
necessarilyin being tied to the Kremlin; its attitude is distinctly Titoist. 

Let us now turn to the events which brought the Communist 
Party (PKI) from its eclipse in 1948 to its key position in the govern- 
ment of the country six years later. Until the first general elections 
under the Indonesian constitution take place they have been post- 
poned till 1955 the Indonesian parliament will continue to be a 
nominated body of 218 members representing about twenty parties 
and groups. Seats are distributed according to the relative strength 
of the parties. The largest of these is the Indonesian Muslim League, 
known as the Masjumi, with an estimated membership of ten 
millions and a representation of 38 seats in parliament. The Masjumi 
is a highly complex organization which aims at the establishment of 
a state based on the tenets of Islam in much the same way as Pakistan 
was founded by Mr. Jinnah and the Indian Muslim League. 

Yet it is far from being a purely theocratic party; its programme 
includes many items of social welfare such as minimum wages, 
maximum hours, accident and old-age allowances, and protection 

55 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

for the workers in regard to security of employment, health and 
housing. It aims at full employment by means of industrialization 
and has a close interest in the peasantry. In foreign policy the Mas- 
junii stands for complete neutrality as between the United States of 
America and Russia and non-involvement in any war, cold or hot, 
owing to Indonesia's tender age as a nation. Up to 1953 the Masjumi 
participated in practically every Indonesian government, but in that 
year it was forced into opposition by the extreme jealousy of its 
rival, the Indonesian National Party (Partai Nasional Indonesia, or 
PNI for short). 

The National Party, with 37 deputies in parliament compared 
with the Masjumi's 38, is the lineal successor of the pre-war party of 
the same name founded and led by President Soekarno. Once the 
largest party in Indonesia, it now ranks as second in size; it is the 
party of the small middle class and in its secular outlook has many 
points of semblance to the Indian National Congress. It draws its 
strength from the influence which its civil servant members exercise 
over the illiterate peasantry. Ideologically, according to Mr. David 
Ingber, 1 it is left of centre, and though by no means Marxist it 
follows a Socialist line in home affairs, advocating higher output, 
state ownership of vital industries and agrarian reform. In foreign 
affairs the PNI holds much the same views as the Masjumi, with a 
distinct leaning towards India. Also like the Masjumi, it stands for 
the incorporation in the republic of Dutch New Guinea. 

Of the many left wing groups the biggest is the Indonesian 
Socialist Party (Partai Sodalis Indonesia, or PSI for short) with six- 
teen members in parliament. Like the British Labour Party it 
advocates the welfare state; its leader is Mr. Soetan Sjahrir, who 
played a prominent part in the independence movement. Associated 
with him at one time was another well-known revolutionary figure, 
Mr. Amir Sjarifuddin, whose more leftist followers broke away in 
1948 and formed another group; Sjarifuddin himself was killed in 
the 1948 rebellion, but the party lives on. Apart from the Commu- 
nist parties, which include the PKI and Mr. Tan Malaka's supporters, 
there is a whole series of smaller groups ranging from left wiag Mus- 
lims to splinter Communists. 

1 Eastern World, Januaty, 1954. 

56 



DANGER IN INDONESIA 

This plethora of parties has bedevilled parliamentary rule in 
Indonesia ever since the foundation of the republic; as in France, 
governments have toppled with painful regularity owing to the 
changing character of uneasy coalitions. Until 1953 the Communists 
had little influence in Parliament; as recently as 1951 they were under 
suspicion of promoting what the then Prime Minister described as a 
"foreign supported conspiratorial movement" to assassinate Presi- 
dent Soekarno, Dr. Hatta and members of the government. Never- 
theless the strength of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) 
continued to grow for two good reasons. Firstly, in accordance with 
the declared policy of the republic, no restrictions were placed on its 
peaceful propaganda activities in disturbed areas, a privilege which 
it exploited to the full. Secondly, its control of the All-Indonesia 
Federation of Labour (SOBSI) gave it the unique opportunity of 
spreading Communism among the working classes. In Sir Percival 
Griffiths* words: "The Communists are not going in for violence; 
they are carrying on slow, peaceful and highly intelligent infiltration 
amongst the labour forces of the great plantations in Java and to a 
lesser extent in Sumatra". 

These conditions prevailed in 1952; since then the position of the 
Communists has become much stronger. The last government in 
which the two biggest political parties, the Masjumi and the 
Nationalists, co-operated was forced to resign in the middle of 1953 
owing to a dispute over the resettlement of squatters in North 
Sumatra. After two months of manoeuvring there was set up a 
government headed by Dr. Ali Sastroamidjojo of the National 
Party the defection of whose members caused the earlier crisis 
and composed of a strange assortment of small groups, including the 
Communist Party with its sixteen valuable seats. The Masjumi and 
the Socialist Party were excluded from office. 

Why did the Nationalists adopt the extraordinary and, to them, 
highly dangerous course of allying themselves with the Commu- 
nists? The primary reason was undoubtedly their desire to prepare 
for a victory over the Masjumi in the general elections scheduled to 
take place in 1955. Both the National Party and the Masjumi depend 
on the acquisition of mass support through government officials, 
the one through secular officials and the other through religious 

57 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

teachers. With the Masjumi in the political wilderness the National- 
ists can strengthen and expand their influence by means of every 
conceivable government agency, and they are prepared to pay the 
price of Communist support to keep their rivals out. Naturally the 
Communists are making full use of their opportunities; they have a 
free hand in the propaganda field, which includes government 
departments, and hammer and sickle signs are appearing in the 
villages. An Indonesian embassy has been opened in Moscow. 
President Soekarno acquiesced in the exclusion of the Masjumi 
because, it is believed, he fears that the party's triumph would mean 
the end of Indonesia as a secular state. 

But this is not the sole aspect of the rot which is paralysing In- 
donesia. In 1952 the then Defence Minister, the Sultan of Jogjakarta, 
introduced measures to reduce the cost of the army which amounts 
to something like 40 per cent of the state budget. There was much 
need for this step, since the army consists of about a quarter of a 
million men, mostly ex-guerillas. The Sultan proposed to replace 
them with a small, well trained, well equipped defence force. Dr. 
Wilopo's Nationalist and Masjumi coalition then in power sup- 
ported die move, but the ex-guerillas had their friends and the army 
became involved in a series of demonstrations and counter-demon- 
strations, including a riot in Jakarta (the capital, formerly Batavia) 
in which the protagonists of modernization cowed the legislators by 
smashing their chairs and demanding parliament's replacement by an 
elected body; the incident is remembered as the " Seventeenth 
October Affair". In the end the defence minister resigned and the 
reforms scheme was dropped. 

But worse was to follow. When the Nationalists and their 
Communist allies took over power in 1953 the defence portfolio 
went to Iwa Kusuma Suniantri, who had spent two years in prison 
as one of the leaders of the Tan Malaka Communist revolt in 1946* 
The story of Sumantri's activities since he assumed office is told in 
an article in the Manchester Guardian 1 from a special correspondent in 
Jakarta. He first got rid of the young and able Major-General 
Simattipang, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff, by abolishing the 
Chiefs of Staff Committee. After that he proceeded to make army 

1 Manchester Guardian, June 23, 1954. 

85 



DANGER IN INDONESIA 

promotions of a highly political character, and the danger is that he 
may honeycomb the armed forces of the republic with Communist 
sympathizers. The moral is plain: if the Communists have the sup- 
port of the army, or a substantial part of it, in any future revolt their 
success would be assured. 

In the sphere of internal security the situation is equally depressing. 
Four areas of the republic are subject to disturbances; the Atjeh dis- 
trict of North Sumatra, the South Celebes, West and Central Java 
and the Moluccas. One of the most seriously affected areas is West 
Java, where for years the Dar-ul-Islam (Islamic State) movement has 
held sway. Its leaders are a group of religious zealots who are trying 
to put into practice the concept of a state on strictly Muslim lines. 
They have set up their own government, civil service and army, and 
they control an area which they are constantly attempting to enlarge. 
Recently they were joined by a large number of bandits from East 
Java, with the result that over a considerable portion of the island 
the writ of the Jakarta Government does not run. Another badly 
disturbed region is the Molucca islands, where a "South Moluccas 
republic" is demanding independence. The Indonesian Government 
declared a state of war in some islands of the group early in 1955. 
Nor is the feeling of insecurity confined to regions where security 
does not exist. It is partly economic, and partly due to disillusion- 
ment after five years of self-rule. " At present everyone in Indonesia 
lives on borrowed money. There hardly is a lower official without 
big debts or a higher one who is not a partner in some deal, no-one 
who does not on pay day try to change his rupiahs into foreign 
currency". 1 

After the signing of Indonesia's treaty of independence in 1950 the 
new state benefited by a "special project" loan of $100 million from 
the United States Export-Import Bank, Marshall aid worth 
$61 million and a Dutch loan and credit of 280 million florins. Under 
the Economic Co-operation Administration Indonesia received 
economic and technical assistance, but when E.C.A. was replaced by 
the Mutual Security Agency in 1951 the government which signed 
die M.S.A. agreement had to resign. American friendship is wanted 

1 "Disillusion in Indonesia," by a Diplomatic Correspondent (Eastern World, 
January, 1954)' 

59 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

less than ever by the Sastroamidjojo Government, and any help 
which smells of strings is anathema. Bad management has reduced 
the country to financial straits; there is no reparations agreement 
with Japan and money acquired during the Korea war boom in 
war materials was squandered on ambitious projects. 

All these dismal facts, coupled with the freedom enjoyed by the 
Communists to strengthen their hold on every facet of Indonesian 
life, carry their own tale. Yet there are many Indonesians and they 
are to be found both inside and outside the National Party which is 
responsible for the present " unholy alliance" who honestly believe 
indigenous Communists to be innocent lambs compared to those 
who would link them in any way with the West. That is Asia's 
blind spot. Meanwhile the Communists in Indonesia wait, with one 
eye on China and what is happening in Indo-China. Incidentally, 
both President Soekarno and his Prime Minister are worried about 
the two million Chinese among Indonesia's eighty million people. 
Past governments took steps to restrict Chinese immigration, and 
the present government took up with Peking the future status and 
political allegiance of this important foreign element. Early in 1955 
an agreement, regarded by Indonesia as satisfactory, was reached 
between the two countries. 

There is always the danger in Indonesia that either a right wing (as 
in Egypt) or a left wing (as in China) group may seize power. If, on 
the other hand, nothing interferes with the holding of the general 
elections, there may emerge a national party strong enough to put 
the country on its feet and give it the government it deserves. The 
close affinity hitherto shown between Indonesia and the Colombo 
Plan countries encourages that hope. 



60 



Chapter Seven 
PHILIPPINES MAKE HEADWAY 



IT is A RELIEF to turn from Indonesia to its northern island neigh- 
bour, the Philippines. Here the national government, under a 
vigorous president elected in 1953, is clearly making headway in 
its efforts to stabilize the national economy, to redress the grievances 
of the peasants and to restore internal order. The Philippine islands 
have suffered for the last half century from most of the ills that beset 
an eastern country under Western control. This is all the more 
surprising in view of the fact that wardenship was vested in the 
United States of America, the country which achieved its own free- 
dom from colonial status and which has always criticized often 
harshly the colonialism and imperialism of other Western powers. 
It was an American 1 who said: "During the period of United States 
rule from 1900 to 1946 it is doubtful whether the living standards of 
the peasants and agricultural labourers registered any marked im- 
provement over the miserable condition of nineteenth-century 
Spanish rule". 

The Philippines, in short, went through the usual experiences of 
countries in a similar state a marked expansion of trade which 
benefited the small new middle class but not the bulk of the 
peasantry, collaboration with 'the Japanese during the occupation, 
and a Communist-led revolt which is only now being controlled. 
There is a set pattern about these former Western possessions despite 
the different character of their colonial regimes. 

Like Indonesia, the Philippine republic is an archipelago; it com- 
prises over 7,000 islands with a population of about twenty millions. 
Discovered by Magellan in 1521, they were annexed by Spain in 
1569 and were named after the Spanish king Philip II. For most of 
the three and a half centuries of Spanish occupation the Filipinos 
1 Mr. Darnel THorner in Foreign Policy Reports (April, 1950). 
61 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

were in revolt; the rebellion which was in progress shortly before 
the islands were taken over from Spain by the Americans has been 
described as the first full scale national rising against the West in East 
Asia in modern times. The insurgents of 1898 did, in fact, proclaim 
the country a provisional republic independent of Spain. In the 
circumstances they did not accept their change of masters peacefully. 
For three years after the Americans annexed the Philippines in 1899 
the nationalists conducted a guerilla campaign which had to be 
forcibly suppressed. 

Once this phase was over, however, the Americans like the 
British in India, but with greater speed took steps to associate 
the people of the Philippines with the administration of the country 
both in the legislatures and in the civil service. During the first 
World War autonomy was granted under the Jones Act to a legisla- 
ture with a senate of 24 members and a house of representatives of 
92, subject to the supervisory and controlling powers of the 
Governor-General. This system of tutelage continued until 1934 
when, in response to the growing Filipino demand for freedom, the 
Tydings-McDuffie Act created a Philippines Commonwealth with 
a single chamber government headed by an elected president. 
Independence was not, however, complete; legislation affecting 
currency, trade and immigration required the assent of the President 
of the United States, whose High Commissioner supervised Philip- 
pines finances. Financial supervision was held to be necessary in view 
of the recurring monetary crises of the previous constitution. Full 
responsible government was promised after a decade, a pledge which 
was fulfilled in 1946 following the defeat of Japan. 

These successive steps towards freedom owed much to a fiery- 
Filipino patriot called Manuel Luis Quezon. A lieutenant in the in- 
surgent forces which fought the Americans for three years, Mr. 
Quezon decided to co-operate with the new rulers. He had a hand 
in shaping both the Jones Act and the Tydings-McDuffie Act; he 
was elected President of the Philippines Commonwealth in 1935, 
and only his death while head of a government in exile in 1944 
prevented him from being the first President of the Philippines 
Republic two years later. 

From the earliest days of the American occupation the economy 

62 



PHILIPPINES MAKE HEADWAY 

of the Philippines was tied very closely to that of the United States; 
in fact the link was tighter than that between France and Indo- 
China. The islands were brought within the American tariff system 
in 1909, and the resultant free trade between the two countries 
rendered the Philippines almost entirely dependent on the United 
States. The character of Philippines economy was inevitably shaped 
by United States tariff policy; as Professor MacJMahon Ball 1 points 
out, there grew up a group of United States traders and investors 
who benefited by that policy and who had influence in Washington. 
In 1947, for example, the Philippines constitution was amended to 
give United States citizens and capital the same rights as those 
enjoyed by Filipinos until 1974. These rights recall the trading con- 
cessions which the Dutch secured from the Indonesian republic in 
the independence treaty of 1949. 

The American way of life was certainly exported to the Philip- 
pines, but it did not get beyond a small upper crust, and Mr. 
Francis B. Sayre, who was appointed High Commissioner in 1939 
to prepare the Philippines for independence, bluntly stated: "The 
bulk of the newly created income has gone to the government, to 
landlords and to urban areas and has served but little to ameliorate 
the living conditions among the all but feudal peasantry and tenantry 
... the gap between the mass of the population and the small 
governing class has broadened and social unrest has reached dis- 
turbing proportions. 

The same conditions persisted after independence; inefficiency 
and corruption were widespread, the government seemed unable to 
manage its finances, and a Communist-led armed peasant revolt 
defied all efforts at suppression. As recently as 1953 a Western com- 
mentator 2 described the Philippines as being in the thick of the 
battle for survival. "Agrarian disorders and an infamous election 
revealed that the Islands are far from secure as a bastion of demo- 
cracy." 

It is necessary to stress these conditions because they help to 
explain the struggle between nationalism and Communism which 

1 Nationalism and Communism in East Asia, by Professor W. MacMahon Ball (Mel- 
bourne University Press). 

2 "Manuel Luis Quezon: An Appraisal," by Alan Edmond Kent (Asian Revkw, 
April, 1953). 

63 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

followed the grant of independence. Communism found its expres- 
sion in the Hukbalahap revolt which began in 1942 during the 
Japanese occupation; the word "Hukbalahap" is a contraction 
meaning "The People's Liberation Army". Its leaders, chief among 
whom was Luis Taruc, conducted guerilla warfare against the 
Japanese as did similar nationalist and Communist bodies in other 
Far Eastern occupied countries. On the return of the American 
forces to the Philippines the Hukbalahaps, who were strong in cen- 
tral and south-eastern Luzon, the most northerly of the islands, 
asked for recognition and for the retention of their arms. General 
MacArthur flatly refused their request. 

For a time the Hukbalahap leaders took part in political life and 
Taruc was elected to the legislature, but when President Roxas, who 
had been a collaborator with the Japanese, declined to allow him to 
take his seat after the 1946 elections he reverted to open rebellion. 
His strength and that of his fellow leaders lay in the legitimate 
grievances of the peasantry, who may not have been Communists 
but were prepared, like peasants elsewhere, to follow those who 
stood for agrarian reform. Their spokesmen said they hoped that the 
return of the Americans would mean a new era of social and 
economic justice, but when General MacArthur restored the old 
order they lost faith in him and in the Americans. As a sign of their 
purpose the Hukbalahaps proclaimed their objective to be, among 
other things, the overthrow of the "American imperialists, feudal 
landlords and bourgeois compradors". 

President Quirino tried in 1948 to win over the Hukbalahaps by 
promises of agrarian reform and an amnesty; Taruc accepted the 
amnesty but after receiving certain payments as a prospective mem- 
ber of the legislature he did not keep his bargain and returned to join 
his followers in the hills. In the following year the Hukbalahaps 
gained strength owing to the Communists' victory in China, the 
failure of President Quirino's land reforms policy and the general 
deterioration of the country's economic state caused by administra- 
tive inefficiency and corruption. By 1950 rebel activities became 
alarming; Hukbalahap raids reached the outskirts of Manila, the 
capital, and the fight against them had to be transferred from the 
police to the army. 

64 



PHILIPPINES MAKE HEADWAY 

At this stage the United States Government intervened. In view of 
the 2,000 million dollars in the form of assistance which Washington 
had paid to the Philippines since the end of the war, President 
Truman's Administration announced the appointment of an 
economic survey mission under Mr. D. W. Bell to consider the 
economic and financial problems of the country and to recommend 
remedial measures. The mission proposed a further grant of 1250 
million to help to implement a five year programme of ec- 
onomic development, including the improvement of agricultural 
methods, the redistribution of land and greater security for tenants, 
legislation to provide for a minimum wage and the right of workers 
to organize their own trade unions. 

Thanks to the mission's plans, which were accepted by the 
Philippines Government, and the boom in raw materials caused by 
the Korean war, the economic situation improved. Simultaneously 
the new Defence Secretary, Mr. Ramon Magsaysay, introduced a 
new technique in dealing with the Hukbalahap rebellion which 
showed promising results. Strict orders were given to the troops not 
to antagonize the peasantry in the disturbed areas, and resettlement 
schemes were introduced to remedy their grievances. By the middle 
of 1952 Mr. Magsaysay was able to claim that the worst of the 
Hukbalahap revolt was over. The Government then turned their 
attention to Chinese merchants accused of supplying the Hukbala- 
haps with money and arms, and over three hundred of these alleged 
agents of the Chinese Communist Government were arrested. 

On the strength of his policy in dealing with the Hukbalahaps Mr. 
Magsaysay was nominated by the Nationalist Party for the 1953 
presidential election in opposition to President Quirino, the nominee 
of the Liberal Party, In the Philippines, as elsewhere in the Far East, 
personalities count for more than parties there is very little differ- 
ence in policy between the Philippine parties in any case and Mr. 
Magsaysay won by a handsome majority. In his presidential address 
he said he intended to improve living conditions in neglected rural 
areas and those of labourers generally, to re-examine the land tenure 
system, and to ensure that development programmes helped to 
raise the standard of living. According to a commentator, 1 "It was 

1 The Annual Register, 1953 (Longmans, Green and Co.) 
D 65 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

generally recognized that the elections had resulted in bringing to 
power a man who clearly intended to grapple resolutely with the 
great social and economic problems facing the country and whose 
record suggested that he had the ability and determination to succeed 
in this endeavour if anyone could." 

The omens in 1954 were fairly good. By the middle of the year 
the Hukbalahap numbers had fallen considerably and Luis Taruc 
himself had surrendered to the authorities. His place was taken by a 
man called Jesus Lava, a well-known Filipino Communist, under 
whom the movement is still active. Other insurgents troubling the 
authorities are the Moros, who live in the small island of Jolo, south- 
west of Mindanao, and bandits who infest the province of Cavite, 
immediately south of Manila. But the complete disappearance of 
armed revolt will depend as much on remedial social measures as on 
successful police action; the key to the triumph of nationalism in the 
Philippines lies in social revolution. Much therefore depends on the 
way in which President Magsaysay's five-year plan of development 
and reform is implemented. 



Chapter Eight 
BURMA'S TRIUMPH 



i EMERGENCE IN Burma of a nationalist government steadily 
increasing in strength is one of the miracles of South-East 
Asia. Separation from Britain was still not complete in 1947 
when U Aung San, the youthful architect of Burma's independence, 
was murdered along with six of his fellow ministers. The regime of 
his rehgious-minded successor, U Nu, was beset for a period of years 
by the rebellions of Communists of various brands and of Com- 
munist sympathisers, by Karen nationalists and other groups like 
the Mons and the Arakanese who demanded autonomy, and by a 
section of the Chinese Kuomintang army which fled from China 
across the border of north-east Burma after the defeat of General 
Chiang Kai-shek. Only a few years ago the writ of the Rangoon 
Government barely extended outside the capital city, and the 
country looked like collapsing into a welter of fighting factions. 

By 1954, however, the spokesman of a British trade mission to 
Burma was able to report that 90 per cent of the country was under 
the control of the Rangoon authorities, and that the Government 
might be expected to dispose of all rebels within a year. That may 
have been an optimistic forecast, since Burma's troubles are not yet 
over. Describing the parade of armed forces in Rangoon on 
January 4, 1954, to celebrate the sixth anniversary of Independence 
Day, a Burmese writer 1 said: "Presumably as soon as the parade dis- 
persed, the troops were rushed to the Kengtung state up north 
where operations against the Chinese nationalist intruders tave 
commenced again, or to the Tenassarim area where those Chinese 
troops have combined with Karen and Mon rebels against the 
government, or to the middle of Burma where the Communists 
are fighting their last-ditch battles. Presumably, the Seafires flew on 

1 "Stocktaking in Burma," by Mating Mauag (Eastern World, February, 1954)* 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

straight after saluting the President to combat assignments over 
rebel strongholds/ 9 

Yet the fact remains that Burman nationalism has triumphed over 
difficulties which at one time seemed insuperable. Despite Burma's 
decision in 194.7 to leave the Commonwealth and to become "an 
independent sovereign republic to be known as the Union of 
Burma", she remains on terms of the closest friendship with Great 
Britain and the other Commonwealth countries of South-East Asia, 
her neighbours India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Indeed, those who met 
U Aung San during his visit to London are convinced that had the 
decision later taken to accommodate India as a republic within the 
Commonwealth then been mooted, U Aung San might have been 
able to persuade his followers to constitute Burma a Commonwealth 
member state. 

It is fitting that the first Prime Minister of the Union of Burma 
should be a deeply religious man, since Burma's Buddhist monks, 
the pongyis, from the earliest days played a prominent part in the 
nationalist movement. Burma's history has always been stormy; the 
annexation of the country by Britain, which took place in three 
stages from 1826 to 1886, was directly due to the disorderly and law- 
less conditions then prevailing first in lower and then in upper 
Burma. Later Burma became a province of the Indian Empire, and 
those familiar with the Indian Legislative Assembly up to 1937 will 
remember the distinctive appearance and dress of the Burman 
members; they looked very different from the Indian members, 
variegated though the latter were. For the Burman is a Mongolian, 
the descendant of tribesmen who migrated from Western China and 
Tibet, whereas the Indian is of Aryan stock, with features indis- 
tinguishable from those of the Aryans of Europe. 

The incorporation of Burma in the Indian Empire gave rise to 
conditions which led to a certain amount of ill feeling between the 
two countries and stimulated the growth of Burman nationalism. 
Always a happy easy-going people, the Burmans took little interest 
in commerce and industry; these strenuous occupations were looked 
after by the British, Indians and Chinese, with the result that the 
usual colonial pattern in East Asia manifested itself. The new-found 
wealth of the country from the exploitation of its natural resources, 

68 



BURMA S TRIUMPH 

timber, oil and rice, became concentrated in foreign hands; while 
British business houses developed trade and industry, the hard- 
working Indian coolie, imported to do manual labour in the cities 
and ports, was followed by the South Indian chettiars or money- 
lenders, who established themselves as agricultural bankers. Before 
the last war there were over a million Indians in the country, and 
the chettiars owned about a quarter of the agricultural land in the 
thirteen principal rice growing districts. Not that the chettiars 
wanted to buy the land; they took it over, often much against their 
will, from impoverished peasants, particularly during the slump in 
the early nineteen-thirties. 

Thus it happened that the first stirrings of Burman nationalism 
were directed against Indians. Buddhist monks, who began by 
promoting a revival of interest in the country's cultural and religious 
past as opposed to the utility type of education introduced by the 
British, which forced them into the background, were responsible 
for the founding after the first World War of the General Council of 
Buddhist Associations. The Council became the nucleus of a 
nationalist movement based on resentment against foreign domina- 
tion of the country's political and economic life. Both pongyis and 
members of the Buddhist-flavoured Thakin Party, the nationalist 
group with which the present Prime Minister of Burma, formerly 
known as Thakin Nu, was connected, found supporters among the 
discontented peasants for policies with a strong Socialist bias. The 
pongyi-inspired rebellion of 1930 and the anti-Indian riots of 1938 
were aimed primarily at Indian moneylenders, but were rooted 
in a desire to oust British rule and all forms of foreign control A 
Communist party, formed as in other South-East Asia countries in 
the early nineteen-twenties, existed in Burma in pre-war days, but 
its thunder was largely stolen by the Marxist character of the Thakin 
Party's programme. 

If the Burmans wanted to get rid of Indians in the economic 
sphere in their own country, they followed them with almost 
pathetic faith in the political field. The British plan of gradually in- 
troducing self-government in India applied to Burma, but when the 
British Government separated Burma from India under the 1937 
Government of India Act, politically minded Burmans opposed the 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

idea mainly from fear that separation would deprive them of the 
achievement along with India of full self-rule. 

There was yet another fly in Burma's nationalist ointment. Of the 
country's population of roughly 17 millions a quarter are hill people 
with autonomous ambitions of their own. They include the Karens, 
who are scattered throughout central and southern Burma, the 
tribesmen of the Shan states in the north-east, the Chins and Kachins 
of the north, the Arakanese of the west, and the Mons of the 
Tenassarim peninsula in the far south. Although the Karens have 
spread far from their original habitat in the Karenni hills south of the 
Shan states, they have always maintained their separate identity, and 
Christian missionaries influenced them far more than their strongly 
pro-Buddhist compatriots. They were therefore generally more 
ready to co-operate with the British, especially in the armed forces. 
For this and other reasons ill feeling flared up during the Japanese 
occupation between Burmans and Karens, and developed in post- 
war years into a full-blooded civil war which is only now beginning 
to die down. 

A great opportunity was missed by the British Government soon 
after the outbreak of war. Burman nationalists offered full co- 
operation in return for the promise of early dominion status; this 
offer was rejected. To my mind the rejection was a tragic mistake; 
had Britain made it clear to both India and Burma that their un- 
qualified support in the struggle against Nazi aggression would lead 
to their recognition as self-governing members of the Common- 
wealth at the end of the war, Burma might still be in the Common- 
wealth and many unfortunate developments in India might have 
been avoided. To people like myself who lived in the East the trend 
of events was unmistakable; it was crystal clear that if the Common- 
wealth emerged victorious from the world upheaval nothing less 
then full freedom would satisfy countries like India, Burma and 
Ceylon. And so it proved. The pity of it is that they did not fight the 
war with that pledge to hearten and encourage them. 

Burma's period of Japanese overlordship during the war was a 
bitter experience. When the Burman war offer was turned down the 
Thakin Party, like the Indian National Congress on an earlier 
occasion, declared for full independence, and its militant leader, 

70 



BURMA S TRIUMPH 

Aung San, escaped to Japan. He returned with the Japanese on the 
understanding that they would grant Burma full independence. 
This the Japanese nominally did in August, 1943, but presumably 
because Burma remained a front line area the Japanese military 
authorities never relaxed their grip. In no other "liberated" country 
except Malaya were relations between the Japanese and the local 
inhabitants worse. U Nu, who held ministerial rank in Dr. Ba Maw's 
puppet government, has told the full story of Burman humiliation 
in his book Burma Under the Japanese; 1 members of the so-called 
national government were treated with insolence and contempt. 

Small wonder that there rapidly grew up, covertly encouraged by 
their leaders in the government, resistance groups like the Thakin 
Party which were combined under U Aung San in a body with the 
high-sounding title of the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League. 
Once again the pattern of South-East Asian nationalism under the 
Japanese occupation was repeated; disgust with the spurious type of 
independence conferred by the "liberators" led to the organization 
of armed bands who found themselves in sympathy with the objects 
for which the Allies were fighting. 

In Burma, therefore, we had the strange spectacle of U Aung San, 
who co-operated with the Japanese as the liberators of his country 
from the British, turning round to co-operate with the British as the 
liberators of his country from the Japanese! He was able to do this 
because Burma, unlike Malaya and other South-East Asian countries 
except the Philippines, was freed from the Japanese by invading 
Allied forces. From March, 1945, the support of U Aung San and 
his AFPFL was accepted by General (afterwards Field Marshal) Sir 
William Slim's famous Fourteenth Army, comprising British and 
Indian troops, which inflicted on the Japanese a decisive defeat. 

With the restoration of civil government in Burma it soon 
became evident that the old conditions could not return. A British 
Government statement belatedly promised the country full domi- 
nion status and set up an Executive Council under a British Governor 
temporarily to carry on the administration pending arrangements 
for the new constitution. The political pace was, however, set not by 
politicians of the old school who again appeared on the scene, but by 

1 Burma Under the Japanese, by U. Nu (Macmillan). 
7* 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

young leaders of the U Aung San type drawn from the AFPFL. 
Behind the League stood the armed guerillas of U Aung San's Bur- 
mese Patriotic Force, which was originally raised by the Japanese 
and subsequently turned against them. 

The AFPFL refused to join the Executive Council except on terms 
which would give the party an absolute majority; the British 
Government wisely bowed to the inevitable and at the end of 1946 
the Council was reconstituted on a pre-war basis with the AFPFL 
and its associates in control. On the invitation of the British Prime 
Minister, Mr. Attlee, a Burman delegation headed by U Aung San 
visited London early the following year; an agreement was 
reached recognizing the Executive Council as an Interim Govern- 
ment on the dominion model and providing that Burma's future 
should be decided by a constituent assembly to be elected in April, 
1947. Two members of the delegation, U Saw and Thakin Ba Sein, 
refused to sign the agreement on the grounds that it was Burma's 
right to declare herself independent. They left the Government and 
joined the Communists, who formed the chief opposition to the 
AFPFL along with another extreme left wing party led by the for- 
mer collaborator, Dr. Ba Maw. 

The AFPFL scored a decisive majority in the constituent assembly 
elections, securing 173 out of 210 seats, whereas the Communists 
captured only seven seats. U Nu, who was U Aung San's deputy in 
the AFPFL, became president of tkt constituent assembly, which on 
June 16, 1947, decided that Burma should be an independent repub- 
lic outside the Commonwealth. But before the transfer of power 
could be effected Burma's future was gravely imperilled by one of 
the most shocking acts of violence in the country's stormy history. 
A gang of armed men burst into the building where U Aung San 
was sitting in conference with his cabinet and killed him along with 
six of his colleagues. 

U Nu was providentially absent when this ghastly massacre 
occurred; he was immediately appointed head of the administration 
by the Governor, Sir Hubert Ranee. With die AFPFL solidly 
behind him, U Nu took swift police action; U Saw, Dr, Ba Maw, 
and Thakin Ba Sein were arrested on suspicion and after trial U Saw 
was executed with eight fellow conspirators, the ninth having turned 

72 



BURMA'S TRIUMPH 

informer. It was left to U Nu, the playwright, poet and man of 
religion, to inaugurate the republic, which came into being on 
January 4, 1948. The new constitution was, appropriately enough, 
based on the Irish model of 1937; it consists of an elected president 
and two chambers, a chamber of nationalities or senate with a 
majority of representatives of non-Burman units such as the Karens 
and hill states, and a chamber of deputies or lower house twice the 
size of the senate. 

The new republic started its career with the best wishes of the 
British Government, from which it agreed to accept a military 
mission, but it speedily ran into serious trouble at home. Although 
it embarked on a programme of nationalization in pursuance of the 
AFPFL policy of nationalizing "the principal economic resources 
and industries of the country' 5 , the Government's measures were 
not sufficiently radical to satisfy the Communists, who demanded 
expropriation instead of the modest compensation paid to the 
original owners compensation which the Indian Government pro- 
tested against as inadequate in the case of the chettiar landlords. 

The Communists themselves were split into two factions, the 
Burma Communist Party (White Flag) and the Communist Party 
(Burma) (Red Flag) but they both obeyed the Cominform com- 
mand, spread from the South-East Asian Communist conference at 
Calcutta in 1948, to come into the open against non-Communist 
governments which had friendly relations with the West. White 
Flag Communists seized control of a large part of the country 
between Rangoon and Mandalay; the Red Hags operated much 
farther south in the Irrawaddy delta. These revolts led to a split in 
the AFPFL; the People's Volunteer Organization broke away from 
the Government in sympathy with the Communists. In an attempt 
to restore unity U Nu leaned still farther to the left, emphasizing the 
Marxist nature of his programme and the establishment of economic 
relations with Russia. But his concessions failed to mollify the PVO, 
which opposed any collaboration with Britain and demanded an 
alliance with the Communists; a section of its members openly 
rebelled although they did not join either of the Communist armies. 
The PVO defection led to mutinies in the army at two centres. 

A further complication arose over the Karens, who demanded 

D* 73 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

autonomy. The republican constitution provided for a Karen state 
on the lines of the semi-autonomous Shan and Kachin states, but it 
was difficult to define a Karen state since the two million Karens 
were spread throughout the Irrawaddy delta and along the Tenassa- 
rim coast. Similar demands, backed in some cases by force, were 
made by the Mons in Tenassarim and the Muslims of Arakan on the 
East Pakistan border. 

For a time in 1949 it looked as if the infant Burman state could not 
survive. A widespread Karen revolt, in which the Karen members of 
the armed forces joined, flared up and achieved startling initial 
success. The rebels seized Meiktila and Mandalay in the north, and a 
string of important towns in central and lower Burma stretching 
from Bassein to Toungoo. Their gains, however, proved too exten- 
sive for them to hold, and finally they concentrated in the Sittang 
valley and the neighbouring Karenni district with their headquarters 
at Toungoo, where they proclaimed a Karen state. Meanwhile the 
Communists, aided by one section of the PVO wearing white 
bands those with yellow bands remained loyal established them- 
selves in the central Irrawaddy region between Prome and Magwe; 
they occupied the Yenangyaimg oilfields where they levied toll on 
the Burma Oil Company. 

Yet out of this seemingly hopeless confusion the Rangoon 
Government contrived during the next few years to evolve some 
kind of order. They were aided by two important factors. Firstly, 
the various rebel groups did not combine; on the contrary, left wing 
forces frequently fought among themselves. Secondly, the Shan and 
Kachin states 4 on the whole remained quiet, Shan tribesmen refusing 
all invitations to join the Karen rebellion. The result was that the 
Government troops were able to tackle the revolts piecemeal. They 
first made a determined drive against the Karens in the Sittang 
valley. Hampered by shortage of supplies, the rebels were expelled 
from the towns, including Toungoo, and retreated into the more 
remote regions of the Salween and Karenni. 

By the end of 1950 the Government had restored communications 
between Rangoon and Mandalay, although for several years road, 
rail and river transport was liable to interruption by marauding 
Karens. In an effort to pacify the Karens U Nu's cabinet in 1951 

74 



BURMA S TRIUMPH 

introduced legislation to establish a Karen state, but as the area con- 
templated was limited to the Salween and Karenni districts, in which 
the rebels were already exercising authority, it did not arouse much 
enthusiasm. In 1954 Karen rebels were still active in the Salween 
valley and around Tenassarim, and were receiving help from 
Chinese Nationalist troops infesting the border regions from the 
Shan states southwards. Government forces were, however, slowly 
but surely gaining the upper hand. The inauguration by the 
President, Dr. Ba U, of the new Karen state in the same year gave 
rise to hopes that Karen armed resistance would gradually subside as 
the Karens were given freedom within the new state to manage their 
own affairs, leaving defence, foreign policy, taxation and communi- 
cations to the central Government. 

In dealing with the left wing rebellion along the Irrawaddy the 
Government troops were greatly helped by a conflict which broke 
out between the Communists and their PVO allies. In consequence, 
the PVO "white bands*' surrendered in large numbers and the 
Communists lost the towns of Magwe and Prome in rapid succes- 
sion, together with the Yenangyaung oilfields. These losses gravely 
weakened the Communists. In some areas the Karen rebels in 
the locality made common cause with them, but by the end of 1953 
the Rangoon authorities were able to declare the Burma Commu- 
nist Party and its associates to be unlawful bodies, thereby leaving 
their suppression mainly in the hands of the police. Fortunately for 
the Burma Government, the Communist revolt took place in an 
area far remote from the Chinese frontier; no question of direct aid 
from the Chinese Communists could therefore arise. 

The Burma Government's difficulties in dealing with internal 
rebellion were most unfairly increased by the presence on Burmese 
soil of Chinese Nationalist troops. These unwelcome visitors 
crossed the border from Yunnan in 1949 to escape from the vic- 
toAous Communists. After an abortive attempt to return to Yunnan 
they settled down in the Shan states and elsewhere along the fron- 
tier where they became Htde better than bandits, engaging in 
smuggling, living on the countryside, terrorizing the hill people and, 
incidentally, creating friction between the Burman and Chinese 
Governments. 

75 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

In response to Burma's complaint, the Political Committee of the 
U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the 
presence of Kuomintang troops in Burma, and at a conference in 
Bangkok between representatives of Siam, Nationalist China 
and the United States of America the Burman representative 
withdrew owing to the Kuomintang attitude agreement was 
reached on the evacuation of 2,000 men and their families. The 
Burma Government regarded the arrangement as unsatisfactory on 
the ground that the number to be repatriated represented only a 
small fraction of the forces involved. Nevertheless they assisted the 
evacuation by providing a corridor to the Siamese border, and by 
the end of 1953 the operation as planned was complete. Yet, 
according to the Rangoon authorities, it left some 10,000 Kuomin- 
tang troops still in the country, and these men continued during 
1954 to constitute a threat to internal peace not only by supporting 
the Karen rebels along the eastern frontier but by banditry and other 
forms of lawlessness. From the Government's point of view the 
chief bright spot was that by 1954 90 per cent of the country was 
estimated to be under official control. 

In the purely constitutional field the Government's position 
remained unshaken. The AFPFL in 1952 secured the support of 180 
members in a chamber of 233 in the first general election after the 
achievement of independence. U Nu's Government is therefore in 
power for another few years with an ill-assorted opposition con- 
sisting of groups ranging from the Burma Workers and Peasants 
Party, an avowedly Marxist organization run on constitutional lines, 
to the right wing Burma Union League. The secret of the Govern- 
ment's success is the backing which the Socialists, who constitute the 
dominant factor in the AFPFL, enjoy among the peasantry, and the 
determination with which it is trying to create a welfare state. In its 
efforts the Government has freely accepted Western aid, including a 
joint Commonwealth loan from Great Britain, India, Pakistan, 
Australia and Ceylon, considerable economic assistance from 
America, and help for many important development projects under 
the Colombo Plan. 

Replying to critics who complained that he was selling the 
country to the West, U Nu declared that his Government would 



BURMA S TRIUMPH 

accept aid from any quarter without political conditions, thereby 
throwing on the opposition the onus of securing assistance from 
Russia or Communist China on the terms offered by the demo- 
cracies. On these grounds his Government in 1953 informed 
America that no further aid from that country would be accepted 
after the completion of the projects in hand because of Washington's 
alleged sympathy with the Chinese Nationalist Forces still tres- 
passing in Burma. Despite its pre-occupation with civil disorders the 
Government is pushing ahead with land nationalization, the 
nationalization of industries and public services, state partnership 
plans in conjunction with British interests in oil and mining, the 
pyidawtha or village welfare programme and a mass education 
movement. 

While maintaining diplomatic relations with Russia and Com- 
munist China, for which the Socialists profess great respect, the 
Burma Government supported United Nations action in Korea, 
and it is characteristic of U Nu's abounding optimism that there was 
organized in Rangoon in 1953 the first session of the Asian Social- 
ists' Conference, which Mr. Atdee attended, and in 1954 the Sixth 
Great Buddhist Council or Sanayana, which will spend the next two 
years revising the Buddhist scriptures. 

Burma's relations with Great Britain are excellent. With the 
Commonwealth countries of Asia India, Pakistan and Ceylon 
and with Indonesia 'U Nu's Government works in the closest co- 
operation in foreign affairs. U Nu attended the South-East Asia 
Prime Ministers* Conference in Colombo on the eve of the Geneva 
talks on Indo-China in 1954. There is no doubt that the contacts he 
then established with Mr. Nehru, the Indian Prime Minister, were 
responsible for the visit which Mr. Chou En4ai, the Chinese Foreign 
Minister, paid to Rangoon after his meeting with Mr. Nehru in 
Delhi on his way back to China in June of that year. Like India, 
Burma is friendly with Communist China but has no use for Com- 
munism at home. Also like India, Burma is worried about the 
possible expansionist character of Chinese Communism and the 
profoundly unsettling effect it would have should it approach 
Burma's frontiers by way of Indo-China or infiltrate across the 
borders of Yunnan. 

77 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

If Burma can be assured on that score, and if she can enforce com- 
plete internal peace, leaving no cancerous growths to attract outside 
attention, then her future is bright. Her economy, tied up as it is 
largely with the Commonwealth, is essentially sound in view of her 
valuable resources in rice, oil and teak. Despite the fact that she has 
refused to sign a peace treaty with Japan until her reparations claims 
are settled, Japanese commercial ties are returning and already sub- 
stantial trade agreements with Tokio have been signed. Burma's 
debt to Britain has been liquidated and negotiations are in progress 
for a settlement of her debt to India. In every way, both politically 
and economically, the strongly nationalist Union of Burma is 
surmounting its teething troubles. 



Chapter Nine 
A CONTINENT DIVIDES 



STRETCHING FOR SOME 2,500 mUes from north to south, dividing 
the Far East from the Middle East, lie three new member states 
of the Commonwealth of Nations India, Pakistan and 
Ceylon. Between them they account for well over 400 million 
people, or more than a fifth of the world's population. They are 
unique in the sense that, after Britain handed over power, they 
became the first Asian countries voluntarily to agree to stay within 
the Commonwealth. The resulting gain to democracy was tremen- 
dous. Along with Burma, a former province of the old Indian 
Empire, Indonesia and the Philippines, the three Commonwealth 
countries form a massive new Asian democratic bloc. 

