JAVA: New Man, Old Demands

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Britons and Indonesians still killed each other in The Netherlands East Indies last week. They did not know quite how to stop.

The British got Dutch and Indonesian leaders together in Batavia for an in conclusive peace talk. The Dutch had refused to deal with President Soekarno of the "Indonesian Republic" because he collaborated with the Japs. So Soekarno, while keeping nominal power, took a back seat and a new Premier appeared. The new Indonesian leader is small (4 ft. 10½ in., 100 lbs.), scholarly, socialistic Sjahrir, 36. He met his Dutch wife while studying law at Amsterdam, later saw her packed back to Holland when the Dutch exiled him for nationalist activities. He has never seen their twelve-year-old son. Sjahrir was kept in exile until 1942. During the Jap occupation he grew pineapples and helped organize the resistance movement.

At the Batavia peace talk, Sjahrir demanded at least a guarantee of eventual independence. The Dutch would not give it. Further talks were scheduled, though agreement seemed remote. Meanwhile, the British seized Semarang in central Java after nationalists murdered three officers there. At Surabaya Britain's Indian troops inched forward after nine days of bitter fighting.