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Southeast Asia’s Cold War: an Interpretive History
 9780824873448, 0824873440

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Southeast Asia’s Cold War

Southeast Asia’s Cold War An Interpretive History Ang Cheng Guan

University of Hawai‘i Press Honolulu

© 2018 University of Hawai‘i Press All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America 23 22 21 20 19 18

6 5 4 3 2 1

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Ang, Cheng Guan, author. Title: Southeast Asia’s Cold War : an interpretive history / Ang Cheng Guan. Description: Honolulu : University of Hawai‘i Press, [2018] | Includes bibliographical references. Identifiers: LCCN 2017022266 | ISBN 9780824872571 (cloth alk. paper) Subjects: LCSH: Southeast Asia—History—1945- | Southeast Asia—Politics and government—1945- | Southeast Asia—Foreign relations. Classification: LCC DS526.7 .A5754 2018 | DDC 959.05/3—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017022266

University of Hawai‘i Press books are printed on acid-free paper and meet the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Council on Library Resources.

Cover: Map courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Contents

Acknowledgments Abbreviations

vii ix

Introduction Chapter 1 Antecedents Chapter 2 The Emergence of Communist China Chapter 3 Geneva, Manila, and Bandung Chapter 4 Antagonisms Chapter 5 The Vietnam War Divide Chapter 6 Ending the Cold War Chasm Conclusion

1 11 52 68 86 129 160 194

Notes Bibliography Index

199 269 293

v

Acknowledgments

First and foremost, this book could not have been written had it not been for the many who have contributed to our understanding of both the Cold War and Southeast Asia. From them I have learned and benefited so much. I hope I have properly acknowledged them in my narrative. I am very grateful to Professors Robert Taylor and Nicholas Tarling who took time to read and comment on my draft chapters, and to Pamela Kelley for her editorial guidance. All three of them have helped me improve my narrative considerably. Having said that, any mistakes and shortcomings in this book are my own. I wish also to express my deepest appreciation to Professor Arne Westad, who has been most encouraging and supportive. The S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, where I am based, provided a conducive environment for me to research and write this book. I wish to thank the dean, Professor Joseph Liow, as well as my colleagues Chong Yee Ming, Daniel Chua, Michael Montesano, and Bhubhindar Singh. Also, Gillian Png and last but not least, Weilun Chia.

vii

Abbreviations

ACCRIS

ASEAN Coordinating Committee for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Indochina States

AFPFL

Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League

AMT

Aguman ding Tagapag-obra (League of Poor Laborers)

APEC

Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation

ASA

Association of Southeast Asia

ASEAN

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASPAC

Asian-Pacific Council

BCP

Burmese Communist Party

CAVR

Comissão de Acolhimento, Verdade e Reconciliação de Timor Leste (Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation in East Timor)

CCP

Chinese Communist Party (中国共产党 )

CDNI

Committee for the Defense of National Interests

CIA

Central Intelligence Agency

CLO

Congress of Labor Organizations

CMAG

Chinese Military Advisory Group

COF

Congreso Obrero de Filipinas (Labor Congress of the Philippines)

COMECON

Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Soviet Ekonomicheskoy Vzaimopomoshchi)

Cominform

Communist Information Bureau

COSVN

Central Office of South Vietnam (Văn phòng Trung ương Cục miền Nam)

CPB

Communist Party of Burma

ix

x

Abbreviations

CPM

Communist Party of Malaya (Partai Komunis Malaya)

CPP

Communist Party of the Philippines

CPSU

Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Kommunisticheskaya partiya Sovetskogo Soyuza)

CPT

Communist Party of Thailand

CPUSA

Communist Party of the United States of America

DA

Democratic Alliance

DNSA

Digital National Security Archive

DRV

Democratic Republic of Vietnam

FCP

French Communist Party

FDR

Front Demokrasi Rakyat (People’s Democratic Front, Indonesia)

FRUS

Foreign Relations of the United States

FUNCINPEC

Front Uni National pour un Cambodge Indépendant Neutre Pacifique et Coopératif (United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful and Cooperative Cambodia)

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

ICP

Indochinese Communist Party

IMF

International Monetary Fund

ISCC

International Supervisory Control Commission

ISD

Internal Security Department

ISDV

Indische Sociaal-Democratische Vereeniging (Indies Social Democratic Association)

ISEAS

Institute of Southeast Asian Studies

JMBRAS

Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society

KMT

Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party (国民党)

KPMP

Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipina (National Association of Philippine Peasants)

KPNLF

Khmer People’s National Liberation Front

KPRP

Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party

LDC

Least Developed Countries

LM

Lapiang Manggagawa (Workers’ Party, Philippines)

Abbreviations

xi

LPRP

Lao People’s Revolutionary Party

MCP

Malayan Communist Party

MNDAA

Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army

MPAJA

Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army

MPR

Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat (People’s Consultative Assembly)

NACP

National Archives at College Park

NAM

Non-Aligned Movement

NATO

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

NEP

New Economic Policy

NLHX

Neo Lao Hak Xat (Lao Patriotic Front)

NPA

New People’s Army (Bagong Hukbong Banyan)

OBE

Order of the British Empire

OSS

Office of Strategic Service

PAP

People’s Action Party

PASCN

Philippine APEC Study Center Network

PAVN

People’s Army of Vietnam (Quân Đội Nhân Dân Việt Nam)

PCLA

Philippine Chinese Labor Association

PHILCAG

Philippine Civic Action Group

PKI (1920–1924)

Perserikatan Kommunist di India (Communist Association in the Indies)

PKI (1924 onwards)

Partai Komunis Indonesia (Communist Party of Indonesia)

PKP

Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (Communist Party of the Philippines)

PLA

People’s Liberation Army (中国人民解放军)

PNI

Partai Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Party)

PRC

People’s Republic of China

PRM

People’s Republic of Malaya

RLG

Royal Laotian Government

ROC

Republic of China

SCP

Siamese Communist Party

xii

Abbreviations

SEATO

Southeast Asian Treaty Organization

SOCCP

Siamese Overseas Chinese Communist Party

SUPP

Sarawak United People’s Party

TASS

Tyelyegrafnoye agyentstvo Sovyetskogo Soyuza (Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union)

UMNO

United Malays National Organization (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu)

USAFFE

United States Armed Forces in the Far East

USSAG

United States Support Activities Group

UWSA

United Wa State Army (Myanmar)

