INDONESIA: The Other Bank

After six years of provisional government, the Republic of Indonesia (pop. 80 million) got around to holding a general election last September. Five months later the ballots, from jungle villages and distant islands, were counted. Of the 172 parties contending for the 260 seats in the new Parliament, two finished in a dead heat: the Nationalists and Masjumi (Moslem) Parties, each with 57 seats. In fourth place, with a surprising 39 seats, were the Communists.

A coalition would be necessary, and President Soekarno assigned his old friend and protege, Ali Sastroamidjojo, to form it. Soekarno likes to say that "if the...