The splitting up in 1947 of the former British Empire of India into 
two separate states, India and Pakistan, was due to the upsurge of 
nationalist forces which had lain dormant for centuries. It is a truism 
that British occupation unified the sub-continent for the first time in 
history; not even in the legendary days of the Buddhist emperor 
Asoka or during the Islamic Mogul empire was the whole country 
under one rider. South India eluded both Asoka and Akhbar. 
India's main population, the Hindus, are an Aryan race who spilled 
over the Khyber Pass from central Asia and displaced the original 
inhabitants who were either Dravidian or Mongolian. Centuries 
later the sub-continent was again invaded from the north by a 
series of Muslim conquerors, the last of whom, Baber of Samarkand, 
founded the Mogul empire. The British Indian Empire was built on 
the ruins of the Mogul state, but th.6 Moguls left their mark in a 
Muslim population which was never absorbed by Hinduism and 
which eventually insisted on breaking away from the Hindus when 
the British left. That happened in spite of strenuous last minute 
British efforts to keep the country united, and it bequeathed large 
minorities to both countries. 

79 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Apart from the tragedy attending partition, the peaceful transfer 
of power from Britain to the two new dominions in 1947, and the 
great goodwill which accompanied the change-over, were due to 
two important factors. The first was the promise, dating back well 
over a century, that Britain would eventually hand over control of 
India to its own people a pledge slowly, sometimes uncertainly, 
but in the end surely implemented by successive stages of increasing 
association of the Indian people with their own governance. The 
second was the dominating influence of Mahatma Gandhi's creed of 
non-violence on the Indian nationalist movement. Other contribu- 
ting causes were India's freedom from enemy occupation during the 
second World War, which prevented the distribution of arms to 
organized groups, and the magnificent loyalty of the services, par- 
ticularly the Indian army, which on many battlefields proved itself 
to be one of the world's finest fighting machines. 

Trade led the English to India just as it took the Dutch to In- 
donesia, but it was never the wish or intention of the early British 
traders to assume territorial responsibility. As in other parts of the 
East the Portuguese were first on die scene. In the sixteenth century 
they set up along the west coast a number of settlements of which 
Goa, Daman and Diu remain, much to the annoyance of the Indian 
Government whose requests for their inclusion in the Union 
have so far met with no success in Lisbon. The efforts of merger 
enthusiasts to "invade" the Portuguese enclaves in 1954 led almost 
to an international crisis before they died down. But the French 
provided a much more serious problem for the East India Com- 
pany, incorporated for trading purposes under a charter granted 
by Queen Elizabeth I in 1600; hostilities between the two countries 
in Europe were reflected in minor wars in India, in which Indian 
troops raised, trained and armedby European officers, were employed 
by both sides. Eventually the French were driven out, leaving behind 
them, like the Portuguese, a number of small settlements which had 
all been handed back to India by 1954. 

These struggles for supremacy were a direct result of the decay of 
tie Mogul empire and the collapse of government throughout the 
sub-continent following Hindu revolts against the Muslim dynasty. 
Much against the wish of its directors, the East India Company was 

80 



A CONTINENT DIVIDES 

forced, in order to protect its factories and trading interests, to take 
over the administration of vast regions until it became first the 
dominant and then the paramount power in India. As the Com- 
pany's territorial interests grew, Parliament intervened in the in- 
terests of administrative efficiency, appointing a Governor-General 
in Calcutta and later compelling the Company to close down its 
commercial activities and to administer its holdings in trust for the 
Crown. 

Yet the keynote in "John Company " days was the view expressed 
in 1 8 1 8 by the then Governor-General, Lord Hastings, who looked 
forward to a time "not far remote . . . when England will, on sound 
principles of policy, wish to relinquish domination which she has 
gradually and unintentionally assumed over this country". Events 
occurred which postponed that date; they were the Indian army 
mutiny of 1857 and the consequent assumption of complete 
responsibility for the government of India by the Crown. The 
tragedies and horrors of the mutiny poisoned relations between 
Britons and Indians for decades, and in the heyday of Victorian 
imperialism India was regarded more as the "brightest jewel in the 
British Crown*' than as a fit subject for self-government. 

Indian nationalism and the desire of the people for western 
democratic institutions undoubtedly owed much to Lord Macaulay's 
famous Minute of 1835 laying down a system of education for the 
country in the English language and on purely English lines. Lord 
Macaulay himself glimpsed something of the, possible consequences 
of his policy; in an oft-quoted passage in his speech in Parliament he 
said that if the day when the Indian people should demand English 
institutions should ever come "it will be the proudest day in English 
history". As English education spread, there grew tip a small 
intelligentsia which sought aa increasing voice in the country's 
affairs. "When we have drunk at the fountain of Milton and 
Burke", an eloquent Indian friend said to me on one occasion, "how 
can you expect us to be satisfied with anything less than liberty?*' 

Appropriately enough, it was an Englishman, Allan Octavian 
Hume, a retired civil servant, who presided over the birth of the 
modern Indian nationalist movement by founding in 1885 the 
Indian National Congress. The process of increasingly associating 

81 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Indians with the administration, announced in Queen Victoria's 
proclamation of 1858, began with the nomination of Indians to the 
councils of the Viceroy and provincial governors. In 1909, under the 
Minto-Morley reforms, provincial councils were enlarged to con- 
tain non-official majorities, although power remained in official 
hands. Ten years later came a big step forward, preceded by a 
declaration that the aim of the British Government was the "pro- 
gressive realization of responsible government in India as an integral 
part of the Empire". The Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, as they 
were called, provided for a system of dyarchy in the provinces; 
provincial governments included Indian ministers responsible to 
legislatures elected on a limited franchise. Simultaneously the central 
legislature was given an elected majority, although power still 
vested in the Viceroy and the British and Indian members of his 
executive council. 

In 1937, after a Royal Commission and a historic Round Table 
Conference in London, there was put into effect the first part of an 
elaborate constitution which conferred autonomy on the provinces 
and dyarchy at the centre, with a federal government designed to 
include representative of the Indian states. These states, or " Indian 
India" as they were called to distinguish them from "British India", 
were the relics of feudal days and the break-up of the Mogul empire 
when Indian nobles Hindu, Muslim and Sikh seized or held on to 
large tracts of territory. Over a long period the East India Company 
and the British Government entered into treaties or agreements 
whereby the rulers were left in charge of their states so long as they 
recognized the paramountcy of the British Crown. At the time the 
British handed over power in 1947 there were no fewer than 562 
Indian states of all shapes and sizes, ranging from Hyderabad and 
Kashmir, with areas the size of Great Britain, to parcels of land 
which an Indian maharaja once described as "little bigger than a 
back yard". In area the Indian states covered nearly half the country 
and accounted for about a third of the population. 

They were a strange mixture; in some a Hindu maharaja ruled 
over a predominantly Muslim population as in Kashmir, or a 
Muslim dynasty held sway over a Hindu majority as in Hyderabad, 
These were factors which gave rise to, and are still causing in the 



A CONTINENT DIVIDES 

case of Kashmir, a great deal of trouble. Generally speaking, the 
states were much more backward politically than the provinces of 
British India. Most of the rulers exercised autocratic powers, and it 
was their fears of what might happen to their position which made 
them nervous about joining the Indian federation, to which they 
had agreed in principle, thereby delaying until too late the second 
or centre part of the 1937 constitution. The outbreak of the second 
World War stopped all progress, and there was thus lost the 
opportunity of creating a federal united India in which the provinces 
and states would have worked together. Whether that consumma- 
tion would have preserved the unity of the country is one of the big 
"ifs" of history; one can only regret that it was never given a chance. 
When freedom did come it arrived amid such a blaze of communal 
passions that partition was inevitable. 

The object of this bald recital of events is to show that, with all its 
faults and delays, the underlying aim of British policy in India was 
the realization of self-government by the Indian people, and the 
long to Indians unconscionably long period of training in 
parliamentary methods of government undoubtedly made for 
stability once the pangs of partition were over. India's progress 
towards independence was not, however, achieved without severe 
pressure from the forces of nationalism, leading at times to violence. 
For some years after its foundation in 1885 the Indian National 
Congress pursued a policy of ventilating its grievances by bringing 
them to the notice of the authorities in friendly fashion. But after the 
turn of the century it adopted a much stronger nationalist attitude 
and control passed from die moderates to men who demanded 
swaraj (self-government) at the earliest possible opportunity. 

It was this cry for swaraj which perturbed the politically-minded 
Muslims. Indian Muslims constituted about a quarter of the total 
population of India; they were descendants of the Muhammadan 
invaders from the north or of converted Hindus. So long as the 
British the "third party" remained in power the Muslims were 
sure of adequate treatment as a minority; they received representa- 
tion in government institutions in strict conformity with their 
population figures. Would they, the Muslims asked, receive the 
same treatment under a predominantly Hindu administration? If 

83 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

educational qualifications were to be* the criterion for government 
appointments in a self-governing India the Muslims had further 
cause for disquiet. Whereas the Hindus took full advantage of the 
secular education system introduced by the British, the Muslims 
adhered far too long to their own schools and colleges which paid 
too much attention to religious instruction and too little to training 
for a business or official life. So long as appointments were made on 
a population basis the Muslims were safe, but should merit alone be 
the test the Muslims, in view of their educational backwardness, 
would so their leaders argued suffer. 

With these thoughts in mind a group of Muslim leaders in 1906 
founded the Muslim League, which took its stand on separate 
electorates for Muslims and the allocation to Muslims in the legisla- 
tures of weightage, that is, seats in excess of the population ratio. At 
one stage the Congress agreed to separate electorates, which were 
incorporated in the Montagu-Chelmsford reforms, but the idea was 
generally abhorrent to the majority community and the most the 
Congress in later times would concede was the reservation of seats 
in the legislatures. Even on that issue no agreement could be found, 
and the refusal of a unity conference in 1928 to grant the Muslims 
one-third representation in the central legislature had an important 
result; it led to the estrangement from the Congress of the Muslim 
leader and ardent "home ruler" Mr. Mahomed Ali Jinnah, whose 
rise in the Muslim firmament subsequently became meteoric. For a 
few years after Mahatma Gandhi assumed control of the Congress in 
1919 there was a brief honeymoon between the Congress and the 
Muslim League, but when that ended they pursued permanently 
divergent paths. 

Mahatrna Gandhi's asceticism and his insistence on the rights of the 
common man made a tremendous appeal to the Hindu masses. So 
did his methods of conducting political agitation, which included 
satyagraha or "soul force", a form of non-violent passive resistance 
to authority. Between the two wars the nationalist movement led 
by the Congress gathered great strength, and civil disobedience 
movements organized by Mahatma Gandhi in pursuit of swaraj 
caused the government much embarrassment While the Congress 
was predominantly Hindu, it did contain members of all castes and 

84 



A CONTINENT DIVIDES 

creeds, including Muslims, and could, in effect, be properly des- 
cribed as a truly nationalist party. This fact, coupled with, the 
divisions which beset the Muslims during the inter-war years, 
undoubtedly contributed to the Congress leaders* refusal to take the 
Muslim demands as seriously as they should have done. 

The crisis came in 1937. Under the constitution which took effect 
that year the Congress secured control of eight out of India's 
eleven provinces, and proceeded to form exclusively Congress 
ministries. On behalf of the Muslim League, which had not done 
too well in the elections despite the separate electorates awarded by 
the British Prime Minister, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, in default of 
Hindu-Muslim agreement, Mr. Jinnah demanded League represen- 
tation in the cabinets of Congress-majority provinces. The Con- 
gress refused. Appeals were made to the provincial governors, who 
were enjoined by the constitution to see that minorities were as far 
as possible represented in the government, but the governors quite 
rightly pointed out that while their instructions mentioned 
" minorities" they did not specify that the minority representatives 
should belong to a particular political party. The Congress satisfied 
the letter of the law by appointing minority representatives who 
were Congress party members. 

Seldom have I seen a man in such a towering passion as Mr. 
Jinnah when this decision was announced. In an interview which I 
had with him in Bombay, he declared that the Muslims would be 
much worse off than they ever were in the days of British rule, since 
in eight provinces they were to be permanently debarred from 
having a voice in the seat of authority; those who were supposed to 
represent them would be mere Congress "stooges". With flashing 
eyes and in strident tones he declared he would never accept these 
conditions, which were "a negation of democracy" and would 
"reduce the Muslims to another depressed class". So far as the 
Hindus were concerned Mr. Jinnah always referred to the Con- 
gress as a " Hindu" body he was finished, and the Muslims must 
make their own arrangements to protect themselves, their religion 
and their culture. 

Deeply perturbed by what I had heard, I hastened to urge the idea 
of coalition cabinets on a prominent Congress leader. From him I 

85 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

had an explosion of another kind. "How can you", he demanded, 
"as a representative of the British people, who believe in democracy 
and the rule of the majority, suggest that the majority party in India 
should give up its inalienable right?" To do as the Muslim League 
leader suggested (he continued) would give him the power of veto 
in every Congress-majority province and would render constitu- 
tional government impossible. The suggestion, in short, was mon- 
strous. In vain I argued that, while I agreed with the Congress in 
principle, it might be expedient to treat the start of provincial 
autonomy as a national emergency, and to have coalition govern- 
ments to allay Muslim fears just as Britain had a coalition govern- 
ment during the 1914-18 war. The Congress leaders had made up 
their minds and there was to be no going back. Much can, of course, 
be said for the Congress point of view. For a thousand years the 
Hindus had not been masters in their own country, and one could 
understand their burning desire to exercise the right which demo- 
cracy had conferred upon them. What they could not foresee was 
the ultimate result of their policy. 

The die was cast. Mr. Jinnah adopted the "two nation" theory, 
namely, that the Hindus and Muslims were separate nations and 
that a separate Muslim state was the only solution. Poets, we are 
told, are the unacknowledged legislators of the world. The word 
"Pakistan", which means "the land of the pure" (in religion), was 
coined by the Muslim poet Sir Mahomed Iqbal in an address which 
he gave to the Muslim League in 1930. In those days it was a poet's 
dream, but in 1940, at Mr. Jimiah's request, it became the official 
policy of the Muslim League. The ideal which it enshrined seized the 
imagination of the Muslim masses. Crowds flocked to the League 
standard in all parts of the country. 

On the outbreak of the second World War the British Govern- 
ment made the same mistake in India as they did in Burma. There 
was great sympathy for the Allied cause, and had the Indian people 
been plainly told that in return for their help in a world struggle 
they would be entitled to full doniinionhood of their own devising 
at die end of hostilities their history might have taken a different 
turn. The British Government's first statement that dominioii status 
was the logical goal of the constitution then in force roused no 

86 



A CONTINENT DIVIDES 

enthusiasm, in either Congress or Muslim circles. The Congress 
demanded immediate action towards freedom, and when that was 
refused its provincial ministries resigned, their powers being taken 
over by the provincial governors with the aid of advisers. 

As the war situation worsened, the British Government stepped 
up its offers which culminated in 1942 in the mission of Sir Stafford 
Cripps, who brought proposals promising full self-government at 
the end of the war and the immediate association of leaders of all 
parties with the Central Government. For various reasons both the 
Congress and the League rejected the offer. The Congress considered 
that, with the threat of Japanese invasion hanging over India, only a 
completely responsible Indian government could give the necessary 
lead to the country, while Mahatma Gandhi in characteristic fashion 
declared that the British should "leave India to God; if that is too 
much, then leave her to anarchy". On the call of the Mahatma the 
Congress adopted the famous "Quit India" resolution authorizing 
a general civil disobedience movement in support of the Congress 
demand; a few hours later all the chief Congress leaders were 
arrested and put in prison, where they remained until the danger of 
Japanese invasion from Burma had receded. 

Meanwhile the Muslim League under Mr. Jirmah's guidance 
became increasingly insistent on a separate Muslim state. The 
League celebrated the resignation of the Congress provincial 
ministries as a "Day of Deliverance". League Muslims would have 
nothing to do with civil disobedience; on the contrary they sup- 
ported the war effort, as did most of the Indian people. Indeed the 
way in which the country and its enormous volunteer army helped 
the Allies despite the incarceration of its Congress nationalist 
leaders constitutes one of the most remarkable episodes of the second 
World War. 

After the war fresh efforts were made by the Viceroy, Lord 
Wavell, to bring the Congress and League together on an agreed 
scheme for self-government, but without success. Elections to the 
central and provincial legislatures confirmed the hold which both 
the chief contesting parties had on the electors; the Congress cap- 
tured practically all the general seats while the League scored 
sweeping successes in the Muslim constituencies. As a last resort the 

8? 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

British Government in 1946 sent out a Cabinet mission consisting 
of Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Secretary of State for India in the Labour 
Government, Sir Stafford Cripps and Mr. A. V. (now Lord) 
Alexander. The mission produced an elaborate but ingenious three- 
tiered scheme which provided for a confederation at the top and, in 
the middle, federations of provinces or parts of provinces opting for 
association in either Muslim or non-Muslim groups. Although 
clumsy in outline, the Cabinet Mission's plan did at least ensure the 
unity of India, including the Indian states, and for a time both sides 
regarded it with favour, the Muslim League because it conceded the 
principle of Pakistan and the Congress for the reason that it avoided 
partition. But difficulties over the details of the scheme and of the 
interim government which was to precede it proved insuperable. 

Faced with complete deadlock and with rapidly rising communal 
tension there had been bloody communal riots in Bengal, Bihar 
and the United Provinces, while in the Punjab the Muslims and 
Sikhs were at one another's throats the British Government in 
February, 1947, issued a dramatic statement: it said it would transfer 
power not later than June, 1948, either to India as a whole "or in 
some areas to the existing provincial governments or in such other 
way as may seem most reasonable and in the best interests of the 
Indian people". It was left to Lord Louis (afterwards Earl) Mount- 
batten, who succeeded Lord Wavell as Viceroy early in 1947, to 
give effect to this policy. The reasons for the Labour Government's 
drastic decision were clear. Britain had emerged from a world 
holocaust in which her life had been at stake; she had promised 
freedom to India and she had no intention of becoming involved in 
either an Indian civil war or a futile war of repression. 

Lord Mountbatten's plan of handing over power to India and 
Pakistan as new members of the Commonwealth provided a simple 
constitutional way out of a difficult situation; in view of the danger- 
ous state of communal feeling he hastened the process of division 
which in the circumstances was accepted by the Congress leaders, 
much to their sorrow, as inevitable. Could the subsequent com- 
munal carnage and the mass migrations in the Punjab have been 
avoided if longer notice of partition had been given and arrange- 
meats made for the employment of adequate troops as a neutral 

88 



A CONTINENT DIVIDES 

police force in the disturbed areas? There can never be a clear 
answer to that question. British troops alone were insufficient in 
numbers for the task, and in any case their employment might have 
been misunderstood. Lord Mountbatten has been blamed for 
rushing partition on the sub-continent without proper prepara- 
tion. Yet he and his purely Indian interim government were in 
possession of all the facts then available; they knew the resources 
civil and military at their disposal to deal with a situation which 
was swiftly approaching civil war. Presumably in the light of these 
known facts Lord Mountbatten made his decision, which was 
accepted by his Indian colleagues. At least one distinguished and 
independent-minded Indian statesman, Mr. C. Rajagopalachari, 
later Governor-General of India, said that if Lord Mountbatten had 
not transferred power when he did, there might have been no 
power to transfer. 1 From a man of Mr. Rajagopalachari's stature 
that was a most significant admission. 

The British left one legacy which gave rise to trouble the Indian 
states. Paramountcy lapsed with the transfer of power, and the 
states, like the provinces, were expected to accede either to India or 
to Pakistan. For most of them the decision was easy; the main snags 
arose over the future of Hyderabad and Kashmir. In one of his 
lighter moments H.H. the Aga Khan, spiritual head of the Ismaili 
Muslim community in the sub-continent, said the obvious solution 
would be for the Nizam of Hyderabad and the Maharaja of 
Kashmir to exchange gadis (thrones); in this way each state would 
get a ruler of the same religion as die vast majority of his people. 
Left to himself the Nizam of Hyderabad, most of whose subjects 
were Hindus, would probably have come to an amicable agreement 
with the Government of India, within whose territory his state lay, 
but a group of his fanatical Muslim supporters prevented him from 
doing so until their regime was overthrown by armed Indian inter- 
vention. 

Kashmir, on the other hand, proved a strange exception to the 

general rule. Although its people were predominantly Muslim they 

had for many years received support from the Indian National 

Congress, and particularly from Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru, the Indian 

1 Mission With Mountbatten, by Alan Campbell-Johnson (Robert Hale). 

8 9 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Prime Minister, himself of Kashmir stock, in their efforts to secure 
democratic rights from the ruling Hindu Dogra dynasty. When in 
1947 Muslim raiders from the North-West Frontier province of 
Pakistan invaded Kashmir nominally in support of a section of 
their co-religionists who had been maltreated by the Kashmir 
Government the Maharaja hurriedly acceded to India and handed 
over authority to Shaikh Abdullah, the Muslim leader of the popular 
movement who, as an old friend of Mr. Nehru, agreed to work 
with the Union of India. Pakistan's bitterness over what Mr. 
Jinnah described as a "fraudulent" accession continues to poison the 
relations between the two countries. 



Chapter Ten 

INDIA: DEMOCRACY'S TESTING GROUND 

IN ASIA 



_ ^ JTH ITS 3(5o MILLION inhabitants and its large and expand- 
\ /\ I ing industrial resources, the Union of India today 

V V occupies a key position not only in Asia but in the world. 
Its emergence as a nation after the second World War, at a time 
when China was divided and Japan was under Allied occupation, 
led many of its people to hail India as the leader of Asia in the new 
age. Events in China since 1950 have somewhat altered their out- 
look. Intelligent Indians now envisage their country as a testing 
ground for democracy in Asia just as China can be regarded as a 
testing ground for Communism. 

That is indeed a true picture; on the outcome of the struggle 
depends the future of a large part of the human race. The issue was 
put succinctly in a Washington State Department report published 
after Mr. John Foster Dulles's visit to the East in 1953. "If demo- 
cracy succeeds in India", concluded the report, "all of South Asia is 
buttressed; if it fails the outlook in Asia will be very bleak indeed/* 
Mr. Dulles himself summed up the position by saying: "There is 
occurring between these two countries (India and China) a com- 
petition as to whether ways of freedom or police state methods can 
achieve better social progress. This competition affects directly 
800 million people in these two countries. In the long run the out- 
come will affect all of humanity, including ourselves". 

The welfare battle in India is on: democracy versus Communism. 
A prominent Indian newspaper editor put the matter bluntly to me 
when he said: "If we can provide economic security plus freedom 
for the common man we shall win, but time is an important fac- 
tor". Fortunately for India the administration of the country is not 
at the mercy of factions, as in some other newly liberated Eastern 
nations; the Indian National Congress Government under Mr. 

91 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Jawaharlal Nehru is in undisputed control. With Western aid, free 
from any kind of strings, it is tackling its truly formidable task with 
courage, but its efforts to raise the general standard of living in a 
land of mass poverty are handicapped by the rapid rise in the 
population. Four million new mouths are added to the number to 
be fed each year; in the last decade India's population increased by 
the astonishing figure of 42 millions, or nearly as much as the total 
population of Great Britain. It is difficult for welfare schemes to 
keep pace with, let alone improve the status of, this colossal growth. 

Closely watching the Government's efforts is a small but well 
organized Communist party which draws its main support from a 
number of rural areas and which, by a freak of electoral fortune, 
constitutes the strongest group in opposition to the Congress in the 
Central Legislature. That party is bound to grow if the Govern- 
ment's plans to raise the economic condition of the masses do not 
produce adequate results. 

For India the vital problem of nationalism was solved at the 
Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference held in London in 
1949. India and Pakistan achieved dominionhood in 1947 on the 
understanding that they would each devise their own form of 
constitution and themselves decide whether or not they would 
remain members of the Commonwealth. For twenty years the 
Indian National Congress had been committed to the goal of a 
sovereign independent state outside the Commonwealth, and it was 
evident that nothing less than a sovereign independent republic 
would satisfy the national aspirations of the politically conscious 
public. But die goodwill attending the voluntary transfer of power 
no one who witnessed it can ever forget the rapturous reception 
accorded to Lord and Lady Mountbatten on August 16, 1947, and 
succeeding days stimulated a desire to retain what Mr. Nehru 
called "some sort of link" with the Commonwealth without 
restricting India's freedom in any way. 

A formula giving effect to this ideal was evolved in London at 
the 1949 Commonwealth Premiers' Conference when it was agreed 
that a member state could be a sovereign independent republic with 
its own president and yet recognize the King or Queen as the Head 
of the Commonwealth, "a symbol of die free association of its 

92 



INDIA: DEMOCRACY s TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 
independent members". Following that decision, which created a 
remarkable precedent in Commonwealth history, the Indian Con- 
stituent Assembly approved the result of its three years* labours in 
one of the most detailed constitutions ever devised, and in January 
of the following year the republic was inaugurated amidst great 
rejoicings with the election of Dr. Rajendra Prasad, a veteran 
Congress leader, as its first President. The triumph of Indian 
nationalism was completed by the integration of all the Indian 
states (with the exception of Kashmir) which were constituted as 
states of the Union, chief commissioners* provinces or merged with 
adjoining states. This welding of India into homogeneous unity was 
the crowning achievement of the late Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who 
for many years controlled the Congress party machine with an iron 
hand. 

The only potential threat to India's new-found unity exists in the 
clamour for linguistic states. In British days the provinces or states 
as they are now called were formed on grounds of expediency 
which at least had the advantage of associating in a political entity 
various groups of people. Today's demand is for the creation of 
states which embrace all those who speak one of India's many 
languages, and the Central Government has already been forced to 
concede the claims of the Telugu-speaking inhabitants of Madras, 
who were united in the state of Andlira in 1953. But the dangers of 
linguistic states are much more obvious to the Congress party in 
power than they were in die days when the Congress in opposition 
encouraged these linguistic units. The Government of India's aim is 
to build up Indian nationals; it is not in the country's interest to 
create states whose people wiU cultivate an intense form of pro- 
vincialism leading to fissiparous tendencies. Yet the issue is one 
which causes a deep cleavage in the Congress ranks, all the more 
harmful because the Communists strongly support the demand for 
linguistic states. According to Mr. M. R. Masani, 1 the Communist 
theory is that "each linguistic unit constitutes a separate nationality 
and that India is in fact a multi-lingual and a multi-national State. 
The Communists therefore demand not merely a readjustment of 
boundaries, but also that each State should be given the right of self- 

1 The Communist Party of India, by M. IL Masani (Derek Versclioyle). 

93 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

determination and even of secession, as they claim is the case in the 
U.S.S.R.". 

The ascendancy of the Congress Party was demonstrated in the 
first general elections held under the new constitution in 1951-52. 
These elections established a landmark in democratic history; they 
involved 176 million electors who polled 107 million votes to elect 
nearly 4,000 representatives in the lower house of the federal 
legislature and 22 state assemblies. That the elections passed off 
peacefully was a great tribute to all concerned, particularly as three- 
quarters of the electorate were illiterate. In the federal lower house 
die Lok Sabha and in all except four state assemblies the Congress 
won an overall majority, and in the four state assemblies where it 
did not achieve complete success it emerged as the strongest single 
party. 

Apart from the expected Congress victory, die elections showed 
several significant trends. The first was the complete failure of right- 
wing Hindu communal parties like the Hindu Mahasabha to attract 
a popular following. To one of these groups belonged a man who 
shocked India and indeed the whole world by the assassination 
of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. Mahatma Gandhi's efforts to conciliate 
the Muslims had always enraged Hindu extremists, who stood for an 
undivided sub-continent under Hindu domination. After partition, 
which the Hindu communaHsts hody resented, die Mahatma's 
practical concern for good relations with Pakistan and with India's 
Muslim population drove a Hindu fanatic from Poona to shoot him 
in Delhi. India's horrified reaction to the crime undoubtedly helped 
to discredit parties which had litde to offer the public except a 
dieocratic state and the Conquest of Pakistan. 

The second feature of the elections was the eclipse of the Socialists, 
who expected to provide the chief opposition, and their replacement 
as the second strongest party in the legislatures by the Communists 
and their allies. The Communists captured 27 seats in the central 
legislature out of a total of 489, and 182 seats in the state assemblies. 
Although the Socialists polled twice as many votes as the Commu- 
nists, their votes were so widely spread that they* won only iz seats 
at the centre and 126 in the states. Communist success was achieved 
by concentrating on a few states like Travancore-Cochin, Madras, 

94 



INDIA: DEMOCRACY s TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 

Hyderabad and West Bengal, where they were helped by Congress 
dissensions and inefficiency, by stark poverty and pressure on the 
land in rural areas, and by active organization over a period of years. 

The emergence of the Communists as the second largest party in 
the elections small though their total figures were surprised most 
people in view of their chequered and uninspiring record. Moscow- 
trained agents tried after the first World War to spread the Com- 
munist gospel in India as they did in other Asian countries, but their 
impact was insignificant owing to the dominating influence on the 
masses of Mahatma Gandhi* and popular preoccupation with the 
struggle between die Congress and the Muslim League. In an 
attempt to give effect to the Communist International resolution of 
1928 demanding action against British "imperialism" and the 
"unmasking" of "reformist" leaders of the Gandhi type, India's 
Communist pioneers became involved in a trial for conspiracy 
which resulted in their imprisonment. It was not until 1933, when 
most of them were released, that the Communist Party of India 
came into being. Its leaders scored their first success by capturing one 
of the big trade union organizations. 

Up to 1935 the Communists kept themselves apart from both the 
Indian National Congress and the Congress Socialist Party, regard- 
ing them as "bourgeois" institutions, but in that year following a 
broad hint from the Communist International they proposed a 
united front with the Socialists "in furtherance of common objec- 
tives". This move formed part of Moscow's anti-fascist policy. The 
Socialists foolishly accepted, with the result that for the next five 
years they were subjected to infiltration which penetrated even the 
Congress itself, as well as peasant and student movements. Since the 
Communist Party was still under a legal ban, its members made 
blatant use of the Socialists' organization to build up their own, and 
not until 1940 did the Socialists decide to expel their unwelcome 
guests and to sever all relations with them. 

On the outbreak of war in Europe the Indian Communists 
faithfully followed Moscow's lead by denouncing it as an "im- 
perialist" struggle; their attempts to cripple the war effort quickly 
led to the arrest and detention of their principal organizers. It took 
them some time to realize that, with the Nazi attack on Russia, the 

95 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

fight had miraculously changed from an "Imperialist" to a 
"people's" war, but once they did so they promised Lord Linlith- 
gow's Government full co-operation. On that assurance the Com- 
munist leaders were released, and for the first time for at least a 
decade the Communist Party achieved legal status. Its policy became 
strongly pro- war and as strongly anti-Congress; Mahatma Gandhi 
was accused of "pro-fascist 5 ' sympathies, and by the end of hostilities 
the party had completely alienated itself from the mass of the Indian 
people. Yet during its years of freedom it had managed to establish it- 
self in some rural areas where economic conditions were at their worst. 

Here again the familiar story of Communist success in the East 
was repeated. The Indian Communists made little impression on the 
industrial population of cities like Bombay and Calcutta, where 
Western-trained Marxists would naturally look for recruits; their 
appeal found its target among poverty-stricken peasants and landless 
labourers in remote districts of South India, Hyderabad state and 
Bengal. Sir Archibald Nye, the last British Governor of Madras, 
attributed Communist success in South India to the zeal and energy 
of young men of intelligence who conducted their own newspapers 
and who preached the creed of expropriating landlords and dis- 
tributing their land to needy and hungry labourers just as the 
Chinese Communists did. The breakdown of law and order in parts 
of Hyderabad state during the inconclusive negotiations between the 
Nizam and the Government of India gave the Communists a chance 
to put their theories into practice. Taking advantage of a peasant 
rising in the Telengana district near Hyderabad's eastern frontier 
with Madras, they set up a miniature Marxist state by taking over 
village organizations and employing armed guerilla forces to 
expropriate landlords by terrorist methods. 

When India achieved independence the Communists, still under a 
cloud for their criticism of Congress leaders during the war, gave 
tepid support to the Nehru government. Soon, however, the voice 
of Moscow described the Congress as a "reactionary bloc of Indian 
imperialists, landowners and princes" which had made a deal with 
"Anglo-American imperialism and Indian reactionaries". The signal 
for action was given by the so-called South-East Asian Youth Con- 
ference which met in Calcutta in 1948 and was in reality a gathering 

96 



INDIA: DEMOCRACY'S TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 
of international Communist agents. There issued from the meeting a 
programme for insurrection and civil war which was carried, with 
dire results, to all the countries of South-East Asia. India's Com- 
munists duly received the message, dismissed their veteran leader, 
Mr. P. C. Joshi, for "right deviationism" and elected Mr. B. T. 
Ranadive to lead the fight. 

Violence and strikes broke out in various parts of the country, 
particularly in the rural areas where the Communists had entrenched 
themselves. The result is best portrayed in Mr. Nehru's words to the 
Constituent Assembly in February, 1952: "the Communist party of 
India has, during the past year, adopted an attitude not only of open 
hostility to the Government, but one which can be described as open 
revolt. This policy has been given effect to intensively in certain 
limited areas of India and has resulted in violence, murders, arson 
and looting as well as acts of sabotage. '* Drastic measures were taken 
to deal with the trouble; in several states, including West Bengal 
and Madras, the Communist party was outlawed and after a bitter 
struggle law and order were restored in Telengana, where the 
Communists staged a full-blooded revolt. 

Telengana was to be their Yenan. "The Communist party has 
decided now to wage war," declared one of their pamphlets, "come 
you all and join in this final struggle." Although the outside world 
heard little of the fighting, for several years disorders and bloodshed 
occurred on a far greater scale than those in Malaya. Over 2,500 
people were murdered between the time the Communists en- 
trenched themselves in Telengana in 1946 and the final suppression 
of the revolt in 1950. Guerilla bands waged wholesale war against 
the police, landlords, and anyone connected with authority, dis- 
rupted communications, and indulged in arson and looting. Only a 
clean sweep of the whole region by the military and police, involv- 
ing the break-up of guerilla bands and thousands of arrests, brought 
the rebellion to an end. The attempt to organize an Indian Yenan in 
Hyderabad had failed, primarily because Indian nationalism was too 
strong to tolerate another creed. 

Then followed another Communist somersault. Early in 1950 the 
Cominform issued a new directive to its Indian followers announ- 
cing that the path pursued in China by Mr. Mao Tse-tung whose 

* 97 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

success by this time had made him a hero in Moscow's eyes was 
the right one, and that they should unite all parties in a fight against 
"Anglo-American imperialism". The militant leader, Mr. Rana- 
dive, was expelled for "adventurism", and the Communists 
returned to the paths of political gradualism in time to participate as 
a constitutional party in the general elections of 1951-52. Their 
unexpected success in the regions where they had dug themselves in 
led to the defeat in 1953 of the Congress coalition government in the 
South Indian state of Travancore-Cochin, where the Socialists com- 
bined with the Communists to overthrow the ministry. As the 
Socialists refused to join a coalition with the Communists, fresh 
elections were held in 1954 but the result was much the same, both 
Communists and Socialists increasing their numbers, while the 
Congress remained the strongest single party. 

Now, however tolerant Mr. Nehru may be of Communists 
abroad, he has no use for them at home, and Congress Party head- 
quarters made its influence felt in arranging a coalition which kept 
the Communists out of the ministry. The Central Government had 
also to intervene in the Patiala and East Punjab States Union 
(PEPSU) where paralysis of the administration following the 
indecisive result of the general election led to Communists seizing 
power in villages by means of their own panchayats* By suspending 
the constitution and applying President's rule in 1953 the authorities 
were able to clean up the mess before fresh elections the following 
year brought into power a stable government. 

The strength of the Communists in some rural areas is a serious 
problem for the Congress administration. In the new state of Andhra 
the Communists constitute a considerable element. In Travancore- 
Cochin is found the not unusual combination in the East of edu- 
cated Marxist theorists and an economically depressed agricul- 
tural community, the one preaching a sort of new religion to the 
other. An American research worker 1 records that the main cause 
of the Congress failure to win the 1954 election was the neglect of 
the previous Congress coalition "to take the necessary steps to re- 
solve the two major problems facing the state: providing alternative 

1 "Agrarian Unrest and Reform in South India," by Thomas Shea (Far Eastern 
, 1954). 

J>8 



INDIA: DEMOCRACY s TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 

employment for hundreds of thousands of under-employed agri- 
cultural labourers, and solving the food problem". The lesson for 
the Congress, at any rate, is plain. 

Two policies are competing for acceptance among India's Com- 
munists today. One, known as the "Tactical Line'*, has the blessing 
of Moscow; the other, described as the "Andhra Thesis", is the 
product of a group of young extremists belonging to the new state 
of Andhra which was formerly part of Madras. The "Tactical 
Line" was evolved at Moscow in 1951 as the result of the visit of a 
composite delegation of Indian Communist leaders representing 
both wings of the party in India. It is therefore a compromise, but it 
lacks little in pungency on that account. Its main objectives are the 
"complete liquidation of feudalism, the distribution of all land held 
by feudal owners among the peasants and agricultural workers, and 
achievement of full national independence and freedom". These 
objectives, the document states, "cannot be realized by a peaceful, 
parliamentary way" but only through "the overthrow of the 
present Indian state and its replacement by a People's Democratic 
State". 

How is this to be achieved? The "Tactical Line" concludes that 
the Chinese method of all-out warfare cannot be followed in India 
because there is no Yenan with a standing army at its back; Indian 
communications, being much superior to those of China, would 
"swiftly concentrate big forces against partisan areas", and above 
all the "geographical position of India is such that we cannot expect 
to have a friendly neighbouring state which can serve as a firm and 
powerful rear". Therefore the policy advocated is a combination of 
two basic factors "the partisan war of the peasants and workers 
uprising in the cities". In other words, the peasants in presumably 
selected regions are to be organized for guerilla warfare, while the 
city workers are to assist by strikes and riots. As regards foreign 
poKcy, the "Tactical Line" recommends support for (Nehru) 
government policies which hamper "the plans of the warmongers", 
coupled with condemnation of the government for its failure to 
oppose American and British "imperialism and colonialism". 

Very different is the approach to the problem of the Andhra 
Thesis. This demands immediate concentration on Enemy No. One 

99 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

which is "British imperialism" because of India's membership of 
the Commonwealth and the fact that "more than 80 per cent of the 
foreign capital in India belongs to the British". The war against 
"British imperialism" would presumably take the form of strikes 
and sabotage in factories and other concerns which are either British 
owned or have a percentage of British capital. 

Both policies were hotly debated at the third congress of the 
Communist Party of India held at Madura in South India in Decem- 
ber, 1953 . The draft political resolution did attempt a compromise by 
expressing the need "to intensify the fight against British im- 
"perialism, for quitting the Commonwealth and for the confiscation 
of British capital", but apparently the concession did not satisfy the 
Andhra group led by Rajeshwar Rao, the author of the Andhra 
Thesis, and its supporters. When the resolution was put to the vote 
it was found that only about half of those present endorsed it, 87 
delegates from Andhra and Bengal declaring their abstention. 1 The 
significant point about the congress is that the right wing of Indian 
Communism still looks to Moscow for guidance as expounded by 
Mr. Harry Pollitt, the British delegate, while the left wing is 
presumably more inclined towards Peking. 

At the close of the Congress Mr. Pollitt had some sarcastic things 
to say about the lack of importance given to the American "men- 
ace". "It is the U.S.A. which is the chief aggressor preparing a third 
world war. This is a challenge to your party and mine. Both Britain 
and India hold the key to world peace. I am pleading for both our 
countries because we are vulnerable". 2 Mr. Pollitt was, in fact, 
pleading for the latest Soviet policy of professing friendship with 
Britain in order to drive a wedge between Britain and America. 

It would be a mistake to regard the divisions shown at Madura as 
proof of Communist ineffectiveness in India. The party, however 
divided it may be on American versus British "imperialism" as the 
first enemy, is still a potential menace because it is swift to utilize 
peasants' and workers' grievances as a means of promoting Com- 
munism. The opportunities afforded it are, unhappily, bound to be 
many in a country where the social revolution is not yet complete, 

1 The Communist Party of India, by M. R, Masani (Derek Verschoyle). 
a Ibid. 

100 



INDIA: DEMOCRACY s TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 
In a series of articles, the Delhi correspondent of The Times 1 
instanced several cases where the Communists were recently able to 
intervene successfully in labour and salary disputes. "Given time 
usually about 24 hours the CPI can (in Calcutta) change a legiti- 
mate and peaceful industrial dispute into a bloody riot. ... In every 
instance the state government was inadequate in the face of efficient 
Communist organization, supported by educated unemployed. The 
school teachers* strike this February was a classic example of success- 
ful Communist exploitation of legitimate disputes. . . . The state 
government refused to treat with them, and concentrated the entire 
police force in front of Government House where the teachers were 
silently squatting. Then the CPI intervened; simultaneously rioting 
broke out in many widely dispersed points in the city. The police 
were helpless, and for a day Calcutta was given over to hooligans, 
who murdered six people. When the state government subsequently 
met most of the demands the CPI naturally claimed the credit, 
saying that while other methods failed their own techniques had a 
consistent record of success". 

Apart from its overcrowded state, Calcutta is faced with another 
problem, that of the educated unemployed. Graduates are being 
turned out by the colleges far in excess of the capacity of the pro- 
fessions and industry to absorb them. Again to quote The Times 
Delhi correspondent, "Communist ruthlessness could appear to 
them to be the only solution for their poverty and hopelessness," 
and may change "the nationalist antipathy towards the CPI if 
democratic government as practised by the Congress Party is found 
wanting. Should this happen it would amount to a desertion of the 
intellectuals a prerequisite for revolution". 

That ruthlessness in solving problems can find favour in the rural 
areas as well as in the cities is claimed by the Communists to have 
been proved in Telengana, where Communist candidates scored 
majorities in the general elections despite the Communists* murder- 
ous record. If the peasants are given land, so the argument runs, they 
do not mind the methods by which it is procured. In the words of 
the late Mr. M. N. Roy, the well-known Indian left wing leader, 
"The Communist Party still remains the dark horse of the Indian 

1 The Ttme5, September n, 1954- 
IOI 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

political situation, . . . Barring the Congress, it alone has an effective 
organized machinery which, according to Lenin's description, can 
combine legal and illegal activities. The numerical strength of the 
Communist Party may be anywhere between 15,000 and 50,000, 
but it is a cadre whose strength is not to be measured by the number 
of its members only". With its expanding membership and the 
moving of its headquarters to Delhi, the Communist Party of India 
has now assumed the aspects of a national, rather than a regional, 
organization. 

All this should not blind us to the fact that India under its present 
rulers has probably done more to meet the challenge of poverty and 
want than any other newly freed country in Asia. The food problem 
has been at least temporarily solved, and in many states drastic land 
reforms have been carried out. Planning for social and economic 
regeneration began before the British left; now a whole series of 
massive schemes is in progress. These include India's own Five 
Year Plan, the Commonwealth-inspired and supported Colombo 
Plan, and direct help from America, the International Bank, private 
agencies like the Ford Foundation and outside countries such as 
Norway. The Indian Planning Commission's Five Year Plan, which 
was approved by the Union Parliament in 1950, involves a 
total outlay between 1951 and 1956 of something ^approaching 
Rs. 22,000 million (about .1,650 million). America agreed to con- 
tribute $50 million towards an Indo-American Technical Co- 
operation Fund, the main purpose of which is to raise agricultural 
efficiency and to increase food production by means of irrigation 
and fertilizers. 

