INDONESIA: Ire over Irian

In the Indonesian's atlas the western part of New Guinea is called Irian. No one is quite sure what the word signifies. One theory is that it means nothing, another that it means "warm land." It is, indeed, a torrid jungle and mountain wilderness as big as California. Sparsely inhabited by fuzzy-wuzzy Melanesian cannibals and practically unexploited, it has been a Dutch colony the past 122 years. Last week Irian was also a hot focus of argument between its Dutch rulers and the bumptious young Republic of Indonesia.

The dispute began in the postwar struggle of the Indies. When the...

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