New Guinea: Dutch Squeeze

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Indonesian guerrillas crept through the dense jungles of Dutch New Guinea last week, and it became clear that Indonesia's President Sukarno was at last going to do more than talk about grabbing the disputed territory that he calls West Irian. He also adroitly deployed psychological warfare: Indonesia broadcast reports of widely spaced new landings on New Guinea's coast and Waigeo Island, forcing the Dutch to spread out their meager defenses (5,800 combat troops). And by compelling The Hague to ship new troops to the Pacific on the eve of a big debate on New Guinea in the Dutch Parliament, Sukarno played shrewdly on the knowledge that a bloody defensive war would be unpopular in The Netherlands.

When Netherlands Premier Jan de Quay announced that he would send 1,400 more troops to New Guinea this week, the minority Calvinist Anti-Revolutionary Party in his four-party coalition government threatened to defect rather than risk voters' ire. The troubled Calvinists re quested a postponement of the debate. Su karno increased the pressure on Dutch public opinion by offering to send his pow erful vice premier, Mohammad Yamin —who is in charge of Sukarno's West Irian "development planning" — to Washington for a new round of talks on a settlement.

The Dutch government, though it would like to be free of New Guinea peacefully, stuck to its guns. Argued De Quay's Foreign Minister Joseph Luns: ''How can you go to the conference table announcing in advance that you will capitulate on the very issue you are going to talk about?" Finally the Calvinists caved in, and the government won majority sup port for its refusal to hand over New Guinea.

And so Sukarno went back to his military preparations. More than 25,000 Indonesian invasion troops are now in training, and even young girls in toreador pants and green forage caps drill in Djakarta parks. In Hong Kong and Tokyo, Indonesian agents are shopping for the landing craft that Sukarno needs to ferry troops across 1,600 miles of sea to New Guinea.