Among the major projects covered by all these plans are the 
Tungabadra dam, capable of irrigating 700,000 acres in Hyderabad 
and Madras; the huge multi-purpose Damodar valley project in 
West Bengal and Bihar; die Bhakra-Nangal irrigation scheme in 
West Punjab designed to irrigate over three million acres and to 
generate electric power for the cities of northern India, including 
Delhi; the Hirakud irrigation project in Orissa with an irrigation 
capacity of nearly two million acres; and the MayuraksH canal 
system in West Bengal capable of eventually irrigating nearly a 
million acres. At the end of the Plan period these vast 

1 02 



INDIA: DEMOCRACY s TESTING GROUND IN ASIA 
together with a host of smaller ones, are expected to irrigate 8^ 
million acres, with double that figure as the ultimate objective. 
Most of the projects combine the generation of electric power with 
irrigation. In addition, there is a big Community Development pro- 
gramme intended to benefit villages in selected areas which will 
gradually be extended. By 1956 it is hoped to raise the national 
income by 10 per cent and to have done much to solve the problem 
of feeding India's rapidly growing population. To achieve that goal 
experts suggest it will be necessary to double the present 48 million 
acres of irrigated land within the next fifteen to twenty years. 

On a somewhat similar scale is the industrial development pro- 
gramme, which envisages an expenditure of over Rs. 3ooo million 
for the expansion of nearly fifty industries. Prominent among them 
are iron, steel and aluminium, while three large new oil refineries are 
to be set up two in Bombay and one in Visakhapatnam by 
American and British oil companies. 

Admittedly, the Five Year Plan is behind schedule. With under 
two years to go expenditure had reached only the halfway mark, 
and in some cases less. Moreover, huge as the Five Year Plan projects 
are, they do not, as experience in regions under Communist in- 
fluence shows, cover the countryside as a whole. The Planning 
Commission's next Five Year Plan, mooted in 1954, is intended to 
reach every village in the country. That is a truly ambitious aim. 
On the skill, efficiency and speed with which it is tackled will 
depend the political complexion of the central and state govern- 
ments after the next general elections. In the words of the Eastern 
Economist, 1 "If the Congress takes its stand on mere stability or 
consolidation it will not> it seems, win against the leftist opposition 
indefinitely". 

Two things would help. The first is birth control; according to 
the Government's own census experts the country cannot support a 
population of more than 450 millions, a figure likely to be reached 
by 1969 unless restrictions are imposed. The second is more capital, 
both local and foreign, for private industry and its encouragement 
by labour regulations which do not, as at present, tend to frighten 
those willing to try tentative expansion. 

1 Delhi, March lo, 1954. 

103 



Chapter Eleven 
TROUBLED PAKISTAN 



IF MAHATMA GANDHI was the founder of the Indian nation, 
Pakistan, the most populous Muslim state in the world, owes its 
existence to Quaid~i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. The remark- 
able thing about Mr. Jinnah is that he could not be called a devout 
Muslim; he was a successful lawyer who lived in Bombay, who con- 
ducted a lucrative practice for some time before the Privy Council 
in London, and who wore "Western clothes with an elegance which 
was die envy of many an Englishman. 

No two great national leaders could have been more unlike one 
another than Gandhi and Jinnah. While the Mahatma walked about 
in a loin cloth and if the weather justified it a shawl, the Quaid-i- 
Azam's silk suits of Savile Row cut were equally famous. Not until 
he became the hero of the Muslim masses did Mr. Jinnah adopt more 
orthodox Indian Muslim dress. There was about him an air of 
intellectual arrogance which set him apart from other men. His 
colleagues on the Muslim League Council might be prime ministers 
of provinces, men of great weight and importance, but if they dis- 
pleased Mr. Jinnah he would rate them like schoolboys and like 
schoolboys they wilted before him. He had neither Mahatma 
Gandhi's lively sense of humour nor his willingness to argue with all 
and sundry. 

Yet if ever a man was in earnest about his mission in life it was 
Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Once he made up his mind about Pakistan 
he held on his course with an unswerving determination which was 
almost frightening. Those who were not with him he considered to 
be against him; he broke up the Punjab Unionist Party the most 
successful example of Hindu-Muslim-Sikh political co-operation in 
India because for him there was only orie party in India and only 
one aim for that party. Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah wanted to include in 

104 



TROUBLED PAKISTAN 

Pakistan all the provinces in which the Muslims had a majority, 
including the two largest, the Punjab and Bengal, where they had 
just a bare majority. Only thus, he argued, could Pakistan be a viable 
state. But in the inflamed state of communal feeling which existed 
in 1947 there never was any hope of provinces with a large Hindu 
minority becoming part of Pakistan; both Bengal and the Punjab 
were split up according to their population ratios. Even then the 
Muslims were so scattered throughout the sub-continent that about 
30 millions of them remain in India, just as a large number of Hindus 
are domiciled in Pakistan about n millions of them in East Bengal. 
Pakistan's greatest weakness is its division into two isolated sec- 
tions. West Pakistan, comprising Sind, Baluchistan, West Punjab 
and the North- West Frontier Province, lies over a thousand miles 
from East Pakistan, consisting of East Bengal and part of Assam. 
Although West Pakistan forms six-sevenths of the total area of the 
state it contains only three-sevenths of the population, or 35 million 
people out of a total of 77 millions. The difference becomes even 
more striking when we record a population density of 775 to the 
square mile in East Pakistan compared with 92 to the square mile in 
West Pakistan, a fact which accounts for many of the country's 
present difficulties. Nor does the disparity end there. The people of 
East Pakistan are Bengalis, speaking the Bengali tongue; they are 
almost a different race and have nothing in common with the 
Punjabis and frontier tribesmen except their religion. 

Small wonder, therefore, that Pakistan has had a chequered history 
since it came into existence. Many people imagined that so strangely 
divided a nation could not possibly last for more than a few years, 
yet Pakistan despite its troubles has confounded its Jeremiahs. Its 
founder and first Governor-General, Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah, died 
about a year after he assumed office; his doughty lieutenant and 
successor, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, perished by an Afghan assassin's 
bullet in 1951. The Muslim League, all-powerful throughout the 
state on partition, became subject to personalities, factions and inter- 
provincial jealousies. 

No highly organized Communist movement ever existed in 
Pakistan, but Communists have always been quick to take advan- 
tage of trouble and disorder whenever and wherever they occurred. 
B* 105 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

They first showed their hand in an extraordinary and unexpected 
plot against the state in 1951. Known as the Rawalpindi conspiracy 
case, the plot involved a number of senior officers of the Pakistan 
army, including the Chief of Staff, and the editor of a leading daily 
paper who was an avowed Communist. Later another Communist 
leader, known to be a dangerous man, was arrested for complicity. 
As the trial took place in camera the full details were never made 
public, but official statements showed that the prime movers were a 
clique of military officers whose object was to seize power not an 
uncommon thing in some Muslim countries and that they had 
been in contact with a "foreign power" to secure the necessary 
armed support. From the fact that their fellow conspirators were 
Communists it was easy to guess the identity of the "foreign 
power". 

Communists were again concerned in a much graver crisis in 
West Punjab two years later. Trouble began during a severe 
economic depression with the demands by a group of mullahs 
(religious leaders) that the Ahmadiya community to which Chaudri 
Muhammad Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan's then Foreign Minister, 
belonged should be declared a minority community because its 
tenets were not in accordance with orthodox Islam. Disturbances 
broke out all over West Pakistan; the revolt against the Central 
Government which has its headquarters in Karachi, the Pakistan 
capital became really serious in West Punjab, where the provincial 
Premier unexpectedly announced the support of the local Muslim 
League for the agitators. 

Fortunately the Karachi cabinet took strong action. Martial law 
was declared in Lahore and after some time order was restored, the 
provincial Premier being replaced by a more reliable leader. 
Obviously religious feelings done could not have stirred up the 
disorders; the central authorities were firmly convinced that Com- 
munists had taken an active part in fomenting lawlessness in an effort 
to bring about the fall of an administration which was blamed for 
the economic hardships of the people. The subsequent dismissal by 
the Governor-General, Mr. Ghulam Mohammad, of Kwaja Nazi- 
piuddin, the Prime Minister, because his government "had proved 
entirely inadequate to grapple with the difficulties of die country" 



TROUBLED PAKISTAN 

brought to the head of affairs in Pakistan Mr. Mohammad All, at 
that time his country's ambassador in Washington. 

Mr. Mohammad All's firm and efficient handling of affairs soon 
produced a change for the better, but it did not prevent another 
shock in 1954. This sprang from the general election in East Pakistan, 
which had been delayed until long after elections had been held, and 
Muslim League ministries again returned, in West Pakistan. Mean- 
time the Muslim League ministry in East Pakistan had fallen into dis- 
favour. The people of this densely populated and isolated part of 
Pakistan fostered many grievances; they suffered from all the econ- 
omic ills which afflict an Asian community when pressure on the 
land is acute. Moreover, they felt that they had never received fair 
treatment from the federal government despite their population pre- 
ponderance in the state. Earlier, rioting had occurred in East 
Pakistan because of fears that the Constituent Assembly in Karachi 
was weighting representation against Bengal in the upper house of 
the proposed new constitution, and because of the decision since 
dropped to make Urdu the official language of Pakistan, thereby 
ignoring Bengali. 

Ill feeling had also been generated over industrialization. Much 
needed new jute, paper and other factories in East Bengal owed their 
existence to West Pakistan capital and naturally attracted a con- 
siderable number of executives and staff from the north. These 
"foreigners" were disliked by die East Bengalis, especially as they 
annexed jobs which the local inhabitants coveted. When the elec- 
tions took place early in 1954 the Muslim League candidates, who 
had lost touch with their constituents, found themselves opposed by 
a mass of left wing elements. Nominally the leader of the left 
"United Front" was Mr. A. K. Fazlul Huq of the Praja Party, a 
former prime minister of undivided Bengal, who was supported by 
Mr. H. S. Suhrawardy, but the largest group in the coalition, the 
East Bengal Awami-Muslim League, owed allegiance to Matdana 
Bashani, who had attended a Communist-inspired "peace congress" 
in East Germany. 

Aided by extravagant promises, including the nationalization of 
die jttte industry, and a whole string of grievances, the United Front 
inflicted a crushing defeat on the Muslim League. Soon after Mr. 

107 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Fazlul Huq formed his ministry trouble began. Bloody riots which 
shocked both East and West Pakistan occurred at several of the 
new factories; they were undoubtedly inspired by the "anti- 
foreign" feeling among Bengali workers but, according to reliable 
reports, casualties soared because the police were deliberately 
prevented by East Bengal Government representatives from pro- 
tecting the "foreigners". 

On May 30 die Central Government took drastic action. The 
Fazlul Huq ministry was dismissed, and Major-General Iskandar 
Mirza, the strong-minded and energetic defence secretary, was 
appointed Governor with special powers to restore normal condi- 
tions. In a broadcast to the nation Mr. Mohammad Ali, the Pakistan 
Prime Minister, described Mr. Huq as a "traitor" who had advo- 
cated independence for East Pakistan and whose administration 
had failed to deal with "disruptive forces and enemy agents" 
aiming at the overthrow of the province by "sabotaging and 
destroying its economic progress". 

How far the Communists were involved in the disorders is not 
clear, but they were known to have incited rioters against the 
"foreigners" and to have taken part in other subversive activities. 
At any rate the Pakistan Government harboured no doubts on the 
subject; it outlawed the Communist Party in both East and West 
Pakistan as a "danger to public peace" and arrested most of its 
leaders. Yet strong measures against Communists and lawless 
elements will not alone solve East Pakistan's problem. Much will 
depend on the implementation of schemes for economic better- 
ment which are now being undertaken by the Central authorities, 
and on the growth of better relations between the people of Pakis- 
tan's two halves. 

Pakistan's existence as a nation has been coloured by its exceed- 
ingly bad relations with India over Kashmir and the Punjab canal 
waters. At the time of partition, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kash- 
mir, the Hindu ruler of a predominantly Muslim population, post- 
poned accession to either India or Pakistan, both of which the state 
adjoins, until his hand was forced early in 1948. Inflamed by reports 
of savage reprisals by the Maharaja's troops against Muslim mal- 
contents in Poonch, a part of the state bordering on Pakistan, well 

108 



TROUBLED PAKISTAN 

organized raiders from the North-West Frontier Province swept 
into Kashmir by way of the Jhelum valley. Had they gone straight 
to Srinagar, the Kashmir capital, in their motor transport they 
would probably have overthrown the government before the out- 
side world realized what was happening, but their progress towards 
Srinagar developed into the looting and slaughter usually associated 
with tribal raids. Panic-stricken, the Maharaja and his advisers hastily 
decided to accede to India in return for military help, which was 
flown to Srinagar in time to save the capital and to drive the invaders 
out of the Vale of Kashmir. But they were not ejected from parts of 
the state lying next to Pakistan, where they rallied Kashmiris who 
had suffered under the Maharaja's rule. In these areas, now described 
by their occupants as "Azad (Free) Kashmir", Pakistan eventually 
intervened with armed support to protect according to Karachi 
its own frontiers. 

In trying to sort out the rights and wrongs of the Kashmir afiair 
the impartial observer must note one significant fact. Had, for 
example, the Nizam of Hyderabad acceded to Pakistan his action 
would have been hotly resented by his Hindu subjects; the Maharaja 
of Kashmir's accession to India, on the other hand, found favour in 
the eyes of the largest political organization in the state, the National 
Conference Party led by Shaikh Abdullah. The reason is obvious; 
Shaikh Abdullah's party had always received the support of the 
Indian National Congress in its fight for political progress, and 
indeed regarded itself as the Congress of Kashmir. 

"Whether the party does in fact represent the wishes of the majority 
of the state's inhabitants is still in dispute, since the plebiscite 
suggested by the United Nations, to which India appealed against 
Pakistan "aggression", has not yet taken place. Both India and 
Pakistan agreed to a plebiscite after a cease fire was effected by the 
Security Council, but Mr. Nehru's government insisted that as 
Kashmir had legally acceded to India the plebiscite should be held 
under the present Kashmir Government assisted by Indian troops, 
and that all other troops should retire from parts of the state which 
they still occupy. The Security Council's proposal, which has 
Pakistan's acceptance, is that the plebiscite should be under completely 
neutral supervision. In these circurnstances the deadlock continues. 

109 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

The issue was further complicated in 1953 by the sudden down- 
fall and arrest of Shaikh Abdullah. For some time Shaikh Abdullah's 
growing advocacy of an independent Kashmir had been creating 
indignation in India, and eventually it reached a pitch where the 
premier found himself in a minority in his own cabinet. He was 
thereupon dismissed by the Sardar-i-Riyasat, the head of the state, 
and replaced by Mr. Bakshi Ghulam Mahommed, who put him 
under detention. At the instance of the new prime minister the 
Kashmir Constituent Assembly in 1954 declared the state's accession 
to the Union of India as "final and irrevocable". Delhi's official 
reaction was that the declaration made no difference to the state's 
accession as implemented in 1947, but Mr. Nehru maintained that 
India would still stand by her "international commitments" by 
which he presumably meant the result of a plebiscite although in a 
letter to the Pakistan premier he expressed the view that one could 
not go completely by a plebiscite. 

Any hope of an agreement between the two Prime Ministers, 
which seemed just faintly possible after Mr. Mohammad Ali took 
office, was dashed by Karachi's acceptance of American military 
aid. In the course of official correspondence which was published in 
October, 1954, Mr. Nehru alleged that U.S. military help to Pakistan 
was a new threat to India because "it brings in the intervention of a 
foreign power". Mr. Mohammad Ali's reply that American aid 
could have no bearing on the issue if demilitarization was accepted 
failed to move Mr. Nehru, and the correspondence closed with the 
Pakistan premier's conviction that no scope was left for further 
direct negotiations and that the case must revert to the Security 
Council. 

The whole affair has created the greatest bitterness in Pakistan, 
which is convinced rightly or wrongly that a neutrally conducted 
and supervised plebiscite would show a substantial majority in 
Pakistan's favour. Pakistani anger over the dispute extends even to 
the British Government, which is accused of favouring India by not 
taking more vigorous steps to ensure the enforcement of the United 
Nations plebiscite scheme. One aspect of the Kashmir situation 
which may well cause disquiet elsewhere is the pronounced left wing 
trend of die Kashmir Government since Shaikh Abdullah was replaced 

no 



TROUBLED PAKISTAN 

by Mr. Bakshi Ghulam Mahommed. Mr. Ghulam Mahommed 
Sadiq, the president of the Constituent Assembly, is a Communist 
whose fulrninations against "Anglo-American imperialists "^vere 
quoted approvingly in Izvestia, and he is not by any means the only 
one among Kashmir's present leaders. Another disturbing factor is 
Mr. Bakshi Ghulam Mahommed's insistence that, in view of the 
Constituent Assembly's decision to accede to India, a plebiscite is 
now unnecessary. 

Pakistan's quarrel with India over Kashmir is purely political. 
Much more serious because it is a life and death matter for millions 
of people in both countries is the dispute about the canal waters of 
the Indus basin. Here again partition proved the cause of trouble. It 
left Pakistan with 18 million acres of irrigated land and India with 
5 million acres, but as each country has roughly the same number of 
people dependent on irrigation in the basin India went ahead with 
projects to increase her supply. She could do so only by tapping 
rivers which passed through Indian territory on their way to Pakis- 
tan, where they alsq constitute a vital source of irrigation, 

For two years World Bank experts, to whom the problem was 
referred, tried to evolve an agreed solution. Pakistan demanded 
more time and data to consider the Bank's proposals; India con- 
strued Pakistan's attitude as a refusal and decided to go ahead with 
her own schemes, relying on an agreement reached with her neigh- 
bour in 1948. Matters came to a head when Mr. Nehru in the middle 
of 1954 opened the great new Bhakra-Nangal irrigation project on 
the Sutlej. A temporary agreement has been patched up, but the 
World Bank is still seeking to achieve a permanent settlement. 

Pakistan's economic history has been as chequered as its political 
record. The British Indian Empire was a balanced economic unit; 
partition gave Pakistan a mainly rural economy by awarding to 
India the great industrial cities. Pakistan inherited the wheat and 
cotton growing areas of Sind and the Punjab, and the jute and rice 
regions of East Bengal which produce about 80 per cent of the 
world's jute crop, while the jute mills of Calcutta went to India 
along with the chief coal and iron mines. For some years Pakistan 
prospered owing to high commodity prices, particularly during the 
Korean war, but when that ended the situation was sharply reversed. 

in 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

I& 195 3 > owing to two poor monsoons, reduced water supplies from 
India-controlled canals and the cultivation of cash instead of food 
crops, Pakistan faced both bankruptcy and starvation. Only the gift 
of a million tons of wheat from America and help from Britain and 
other Commonwealth nations saved the country. Pakistan's plight 
was not eased by a virtual Indo-Pakistan economic war following 
Karachi's refusal in 1949 to devalue its rupee to accord with de- 
valuation in India and Britain. 

Rural betterment projects are in progress to prevent another food 
crisis, including schemes under the Government's Six-Year Plan, the 
Colombo Plan and direct help from America. The Six-Year Plan, 
which envisages an expenditure of Rs. 2,600 million, was amended 
to include a priority programme for projects aimed at making 
Pakistan self-sufficient in its basic needs. Big irrigation schemes 
include the Thai project in the Punjab to irrigate two million acres, 
and the Lower Sind Barrage at Kotri designed to increase the culti- 
vable area by two and a half million acres. 

Pakistan's main task, however, is to redress its badly balanced 
economy. "No country with an economy as heavily agrarian as 
ours," said Mr. Mohammad Ali, "can hope to raise die living 
standard of its people unless a pronounced swing is made towards 
industrialization." To help to implement this policy the Govern- 
ment set up the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation, 
which is promoting essential industries by cooperation with pri- 
vate enterprise under the Colombo Plan and other agencies. Jute, 
cotton, woollen, paper, cement and chemical factories are already 
in operation or under construction; steel and coal production 
is being increased, and most valuable reserves of natural gas 
recently discovered at Sui in Baluchistan are being exploited. 
But the need for more foreign aid to strengthen Pakistan's economy 
led Mr. Mohammad Ali to pay a visit to America late in 1954. 

Pakistan has taken an unexpectedly long time to devise its consti- 
tution, the delay being mainly due to the sharply divergent views of 
the two halves of the country. The Constituent Assembly had 
practically agreed to the details when a crisis, due to differences not 
only between East and West Pakistan but between sections of the 
Muslim League, led the Governor-General to dissolve the Assembly 

112 



TROUBLED PAKISTAN 

in October, 1954. Under die scheme approved earlier, Pakistan was 
to become an Islamic republic within the Commonwealth at the 
beginning of 1955, thereby acquiring the same status as India. While 
Mr. Mohammad Ali's Government refused to alter the composition 
of the Constituent Assembly after the Muslim League collapse in 
East Pakistan an election result which rendered the Assembly 
unrepresentative he earlier placated the province by giving East 
Pakistan a majority in the lower house and a minority in the upper 
house of the proposed federal legislature, but with the two halves 
sharing equally in the aggregate membership of both houses. He 
also agreed that Bengali should have an equal status with Urdu 
as a state language. 

The constitutional structure built up laboriously over a period of 
seven years was, however, undermined by a revolt within the Mus- 
lim League caucus. Old disagreements based on East-West Pakistan 
and Sind-Punjab jealousies flared up afresh over the whole constitu- 
tional field; provinces and parties failed to agree on provincial 
representation at the centre, on the distribution of powers between 
the centre and the provinces, on state languages and on provincial 
boundaries. As there seemed no hope of agreement the authorities 
were faced with a rupture which might have split not only the 
Muslim League but the country. Cutting short his visit to the 
United States and Canada, Mr. Mohammad Ali hastened home, and 
soon after his arrival the Governor-General, Mr. Ghulam Moham- 
mad, a powerful personality, declared a state of emergency, dis- 
solved the Constituent Assembly, and promised new elections "as 
soon as possible". Simultaneously the Central Government was 
drastically reconstituted as a caretaker administration under Mr. 
Mohammad Ali, only two of the former ministers being retained. 

The presence at the Governor-General's insistence of high 
officials, representatives of parties outside the League and of army 
officers in the caretaker cabinet was significant; it showed a leaning, 
not strange to those who know Pakistan, towards the army in the 
event of politicians failing to keep the country together. What was 
even more significant was the calibre of the officers selected; they 
were General Mohammad Ayub Khan, the commander-in-chief of 
the Pakistan army, and Major-General Iskandar Mirza, a former 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

civil servant, who had earlier been sent to East Pakistan to "clean up 
the mess" following the suspension of the civil government. In 
order to lessen fissiparous tendencies in the northern half of the 
country, decisions were taken to weld the provinces and states of 
West Pakistan into a single province as in East Pakistan and to 
seek a provincial capital nearer to the heart of the northern region 
than Karachi. Pakistan's future will depend on a satisfactory settle- 
ment of the political problem in each of the two provinces, and 
their harmonious co-operation in the central government. 

The implications of Pakistan's foreign policy fall more properly 
within the sphere of general trends in Asia today. All one need do at 
this stage is to note the marked one might almost say dramatic 
swing towards the "West which has taken place in the last year or so. 
Although early in its existence Pakistan displayed friendship for 
Russia, Moscow's stock slumped to zero when Mr. Jacob Malik, the 
Soviet representative on the Security Council, intervened in the 
Kashmir debate in 1952 in a way suggesting strong support for India. 
Now official Soviet representatives in Pakistan are to have their 
movements restricted in the same way as Pakistan officials in Russia; 
friendly overtures have ceased. 

As a Muslim state, Pakistan at one time tried to take a lead among 
the Arab states of the Middle East. An international Islamic econo- 
mic conference convened in Karachi in 1949 had some success, but 
an invitation sent to twelve Muslim countries to attend a prime 
ministers' conference in Karachi three years later met with a poor 
response and was ultimately dropped. This rebuff cooled Pakistan's 
ardour towards the Middle East, and although Karachi continued to 
support the Arab League its politicians generally took the view that 
the Arab countries were too unstable to be satisfactory allies, 

A new outlook in Pakistan's foreign policy became evident soon 
after Mr. Mohammad Ali's succession to the premiership. Early in 
1954 announcements were made almost simultaneously that Pakistan 
had concluded a treaty with Turkey and had agreed to accept 
American military aid. Chaudri Muhammad ZafruUah Khan 
admitted that the Turkish pact could be called the first step in the 
direction of establishing a regional defence organization; the Prime 
Minister described the two agreements as "a momentous step for- 

114 



TROUBLED PAKISTAN 

ward towards strengthening the Muslim world ". India protested 
vigorously to both Washington and Karachi against what Mr. 
Nehru attacked as a form of intervention in Indo-Pakistan problems 
which was "likely to have far-reaching results" and would cer- 
tainly encourage aggression. But while Delhi was perturbed over the 
effect of U.S. military aid on Indo-Pakistan relations, what struck 
the outside world as really significant was that the Turkey-Pakistan- 
America agreements contained the seeds of a Middle East defence 
arrangement to fill the vacuum caused by the withdrawal of British 
power from the Indian sub-continent. Pakistan's defence link-up 
with Turkey was the logical outcome of its situation, as Persia's 
neighbour, at the eastern end of the Russian frontage on the Middle 
East oil belt. All that now remains is to fill up the gaps in the centre, 
and already Iraq has joined with Turkey towards that end. Pakistan's 
alliance with the West was further strengthened by her signature of 
the 1954 Manila Treaty (SEATO) by which she agreed to co- 
operate in resisting Communist expansion in South-East Ask and 
the Far East. 



Chapter Twelve 
INDEPENDENT CEYLON 



CEYLON, THE LATEST member of the Commonwealth, appears 
on the map like a pendant dangling from the apex of the 
triangular land mass which constitutes India and Pakistan. 
Lying on the Indian Ocean flank of the sub-continent, it has always 
occupied an important position in Commonwealth naval strategy; 
in the last war its defenders inflicted decisive losses on a determined 
attack by Japanese carrier-borne aircraft which might have been the 
prelude to invasion. 

Although Ceylon's eight million people are a drop in the ocean 
compared with the 360 millions of its giant neighbour, the Ceylon- 
ese keenly treasure their independence and have no more desire to be 
absorbed by India than by any other country. India's great epic, the 
Ramayana, tells the story of the conquest of the greater part of the 
island by die hero Rama who went to Lanka, as Ceylon is known in 
Brahmanical literature, in pursuit of his abducted wife. Certainly in 
historic times there has been no invasion of Ceylon on India's part 
except by the ubiquitous Tamil labourer in search of employment. 
Ceylon's invaders came from Europe, and were the same merchant 
adventurers who left their mark on the rest of Asia. 

The Ceylonese people are an unusual mixture. There are low 
country and highland, or Kandyan, Sinhalese; Kandyans, whose 
stronghold lies in the old kingdom of Kandy in the centre of the 
sland; Ceylon Tamils and Indian Tamils; Burghers, who are 
descendants of Dutch settlers; and Moors, as the Muslims are known. 
When the Portuguese reached Ceylon at the beginning of the 
sixteenth century the island was divided into seven kingdoms, each 
ruled by a separate monarch. It is interesting, in view of the trouble 
over Portuguese possessions in India today, to recall that the 
Portuguese directed their operations in Ceylon from Goa. Their 

116 



INDEPENDENT CEYLON 

rule was not popular; when the Dutch landed a century later the 
king of Kandy asked their help to get rid of the Portuguese. The 
Dutch accordingly took over the maritime parts of the island, but 
left the Kandyan kingdom alone. 

History repeated itself in the closing years of the eighteenth 
century when the British, operating from Madras, invaded Ceylon 
and were welcomed by the Kandyan chiefs who handed over the 
kingdom to them voluntarily in order to get rid of a tyrannous 
king. That explains why the British obtained peaceful possession of 
the ancient kingdom of Kandy, whose picturesquely clad chiefs still 
appear in annual processions, as they did before Queen Elizabeth II 
on her Coronation tour. 

Nationalism in Ceylon is largely the product of English education 
and the unifying influence of British rule. Until recent times the 
people were concerned with their own particular communities; 
they had little thought for the big world outside. To quote Sir Ivor 
Jennings, 1 "It is not an exaggeration to say that the Ceylonese as a 

people were invented in the present century The war of 1914-18 

provided a great stimulus towards nationalism. . . . The wartime 
propaganda, unofficial as well as official, which asserted that Britain 
was fighting for the freedom of small nations, the right of self- 
determination, the prevention of imperialist aggression, and so 
forth, became for the nationalists propaganda for the 'freedom* of 
Ceylon. Everything said about 'brave little Belgium' could be 
adapted to 'brave little Ceylon*, the essential difference being that 
brave little Belgium had been invaded in 1914 and brave little 
Ceylon in 1505. When President Roosevelt included among his 
Fourteen Points the right of every nation to govern itself freely, he 
enunciated a doctrine which the educated Ceylonepe could hardly 
fail to apply to themselves". / 

Although the island had a Ceylon National Congress it never had 
a Gandhi, with the result that its nationalist movement at no time 
reached the fervour or relative magnitude of its massive Indian 
counterpart. Ceylon's balanced communities, coupled with a strong 
community feeling, undoubtedly contributed to a more sober type of 

1 Nationalism and Political Development in Ceylon, by Sir Ivor Jennings (Institute of 
Pacific Relations, New York). 

117 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

nationalism than that which prevailed elsewhere; the Tamils, for 
example, have both a Ceylon Tamil Congress (for Ceylonese 
Tamils) and a Ceylon Indian Congress (for Indian Tamils). While 
nationalist leaders occasionally indulged in vigorous prodding of the 
ruling power, Ceylon's gradual advance to complete self-govern- 
ment under British rule was one of the smoothest transitions in 
colonial history. The association of the Ceylonese people with the 
administration of the country began in 1833 and expanded steadily 
until 1927, when a commission headed by Lord Donoughmore 
devised a constitution which came into effect in 1931. Under the 
Donoughmore plan communal electorates, which had caused a good 
deal of friction, were abolished and the administration was con- 
ducted by a board of ministers, only three of whom were officials. 
Thereafter the pattern of the island's political development followed 
closely that of the Indian sub-continent. Requests for dominion 
status in 1942 led to a declaration by the British Government that 
responsible government would be set up after the war, and the 
ministers were asked to prepare a draft constitution. 

The result of their labours was examined and generally approved 
by a commission under Lord Soulbury in 1945; it provided for a 
cabinet system subject to reservations on defence and external 
affairs, but the British Government's statement issued the same year 
contained an implicit promise of full dominion status within a short 
period. Representations were renewed in 1947, and in December of 
that year the Ceylon Independence Act was passed by the British 
Parliament. The following February the new dominion came into 
being with Lord Soulbury as its first Governor-General. Six years 
later Lord Soulbury was succeeded by a Ceylonese, Sir Oliver 
Goonetilleke, whose appointment was announced by Her Majesty 
Queen Elizabeth II when, as Queen of Ceylon, she paid a triumphal 
visit to the island during her world tour of 1953-54, Not since the 
Kandyan dynasty was deposed in 1815 had a reigning monarch of 
Ceylon appeared in the island. 

Ceylon's internal politics are intensely parochial. This is largely 
due to die island's varied communities, among whom caste, kinship 
and religion are still of more importance than political nomen- 
clature. Yet nationalism is the thread which binds the majority of 

118 



INDEPENDENT CEYLON 

them together; it was largely the inspiration of Ceylon's first Prime 
Minister, Mr. D. S. Senanayake, "who was truly the creator of 
racial unity and parliamentary democracy in the Island and the chief 
architect of Ceylon's independence and full membership of the 
Commonwealth " . 1 

Communism does not offer a serious challenge to nationalism; 
the local Communists are hopelessly split into Stalinists and Trot- 
skyists, bedevilled by personalities as well as by ideological differ- 
ences. Following Mr. Senanayake's untimely death in 1952 as the 
result of a riding accident, the first general elections since Ceylon's 
independence resulted in a still bigger majority for the riding United 
Nationalist Party then led by the late premier's son, Mr. Dudley 
Senanayake, which captured 54 seats out of 92. The Communists, 
on the other hand, lost ground, particularly the Trotskyist Lanka 
Sama Samaj Party, whose chairman had to give up his position as 
leader of the opposition. There are two other Communist groups, 
one of them a break-away from the Trotskyists, which work . 
together but have at present little significance. 

Ceylon's relations with India, like those of Pakistan, are subject 
to stresses. Differences exist over the future of Ceylon's Indian 
population, numbering nearly a million, most of whom the 
Ceylon Government would like to return to their native country so 
as to provide more jobs for the island's indigenous inhabitants. As in 
other parts of South-East Asia, South Indian Tamils were imported 
to work on the tea estates, but others came to seek employment on 
their own account as clerks and shopkeepers. Colombo's main 
grievance against them, apart fronvCeylonese unemployment, is 
that they do not regard the island as their home, using it instead as a 
means of acquiring money which they remit to India, Under an 
electoral law passed in 1949 Ceylon restricted the franchise to her 
own nationals, thereby disfranchising a very large proportion of 
Indians who indulged with the Government of India's sympathy 
in a non-violent civil disobedience movement at the time of the 1952 
elections. Am interim agreement between the new Ceylon Prime 
Minister, Sir John Kotelawala, and Mr. Nehru in 1954 provided for 
the expeditious registration of Indians who wished to acquire Ceylon 
1 The Annual Register, 1952 (Longmans, Green and Co. Ltd.). 

119 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

citizenship, but those who did not or could not register and Indians 
complained that the test was unnecessarily hard were liable to be 
deported. It is over deportation that further tension between the 
two countries could arise. Sir John Kotelawala's attitude can be 
gauged from his declaration in the House of Representatives that he 
refused to be "bullied" by India on the subject. Late in 1954 the 
two Premiers agreed, in order to avoid deportation, to proceed as 
rapidly as possible with the process of registration, thereby pro- 
gressively reducing the number of persons not accepted by either 
government. Their cases are to be reviewed again in two years' time, 
when the problem may not be as acute as it is now. Ceylon was 
prevailed upon not to take drastic action because the Colombo 
authorities realize that the Tamil tea estate labourers cannot be 
immediately replaced by Ceylonese who, like the Malays, do not 
relish work of this kind. 

Yet, whatever may be Ceylon's domestic squabbles with her big 
brother, the Colombo Government takes a typical Asian line in 
foreign affairs. On issues such as non-involvement in power blocs 
and hostility to colonialism Ceylon's stand is unequivocal. Her feel- 
ing towards Communist governments is, however, less friendly than 
that of India, presumably because of Russia's persistent hostility in 
vetoing Ceylon's admission to the United Nations on the specious 
grounds that the country is not free because of its special defence 
agreement with Britain. When Ceylon for economic reasons, and 
much to America's displeasure, refused in 1951 to conform to the 
United Nations resolution banning the export of rubber to Com- 
munist China by which in any case she was not bound Sir John 
Kotelawala made it clear that his country's relations with Mr. Mao 
Tse-tung's Government were confined to trade affairs. He declined 
to receive a goodwill mission from China. Like Mr. Nehru, he has 
no use for Communists in his own country which, -he says, they 
have betrayed. Also like Mr. Nehru, he is a strong supporter of the 
Colombo Powers, the first meeting of which he was largely 
responsible for organizing. Ceylon's desire to frame her foreign 
policy in accord with her Asian sympathies may lead her to declare 
herself a republic on the same basis as India. 

Ceylon's economic problems are similar to those of her South- 

120 



INDEPENDENT CEYLON 

East Asian neighbours possessing a mainly rural economy. Her chief 
cash crops, rubber and tea, have in recent years been subject to the 
fluctuations affecting all primary products. The island is particularly 
proud of its part in the Commonwealth Plan, to which Ceylon's 
capital gave its name; its purpose in the Ceylon Premier's words 
was to wage war on poverty in Asia as an effective reply to Com- 
munism. 

Ceylon's contribution envisaged bringing under irrigation some 
three and a half million acres of potentially productive agricultural 
land and harnessing, where practicable, for electric power and irriga- 
tion purposes the abundant rainfall of the island. The somewhat 
ambitious expenditure contemplated earlier was curtailed in 1954 
to Rs. 1,500 million on the advice of a World Bank mission; in view 
of the fall in commodity prices it is based on the availability of 
finance rather than on a rigid time limit. Apart from setting up 
certain essential industries, Ceylon's ambition is to increase her rice 
production so as to feed her growing population and thus to make 
herself less dependent on rice imports at present procured from 
China at cut rates under the rubber-rice trade pact. Like every other 
country which depends for its national wealth on primary products 
Ceylon at times passes through difficult periods, necessitating 
Western help and a wise use of her own resources. 



121 



Chapter Thirteen 
TERRORISM IN MALAYA 



MY HRST IMPRESSIONS of Malaya were, I suppose, much the 
same as those of every incomer who approaches it from the 
sea. As I gazed upon Its amazing jungle greenness under a 
bright tropical sun I exclaimed to my neighbour, who happened to 
be a resident of Singapore, "this place looks like paradise". "Yes," 
was the "old hand's" reply, "it does, but there are a few large-sized 
serpents in this Eden". 

That, unfortunately, is true. Since 1948 a grim and ceaseless war 
has been in progress with Communist terrorists, most of whom are 
not Malays but Chinese. During the last war they practised guerilla 
warfare against the Japanese; now they are in arms against the 
British and Malayan civil government, aided by the dense jungle 
which covers three-quarters of the peninsula. The proclaimed 
policy of the British Government is the achievement by Malaya of 
self-government within die Commonwealth. Nationalism is, 
however, a plant of tender growth in a country where the indigen- 
ous inhabitants are in a minority and where large sections of the 
people look elsewhere for their homeland. Malaya differs from many 
other Asian countries in that it does not suffer from over-population 
or from severe pressure on the land. Most of the peninsula lies under 
primeval jungle and in an area of some 50,000 square miles, includ- 
ing the island of Singapore, the total population does not exceed 
seven millions. 

The Malays, who belong to the Indonesian ethnological group, 
are an easy-going people. They were once described to me as 
"Nature's gentlemen-" in the sense that a bountiful Nature makes 
light the tasks of agriculture and fishing on which most of them 
depend for their living. In the old days they were certainly not 
interested in the drudgery associated with the exploitation of the 

122 



TERRORISM IN MALAYA 

country's tin and rubber resources. Mr. Nehru is reported to have 
said that the Indians, Chinese and Japanese are the most industrious 
peoples of Asia; few will quarrel with that assertion. For centuries 
Chinese traders and labourers have worked Malaya's tin mines. 
After the British introduced the rubber tree from South America 
via Kew Gardens, the vast expansion of the rubber estates led to the 
introduction of the Tamil coolie from South India, together with 
Indian merchants and bankers. Today there are in Malaya and 
Singapore over three million Chinese and three-quarters of a 
million Indians and Pakistanis. Malaya produces about half the 
world's supply of raw rubber and about a third of its tin; its value as a 
dollar earner to the Commonwealth can be judged from the fact 
that in 1950, for example, its rubber exports were worth 313 million 
dollars to the sterling block, and that in 1953 its total output of 
rubber and tin amounted in value to ^105 million and ^44 million 
respectively. 

Originally Malaya became known to the West as a centre of the 
spice trade, which was at first in the hands of the Hindus. Early in 
the sixteenth century the Hindus were ousted by Muslims from the 
Coromandel and Malabar coasts of India, who converted the Malays 
to Islam, the religion they still profess. Then followed in the same 
old order the Portuguese, Dutch and British, all of whom used 
Malacca, a port on die straits of that name, for trading purposes. 
Penang island was purchased by the British from Kedah State in 
1786; the island of Singapore, on which Sir Stamford Raffles 
founded in 1819 the famous city and free port, was acquired from 
Johore State. The three isolated possessions of Penang, with a 
stretch of coast called Wellesley province, Malacca and Singapore 
were ruled from India until 1867, when they became a Crown 
colony under the name of the Straits Settlements. 

Meanwhile the interior of the peninsula continued to be governed 
by independent Malay sultans, and it was not until some years later 
as a result of disorders caused by faction fights among Chinese 
tin miners that Britain offered help, which was accepted, to Perak 
State. Thereafter all the other states became protectorates, suzerainty 
over four of them being ceded by Siam in 1909. Before the second 
World War Makya comprised a strange administrative patchwork. 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

It included the Straits Settlements, four federated states Perak, 
Selangor, Negri Sembilan and Pahang and the five unfederated 
states ofjohore, Kedah, Perils, Kelantan and Trengganu. While the 
Straits Settlements were controlled by the Colonial Office, relations 
between the British Government and the states were regulated by 
treaties under which the rulers agreed to accept the advice of a 
British Resident except on questions of native custom and religion. 

Before the last war political parties scarcely existed. The Malays 
were, on the whole, loyal to their sultans, whereas the Chinese and 
Indians concerned themselves with their own affairs, leaving the 
administration in the hands of the British who ruled with the aid of 
nominated legislative bodies. There was, however, one exception to 
the general rule; the Communist party took root in Malaya in the 
nineteen-twenties in the same way as the movement began in all 
other Asian countries. It is not altogether surprising that Marxist 
agents found sympathizers among the immigrant Chinese. Between 
the two wars there was a very large influx of settlers from China due, 
firstly, to world economic depression and, secondly, to disturbed 
conditions in their homeland following Japanese aggression. Many 
of the young immigrants had been in touch with left wing move- 
ments in China, especially during the period when the Kuomintang 
co-operated with the Communists against the war-lords. 

Although the Malayan Communist Party was illegal it gathered 
recruits among students in Chinese schools and in labour unions 
until, just before the last war, it amassed sufficient strength to foment 
strikes and to organize anti-Japanese demonstrations after Japan's 
attack on China. The Communists did not, however, exercise as 
strong an influence on the Chinese community as the Kuomintang 
Nationalist Government, the activities of whose supporters also 
brought them into disfavour with the authorities. On the outbreak 
of war the Communists, in common with their comrades elsewhere, 
followed the usual party line of trying to obstruct the war effort, 
but changed their policy to co-operation with the Government as 
soon as Russia became involved. 

Japan's occupation of Malaya came as a profound shock to all 
communities in the country, especially the Chinese. The invaders 
carried out a ruthless purge of the Chinese inhabitants, seeking to 

124 



TERRORISM IN MALAYA 

kill al wlio were active supporters of the Koomintang, Communists 
who had taken a prominent part in the British war effort, and mem- 
bers of the Malayan armed forces who had not surrendered. Just 
before the fall of Singapore the British handed over arms to Chinese 
Communists, some of whom were released from prison, for guerilla 
purposes. These Communists organized and led the "Malayan 
People's Anti-Japanese Army" which, from its jungle hide-outs, 
fought against the occupation forces with great skill and courage. 
Guerillas were also furnished by the Kuomintang supporters, but 
they were not so effective. 

Two lessons learnt during the Communists' campaign had a pro- 
found influence on their post-war tactics; they discovered how best 
to use the jungle for guerilla purposes and they established a system, 
well understood by the Chinese, of levying blackmail on the civil 
population. Those who refused to supply the food, arms or money 
demanded of them were liable to be put to death as "collabora- 
tors". In this way there grew up a method of resistance in which the 
civil population was compelled, whether it liked or not, to play a 
part. During the war the Chinese naturally sympathized with the 
guerillas, and to help them became a habit. Today the urge is still in 
die same direction; the Japanese have departed but the Chinese 
Communists in Malaya are now members of the political creed 
which dominates a resurgent China. 