VMR

Voice of the Malayan Revolution

VOPT

Voice of the People of Thailand

VPA

Vietnamese People’s Army

YCL

Young Communist League

ZOPFAN

Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality

Introduction

I This book is a general interpretative history of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. Although the literature on the Cold War is voluminous and continues to grow, it is predominantly focused on the United States and Europe (including the former Soviet Union). In the last decade or so, however, greater attention has been given to the Third World, including Asia—Northeast Asia and East Asia in particular. The Southeast Asian perspectives of the Cold War in comparison are conspicuously absent, the wars in Indochina being the exception.1 The editor of The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia noted two decades ago that although the post-World War II period is “copiously covered in written and printed documents,” there is little that provides Southeast Asian perspectives of the Cold War in the region.2 This remains true today and certainly needs redressing. There are to date only four published books devoted specifically to the Southeast Asian dimension: Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1945–1962, edited by Christopher E. Goscha and Christian F. Ostermann (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2009); Cold War Southeast Asia, edited by Malcolm H. Murfett (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2012); Southeast Asia and the Cold War, edited by Albert Lau (London: Routledge, 2012); and Dynamics of the Cold War in Asia: Ideology, Identity, and Culture, edited by Tuong Vu and Wasana Wongsurawat (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). All but three of the essays in the last volume deal with the experiences of the Southeast Asian countries. (To these, one must add the numerous books written by the prolific and eminent historian of Southeast Asia, Nicholas Tarling, though he is not specifically addressing the Cold War.) Although these books are based on mostly British archival records, anyone interested in the Cold War in Southeast Asia will no doubt benefit considerably from reading them: all are essential reading and indeed I have mined them considerably for this study. Nevertheless, like most anthologies or multiauthored 1

2

Introduction

books, they lack a certain degree of cohesion. These four also do not cover the full period of the Cold War. This is the first book by a single author to study the subject based on a synthesis of secondary as well as primary sources. I have depended rather substantially on secondary materials mainly because it is beyond my ability and means to pursue original research in order to reconstruct the events and developments of a region that comprises so many countries. In the course of my research and reading, I have also found that much of this extant literature has not been used fully in previous writings on this subject. I am however reminded of an observation that the late Singaporean historian Wong Lin Ken made more than three decades back. He stated, given the proliferation of scholarship since D. G. E. Hall’s History of Southeast Asia—and the linguistic requirements to read the writings of Western and Asian scholars—it is beyond the effort of any one scholar to put together in a single volume the rich extent of available scholarly works on the region.3 Nevertheless, I think it is worth giving it a try. Apart from filling a necessary gap in the historiography of the global Cold War, the Southeast Asian dimension is important or at least no less important than other regions. The subject merits study because events in those years shaped both the development and the foreign relationships of the states of the region, all of which, except Thailand, received their independence during the Cold War.4 The consequences of the wars, political chaos, violence, riots, and revolutions of the Cold War years are still felt by the people living in the region.5 Henry Kissinger reminded us that “no significant conclusions are possible in the study of foreign affairs—the study of states acting as units—without an awareness of the historical context.”6 In sum, my objective is to provide an up-to-date and coherent account of the Cold War as it was played out in Southeast Asia based on forgotten and the latest research findings, which I hope will be useful to both scholars and students alike. This book also puts the Southeast Asian actors to the forefront of the events. As Tuong Vu argued, instead of seeing the Cold War as “spreading from Europe and engulfing Asia” (as generally believed), it should be “reconceptualized as an intercontinental synchronization in which Asian actors shared equal responsibilities with the superpowers in the spread of the conflict.”7

II

The Cold War as a field of study has become increasingly complex.8 To give just one (and by no means isolated) example, the aim of a conference on the

Introduction

3

Cold War in Asia organized by the Center for East Asian Studies (University of Chicago) in April 2013 was “to find an alternative approach to the conventional state-centered binary approaches to the Cold War in Asia and to examine the role of non-state actors, and the local cultures, and movements that defy the nationalist approach.” The conference focused on five topics: visual culture, gender, intersection of state and society, decolonization and non-alignment, and knowledge production and censorship.9 Indeed, in recent years, the trend is to focus on the social and cultural phenomena of the Cold War. As Tuong Vu pointed out, “Asian actors’ visions and political loyalties during the Cold War spanned a much wider range—not limited to the nation-state as the ideal political community.”10 Dynamics of the Cold War in Asia, mentioned earlier, is representative of this trend. Another is Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia, edited by Tony Day and Maya Liem (Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program Publications, 2010). The Cold War in Asia: The Battle for Hearts and Minds, edited by Zheng Yangwen, Hong Liu, and Michael Szonyi (Leiden: Brill, 2010) contains two essays on Southeast Asia—Burma and Indonesia.11 The books attempt to explore the mindsets of the Southeast Asian actors and show how they were shaped by, in the words of Wang Gungwu, “not only national or developmental concerns” but also “cultural ideals that reflect their own traditions and their response to universalist and international aspirations.”12 In the words of Akira Iriye, “[I]n the study of diplomatic affairs one may define power as a nation’s ability to defend itself, and economy as its production and exchange of goods and services. Culture, in contrast, is the sharing and transmission of memory, ideology, emotions, lifestyles, scholarly and artistic works, and other symbols.”13 The so-called cultural turn—and here I include the “social” dimension as well—in Cold War historiography certainly expands our knowledge of the Cold War period and is to be welcomed. It adds a more human dimension to the supposed standard narratives of the Cold War, which are essentially constructed from the perspectives of the nation-state. Indeed, the aim of the new approaches to the study of the Cold War, with their invogue emphasis on everything but foreign policy and diplomacy, is to “rescue Cold war scholarships from the grips of the nation-state.”14 Writing political and diplomatic history is not very fashionable these days. But I would caution against underestimating its significance. It has been said that one can always survive a mistake in domestic affairs but can get killed by one made in foreign policy.15 The so-called “New Cold War History” is perhaps a logical outgrowth or

4

Introduction

development in the “life cycle” of a matured Eurocentric Cold War historiography focused on the politics and rivalries of the superpowers. As far as Southeast Asia is concerned, there is as yet no “standard narrative” or body of competing narratives that can serve as a basis or platform for debate, such as that among John Lewis Gaddis, Bruce Cumings, Melvyn Leffler, and Michael Hunt on the foreign policies of the United States during the Cold War.16 We cannot really identify an “orthodox” school (unless we consider the various government perspectives, which would depend on whether it was a communist or a noncommunist state), “revisionist,” or indeed even a “post-revisionist” school. It is not clear how the historiography of the Cold War with regards to Southeast Asia, with the exception of Indochina, has advanced or benefited from the opening or partial opening of the communist archives since the end of the Cold War. I will return to this issue of labels and categorization shortly. I share Holger Nehring’s concern that “the intellectual and methodological pluralism evident in recent writings on the Cold War, and the consequent ‘decentering’ of the field away from its military and diplomatic core, has come at a substantial cost. The meaning of ‘Cold War’ as a concept has been diluted significantly. . . .”17 I am also in agreement with Patrick Finney’s observation that rather than challenging existing assumptions, the cultural approaches “actually just offer us a fuller picture of how things actually were, in impeccably Rankean style.”18 Thus, there is good justification for a detailed political and diplomatic treatment of Southeast Asia and the Cold War. Overemphasizing the non-political aspects, important as they may be, at the expense of the diplomatic, seems to me to put the cart before the horse. Here I am reminded of the story or parable originating from the Indian subcontinent of the blind men and an elephant.19 For those unfamiliar with the story, six blind men set out to determine what an elephant was like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. One felt the leg and concluded the elephant is like a pillar; the one who felt the tail concluded that the elephant is like a rope; the third who touched the trunk said that the elephant is like a tree trunk; the fourth who touched the ear believed that elephant is like a hand fan; the fifth who touched the belly thought the elephant is like a wall; and finally the one who felt the tusk concluded that the elephant is like a pipe. So they ended in complete disagreement and never got to know what a real elephant is like. Of course we all know that the elephant is more than its individual parts even though every feature is as important as the other. Take for example, Michael Charney’s illuminating account of how a much-publicized Burmese-language play Ludu Aung Than (The People Win

