INDONESIA: The Man from Florida

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As the black B-26 turned out to sea after bombing the Indonesian port of Amboina, guns opened up from ground installations and government patrol boats in the harbor. The B-26 shuddered, and two men bailed out before it died in a splash of sea spray. One, an Indonesian rebel, was fished out of the water. The other got his parachute fouled in a palm tree on a coral reef, and, in freeing himself, fell to the ground and broke his right thigh. For the Indonesians, he was an impressive catch. His name: Allen Lawrence Pope. Nationality: U.S.A. Florida-born Allen Pope, 29, was an ex-Air Force first lieutenant, who won the D.F.C. in the Korean war, became a crack pilot with Claire Chennault's Formosa-based Civil Air Transport, flew transports over Dien-bienphu in the Indo-China war.

Pilot Pope was clearly not the only U.S. flier involved in Indonesia's civil war. From Zamboanga, in the southern Philippines, last week came word that during March and April some 20 transport planes had touched down at the dirt airport to refuel and continue on their way to or from rebel-held Menado. The planes reportedly had Nationalist Chinese markings covered over with hasty coats of paint, their pilots were Chinese and Americans from Chennault's swashbuckling CAT, the cargoes were rumored to be guns and munitions. But the continued string of rebel defeats and the new posture of cordial friendship between the U.S. and the Indonesian government of President Sukarno has had its effect: not a single Menado-bound plane has landed at Zamboanga since May 1.

In Djakarta, in evident eagerness to keep alive the new friendship with the U.S., Sukarno made no big show of the prize captive, but left the announcement to be made by the military commander at Amboina, Lieut. Colonel Herman Pieters. Pieters was himself briefly a member of the rebel colonels. He quoted Pilot Pope as saying that he had been hired by the rebels at $10,000 a month and had flown most of the destructive missions over East Indonesia in which foreign and native shipping was sunk and damaged (TIME, May 12). Pope, a serious and not a swashbuckling type, had originally joined the rebels because he believed Indonesia was "turning Communist," said Pieters. He had now changed his mind and "expressed regret for what he had done." He will be tried by a military court.

U.S. Ambassador Howard Jones issued his regrets that an American "paid soldier of fortune" had become involved in the fighting, and the Indonesians seemed willing to let it go at that.