This is not the only influence at work. In the words of two men 1 
who have made a study of this problem: 

"No-one is likely to underrate the importance of the Occupa- 
tion period in stimulating guerilla organization among the 
Chinese. But other effects may have been in the aggregate more 
important; the inculcation of the habit of paying extortion 
money; the vast increase in bribery and irregularity of all kinds; 
the undermining of the prewar respect for government and kw; 
and the stimulation to fantastic extremes of the tendency among 
the South Seas Chinese to be steadfastly neutral on all political 
issues and concentrate attention on personal advancement." 
The war was followed by a brief period of peace between die 

1 Nationalism in Malaya," by T. H. Silcock and Ungku Abdul Aziz (Asian 
Nationalism and the West (The Maonillan Company, New York), 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

reactivated British administration and the ex-guerillas, whose pres- 
tige and membership swelled immediately after the Japanese 
surrender. Some of thejungle fighters were awarded British honours 
and took part rather to their astonishment in the 1946 Victory 
Parade in London; among them was Chin Peng, who in 1954 w ^s 
still secretary-general of the Malayan Communist Party and one of 
the principal organizers of the terrorist campaign. For the first year 
after the war the Communist guerillas, who were nominally dis- 
banded and were supposed to have handed in their arms, concen- 
trated on organizing trade unions of their own and in creating 
Communist cells in genuine labour bodies. They practised the sort 
of tactics which had served them well during the war; workers were 
terrorized into doing what the Communists ordered, and soon the 
inevitable harvest of strikes and unrest compelled the Government 
to intervene. All Communist-controlled trade unions were dis- 
solved, many of their leaders being arrested. 

A state of uneasy truce prevailed until the middle of 1948 when, 
in response to the notorious directive issued by the Calcutta con- 
ference of international Communist agents, Malaya's Communists 
like their comrades in other parts of Asia broke into open revolt. 
They resumed their guerilla warfare from thejungle, reverting to 
war-time methods of securing food and support by intimidating 
villagers. Government counter-measures appeared to be having 
effect in the year following the outbreak, but the success of the 
Communist revolution in China gave the terrorists, over 90 per cent 
of whom are Chinese, a new lease of life. 

Meantime the nationalist movement was slowly taking shape. It 
received a fillip from the strange decision of the British Government 
in 1946 to impose on Malaya a constitution without first consulting 
its peoples. This constitution was die Malayan Union, which pro- 
vided for the joining up of the nine Malay states and the settlements 
of Penang and Malacca in a single administration, with Singapore as 
a separate Crown colony. Although all the sultans signed away their 
powers when presented with the requisite treaties, there was a strong 
revulsion of feeling in the states when the details became known. 
For the first time Malay opinion manifested itself against what was 
regarded as an infringement of the rights of the states and their 

126 



TERRORISM IN MALAYA 

rulers; political bodies sprang up all over the peninsula and a joint 
conference held in Kuala Lumpur in 1946 saw the birth of the first 
really nationalist Malay association the United Malay National 
Organization, with Dato Onn bin Jafaar as its president. 

Almost immediately the new body achieved for the Malays a 
remarkable political success. Under pressure from UMNO and its 
friends Mr. Attlee's Government substituted for the Union, which 
never really functioned properly, a Federation giving greater auto- 
nomy to the states and ensuring the ascendancy of the Malays in the 
federal and state councils. One of the points in the Union scheme 
which aroused the wrath of UMNO, whose members represented 
the Malay aristocracy and wealthier classes, was the franchise; 
UMNO contended that it would make the acquisition of citizenship 
too easy for Chinese and Indians and would give the Chinese pre- 
ponderant political power. Under the federation plan which 
UMNO sponsored, non-Malays found it much harder to secure the 
vote, a disadvantage which was deeply resented by both Chinese and 
Indians. 

The Indian community, incidentally, developed during the war a 
political consciousness as a result of the Japanese occupation. Stimu- 
lated, as were the Malays, by the Japanese slogan of "Asia for the 
Asians" the Indians in Malaya came to regard themselves as the 
standard-bearers of Indian freedom outside India; they were 
represented in the fighting forces by members of the Indian army 
captured in Malaya whom the Japanese and their own fellow 
countrymen persuaded to join them. Both movements came to an 
unhappy end, as did Subhas Chandra Bose, their leader, but they 
gave the Indians a community sense which persists. 

Despite Chinese and Indian opposition the Federation of Malaya 
came into existence in 1948. It consists of the two settlements of 
Penang and Malacca and the nine Malay states; it is administered by 
a High Commissioner assisted by a superimposed federal legislative 
council with a small unofficial majority, the non-officials being 
nominated by the High Commissioner until the electoral system is 
ready. Singapore is a Crown colony with a governor and executive 
and legislative councils, the council having an official and nominated 
majority over the elected representatives of 13 to 12. In 1954 

127 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

proposals for liberalizing both the federal and Singapore constitutions 
were approved. The new federal legislature will comprise 52 elected 
members out of a total of 100. In Singapore the legislative council is 
to be replaced by a legislative assembly with 25 elected members out 
of 32, while the executive council will become a council of ministers 
with six elected members in a cabinet of nine responsible for all 
departments except external affairs, internal security and defence. 

Non-Malays reacted to the Federation by attempting to mobilize a 
"united front" on as wide a base as possible among Chinese, Indians, 
Indonesians and even Communists. Efforts were made to give the 
front a nationalist flavour by incorporating Malays who stood for a 
united democratic Malaya in place of the patchwork arrangement of 
settlements and semi-autonomous states which someone described 
as the "joint design of Heath Robinson and W. S. Gilbert after a 
dinner at the Savage Club". Several bodies tried to fill the bill, 
including Communist-dominated organizations which either were 
dissolved or went underground when the terrorist campaign 
started, but eventually there emerged at the instance of the officially 
sponsored Communities Liaison Committee a movement entitled 
the Malayan Chinese Association, A parallel body to UMNO, the 
MCA, has for its objects not hostility to the Malays but a reasoned 
presentation of the non-Malay case and a claim for justice to all. 

The leaven of nationalism began to work. By the end of 1950 
Dato Onn bin Jafaar, recognizing that the co-operation of aU races 
was essential in an independent self-governing Malaya, tried to 
transform UMNO into a non-communal body. Unsuccessful in 
this endeavour, he established the Independence of Malaya Party, 
which co-operates on purely nationalist issues with both UMNO 
and MCA, and has as the main plank in its platform the achievement 
of independence in ten years, leaving the question of whether 
Malaya should be outside or inside the Commonwealth to be settled 
later. 

A notable step towards Malayan nationalism was taken in 1954 
when UMNO and MCA, the latter led by Sir Cheng lock Tan, a 
distinguished Chinese politician, united to demand that three-fifths 
of the members of the new federal legislature should be elected. 
When this was refused the alliance, after pressing its case in London, 

128 



TERRORISM IN MALAYA 

demanded an independent commission from outside Malaya to 
inquire into the whole question of constitutional reforms before 
fresh elections were held. The Colonial Secretary, then Mr. 
Oliver Lyttelton, referred the demand for consideration by the 
High Commissioner and the sultans, whereupon the alliance 
decided to withdraw its members from all administrative and 
legislative councils. Fortunately this drastic boycott was cancelled by 
the alliance on receipt of an assurance from the High Commissioner, 
Sir Donald MacGiUivray, that he would consult the leaders of the 
majority among the elected members before making appointments 
to the five reserved seats in the new federal legislative council. 
Another sign of the times is the recent tendency of the Malay 
leaders to make to the Chinese franchise concessions which were 
unthinkable at the time the Federation was instituted. 

All these are important developments. They point to a growing 
realization by the Malay and Chinese intelligentsia that an indepen- 
dent self-governing Malaya can be achieved only if all races and 
communities work together in harmony. The quicker that feeling 
spreads the sooner a case can be made out for the advance towards 
responsible government envisaged by the UMNO-MCA alliance. 
But there are real difficulties which cannot be ignored. The leaders 
of the Malay, Chinese and Indian communities may agree on the 
need for the fullest co-operation in the interests of the country they 
live in; their followers are unhappily far from that stage. 

This is particularly true of the Chinese. Take the case of the 
Crown colony of Singapore, the population of which is 80 per cent 
Chinese, with recent immigrants from China forming the major 
part of the community. As an article in The Times 1 pointed out, in 
the problems of government these people take litde interest. "It is 
not difficult to explain this seemingly nihilist attitude, for the whole 
structure of Chinese society is set against the tradition of self- 
government as it has developed in Europe and as it is being en- 
encouraged to develop in Singapore." The Chinese are usually 
opposed to anything which is intended to create a Malayan nation, 
such as service in the defence force, national schools, a common 
standard of examination in schools and a common language. They 

1 "The Reluctant Dragon,*' The Times* April 3, 1954- 
I 129 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

recoil from any measure which seeks to deprive them of their 
essentially Chinese character. Unless or until their leaders can 
impress on them the necessity for taking an active part in the 
administration of their adopted country, the outlook for genuine 
Malayan nationalism is bleak. One bright spot on the landscape is 
the growing association in national schools of Malay, Chinese and 
Indian children. It is in these institutions that the key to genuine 
Malayan nationalism may be found. 

Malaya's terrorists receive no outside material help except possibly 
a little over the Siamese border, but they obviously draw their 
inspiration from the Communist regime in China. The Federal 
Government of Malaya, with the help of leaders like Dato Onn bin 
Jafaar, have tackled the menace vigorously ever since it began, first 
by means of the Briggs plan for resettling Chinese squatters exposed 
to terrorist influence, and later by the trenchant but successful 
methods of General Sir Gerald Templer. An encouraging step was 
taken in 1954 when five members of the federal executive council, 
including two Malays and one Indian, accepted an invitation to sit 
on the anti-terrorist operations committee. Able-bodied men of all 
races are liable to two years' compulsory military service, and there 
are something like 350,000 Malayans of all nationalities in the 
security forces. 

Much has been done to reduce terrorist activities, yet despite their 
heavy losses by casualties and surrender, the guerillas, whose num- 
bers are believed to be about 5,000, still secure sufficient recruits to 
keep the fight going. How they do so is one of Malaya's mysteries. 
General Templer estimated that over one-third of the terrorists are 
professional bandits and about another third people escaping from 
justice, while the remainder constitute a hard core of fanatical 
Communists. They are known to have indoctrinated a number of 
jungle aboriginals who act as scouts for them; to counter this 
development use is being made of helicopters to attack jungle camps. 

But the stark fact remains that the terrorists, as in war-time days, 
keep going because they are assisted with food and money by the 
local population either out of sympathy with the rebels or of fear of 
reprisals if they refuse. Lieutenant-General Sir Geoffrey Bourne, who 
was appointed Director of Operations in succession to General Sir 

130 



TERRORISM IN MALAYA 

Gerald Templer, guaranteed to wipe out terrorist organizations 
within a year if the local inhabitants ceased to aid them. He also 
promised adequate protection for villagers if they furnished news of 
terrorists in their neighbourhood; information is one of the key 
requirements in the campaign. 

Communist tactics have progressively changed since 1951. In that 
year the terrorists were ordered by their leaders to confine their 
activities more specifically to military objectives so as to avoid 
causing unnecessary popular resentment. Before he left in 1954 
General Templer insisted that the real danger lay in Communist 
infiltration of "apparently harmless bodies Tike trade unions, 
political associations, youth clubs, even badminton clubs". The 
same year witnessed increasing indications that terrorists were 
becoming supposedly peaceful villagers, in which guise they could 
give unsuspected help to their armed comrades in the jungle. 

It has been clear for some time that the answer to terrorism lies 
not in police or military action alone. General Templer rightly 
declared that the campaign must be fought on the social, economic, 
and political front as well as on the military one. Under the Colombo 
Plan, the Federal Government's own development schemes and 
other outside aid, the social and economic fronts are receiving a good 
deal of attention; village resettlement, education, social welfare, 
rural and industrial development, power and transport all figure in 
the programme. The International Bank has sent a mission to survey 
resources and needs. Village resettlement, forced on the authorities by 
the rebellion, is becoming a major welfare service; it is turning into 
orderly citizens thousands of Chinese squatters who, having lost 
their jobs in tin mines, settled on the fringe of die jungle as cultiva- 
tors and were forced, willingly or unwillingly, to help the terrorists. 
Steps, hitherto encouragingly successful, axe also being taken to win 
Commumst-dorninated aborigines over to the Government. 

Progress is also essential on the political front, but here its speed 
and efficacy are dependent on the willingness of Malaya's multi- 
racial inhabitants to grasp the opportunities afforded them. It is 
possible, for instance, that the future of the terrorists may be linked 
with the part to be played by the Chinese population in the future 
governance of die peninsula. This, in turn, depends on whether die 

131 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Communist leaders consider themselves an outpost of the Peking 
Government, or whether they merely represent a local urge for 
freedom. The evidence, unfortunately, suggests that terrorism is not 
a Malayan nationalist movement but part of the great world-wide 
struggle between Communism and democracy. Yet the authorities 
have no alternative but to press on towards the goal of responsible 
government and thereby to convince the people of Malaya and of 
free Asia that Communism, not colonialism, is the enemy. A 
notable step in that direction took place early in 1955, when the 
Labour Front won the Legislative Assembly elections in Singapore 
and its leader, Mr. David Marshall, became Singapore's first Chief 
Minister under the new constitution. 



132 



Chapter Fourteen 
KOREA'S AGONY 



T If T E COME NOW to two Asian countries where a line lias had 

\ /\ / to ^ e ^ rawn ky international action between the Com- 

Y Y munist and non-Communist areas Korea and Indo- 

China. In Korea the line came into existence almost fortuitously as a 

sequel to the first World War, but it brought upon that unhappy 

country a struggle in which the United Nations for the first time 

used force to resist aggression. 

Dujjiigjthe l as t hundred years the Korean people^have certainly 
had a raw deal from their bigger neighbpurs. Up to the middle of the 
nineteenth century they had their own royal house, a troubled 
history and a rather tenuous political connection with the Chinese 
empire. An awakened Japan inevitably cast its eyes on the 
mainland country nearest to its shores, and in the latter half of the 
nineteenth century the Japanese Government imposed a trade 
treaty on Korea after the manner of the West in its dealings with 
Asian countries. The Sino-Japanese war of 1894 gave the invaders an 
opportunity of strengthening their hold on Korea; one of the vic- 
tors' peace terms was that China should recognize the complete 
independence of the peninsula. 

"Korea's independence was, however, a mockery, for it soon 
became evident that the Japanese intended to exercise full control 
over the country. Their Korean activities brought them into conflict 
with Russia, which resented an incursion that brought the Japanese 
on to the Tsarist empire's far eastern doorstep. The Japanese tried to 
do a deal with the Russians, offering diem a free hand in Manchuria 
in return for a free hand in Korea. Tsarist Russia haughtily refused 
Tokio's overtures; it had no desire to tolerate a rival in either 
Manchuria or Korea and the breakdown of the negotiations led to 
the Russo-Japanese war. Japan's surprising victory surprising in 

133 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

the sense that it involved the defeat of a major European power by a 
relatively small Asian nation created a sensation in Asia, where it 
stirred up widespread feelings of nationalism. Its immediate result, 
however, was to turn Korea into a Japanese protectorate. Some 
years later a Korean revolt led to savage repression, followed by the 
annexation of the country to Japan in 1910 and the abdication and 
virtual extinction of the ruling house. 

"No European country treated its Asian possessions as oppressively 
as did the Japanese in Korea, Their occupation resulted in an intense 
Korean dislike of the Japanese which is one of America's far eastern 
problems today. For thirty-five years Korea was subjected not only 
to political domination but to gross economic exploitation for the 
benefit of Japan; her industry and agriculture were expropriated and 
her people treated like serfs. The Koreans tried hard to get justice 
after the first World War, but it was not until the 1943 Cairo con- 
ference between President Roosevelt, Mr. Churchill and General 
Chiang Kai-shek that Allied war aims were declared to include "in 
due course" freedom and independence for Korea. President Roose- 
velt was of opinion and this is important in view of what happened 
at the end of the war that Korea might have to undergo a period of 
trusteeship in order to train her people to manage their own affairs 
after their long "enslavement". 

At the Yalta conference in 1945 Marshal Stalin tacitly accepted 
the Cairo agreement and later, in view of Russia's participation 
in the war against Japan, it was agreed that Russia should occupy 
Korea north of the 3 8th parallel of latitude, leaving the Americans 
to take over the southern half. From the Western and Korean 
point of view this arrangement was most unfortunate. President 
Roosevelt undoubtedly regarded the splitting of the country 
as a temporary military expedient, but he reckoned without his 
collaborators in the north. At first all went well; an Allied con- 
ference in Moscow decided at die end of ^945 to set up a joint 
U.S.-Soviet commission whose task would lc(e to form a provisional 
Korean government in consultation with Korean democratic parties 
and soqial organizations. A Four Power trusteeship was then to be 
instituted for a period not exceeding five years in conjunction with 
the provisional government, but this part of the agreement was 

134 



KOREA S AGONY 

strongly opposed by nearly all the political groups in Korea with 
the exception of the Communists, who obediently accepted what 
Moscow offered. 

For two years a wrangle went on in the U.S.-Soviet commission 
over which Korean parties should be consulted. The Russians 
demanded the exclusion of all parties hostile to the trusteeship plan, 
thereby banning practically everybody except the Communists; the 
Americans naturally rejected so pro-Communist a move. Various 
schemes were suggested to resolve the deadlock. Finally Washington 
referred the issue to the United Nations, which set up a commission 
to supervise the elections to the Korean National Assembly. Russia 
and her satellites took no part in the voting, and when the commis- 
sion reached Korea it was refused admission into the Russian sector. 
The deadlock was complete. 

The continued partition of the country was bitterly resented by all 
Koreans. It proved definitely harmful to their economic interest, 
since, although the major part of the population lived in the south, 
the north contained the hydro-electric power works on the Yaiu 
river, fertilizer factories, and iron and coal mines essential to the 
prosperity of the whole peninsula. It soon became evident that the 
North Korean Government under the Russians was purely Com- 
munist; in the south an administration was set up under President 
Syngman Rhee after the holding of elections supervised by the 
U.N. commission. By 1949 both Russia and the United States 
announced the withdrawal of their troops from their respective 
zones. 

They left an unhappy state of affairs. Both Korean governments 
continued to demand the unification of the country on their own 
terms, with threats of violence. The triumph of the Communists in 
China and the return to North Korea of Korean units released by 
the Peking authorities increased the aggressiveness of the North 
Korean Government, and constant clashes occurred on the border. 
In response to South Korean requests the U.N. General Assembly 
agreed to continue the U.N. commission, adding to its functions the 
task of observing developments likely to lead to a conflict. 

What -eventually decided Kim II Sung's North Korean Govern- 
ment to resort to war is not clear; it may have beea Mr. Acheson's 

135 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

declaration despite the generous civil and military help extended 
to South Korea that the U.S.A. defence line ran through the 
Aleutians, Japan, Okinawa and the Philippines. Anxiety was cer- 
tainly expressed in South Korea at Mr. Acheson's statement, and 
quite possibly it constituted one of the factors which encouraged the 
Communists to "have a go". No douht there were others; America 
harbours a growing suspicion that Communist China instigated the 
attack. At any rate, when North Korean troops crossed the 3 8th 
parallel on a broad front on June 25, 1950, their action showed every 
sign of a well-organized invasion capable of subjugating an un- 
prepared people. Fortunately for the South Koreans the U.N. 
commission was able to report promptly that the North Korean 
forces were the aggressors despite the fatuous but inevitable claims 
by the Communists that the South Koreans started the fighting. 

For the first time in its brief history the U.N. found itself engaged 
in a war against an aggressor. By the end of the year some fourteen 
nations were involved in the war, with America providing die vast 
bulk of the allied forces. General Douglas MacArthur, appointed to 
command the U.N. army, handled the early part of the campaign in 
masterly fashion. The invaders were held along a line in the extreme 
south-east of the peninsula while a landing was prepared well in 
their rear. When this took place at Inchon, in the middle of Septem- 
ber the North Koreans were completely routed. Seoul the Korean 
capital was recaptured, and by the end of the month the U.N. 
forces had reached the 38th parallel. 

Then came a fateful decision. India, supported by other Asian 
member nations, urged the U.N. to review the situation before 
taking further action, basing her request on information obtained by 
her ambassador in Peking that if U.N. forces crossed the 38th 
parallel Communist China would consider her security directly 
menaced. No attention was paid to the warning; South Korean 
troops on the east coast crossed the line at the beginning of October 
and nine days later General MacArthur ordered his forces to advance 
on the implicit though not absolutely clear authority of a U.N. 
General Assembly resolution to set up a commission for the unifica- 
tion and rehabilitation of Korea. 

By the end of the year the U.N. forces, after having neared die 

136 



KOHEA S AGONY 



j! laipei- j^y ^ 



Al //[TAIWAN] 



KOREA 

AND 
JAPAN 




IJ7 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Chinese frontier, were back on the 38th parallel under severe 
pressure from four Chinese armies estimated by General MacArthur 
to consist of 200,000 men euphemistically described by the Peking 
Government as " volunteers "-. India took a leading part in organizing 
an appeal by thirteen Asian and Arab countries to Mr. Mao Tse~ 
tung's Government to halt their forces and cease fire at the parallel. 
China apparently paid no attention to the appeal, which Moscow 
indignantly described as a device to "save the Americans". Early in 
the new year the Communists launched a major offensive which was 
repulsed with heavy losses, the U.N. forces having meantime pre- 
pared a strong defensive position. On the suggestion of Russia 
armistice talks were opened in June, and it was significant that two 
of the four North Korean delegates were Chinese generals. But it was 
not until June, 1953, after two years of bitter though relatively 
static warfare, that agreement was finally reached. 

The main stumbling block was the repatriation of prisoners, of 
whom the U.N. forces held a very large number. Many of these 
prisoners did not want to return to their Communist homeland and 
the U.N. insisted that there should be no forced repatriation of 
prisoners; the Communists, on the other hand, demanded that all 
prisoners should be returned to their own country. Eventually 
agreement was achieved on lines suggested by India under which 
the prisoners were to be handed over to a Neutral Nations Repatria- 
tion Commission of which India was appointed chairman, umpire 
and executive agent for questioning before being repatriated or 
released. On the issue of prisoners the U.N. won a complete victory. 
There was general relief in both the West and the East on the ter- 
mination of hostilities; the agreement signed at Panmunjom on 
June 8, 1953, brought to an end a struggle* which had lasted just over 
three years and cost the Americans 142,000 casualties, including 
23,000 killed and 14,000 missing. The Commonwealth losses 
totalled about 7,000. What die Communist losses amounted to is not 
known, but they were much higher than the figures for the U.N. 
forces; the Chinese, in particular, suffered severe casualties with 
great fortitude. 

Two points about the war call for comment. Hie first is that 
General MacArthur's decision to cross the 38th parallel after routing 

138 



KOREA'S AGONY 

the North Korean invaders was a mistake from the Asian point of 
view, although it would not be fair to blame the U.R commander 
for a step which a U.N. resolution by implication permitted him to 
take. An undercurrent of hostility undoubtedly existed in Asia over 
the prompt manner in which the UN., led by America, interfered 
in what could be regarded as a civil war in an Asian country. Never- 
theless the U.N. decision that aggression had occurred and must be 
resisted was generally approved by the new Asian democracies, 
which saw in it an encouraging sign of a new order in world affairs. 

That approval did not extend to the crossing of the 3 8th parallel. 
It was felt by most Asian countries, led by India, that the U.N. had 
achieved its object by driving the invaders out of South Korea, and 
that by carrying the war into North Korea it departed from the 
principles for which it stood. The U.N., these nations thought, 
would have enhanced its authority and prestige by confining itself to 
the bare necessity of repelling aggression; by carrying die war up to 
the Chinese border it asked for trouble. This feeling contributed to 
the refusal of a number of Asian states to vote for the resolution 
moved in the General Assembly in 1951 declaring Communist 
China an aggressor because of its intervention in Korea. India and 
Burma opposed the resolution, while Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi 
Arabia and Afghanistan abstained on the grounds that the Peking 
Government had some justification for regarding the crossing of the 
38th parallel as a threat to its security. 

From the point of view of world peace the most unfortunate 
outcome of the event was to bring Communist China into direct 
conflict with the West, and especially with America, which bitterly 
regretted the ousting of the Kuomintang Government America's 
attitude towards Communist China was bad enough before the 
Korean war; it is now one of marked hostility, aggravated by the 
memory of the casualties sustained in what Americans feel was com- 
pletely uncalled-for intervention by the Chinese. Any hope there 
might have been of Washington changing its pre-Korean war views 
about the admission of Communist China to the United Nations has 
been most effectively dashed. The threat voiced in the American 
Senate that the United States would leave the U.N. if Communist 
China was admitted is painfully symptomatic of American feeling. 

139 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

The second point worth noting was the embarrassment caused to 
the U.N. by the conduct of the South Korean President, Dr. 
Syngman Rhee. President Rhee was one of the most doughty 
opponents of the Japanese occupation of Korea; he studied in 
America as a student under President Woodrow Wilson and for 
many years held charge of the permanent commission for Korean 
independence established in Washington. He leads the Korean 
Liberal Party, but his views today are anything but liberal. When 
his first term of office expired in 1951 this aged fire-eater, by highly 
dubious and dictatorial methods which called forth protests from 
several Western governments, had the constitution altered so that he 
could be elected by die popular vote instead of by the national 
assembly. On an appeal to the people he was re-elected by an over- 
whelming majority, which testified to his personal popularity in the 
country. 

His chief ambition is to conquer North Korea by force. He 
heartily disapproved of the armistice and wanted to go on with the 
war by himself; he nearly wrecked the cease-fire agreement by 
conniving at the escape of 25,000 prisoners who did not want to be 
repatriated to North Korea, and he threatened to attack the Indian 
custodian force which went to the demilitarized zone of Korea to 
look after prisoners awaiting disposal. When he visited die United 
States in 1954 at the invitation of President Eisenhower to discuss the 
future of his country he staggered even the American Congress and 
people by the violence of his demands for the extermination of all 
Communist governments and by his attacks on American policy, 
which he said had no "guts" and had "short-sightedly" prevented 
his army from "unifying Korea by force of arms". At a press con- 
ference in Washington Mr. John Foster Dulles, President Eisen- 
hower's Secretary of State, described him as a "brave and patriotic 
man" whose "petulant criticisms " should not be taken too seriously, 
but Americans are inclined to think he does not sufficiendy appre- 
ciate the help he has received both in blood and treasure. 

The terms of the Panmunjom armistice included the appointment 
of representatives by each side to arrange for the withdrawal of all 
foreign forces from Korea and to confer on the peaceful setdement 
of the country. Czechoslovakia, Poland, Sweden and Switzerland 

140 



KOREA S AGONY 

agreed to supply neutral observers to witness the carrying out of the 
armistice provisions, but the Swiss and Swedish members were not 
allowed to enter North Korea. Up to 1954 nothing had been done 
about the armistice terms relating to Korea's future and unification. 
Delegates from sixteen nations involved in the Korean war who met 
at Geneva in June "for the purpose of establishing a united and 
independent Korea by peaceful means" in accordance with the 
armistice agreement found themselves in a complete deadlock. The 
non-Communist representatives adhered to two principles which 
the Communists flatly rejected. 

These principles were, firstly, that the U.N. was empowered to 
take collective action to repel aggression and, secondly, that in order 
to establish a "unified, independent and democratic Korea'* 
genuinely free elections should be held under U.N. supervision. The 
Communists denied the authority and competence of the U.N. in 
Korea, labelling that body an "aggressor", and on the subject of 
elections insisted on procedures which would (according to the 
U.N.) make genuinely free elections impossible. In these circum- 
stances the conference ended, the U.N. delegates regretfully 
recognizing that the Communists had plainly "shown their inten- 
tion to maintain Communist control over North Korea". 

That, indeed, seems to be the stark truth. All evidence points to 
Chinese determination to convert North Korea into a province of 
Communist China. A new great underground defence line of 
immense strength is reported to have been constructed since the 
armistice behind the northern side of the demilitarized zone. Air- 
fields are known to have been improved. Before the armistice it was 
estimated that Chinese troops in North Korea numbered about a 
million; many of these troops have not been withdrawn, but have 
been "rotated and replaced". Others are being settled on the land 
with their families to replace North Korean war dead or prisoners of 
war who refused to return. 

Writing in the spring of 1954, the special correspondent of The 

Times in Korea 1 reported that North Korea's indigenous population 

of about nine millions had been reduced to three or four millions by 

flight, war casualties or removal to forced labour in Manchuria, 

1 The Times, April 21, 1954- 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

thereby leaving plenty of room for emigrants from China. North 
Korea's industrial resources are being restored with technical aid 
from ^Moscow and Peking. "In short'*, concludes The Times 
correspondent, "there is convincing proof that the Communists 
have established a stranglehold on North Korea, and that Presid-nt 
Kim II Sung and his Mo scow- trained colleagues are willing 
collaborators in the sovietization of their country. That being so, 
any talk of 'neutralizing' North Korea is academic. . . . The con- 
clusion must be that the partition of Korea is here to stay until 
such time as the world-wide conflict between the two ideologies is t 
resolved. Repugnant as this may be to champions of Korean free- 
dom, it is the only realistic approach." 

Even if Korea was unified at present, it could scarcely hope to 
escape falling under either an extreme right wing or an extreme left 
wing regime. Despite his notorious jingoism and dictatorial 
methods, President Rhee is popular in South Korea. His political 
position was strengthened by the general election to the national 
assembly in" May, 1954, when his party improved its prospects by 
gaining a small absolute majority despite the large number of in- 
dependents. Democracy as the West understands it may not be 
strong in South Korea, but the fact that the population includes 
nearly three million refugees from North Korea shows that it is 
definitely not Communist Provided President Rhee and his 
government can be restrained from attempting to "march north", 
which they periodically threaten to do, stability would seem to be 
assurqi. Hopes are entertained that the cold douche administered to 
the president's belligerency during his visit to America after the 
failure of die 1954 Geneva conference will effectively curb his 
enthusiasm for unity by conquest. According to Mr. Dulles the 
truce agreement, like the cease-fire in Israel, is of indefinite duration 
unless broken by one of the contracting parties. 

South Korea's military position is guaranteed by the UJNL; in 
August, 1953, it was announced in Washington that the sixteen 
powers with forces under U.N. command had signed an under- 
taking promptly to resist a renewal of armed attack, and that "in all 
probability it would not be possible to confine hostilities within the 
frontiers ctf Korea". Some perturbation was expressed by Labour 

142 



KOREA S AGONY 

members in the British Parliament about the implications of this 
addition to the ordinary resistance clause, but the explanation was 
given that there was nothing new in it. Obviously, however, it was 
inserted as a clear warning to Communist China. South Korea's 
security is also safeguarded by a mutual defence treaty with the 
United States under which American defence forces will continue to 
stay in the country. 

Meanwhile U.N. and American aid is pouring into South Korea 
to restore its war-shattered economy. Factories are being built to 
replace those in North Korea which formerly supplied the country's 
needs in fertilizers and essential consumer goods. Farmers are 
receiving much-needed assistance in producing crops. These factors 
produced in 1954 an upsurge of hope and a general feeling that 
better days were on the way. In die absence of a settlement with the 
Communists, the U.N. aim must be to raise the standard of living 
in South Korea to a point where the people will not only resist 
Communism, but will make their way of life attractive to the North 
Koreans. Even in this beneficent task the Americans were dis- 
gusted by President Rhee's insistence on a grossly unfair currency 
exchange and rejection of U.S. conditions attached to a ^250 million 
aid programme for 1955. 



143 



Chapter Fifteen 
RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 



" TTT is A FACT, though it seems almost incredible, that after all 

I these years of French administration, the scores of military 

JL expeditions, the spending of thousands of millions of francs, the 

loss of tens of thousands of lives, Tongking is only 'pacified' so far 

as the delta is concerned." 1 

These words might have been written yesterday; actually they 
were penned by an English traveller in a book published in 1895 
no less than sixty years ago. They tell something of the long and 
weary struggle which culminated in the Geneva agreement of July, 
1954, by which Viet Nam the largest and most populous of the 
Indo-China states was partitioned in much the same way as Korea, 
with the Communists in power on one side and non-Communists 
on the other. In the Geneva pact provision is made for the holding of 
elections throughout the whole country by July, 1956, to decide its 
future. In Viet Nam there is the same intense desire for unification as 
exists in Korea. The next two years will show whether Viet Nam 
nationalism can assert itself, or whether Communist China will 
establish the same ascendancy in North Viet Nam as she has done in 
North Korea. 

Before the second World War the French Union of Indo-China 
was a colonial patchwork. It consisted of the colony of Cochin 
China and the protectorates of Annam, Tongking, Laos and Cam- 
bodia. Annam, Tongking and Cochin China, which today con- 
stitute Viet Nam, stretch in a continuous line along the sea coast from 
China in the north to Cambodia in the south. The population of 
some 24 millions is chiefly concentrated in the Red river delta of 
Tongking in the north and the Mekong river delta of Cochin China 
in the south, both deltas being important rice-growing regions. Viet 

1 The Peopks and Politics of the Par East, by Henry Norman. (Unwin.) 

144 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 



Nam possesses language and, to a large extent, cultural unity. Laos 
is a land-locked mountainous country lying next to China in the 
north, Siam in the West, Viet Nam in the east and Cambodia in the 
south. Formerly part of Siam, its two million people are related to 
the Siamese, with whom they have strong religious and cultural 
affinities. Cambodia in by-gone days was subject to Indian influence 
and contains the ruins of the famous city of Angkor; wedged in 
between Siam and Viet Nam, it has a king, Norodom Sihanouk, 
who rules over about four million people. 

French interest in Indo-China began in the seventeenth century 
when a French Roman Catholic missionary resided for some time 
in Annam and wrote an account of his experiences which proved 
very popular in France. He was foEowed by a missionary society 
whose activities led to a treaty between Louis XVI and the emperor 
of Annam. Previous to that the country had been for centuries under 
Chinese influence and occupation, although the Annamese at times 
asserted themselves by driving the Chinese out Trouble over the 
persecution of French missionaries and their converts led to French 
military intervention in 1859. Saigon in Cochin China was occupied, 
and three years later Annam ceded the Saigon region to France. 
French power steadily expanded in the following years; Cambodia 
placed itself under French protection to escape Siamese and Annamese 
aggression, the western provinces of Cochin China were occupied, 
and in 1864 Annam itself signed a treaty accepting French suzerainty. 
French troops drove the Chinese out of Tongking in 1884, and by a 
treaty signed in Peking the Chinese Government recognized the 
status of the French in Indo-China. The last of France's Indo-China 
possessions was acquired in 1893 when Laos was ceded by Siam. 

Annamese nationalism developed, as the quotation at the begin- 
ning of the chapter shows, in the nineteenth century and led to 
sporadic outbreaks of violence. French rule in Indc-China resembled 
in many respects Dutch government in Indonesia. It did much 
material good to the states in the Union; rice production in the 
Red river and Mekong deltas greatly increased with the draining of 
marsh lands, rubber was introduced and cultivated, roads and rail- 
ways were built, industries started and public health vasdy improved. 
But economically Indo-China was run for the benefit of France and 



145 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

French investors, not to mention the mass of French officials who 
had a vested interest in the country. Political parties were forbidden, 
and there was no serious attempt, as in India, to Build up a demo- 
cratic system leading to self-government. 

Yet nationalism persisted; in the nineteen-twenties it derived 
inspiration from Sun Yat-sen's movement in China, and in the 
absence of party outlet it expressed itself in a series of revolts. Com- 
munism appeared in organized form in 1930 with the formation of 
the Indo-Chinese Communist Party and although, like other parties, 
it was banned, it survived underground, looking abroad for its 
leadership. On various pretexts Japan occupied Indo-China during 
the second World War, but left the administration to the French 
officials in view of the Vichy Government's collaboration with the 
Axis. Led by Dr. Ho CH-minh, a well-known figure, those who 
worked for the freedom of Viet Nam had perforce to conduct their 
campaign from China. 

The Viet-minh (short for Viet Nam Doc Lap Dong Minh Hoi or 
League for the Independence of Viet Nam) was formed in China in 
1941, its main constituent being the Indo-Chinese Communist 
Party. Its object was to fight both "French and Japanese fascism and 
imperialism". While other Viet Nam nationalist parties also existed 
in China, the Viet-minh was the only one to build up surreptitiously 
an organization in Viet Nam itself, particularly in the neigh- 
bouring province of Tongking which had always been susceptible to 
Communist influence. Towards the end of 1944 the Viet-minh took 
an important step by moving its headquarters from China into 
Tongking. 

With the disappearance of Vichy France before the Allied offensive 
in Europe, the Japanese in the spring of 1945 overthrew the French 
administration in Indo-China and set up nominally independent 
states under the Annamese emperor Bao Dai in Viet Nam, King 
Norodom Sihanouk in Cambodia, and Kong Sisavong Vong in 
Laos. All three rnonarchs, presumably on Japanese instructions, 
issued grandiloquent proclamations announcing their independence, 
but pledging their loyalty to Japan's " co-prosperity sphere'*. 
Meanwhile the Viet-minh was biding its time; just before the 
Japanese surrender in August it ordered a general insurrection and 

146 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 

seized control of Hanoi, the capital of Tongking. Dr. Ho Chi-minh, 
the Viet-minh leader, stepped into the vacuum created by the 
collapse of Japanese authority. So great was his prestige as head of 
an independence movement untarnished by collaboration with 
either French or Japanese that he gained control of the whole of Viet 
Nam in a few weeks. Bao Dai promptly abdicated, but appeared in 
the republican government which Viet-minh formed for Viet Nam 
as "supreme counsellor of state". 

Under the Potsdam agreement the Japanese troops in the north of 
IndoChina were to surrender to Chinese Nationalist forces, and 
those in the south to British units of the South-East Asia Command, 
so as to prepare the way for the French. Serious trouble at once 
arose; nationalist feeling throughout the country revolted against a 
return to pre-war conditions. Paris, realizing that new conditions 
had arisen, negotiated through General Leclerc in March, 1946, an 
agreement with Dr. Ho Chi-minh whereby Viet Nam, consisting of 
Tongking and Annam, was to be recognized as an autonomous unit, 
leaving the question of the accession of Cochin China for decision 
by a plebiscite. Details were to be arranged later, but as part of the 
settlement Dr. Ho Chi-minh agreed to allow the return of French 
troops throughout the country for a period not exceeding five years. 

The 1946 agreement throws a revealing light on Dr. Ho Chi- 
minh. That he was a Communist by conviction and training is not 
disputed; in the nineteen-twenties he was connected with the French 
Communist Party and spent some time in Moscow. He worked with 
Borodin, the Russian Communist agent in Canton, and for years 
took part in Communist activities in various parts of the Far East 
before organizing the Viet-minh in China during the last war. Yet 
he was clearly prepared to work with the French after die war for 
two possible reasons: firstly, as a Communist he could expect no 
help from the Kuoinintang Government in China, and secondly, he 
wanted to secure the support of Viet Namese, including a consider- 
able Roman Catholic population descended from French missionary 
converts, who were definitely not Communists. 

His movement therefore became typical of many similar or- 
ganizations in Asia in which nationalism and Communism were 
inextricably mixed up. Proof of Dr. Ho Chi-minh's moderation at 

147 



STRUGGLE BOH ASIA 

this stage of his career is to be found not only in the liberal nature of 
the constitution which he set up, with its private property rights and 
religious freedom, but in the fact that he had to contend with 
extremists within his own party who wanted no truck at all with the 
French. Difficulty with some of his supporters probably made 
Dr. Ho Chi-minh a harder man to bargain with than he might other- 
wise have been. His visit to Paris in 1946 to settle details of his agree- 
ment had no result other than to keep the pact, with its special 
protection for French citizens and property, alive until negotiations 
could be resumed early the following year. It was known as the 
modus vivendi agreement. On his return to Indo-China Dr. Ho Chi- 
minh was faced with the task of justifying his dealings with the 
French; before forming a government in which he became president 
and foreign minister he arrested some of the wilder spirits among his 
followers who thought he had conceded too much. 

Unfortunately relations between the new government and the 
French authorities deteriorated rapidly. Both sides were highly sus- 
picious of each other; the Viet-miah contended that customs 
arrangements at Haiphong were a breach of the agreement and 
there was bitter resentment against the French High Commissioner, 
Admiral d* ArgenBeu, who fostered a separatist movement in Cochin 
China aimed at prejudging the issue of unity with Viet Nam. The 
spirit which had made possible the General Leclerc-Ho Chi-rninh 
concord vanished. From his dealings with the Viet-minh Admiral 
d'Argenlieu convinced himself that "the Viet-minh and Ho Chi- 
minh were no more than pawns in Moscow's struggle for global 
supremacy" 1 and that their removal from Viet Nam was the 
primary role and mission of France. Disputes and clashes broke out 
in various parts of the country. On December 19, 1946, Dr. Ho Chi- 
minh, who was under severe pressure from his extremist followers, 
openly revolted against the French. 

Argument will go on endlessly as to whether Dr. Ho Chi-minh's 
moderation early in 1946 was genuine and would have led to a 
nationalist government, or whether he was merely using the agree- 
ment as a stepping stone to a Communist state. The plain truth is, 
of course, that he was never given a chance to prove his lona fides. 
1 Le Viet-Nom Contempotam, by PhiHppe Devillers. 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 

Extremists on both, sides, and especially the attitude of the French 
High Commissioner, wrecked all chances of a peaceful settlement 
Dr. Ho Chi-minh's resumed discussions with die French Govern- 
ment after the inconclusive talks in Paris, which produced the 
modus vivendi arrangement, should have taken place in January, 1947. 
Instead, on what the French called the "St. Bartholomew's Eve of 
Hanoi", there began a struggle which lasted with many changes of 
fortune until the Geneva conference of 1954. 

For the first two years fighting followed the guerilla pattern 
familiar in Asia since the end of the war. The French slowly ex- 
panded and consolidated their hold on the towns; the Viet-minh, 
based on the rural areas, conducted guerilla warfare against the 
French outposts. To the rest of the world the struggle was just 
another "colonial war" in which the French were trying to suppress 
a Communist rising in territory over which they had jurisdiction. 
But to the people of Indo-China the issue was not as simple as that. 
Dr. Ho Chi-minh and the Viet-minh might be Communists, but 
they were the spearhead of a nationalist movement which, with the 
blessing of their former emperor, for a brief period held power and 
produced a reasonably liberal constitution for a self-governing Viet 
Nam. 

Not all who supported Dr. Ho Chi-minh were Communists; 
he had among his followers many genuine nationalists, some of 
whom were much less compromising towards the French connec- 
tion than Dr. Ho Chi-minh himself. To people like these it was not 
enough for the French to declare that they must remove the menace 
of Communism from Viet Nam. This slogan had been used too 
often to arouse enthusiasm, as General Leclerc recognized when he 
said "Anti-Communism will be a useless tool as long as the problem 
of nationalism remains unsolved". 

For some time after the start of guerilla warfare both sides 
expected a resumption of negotiations. Dr. Ho Chi-minh, whose 
position was not too strong, broadcast several requests to the French 
authorities and overtures were made by the French to die Viet-minh, 
but nothing came of these efforts partly because the Viet-minh, for 
propaganda reasons, had stepped up their demands* By the middle 
of 1947 the French High Commission in Indo-China reached two 

149 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

conclusions: (i) that no agreement with. Dr. Ho Chi-minh was 
possible, and (2) that they must find a rallying point for Viet Namese 
nationalism if the country was to be saved from the Communists. 
They therefore decided to make an approach to Bao Dai, the ex- 
emperor of Annam, who was living in retirement in Hongkong. 

