On a routine cruise to "show the flag," the British warships Amphion and Contest steamed into the harbor of Santa Ana Island in the southern Solomons (which are under a British protectorate). On the beach the Britons saw a strange flag flying from a pole—a yellow field with vertical black stripes. The Amphion's pidgin-English interpreter asked the truculent islanders grouped around the flagpole what the flag stood for. It stood, said the natives, for "Martin Lo"—pidgin English for Marxian law. Communism had arrived among the atolls.

At a little distance, six white...

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