From the blue and surf-ringed isolation of French-owned Tahiti, Author James Norman Hall (Pitcairn's Island, Mutiny on the Bounty) decided that the world's dirty, teeming and fear-ridden old nests of civilization needed a word of cheer. After noting, with obvious satisfaction, that French Oceania was free of the ships, planes and men which cluttered it up during World War II, he sent TIME two items of news about its people:

"An immense buried treasure is being recovered from the lagoon of the island of Bora Bora where the U.S. had a base during World War II. The treasure consists of...

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