In their negotiations with Bao Dai the French Government un- 
happily displayed the same niggardliness and tardiness which had 
characterized their dealings with Dr. Ho Clii-minh. In the words of 
a French professor: 1 

"The time had arrived when a solution could have come about 
speedily if only the French had adopted toward Vietnam the same 
position which England had adopted toward India or the United 
States toward the Philippines: that is to say, if it had consented to 
recognize Vietnam's independence and unity, the country's right 
to an army of its own, to the conduct of its foreign relations, and 
to an autonomous economy. There would have been no difficulty 
in obtaining as a quid pro quo the guarantees which Frenchmen 
desired for their economic, cultural and military interests in 
Vietnam. Satisfied in its main demands, Vietnam would have been 
neither a dead weight nor a hotbed of hostile intrigue, not to say 
a plague spot, within the French Union. It should be remembered 
that Bao Dai's demands were not essentially different one might 
say, they were exactly the same from those put forward by Ho 
Chi JMinh at Fontainebleau, a fact which goes to show that they 
were not only those of one of the parties but those of the whole 
nation." * 

Yet it was only after a great deal of haggling lasting some eighteen 
months that in March, 1949, an agreement was signed with Bao Dai 
in Paris providing for the eventual independence of Viet Nam 
within the French Union but with certain restrictions in the judicial 
sphere. Somewhat similar constitutions were framed for Laos and 
Cambodia. Bao Dai returned and set up a government in a Viet Nam 
which included Cochin China, and at the end of the year powers 
were transferred to him as die head of the state. The French, in 
short, were compelled by circumstances since Bao Dai would take 

1 Le Vietnam Contemporain* by Philippe Devillers. 

150 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 




VIETNAM 

LAOS 

CAMBODIA 



ASSOCIATED 

STATES OF 

INpO-CHlNA- 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 



nothing less to hand over to him far greater freedom than they 
were prepared three years earlier to give to Dr. Ho Chi-minh. 

By this time, however, Dr. Ho Chi-minh's position had greatly 
changed. The victory of the Communists in China brought to the 
frontiers of Tongking, Dr. Ho Chi-minh's stronghold, a friendly 
power on which he could rely for support. It also, incidentally, 
strengthened the Communist wing of his entourage. When Bao 
Dai's regime was recognized by several Western nations, including 
Britain and the United States, the Viet-minh riposte was swift; it 
claimed to be the real government of Viet Nam characterizing 
Bao Dai as a French puppet and immediately acquired Chinese and 
Russian recognition. 

From that point onwards the war in Indo-China assumed an inter- 
national aspect. It became part of the cold war, of the world-wide 
struggle between Communist and non-Communist forces. Chinese 
help for the Viet-minh in the form of training camps and military 
supplies soon showed its effects in vastly increased Viet-minh opera- 
tions which led to the withdrawal of French troops within the Red 
river delta. The arrival of General de Lattre de Tassigny at the end of 
1950 led to a vigorous but short-lived revival of French power. 
Viet-minh attacks were crushed, a belated start was made to recruit 
and train a Viet Nam national army and at France's request 
American supplies for the new army began to arrive in bulk. These 
developments were followed by a reorganization of the Viet-minh 
in which the Indo-Chinese Communist Party reappeared as the 
Laodong or Workers' Party and became the directing influence in 
the Viet-minh movement, while the Lien Viet was established to 
organize non-Communist support for Communist objectives. 

General de tattre de Tassigny's untimely death in 1952 proved a 
blow from which the French and Viet Nam forces never recovered. 
He had changed die whole atmosphere in the country during his 
brief term of office. In 1952 and the following years the French 
position steadily deteriorated, to the accompaniment of growing war 
weariness in France. Chinese help, reinforced by a railway built to 
the Tongking border, increasingly showed itself in the efficiency, 
organization and expansion of the Viet-minh army under General 
Giap. The Viet Nam army also grew considerably in size, but too 

152 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 

late to be as effective a fighting machine as Dr. Ho Chi-minh*s forces. 
Moreover, it lacked enthusiasm; it was difficult for Bao Dai's 
Government to convince the Viet Namese people that it was truly 
nationalist, especially when in 1953 a Viet Nam "national congress" 
appointed by Bao Dai passed a series of resolutions demanding 
"complete independence". Asian opinion was equally dubious; 
India, for example, declined to recognize Viet Nam as an independ- 
ent state. 

Early in 1954 the war situation in Indo-China reached a crisis. 
New Viet-minh offensives began in northern Laos, aimed at the 
capital, Luang Prabang, and in Tongking, where General Giap's 
veteran divisions closely invested Dien Bien Phu, an outpost occu- 
pied by French parachute troops in 1953. Much criticism was later 
directed against the decision of General Navarre, the French com- 
mander, to hold this isolated fortress, which was cut off by land from 
the French troops in the delta and could be supplied and reinforced 
only by air, but the French commander's aim was to keep it as a 
base from which to harry the Viet-minh supply line to Laos. At this 
stage of the fighting the French were making more and more use of 
air power not only for offensive action but for air lifts to outlying 
garrisons in view of the dangers involved in road transport, par- 
ticularly at night, from guerilla bands which operated even inside 
the delta area. Most of that air power came from America; in the 
later stages of the fighting the United States contributed about 80 
per cent of the cost of France's Indo-China war on the grounds that 
a French-Viet Namese victory was important "not only to France 
and the Associated States but to the United States and the whole free 
world'*. 

Where the French were caught napping was in the calibre of the 
forces employed by the Viet-minh in the siege of Dieft Bien Phu. 
According to General Navarre, the fortress could have stood a siege 
of indefinite length by purely guerilla elements, but General Giap's 
army consisted of highly organized well armed troops backed by 
field artillery and anti-aircraft batteries. French air power found 
itself greatly hampered by effective anti-aircraft fire. The French 
and Viet Nam garrison of over 12,000 men under Brigadier-General 
de Castries put up a magnificent resistance lasting for fifty-five days 

153 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

of almost continual assault, but in the end on May 7, 1954 the 
heroic defenders were compelled to surrender when the remains of 
the fortifications were overrun. The Viet-mmh had scored their 
biggest and most spectacular success of the war. 

Long before the fall of Dien Bien Phu peace talks were in prospect. 
By the beginning of the year the explosive possibilities of the war 
became increasingly evident as Chinese and American military aid 
poured into Indo-China. Fortunately the opportunity to hold peace 
talks arose in connection with the Berlin conference of the foreign 
ministers of the United States, Britain, France and Russia to seek a 
solution of the German and Austrian problems. The meeting was a 
failure, but arrangements were made for a conference at Geneva on 
Korea and Indo-China to be attended by representatives of Com- 
munist China, although Washington made it quite clear that its 
presence did not involve any recognition by America of Mr. Mao 
Tse-tung's government 

America, however, had little faith in any peace conference on 
Indo-China, and for a time Mr. Dulles, the American Secretary of 
State, ran a strange combination of policies. While agreeing with 
the Geneva conference he tried, on the plea of urgency, to get 
Britain to co-operate in more direct action. At the end of March 
Mr. Dulles made the first public reference to a scheme, fostered by 
America, for a South-East Asia Treaty Organization on the lines of 
NATO comprising countries willing to constitute a defence system 
against the spread of Communism in South-East Asia. During a 
-visit to London a few days later he urged immediate united action 
by the West against the Viet-minh, one of his proposals being an 
air strike to relieve Dien Bien Phu. Sir Winston Churchill's re- 
action was to refuse to do anything which would prejudice the 
forthcoming Geneva talks, and to counsel patience until the result 
of the conference was known. 

Meanwhile staff talks began in Singapore between military 
representatives of the ANZUS powers (America, Australia and New 
Zealand) as well as Britain and France with the object of laying the 
foundation of common action either to support a peace treaty on 
Indo-China or to take precautionary measures if the conference 
failed. The British Government's justified anxiety to secure the 

154 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 

co-operation of non-Communist Asian countries in any Indo-China 
settlement was evident from Sir Anthony Eden's approach to the 
Colombo Powers India, Pakistan, Burma, Ceylon and Indonesia 
which held a meeting at Colombo just before the Geneva conference 
on Indo-China. Mr. Dulles' s attitude differed sharply. He wanted to 
press on with the SEATO scheme and plainly had little use for Sir 
Anthony Eden's efforts to bring in the Colombo Powers so as to 
make the pact a truly Asian affair. 

The Geneva conference on Indo-China opened with the hands of 
the Western governments weakened by the fall of Dien Bien Phu, 
which took place two days earlier. Mr. Chou En-lai, the Peking 
Foreign Minister, appeared for the first time at a conference in 
Europe; Mr. Molotov represented Russia and Sir Anthony Eden 
Great Britain. Although America was represented, Mr. Dulles did 
not attend; after the fall of Dien Bien Phu he announced that as Indo- 
China was in a state of flux it did not provide a suitable basis for 
armed American intervention a view which by this time had 
become dominant in the United States. 

M. Bidault, the French Premier, proposed that after a cease fire 
French- Viet Nam and Viet-minh troops should be concentrated in 
zones to be defined, and that Viet-minh forces should evacuate the 
occupied portions of Laos and Cambodia. The Viet-minh peace 
terms included the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Indo- 
China, the holding of elections and the recognition of the "Khmer" 
and "PathetLao" "governments" in Cambodia and Laos respectively. 
These so-called governments were really anti-French resistance 
movements which originated in much the same way as the Viet- 
minh. When the Japanese handed over power in 1948, the kings of 
Laos and Cambodia, Eke Bao Dai in Viet Nam, proclaimed them- 
selves independent With the return of the French they accepted die 
new situation, but some members of their governments did not; 
they started nationalist guerilla activities which eventually linked up 
with the Viet-minh organization in Viet Nam. 

With Sir Anthony Eden and Mr. Bedell Smith supporting the 
French proposals and Mr. Molotov and Mr. Chou En-lai backing the 
Viet-minh demands the conference soon ran into difficulties. By the 
middle of June it had reached what looked like a hopeless deadlock. 

155 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

From Washington Mr. Dulles thundered that the American people 
would meet any threat of intervention by Peking. At this critical 
stage Sir Anthony Eden left to attend with Sir Winston Churchill a 
conference at Washington; Mr. Molotov had already departed for 
Moscow, and Mr. Chou En-lai returned to Peking by way of 
Delhi and Rangoon where he had meetings with Mr. Nehru and 
U Nu. From Washington it was announced that Britain and 
America would press on with plans to meet either success or failure 
at Geneva. Simultaneously the ANZUS powers declared for 
"immediate action to bring about the early establishment of collec- 
tive defence in South-East Asia". 

This strange interlude in the Geneva proceedings certainly had 
a healthy effect. With the return of Sir Anthony Eden, Mr. 
Molotov and Mr. Chou En-lai, and the appearance at Geneva of a 
new French premier, M. Mend^s-France, the tempo of the con- 
ference suddenly quickened. M. Mendes-France set the pace by 
stating on July n that if an armistice was not arranged in nine days 
he would resign. He was greatly helped by the change which had 
come over Mr. Molotov and Mr. Chou En4ai following their visit 
to their respective capitals. Both Moscow and Peking knew that 
France was willing to partition the country by evacuating the 
populous Red river delta; both were equally aware that if the con- 
ference failed America would take such steps to help the French as 
would render a general war almost inevitable. For that eventuality 
neither Russia nor China was prepared. 

M. Mendes-France got his wish, and better terms than he had a 
right to expect in view of the daily weakening of die French- Viet 
Nam position in the delta. Agreement to end the conflict was 
achieved on July 20. The settlement provided for the partition of 
Viet Nam roughly along the iyth parallel just north of Hue, the old 
imperial capital of Annam, and for elections throughout Viet Nam 
within two years to decide the future of the country. India, Poland 
and Canada agreed to provide commissions to supervise the armis- 
tice in each of the states of Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia, with the 
Indian representative as chairman in each commission. India's 
selection as chairman of the commissions was a tribute by both sides 
to the helpful attitude of Mr. Jawaharlal Ndhru, wko had long 

156 



RETREAT IN INDO-CHINA 

urged a settlement and who, in April, put forward a plan embodying 
six points for the achievement of peace. Most of his suggestions 
found a place in the truce terms. India was not officially represented 
at Geneva, but Mr. Nehru's "ambassador at large", Mr. V. JL 
Krishna Menon, actively assisted negotiations by his contacts with 
British and Chinese delegates. 

Laos and Cambodia were left as neutral territories, though the 
north-east of Laos will remain until the elections in 1955 under the 
control of Laotian dissidents, Viet-minh troops being withdrawn. 
France agreed to recognize the full independence of the three states. 
The partitioning of their country is as bitterly resented by the Viet 
Namese people as the division of Korea is detested by the Koreans; 
both countries are the victims of power politics and the cold war. 

For the non-Communist world two important concessions were 
achieved. Firstly, the two-year delay in holding elections in Viet 
Nam may redound to their benefit; had the elections taken place 
immediately as demanded by the Viet-minh the Communists 
would, almost certainly, have swept the board. Secondly, the vir- 
tual neutralization of Laos and Cambodia places a buffer between 
China and countries like Siam, Burma and Malaya, where local 
Communist movements constitute a menace. For Communist China 
the immediate gain was an increase of prestige and the creation of 
another buffer state, as in Korea, between her territory and the 
direct influence of the West. 

For France the great benefit is release from a struggle which was 
no "little war". The Viet-minh had in the field in 1954 close on 
400,000 troops, of whom 175,000 constituted a hard core of seasoned 
veterans; in seven and a half years' fighting France and her associates 
suffered casualties amounting to 92,000 dead or missing, 114,000 
wounded and 28,000 prisoners. 

The only one of the great powers which looked with disfavour on 
the Geneva agreement was America. To many citizens of that 
country Geneva seemed a second Munich. The United States 
delegation made it clear that, while they would not interfere in the 
new situation, they had no part in it, and would regard with "grave 
concern" any further Communist aggression. From American 
declarations it seems clear that if, in the future, south Viet Nam 

157 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

considered that the elections to decide the future of the whole 
country were not to be really "free" in the Communist-dominated 
northern half and refused to take part in them, the United States 
would support south Viet Nam in that decision even against the 
international control commission. Washington, with the example of 
Korea in mind, regards SEATO and not the Geneva agreement as 
the real solution. 



158 



Chapter Sixteen 

TODAY'S VITAL STRUGGLE: 
CHINA'S POSITION 



IHE VITAL STRUGGLE in Asia today is not, as I have already said, 

Ithe battle for nationhood, which to all intents and purposes 
has been won. Western control of Asian countries is prac- 
tically a thing of the past. While three former British possessions 
India, Pakistan and Ceylon remain of their own free will mem- 
bers of the Commonwealth, that in no way restricts their freedom, 
as Mr. Chou En-lai, Communist China's Prime Minister, is reported 
to have acknowledged during his visit to Delhi in 1954. In fact Mr. 
Chou En-lai " welcomed India's continued membership of the 
Commonwealth", an observation interpreted in India "as an 
appreciation of India's independent role and as conveying Mr. 
Chou's belief that the Commonwealth as a whole serves as a 
stabilizing factor in world affairs". 1 Indonesia's last political link 
with Holland, the Netherlands-Indonesian Union of 1949, was 
terminated by mutual consent in 1954, leaving relations between the 
two countries to be governed by ordinary treaties, and setting 
Indonesia free from any suspicion of "colonialism". There still 
exists a dispute over the future of Dutch New Guinea, which In- 
donesia claims to be part of her territory, but that is a matter for 
settlement between two independent nations. Apart from Dutch 
New Guinea and British Borneo, the only territory of any size 
under Western control is Malaya, where the difficulties of providing 
an agreed constitution for a multi-racial state are the main obstacle 
to the attainment of self-rule as promised by the British Government. 
But the goal for Malaya is not in dispute. 

The real struggle is not Asian nationalism versus the West; it is 
Asian nationalism versus Communism. Even that battle would have 
been practically won today had it not been for an epoch-making 

1 Manchester Guardian, June 30, 1954. 
159 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

event the triumph of Communism in China. In all the newly 
liberated Asian states nationalist governments are in power with the 
exception of the northern half of Korea and the northern half of Viet 
Nam where Communists, backed by China, exercise control. In 
the words of The Times, 1 "The Communist victory throughout 
the length and breadth of China brought about the greatest swing 
in the balance of world forces since 1917. In many ways it was 
greater in its cumulative effect than the Bolshevist revolution 
of 1917, for then Russia was alone and weak, whereas the mass 
of China is now added to a Russia grown strong." Mr. Mao 
Tse-tung's success in firmly establishing a Communist regime 
in China creates a problem of tremendous concern for all the newly 
liberated Asian states. Each of these states contains a Communist 
movement of greater or less significance, but its importance has 
grown with the appearance of Communist China. There are some- 
thing like ten million Chinese scattered throughout these countries, 
most of them in Malaya, Indonesia, Indo-China, Siam and Burma; 
they could become, as in Malaya, active fifth columnists of a dan- 
gerous type. 

The situation is complicated by the undoubted admiration which 
all these non-Communist Asian governments feel for the triumph 
of Mr. Mao Tse-tung. They regard it as an exclusively Asian 
triumph; the victory of a man who, ignored by Soviet Russia as a 
"deviationist", led his peasant followers to overthrow a so-called 
nationalist government which was heavily backed by the greatest 
of the Western powers. Here indeed was a rousing assertion of 
Asia's rights ! However much these non-Communist governments 
may disapprove of Communism in their own countries they cannot 
withhold their admiration for a man and a creed which struck so 
shattering a blow for the freedom of Asia from Western influence. 

At one bound China replaced Russia in eastern eyes as the chief 
exponent of Communism. And within a few years of achieving 
power the Peking Government struck two solid blows against the 
West which immensely increased its prestige; it drove the United 
Nations forces, mainly composed of American troops, back from 
the Yalu river to the 3 8th parallel in Korea and pirnied them there, 
1 The Times, May 17, 1954. 

160 



TODAY S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA'S POSITION 

and it compelled France, another Western power, to evacuate the 
Red river delta in Indo-China despite the flow of war materials 
from America. Typical of Asian reaction was that of a non-Com- 
munist Chinese who, while disapproving of his country's action in 
Korea, yet exulted in pride that at last China, after years of humilia- 
tion at the hands of the West, had stood up to, and beaten back, 
Western armies in battle. Equally significant was the claim by a 
Peking newspaper after the Geneva conference of 1954 that China 
had already avenged four of the twenty-one national humiliations 
which she had suffered at the hands of foreigners. (I cannot vouch 
for the actual figures quoted, but the setting up of a score sheet is the 
point that matters.) 

What, then, is the future of this new, powerful and aggressive 
Asian giant? In size China is colossal, with a population far exceeding 
that of any other country of Asia or the world. From a census taken 
in 1953 Peking claims that China's total population, including 
Formosa and an estimate of Chinese nationals overseas, is nearly 
602 millions. Even if this figure is an exaggeration, the fact remains 
that China completely eclipses the 367 millions of her next biggest 
population rival, India, while her army, now reported to be growing 
to 175 divisions or two million men, dwarfs the forces which India 
or any other Asian country (Russia excluded) could put in the field. 
During the Korean war China's guerillas of the civil war were con- 
verted into modern positional fighters, equipped with automatic 
weapons and armoured vehicles. At the same time Soviet jet aircraft 
were acquired rapidly to expand the air force. The new China lags 
behind only in naval expansion. 

China's policies are in the hands of a few inscrutable and resolute 
men in Peking; like those of their opposite numbers in the Kremlin, 
they are governed by certain long-term objectives. Sometimes Mr. 
Mao Tse-tung's tactics, following the example of Moscow, may 
seem to bear little relation to his ultimate aim. Communist China's ^ 
main ambition is, of course, to become in every way the dominant 
nation in Asia, to take the place once held by Japan. To achieve that 
ambition, especially in the industrial sphere, she will require the 
sympathy and material support of Soviet Russia. It is therefore wish- 
fiiUWnking of a foolish and dangerous kind for the West to imagine 

G 161 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

that Moscow and Peking can be separated at this stage of China's 
development. That China will one day assert herself and develop 
along her own lines, Communist or otherwise, is obvious to all who 
know China and the Chinese people; signs of her growing assertive- 
ness are already apparent. But that day is not yet. Mr. Mao Tse-tung, 
as we are frequently reminded, is no Tito. He is determined to build 
up China into a strong power in precisely the same way as Marshal 
Stalin established Soviet Russian strength, but at much greater 
speed. That is why Marshal Stalin is still a hero in Mr. Mao Tse- 
tung's eyes despite the scurvy treatment he received from the 
Kremlin in his Yenan days. Mr. Mao Tse-tung must follow 
Russia's example not only in the agricultural field, where the peasants 
have to be cajoled or compelled to produce more food, but in the 
much more important sphere of heavy industry. To quote an 
American newspaper correspondent in Hongkong 1 "The Chinese 
Communists, while working to build an impregnable position of 
international strength, are putting their major effort into mobilizing 
the country and people into a modern industrial state on the Soviet 
pattern*'. They have still a long way to go. In 1954 China was pro- 
ducing only two million tons of steel compared with Russia's 
forty millions, and only a quarter of the amount of Russia's coal 
output. 

The emphasis in China's five-year plan is on heavy industry, 
together with communications, and on the development of tech- 
nical and scientific resources. Already a notable start has been made 
with heavy industry in Manchuria, where there are coal and iron 
deposits, including the great steel works at Anshan. But Peking is not 
putting all its industrial eggs into one basket. According to the 
People's Dally of Peking (March 27, 1954) central China is to be the 
country's second industrial area; "Its mineral wealth provides almost 
all that is necessary for heavy industry, and China's second largest 
base for the iron and steel industries is to be built there. " Three new 
industrial regions arc to be developed in the provinces of Honan, 
HupeU and 1 lunan where, the People's Daily states, the new iron and 
steel "industrial complex*' will be larger than that at Anshan. 
Heavy industry is also being developed at Chungking, General 
1 World, New York, May, 1954. 
162 



TODAY'S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA s POSITION 

Chiang Kai-shek's wartime capital on the upper reaches of the 
Yangtze-kiang river. 

Equally significant is the impressive programme of railway con- 
struction, both commercial and strategic. The main south-west rail 
artery now links Hankow with Hanoi and the port of Haiphong on 
the Red river delta of Viet Nam; a new line under construction 
stretches into the province of Siiikiang in the far north-west, and a 
whole system of connecting lines is being either built or planned in 
the western provinces so as to connect these rich but hitherto isolated 
districts with one another and with the central plains. Of China's 
total estimated revenue in 1954 of about .4,000 million, something 
like .1,800 million, or 45 per cent, was earmarked for economic 
development comprising steel plants, coal mines, power stations, oil 
refineries and fertilizer factories. One of the coal mines which the 
British Labour Party delegation, headed by Mr. Attlee, saw in Man- 
churia in 1954 was a British pioneer effort expropriated by the 
Communists. Other illuminating details include 14 per cent for 
welfare and education, 21 per cent for defence and nearly 19 per 
cent for the cost of administration. 

A striking picture of the new China was given by Mr. G. S. Gale, 
the special correspondent of the Manchester Guardian with the British 
Labour Party delegation which visited China in the summer of 1954. 
In a message from Hongkong after the departure of the delegation 
Mr. Gale wrote: 1 

"although China is primarily an agricultural land, its whole 
economy revolves around its new industrialization. The indus- 
trialization of China is the true focus of all present Chinese 
activity, the true source of the unquestioning acceptance of Com- 
munist dictatorship. Factories, roads, railways, bridges these are 
the true hard facts. Well over half of every yuan gathered in 
taxation goes into capital investment in heavy industry and trans- 
port. . . . There seems nothing to stop China from becoming a 
major industrial power within five years. China is already self- 
sufficient in pig-iron, and indeed is exporting it. A car plant of 
Coventry size is expected to begin production shortly. Anshan 
is now producing enough steel rails for China's railway 

1 Manchester Guardian, September 2, 1954. 

163 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

programme, and that includes about seven hundred miles of new 
track to be laid down this year. Russian equipment is flooding in. 
And all the time the Chinese are voraciously learning the manage- 
ment techniques denied to them under Japanese occupation. 
Universities are transformed into technical colleges, the abler 
workers are sent to Russia and return as teachers. The ancient 
manual dexterity of the Chinese is now exercising fingers on 
lathes instead of in the decorative crafts." 
Russia is not only the beau ideal of Communist China in respect 
of industrial development and economic self-sufficiency; it is the 
main source of China's supply for that development and for the 
technical training essential to its maintenance. Russian aid is all the 
more necessary in view of the restrictions laid by the United Nations 
on member states trading with China ever since the Peking Govern- 
ment was declared an aggressor in Korea; anything which is likely 
to increase China's war potential is banned. This state of affairs suits 
Russia, although it may not please China. The Kremlin's desire is 
manifestly to keep China tied to, and dependent on, Russia as long 
as possible. With that object in view Russia is thought to have 
deliberately spun out the Korea war for nearly a year longer than it 
should have lasted by savagely rejecting an Indian peace move which 
was justifiably believed by the Indian Government to have Peking's 
tacit support; it is a fact that the Peking Government knew the terms 
of the offer and made no pbjections to them while negotiations were 
in progress. Moscow knows that once China is on her feet she will 
not prove as amenable to Russian influence as her present circum- 
stances dictate. Mr. Mao Tse-tung may walk respectfully behind 
Russia and in step with her at the moment, but the day will certainly 
come when Peking will claim full partnership with Moscow. A sign 
of China's increasing self-assertiveness was the Peking agreement of 
October, 1954, by which Russia agreed to restore to China by May, 
1955, full possession of Port Arthur, which was under joint control, 
and to relinquish her share in joint enterprises formed to assist 
Chinese economic development in return for a long-term loan of 
520 million roubles. China is too old and too proud a nation to play 
sccoad fiddle indefinitely in any alliance. 
All this means that Communist China must have a period of 

164 



TODAY S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA ? S POSITION 

peace in order to complete her economic reconstruction. Peking is 
therefore unlikely at present to provoke any major war in which 
China would be directly involved. How then, it will be asked, did 
the Chinese Communist Government allow itself to be implicated 
in major hostilities in Korea and to a much less extent in Indo-China. 
The answer in both cases is simple. A glance at the map will show 
that had the United Nations army reached the Yalu river it would 
have stood on the doorstep of China's new heavy industry area in 
Manchuria, with the steelworks at Anshan within easy bombing 
range. 

The one thing that Communist China could not possibly coun- 
tenance was to have the armed forces of the country she considers to 
be her greatest enemy, the United States of America, sitting close to 
a vital industrial region vital for purposes of both war and peace. 
That explains why Peldng, as soon as the U.N. forces neared the 
Yalu, unhesitatingly threw hundreds of thousands of Chinese 
"volunteers" into the fray so as to drive back the allied army to the 
38th parallel. It also explains why north Korea is being converted 
into a Chinese province; Peking is taking no risks with President 
Syngman Rhee and his American friends. Mr. Mao Tse-tung 
would, of course, like to see American influence entirely eliminated 
from Korea, and to that end he may advocate some kind of Korean 
unity, just as the Russians plead for their own variety of German 
fusion, but it would be a unity acceptable to China. 

To Mr. Mao Tse-tung and his government the Korean issue may 
well have seemed a matter of life and death for the new republic. 
The effort cost China heavily in men, in money, in material and in 
the dislocation of her industrial programme. It is an experience 
which China would not willingly want to repeat in her present stage 
of development, and it undoubtedly contributed to the Indo- 
Chinese peace settlement at Geneva on terms which France and the 
West could regard in die circumstances as reasonable. 

China's troops were not involved in Viet Nam, but there was a 
heavy drain on her war material in support of Dr. Ho Chi-minh and 
the Viet-minh forces. Here again an important principle for China 
was at stake Peking's policy of building up Communist buffer 
states on its frontiers as Russia did in Europe. The settlement gave 

165 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

China what she wanted for the time being a pro-Communist 
government in north Viet Nam and access to the important Red 
river delta port of Haiphong. Both Hanoi, the capital of Tongking, 
and Haiphong are linked by rail with the interior of China over the 
Tongking border, and the use of the port will prove most valuable 
to Peking as a trade outlet for south-west China. These gains are 
substantial; by themselves alone they justified Peking's policy of not 
pressing demands which might have led to a general conflagration. 

The one big claim which Communist China has got on the West, 
and one which has highly dangerous possibilities, concerns the 
island of Formosa. This beautiful island, named Ilha Formosa by 
the sixteenth-century Portuguese explorers who discovered it, and 
known to the Chinese as Taiwan or "Terraced Bay", lies about a 
hundred miles off the south-east coast of China near Amoy. For 
many years in occupation by the Japanese, who seized it from China 
after the 1895 war, Formosa was handed back to China in 1945 in 
pursuance of the Cairo declaration on the Far East made by the 
allied powers two years earlier. It was taken possession of by General 
Chiang Kai-shek's nationalist government pending the Japanese 
peace treaty, and to it the bulk of his forces retired in 1949 following 
their defeat on the mainland. General Chiang Kai-shek was not the 
first Chinese ruler to seek retreat in Formosa in similar conditions; 
Cheng Chen-kung, the last of the Ming dynasty rulers to resist the 
Manchus, took refuge in Formosa and maintained its independence 
for twenty years. 

The Kuomintang brought an addition of about two million 
people, including over half a million troops, to Formosa's population 
of about seven millions. At that time America adopted a watching 
brief because of its moral obligation to safeguard the lives of its 
protege and his army. General Chiang Kai-shek was able to hold his 
enemies at bay because of his naval and air strength; for a period he 
attempted to blockade the mainland, and created much irritation by 
interfering with foreign shipping. The " blockade" was called off 
when President Truman, on the outbreak of the war in Korea, 
ordered the American fleet to "neutralize" the island. Washington's 
decision provided Peking with a convenient excuse for dropping 
loudly heralded operations for the conquest of Formosa in 1950, 

166 



TODAY S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA'S POSITION 

since it is most unlikely that the Communists had the naval craft 
necessary for invasion. America's "neutralization 9 * policy was 
accompanied by renewed military aid to General Chiang Kai-shek 
in consequence of Communist China's intervention in north 
Korea. 

Early in 1953 President Eisenhower issued an important and far- 
reaching policy directive; he cancelled his predecessor's order to the 
Seventh Fleet restraining the Nationalists from attacking the main- 
land. But simultaneously Mr. Dulles made it clear that the fleet as a 
"primarily military decision" would still protect Formosa and 
possibly some of the smaller islands connected with it. These small 
islands constituted a further complication. They include the Tachens, 
a fe\v small islands close to the mainland about 200 miles north of 
Formosa, and the Quemoy group, comprising Quemoy, Little 
Quemoy, Big Tan and Little Tan, which lie just off the estuary 
leading to Amoy. Quemoy is strongly garrisoned by the Nationalists 
there are said to be about 40,000 troops on it and it is used as a 
listening post by General Chiang Kai-shek's intelligence staff in its 
contacts with the mainland. The other islands are the Pescadores, 
which lie about thirty miles off the west coast of Formosa and may 
well be considered part of the Formosan defences. 

Just before the SEATO conference began, and probably inspired 
by it, the Peking authorities opened a propaganda campaign for the 
conquest of Formosa. "We must liberate our territory of Taiwan 
and eliminate the traitorous Chiang Kai-shek gang*' declared the 
Peking People's Daily in August, 1954. "We shall not stop until this 
object is attained". About the same time Communist artillery 
carried out a heavy bombardment of Quemoy, which h only about 
four miles from the mainland, and other islands of the group, killing 
two American officers belonging to a military mission. The 
Nationalists retaliated by counter-battery action and air bombing of 
Amoy and its neighbourhood. For the next two months sporadic 
action and counter-action went on; they continued during the 
SEATO conference and the visit of the British Labour Party 
delegation to China, accompanied by insistent demands on the part 
of every Chinese leader from Mr, Mao Tse~tung downwards that 
Formosa must be "liberated". The Peking Government had 

167 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

presumably two main objects in view in carrying out the demonstra- 
tions: firstly, to test America's reactions to a threatened assault on 
these coastal islands, and secondly, to assert Communist China's 
determination to bring Formosa within its grasp sooner or later. 

While it was axiomatic that America would defend Formosa in 
view of its importance to the Pacific defence chain running from 
Japan through Okinawa to the Philippines, there was for a time 
much speculation as to whether U.S. forces would aid the Chinese 
Nationalists to resist an attetnpt to seize Quemoy. Mr. Dulles in 
September declared somewhat oracularly that "the defence of 
Quemoy is primarily related to the defence of Formosa and it is 
being considered and studied in that light". Washington's aim was 
obviously to convey to Peking the impression that an attack on 
Quemoy might lead to U.S. intervention, a belief strengthened by 
unofficial reports that the American Seventh Fleet had been ordered 
to give "full logistic support" to the Quemoy defenders. Peking 
apparently took the hint, because by October hostile action ceased 
and excitement died down. 

All doubts about America's attitude towards Formosa were 
removed by the signing in December of a mutual security pact 
between the United States and the Nationalist Chinese Government 
for the defence of Formosa and the Pescadores. Justifying the treaty, 
Mr. Dulles claimed that it took Formosa out of the realm of specula- 
tion and tended to stabilize the situation. That is doubtful because 
it still left two questions unanswered: would it commit America to 
the defence of the coastal islands held by the Nationalists, and to 
Nationalist attacks on the mainland? Mr. Dulles quite rightly 
admitted that the Quemoy and Tachen groups had never been 
taken over by the Japanese and could therefore be considered part of 
mainland China, but on the subject of their future he was again 
indefinite. Whether operations against them could be considered 
part of the defence of Formosa would, he said, "be a matter in the 
first instance for military advisers and finally for the President's 
decision". The general impression at the time of the signing of the 
treaty was, however, that the Nationalists' claim to the islands could 
not be defended provided America thought that Communist 
action was not part of an offensive against Formosa. U.S. Naval 

168 



TODAY S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA S POSITION 

units assisted, the Nationalist evacuation of the Tachens when these 
islands were attacked by the Communists early in 1955. But 
America's attitude towards the Quemoys was still uncertain up to 
that date, and was not made any easier by Peking's provocative 
assertions that the Communist offensive against the coastal islands 
was part of a campaign aimed at the "liberation" of Formosa. On 
the issue of Nationalist attacks on the mainland, the assumption was 
that the treaty gave Washington an excuse for discouraging General 
Chiang Kai-shek from undertaking needless pinpricks against the 
Peking authorities. 

The plain fact of the matter is that so long as Formosa and its 
neighbouring islets remain under Western protection they will con- 
tinue to be a thorn in the side of Communist China. One American 
view is that Formosa should be placed under U.N. trusteeship with 
the U.S. as the mandatory power. On his return from China 
Mr. Attlee, the leader of the British Labour Party delegation, 
declared that the Nationalists should be removed from the island, 
which should be handed over to the Communists after a period of 
neutrality. Whatever happens, one thing is clear. If America con- 
siders Formosa essential to her Far East defence system it should be 
neutralized. It is manifestly highly unfair, and asking for trouble, to 
allow General Chiang Kai-shek's government to harass the mainland 
in any unjustified way while the Nationalists are under American 
protection. 

Opinions vary on the Nationalist administration of Formosa; it 
has been called a police state, although Mr. Chester Bowles, the 
former American ambassador to India, was told during his visit in 
1953 that the Kuomintang authorities were moving towards local 
elections and "real democracy". 1 Mr. Bowles goes on: "Over and 
over again as I travelled around the island I thought to myself: If 
only Chiang Kai-shek's government had done as well on the main- 
land as it is now doing on Formosa it would still be there, and the 
world would be closer to peace. . . . With American assistance, the 
Nationalists are determined to turn Formosa into a model of econo- 
mic development for Asia". Professor W. G. Goddard, an Austra- 
lian who visited the island in 1954, wrote in The Times of August 30: 

1 Ambassador's Report, by Chester Bowles (Harper and Brothers, New York). 
G* 169 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 



"I spent three months In Formosa earlier this year and I was amazed 
at the freedom enjoyed by the people, considering that the country- 
is in a state of actual war". Tragically enough, the only hope of the 
Kuomintang lies in a third World War, which might give its 
troops an opportunity of reconquering the mainland with American 
help. An ageing army, they constitute at present no real threat to 
Communist China, a fact of which Peking is presumably well aware. 

Until her internal strength is built up, Communist China can 
have no desire to embark on a major war, involving America, 
for the conquest of Formosa. But the island holds highly explosive 
possibilities for several reasons. Its possession is a matter of prestige 
for Peking; it is a subject on which the Communists can raise a 
patriotic rallying cry a very valuable asset to them in the same 
way as they did over Korea. Moreover, in any attempt to bring 
Formosa under its sway Peking would have the sympathy of most 
Asian countries and of quite a number of people outside Asia. The 
danger is that a spark may set off a conflagration which neither East 
nor West wants. Hence the extreme importance of America insisting 
on complete neutrality by General Chiang Kai-shek so long as her 
wings are over the island. 

In foreign policy the Chinese Communists have two main objec- 
tives* The first is to isolate America from her Western friends. To 
that end Britain is being wooed assiduously after a period of diplo- 
matic aloofness on Peking's part in strange contrast to the prompti- 
tude with which the British Government accorded recognition to 
the Communist regime. That aloofness was due, it is believed, to 
Peking's conviction that Britain was America's "stooge" in the 
Anglo-American partnership; the differences displayed by London 
and Washington in their approach to the Geneva conference acted 
as an eye-opener to Mr. Chou En-Iai. But whatever the reason, the 
change was most marked. A flattering reception was accorded to the 
British Labour Party delegation which, under the leadership of Mr. 
Attlee, visited China during the 1954 autumn parliamentary recess. 
They were feted and entertained by Mr. Mao Tse-tung and his 
colleagues in the most lavish fashion, with speeches of welcome 
extolling the virtues of co-existence. The same flattering attention is 
being paid to Japan with the same object in view 



170 



TODAY S VITAL STRUGGLE: CHINA'S POSITION 

Another aspect of this anti-American campaign is the suggestion 
mooted by Mr. Chou En-lai in recent talks with Colombo Powers 
representatives that all Asian countries should unite to free themselves 
from every trace of Western influence. By Western influence the 
Peking premier undoubtedly meant in the first place American 
influence, since that is the biggest obstacle to China's domination of 
the Far East and South-East Asia. The idea of wiping out all 
Western connections is certainly not one that would appeal to the 
majority of the Colombo Powers, apart altogether from states like 
Siam and the Philippines which look to SEATO for protection 
against Communist aggression. India, for example, wishes to steer 
clear of all power blocs, whether Eastern or Western, and in that 
view Mr. Nehru does not stand alone. 

Peking's second main objective is to create around China, as 
Russia did, a series of satellite states. China has not forgotten, any 
more than her neighbours, that centuries ago the Chinese empire 
extended into Indo-China, Siam, Burma and even across parts of 
what is now India's north-eastern border. As far east as Burma the 
Chinese form a not inconsiderable element of the population of 
various countries. A Canadian observer, 1 writing in 1954, emphasizes 
that the Chinese Government indoctrination classes envisage China 
"liberating her friends", and he goes on: "Indo-China, Thailand, 
Malaya, Indonesia, Burma and India are all in the next line of 
threat from China". 

The nature of that threat can well be imagined. Since Asian Com- 
munists now tend to look to China for leadership, Peking could 
without open aggression stimulate the Communists in those count- 
ries to work for the overthrow of their governments, using some 
at least of the Chinese inhabitants as a fifth column. That is what 
is really worrying the newly liberated democracies of Asia today. 

1 China Under Communist Control by Stewart Allen (Canadian Institute of Inter- 
national Affairs). 



171 



Chapter Seventeen 
THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 



FROM THE POINT of view of nationalist governments in South- 
East Asia and the West the supreme value of the Geneva 
settlement was that it restrained, temporarily at least, a grave 
Communist threat. Had the Communists overrun the three Asso- 
ciated States of Indo-China, the whole of South-East Asia would 
have been imperilled. So great an impetus would have been given to 
Communist and "Free Thai" elements both outside and inside Siam 
that the government of Field-Marshal Pibul Songgram would have 
been swept away. The way would then have been clear for intensi- 
fied support for the Communists still fighting in Malaya and Burma. 
That in turn would have led to pressure on the Assam region of 
India in the north and Indonesia in the south. Communist penetra- 
tion would have followed the line of the Japanese Advance in 1941- 
1942, when country after country fell to the invaders on the house 
of cards principle. With the weight of Communist China behind 
infiltration and local risings, progress would have been no less sure 
even if it might have been slower. 

Communist China could simultaneously, had she wanted, have 
exercised pressure on India along the whole frontier of Tibet, and 
especially across the borders of Nepal, which is an independent state 
but under Indian influence. Since the overthrow of the traditional 
riding class, the Ranas, the Communists have become a factor to be 
reckoned with in this beautiful hill state. Most of these countries, 
notably Siam and Tibet, have their own Communist leaders and 
movements functioning inside neighbouring Chinese territory just 
as Dr. Ho Chi-minh and his Viet-minh nucleus were given sanctuary 
in Kwangsi province across the Tongking border. China, as a 
reference to the map will show, is peculiarly fitted to conduct a 
Communist infiltration campaign. From its massive interior it can 
thrust outwards along thousands of miles of land frontier. 

172 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

Although the Communist clanger to South-East Asia has been 
reduced by the agreement to end the war in Indo-China, it has not 
been removed. Can, for example, the southern half of Viet Nam 
pull itself together sufficiently in the next two years to win the 
election due to be held to decide the future of the whole country? 
The omens in 1954 were not too good. Feeling among the anti- 
Communist Viet Namese at the conclusion of the armistice was one 
of despair; they considered themselves badly let down by the French. 
For a time it looked as if Viet Nam morale would completely 
collapse in the face of Viet-minh propaganda, which proclaimed the 
taking over of the Red river delta as a preliminary to the acquisition 
of the whole country. But after the tumult and the shouting had 
died down, signs of a reaction began to appear. Chinese help, which 
was welcomed by the Viet-minh during the fighting, seemed less 
desirable when peace was declared; the traditional dislike of the Viet 
Nam people for Chinese overlordship started to assert itself even on 
the Viet-minh side of the lyth parallel. The Viet Namese could not 
forget their domination in past centuries by the former Chinese 
empire and the fact that they had achieved their freedom by throw- 
ing the Chinese out. 

On the southern side of the armistice line an immediate break- 
down of morale was prevented largely by the courage displayed by 
Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem, the head of the Viet Nam Government and a 
Roman Catholic nationalist, who rallied Roman Catholic resistance. 
Opinion was sharply divided on what course to pursue. One school 
of thought felt they should follow the example of President Syng- 
man Rhee of Korea by organizing the southern half of Viet Nam 
into a unit for the reconquest of the north; another section aspired 
to develop South Viet Nam as a model democratic state with U.N. 
help, while a third group was prepared to co-operate with the 
Viet-minh in the hope of winning them to the democratic cause. 

Much will depend on the type of government which the southern 
Viet Namese succeed in establishing and whether it can unite, and 
acquire the confidence of, the people as a whole. The southern Viet 
Namese include some strange politico-religious sects with private 
armies which did not always see eye to eye with pre-armistice 
administrations the Cao Daists of Cochin China, the Buddhist Hoa 

173 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Haos and the Binh Xuyen army of General Le Van Vien. The Cao 
Daists were described by Mr. Graham Greene 1 as an "amalgam of 
Confucianism, Buddhism and Christianity", with a pope, a holy see, 
female cardinals, canonization of Victor Hugo, and prophecies by a 
kind of planchette. 

Control of these sects, with their private armies, led to trouble 
between Mr. Ngo Dinh Diem and the former chief of staff of the 
Viet Namese national army. General Nguyen Van Hinh, which was 
described as a "rivalry for personal power 3 ' on the part of the civil 
authority and military leadership. Bao Dai's dismissal of General 
Hinh and the inclusion of representatives of the sects in the Govern- 
ment settled at least on the surface the quarrel between the civil 
and military authorities. Unfortunately the truce did not last long. 
Open warfare between Government and two of the sects, the Binh 
Xuyen (which is little better than a gangster organization) and the 
Hoa Haos led early in 1955 to much damage and loss of life in 
Saigon and its neighbourhood. The Prime Minister's position 
had been strengthened late in 1954 by the promise of direct United 
States aid to south Viet Nam "in order that a strong, solid state, 
capable of resisting subversive temptations or armed aggression, 
may be developed or maintained". President Eisenhower also hoped 
that the counterpart of the aid would be the carrying out by the gov- 
ernment of "indispensable reforms". The American aim is clearly to 
encourage the south Viet Namese to build up a strong nationalist 
state, capable not only of resisting Communism but of voting 
against it when election day for the whole country arrives. 

