JAVA: Arrows & Sugar

  • Share
  • Read Later

More blood was shed in The Netherland East Indies last week. Little of it was Dutch. Their troops hovered in ships off Java's great naval base of Surabaya. Ashore, British casualties went over 300, Indonesian over 2,000.

The British still said that they were merely trying to restore order. Major General E. C. Mansergh, their Surabaya commander, told the Indonesians to lay down their arms. The list of arms he gave ranged from tanks to poison arrows. When the Indonesians refused, British guns and planes shelled and bombed the city and British Indian troops moved in against snipers. President Soekarno of the "Indonesian Republic" condemned the "massacre." His secretary said: "I think there will be much fighting."

The Dutch had earlier renewed their offer of dominion status under a Dutch governor general. Indonesian nationalists rejected the offer, instead proposed a plebiscite or U.S. arbitration, asked for U.S. and Russian help.

The only official U.S. comment came from Secretary of Agriculture Clinton Anderson, who had hoped to get sugar from Java. Now, in the understatement of the week, he explained: "Trying to get it out would not tend to promote peace."