25 JUNE 1948, Page 16


Snt,—Is it not possible to take Mr. G. B. Thomas's admirable article in The Spectator of June 18th a step further by suggesting that the increase in Communist activity in Burma and Malaya is due to a realisation by those responsible for Soviet policy that a course of action, which is not possible in Europe without arousing American resentment, can be pursued in a part of the world in which the ordinary American citizen is much less interested? In Malaya and Indonesia Communist propaganda can make use of the traditional American doctrine of opposition to " imperialism," a doctrine which has not altogether been set aside. Furthermore the establishment of Communist Governments in those two countries would strike a mortal blow at the prospects of recovery in Western Europe. As Mr. Ivor Thomas points out in his article Entente on Colonies, in the same issue of your paper, the loss of Indonesia would mean a 16 per cent. decline in the standard of living in the Netherlands, and, as Captain Gammans told the same conference in Amsterdam, Malaya is the greatest dollar-earning country in the British Empire.

May I, as one who attended this conference as an onlooker, take the opportunity of congratulating the British Society for International Under- standing and The Allied' Circle in the Netherlands (Amsterdam) on their enterprise in organising such a successful conference, Mr. Ivor Thomas for his valuable description of its achievements, and, at the same time, thank our Dutch hosts for their great hospitality and many kindnesses.—