Uncertainty existed after the armistice about the future of the 
emperor Bao Dai; there are republican tendencies among a section 
of the Viet Namese who hold Bao Dai partly responsible for the 
Viet Nam failure to overcome the Communists. Given a govern- 
ment capable of uniting and enthusing the people, about half a 
million of whom are Roman Catholics from the Red river delta, 
the south Viet Namese could face the future confidently with 
American assistance. But if they are rentby factional rivalries and do 
not organize themselves on a solid anti-Communist basis, their 
chances of prevailing against Viet-minh methods and propaganda in 
1 The Sunday Times, March 21, 1954, 
174 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

an election contest are bound to be bleak. Surveying the scene 
towards the end of 1954, a special correspondent of The Times 1 
lately in Indo-China found much to depress him in the shape of 
apathy, lack of inspiring leadership and lack of practical idealism. 
By 1955 the situation was still bleaker owing to the fighting between 
the Government and the sects. 

The French appear to be planning to make the best of both 
worlds. According to General Ely, Commissioner-General at 
Saigon, French policy towards the Viet Nam Government now 
established in the historic Norodom palace in Saigon which the 
French authorities recognize as the only legal government of 
the whole country, is based on the twin ideals of total indepen- 
dence and complete support. Total independence became effective 
at the end of 1954; France was then ready to give the free govern- 
ment all aid, economic and otherwise, necessary for the progress 
and development of the country. France was also prepared to assist 
in the creation of a Viet Nam army which would make the presence 
of French troops unnecessary. But by the beginning of 1955 French 
participation was giving way to increasing American aid, and French 
policy was being subordinated to U.S. initiative. This tended to add 
to the confusion in southern Viet Nam, since it bore no relation to 
the French attitude in the northern half of the country. 

In the north the French Government took the significant step 
immediately after the armistice of appointing as their representative 
with the Viet-minh Government M. Jean Sainteny, a personal 
friend of Dr. Ho Chi-minh; with General Leclerc, M. Sainteny 
negotiated the first agreement between France and Viet-minh. His 
purpose is to look after French people and French business interests 
in Tonking, but there can be no doubt that he will maintain 
as close contact as possible with the Viet-minh authorities as a sort 
of insurance for the future. He has already achieved economic and 
cultural agreements with Dr. Ho Chi-minh. France is obviously 
determined to have a foot in both camps. 

Although the situation in Laos is simpler than that in Viet Nam, 
nevertheless the Laotian frontier with Viet-minh territory and the 
terms of the Geneva settlement render the country liable to 

1 The Times, October 27, 1954. 
175 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Communist infiltration. Under the agreement the pro-Communist 
members of the "Pathet Lao" forces, as the Laotian rebels were 
known, were concentrated in the northern Laotian provinces of 
Phong Saly and Sam Neua. The Pathet Lao forces originally 
comprised a mixture of anti-French nationalist guerillas, Communists, 
and a sprinkling of "Free Thais" from the north. When the in- 
dependent Laotian government established by three royal brothers 
prior to the Japanese surrender was broken up by the French on their 
return to the country the three brothers fled to Siam, but one of 
them, Souphanou Vong, returned to lead a nationalist guerilla 
movement against King Sisavong Vong's government at Vientiane, 
the capital of Laos, which had French backing. This government 
had as its chief minister another of the brothers, Souvanna Vong, who 
accepted office on the French assurances of self-government in 1949. 

Eventually the Pathet Lao forces made contact across the Viet 
Nam border with the Viet-minh, which hailed them as brothers, 
invaded northern Laos in their support and helped them to set up a 
Pathet Lao "government" at Sam Neua. After the Geneva agree- 
ment the Laotian Government appealed to all genuine nationalists 
in the Pathet Lao forces to leave the rebel army and settle down in 
the state, but one of the less satisfactory aspects of the settlement was 
the concentration of Pathet Lao dissidents in Phong Saly and Sam 
Neua, thereby permitting the northernmost portion of Laos 
bordering on Viet-minh territory to be occupied by Communist 
elements until elections were held. Measures are being promulgated 
for the special representation in the Laos Government of these two 
provinces after the withdrawal of the Viet-minh. 

The danger now is that from behind the scenes the Viet-minh will 
work to secure the admission of their own agents in the shape of 
Viet-minh indoctrinated Laotians as dissident representatives in the 
Laotian administration. Only one thing can prevent that happening 
SL reconciliation between the two royal brothers, one of whom 
heads the royal government and the other leads the Pathet Lao 
forces. If they cannot agree it means that the Pathet Lao movement 
is so closely tied up with the Viet-minh that the door to Laos will be 
open to the Communists. 

Although the population of Laos is only a million and a half, the 

176 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

country occupies a key position as a buffer state between Viet-minh 
territory and Siam. Should Viet Nam go Communist, the position 
of both Laos and Cambodia as independent states would become 
impossible. But even under the Geneva agreement it is open to 
Communist agents to infiltrate Laotian territory and, by way of 
northern Laos, to cross the border into Siam at a point where there 
is a considerable population of Laotians and "Free Thais". 

The danger here is obvious. Siam, or Thailand, has long lived 
under the shadow of Communist influence. Since the abolition of 
royal absolutism in 1932 power in the country has revolved round 
two outstanding figures, Field Marshal Luang Pibul Songgram, 
representing the right wing elements, including the armed forces, 
and Nai Pridi Panomyong, leader of those whose political creed is to 
the left. When the Japanese army invaded the country in 1941 there 
was much talk of fighting for freedom but, in the words of an 
eastern journalist, the battle was over before breakfast and Field 
Marshal Songgram, who was then prime minister, co-operated 
heartily with the Japanese. His rival, who led an underground 
anti-Japanese resistance movement during the war, came into power 
after the defeat of Japan, but in 1947 Nai Pridi Panomyong had to 
flee the country as the result of a coup d'etat which restored Field 
Marshal Songgram. 

For a time the Field Marshal's supremacy hung in the balance; 
several attempts, fostered by Nai Pridi Panomyong's followers, 
were made to overthrow him, and his position was further weakened 
by the success of the Communists in China and their activity in the 
neighbouring states of Indo-China and Malaya. Strong Communist 
elements inside the country also proved an embarrassment. These were 
mostly Chinese, who constitute a sixth of Siam' s 20 million people, 
and after Mao Tse-tung's triumph the Chinese press in Bangkok, 
the Siamese capital, became blatantly pro-Communist in tone. 

Faced with a multitude of Communist worries Field Marshal 
Songgram's Government in 1950 abandoned Siarn's traditional 
policy of neutrality and definitely aligned itself with the Western 
democracies: in the cold war. Siam sent a contingent to the U.N. forces 
in Korea. This gesture stimulated American interest in the country, 
and after a visit from United States economic and military missions, 

17? 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Field Marshal Songgram signed agreements with Washington provid- 
ing for the supply of arms, equipment and military instructors. 

The Siamese Premier spent the next few years consolidating his 
position. In 1951 he abolished the post-war constitution which pro- 
vided for free elections to the National Assembly, and reverted to 
the 1932 constitution whereby half the Assembly members are 
nominated by the king; in actual fact, of course, by the party in 
power. Having thus ensured his unquestioned authority, the Field 
Marshal imposed increasingly restrictive controls on the Chinese 
community in Siam and on all forms of Communist activity. Strong 
anti-Communist legislation was rushed through the National 
Assembly in 1952 following the discovery of what the Government 
described as a Communist plot to seize power and to compel the 
king to abdicate. 

These measures earned the Bangkok Government the mounting 
hostility of Communist China, and in 1953 Siam suffered from the 
depredations of Malayan terrorists in the south and from an influx 
of refugees from Laos in consequence of the Viet-minh invasion of 
that country. Bangkok declared a state of emergency in nine eastern 
and north-eastern provinces, simultaneously despatching military 
reinforcements to the Laos border. In May, 1954, Siam decided to 
ask the U.N. Security Council to send observers to her frontiers in 
view of the possible dangers to her territory of the Indo-Chinese 
war, a move which the British Government feared might embarrass 
the Geneva negotiations then in progress. This particular threat 
disappeared with the signing of the Indo-Cliina armistice. 

Another source of danger to Siam is the "Free Thai" movement. 
In 1953 Peking announced the establishment in the province of 
Yunnan, due north of Siam, of a "Thai Autonomous Region" 
which Bangkok interpreted as a centre for Communist penetration of 
neighbouring Burmese, Laotian and Siamese areas and as a meeting 
place for dissident Siamese political groups. A strong racial affinity 
exists between the people of Yunnan and the inhabitants of the Burma 
Shan states, Laos and the northern districts of Siam, and the boundaries 
of a "Free Thai " republic would certainly include the northern Siam- 
ese provinces, of which Chiengmai is the principal town. From there 
it would be easy to conduct a Communist campaign to the South.. 

17* 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

Bangkok's alarm at this development was heightened by the 
appearance in China of Nai Pridi Panomyong, Field Marshal 
Songgram's exiled rival. In an article in the Peking People s Daily 
Nai Pridi Panomyong called upon the Siamese to "wage a struggle 
against American imperialism and its puppets, the Government of 
Siam", the Americans being denounced for "using Siam as a base 
for aggression" in South-East Asia. Nai Pridi was careful, however, 
not to call for a Communist revolt; his main theme was that Siam 
should have a government (presumably led by himself) which would 
work in close co-operation with the Colombo Powers and especially 
with India and Burma. Since the article obviously had Peking's 
approval, its chief interest to the outside world lay in its revelation 
of the type of government in Siam which would prove acceptable 
to Communist China. Although Nai Pridi Panomyong' s link-up 
with the Chinese was calculated to do him harm in Siam, where 
national feeling is strongly hostile to any hint of Chinese domination, 
the policy he advocated was bound to find a hearing, especially 
among intellectuals who hold him in esteem. Official Siamese dis- 
quiet grew as reports reached Bangkok that Nai Pridi Panomyong 
had gone to Yunnan. 

In these circumstances Field Marshal Songgram's response to the 
invitation to attend the proposed South-East Asia Treaty Organiza- 
tion conference convened by the Western Powers in the Philippines 
in September, 1954, was not only cordial but insistent; he demanded 
that SEATO should not merely have teeth but teeth strong enough 
to protect Siam from any form of invasion. Scarcely was the ink dry 
on the SEATO agreement when the Siamese Government an- 
nounced that it believed "aggression to be imminent from suppor- 
ters of the 'Free Thai' army". 

Despite the assurance which Siam has received under SEATO and 
the economic and military aid which America is pouring into the 
country, her internal position cannot be described as satisfactory. 
Siam is the largest exporter of rice in the world a fact which gives 
her special importance in the eyes of Communist China but she is 
faced with a deepening economic depression owing to a fall in 
export prices and a rise in the cost of living. Distress in 1954 was 
worst in the north-east provinces, where the people are most 

179 



STRUGGIE FOR ASIA 

accessible to Communist propaganda from over the Laotian border 
and where Communist "cells" are known to be active. Under the 
1951 constitution ten years must elapse before there can be a wholly 
elected National Assembly, but meantime, as political parties are 
banned, no training in democracy is possible. 

To all intents and purposes Siam is a dictatorship, suffering from 
all the defects usually associated with unrestricted power, including 
corruption which stifles trade and hinders relief measures for the mass 
of the people. According to a "correspondent lately in Siam" writing 
in the Manchester Guardian,' 1 "As constituted at present the Govern- 
ment is quite unable to enforce such measures because it depends 
for its support upon a system of concessions, privileges, and bribes 
to Government officials and business men who in turn pass on a 
percentage to an even wider circle of friends and minor officials". 
Although Siam is a member of the Colombo Plan, she has no 
comprehensive development programme, but several development 
projects are in hand or are planned. These include irrigation, power, 
water supply and rice research schemes. In recent years Siam has had 
little contact with her neighbours, the newly liberated nations of 
South-East Asia. In August, 1954, a Manchester Guardian correspon- 
dent summed up his impressions of the country's foreign relations 
as follows: 2 

"Thailand's attitude towards America might be compared with 
the traditional attitude of Montenegro to Russia. There used to be 
a saying in Montenegro that 'we and the Russians are two 
hundred million strong*. Even today, when most thoughtful 
people in Bangkok realize the importance of military prepared- 
ness and welcome military aid from America, there is a tendency 
to regard the matter as essentially a Siamese concern depending 
more upon co-operation with America than with the Colombo 
Plan countries. This could do much harm to collective security in 
this part of Asia, as these countries may hesitate to support a 
defence organization in which Thailand appears to have a special 
role as a close satellite of the United States. Even in Thailand, 
where there is almost unanimous support for acceptance of 

1 Manchester Guardian, August 17, 1954. 

2 Manchester Guardian, May 31, 1954. 

180 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

American military aid, there is some reluctance to consider die 
establishment of actual American bases completely under Ameri- 
can control". 

For Siam's determination to ward off Communism there can be 
nothing but sincere sympathy and support; the only question that 
arises is whether Field Marshal Songgram's Government is going the 
right way about it from a long term point of view. Even an Ameri- 
can admirer of the country, Mr. Chester Bowles, 1 had to admit after 
a visit to Siam that the present government "has no strong roots 
among the people. Lacking the tradition of national struggle which 
supports Nehru and U Nu of Burma, the leaders of Thailand are 

constantly in danger of being supplanted by a military coup The 

Communist party is outlawed and not yet strong, but the young 
people of the country who are studying abroad are increasingly 
dissatisfied with the system of strong men". What Mr. Bowles 
might have added is that behind the national struggle of India and 
Burma lay the British parliamentary system which taught the 
people the rudiments of democratic government. Siam's great need 
today is the training of her people in that system, and it is devoutly 
to be hoped that her rulers will increasingly devote their attention to 
the building up of a sound democracy which is the surest guarantee 
against Communism. 

The value of Siarn to the free world of Asia cannot be sufficiently 
emphasized. It is an all-important gateway. Were Siam to go Com- 
munist either from internal upheaval or from external intervention, 
the way would be clear for the application of direct Communist 
pressure towards two great Asian democratic fields Burma, East 
Pakistan and India in the north-west, and Malaya and Indonesia to 
the south. Here again the path of Communism would follow the 
route taken by the invading Japanese armies in the second World 
War. On the whole the Siamese authorities have done their best to 
seal off the frontier of Malaya from Communist infiltration; it is 
acknowledged in Kuala Lumpur that the Malayan terrorists receive 
litde or no help from outside. 

If, however, Siam fell to the Communists it is easy to imagine not 
merely the practical stimulus which this development would give 
1 Ambassador's Report, by Chester Bowles (Harper and Brothers, New York). 

181 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

to Malaya's terrorists, but its psychological effect on the people of 
Malaya as a whole. Control of Malaya would be a terrific prize for 
Communist China; its wealth of rubber and tin, which is vital to the 
Commonwealth, would immensely strengthen Peking's economic 
resources for purposes of both peace and war. And if the whole of 
the mainland facing the South China Sea came under Communist 
domination, the multiple-island republic of Indonesia would fall like 
a ripe plum into the Communists' lap. A heavy responsibility, both 
internal and external, rests on Siam's army of 50,000 men now being 
rapidly expanded to double that number with American helpi 

Burma, Siam's western neighbour, is the gateway to India. The 
country has a very long frontier with Siarn, extending for nearly a 
thousand miles from the isthmus of Kra to the state of Laos on the 
upper reaches of the Mekong river. The Shan states carry the border 
for about 1 50 miles along the northern part of Laos, where Commun- 
ist Laotian dissidents were concentrated after the Geneva agreement, 
and thence for nearly a thousand miles along the frontier of the 
Yunnan province of China, where the "Free Thai" movement is 
located. Communist infiltration could therefore be applied to 
Burma not only from Siam but from northern Laos and Yunnan 
through which, incidentally, the famous Burma Road passes. Burma 
is also involved in the "Free Thai" campaign owing to the racial 
affinity between the Thais of Yunnan and the people of the Shan 
states. 

All this explains the anxiety of the Burma Government to secure 
assurances from Communist China that the country's territorial 
integrity will be respected, and that subversive movements, which 
have plagued Burma ever since the war ended, will not be en- 
couraged. One of Burma's main dangers in the past few years has 
been not Chinese Communists but Chinese Nationalists. Although 
2,000 of Chiang Kai-shek's troops which escaped across the Yunnan 
border into the Shan states were evacuated in 1953, large numbers of 
these men are still scattered throughout Burma's hilly north- 
eastern region. Fortunately for the country, the main centre of Com- 
munist revolt lay in the Irrawaddy delta and the central stretch of 
the river, well removed from Burma's eastern frontier. Yet if Siam 
fell a victim to Comrnunist^ pressure, Burma would be most 

182 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

vulnerable, a fact fully appreciated by U Nu and his Government. 
Between them, Siam and Burma would represent another rich 
prize for the Communists, constituting as they do the two great rice 
granaries of South-East Asia. 

A bridge between India and her eastern neighbours, Burma and 
China, is provided by the Indian state of Assam. Not long ago 
Communist activities in Assam and in the frontier states of Tripura 
and Manipur caused grave concern in Delhi, particularly because 
local leaders were in close touch with Burmese Communists on 
the other side of the frontier. "Peking", said The Times of India 1 in 
1951, "may not harbour expansionist desires, but Communism is 
potentially expansive and explosive, and anxiety is heightened by the 
Union Home Minister's reference to encouragement for the Assam 
terrorists from across the border. The Communist Party Congress 
in Calcutta three years ago served as a useful cloak for transborder 
contact men". 

In 1954 the Government of India approved a considerable expan- 
sion of the security intelligence services for Assam's eastern and 
northern border, where Communist agents were reported to be 
active among local tribesmen who are susceptible to Communist 
influence because of their dislike of central authority. The Nagas, for 
example, who loyally supported the Indo-British war effort against 
the Japanese, have embarrassed the Delhi Government by demand- 
ing a separate Naga state. Experience shows that these remote 
frontier areas can be used for Communist infiltration not only into 
India but into East Pakistan, where Communists were recently 
involved in large-scale disorders which led to the suspension of the 
provincial government. 

Another source of Communist infection on India's borders is the 

kingdom of Nepal. This beautiful hiU state, famous as the birthplace 

of Buddha, extends for 500 miles as a sort of buffer between India 

and the former semi-independent state of Tibet, now the "Tibet 

region" of Communist China. Its people are Mongolian in origin 

but for centuries they have been ruled by Rajputs from Lidia ^ho 

fled from Chitor on its capture by the Muslims in 1503. The leading 

Rajput families established their authority over the whole country, 

1 Tfo Times of India, February 28, 1951. 

183 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 



constituting a hierarchy which provided the ruling dynasty and the 
hereditary occupant of the offices of prime minister and comniander- 
in-chief. Over a hundred years ago the head of the powerful Rana 
family secured from the then king the "perpetual right" to the 
office of prime minister, a right which was enjoyed by his descen- 
dants until the revolution of 1951. Up to that time the king was a 
mere figure-head, occupying a semi-divine position similar to that 
of the emperor of Japan under the shogunate. 

For long Nepal proved an aggressive neighbour. Late in the 
eighteenth century a Nepalese invasion of Tibet led to armed inter- 
vention by the Chinese empire, which repelled the invaders and 
claimed jurisdiction over both Tibet and Nepal. Another war be- 
tween Nepal and Tibet in the middle of the nineteenth century 
ended in a treaty under which Tibet agreed to receive a Nepalese 
ambassador and to pay an annual tribute to Nepal of Rs. 10,000. Up 
to 1953, strangely enough, the payment was continued despite 
Chinese Communist mastery of Tibet, but the following year it 
stopped for the first time in 97 years. A Gurkha incursion into India 
was finally defeated by General Ochterlony of the East India Com- 
pany in 1816, after which there ensued uninterrupted peace and most 
friendly relations between the British Government in India and the 
Nepalese authorities. 

Nepal was recognized as an independent kingdom, but by a 
special agreement the Government of India recruited Gurkhas the 
short sturdy hiUmen of Nepal for the Indian army. Two world 
wars in which 200,000 Gurkhas took part familiarized both East and 
West with these fine fighting men, whose characteristic felt hats, 
cocked jauntily on their heads, and kukris, heavy curved blades worn 
at the belt like bayonets, achieved world fame. By a treaty between 
the British Government and the Government of Nepal enacted after 
the separation of India and Pakistan, Great Britain retains the right 
to recruit in Nepal eight battalions of Gurkhas for service with the 
British army, the British Brigade of Gurkhas being mostly em- 
ployed in Malaya. This right of recruitment is strongly criticized 
by left wing elements in both India and Nepal, yet its economic 
advantages appeal to the Nepal Government, which in the past 
derived a steady income for its peasantry from military service 

184 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

abroad. It is estimated that half a million sterling goes into Nepal 
each year in the shape of pensions and family remittances. 

The authority of the Ranas remained unquestioned until 1950. 
For many years Nepalese exiled from their native country because 
of their political activities organized themselves in India in alliance 
with the Indian National Congress, but the British India Govern- 
ment prevented them from interfering in Nepalese affairs and the 
state continued to lead an isolated feudal existence, cut off from the 
outside by the absence of road and rail transport. Delhi's attitude 
towards the Nepal exiles altered after the Indian National Congress 
came into power on the British withdrawal. When treaties of peace, 
friendship and trade were signed between the two countries in 1950 
Mr. Nehru made it clear that he had advised the Nepal Government 
"to the extent that a friendly power can advise an independent 
nation" to bring itself more into line with modern democratic 
trends. 

About the same time the Nepalese National Congress, which met 
at Patna in India under the presidentship of Mr. M. P. Koirala, 
passed a resolution affirming its determination "to fight the tyranny 
of one-man rule in Nepal till a democratic form of government is 
established". Simultaneously it was decided to organize a mass 
movement against the authorities inside Nepal itself. Disorders 
occurred throughout the country. They were suppressed by the 
state forces, but a crisis developed within the government between 
the Ranas and King Tribhuvana, who favoured the Nepalese Con- 
gress idea of a democratic government of which he would be the 
constitutional head. 

Tension rose to such a pitch that the king with his family took 
refuge in the Indian embassy in Katmandu, the capital, whence they 
received permission to fly to Delhi. Declaring that King Tribhuvana 
had abdicated, the Rana government proclaimed his second 
grandson, who had been left behind, as king. Complete deadlock 
ensued; the Indian Government refused to recognize the boy king 
and after months of negotiation the reformers won a striking victory. 
The principle of democratic government was accepted, with the 
king having the right to appoint ministers on the advice of the 
premier and with the cabinet divided equally between members of 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

the Rana family and the Nepal Congress until such time as a con- 
stituent assembly could be elected to frame a new constitution. The 
half-Rana half-Congress Government did not last long. Following 
friction and a spate of resignations in 1951 the king reconstituted 
the cabinet under Congress leadership, thereby ending the long 
hereditary premiership of the Rana family. 

Nepal's political troubles were, however, far from being at an 
end, and the country had to pay the price of an all too sudden change 
from autocracy to a form of self-government in which neither rulers 
nor ruled had any experience. In a country of valleys separated by 
mountain ranges and with practically no modern communications, 
separatist tendencies asserted themselves. Branches of the Congress 
in remote regions demanded local autonomy, but a more dangerous 
movement was led by Dr. K. I. Singh, who aimed at the overthrow 
of the Katmandu Government in favour of a Communist state. 
With the aid of Indian forces, which co-operated at the request of 
the Nepal Congress Government led by Mr. M. P. Koirala, the 
Communist revolt at Bhiratnagar near the Indian frontier was 
smashed and Dr. Singh imprisoned. 

Early in 1952 Mr. M. P. Koirala's administration narrowly escaped 
violent destruction when Dr. Singh and his fellow prisoners were 
released by their guards and for some hours were masters of the cap- 
ital until the revolt was quelled by the army. Dr. Singh fled into Tibet, 
where he and his henchmen now constitute a continual menace to the 
peace of Nepal Hardly had Katmandu recovered from the shock 
of Dr. Singh's escape than a fierce quarrel broke out between the 
Prime Minister and his half brother, the irrepressible Mr. B. P. 
Koirala, the Nepal Congress leader. Popular government had to be 
abandoned in favour of a cabinet of advisers and, after a brief 
interval, this policy w r as continued by King Mahendra after his 
father's death early in 1955. 

Nepal suffers from poverty and a bad land system. Help to build 
up the country's economy is being given by the Government of 
India, by the United States Administration under Point Four of the 
foreign aid programme, and tinder the Colombo Plan. Indian 
experts are reorganizing and training the Nepal civil service. 
Vigorous measures are also being take& to modernize Nepal's 

186 



THREAT TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA 

communications, the lack of which seriously restricts the authority of 
the Government over outlying districts, and renders possible the 
development of Communist cells. A big step forward was taken in 
1954 with the opening, thanks to Indian enterprise, of the first road 
linking Katmandu with the railhead at Amlekganj, a distance of 
eighty miles over highly mountainous terrain. 

The need to improve Nepal's communications, its land system 
and its economy generally is urgent in view of the activities of Com- 
munist agents both inside and outside the country. Communism 
obtained a foothold among some of the intelligentsia and peasantry 
in the days of Rana absolutism; Dr. Singh's rebellion in 1951 
showed its strength in the remoter areas, while its influence in the 
cities was illustrated by the success of Communist candidates in the 
Katmandu municipal elections. During one of his visits to the capital 
before he left India in 1953, Mr. Chester Bowles, the American 
ambassador in Delhi, records seeing "a party of three thousand 
young men in Katmandu, marching through the streets with 
clenched fists. While most of these young men were not Commu- 
nists, they were certainly Communist-organized and led. Whether 
this smoldering Communist movement grows more powerful or 
not will depend to a major degree on whether the new Government 
is able and willing to move swiftly and distribute land to the 
villagers". 1 In April, 1953, Communist strength among the lec- 
turers and students at Katmandu was so considerable "that they 
were able to call a joint strike of professors and the Communist- 
dominated student organization". 2 

Communists are well established in the Nepal Terai, the stretch of 
low-lying marshy and malaria-ridden but fertile country which 
extends between the plains of India and die main Himalaya range. 
According to the Delhi correspondent of The Times, 3 "Indian 
Communism does not stop at the frontier; in fact, it appears to be as 
strong in die Terai as in Bengal or Travancore-Cochin. In jute mills 
and factories built in Bhiratnagar to avoid Indian taxation and 
labour regulations, Indian workmen are well organized. The 

1 Ambassador's Report, by Chester Bov,les (Harper and Brothers, New York). 

2 The Communist Party cf India, by M. R. Masani (Derek Versdioyie). 

3 The Times, July 8, 1954,. 

I8 7 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Communist flag flies over many buildings ; and in shops the portrait of 
Mr. Stalin has a place of honour among pictures of Hindu deities. . . . 
The Terai is as much a stronghold of Indian Communists as it is of 
the less responsible Indian industrialists and business men". 

Fears are expressed that as communications between the Terai and 
the towns in the interior of Nepal are extended there will be a link 
up between the Communists of the plains and those of the hills. Nor 
must it be forgotten that so long as Dr. Singh and his adherents are 
allowed to function without interference across the Tibetan border 
there will always be plenty of stimulus for the local Communists. 
Incidentally, there appears to be a struggle going on among the 
Nepalese Communists as to whether they should take their lead 
from Moscow through the Indian Communist Party, or look to 
Peking for guidance now that Dr. Singh is in Tibet. 

Yet however divided they may be in their allegiance they are 
quick to exploit political feeling against foreign aid as "interference" 
and "turning Nepal into a colony** of India or America. Again to 
quote Mr. Chester Bowles: "The continued presence of Chinese 
Communists on its northern border makes what happens in Nepal 
all the more important to India, and to the whole non-Communist 
world. If Nepal should fall before an invasion from Tibet, or from 
an internal Communist revolution, the Communists would be 
poised right on the Indian border, above the great heartland of the 
country, and less than four hundred miles from Delhi". 1 The battle 
between nationalism and Communism in Nepal requires for victory 
not only adequate material help but the spread of democratic 
institutions and a sense of responsibility among anti-Communist 
Congress groups. 

1 Ambassador's Report, by Chester Bowles (Harper and Brothers, New York). 



1 88 



Chapter Eighteen 
INDIA AND CHINA 



MUCH MISUNDERSTANDING EXISTS in the West, and especially 
in America, on the subject of India's relations with Com- 
munist China. It is sometimes assumed that Delhi leans 
towards Peking either because India favours the Communist world, 
or because she is scared of it and wants to appease her powerful new 
Communist neighbour. A third reason occasionally advanced is that 
she does it out of sheer "cussedness" in order to spite the West for 
the way it treated Asia in the past. None of these reasons is the right 
one. India's friendship with China has nothing to do with the form 
of government existing in that country; it is based on a desire to 
work harmoniously with a great and free Asian state with which 
India has always lived in peace. As Mr. Chou En-lai put it in recipro- 
cating Mr. Nehru's sentiments in his speech at the state banquet 
during his visit to Delhi in the middle of 1954, "between India and 
China there has existed for over 2,000 years traditional friendship". 
Mr. Nehru's Government was prepared to extend the same good- 
will to General Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist China as it does today 
to the Communist China of Mr. Mao Tse-tung. Hardly had Mr. 
Nehru become Prime Minister of India immediately after the war 
than he extended an invitation to the Generalissimo and his charm- 
ing wife, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, to come to Delhi. They did so, 
and there is no doubt that plans were discussed for the co-operation 
of the two countries after India had achieved its independence. 
Chinese Nationalist delegates attended the picturesque Asian con- 
ference held in Delhi in 1946. Their manner, it is true, was friendly, 
but it was touched with hauteur, as if they wished to remind India 
that it was still a "colonial" state compared with China, which they 
obviously regarded as the proper country to lead the new Asia. But 
there was no mistaking Delhi's genuine wish to be on the friendliest 

189 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

possible terms with Nationalist China after the departure of the 
British. Mr. Nehru sent to General Chiang Kai-shek's capital as his 
ambassador Mr. K. M. Panikkar, whom he regarded as one of his 
top-ranking diplomats, and it is significant that on the Generalis- 
simo's eclipse Mr. Panikkar was despatched to Peking as soon as 
India recognized Mr. Mao Tse-tung's Government in 1950. 

Mr. Nehru does not like Communism; he has said so publicly 
time and again. He has denounced India's Communists in the 
strongest and most opprobrious terms and his Government sternly 
suppressed the Communist risings which occurred in India in 1948. 
Yet he was prepared, like Britain, to recognize that the Communist 
regime had established itself in China and that it was frankly ridicu- 
lous to pretend that the real rulers of the country were located in an 
island off the Chinese coast. 

No special reason existed why Delhi should be more friendly to 
Mr. Mao Tse-tung than it had been to General Chiang Kai-shek. 
Indeed, in the same year that India acknowledged the Peking 
Government a strange episode occurred affecting Mr. Mao Tse- 
tung's relations with Indian Communists. In reply to a message from 
the Indian Communist Party conveying its apologies for having 
earlier described him as a "deviationist" this was done under the 
guidance of Moscow which similarly admitted its mistake Mr. 
Mao Tse-tung cabled an assurance of the full support of the Chinese 
people for the Indian Communists in their "struggle", and expressed 
the hope that the day was not far distant when "India, too, would be 
liberated by the Communist Party from the oppression of Anglo- 
American imperialism and its Indian lackeys". 

Although he must have known of it, Mr. Nehru tactfully took no 
official notice of this somewhat devastating message. His Govern- 
ment continued to press for the admission of Communist China to 
the United Nations on the grounds that its absence from that body 
was one of the principal reasons for the deterioration of the inter- 
national situation as exemplified in Korea and elsewhere. While 
India supported the initial action of die Security Council by recog- 
nizing that aggression had been committed in Korea and sent an 
ambulance unit as a token contribution to the U.N. forces there, 
the Delhi Government strongly opposed the crossing of the 38th 

190 



INDIA AND CHINA 

parallel by General MacArthur's troops, its ambassador in Peking 
having been plainly told that by such action Communist China 
would consider her security directly menaced. Delhi took the view, 
quite rightly, that once North Korean aggression had been pushed 
back to its own borders an attempt should be made to settle the 
Korean problem by negotiation before further military steps were 
undertaken. 

Two developments which occurred after these events rather shook 
India's faith in Mr. Mao Tse-tung's Government. The first was the 
Chinese invasion of Tibet, where India had inherited from the 
British certain old-established rights, including an agent in Lhasa, the 
Tibetan capital, trade agencies in Gyantse and Yatung, post and 
telegraph offices on the trade route to Gyantse and a small military 
escort for their protection. These arrangements were for the mutual 
benefit of both countries; they suited India admirably, and Delhi 
quite frankly had no wish to see its semi-independent neighbour 
overrun by forces which would bring Communism to the frontiers 
of both India and Nepal. 

When Mr. Nehru's Government expressed to Peking their deep 
regret that "in spite of friendly and disinterested advice repeatedly 
tendered by them, the Chinese Government should have decided to 
seek a solution of the problems of their relations with Tibet by force 
instead of by the slower and more enduring methods of peaceful 
approach", Peking's reply was bitterly uncompromising. Tibet, it 
declared, was an integral part of China and no foreign interference 
would be tolerated. "The Chinese People's Liberation Army must 
enter Tibet, liberate the Tibetan peoples and defend the frontiers of 
China". Peking's attitude and actipns aroused considerable resent- 
ment in India, particularly as China somewhat gratuitously suggested 
that India had been influenced " by foreign agents hostile to China in 
Tibet". In public speeches Mr. Nehru demanded to know from 
whom the Tibetan people were to be liberated, and when asked 
about a Chinese map showing part of northern Assam as Chinese 
territory he angrily declared that India would defend her frontier, 
"map or no map". 

The second shock happened in connection with the Korea peace 
negotiations. While Mr. Nehru agreed that aggression had occurred 

191 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

in Korea, India voted against the modified American resolution in 
the United Nations Political Committee branding Communist 
China as an aggressor, her reason being that to do so would extin- 
guish all hopes of a peaceful settlement. The war in Korea, like the 
war in Indo-China, was a matter of intense concern to Mr. Nehru, 
who rightly feared that from these struggles might spring a con- 
flagration in which the whole of Asia, including India, would be 
involved. In 1952 the Government of India, after months of careful 
sounding of all the interested parties, brought before the U.N. 
Political Committee a seventeen-point draft resolution for a truce in 
Korea. Russia's flat rejection of the plan disappointed India, but her 
disappointment changed to surprise and chagrin when Peking also 
uncompromisingly turned down the resolution. 

The Chinese attitude puzzled Delhi, because Peking had been 
kept fully informed of developments during the formative stages of 
the plan and had at no time indicated disapproval. There was a good 
deal of public anger at the unceremonious way in which India had 
been treated by a country she had so consistently championed in the 
United Nations and elsewhere, but the Indian Government took 
comfort in the thought that Russia was the villain of the piece, and 
that had Russia not intervened so drastically Peking would have 
accepted the Indian proposals. Subsequent events tended to confirm 
India's deductions. It was significant that after Marshal Stalin's death 
the following year China agreed to truce plans which differed little 
from those propounded by the Indian delegation in the U.N. 
Political Committee at the end of 1952. International recognition of 
India's part in securing peace was accorded when that country was 
asked by the United Nations to be chairman, umpire and executive 
agent of the Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission at Pan- 
munjom. 

India's continued support of Conimumst China after these rebuffs 
might lead Westerners to imagine that Delhi's policy, so far as 
China is concerned, is one of appeasement. That, however, would be 
a wrong assumption. In its attitude towards the handling of Eastern 
countries by the West, Mr. Nehru's Government is at least consis- 
tent; India has no cause to love Japan, yet Delhi annoyed America by 
refusing to sign the Japanese peace treaty because its terms did not 

192 



INDIA AND CHINA 

concede to Japan "a place of honour, equality and content among 
the community of free nations", especially in regard to continued 
American occupation of the Ryukyu and Bonin islands. Delhi later 
signed a separate peace treaty with Tokio. 

Meanwhile the Chinese "liberation" of Tibet, which had aroused 
Mr. Nehru's ire, proceeded slowly but surely. At Peking's request 
the sixteen-year old Indian mission in Lhasa became a consulate- 
general and all direct relations with Tibet ceased. For centuries Tibet 
had been a feudal theocracy. Its religion, Lamaism, is a corrupt form 
of Buddhism, with the chief lama, known as the Dalai Lama, 
nominally exercising supreme authority both in civil and religious 
affairs. By a convention dating from 1907 both Britain and Russia 
recognized China's suzerainty over Tibet; in 1910 the Chinese 
empire despatched an army which occupied Lhasa, but the revolu- 
tion of 191 1 destroyed its authority and in the succeeding years Tibet 
managed its own affairs. In 1945 General Chiang Kai-shek said he 
would give Tibet "a high degree of autonomy", but his agents, 
too, were expelled by the Tibetans when his regime collapsed. 

Communist China's occupation of Tibet was a carefully planned 
operation. In order not to outrage the religious feelings of the 
inhabitants, since the spiritual supremacy of the Dalai Lama as the 
viceregent or incarnation of Buddha exists not only throughout 
Tibet but in parts of Mongolia and China, Communist agents 
infiltrated Tibetan monasteries and won over Tibetans living in 
China, including the Panchen Lama, the second most powerful lama 
of Tibet, who agreed to work for them in return for die strengthen- 
ing of his position against the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan army, such 
as it was, could do little against the invaders, and by the end of 1950 
the Tibetian hierarchy had no option but to negotiate an agreement. 
The young Dalai Lama with his retinue fled from Lhasa to Yatung 
on the Indian border, but by a show of reasonableness on the part of 
the Chinese representatives he was persuaded to return to his capital. 

Chinese policy in Tibet is that of the iron hand in the velvet glove. 
While the old forms of priestly authority remain, in actual fact all 
power rests in the hands of the Communists. Tibet has autonomy, 
but "under the unified leadership of the Central People's Govern- 
ment". A steady attempt was made to undermine the prestige of 

H 193 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

the Dalai Lama and to build up that of the Panchen Lama; in 1954 
die Dalai Lama was invited to go to Peking for the obvious purpose 
of demonstrating Chinese overlordship; he and the Panchen Lama 
appeared in public in China as a sort of prize exhibit. Chinese army 
units are employed in constructing various public utility works, 
including the building of three major roads into Tibet two of 
which were completed in 1954, thereby ending the country's 
isolation and the production of enough food to make the country 
self-sufficient. 

Nevertheless there has been a good deal of friction caused by food 
shortages due to the influx of a large body of Chinese troops, 
demands for the services of men and pack animals, and higher 
taxation to meet increased government expenditure. According to 
The Manchester Guardian,* the " Resistance Movement in Tibet" 
recently issued a manifesto complaining among other things of the 
"sacrilegious behaviour of the Communists who defile our monas- 
teries and chapels by hanging their washing and soiled socks and 
underwear on the altars", which "shocked even the most tolerant 
of us". Despite these and other more serious grievances, all signs 
point to the Peking Government steadily expanding and tightening 
its authority over Tibet. 

The Chinese occupation of Tibet had one most important result 
so far as India is concerned. It led to an agreement between Delhi and 
Peking which enunciated certain guiding principles in the relation- 
ship of the two countries. The agreement, which was signed in 
Peking on April 29, 1954, was prefaced by a statement that it was 
based on the following five principles accepted by both countries 
(i) Mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sover- 
eignty; (2) Mutual non-aggression; (3) Mutual non-interference in 
each other's internal affairs; (4) Equality and mutual benefit; and 
(5) Peaceful co-existence. True, all one-sided privileges formerly 
enjoyed by the Government of India in what was referred to as the 
"Tibet region of China" disappeared. The Indian military escort 
had to be withdrawn, all Indian Government rest houses, buildings, 
post, telegraph and telephone services had to be handed over to die 

1 Mmchester Guardian* September 9 *954 
194 



INDIA AND CHINA 

Chinese, and In return for trade facilities in Tibet Delhi had to grant 
to the Chinese Government similar trade facilities in India. 

In some Western countries, notably America, the agreement was 
regarded as a climb-down for India, whereas in actual fact it was 
merely the recognition of the new state of affairs in China. No other 
country, including Britain, could in the circumstances have acted 
differently. Chinese suzerainty over Tibet, although seldom 
exercised, had always been recognized, and when the Peking 
Government in 1950 decided to assert its authority there was really 
nothing the outside world could do about it short of challenging 
China's right to manage her own affairs. On the other hand, Delhi 
secured from Peking agreement to a set of international principles 
which were later to assume great significance. 

The signing of the Sino-Indian agreement on Tibet marked a dis- 
tinct change in Communist China's attitude to India. This was 
dramatically illustrated at the end of June, 1954, when the Chinese 
Premier, Mr. Chou En-lai, paid a three-day visit to Delhi on his way 
to Peking from the Geneva conference on Indo-China. For a total 
often hours the two prime ministers were locked in close consulta- 
tion, and at the end of the talks a joint communique stated that the 
main purpose of the visit which came as a surprise to East and 
West and even, it is reported, to Mr. Nehru himself was "to 
arrive at a clearer understanding of each other's point of view in 
order to help in the maintenance of peace, both in co-operation 
with each other and with other countries ".'This clearer understand- 
ing was detailed in the next paragraph of the statement which read: 
"The Prime Ministers recognized that different social and political 
systems exist in various parts of Asia and the world. If, however, 
the above-mentioned principles (in the preamble to the Tibet agree- 
ment) are accepted and acted upon and there is no interference by 
any one country with another, these differences should not come in 
the way of peace or create conflicts". 

Shrewd observers in Geneva saw in Mr. Chou En-lafs unexpected 
call on Mr. Nehru and later on U Nu, the Prime Minister of Burma, 
a well-timed effort to wean away their respective countries from 
the projected South-East Asia Treaty Organization which was then 
being mooted by America. That, undoubtedly, was its object, but 

195 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

the visit was significant as representing Communist China's first 
overt act of friendship towards two South-East Asia democracies 
which up to then she had treated with something approaching con- 
tempt. For India, however, the main result was to give Mr. Nehru a 
convenient yardstick hy which to measure the sincerity of Chinese 
professions of peaceful co-existence. Mr. Nehru, as the record of 
events up to this stage showed, had no illusions about Communism 
or Communist China. He dislikes Communism and he was fully 
aware of the ' massive violence and bloodshed repugnant to a 
disciple of Mahatma Gandhi employed by Mr. Mao Tse-tung and 
his regime in establishing control of the country. He was also aware 
of the menacing possibilities of Chinese expansion the potential 
threats to South-East Asian countries which could involve his own 
frontier from Assam to the state of Uttar Pradesh. No Indian 
government, he said, in 1950, could tolerate the invasion of Nepal 
from anywhere, and on his visit to the state the following year he 
referred to the Himalayas as "the guardians and sentinels of India", 
whose "white-capped peaks welcome friends and are a warning to 
those of hostile intent". He was similarly aware of the Communist 
movement in India, of its desire to found another Yenan within the 
remoter parts of India's frontiers, and of the encouragement which 
open or underground Chinese support could give its subversive 
activities. 