Introduction

5

Thought) written by U Nu, the first prime minister of Burma (1948–1962), was used as a propaganda tool by both the U Nu government and the United States. The original intent of the play was to promote democracy and to admonish those who attempted to seize power by force. But Nu also wanted the play “to warn the Burmese not to allow themselves to be fooled by self-interested foreign countries,” specifically the Soviet Union and the United States. Nu deliberately omitted the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in his imagined Cold War for a complex set of reasons. Most importantly, he wanted as much as possible to prevent communist China’s intervention into Burma under any pretext. But when the play was subsequently republished with a new and lengthy introduction by Edward Hunter (a former propaganda expert in the Office of Strategic Service, the OSS) for an American audience, Nu, who saw himself as neutral in the Cold War, was transformed into “a defender of democracy on the frontlines of international communist aggression.” This was not complete misinformation because the original Burmese and English introductions by future United Nations Secretary-General U Thant, which he wrote for two distinct audiences, differed in their descriptions of the aggression faced by Burma. Certain quarters within Nu’s government had apparently also encouraged it.20 While we can learn much from such historical accounts and while they certainly add to the depth and range of our understanding of the Cold War in the region, we still lack a coherent narrative of the Cold War in Southeast Asia to fully contextualize and appreciate episodes such as that recounted by Charney. This book is thus essentially a diplomatic history of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, not in any “classical,” “traditional,” or narrow sense, but as the title suggests, sources permitting, an “international history.” While “centrally concerned with relations between states,” it adopts “a much more expansive view” of the constituents of international relations, “paying systematic attention not only to diplomacy, but also to economics, strategy, the domestic sources of foreign policy, ideology, propaganda, and intelligence.”21 Where appropriate, it will also incorporate or at least bring to the attention of the readers the latest research into the cultural aspects of the Cold War in the region. That said, having read chapters in the aforementioned books on culture and the Cold War in particular, I have been more discerning and discriminating in my choice of events or stories to tell: not everything that happened or developed in those “Cold War years” was necessarily the consequence of the struggle between two competing ideologies led by the United States on one side and the Soviet Union (plus China) on the other. As Akira Iriye said, “If we examine

6

Introduction

those developments in their own terms, not as reflections of or episodes in, the US–USSR confrontation, we shall be able to arrive at a different view of the period, to recognize that there were many other forces in the world of which geopolitical tensions were only one, albeit an important one.”22 In short, we need to identify those events that had more complex local causes and then differentiate them from those that happened as a consequence of the Cold War conflict.23

III Post-World War II Southeast Asian historiography does not really fit in with the familiar orthodox, revisionist, and post-revisionist categorization in Cold War historiography mentioned earlier.24 Milton Osborne summed it up well when he wrote that for all the countries of Southeast Asia, the decades after the Second World War were “dominated by the issue of independence, how it would be granted or resisted, and whether it would be gained by violence or peace.”25 It was a complex period accentuated by the diversity of the region. The histories were “individual” but the goals were common.26 The preoccupation of the first postwar generation of historians was therefore with the writing of “national history” and what John Smail termed “autonomous” Southeast Asian history.27 As Thongchai Winichakul noted, the nationalism and the trajectory of the national histories were an “anti-colonial or postcolonial one,” a reaction against history written from the perspective of the European colonial masters. “Autonomous” history, on the other hand, is what Reynaldo C. Ileto described “as a “third way” out of the apparent dead end reached by the clash between Eurocentric and Asia-centric historical writing.28 This was true even for Thailand, which has technically never been colonized. The big concepts were thus “nationalism” and “decolonization” rather than the Cold War.29 The key characteristic and flaw of these national histories is that they were essentially written from the perspective of the victors, the incumbent power, and the Southeast Asian elite. They claim to be the official histories and are generally Whiggish in interpretation. As Clive J. Christie observed, “The plot of history is written, retrospectively, by the ‘winners.’ As a consequence, the actions of the ‘losers’ appear in hindsight to be fragmented and incoherent.”30 In the case of most of Southeast Asia—with the exception of Vietnam, Laos, and for a period Cambodia—it was an anticommunist perspective. But Anna Belogurova has reminded us that the communist parties played a significant role in resisting the Japanese during the Second World War and “in so doing helped root in the populace an idea of the nation.”31 Like Christie, I hope

Introduction

7

to redress some of those imbalances with my narrative, particularly by providing the communist or pro-communist perspectives. The limitations and linearity of these “national histories” led a new generation of historians to challenge the national narratives by writing what Thongchai Winichakul calls “post-national histories” or alternative histories—the versions of history that had been ignored or rejected by the ruling elite. A prime example is “history from below” (or social history), which is rather similar to the cultural turn in Cold War/international history in terms of its agenda/objective.32 Thus in the case of Southeast Asia, the labeling is not so much “Orthodox,” “Revisionist,” or “Post-Revisionist” but “National” and “Post-National” histories. Here, it is perhaps useful to highlight the pathbreaking work on Vietnam and the Vietnam War of anthropologist Heonik Kwon. He noted how any Cold War history that essentially centers on international and diplomatic events is incongruent with the representation of the Vietnam War as a national and social history. In his words, “the Cold War was globally waged yet locally specific and divergent” and that the “Cold War’s parallax was not merely geopolitical or diplomatic; it created a further parallax between state and society.”33 But what Ruth McVey wrote back in 1965 in recounting her experience writing on the early history of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) is worth quoting in full: “Anyone attempting to deal with the history of a Communist movement outside the USSR must decide whether to consider the party primarily as a component of a world movement or to view it as a part of the domestic political scene. . . . My initial intention, having come to the PKI by way of an interest in the history of Communism, was to focus chiefly on the party’s character as a component of the Comintern and to deal with the domestic scene only as a background for its relations with the Third International. I found, however, that the closeness of the party’s ties to its local environment, when combined with the fact that these surroundings have not yet been adequately studied, forced me either to gloss over problems that were of cardinal importance for the party’s attitude toward the world movement or to devote as much attention to its domestic as to its international setting. The result is a work that views the party in both environments and is directed at students of Indonesian as well as Communist history.”34 Indeed, “nationalism” and “internationalism” are not necessarily “antagonistic” nor “analytically separate principles” but “mutually entailed aspects of a wider process of categorical thought and action.”35 As if the above is not complicated enough, in aspiring to write a comprehensive Cold War history of Southeast Asia, we also need to engage two

