JAVA: Partnership, No

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Southeast Asia's contagion of nationalism plagued the Dutch last week.

The rich tin mines and oil pools of The Netherlands East Indies had been prize loot for the Japanese. Dropping all such stolen property last month, the Japs took time to throw a sharp tack in the path of the former owners. On Java they granted independence to a "Republic of Indonesia." Its head: Dutch-educated Soekarno, 40, a longtime, long-winded nationalist orator.

When Britain, helping out the Dutch, sent Lieut. General Sir Philip Christison to Batavia rioting broke out on Java. The islands had Queen Wilhelmina's promise of eventual, postwar "partnership" in a Netherlands Commonwealth. But nationalists cried that the time was ripe for something more. They served notice on General Christison: if British and Indian occupation forces brought along any Dutch troops, the Dutch would be shot.

General Christison, sending Dutch colonial administrators on ahead, strongly suggested that they talk things over with Soekarno and other nationalists. The colonials agreed. But from The Hague to Australia, Dutch tempers flared. Soekarno, the Netherlanders roared, was a puppet and an opportunist. The Dutch Government would talk nothing over with him; more likely it would try him as a war criminal.

Between Two Flags. Last week the impatient nationalists responded with more riots. In Batavia roving bands shot it out with British marines. Reports from Surabaya said Indonesians took over an internment camp, holding European women as hostages. When British planes tried to land at the airport, crowds swarmed over the runways. At Bandung exuberant natives occupied key points, beat the British to the job of disarming the Japs.

Soekarno blandly deplored the outbreaks. But they went right on after General Christison angrily warned him to stop them. The Dutch landed 1,000 troops, hoped shortly to get 35,000 into the islands. Meantime, on Java, the flag of The Netherlands flew between protecting British and U.S. flags.

In other troubled imperial areas of Asia:

¶ The French achieved a nervous truce, but no agreement, last week with rebellious Annamites at Saïgon. Much to the relief of colonials, a respectable show of French force was possible: the battleships Richelieu and Triomphant had arrived. But in northern Indo-China, liberated and still occupied by the Chinese, native Viet Nam leaders crowed that Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek had personally promised them support.

¶ In Ceylon, a British Crown colony since 1802, a state council leader announce that the island was asking Dominion status.