All these factors must have been present in Mr. Nehru's mind 
when he discussed the five principles of co-existence with Mr. Chou 
En-lai in Delhi, one result of which was that the two prime ministers 
agreed to drop the word "mutual" in the second principle, making 
it read simply "non-aggression". Of transcendent importance to 
Mr. Nehru were the first and third principles, "mutual respect for 
each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty" and " mutual non- 
interference in each other's internal affairs". Here, indeed, at its face 
value, was a valuable guarantee to India and the rest of the newly 
liberated Asian countries struggling with Communist minorities. 

The essential thing to remember about these principles is that they 
are of Chinese origin; they were repeatedly emphasized by Mr. 
Chou En-lai during his visit to Delhi both in his speeches and at his 
press conference. According to Mr. Chou En-Id, the five principles 

196 



INDIA AND CHINA 

provide a new basis for close co-operation and constant contact 
between the two governments and peoples for the cause of world 
peace. In reply to a question at his press conference, he went on to 
expand his government's general attitude towards foreign countries 
in the following words: 

"It is our view that on the basis of the five principles ... all 
nations of the world can peacefully co-exist whether they are big 
or small, strong or weak, and no matter what kind of social 
system each of them has. The rights of the people of each nation 
to national independence and self-determination must be respec- 
ted. The people of each nation should have the right to choose 
their own state system and way of life without interference from 
other nations. Revolution cannot be exported; at the same time 
outside interference with the common will expressed by the 
people of any nation should not be permitted. If all nations of the 
world put their mutual relations on the basis of these principles, 
intimidation and aggression by one nation against another would 
not happen and peaceful co-existence of all nations of the world 
would be turned from possibility into reality." 
All these statements meant a great deal to Mr. Nehru. They gave 
him a public assurance that Communist China would not lay claim 
to any part of India's territory for the purpose of "liberating" its 
inhabitants, nor interfere in India's internal affairs by, for example, 
encouraging subversive Communists movements. Whether Mr. 
Nehru and Mr. Chou En-lai will interpret the five principles in 
precisely the same way in any given situation is another matter, but 
Mr. Nehru and the Indian people will be able in future to judge all 
China's actions by the standard of those principles and by Mr. Chou 
En-lai's assurances publicly stated in Delhi. These are bound to have 
far-reaching effects on India's future relations with China. If Peking 
takes action which is contrary to the five principles, or which seems 
clear in Indian eyes to be contrary to them, then Mr. Nehru's 
Government may have radically to readjust its ideas in respect of 
both China and the West. And Mr. Chou En-lai must know that 
too. The onus of living up to the standard of peaceful co-existence 
now very definitely rests on China. 

One other important point should be noted. Mr. Nehru longs 

197 



STRUGGLE FOU ASIA 

ardently for peace in Asia and throughout the world, but he has no 
intention of joining any Chinese or Russian bloc which is antagonis- 
tic to the West. Here again he is consistent. His policy of non- 
involvement, which will be explained in the next chapter, does not 
permit such a step, nor have Mr. Nehru and his Government any 
desire to see the world divided into two irreconcilable halves. Their 
main object is to reduce all causes of international friction, particu- 
larly in Asia and the neighbouring continent of Africa. There is no 
racialism in Mr. Nehru's attitude. His methods may at times appear 
suspect to Westerners, especially Americans, who regard Commu- 
nism as an evil thing which should be banished from the earth, but 
his sincerity cannot be questioned. 



198 



Chapter Nineteen 
THE COLOMBO POWERS 



THE NAME "Colombo Powers" is now applied in a political 
sense to the group of recently liberated Asian states, with the 
addition of Indonesia, which formed the bulk of Britain's 
eastern empire. Between them they represent about 550 million 
people. They comprise India, Pakistan and Ceylon, which chose 
voluntarily to remain members of the Commonwealth after ob- 
taining their independence; Burma, which is closely linked with 
them; and Indonesia, formerly the Dutch East Indies. The expression 
originated in the fact that the inaugural meeting of the Colombo 
Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and South- 
East Asia generally known as the Colombo Plan took place in 
Colombo in 1950. At the first meeting the only Asian nations con- 
cerned were India, Pakistan and Ceylon, but soon others were 
added until'today there is scarcely an Asian democracy which is not 
a member of the Plan. Nevertheless the name Colombo Powers, 
which has nothing to do with the Colombo Plan, stuck to the 
group of which Colombo is the geographical centre. The Colombo 
Powers have a common background in that they were formerly 
under Western control; they were involved in the second World 
War and two of them, Burma and Indonesia, experienced Japanese 
occupation. All of them achieved independence after the war. They 
are democracies of the Western type, and each has had to contend 
with subversive Communist movements which in Burma and 
Indonesia led to civil war. Their common background and geo- 
graphical proximity encourage political friendship and an identical 
outlook; in the early stages of their association their attitude towards 
the two world power blocs in the "cold war" was strikingly similar. 
For obvious reasons they share a common dislike of colonialism, on 
which they tend to be ultra-sensitive, regarding it as a bigger menace 

199 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

than Communism. These factors naturally colour their foreign 
policy in a way that is puzzling to the West, where the distinction 
between Communism and democracy is startlingly clear. 

By far the largest country of the group, and the holder of a key 
position in it, is India. India's foreign policy is typical of most, but 
not all, of the Colombo Powers. It is one of non-involvement, not 
neutrality, as India's official spokesmen are careful to point out on all 
possible occasions. Mr. Nehru was at great pains to explain the 
difference during his tour of the United States in 1949. While 
stressing India's desire not to align herself with a particular nation or 
group of nations, he emphatically declared that " where freedom is 
menaced or justice is threatened, or where aggression takes place, 
we cannot, and shall not, be neutral". In his presidential address to 
the 59th session of the Indian National Congress in 1954 he elabo- 
rated his views, which may be taken to represent the sincerely held 
feelings of the vast majority of his fellow countrymen: 

"Two powerful blocs of nations confront each other, each 
trying to play a dominant role. . . . Those who refuse to join 
either of these groups are criticized as sitting on the fence, as if 
there could be only two extreme positions to take up. Our policy 
has been one of non-alignment and of development of friendly 
relations with all countries. We have done so not only because we 
are passionately devoted to peace, but also because we cannot be 
untrue to our national background and the principles for which 
we have stood. We are convinced that the problems of today can 
be solved by peaceful methods and that each country can live its 
own life as it chooses without imposing itself on others. . . . 

We can never forget the great teaching of our master that the 
ends do not justify the means. Perhaps most of the trouble in the 
world today is due to the fact that people have forgotten this basic 
doctrine and are prepared to justify any means in order to obtain 
their objectives. And so, in the defence of democracy or in the 
name of liberation, an atmosphere is created which suffocates 
democracy and stifles freedom and may ultimately kill both. 

We claim or desire no right of leadership anywhere. We wish to 
interfere with no country just as we will not tolerate interference 
with ours. We believe that friendly and co-operative relations are 



200 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

essential among the countries of the world, even though they may 
disagree in many ways. We do not presume to think that "by our 
policies, or by any step that we might take, we can make any 
serious difference to the great world issues. But perhaps we might 
sometimes help to turn the scales in favour of peace and, if that is 
a possibility, every effort to that end is worth while. Peace is not 
merely an absence of war. It is also a state of mind. That state of 
mind is almost completely absent from this world of cold war 
today. "We have endeavoured not to succumb to this climate of 
war and fear and to consider our problems as dispassionately as 
possible. We *have felt that even if some terrible tragedy should 
overtake the world, it is worth while to keep some area of the 
world free from it to the extent possible. 

Therefore we have declared that India will be no participant in 
a war, and we have hoped that other countries in Asia would 
likewise keep away from it, thus building up an area of peace. The 
larger this area is, the more the danger of war recedes. If the whole 
world is divided up into two major and hostile camps, then there 
is no hope for the world and war becomes inevitable. It is not our 
way to live in or by fear. We should not live in fear of aggression 
from any country. If, by misfortune, there is any aggression, it will 
be resisted with all our strength." 

My excuse for quoting Mr. Nehru's views at such length is that, 
whether the Western world agrees with them or not, they represent 
a settled factor in Asian and world affairs which must be clearly 
appreciated. India's foreign policy is based on two fundamental 
principles. The first is that nationalism needs a generation to establish 
itself economically* In his analysis of India's attitude, Mr. Chester 
Bowles 1 refers to India's conviction that "her first order of business 
must be to create internal stability and build a solid base for indus- 
trial expansion. . . . *If the Communists moved into Burma or the 
Middle East', an Indian political leader said to me, 'our future would 
be threatened, but if we fail to build a modern nation here in India, 
the Communists will take over and that will be the end'." This is a 
view widely held in India, and again, whether Westerners agree 
with it or not, it must be accepted as a fact. 

1 Ambassador's Report, by Chester Bowles (Harper and Brothers, New York). 
H* 201 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

The second principle Is that by joining any particular group of 
nations India invites attack by the others. This contention is founded 
on the teaching of Maliatma Gandhi during the second World War. 
He maintained that if the British left India hence the slogan " Quit 
India" the Japanese, who were then in Burma, would have no 
reason to invade the country. It was no use pointing out to him (as I 
frequently did) that a neutral independent nation like Siam had been 
overwhelmed and occupied; he merely repeated that if the Japanese 
wantonly invaded a free India, the duty of the Indian people was to 
practise mass satyagraha (civil disobedience) against them. The Indian 
people, he said, were a peaceful people and had no other remedy. 

That attitude, it will be noted, is not the policy of India today. 
Mr. Nehru specifically says that if India is attacked she will defend 
herself to the utmost, but she will follow Mahatma Gandhi's precept 
of avoiding any foreign entanglements which might give offence 
to any country. To Americans who complain about India "sitting 
on the fence'*, as many of them have done since India became in- 
dependent, the average Indian can quote the foreign policy of 
America for the first century and a half of its existence. In his 
neutrality proclamation of 1793 President George Washington 
specified the reasons for his declaration; they included American 
weakness and national interest. Indians contend that their foreign 
policy today bears a striking resemblance to the isolation and non- 
involvement which the United States pursued until the second 
World War. To the American retort that the free world was not 
then menaced by the appalling evil of Communism from which it 
must now be protected at all costs, the Indian reply is that they do 
not see Communism in quite that light, nor is armed force the 
real answer to Communism. 

One other aspect of India's foreign policy demands attention. Mr. 
Nehru is a firm believer in the Commonwealth, and he has stoutly 
and consistently defended India's membership against critics both 
outside and inside his own country. Although he is opposed on this 
issue by both Communists and Socialists, he undoubtedly has on his 
side the great majority of the Indian people. Mr. Nehru finds the 
Commonwealth attractive because it is an association of free peoples, 
who meet to discuss their problems in a friendly spirit, who do not 



202 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

seek to impose their will on one another, and who co-operate where 
possible. All these attributes are in complete accord with the Indian 
Premier's concept of international relations. 

In explaining India's belief in the Commonwealth to an American 
audience, Mr. G. L. Mehta, the Indian ambassador in Washington, 
put the position in this way: "There was no attempt in the Com- 
monwealth to impose overall leadership either on the basis of 
priority, wealth, size or population. Mutual equality and respect 
among its members are what makes the Commonwealth so impor- 
tant an international experiment. And India is glad to be a party to 
this organization wherein, when differences arise, they are accepted 
with tolerance and mutual respect". In the Commonwealth, he 
said, "we are not continuously asked to proclaim ourselves on the 
side of the angels" a pointed reference to the American demand 
that India should unequivocally join the anti-Communist bloc. 

As a matter of general principle the other two members of the 
Commonwealth within the group Ceylon and Pakistan agree 
with India on the Commonwealth issue. By keeping together with- 
in the Commonwealth these countries feel that they can increase 
their influence in the world and thereby avoid being drawn too 
much into the American orbit. Commonwealth membership 
enables them, they argue, to stand up to the American giant in a way 
which would be impossible if they were merely individual nations, 
and as proof of their contention that it strengthens their voice in 
world affairs they quote their claim to have persuaded the British 
Government to recognize Communist China at the time it did. 
The Commonwealth is therefore, in Mr. Nehru's eyes, an associa- 
tion definitely helpful to India and to the cause of world peace. 
Moreover, the Asian members acknowledge the bona fides of Britain 
in her relations with colonial peoples; they themselves are testi- 
monies to the British Government's fulfilment of its self-govern- 
ment pledges. 

India's foreign policy is a model for most, although not all, of the 
Colombo Powers. There are marked differences of emphasis. 
Indonesia, owing to her government's dependence on the local 
Communist party, does not go as far as Mr. Nehru in criticizing 
Communism. The country's outlook is frankly tinged with 

203 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

racialism; both President Soekarno and his Prime Minister, Dr. 
Sastroarnidjojo, want to get rid of all Western influence and con- 
nections, including the considerable Dutch commercial interests in 
Indonesia, and to unite with the African people and Arab states of 
the Middle East in an anti-Western bloc. Indonesia aims at the trans- 
fer of the centre of international affairs from Europe to Asia, The 
Indonesian leaders cannot understand, and are highly critical of, 
India's connection with the Commonwealth; in Jakarta in 1954 
President Soekarno told Mrs. Pandit, Mr. Nehru's sister and the 
then President of the United Nations General Assembly, that he and 
his Government were surprised both by India's non-violence and by 
her Commonwealth membership. On the whole, however, the 
present Government of Indonesia is content to work with India, and 
is in fact much more closely associated with India's foreign policy 
than any other member of the Colombo group. 

Ceylon, for religious reasons, is more openly critical of Com- 
munist China than her big neighbour, but agrees with India's policy 
of non-involvement. Sir John Kotelawala, the Prime Minister, told 
the Ceylon parliament that his aim was to make Ceylon the 
''Switzerland of Asia" in the matter of neutrality, and Colombo the 
"Geneva of the Orient". Ceylon also shares India's support of the 
Commonwealth for somewhat different reasons. Sir John Kotela- 
wala's Government has for years had serious differences with India 
over the island's Indian inhabitants, most of whom he wants to get 
rid of, and he has on several occasions loudly declared that his 
Government will not be bullied or threatened on this issue. Ceylon, 
in short, is somewhat nervous of her huge neighbour, and values her 
Commonwealth membership because she regards it as a kind of 
guarantee that she will not be swallowed up. 

In an amazingly frank statement Sir John Kotelawala gave voice 
to this fear in defending his Government's policy of granting naval 
and air bases to the British at Trincomalee and Katunayake. Speaking 
to the Ceylon House of Representatives in September, 1954, he 
said: "We respect Mr. Nehru; we love him; we accept him as an 
honourable and honest man who wants peace in the world. But 
suppose he is no more human beings must die and if South India 
goes Communist, as it is going now, and invades us, can we by 

204 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

ourselves, with 300,000 people we have to fight for us, fight against 
these South Indians? We must have friends to support us at all times. 
That being so, I will stick to the Commonwealth as long as I can, 
or until they say they do not want us or insult us. Till such time we 
must have trust in them; we must have faith in everybody who 
wants to help us". To satisfy her amour propre, Ceylon may discard 
British titles and become a republic, but her loyalty to the Common- 
wealth is not in doubt. 

With every justification, Burma is more apprehensive about 
Communist China than India. Her north-eastern frontier adjoins 
the Chinese province of Yunnan where a "Free Thai" movement 
threatens her control of the Shan states; she has still in open revolt 
Communist elements which would welcome Chinese support, 
covert or otherwise, and she is worried by the residue of Chinese 
Nationalist forces which fled into her territory from Yunnan a few 
years ago. It was believed to be at Mr. Nehru's request that Mr. 
Chou En-lai went to Rangoon after his visit to Delhi in 1954 with 
the object of quieting U Nu's fears of Chinese expansion. Neverthe- 
less U Nu's Government is firm on non-involvement; in a speech at 
Rangoon the same year the Burmese Prime Minister declared that 
while he did not like Communism and had done his best to prevent 
its spread within Burmese territory, he paid tribute to Mr. Mao Tse- 
tung, whose unification of the Chinese people had earned the respect 
of many foreigners and had gratified Asians. 

The only one of the Colombo Powers which has departed from 
the strict policy of non-involvement is Pakistan. Here the reason lies 
in Pakistan's unhappy relations with her closest neighbours, and the 
two-way pull inherent in the widely separated halves of the country. 
To the north of West Pakistan is an unfriendly Afghanistan which, 
ever since the partition of the sub-continent, has fomented the 
demand for a separate Pathan state south of the hilly frontier in- 
herited by Pakistan from the British. The agitation shows no signs 
of dying down, and it has been a sore point with Pakistan for years. 
Both regions of Pakistan border on India, from which the Karachi 
Government is estranged owing to the Kashmir, canal waters and 
other disputes. 

While East Pakistan has its Communist threat from the direction 

205 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

of China, West Pakistan naturally looks towards a possible Russian 
effort to reach the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, a threat which 
in the days of the British rule was at times a major concern to the 
Government of India. Islamic Pakistan, at loggerheads with India, 
seeks comfort among the Muslim states of the Middle East. In 
February, 1954, Mr. Mahomed All's Government unexpectedly 
entered into a treaty with Turkey, one of the NATO countries, to 
study methods for the achievement of close collaboration in political 
economic and cultural spheres and for "strengthening peace and 
security ". Asked whether the pact could be called a first step 
towards establishing a regional defence organization, Chaudri 
Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan's then Foreign Minister, replied "In a way, 
yes", but added that everything would depend on how the agree- 
ment worked out. 

Any annoyance which India might have felt at this departure of 
one of the Colombo Powers from the general policy of non- 
involvement was drowned in the wave of indignation that swept 
over the country when the Pakistan Government almost simul- 
taneously announced its acceptance of military aid from America 
under the mutual security programme. Mr. Nehru was deeply 
grieved at the shattering of his hopes that the Colombo Powers 
would form the beginning of a steadily expanding Asian "peace 
area". He protested vigorously to America that her action would 
disrupt peace and bring another war nearer; that it would advance 
the cold war to India's borders because Pakistan became part of a 
great group of nations lined up against another; that it was part of 
an American attempt to dominate Asia, and that it was a form of 
intervention in Indo-Pakistan problems which was likely to have 
more far-reaching results than previous types of intervention. 

President Eisenhower's soft answer certainly did not turn away 
Mr. Nehru's wrath. The President assured the Indian Premier that 
American military aid to Pakistan was in no way directed against 
India, and as proof of his lona fides he offered similar assistance in 
addition to the substantial economic and technical help which India 
was receiving from the United States. But Mr. Nehru refused to be 
mollified; in his reply he made it plain that his views and suspicions 
about American action remained unchanged, and he brushed aside 

206 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

President Eisenhower's offer with the remark that acceptance of 
such aid would make Indians "hypocrites and unprincipled oppor- 
tunists". Mr. Nehru defended India's receipt of economic and tech- 
nical help from America on the grounds that it was devoted to 
purely civil purposes. 

Pakistan's reactions to the treaty were a sad commentary on Indo- 
Pakistan relations. So radical a departure from the country's non- 
involvement policy created a certain amount of public criticism, 
especially in East Pakistan, but the voices in opposition were soon 
hushed by India's condemnation. "If India attacks American 
military aid" so ran the argument "it must be a good thing for 
Pakistan". The official reason for Pakistan's request was declared by 
Mr. Mohammad Ali, the Prime Minister, to be the adequate 
strengthening of the country's defences without having to impose 
a heavy burden on an economy devoted increasingly to measures of 
social welfare. 

But the real reasons lay deeper. They were a reaction to Mr. 
Nehru's domination of Asian affairs and the feeling of frustration 
which assailed the country over the continued deadlock in Kashmir. 
In 1952 and 1953, according to Mr. Mohammad Ali, Pakistan had 
no firm ally outside the Commonwealth, even among the Muslim 
states; the treaties with America and Turkey would in future be 
described as the "turning point in Pakistan's history", and "an 
event of especial significance to the entire Muslim world. . . . The 
country was on the threshold of a new era which promises greater 
security, more rapid progress and expanding prosperity". American 
aid and the Turkish treaty would enable Pakistan "to make an 
important contribution to the strength and stability of the 
region". 

Finally and here's the rub Pakistanis privately took the view 
that American military help would strengthen them against India. 
Mr. Mohammad Ali had always made it plain that its object is to 
protect Pakistan not necessarily from Communist aggression, but 
from "any aggression". Pakistan's long period of strained relations 
with her nearest neighbours, and the feeling however mistaken it 
may have been that the British Government listened more to the 
Indian point of view than her own, contributed to a sense of isolation 

207 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

which the Pakistan Government finally decided to remove. It is not 
without significance that Mr. Mohammad Ali, whose administra- 
tion negotiated both agreements, spent some years in Washington as 
Pakistan's ambassador before he became prime minister. 

Pakistan's new orientation did not prevent her from attending the 
first formal meeting of the Colombo Powers at Colombo just before 
the opening of the Geneva conference on Indo-China in the summer 
of 1954. Pakistan has no more use for Communism at home than 
either India or Burma. She is as strongly "anti-colonial" as any of 
the Colombo Powers her special bete noire being the French 
possessions in Africaand both inside and outside the United 
Nations the Pakistan delegation has vigorously attacked France's 
policy in Tunisia and Morocco. The 1954 Colombo conference was 
called by Sir John Kotelawala, but it is generally believed that Mr. 
Nehru was its chief inspiration, his immediate object being to bring 
pressure to bear on the Geneva conference to end hostilities in Indo- 
China. In some of the countries concerned great things were expec- 
ted from the gathering of the five prime ministers; there was talk of 
forming a regional organization for political and economic co- 
operation which would enable the Colombo Powers to play a much 
more effective part in world affairs. 

These hopes were not fulfilled, partly because of internal quarrels 
Pakistan's Premier wanted to raise the Kashmir issue and partly 
because of differences in outlook on relations with the West and with 
Communist powers. In die words of a London newspaper, there was 
no light from the East. By an act of sound statesmanship, Sir 
Anthony Eden, the British Foreign Minister, tried from Geneva to 
get the Colombo Powers to participate actively in an Indo-China 
settlement. In a cable to the three Commonwealth prime ministers 
Sir Anthony, after expressing the hope that peace would be achieved, 
asked whether the three countries could join in a guarantee to assure 
the future of Indo-China or whether they could take any other 
action to reinforce a settlement. While the Commonwealth 
premiers were highly appreciative of Sir Anthony Eden's approach, 
none of them was prepared to back any guarantee which might in- 
volve them in any kind of military commitment; Mr. Nehru did, 
however, state after the conference that his Government would be 



208 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

willing to be associated with a guarantee provided India was invited 
to do so by both sides. 

Pakistan opposed the Indian suggestion that the Great Powers 
should be called upon not to intervene in the Indo-China war either 
directly or indirectly this would have involved a ban on American 
military aid to the French and Viet Namese armies and eventually 
the conference concentrated on a resolution calling for a cease-fire, 
immediate direct negotiations between the combatants and other 
parties invited by agreement, and the granting of complete in- 
dependence by France to the Associated States. It was further 
suggested that all the countries concerned, including China, Britain, 
the United States and Russia, should agree on the steps necessary to 
prevent a recurrence or resumption of hostilities this being a con- 
cession to Mr. Nehru's anxiety for non-participation in the war by 
the Great Powers. 

Issues on which the conference found unanimity included the use 
of the hydrogen bomb, the need for Communist China's admission 
to the United Nations, and condemnation of colonialism. Lively 
differences occurred over the conference's attitude to international 
Communism. Ceylon and Pakistan wanted a forthright denuncia- 
tion of Communism, but Indonesia for obvious reasons and India 
would not agree, Mr. Nehru arguing that an outright condemnation 
of Communism would in effect be a declaration in favour of the 
West. The resolution was accordingly watered down to suit Indian 
and Indonesian tastes, but it constitutes a political testament which 
is worth quoting: 

"The Prime Ministers affirmed their faith in democracy and 
democratic institutions, and, being resolved to preserve in their 
respective countries the freedoms inherent in the democratic 
system, declared their unshakable determination to resist inter- 
ference in the affairs of their countries by -external Communist, 
anti-Communist or other agencies. They were convinced that 
such interference threatened die sovereignty, security and political 
independence of their respective States and the right of each 
country to develop and progress in accordance with the concep- 
tions and desires of its own people". 
It was notable that during the conference U Nu's contributions to 

209 



STUXJGGLB FOR ASIA 

the discussion were moderate and weighty; according to the special 
correspondent of The Times 1 "he acted as though he was an hono- 
rary member of the Commonwealth", thereby confirming Burma's 
close liaison with her former British Empire associates, India and 
Pakistan. He impressed Mr. Nehru by his outspoken opinion that 
while the danger to Asia from colonialism was decreasing, the risk 
of Communism was definitely increasing, and he asked what 
guarantee they had that the withdrawal of French rule from Indo- 
China would not be followed by Communist infiltration. The only 
really disruptive elements were the raising of the Kashmir question 
by Mr. Mohammad Ali of Pakistan and Mr. Nehru's counter- 
charge regarding Pakistan's acceptance of American military aid. 
Mr. Mohammad Ali insisted that it was unrealistic to talk of peace in 
Indo-China when the Kashmir issue was still undecided. While the 
conference naturally desired to achieve harmony by the settlement 
of its internal problems, the bitterness engendered by the Moham- 
mad Ali-Nehru clash compelled a postponement of inter-Asian 
differences. Little headway was likewise made with Burma's sug- 
gestion that economic co-operation and joint planning should be 
discussed. The conference decided that fuller details were needed 
and referred the matter to the governments concerned for considera- 
tion. 

When the Geneva conference succeeded in reaching agreement 
on Indo-China, Sir John Kotelawala on behalf of the five Colombo 
Powers sent a message of congratulation to Sir Anthony Eden. He 
described the settlement as "a notable contribution to the consolida- 
tion of peace in South-East Asia", to which the Colombo Powers 
extended their firm support. Since Mr. Nehru's conditions for par- 
ticipating in the Geneva arrangement were fulfilled, India accepted 
the chairmanship of the neutral commissions charged with super- 
vising the details. 

It is easy to emphasize the differences among the Colombo Powers 
and to complain, as a London newspaper did, that the Colombo 
conference shed no light from Asia, Despite their internal quarrels 
and their divergent outlook on certain aspects of the cold war, there 
does exist among these countries a strong community of interests 

1 The Times, May 3, 1954. 



210 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

which makes for continued close co-operation. The Colombo 
Powers are united in resenting any kind of Western interference in 
Asian affairs, and any form of colonialism either in Asia or Africa. 
Most of them are nervous of Asia being made the battle ground of 
the power blocs by the U.N. or especially by the United States. 
They demand the admission of Communist China to the United 
Nations on the grounds that it would "promote stability in Asia, 
ease world tensions and assist in bringing about a more realistic 
approach to problems concerning the world, particularly in the Far 
East". Although West Pakistan's preoccupation with Middle East 
affairs may tend to swing the Pakistan Government more definitely 
towards the West, Karachi cannot very well disentangle itself from 
the Colombo group even if it wanted, since East Pakistan, which 
belongs well and truly to South-East Asia, contains more than half 
the population of the country and Pakistan's key product, jute. 

Nor can Britain and the rest of the Commonwealth forget that 
India, Pakistan and Ceylon are fellow members of that Common- 
wealth, forming an Asian unit with a population of over 450 mil- 
lions, a figure vastly in excess of the total number of people in die 
rest of the Commonwealth and Empire combined. With Burma, 
they represent a bridge between East and West. They have inherited 
the British parliamentary system which they are determined to 
defend. They form a freedom bloc which, if they can achieve their 
economic and social salvation, will provide the only real answer to 
Communism in Asia. 

These constitute good reasons why their views deserve the most 
sympathetic consideration of the British people and the people of 
the rest of the Commonwealth, why their common aims should be 
supported whenever possible, and why they should receive the 
maximum of economic help from the West. The fight they are 
putting up for democracy in Ask is the biggest thing in the demo- 
cratic world today. 



211 



Chapter Twenty 

THE MANILA TREATY (SEATO) 



PLANS FOR THE defence of South-East Asia had been canvassed 
ever since the emergence of Communist China as a major 
factor in Asian and world affairs. Before the second World 
War the need for a joint system of protection against the then 
possible aggressor, Japan, was not considered necessary. British 
naval power, backed by a strong British Indian army, extended as 
far east as Singapore and Hongkong. France and Holland looked 
after the defence of French Indo-China and the Dutch East Indies 
respectively, while America was responsible for the Philippines. Not 
until Japan struck westwards and southwards did a South-East Asia 
Command come into being, but by then it was too late to defend 
the outlying parts of the area with any hope of success. France was 
out of the running, the Dutch owing to the German occupation 
of Holland had only their local forces, Britain was heavily involved 
in Europe and Africa, and America in the early stages of the Asian 
war was too far away to be effective. Nevertheless the South-East 
Asia Command persisted; from its headquarters in Ceylon it directed 
the liberation of Burma, and had Japanese resistance not collapsed 
before the American assault from- the Pacific its armies would have 
gone on to free Malaya, Siam, Indo-China and Indonesia. 

After the war suggestions for some kind of defensive organization 
were mooted from time to time by countries like Siam, the Philip- 
pines and South Korea, which considered themselves menaced by 
Communists both inside and outside their frontiers. Nothing practi- 
cal was achieved until, on the initiative of General de Lattre de 
Tassigny, a conference between the Far East military commands of 
Britain, France, and America was held at Singapore in 1951, General 
de Lattre de Tassigny's contention being that France's battle in Indo- 
China was really a fight for the preservation of South-East Asia 

212 



SEATO 

from Communism in which other interested powers should help. 
Communist aggression in Korea and the Peking Government's aid 
for Dr. Ho Chi-minh began to worry not only America but the 
other ANZUS powers, which saw the dangerous possibilities of a 
Chinese thrust towards the Pacific. A continuation of the Singapore 
talks, attended by chiefs of staff, took place in Washington the 
following year; the countries participating included Australia, New 
Zealand and Canada in addition to those represented at Singapore. 

Nothing very conclusive resulted from these talks, but early in 
1953 Sir Winston Churchill proposed to the new Eisenhower 
administration in America that the principle of the North Atlantic 
Treaty Organization should be extended to South-East Asia. The 
British Prime Minister's purpose was clear; he wanted to enlarge- 
the ANZUS pact, Britain's exclusion from which had given rise to 
much annoyance in London. In this project he had the support of 
France. America was at first dubious about Sir Winston Churchill's 
proposal. She feared, quite rightly, that a defence organization on 
these lines would be regarded by the Colombo Powers as a means of 
protecting and perpetuating British and French colonial interests in 
Asia. 

Increasing bitterness against Communist China over the Korean 
war and alarm at the rapid deterioration of France's position in Viet 
Nam led, however, to a dramatic change of front by Washington. 
In April, 1954, Mr. John Foster Dulles, the American Secretary of 
State, flew to London and at his urgent request Britain and America 
agreed to examine the possibility of establishing a collective defence 
system similar to NATO for South-East Asia and the neighbouring 
Pacific regions. The hurried nature of the agreement almost 
immediately became evident in differences of view between London 
and Washington over the proposed participants. Oddly enough, the 
earlier attitudes of both governments were reversed. In his haste to 
set up a South-East Asia Treaty Organization, or SEATO as it came 
to be called, Mr. Dulles wanted to ignore the Colombo Powers. Sir 
Anthony Eden, on the other hand, very wisely insisted on including 
them since, he said, "without their understanding and support no 
permanent South-East Asia defence organization could be fully 
effective". 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

Fresli differences arose. Mr. Dulles, by this time fearful of a "sell 
out" by France in Indo-China, wished to use SEATO as a weapon 
in the Geneva peace negotiations. Sir Anthony Eden, anxious to 
secure the co-operation of the Colombo Powers, feared that to con- 
front the Geneva conference with a fait accompli in the shape of 
SEATO would upset not only the Colombo Powers but the Chinese, 
and prejudice all chances of success, Washington's annoyance was 
aggravated by Sir Anthony's references in the House of Commons 
to the possibility of non-aggression treaties of the Locarno type 
existing alongside SEATO, an idea which seemed to fit in with Mr. 
Nehru's support for bilateral peace agreements among the Asian 
powers. 

What America wanted without delay was the British Govern- 
ment's signature to a hastily conceived military project, the details 
of which were to be discussed later. The idea of treaties on the 
Locarno model was repugnant to Mr. Dulles, who considered they 
would be used to strengthen demands for Communist China's 
inclusion in the United Nations and would imply recognition, for 
example, of the Chinese occupation of North Korea. But the British 
Government remained adamant in its refusal to commit itself to any 
military arrangement in South-East Asia until the result of the 
Geneva conference was known; both sides meanwhile agreed 
to continue SEATO consultations, America with Siam, the 
Philippines and the ANZUS group, and Britain with the Colombo 
Powers. 

Within three weeks of the Geneva agreement on Indo-China a 
SEATO conference was summoned to meet at Baguio, the Philip- 
pines health resort, on September 6. To America the surrender of 
northern Viet Nam to the Communists made essential the drawing 
of a line along which the Communists advance could be contained. 
Australia and New Zealand were scarcely less anxious to see a 
definite limit put to Communist expansion; Britain's abandonment 
of the Suez Canal base combined with the Communist success in 
Indo-China to produce in the two dominions a feeling of isolation 
and danger. Before long, said Mr. Menzies, the Australian Premier, 
in a statement to the House of Representatives in Canberra, "the 
Communist frontier might be regarded as lying on the southern 

214 



SEATO 




2IJ 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

shores of Indo-China within a few hundred air miles of the Kra 
isthmus". Like America, Australia was convinced that Communist 
progress could be halted only by a display of determination backed 
by the Western powers, Australasia, and as many Asian countries as 
could be got to join. Both the Philippines and Siamese Governments 
favoured a pact "with teeth in it". 

It was left to Sir Anthony Eden to approach the Colombo 
Powers. He sent an invitation to each of them either to attend 
or send an observer to the SEATO conference to discuss par- 
ticipation in a regional defence- organization. As expected, all 
except Pakistan declined. Mr. Nehru replied in a long and friendly 
letter, in the course of which he restated the basis of India's foreign 
policy, explained his attitude towards the five principles of inter- 
national conduct which had been agreed to by India, Burma and 
China, and, while he agreed that collective action by nations was 
sometimes necessary in the U.N., he preferred pacts on the Locarno 
model for Asia. 

His main theme, in short, was that China should be given a 
chance to prove her good faith in the Indo-China agreement before 
she was faced with a defence arrangement on the lines of SEATO. 
The need to move slowly in dealing with China was again stressed 
by Mr. Nehru, as it had been at the meeting of the Colombo Powers 
in April. India's policy was, in essence, one of "wait and see". 
In his public utterances, however, Mr. Nehru was much more 
uncompromising. In a speech to the Indian Parliament he denounced 
the proposed treaty as contrary to the spirit of the United Nations 
Charter, and gave three reasons for India declining to attend. They 
were (i) that SEATO would not promote peace but would in- 
crease tension and insecurity; (2) that India could not abandon her 
non-alignment policy; and (3) that it would be incompatible for 
India to take part in the conference after having accepted the 
chairmanship of the International Supervisory Commission for 
Indo-China. 

Burma and Ceylon agreed in general terms with Mr. Nehru's 
attitude; both were more conscious of the danger from Chinese 
Communism than India professed to be, but they decided not to 
attend. Indonesia naturally strongly backed Mr. Nehru's policy. 

216 



SEATO 

The only exception amongst the Colombo Powers was Pakistan. 
A mixed variety of motives, including the country's Western 
commitments, governed Karachi's acceptance of the invitation, but 
the main reason was undoubtedly Pakistan's continued resentment 
against India over the Kashmir issue and her general feeling of 
frustration. The fact that India refused the invitation was sufficient 
to make Pakistan accept it. Another compelling influence was 
Pakistan's determination to make any treaty signed at Manila a 
guarantee against not merely Communist aggression but aggression 
of any kind a development which India regarded as unmistakably 
aimed at herself. So strongly did Chaudri Zafrullah Khan, Pakistan's 
Foreign Minister, press this point before the conference that he was 
able eventually to secure agreement on it. 

Following the precedent created by the Colombo Powers at 
their meeting on the eve of the Geneva conference, Sir John 
Kotelawala proposed to call another Colombo Powers gathering to 
discuss the invitations to the SEATO talks, but the idea was dropped 
mainly at the instance of Mr. Nehru who, owing to Pakistan's 
attitude and the doubts entertained by Ceylon and Burma, did not 
welcome a conference which might well have resulted in an open 
split in the group. When the SEATO conference of eight powers 
the United States, Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, 
Siarn. and the Philippines met at Baguio at the beginning of 
September, some comment was caused by the absence of Sir 
Anthony Eden, whose place was taken by his deputy the Marquis 
of Reading. Rumours went around that Sir Anthony was not keen 
to attend owing to the attitude of India and Ceylon, but the official 
explanation that the crisis in Europe, following France's rejection 
of the European Defence Community, compelled him to stay in 
London was generally appreciated. 

The conference proved to be one of the smoothest and swiftest 
on record. It reached its decisions in three days, due mainly to the 
American draft, the premature publication of which by a Manila 
newspaper caused some embarrassment but which was adopted with 
minor amendments. Australia received an assurance beforehand 
from Mr. Dulles that SEATO would not be merged with ANZUS 
or allowed to dilute the more specific provisions of the Pacific 

217 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

treaty. Both Siam and the Philippines emphasized the need for as 
strong a treaty as possible based on the NATO model. Chaudri 
Zafrullah Khan's insistence on the Pakistan view that aggression 
from any quarter was the concern of the conference resulted in the 
deletion of the word "Communist" before "aggression" in one of 
the vital clauses, a decision which forced Mr. Dulles to add a note to 
the treaty pointing out that America adhered to the original draft. 
An attempt by the Philippines delegation to insert a provision for 
the immediate grant of independence to countries like Malaya was 
shelved as being outside the scope of the conference. 

The treaty in its final form bore strong evidence of the desire of 
the signatories to make it as acceptable as possible to the missing 
Colombo Powers India, Burma, Ceylon and Indonesia. It was 
declared to be in accordance with the United Nations Charter, and 
to provide that the signatory countries should "separately and 
jointly by means of continuous and effective self-help and mutual 
aid will maintain and develop their individual and collective capacity 
to resist armed attack and to prevent and counter subversive acts 
from without against their territorial integrity and political stabi- 
lity". In furtherance of these objectives the parties "undertake to 
strengthen their free institutions, and to co-operate with one another 
in the further development of economic measures, including 
technical assistance, designed both to promote economic progress 
and social well-being, and to further the individual and collective 
efforts of governments towards these ends". 

The key article in the treaty, No. 4, deals with the procedure to be 
followed in cases of aggression. In the event of armed aggression 
against any of the signatories to the treaty, each member would act 
to meet the common danger "in accordance with its constitutional 
processes". If the sovereignty or political independence of any mem- 
ber is threatened "in any way other than by armed attack, or is 
affected or threatened by any fact or situation which might en- 
danger the peace of the area", the parties "shall consult immediately 
in order to agree on' the measures which should be taken for the 
common defence". Then follows the important proviso that no 
action can be taken on the territory of any member state "except at 
the invitation or with the consent of the government concerned"* 

218 



SEATO 

Means to implement the treaty are to be decided by a council 
representing all the signatories, which would also provide for 
consultation with regard to military and any other planning. 

Clearly the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty, as SEATO 
is officially known, is a much more flexible instrument than either 
NATO or ANZUS. Its provisions excluding action unless the 
government concerned demanded it was designed to avoid offending 
the Colombo Powers; Mr. Nehru had inveighed against the idea of 
a protective mantle being thrown by Western powers over Asian,, 
countries "whether they wanted it or not". The treaty has no 
automatic commitments. No demand is made for the establishment 
of American bases in Asia, although they are not precluded if asked 
for. Added to the treaty is a reservation by Washington that its 
undertakings refer only to " Communist aggression", although it 
would consult with the other parties in the event of other aggression 
or armed attack* A protocol designates Cambodia, Laos and south 
Viet Nam as areas to which the treaty is applicable both in respect 
of protection and economic benefits; a way was thus found to 
provide for help to the Associated States without infringing the 
Geneva agreement, which authorizes them to belong to a defence 
pact on condition that its terms are in conformity with the U.N. 
Charter. They do not have the right to permit foreign bases on 
their territory unless they consider their security is threatened. 

But the most unusual feature of the treaty, and one which may 
give rise to much controversy, is its provision against subversive 
action from either without or within. As an American senator 
pointed out, this might mean the refusal of the signatories to allow 
any kind of revolution or governmental change, even if the people 
desired it, in any of the countries concerned, since the present rulers 
could use the treaty to bolster up their regime indefinitely. Mr. 
Dulles's contention is that a difference exists between "indigenous" 
revolutions and those fomented from outside by, for example, 
Commtinists, but Mr. Dulles had to admit that the two might 
sometimes get mixed up. The danger is that the treaty may be used 
to secure Western support for certain types of regimes in a manner 
reminiscent of " colonialism '\ thereby damning it in the eyes of 
most Asians. 

2I 9 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

The door is left open for other countries to join the treaty by a 
clause which permits any state in a position to further SEATO objec- 
tives and contribute to the security of the area to become a party by 
the unanimous agreement of the other members. Of all the signa- 
tories, the country most likely to demand immediate help is Siarn, 
which had already declared itself to be threatened by the "Free 
Thai*' movement on its northern border. Korea, Japan, Formosa and 
Hongkong are excluded from the treaty area. Korea is the continuing 
concern of the United Nations, Japan is covered by her peace 
treaties with America, while Formosa and Hongkong look to the 
United States and Britain respectively. 

SEATO cannot be regarded as a treaty with many teeth, since 
it possesses little in the shape of external strength on the spot beyond 
the American Seventh Fleet and the Okinawa garrison. Its main 
purpose is to act as a clear warning to Communist China that any 
Asian state covered by the treaty can appeal for help either against 
armed attack or "subversive acts from without". To that extent it is 
valuable as an attempt to draw a line for the protection of nationalist 
democracies against Communist aggression. Its weaknesses are 
twofold. It does not include India, the next biggest Asian country to 
China, nor Burma, Ceylon and Indonesia all very important mem- 
bers of the democratic fold. Secondly, it cannot protect a country 
from underground Communist infiltration. It might indeed tend to 
isolate from the people a government suspected of being the creature 
of Western imperialism, and thereby provide a fertile breeding ground 
for Communism. To combat these eventualities countries must still 
protect themselves, with or without Western help, by building up 
an economic and social system in which Communism cannot 
flourish. 

Reactions to the treaty in South-East Asia followed the usual lines. 
The Pakistan Government ratified the treaty in January, 1955. Some 
of the reasons which weighed with the Karachi authorities were out- 
lined earlier by official spokesmen who drew attention to what were 
regarded as satisfactory provisions from their point of view, namely, 
that the treaty was the culmination of the Prime Minister's policy of 
winning more friends for his country, that it would consolidate 
Pakistan's position externally, and at the same time would act as a 

220 



SEATO 

deterrent to countries "which might harbour aggressive designs 
against Pakistan" a thinly veiled allusion to India. This broad hint 
was prornply taken up by the Indian Press, which openly declared 
Pakistan's adhesion to the treaty to be a move against India. Mutter- 
ings were heard about the advisability of India withdrawing from 
the Colombo Powers in view of Pakistan's action, 

Mr. Nehru's criticism was mainly directed against the problems 
of Asia being discussed by non- Asians who wanted to protect other 
countries "even after they had shouted that they did not want any 
such protection". He did, however, in a speech in the Indian parlia- 
ment, refuse to subscribe to the view propounded by the Commu- 
nists that SEATO was intended as an instrument of aggression. He 
was prepared, he said, to believe that the intention behind the treaty 
was good, but he considered the method of fulfilling that intention 
to be ineffective and even dangerous. Other official Indian views 
described SEATO as really a diplomatic move since it did not have 
sufficient land forces to deal with China; it was regarded more as an 
attempt to draw some South-East Asian countries away from their 
former partners into the American orbit. (Obviously Pakistan was 
one country the spokesmen had in mind.) 