8

Introduction

other fields or subfields of study: postcolonial studies and nation-building histories. “Decolonization” is a particularly important, if not dominant, theme in the national histories of Southeast Asia. It is not a simple concept or process to unpack or generalize for it is neither coherent nor well defined. The decolonization experience took place at different times and differed from country to country. It was more than just a “transference of legal sovereignty,”36 to borrow a phrase from Prasenjit Duara, or “the handiwork of constitutional lawyers.”37 Scholars interested in decolonization as a field of study have since expanded beyond political historians and political scientists to include social and cultural historians as well as cultural theorists and anthropologists—what is now known as “colonial or postcolonial discourse.”38 In some ways, the motivations of this scholarship are somewhat similar to those that Thongchai Winichakul calls “post-national histories” in so far as postcolonial cultural discourse involves the reassessment of history from the perspectives of those who suffered its effects and the contemporary impact.39 Although the phase of decolonization may be over, the consequences are still felt in the new era of globalization. As Robert C. Young so eloquently described, “the postcolonial does not privilege the colonial. It is concerned with colonial history only to the extent that that history has determined the configurations and power structures of the present, to the extent that much of the world still lives in the violent disruptions of its wake, and to the extent that the anti-colonial liberation movements remain the source and inspiration of politics. If colonial history, particularly in the nineteenth century, was the history of the imperial appropriation of the world, the history of the twentieth century has witnessed the peoples of the world taking power and control back for themselves. . . .”40 Ironically, Southeast Asia—“one of the most colonized regions in the world”—does not have much of a presence in the Postcolonial Studies literature.41 Nation-building histories can be seen as picking up from where the decolonization process ends. Wang Gungwu, in the History of Nation-Building book series that he spearheaded, noted that there have been many books about the nationalism that led to decolonization and the establishment of each of the Southeast Asian nations. What remains under studied, however, by historians is “what the various leaders actually did after independence to ensure that their countries would become the fully fledged nation-states they wanted.”42 Indeed, historians of Southeast Asia have tended to focus more on the pre-independence period. Since the nation-building project(s) are far from being completed, the historians writing nation-building history have to confront the twin chal-

Introduction

9

lenges of writing contemporary as well as national history. What differentiates “nation-building history” and “national history” (of the kind described earlier) is that the writers of the “nation-building history” are supposedly free from pressures from politicians and governments.43 Again, “nation-building history” tends to be written from the perspective of the “winners” (the anti-communists, mostly) but in fact in Southeast Asia, “the Marxist message, originally intended to address issues of class, came primarily to address issues of nation—building in a region where nations did not exist prior to the twentieth century.”44 Where does the Cold War fit into all these? As John Darwin noted, the confrontation between East and West may have been decisive in the European experience but beyond Europe, the Cold War only had “a walk-on part in the larger drama of decolonization. . . .”45 (My emphasis.) In Southeast Asia, the onset of the Cold War—the international contest between the United States on the one side and the Soviet Union and China on the other—coincided with the nationalist struggles and decolonization. But in the first generation of “national” histories, the Cold War was context. It is only in the second generation and more recent accounts that the Cold War shifts to the center of the analysis.46 This is an important difference that I will return to later. As the editors of The Transformation of Southeast Asia: International Perspectives on Decolonization suggested, “[A]t the beginning of a new century, . . . it is well past time to shift analysis of a key historical process like ‘decolonization’ to a mode befitting a ‘post-Cold War era’.”47 By this, the editors were referring to the need to broaden the time frame, to greater appreciate the multifaceted nature of the decolonization process, and engage in some degree of comparative analysis.48 Others have argued for the need for more conversations amongst the fields of Colonial History, Postcolonial Studies, and Cold War Studies.49 Matthew Connelly, for example, called for “taking off of the Cold War lens” so that “diplomatic historians and postcolonial scholars may finally recognize a common intellectual project and begin to illuminate the origins of the post-Cold War world.”50 Nation building—as I have chosen to define it—is an indigenous exercise but one not without foreign intervention. It is the creation and development of a national identity, and also the building of the infrastructure and institutions of the state (although some would prefer to see this as “state” rather than “nation” building). And this coincided fully with the Cold War years. Anthony Stockwell noted that nation building acquired added significance with the advent of the Cold War—“Nation-states were erected as bunds against the surge

10

Introduction

of communism,” Vietnam being the exception.51 Indeed, nation building continues even after the Cold War had ended. The Cold War undoubtedly made the already complicated decolonization and nation-building story even more complex.52 Wang Gungwu thus cautioned against conflating the history of decolonization (and here I would include nation building) with the history of the Cold War, even though he acknowledges that some overlap is inevitable. He asked: “Does the story of American intervention and commitment not overlap with something that should belong to another story, that of the anticommunist Cold War, of keeping the Soviet bear away and containing the Chinese dragon?”53 Conflation would dilute the explanatory power of the concept. Not everyone agrees with Wang. Karl Hack, for example, believed that the approach should be to “hyperlink the various imperial, globalization, colonial records, radical, counterinsurgency, diplomatic, and nationalist strands into a coherent account.”54 This is an approach perhaps more suitable for a website than a book. Two notable collections of essays attempt to describe the connection between decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia with uneven success, or in the words of Nayan Chanda: “The agonizing dilemma faced by Asia’s nationalist movements when confronted with the choice between imperialist and colonial powers and the newly rising non-democratic communist movement.”55

IV Finally, I believe the “narrative form” is the best and most relevant method to adopt for this study.56 This is because “narrative occurs in all periods, all places, all societies; narrative begins with the very history of humanity; there is not, there has never been, any people anywhere without narrative. . . . Narrative is international, trans-historical, transcultural; it is there, like life.”57 The “richest learning experience comes from narrative”—so said the prominent educationist and psychologist Jerome Bruner.58 Like all stories, we start at a definite point, thus this study will begin with a discussion of when and how the Cold War started in Southeast Asia and conclude with the end of the Cold War—the “pole of attraction of the entire development”—which was wholly unforeseeable from any previous perspective, but perhaps was inevitable all along.59 In the words of the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur, “There is no story if our attention is not moved along by a thousand contingencies.”60

CHAPTER 1

Antecedents

I The aim of this opening chapter is to inquire into the beginnings of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. It makes the argument that in order to fully understand the origins of the Cold War in the region, one must go back to the interwar years and not be fixated on the events of the immediate post-World War II years leading up to1948. Most scholars trace the origins of the Cold War to the immediate years after the Second World War, although there is still no consensus regarding the exact point and the causes. The Cold War, as commonly understood, describes the period soon after the Second World War to 1991, “in which the global conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union dominated international affairs.”1 It is essentially a conflict in which the United States (and its allies) and the Soviet Union (and its allies) saw each other “committed to a threateningly expansionary ideology.”2 Akira Iriye noted that despite the immense literature on the Cold War, most discussions on the origins of the Cold War “have difficulty fitting the Asian picture into an overall framework.” Asia is discussed “only in passing” and as an adjunct of the superpower conflict.3 Although he made this observation in the 1970s, it remains true at least for Southeast Asia. In the historiography, the contests between the communists and the non- and/or the anticommunist governments in Southeast Asia in the 1930s and 1940s, a period in which the Soviet Union through the Comintern played a significant guiding role, are perceived as struggles against colonialism and not related to the Cold War because the term only came into common usage in the United States after 11

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Chapter 1

1947. Indeed, some scholars have described the Cold War to be an American agenda. But as Antony Best reminded us, while there may be “significant discontinuities,” one should not disregard the fact that “some of the factors that existed in the interwar period probably had a significant effect on the emergence of a Cold War mind frame in the latter half of the 1940s.”4 In the case of Southeast Asia, the orthodox view was that it started in 1948 with the abandonment of the broad united front strategy following directives from Moscow issued at the Southeast Asian Youth and Student Conference (more commonly known as the Calcutta Conference) and the Second Congress of the Indian Communist Party, held in February and March 1948 respectively. According to the orthodox interpretation, the almost simultaneous communist uprisings that occurred in Burma, Malaya, and Indonesia soon after those two gatherings were a direct outcome of a calculated Soviet policy to extend the Cold War from Europe to Southeast Asia. The revisionist view, on the other hand, has argued that there was never any Soviet instruction and the uprisings were all locally induced. Balaz Szalontai further noted that historians of the First Indochina War did not consider 1948 such a key turning point. This debate was reinvigorated in 2008 during the sixtieth anniversary of the 1948 uprising. For now, following Antony Best—who noted that most Cold War historians of postwar British diplomacy generally write as if the Cold War only arrived in the mid- to late 1940s without any prehistory—this chapter argues that to understand the origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, it is necessary to delve into the interwar and World War II years (1919–1945) in some detail. In the words of Best: “Surely if one is to make the case that the Soviet Union provided a profound challenge to the certainties of the Western model of modernity based on liberal capitalism and that this competition was primarily fought in Asia and Africa, it is necessary to give serious consideration to how the noncommunist world perceived the Bolshevik government and the Comintern threat in the years before 1945. Only by undertaking such a venture can one understand the ways in which the Soviet threat came to be seen in the early years of the Orthodox Cold War era.”5

II The year 1919, although long before the conventionally agreed start of the Cold War, is the proper place to begin for two important reasons. The first was the collapse of the “Wilsonian moment,” a term coined by Erez Manela to describe the brief but crucial period when US President Woodrow Wilson

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was “the icon and most prominent exponent” of the vision shared by millions—particularly the oppressed—for “a just international society based on the principle of self-determination.” Wilson failed to deliver on his idealistic promises. He thereby dashed the hopes of many and disillusioned all who had believed in his rhetoric.6 Specifically, we are concerned with his “Fourteen Points” speech delivered to a Joint Session of Congress on the Conditions of Peace on 8 January 1918. Manela, in his groundbreaking study of the consequences of the failure of Wilson and the United States to create a new world order, described how disillusioned nationalists, China’s Mao Zedong amongst others, began to explore alternative ways to oppose imperialism. Bolshevism, which morphed into communism, offered an attractive path. Manela showed that in 1919, many nationalists in the colonies “glimpsed the promised land of self-determination, but enter into it they could not. . . . [T]he ephemerality of the Wilsonian moment that caused profound disillusionment, inasmuch as it shaped the formative stages of major national movements in the colonial world, helped to displace the liberal, reformist nationalism that failed in 1919 in favour of the more radical, revisionist nationalism that became an important force in the subsequent history of the twentieth century.”7 Adam Tooze, in his recent study, highlighted that the terms “democracy” and “self-determination” were never mentioned in Wilson’s “Fourteen Points” and that “it was the Bolsheviks and Lloyd George who tossed the explosive concept into the international arena.” Wilson belatedly adopted those notions as a response to the complex European situation in 1917–1918. In fact, the “Fourteen Points”—far from reflecting Wilson’s “radicalism”—revealed his “conservative evolutionary liberalism” for which he was known even before he became president of the United States in 1913. Tooze further quoted the Japanese Interior Minister Goto Shinpei who in dismissing the “Fourteen Points” described the intention of the United States as “a great hypocritical monster clothed in justice and humanity.”8 By April 1921, Wilson was no longer president. He passed away in 1924. Communist parties in Southeast Asia had the strongest support and were most successful when they were perceived to be fighting for independence, that is, when their “nationalist” purpose was clear and unmistakable. But “nationalism” is a necessary though not always sufficient explanation for the appeal of communism in Southeast Asia. Therefore, a question that needs to be answered at this point, before we proceed further into our narrative, is why communism, which originated from Karl Marx’s understanding of and solution to the European working-class experience in the nineteenth century, appealed to some

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sections of Southeast Asians? The answer is complex but there are broadly two related explanations.9 One, communist ideology that envisaged the development of a human society to eradicate “the antagonisms between social classes” and establish a “classless society” was appealing particularly in societies where capital was concentrated in the hands of a few and the general population faced increasing impoverishment. It is well put by Gerald de Cruz, himself a former communist, who pointed out that “in modern times the search for Utopia has usually been conducted within the framework of Communism, because no ideology had dared to promise more and no religion has had quite the impertinence to locate its heaven on earth, as Communism does.”10 But ideology on its own is not sufficient. It would have, as Goh Keng Swee noted, “died a natural death and be relegated to the limbo of history” had it not been for the success of the communists in Russia as a result of the methods advocated and developed by Lenin. This leads us to the second explanation for communism’s attractiveness, which is the communist doctrine—the “organisational and operational methods.”11 We will find that the organizational weakness is, however, also a contributory factor for their eventual failure (which will become clear in the later chapters). In the words of Anna Belogurova, “Communism presented itself as the key to ensuring the defeat of imperialism and the right of nations to determine their own future.”12 As Goh reminded us, “the Communist Party in any country has only one purpose—the revolutionary capture of state power.”13 The Bolshevik government in Russia under Lenin certainly encouraged this. For example, it renounced all of imperial Russia’s unequal treaties with China and established the Third International, discussed below. Besides the Soviet Union, China was to become the other most important center of communism after 1949 and during the Cold War years. The second reason for my starting this narrative with 1919 is the formation of the Third Communist International (more commonly referred to as Comintern) in Moscow. Prior to 1919, specifically between 1917 and 1919, Wilson and his rhetoric of a new world order were apparently better known than either Lenin or the achievements of the Bolsheviks in Russia, although the victory of the Russian Revolution in October 1917 (which resulted in the collapse of the Russian empire under Tsar Nicholas II) was by no means an insignificant event. But gradually after 1919, the Soviet Union (as it came to be known) began to be “hailed by many as the future of mankind.”14 Lenin was very much influenced by Karl Marx and Marxism was by all intent an anti-imperialist doctrine/ideology. The formation of the Comintern in March 1919 was an important first step, given its mission “to realise the Marxist theory