Burma's attitude was explained by U Nu in a speech at Maymyo 
the week after the signing of the treaty. "We do not," he said, "stop 
at non-involvement: we do our utmost to shun any activity which 
is likely to create misunderstanding in any quarter". The Ceylon 
Prime Minister was not so forthright in his objections as U Nu. 
Until it had time to consider the implications of SEATO, he said, 
the Ceylon Government's main objection was that it should have 
been considered necessary to conceive the treaty in the spirit in which 
it had been conceived. Nevertheless Sir John Kotelawala noted with 
"great satisfaction" that the original spirit of the treaty had been 
greatly modified. The fact that governments both inside and outside 
SEATO had the right to say whether they wanted help in the event 
of aggression, subversive or otherwise, could not in his opinion 
be regarded as "gratuitous or meddlesome offers". 

SEATO can never be the complete answer to the Communist 
jtnenace in South-East Asia. It is a makeshift arrangement in that it 
excludes four Asian democracies with a total population of 



221 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

something like 475 millions. In the words of Mr. Chester Bowles, 1 
the participants in the treaty "make up less than 15 per cent of the 
population of free Asia. To rely on an alliance of these nations would 
be like trying to hold Europe with a NATO consisting of Spain, 
Portugal and Greece, with the rest of Europe sitting on the side- 
lines. It would be welcome assistance, but it could hardly be 
decisive". That may seem a harsh judgment, but it contains more 
than a grain of truth. The treaty does not cover Formosa, one of the 
most explosive factors in Asia. It does offer economic help, but 
obviously not on a scale adequate to the needs of Asian countries. It 
cannot prevent internal rot from destroying a country's democratic 
institutions. All this is said not in disparagement of SEATO, the 
merits of which have already been noted. But its limitations are 
patent; it does not apply, and it may never be asked to apply, to 
the vast majority of the people of South-East Asia. That is the prob- 
lem which faces both the democratic East and the democratic 
West. 

1 Ambassador's Report, by Chester Bowles (Harper and Brothers, New York). 



222 



Chapter Twenty-one 
THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 



How, THEN, is THE future of these 475 million people belong- 
ing to four newly liberated Asian democracies to be assured? 
Indonesia, which would like to see Western influence 
banislied from the continent, is turning to an alliance with Africans 
on purely racial lines. This idea was mooted at the first meeting of 
the Colombo Powers in the middle of 1954. After the signing of the 
Manila treaty Dr. Ali Sastroamidjojo, the Indonesian Prime Minister, 
returned to the charge, presumably with the blessing of President 
Soekarno. When he visited India in September to discuss other 
matters with Mr. Nehru, including his country's relations with 
Communist China, he got the Indian Premier to agree to the holding 
of an Asian-African conference at Bandung, in Indonesia to be pre- 
ceded by a meeting of the Colombo Powers to draw up an agenda. 
Dr. Sastroamidjojo's aim was to interest the Arab states of the 
Middle East in the project so as to make Bandung the venue of a 
gathering representative of countries from Egypt to the China Sea, 
with delegates from African states, some of whom might be 
observers from colonial territories. The object of the conference was 
nominally to increase the "peace area" and to discuss colonialism, 
but other motives lay behind the Indonesian move. 

President Soekarno and Dr. Sastroamidjojo clearly approve of 
Mr. Chou En-lai's recent suggestion that all Asian countries should 
unite to free themselves from every trace of Western influence; the 
Indonesian Prime Minister told a press conference in Delhi that he 
would like to see an economic as well as a political shift from 
Europe to Asia. "We like to look forward to the day," he said, 
"when we shall not receive assistance any more from outside." 
Finally, Dr. Sastroamidjojo's Government hoped to benefit politi- 
cally from an Asian-African conference at Bandung. Indonesia s first 

233 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

general elections are due to be held in 1955, and the Government 
feels that the prestige to be derived from the conference should 
ensure the return of sufficient support to establish it in office for a 
period of years. That may seem to it to be one way of overcoming 
the strong opposition likely to be put up by the Masjumi party, 
which hopes to secure enough votes to oust the present Nationalist- 
Communist combine. 

One thing is certain. Democratic Asia's troubles are not going 
to be solved merely by the holding of an Asian-African con- 
ference, and nobody knows that better than Mr. Nehru. The Indian 
Government strongly supports the fight against colonialism in 
Africa; its views are broadcast to the African people, sometimes in a 
form as embarrassing to its own nationals living in the country as it 
is to the white settlers. India has always been a stout member of the 
anti-colonial group in the United Nations, taking up the cudgels on 
behalf of Tunisia and Morocco, for example, as readily as Pakistan. 
But that is probably as far as Mr. Nehru wants to go. He will gladly 
encourage and form part of an international organization which has 
for its main object the freeing of colonial peoples in Africa from "West- 
ern domination, but he has no desire to promote a group of Asian- 
African powers on a basis which might eventually involve him in an 
alignment as distinct as if he belonged to the Western or the Commun- 
ist camp. In any caseMr. Nehru realizes that, in the face of the world- 
shaking issues which beset Asia, issues on which hang world peace and 
the lives and well-being of millions of human beings, an Asian- 
African rapprochement is at present a matter of minor consequence. 

Mr. Nehru sees his goal clearly. His tactics may change from time 
to time, occasionally in a manner puzzling to the West, but the 
general trend of his policy is unmistakable. He now describes it as 
"non-alignment" instead of "non-involvement" because, as he 
explained in 1954, India has already become "involved" by accept- 
ing the chairmanship of the international commissions supervising 
the Indo-China agreement. Mr. Nehru's ultimate aim is fundamen- 
tally the same as that not only of the Colombo Powers but of the 
nations which comprise SEATO; it is to contain Chinese Commu- 
nism and the Chinese Communist state within the recognized 
frontiers of China. So far as India is concerned these frontiers 

224 



THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 

embrace Formosa and, for that matter, Hongkong. They do not 
include North Korea. The Indian Prime Minister is very anxious to 
see a settlement of the Korea problem on lines which would unite 
the whole country under an administration of its own choosing; 
he does not like President Syngman Rhee, but he would oppose 
either North Korea or all of Korea becoming a Chinese province, 

Mr. Nehru wants to secure peace in Asia by coming to a friendly 
understanding with Communist China on what he considers to be a 
reasonable basis, provided and here is the crucial point Commu- 
nist China is willing to give him the solid co-operation he needs. His 
ideal is the creation of a "peace area" by means of bilateral pacts 
founded on the five principles accepted by himself, U Nu and Mr. 
Chou En-lai mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity 
and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each otter's 
internal affairs, equality, and peaceful co-existence. Defensive blocs 
of any kind are, he contends, an invitation to war; they should be 
replaced by agreements between individual countries of a "live and 
let live" character. All this means, of course, a clear understanding 
and firm commitments by both sides. 

Before Mr. Nehru's visit to Peking in October, 1954, certain 
points affecting the five principles were worrying both him and Bis 
fellow prime ministers in the Colombo Powers group. Was, for 
example, the representation in China's National People's Congress 
of Chinese nationals living in their respective countries consistent 
with the five principles? How could "non-interference in each 
other's internal affairs" be squared with the presence in Chinese 
territory of men like Dr. Singh, the active leader of a subversive 
movement against the Government of Nepal, and Pridi Panomyong, 
who appealed in Peking for the overthrow of the Government of 
Siam? In his quest for enlightment on these and kindred subjects con- 
nected with peaceful co-existence with the new China Mr. Nehruhad 
not only the warm support of most of the Colombo Powers but was 
regarded by them as their advocate. 

Peace in Asia manifestly depends on Communist China's attitude 
to three major problems affecting all her non-Communist neigh- 
bours. They are: (i) the position of Chinese nationals in other Asian 
countries; (2) Communist infiltration and the encouragement of 
I 225 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

subversive movements outside her frontiers; and (3) the alteration 
of existing national borders. 

India has no real Chinese nationals problem of her own, but the 
presence of these people is a source of great disquiet to some of her 
Colombo group associates, notably Burma and Indonesia. In the 
last census, which gave China a population of over doo millions, 
about twelve million Chinese nationals resident abroad were 
enumerated. Over three millions of these are in Siam, about three 
millions in Malaya, nearly two millions in Indonesia, nearly a million 
in Indo-China, over 300,000 in Burma and smaller but growing 
numbers elsewhere. The number in Burma is relatively small, but 
the country's long frontier with China makes the Rangoon 
authorities understandably sensitive. These Chinese nationals con- 
stitute a potential fifth column of a highly dangerous nature, since 
many of them send their children to be educated in China, whence 
they return as fully indoctrinated Communists. 

The subject was raised by Mr. Nehru with Mr. Chou En4ai 
during the Chinese Premier's visit to Delhi, and it was then under- 
stood that Mr. Nehru received a promise that Peking would adopt 
India's policy of advising her nationals in foreign lands to owe un- 
divided loyalty to the countries in which they were settled. But up to 
the date of Mr. Nehru's return visit to Peking the Chinese regime 
had not fulfilled that pledge, if indeed it was ever given, despite 
renewed representations from the Government of India and other 
interested governments, including that of Indonesia. 

On the contrary, the new Chinese constitution adopted in Sep- 
tember, 1954, provided membership in the National People's Con- 
gress, Communist China's so-called equivalent of Western parlia- 
ments, for Chinese nationals in other countries. Thirty seats for 
Chinese abroad were allotted as follows: Malaya 5, Siam 4, In- 
donesia 4, Indo-China 2, Burma i, North Borneo I, the Philippines 
I, Korea and Mongolia I, Japan I, India i, Pakistan I, Europe i, 
Americas 2, Africa i and Oceania i, four places being reserved for 
future allocation. A representative to the National People's Congress 
from Malaya was quoted by the Peking radio on June 20 as saying 
that the draft constitution gave "immense spiritual aid to the unity 
of Chinese residents abroad". 

216 



THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 

In a speech on foreign affairs in the Indian legislature at the end of 
September Mr. Nehru welcomed statements by Mr. Mao Tse-tung 
and Mr. Chou En-lai asking Chinese abroad to choose their 
nationality and advising them either to remain Chinese nationals 
and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of the countries in which 
they lived, or to become nationals of their adopted countries and 
cease to think of China. But there seemed little evidence of the 
Peking Government seeking to persuade its nationals elsewhere to 
give up Chinese nationality. Mr. Chou En-ki in a speech to the 
National People's Congress quoted by the Manchester Guardian 1 said 
of Chinese abroad: 

"They love their homeland warmly. Generally they do not take 
part in the political activities of the country in which they live. 
For the past few years they have been living under very difficult 
conditions in the countries which are unfriendly to China. We 
hope that these countries will not discriminate against the over- 
seas Chinese and will respect their legitimate rights and interests. 
For our part we are willing to urge the overseas Chinese to respect 
the laws of the governments and the social customs of all the 
countries in which they live". 

But this is a very different matter from advising them to give up 
their nationality. On that issue Mr. Chou En-lai said Peking was 
prepared "to settle this question and to settle it first with the South- 
East Asia countries which have established diplomatic relations with 
us". 

One of the first issues Mr. Nehru wants settled is the precise kind 
of status which the Peking authorities propose for die Chinese 
population of Asian states wishing to live at peace with China. If the 
five principles are not mere platitudes, as many people outside India 
maintain, the Colombo Powers will want something much more 
substantial than Mr. Chou En4ai has conceded so far. Mr. Nehru 
has his yardstick, the five principles, and by them he will judge the 
bona fides of China's new rulers on their nationals abroad. He him- 
self has no illusions on the subject. In speeches to the Indian parlia- 
ment before his departure for Peking he was most forthright, 
declaring that Chinese overseas, in addition to their numbers, held a 

1 Manchester Guardian, October 8, 1954- 
227 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

commanding position in the economic sphere and thereby frightened 
many countries in South-East Asia. 

Even more significant was his reference to Malaya, which is under 
Mr. Nehru's pet aversion, the colonial system. It was easy, he said, 
to talk of Malayan independence, but the Malayans themselves were 
apprehensive of the Chinese community which was in a majority 
in their country. From a man of Mr. Nehru's anti-colonial views 
that was a remarkable admission, but it does show where he stands. 
And in that stand he has the firm backing of Burma and Indonesia, 
both of which have raised the question of their own Chinese 
nationals with Peking. Indonesia demands concrete assurances that 
Chinese who accept Indonesian nationality would be recognized as 
Indonesians by Peking, and that those who do not should refrain 
from any kind of subversive activity. 

The second issue major on which Communist China will be 
judged by her uneasy Asian neighbours is Peking's attitude towards 
subversive Communist movements in other countries. Reference 
has already been made to the hospitality which China affords to the 
Nepalese Communist leader, Dr. Singh, who is conducting a cam- 
paign against King Mahendra's Government from Tibet, and to 
Pridi Panomyong, who issued a call from inside China to the Siamese 
people to overthrow Field Marshal Songgram/s regime. 

Here again Mr. Nehru's views are clear and unequivocal. He has 
consistently denounced Communists in India who look elsewhere 
for political allegiance as traitors to their own country. In Septem- 
ber, 1954, he launched a strong attack on international Communism 
and the Cominform. "One can understand", he said, "the existence 
of a national Communist party which had no extra-territorial 
loyalties. But when a group purporting to be national is tied up with 
a group in other countries there is bound to be fear that the latter 
might, for its own ends, utilize the services of the former". The 
activities of organizations like the Cominform, he added, had 
certainly caused a good deal of apprehension and disturbance in 
various countries. 

Mr. Nehru will certainly want evidence from Peking that 
Communist infiltration and the encouragement of subversive move- 
ments by China are to cease. Once more he will apply the yardstick 

228 



THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 

of the five principles especially that guaranteeing "non-inter- 
ference in each other's internal affairs" to measure Communist 
China's sincerity. Again he will have the enthusiastic support of his 
fellow members of the Colombo group, some of which are far 
more perturbed about Communist infiltration than is India. 

Finally, there is the vague but disquieting attitude of Peking 
towards lands over which the old Chinese empire at one time exer- 
cised sway. These include parts of Indo-China, Siam, Burma and 
India. China's forceful occupation of Tibet roused uneasy feelings in 
the minds of her neighbours, particularly India, where indignation 
was vocal. True, Chinese suzerainty over Tibet could not be ques- 
tioned, but there have been published in Communist China maps 
showing areas formerly ruled from Peking of much the same kind 
as those printed in Mussolini's Italy outlining the possessions of the 
Roman empire. One such map brings the Chinese frontier to the 
verge of the plains of Assam east of Bhutan, whereas the border 
negotiated by Sir Henry McMahon with China and Tibet in 1913 
but never ratified by China lies a hundred miles farther back, 
running along the main Himalayan chain to the great bend of the 
Brahmaputra river. As recently as December 1954, Chinese maps 
were on sale in India and Burma showing as Chinese territory not 
only parts of Kashmir and Assam but large areas of northern Burma. 
When the Peking Government's attention was called to these maps 
by Delhi a suitable apology was received, with an explanation that 
the maps had been issued originally by the previous Nationalist 
Government. Mr. Nehru's reactions to this form of irredentism are 
as unambiguous as his attitude on the other major issues. The press 
correspondent who showed him a Chinese map with modifications 
of the McMahon frontier of Assam evoked the angry retort, 
recorded earlier, that India would defend her frontiers, "map or no 
map". He would support any other country which, with the same 
justification, did likewise. La this he is again the mouthpiece of his 
Colombo Powers colleagues. If the five principles mean anything at 
all, they must emphatically ensure "mutual respect for each other's 
territorial integrity". Also of great interest to Mr. Nehru is Peking's 
attitude towards Hongkong and Formosa particularly Formosa, 
since a Chinese attempt to take it from the Nationalists in present 

229 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

circumstances would almost certainly lead to a world conflagra- 
tion. 

To sum up, Mr. Nehru wants to make co-existence with Com- 
munist China a workable reality on terms which he can accept. 
These terms would connote China's respect for her neighbours' 
frontiers and strict non-interference with their internal affairs. They 
would not include, in return, membership of a specifically anti- 
Western bloc sponsored by Peking, Jakarta or any other Asian 
capital; in that way, Mr. Nehru argues, lies war. The only defensive 
organization of which he approves is the United Nations, which in 
his view should comprise all free countries, including Communist 
China. 

If his policy succeeds it may well change the whole outlook on 
world peace. But its success will depend on China, on Peking's 
interpretation of the five principles as applied to actual conditions. 
By themselves the five principles are theoretically admirable; what 
Mr. Nehru and his fellow prime ministers now wish is for Peking to 
give them practical effect. The Colombo Powers argue that if sub- 
versive movements in their own countries are not encouraged or 
supported from outside, they will die out as internal conditions 
improve. 

When Mr. Nehru visited China in October, 1954, he received 
a welcome on a grand scale. On his return he emphasized that he 
had not gone to Peking with the idea of asking for or giving any 
guarantees; he went "to understand, to be impressed, and to impress 
in a friendly way". Yet there is no doubt that Mr. Nehru took 
occasion to explain very fully to Mr. Mao Tse-tung and Mr. Chou 
En-lai the attitude and outlook of the Colombo Powers on their 
problems vis-a-vis China and the West. The views of the group were 
summed up at the time by a Ceylon periodical: 1 

"Free Asia . . . has every desire to live at peace with Communist 
China and to leave her alone to solve her own internal problems. 
Manila and its aftermath should serve as convincing proof of this 
fact. But in return, free Asia has a right to expect demonstration 
on the part of Communist China that she does not intend to inter- 
fere in the internal politics and life of the countries of this region. 

l jona, Colombo, October* 1954. 
230 



THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 

This Is the only genuine basis possible for the ideal of 'peaceful 
co-existence' embodied, in the Nehru-Chou declaration. 

It is only natural that large sections of Asian opinion should 
regard Chinese promises of 'non-interference* with suspicion. 
For there are in the free Asian countries Communist movements 
owing allegiances to both China and Russia, which have proved 
by their past record that they have no independent political exis- 
tence but are controlled by the changing winds from behind the 
bamboo and iron curtains. 

As long as these movements continue to function in this way, 
free Asia must inevitably fear that Communist offers of peace are 
only a camouflage for a programme of internal subversion, and 
that this fifth column may become a base for future expansion in 
Asia. 

It is in China's power to allay these fears. . . . Communist China 
has everything to gain by such a policy. A genuine course of non- 
interference in the affairs of the free Asian countries, not merely in 
words but in deeds, would win for her the permanent assurance 
that these countries would not gang up with, any hostile power 
against her. After Manila, Communist China should need no 
further arguments that it is in her own interests to avoid driving 
any further Asian powers into the arms of SEATO," 
Mr. Nehru has his critics not only in the West but inside his own 
country. The right wing Hindu Mahasabha accuses Mm of being 
little better than a fellow traveller, and even the Praja Socialists are 
sceptical of his dealings with China. In America he is often accused 
of being a Communist dupe or stooge. None of these allegations 
will bear scrutiny. He is an idealist-cum-realist seeking a way out of 
a world impasse. If he fails, his defeat would automatically end all 
belief in Communist China's pretensions to peace. It might still leave 
India determined not to join any power bloc, but it would disillusion 
peoples now outside SEATO and bring a new appreciation of the 
value of Western help, both economic and military. Whatever 
Western people may think of Mr. Nehru's foreign policy and some 
of them think very poorly of it they must remember that it is with 
Hm a profound conviction, and that it has the support of the vast 
majority of the people of India, Burma, Indonesia and Ceylon. 

231 



STRUGGLE FOR ASIA 

The results of the Asian- African conference held at Bandung in 
April, 1955, do not basically alter these conclusions. Bandung was 
a remarkable gathering, marked by two outstanding developments. 
One was the sharp difference in the attitude towards China of 
countries like India, which, breathed goodwill, and of other Col- 
ombo Powers like Pakistan and Ceylon which openly denounced 
Communist "colonialism". But all the nations represented at the 
conference were in accord in being profoundly impressed and 
here comes the second important factor by Mr. Chou En-lai's 
earnest professions of peace not only towards his Asian neighbours 
but towards America as well. What the rest of Asia and the world 
now wait to see is whether the policy which the Chinese Premier 
announced with so much effect at Bandung is to be translated into 
practice. 

How can the Western democracies best help those Asian demo- 
cracies which are fighting a battle against Communism, but do not 
wish to be involved in any Western-sponsored defence organization? 
Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, British Commissioner-General in South- 
East Asia, attempted an answer to that question during a recent 
visit to Washington. Western aid, he said, "must be consistent with 
the great principles that lie closest to the heart of the peoples of 
South-East Asia at this period of their history". These principles 
were the preservation of Asian national liberty and the promotion 
of economic progress. 

Mr. MacDonald likened the struggle against Communism in 
South-East Asia to a prize fight of which the first two rounds were 
over, the first political and the second military, the military round 
having gone satisfactorily except for Viet Nam. The third round, 
for which the bell had sounded, would (he thought) be political in 
character and would be "very dangerous". If economic conditions 
became difficult the Communists could have success; everything 
must be done to give Asian governments "in ways acceptable to 
them" the financial and technical assistance necessary to build up 
strong democracies. 

Direct American help in the shape of Point Four, military and 
other forms of aid is already reaching Asia in massive amounts, but 
it is sometimes viewed with suspicion and in one or two cases it has 

232 



THE CRUCIAL ISSUES 

been refused. Another form of assistance, which now embraces 
the whole range of South-East Asian democracies, including the 
Philippines and Japan the latest members-is provided by the 
Colombo Plan. This Plan was started as a challenge by the Common- 
wealth to the poverty of its Asian members; in some respects it 
represents the British equivalent of America's foreign aid pro- 
gramme, but in actual operation it differs sharply from the American 
project 

To begin with, it is typical of the Commonwealth in that it is a 
joint affair involving a series of countries on a self-help as well as a 
foreign aid basis. The Commonwealth foreign ministers who 
designed it in Colombo in 1950 formed the Commonwealth 
Consultative Committee on Economic Development in South and 
South-East Asia, comprising at first only the Commonwealth 
member states in Asia. Today the Plan covers not merely these 
countries but Burma, Indonesia, the three Associated States of Indo- 
China, Siam, Nepal, the Philippines and Japan, together with 
Malaya, Singapore, North Borneo and Sarawak all of them linked 
in a mutual co-operative effort to raise living standards. Other mem- 
bers of the Commonwealth taking part in the scheme are Great 
Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and since its inaugura- 
tion it has been joined by the United States and works in conjunc- 
tion with ECAFE and the International Bank. 

The great virtue of the Colombo Plan in the eyes of the nations 
participating in it is that it has no political strings of any kind and is 
the joint concern of all the countries involved; this permits a state 
Kke Indonesia, which is unduly sensitive about any form of Western 
influence, to be represented on the Consultative Committee. Each 
country is free to revise its development programme as it wishes; 
the Plan is not a master organization but a means of co-operation 
among all the member states, each helping the other where possible. 
A notable feature of die Plan is its provision for the training of 
technicians of all kinds, ranging from those engaged in agriculture 
to highly skilled industry, both on the spot and in Western member 
states. It is along these lines, in greater volume, as well as by direct 
American help, that the answer to South-East Asia's nationalist 
problems is to be found. 



233 



INDEX 



Acheson, Mr. Dean, 135 

Afghanistan, 3, 16, 18, 139, 205 

Aga Khan, H.H. the, 89 

Ahmadiya community, 106 

Akhbar, Emperor, 79 

Aleutians, The, 136 

Alexander of Hillsborough, Lord, 88 

Amoy, 1 66, 167 

Andhra State, 93, 99, 100 

"Andhra Thesis," 99, 100 

Annam, 144, 145, 147, 156 

Anshan, 162, 163, 165 

Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League, 

7i-3, 76 
ANZUS Powers, 154, 156, 213, 214, 217, 

219 

Arab States, 1 8, 22-5, 114, 223 
Arabia, 2, 4 
Arakanese, The, 67 
d'Argenlieu, Admiral, 148 
Asian- African conference, 223, 224, 232 
Asoka, 79 

Assam, 105, 172, 183, 191, 229 
Atjeh, 58 

Attlee, Mr,, 72, 77, 127, 163, 170 
Aung San, U., 67, 68, 71, 72 
Australia, 50, 53, 154, 213, 214, 216, 217, 

233 

Ba Maw, Dr., 71, 72 

Ba U, President, 75 , 

Ba Sein, Thakin, 72 

Baguio, 214, 217 

Bakshi, Ghulam Mahommed, no, in 

Baluchistan, 105, 112 

Bandung, 223, 232 

Bao Dai, Emperor, 146, 147, *50, 152, 

153. 155, 174 
Bashani, Maulana, 107 
Bassein, 74 

Bedell Smith, Mr., 155 
Bell, Mr. D. W., 65 
Bhutan, 229 
Bidault, M. t 155 
Binh Xuyen, 174 
Bombay, 14, 9$ 
Bonin Islands, 193 
Borneo* 8, 16, 50, ISP, **&, *33 



Borodin, 43, 147 

Bourne, Lt.-General, Sir Geoffrey, 130 
Boxer Indemnity, 42 
Brahmaputra river, 229 
British Cabinet Mission, 88 
Buddhism, 2, 4, 77 
Burghers, 116 

Burma, 8, 9, 16, 17, 67-78, 139, 155, 157, 
160, 171, 172, 179, 181, 182, 201, 202, 

2O5, 2O8, 210-12, 2l6-l8, 22O, 221, 

226, 228, 229, 231 
Burma Oil Company, 74 
Burma Road, 182 

Calcutta, 96, 101 

Cambodia, 16, 144, 145, 150, *55-7 

176, 219 

Canada, 156, 213, 233 
Canton, 44 
Cao Daists, 173 
Celebes, The, 49, 59 
Ceylon, 16, 17, 68, 70, 77, 79, 116-21, 

155, 159, 199, 204, 209, 211, 2ia, 

2I6-I8, 220, 221, 231 

Cheng Lock Tan, Sir, 128 
Chiang Kai-shek, General, 13, 28, 34 
39, 40, 43-7, 67, 134. * 62 I 66 I<5 7 

169, 170, 182, 189, 190, 193 
Chin Peng, 126 

China and the Chinese, 1-9, 12, 16, 2<5, 
28, 32, 35-7, 39-48, 53, 60, 64, 75, 77, 
91, 120, 122-31, 135, 136, 139, i4i-4 

156, 157, 159-73, 177, 179. 182-4, 
189-98, 205, 209, 211, 214, 216, 220-31 

Chins, 70 

Chou En-lai, Mr., 48, 77, 155, I5<$ I59t 

170, 189, 195-7, 205, 223, 225-7, 230 
Chu Teh, General, 48 

Chungking, 45, 162 

Churchill, Sir Winston, 134* 154* *5$ 

213 

Cochin China, 144, 145, *47, *4, 150 
Colombo Plan, 60, 76, 102, 112, 121, 180, 

186, 199, 232, 233 
Colombo Powers, 17, 18, 77, 120, 1 55. 

170, 171, 179, 199-21 1, 213-19, 231-30 
Commonwealth, 202-5, 211 
Cripps* Sir Stafford, 87, &* 



INDEX 



Dalai Lama, 193, 194 

Dar-ul-Islam, 59 

Dato Onn Bin Jafaar, 127, 128, 130 

Dien Bien Pirn, 153-5 

Donoughmore, Lord, 118 

Dulles, Mr. John Foster, 91, 140, 142, 

154-6, 167, 168, 213, 214, 217-19 
Dutch East Indies see Indonesia 

East Bengal and East Pakistan, 105, 107, 

108, in, 181, 183, 205 
East India Company, 80, 81 
Eden, Sir Anthony, 155, 156, 208, 210, 

213, 214, 216, 217 
Egypt, 18, 23, 24, 223 
Eisenhower, President, 140, 167, 174, 

175, 206, 207, 213 
Ely, General, 175 

Fazlul Huq, Mr. A. K., 107, 108 
"Five Principles of Co-Existence,'* 194, 

229, 230 
Formosa (Taiwan), 36, 46,47, 161, 166-9, 

220, 222, 225, 229 
Fourteenth Army, 71 
France and the French, 3, 5, 63, 80, 144-8, 

152-7, 161, 173, 175, 208, 209, 212-14, 

217 
"Free Thai" Movement, 172, 176-9, 

182, 205, 220 

Gandhi, Mahatma, 50, 80, 84, 87, 94-6, 

104, 196, 202 
Geneva Conference, 77, 144, 149, 154-8, 

161, 170, 175, 176, 182, 195, 208, 210, 

214, 217, 219 

Ghulam Mohammad, Mr., 106, 113 
Ghulam Mahommad Sadiq, Mr., in 
Giap, General, 152, 153 
Goonetilleke, Sir Oliver, 118 
"Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity 

Sphere", 8, 146 
Gurkhas, The, 184 
Gyantse, 191 

Haiphong, 163, 166 

Hankow, 163 

Hanoi, 147, 163, 166 

Hastings, Lord, 81 

Hatta, Vice-President, 51, 52, 55, 57 

Hatoyama, Mr. Ichiro, 37, 38 

Himalayas, 229 

Hinduism, 2, 4, 79 

Hindu Mabasabha, 231 

Hoa Haos, 174 



Ho Chi-minh, Dr., 5, 146-53, 165, 172, 

175, 213 
Holland and the Dutch, 6, 50-5, 63, 1 16, 

117, 123, 145, 159, 204, 212 
Honan, 163 

Hongkong, 16, 212, 220, 224, 229 
Hue, 156 

Hukbalahaps, 64-6 
Hunie, Mr. Allan Octavian, 81 
Hunan, 163 
Huns, 2 
Hupeh, 163 
Hyderabad State, 82, 89, 95-7 

Inchon, 136 

Independence of Malaya Party, 128 
India, 4, 7, 8, 1?,, 14, 17, 28, 50, 53, 68-70, 
77-103, 109, in, 115, 119, 123, 127, 
128, 136, 138, 139, 146, 155, 156, 159, 
163, 164, 171, 172, 179, 181-4, 189-98, 
199, 200, 204, 207, 208, 210, 216-18, 
220, 221, 2,24, 226, 229, 231 
Indian Army, 3, 80, 184 
Indian Five Year Plan, 102, 103 
Indian National Congress, 50, 51, 56, 70, 
81-5, 87, 89, 91, 92, 94, 95, 109, 185, 
200 

Indo-China, 3, 5, 8, 34, 36, 60, 63, 77, 
133, 144-57, 160, 161, 165, 171-4, 176, 
178, 208-10, 212, 224, 226, 229, 233 
Indonesia, 6, 8, 12, 16, 17, 28, 49-60, 
<53 77, 79, *39> 145, 155, 159, i<5o, 171, 
172, 181, 182, 199, 204, 209, 212, 2i<5, 

218, 220, 223, 226, 228, 231 

Indus Canal Waters, in 

Iraq, 16, 22-4, 115 

Irrawaddy, 75 

Iskandar Mirza, Major-General, 108, 

114 

Islam, 2, 4 
Israel, 16, 18, 22, 23, 25 

Jakarta, 58, 223, 224, 230 

Japan, and the Japanese, 2-4, 7, 8, 12, 
26-38, 45, 46, 52, 60-2, 64, 70, 71, 
78, 122, 124, 133, 134, 136, 146, 147, 
161, 163, 170, 176, '183, 184, 199, 202, 

212, 220, 226, 232, 233 

Japanese Peace Treaty, to 
Java, 49, 50, 52, 53, 57 59 
Jfamah, Qui ad-i-Azam M.A-, 55, 84-6, 

90, 104, 105 
JofTe, 43 

Jogjakarta, Sultan of, 58 
Johore State, 123, 124 
Jones Act, 62 



236 



INDEX 



Jordan, 16, 22, 23 
Joshi, Mr. P. C., 97 



Kachins, 70, 74 

Kandy, 116, 117 

Karachi, 106, 107, 114, 115 

Karens, 67, 70, 73-6 

Kashmir, 17, 82, 83, 89, 90, 93, 108-10, 

205, 207, 208, 210, 217, 229 
Katmandu, 186, 187 
Katunayake, 204 
Kedali State, 123, 124 
Kelantan State, 124 
Khrner movement, 155 
Kim fl-Sung, President, 135, 142 
Kiangsi, 44, 45 
King Mahendra, 185 
King Norodom Sihanouk, 146 
King Tribhuvana, 185 
King Sisavong Vong, 146, 176 
Koirala, Mr. B. P., 186 
Koirala, Mr. M. P., 185, 186 
Korea, 16, 32, 34, 36, 47, 60, 77, I33~43 

144, 157, 158, 160, 16*1, 163-6, 170, 

177, 190-2, 212-14, 220, 225, 226 
Kotelawala, Sir John, 119, 120, 204, 208, 

210, 217, 221 
Kra Isthmus, 214 
Krishna Menon, Mr. V. K., 157 
Kuala Lumpar, 127 
Kuomintang, 40, 42-7, 67, 76, 124, 125, 

139, 147, 166, 169, 190, 229 
Kurile Islands, 36 
Kwangsi, 172 

Lahore, 106 

Lake Habbaniya, 24 

Laos, 16, 141, 145, 150, 153, 155-7. 175-9 

182, 219 

de Lattre de Tassigny, General, 152, 212 
Lava, Mr. Jesus, 66 
Le Van Vien, General, 174 
Lebanon, The, 16, 22, 23 
Leclerc, General, 147-9, *75 
Lhasa, 191, 193 
Liaquat AH Khan, Mr., 105 
Linlithgow, Lord, 96 
Lin Shao-chi, Mr. 48 
"Long March", The, 45 
Luang Prabang, 153 
Lyttdton, Mr. Oliver, 129 

MacArthur, General Douglas, 30-3, 

64, I3<5, 138 
Macassar, 54 
Macaulay, Lord, 81 



MacDonald, Mr. Malcolm, 232 
MacDonald, Mr. Ranisay, 85 
Mr.cG ; ! K .v-r.v. Sir Donald, 129 
Mc.\!?.!:o:i, S : r Henry, 229 
Madras, 94, 96, 97 
Magellan, 61 

Magsaysay, President Ramon, 65 
Magwe, 74, 75 
Malacca, 123, 127 

Malaya, 3, 8, 16, 71, 122-32, 157, 159, 
160, 171, 172, 176, 178, 181, 182, 184, 
212, 218, 226, 228, 233 
Malayan Chinese Association, 128, 129 
Malik, Mr. Jacob, 114 
Manchuria and Manchufcuo, 8, 36, 45, 

133, 162, 163, 165, 226 
Mandalay, 74 

Manila Treaty (SEATO), 17, 35, 154, 
155, 158, 167, 171, 179, 195, 212-24, 
230, 231 
Manipur, 183 

Mao Tse-tung, Mr., 5, 13, 28, 40, 43, 
45-8, 97, 120, 138, 154, 160-2, 164, 
165, 167, 170, 176, 189, 190, 191, 195, 
196, 205, 227, 230 
Marco Polo, 3 

Marshall, General George, 46 
Masjumi, 55-8, 223 
Meiktila, 74 
Mehta, Mr. G. L., 203 
Mekong river, 144, 145, 182 
Mendes-France, M., 156 
Menzies, Mr. R. G., 214 
Middle East, 16-25, H4 H5, 20* 204, 

206, 211, 223 

Minto-Morley Reforms, 82 
Mogul Empire, 79, 80, 82 
Mohammad Ayub Khan, General, 113 
Mohammad Ali, Mr., 107, 108, 110-14, 

206-8, 210 

Molotov, M,, 155, 156 
Moluccas, The, 49, 54, 59 
Mongols, 2, 3 
Mons, The, 67, 74 

Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms, 82, 84 
Moors, 1 1 6" 
Moros,, 66 

Mountbatten of Burma, Earl, 8-S, 89, 92 
Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Chaudrl, 

106, 114, 206, 217, 218 
Musaddiq, Dr., 19 
Muslim League, 55, 84-8, 95, 104, 105, 



Nagas, The, 183 

Nai Pridi Panomyong, 177, i?9, 225, 228 



237 



INDEX 



Nanking, 43, 4<5 

Navarre, General, 153 

Nazirnuddin, Kwaja, 106 

Negri Sembilan State, 124 

Nehru, Mr. Jawaharlal, 6, 10, n, 53, 77, 
8p 90, 92, 97, 98, no, in, 115, 119, 
120, 123, 156, 171, 181, 185, 189-92, 195- 
198, 200-2, 205-10, 214, 216, 217, 

219, 221, 223-31 

Nepal, 53, 172, 183-8, 196, 225, 233 

Nepal Terai, 187, 188 

Neutral Nations Repatriation Com- 
mission, 138, 192 

New Guinea (West Irian), 50, 53, 54, 56, 
159 

New Zealand, 50, 53, 154, 213, 214, 217, 

233 

Ngo Dinh Diem, Mr., 173, 174 
Nguyen Van Hinh, General, 174 
Nixon, Mr. John, 34 
Nizam of Hyderabad, H.H. the, 89, 96, 

109 

North-West Frontier Province, 105, 109 
Nu, U, 9, 67, 71-3, 76, 156, 181, 183, 

195, 205, 209, 221, 225 
Nuri es-Said, Senator, 24 
Nye, Sir Archibald, 96 

Ochterlony, General, 184 

Ogasawara, 36 

Okinawa, 36, 136, 168, 220 

Pahang State, 124 

Pakistan, 16, 17, 24, 28, 68, 77, 79, 86", 
93, 104-15, 139, 155, 159, 184, 199, 

205-11, 2I6-I8, 220, 221, 224, 226 

Pal, Mr. Justice, 10 

Panchern Lama, 193, 194 

Pandit, Mrs. Vajayalakshmi, 204 

Panikkar, Mr. K. M., 190 

Panmunjom, 138, 140, 192 

Patcl, Sardar Vallabhbhai, 93 

"Pathet Lao" movement, 155, 175, 176 

Pearl Harbour, i r 30 

Penang, 123, 127 

PEPSU, 98 

Perak State, 123, 124 

Perry, Commodore, i, 2, 27 

Persia (Iran), 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 24, 115 

Perlis State, 124 

Pescadores, 168 

Pethick-Lawrence, Lord, 88 

Philippines, The, 2, 9, 16, 17, 49, 61-6, 

71, 79, 136, 168, 171, 212,214, 216-18, 

226, 232, 233 
Phong Saly, 175 



Pollitt, Mr. Harry, 100 
Port Arthur, 164 
Portuguese, 16, 80, 116, 123 
Potsdam Agreement, 146 
Prome, 74, 75 
Punjab, 104-6, in, 113 

Queen Elizabeth II, 118 
Quemoy Islands, 167, 168 
Quezon, President Manuel Luis, 62 
Quirino, President, 64, 65 

Raffles, Sir Stamford, 123 

Rajagopalachari, Mr. C., 89 

Rajendra Prasad, Dr., 93 

Rajeshwar Rao, 100 

Ranas, The, 184-7 

Ranadive, Mr. B. T., 97, 98 

Ranee, Sir Hubert, 72 

Rangoon, 67, 77, 205 

Rawalpindi conspiracy case, 106 

Reading, Marquis of, 217 

"Red Flag" Communists, 73 

Red River Delta, 144, 145, 152, 156, 161, 

163, 166, 173, 174 
RJbee, President Syngman, 135, 140, 142, 

143, 165, 173, 225 
Roosevelt, President, 134 
Round Table Conference, 82 
Roxas, President, 64 
Roy, Mr. M. N., 101 
Ryukyu Islands, 36, 193 

Saigon, 145, 175 

Sainteny, M. Jean, 175 

Sakhalin, 36 

Salween, 74, 75 

Sam Neua, 175, 176 

Sastroamidjojo, Dr. AH, 57, 60, 204, 223 

Saudi Arabia, 16, 22, 23, 139 

Saw, U, 72 

Sayre, Mr. Francis B., 63 

Schechwan, 45 

Security Council, 53, 178, 190 

Sekngor State, 124 

Senanayake, Mr. D. S., 119 

Senanayake, Mr. Dudley, 119 

Seoul, 136 

Seventeenth Parallel, 156 

Shaiba, 24 

Shaikh Abdullah, 90, 109, no 

Shan States, 70, 74, 75, 178, 182, 205 

Shensi, 45 

Siam (Thailand), 8, 17, 53, 76, 145, 157, 
160, 171, 172, 176, 177-83, 202, 212, 
214, 216, 217, 220, 226, 229, 233 



238 



INBBX 



Simatupang, Major-Gcneral, 58 

Sind, 105, in, 113 

Singapore, 16, 122, 123, 125, 127, 128, 

129, 154,212,213,233 
Singh, Dr. K. L. 185, 1^7, 188, 225, 228 
Sinkiang, 163 
Sittang Valley, 74 
Sjahrir, Mr. Soetan, 56 
Sjariffuddin, Mr. Amir, 56 
Slim, Field-Marshal Sir William, 71 
Soekarno, President, 51-3, 55-8, 60, 204, 

223 
Songgram, Field-Marshal Pibul, 172, 

177-9, 1 8 1, 228 
Soulbury, Lord, 118 
Souphanou Vong, 176 
South-East Asia Command, 212 
"South-East Asia Youth Conference", 

54, 73, 96, 183 
Souvanna Vong, 176 
Spain, 6 1, 62 

Stalin, Marshal, 14, 45, 134, 162, 188, 192 
Straits Settlements, 123 
Subhas Chandra Bose, 127 
Suhrawardy, Mr. H. S., 107 
Sumantri, Mr. Iwa Kusunaa, 58 
Sumatra, 49, 52, 53, 57, 58 
Sun Yat-sen, 7, 8, 28, 41, 43, 44, 146 
Syria, 1 6, 22, 23 

Tachens, 167 

"Tactical Line", 99 

Tamils, 116, 119, 120, 123 

Tan Malaka, 52, 54-6, 58 

Taruc, Mr. Luis, 64, 66 

Telangana, 96, 97, 101 

Templer, General Sir Gerald, 130, 131 

Tenassarim, 67, 74, 75 

ThaHn Party, 69, 70, 71 

Thirty-eighth Parallel, 136, 138, 190 

Tibet, 47, 172, 183, 184, 1 8 8, 190, 191-5* 

228, 229 
Tongking, 144, U5, *47, *52, 153, *<56, 

175 



Toungoo, 74 

Travancore-Cochin, 94, 98, 187 

Trengganu State, 124 

Trincomalee, 204 

Trotskyists, 52, 54 

Tripura, 183 

Truman, President, 65, 166 

Tudeh Party, 19, 21 

Turkey and the Turks, 2, 18, 19, 21-4, 

53, 114, 115, 206, 207 
Tydings-McDume Act, 62 

United Malay National Organization, 

127-9 
United Nations, 3, 53, 76", 77, 133, 135, 

136*, 139, 141-3, 165, 192, 216,218-20, 

224, 230 

Ventiane, 176 

Viet-minh, 3, 146-9, 152-5, 157, 165, 

172, 173, 175, 176, 178 
Viet Nam, 16, 144-50, 152, 153, 155-8, 

1 60, 163, 165, 166, I73~<5, 209, 213, 

214, 219, 232 

Wavell, Lord, 87, 88 
Wellesley Province, 123 
West Bengal, 95-7* 100, 105 
Westerling, "Turk", 54 
"White Flag" Communists, 73 
World Bank, in, 121, 131, 233 

Yalta Conference, 134 

Yalu River, 135, 160, 165 

Yatung, 191 

Yenan, 45, 97, 162, 196 

Yoshida, Mr., 32, 37, 38 

Yenanyaung oilfields, 74, 75 

Yuan Shih-kai, 42 

Yunnan, 75, 77, 178, 179, 182, 205 

Zahedi, General, 19, 21 
Zinoviev, M., 29 



3,19 



115842