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of the transition from capitalism to socialism.”15 It emphasized “the absolute necessity for the revolutionary proletariat to coordinate its action on an international scale and tie up the interests of the class struggle within the national framework with the tasks of the world revolution.” Furthermore, it had the responsibility “of constantly maintaining a close connection between the struggle of the proletariat in the imperialist countries and the national liberation movement of the oppressed peoples of the colonial and semi-colonial countries, and supporting the struggle of the oppressed peoples so to advance the ultimate overthrow of the imperialist world system.”16 The formation of the Comintern, followed by the emergence of communist parties at first in Europe that looked to the Soviet Union as “the fatherland of toilers throughout the world,” was a grave cause of fear and concern for the noncommunist ruling elites throughout the rest of the world.17 Southeast Asia was no exception even though the Comintern at its inaugural congress in 1919, like the Second International, showed little interest in Southeast Asia. It is worth noting here that one requirement for any communist party wishing to be associated with the Comintern was that it had to bear the name of the country. In early twentieth-century Southeast Asia, there was hardly any communist party, let alone “nation-wide” communist parties. Almost all of the Southeast Asian states, with the exception of Siam, were colonies of one or another imperialist power. According to the constitution of the Comintern approved at its Second Congress in July 1920, the Comintern aimed to become “the global party of the proletariat, based upon national sections.”18 Thus, after its Second Congress, it set out to redress its neglect and began facilitating the formation and growth of some of the communist parties. But its capacity to steer, guide, and assist their growth and development was constrained by “poor communications, insufficient financial and logistical support, interception of its directives by the colonial authorities, and by periodic arrests of militants.”19 Although the Soviet Union did not have a foothold in Southeast Asia, Moscow was viewed with grave suspicion by the ruling powers in the region.20 Distance was indeed a big obstacle for the Comintern. To overcome this, it established a regional headquarters based in Shanghai. This office, the Far Eastern Bureau, was only established in 1926, with the responsibility of overseeing communist activities in Northeast Asia (China, Japan, and Korea). In 1930 the area of responsibility broadened to include Taiwan and Southeast Asia.21 As Onimaru Takeshi described, “liaison-making was not a unidirectional activity that radiated only from Shanghai. Communist parties and similar groups that wanted to establish contact with Moscow for the purpose of

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getting directives, obtaining approval of appointed personnel and party missions, and gaining access to funds, also actively sought liaisons with Shanghai. Initial contacts with the regional headquarters in Shanghai or with Communist organisations in the region were undertaken by agents dispatched from Shanghai to Communist organisations in East and Southeast Asia or vice versa.”22 The two most well-known Southeast Asians who served as Comintern representatives were Indonesia’s Tan Malaka and Vietnam’s Nguyen Ai Quoc (later to be known as Ho Chi Minh), whose roles were to serve as the intermediaries between Shanghai and Southeast Asia and “regional facilitators” of the Far Eastern Bureau.23 From the late 1920s to mid-1931 (when the key personalities were arrested by the British Special Branch in a wave of arrests spanning Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Singapore), Shanghai was the Asian nerve center of the international communist movement.24 In a nutshell, the combination of Washington’s failure to support, in this case, the Southeast Asian people’s aspiration for equality and sovereignty and the formation of the Comintern, with its anti-imperialist and anticolonial agenda in 1919, marked the beginning of the clash between the United States (as well as the anticommunist European powers) and the Soviet Union; between two different ideologies, social and economic systems that became known as the “Cold War” after 1945.25 The roots of the “conventional” Cold War as we know it thus go back to a much earlier period.

III The first communist party to be founded in Southeast Asia, in fact in all of Asia, was in Indonesia. The Perserikatan Kommunist de India (Indonesian Communist Party) abbreviated as PKI was established in May 1920, one year before the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and five years ahead of the Indian Communist Party in 1925. The PKI’s origin was the Indies Social Democratic Association (ISDV), a Marxist organization formed in May 1914 by a Dutchman, H. J. F. M. Sneevliet. He was expelled by the colonial government in 1918. Sneevliet was present at the Comintern Second Congress in Moscow in 1920 representing the Indonesian communists. He subsequently returned to Indonesia under the pseudonym “Maring” in his new capacity as the Comintern representative in the Far East. Sneevliet played an integral role in the name change of the ISDV into Perserikatan Kommunist de India (PKI) in 1921. The party was again renamed in 1924 as Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI). The PKI, led by Munawar Musso and Alimin bin Prawirodirdjo, spearheaded a series of strikes against the Dutch government in 1924 and 1925 that were put

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down by the authorities. This experience was similar to what had happened in a number of European countries in 1923–1924 where the communist-led insurgencies were crushed and the communist parties forced into illegality. The Fifth Congress of the Comintern, which convened in June–July 1924, subsequently concluded that more spadework, such as strengthening trade unions and organizing solidarity activities, should be carried out first before embarking on further insurgencies. However, Musso and Alimin were insistent on launching a major revolt against the Dutch and they did so in 1926 despite failing to obtain Comintern support. In the end, the PKI gained notoriety as the earliest party to stage an armed rebellion against Dutch colonial rule in Indonesia, but it paid an extremely heavy price for this honor.26 The first generation of Indonesian communists were destroyed by the Dutch colonial authorities during the 1926–1927 revolt and the party was declared illegal in 1927, putting “an effective end to Communist activity in the Indies for the remaining period of Dutch rule” that ended in 1942 when the Japanese took over the Dutch East Indies.27 Musso, after spending some time in the Soviet Union, returned to Indonesia in April 1935 and attempted to resurrect an underground PKI. We know almost nothing of communist activities in Indonesia during this period and the war years, although we presume there was no significant communist actions. The center of activity was in the Netherlands where a large number of Indonesian students would become future leaders of the Indonesian Republic.28 Turning to neighboring British Malaya, the British authorities noted an increase in communist movements in 1922 or thereabouts although we are still unable to ascertain their activities in Singapore.29 Sneevliet (“Maring”) was twice in Singapore: once on his way to Shanghai in May 1921 and subsequently on his way back to the Netherlands in 1923. After the Comintern Second Congress, he was sent by Lenin as a Comintern representative to China where he spent about three years and facilitated the formation of the Communist Party of China in 1921. Semaun, one of the Indonesian leaders of the anticolonist Sarekat Islam who shared Sneevliet’s sentiments and views (and who became the first Chairman of the PKI in 1921), was also noted to have passed through Singapore on his way to Moscow via Shanghai. There was an ISDV bloc within the Sarekat Islam. The two PKI leaders, Alimin and Musso, were arrested in Singapore in December 1926 after the failed 1926 revolt. Like the Dutch, the British were also wary of the Bosheviks/communists especially after 1917. They were seen as a threat to British imperialism. According to Comintern records, the first communist organization of Malaya was formed as an overseas section of the CCP in 1925.30 The Malayan

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Communist Party (MCP) however was not established until April 1930.31 Its direct connection was the CCP rather than the Comintern although the original plan was for the MCP (and the Indochinese Communist Party) to come under the control of the Comintern Far Eastern Bureau. Prior to 1923, the Chinese communists were not active in Malaya and Singapore because they were essentially caught up by their domestic concerns. Also, the Chinese schools (which were the most effective avenue for both infiltration and indoctrination) in Malaya and Singapore were controlled by the Chinese Nationalist Party or Kuomintang (KMT). The first united-front agreement between it and the Chinese communists in 1923—an arrangement that “Maring” (who had established contact with the KMT’s Sun Yat-sen on behalf of the Comintern) was a strong advocate of—provided the opportunity for the communists to infiltrate into the Chinese community in Malaya. The idea of setting up a communist party in Malaya was apparently first initiated by Indonesian and Chinese communists after Alimin visited Singapore in 1924. Tan Malaka, who briefly replaced Semaun as Chairman of the PKI, persuaded the Chinese communists in Canton in early 1925 to turn their attention to Malaya. Tan Malaka was also the Comintern representative for the Far East who disagreed with Alimin and Musso’s 1926 revolt plan. The destruction of the PKI following the 1926 debacle also meant that the Indonesian Communist Party, despite being the earliest communist party in the region, was unable to play any role in the nurturing of communist parties in the region. The CCP initially established an overseas branch called the Nanyang Regional (or Provisional Committee) in Singapore in 1926. The nationalist–communist united front was short-lived, however, and when nationalist Chiang Kai-shek turned the tables against the communists in 1927, the KMT in Malaya followed his lead. Thereafter, the Nanyang Provisional Committee was renamed the South Seas (Nanyang) Communist Party, which became responsible for communist activities in Siam, Malaya, Indochina, and Indonesia.32 Meanwhile, in mid-1927 Tan Malaka distanced himself from the Comintern over their different assessment of the reasons for the 1926 PKI debacle. He concluded that the Comintern placed Soviet interest above that of Indonesia.33 This was followed by a brief hiatus when communist activities in the region were somewhat directionless until the appearance of Nguyen Ai Quoc (aka Ho Chi Minh), who was the Comintern representative for the Far East in 1930. The Chinese communists thus played a dominant role in promoting and advancing communism in Southeast Asia especially after the breakup of the first united front between the KMT and the CCP in 1927. Anna Belogurova

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noted that “the plan to infiltrate Southeast Asia through the indigenization of the Comintern’s message, using local agents and propaganda in native languages, was central to the CCP’s expansion into the Nanyang.”34 Although the Malayan Communist Party was formed in 1930, in the first two years the party, in the words of Cheah Boon Kheng, was “still-born and moribund”35 because the Comintern Far Eastern Bureau in Shanghai and its Southeast Asian network were destroyed by the colonial authorities in 1931. Among the key communist operators arrested was Nguyen Ai Quoc in Hong Kong. The MCP also had to contend with members who supported the united-front strategy and thus opposed the leadership’s militant strategy. This was not resolved till late 1932 with the purge of those who opposed the leadership. Yeo Kim Wah in his review of Ban Kah Choon’s study of the operations of the British Special Branch in Singapore argued that Ban overstated the success of the Special Branch in its anticommunist campaign in 1930–1935. According to Yeo, the MCP, at least in Singapore, was gradually recovering from its internal schism after 1932 and had managed to carry out a number of strikes and riots, brought trade unions and national salvation organizations under its umbrella, and gained considerable support of the laboring class. While this has much to do with the Japanese aggression in China, in the words of Yeo, “the exploitative nature of the colonial economy” was also a contributory factor as “foreign seeds could not have germinated if the Malayan soil had not been in some way suitable.”36 However, one serious weakness that plagued the MCP (and its Chinese communist predecessor), which the party never managed to overcome, was its inability to recruit Malays and Indians. It was a criticism first raised by the Comintern.37 The leadership had hoped that with the formation of the MCP, the party could step out of the CCP shadow but as Cheah Boon Kheng noted, the MCP from 1930s onwards, because of its predominantly Chinese composition, was still very much a CCP organization rather than a Malayan or Comintern one, though not for lack of trying.38 Also established in 1930 was the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP), the predecessor of the Philippine Communist Party. It is arguably the least studied communist party in Southeast Asia. The foremost scholar of the PKP and the communist movement in the Philippines is Ken Fuller. (The following account here and in subsequent chapters are largely drawn from his pioneering study of the early years of the PKP.) The Filipinos had quite a different colonial experience from that of the other Southeast Asian countries. Although like all the others, there were grievances and unhappiness over the socio-economic

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condition, one significant difference was that the Wilson administration had started the process as early as 1923, albeit very slowly, that would eventually lead to the independence of the Philippines. The United States had made it quite clear from the very beginning of assuming control from the Spanish that it had no intention to keep the Philippines as a colony indefinitely. Charles B. McLane noted that the Philippines was one of the most politically conscious colonies in the region.39 The working class in the Philippines had their trade unions, which were essentially centered in Manila and its immediate environs. In 1913, the Congreso Obrero de Pilipinas (Labor Congress of the Philippines or COF)—essentially a loose banding together of various trade unions—was formed. The peasants too had their own unions and labor organizations in the provinces, such as the Pagkakaisa ng Magsasaka (Farmers’ Union based in Bulacan) or Anak-Pawis (Sons of Sweat /Toil) in Pampanga. The formation of the Confederacion de Aparderos y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas (Confederation of Peasants and Agricultural Workers of the Philippines) in 1922 was the first organizational “link between the trade union movement and the peasantry.”40 The name was Filipinized into the Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipina (National Association of Philippine Peasants or KPMP) in 1924. Ken Fuller noted that “given the overwhelmingly agrarian character of the Philippine economy, any Marxist party would have to consider an alliance between the working class and the peasantry.” Thus it resembles that of the October 1917 Russian Revolution, which saw the alliance between the workers and peasants (but with the former firmly in the leading role). However, at this time the Filipino leaders of these trade unions “had only a smattering knowledge of Marxism and the vast majority of even the leading workers [knew] next to nothing about the ideology.”41 One of the key personalities in the early history of Philippine communism is Crisanto Evangelista. Initially a member of Nacionalista Party, he had visited the United States in 1919 where he met members of the communist party. It was this trip that shaped his Marxist worldview. He broke away from the nationalists in September 1922 to form the left-inclined Partido Obrero (Labor Party) with others including Antonio D. Ora, who was a key member of the Labor Congress of the Philippines. The name of the Partido Obrero was Filipinized into Lapiang Manggagawa (LM) in 1926. The party initially adopted “a moderate, reformist stance.”42 However, it supported the Soviet Union and tried to adhere closely to Comintern policies. Evangelista had in fact hoped to transform the LM into a fully fledged commu-

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nist party as early as in 1925 (although it did not materialize). He had discussed this matter with American communists Harrison George, a Comintern representative who was in the Philippines in 1924 and 1927, and Sam Darcy in 1928.43 Charles McLane noted the “historic significance” of Harrison George’s brief 1924 visit as “marking the beginning of a tie with American communism which over the years influenced the course of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines.”44 On 30 November 1925, the LM adopted a new manifesto that called upon “the workers—those who work with brawn and brain—to take economic and political powers away from the capitalist class and abolish all class divisions and class rule.”45 The leadership of the LM definitely must have taken inspiration from the Comintern. The fifth plenum of the Comintern in April 1925, following its Fifth Party Congress (June–July 1924), recommended that the United States, communists support the liberation movements in countries oppressed by American imperialism. It made specific mention of the Philippines, the first “recorded decision” on the country by the Comintern, and encouraged the formation of a communist party there.46 It is believed that both Tan Malaka (who arrived in Manila soon after the landmark plenum) and Alimin played some part in the drawing up of the new LM manifesto.47 Jim Richardson noted that it was almost identical to that of the PKI.48 (Tan Malaka would again visit the Philippines from January until May 1926 and one last time in August 1927, when he was arrested by the authorities and deported.) The Filipinos also received advice from the Chinese communists based in Manila, which had a large Chinese population. There was a branch of the CCP in Manila known as the Young Communist League (YCL). After the breakdown of the KMT–CCP united front in 1927, the YCL formed the Philippine Chinese Labor Association (PCLA), which together with the Labor Congress of the Philippines organized a number of joint strikes. Evangelista, peasant leader Jacinto Manahan, and Cirilo Bognot—all leading figures in the LM—met Zhou Enlai in Shanghai in February 1928 while attending the plenum of the Pan–Pacific Trade Union Secretariat. Ken Fuller noted that “the Chinese communists were to continue giving advice to their Philippine comrades far into the 1930s.”49 Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) was eventually launched on 7 November 1930 (coinciding with the anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution). The PKP was initially led by Evangelista. Manahan, another of its leaders, was concurrently leader of the Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipina (National Association of Philippine Peasants or KPMP). Prior to the

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official establishment of the PKP and the LP before it, the early traces of communism in the Philippines, as I have written, were in the form of gremios (guilds) and worker unions (without Marxist ideals). The PKP, which saw itself as continuing the goals of the Katipunan (a revolutionary society established in 1892 to fight for independence from the Spanish), also wanted independence for the Philippines by ousting the Americans. It went further to desire establishing a Soviet form of government and ending capitalism in the country.50 The Partido Obrero can be considered as the precursor of the PKP.51 But the Philippine Communist Party, unlike its predecessor, adopted a very uncompromising and militant approach from its inception. The first plenum of the PKP’s Central Committee in January 1932 called for the immediate formation of soviets (governing councils) countrywide. Within the year, the PKP was banned and had to operate underground. In the words of Ken Fuller, “the party’s unbridled ultra-leftism contributed to repression, arrest and by 1933, the effective beheading of the party. . . .”52 To the west, the experience in Burma was considerably different from that of Indonesia, Malaya, or the Philippines. Burma was apparently not on the Comintern’s radar and there is no evidence of any link between the Comintern and Burmese communists till after World War Two. As Robert Taylor put it, “If anyone in the Comintern ever gave the matter much thought, he apparently could not decide whether Burma fell under the aegis of the Indian Communist Party, itself then supervised by the Communist Party of Great Britain, or agents working from the Canton Bureau and Singapore who were concerned with Southeast Asia.”53 Until 1937, Burma was a province of British India. Although there were some attempts to introduce Marxism to nationalists in the 1920s, the Burmese showed little interest until the late 1930s and it was a “less radical and more reformist”54 form practiced by both the British and Indian communist parties (which in turn were following the united-front strategy adopted by the Seventh Comintern Congress, 25 July–20 August 1935). There was a brief Chinese connection, which amounted to little, in 1929 when Wu Wei Sai (aka Wu Ching Sin) and his wife arrived in Rangoon in May from Shanghai. While in Rangoon, Wu worked as the chief editor of a Chinese language daily while his wife was a schoolteacher in a Chinese medium school. They propagated communism by distributing information leaflets and building up a small following. A letter Wu had written to the South Seas Communist Party in Singapore was intercepted by the British Special Branch and soon after the couple left Burma thus ending the Chinese connection abruptly.55 A Chinese link was only revived in the 1940s.

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The first English-language tract on Marxism appeared in Burma in 1932 and those in the Burmese language in 1937. The left-wing Thakins (that is, members of Dobama Asiayone or We Burmans Association, a nationalist group) accepted the validity of Marxist ideas and analysis “not just because of its powerful rhetoric and apparent logic” but also given “their experiences during 1938–39 as observers and leaders of the series of student, peasant and worker strikes and demonstrations [that] underscored both the power and limitations of mass and class politics for the overthrow of a colonial establishment in a country like Burma.”56 However, there were opposing points of view (which would widen over time) as a result of two different analyses of the 1938–1939 experiences. One group believed that to defeat the British, it was necessary to rely on external support of arms and ammunition, whether from the Chinese communists or Japanese fascists. The other believed that more organizational and propaganda work was the priority as well as the urgent need for a communist party.57 The Communist Party of Burma (CPB) was eventually formed in August 1939 with guidance from the Indian Communist Party, specifically a Bengal connection.58 Of the CPB’s early leaders, most notable were Thakin Aung San (secretary-general), Thakin Soe (in charge of mass organization), and H. N. Ghoshal (aka Thakin Ba Tin, a Burmese of Bengali origin who ran organization and secret affairs). We do not know much about the activities of the party after its inception except that it was proscribed in February 1941 as an illegal organization by the government that was concerned with the possibility of Marxism contaminating the minds of civil servants, as well as those in the military and the peasantry.59 As Bertil Lintner noted, the CPB was not yet a properly organized communist party.60 Although Thailand (or Siam before 1948) was never directly colonized, that does not mean that the ground was not conducive for communism to take root. Marxism was after all more than an anti-imperialist doctrine. The following account is distilled from Kasian Tejapira and Somsak Jeamteerasakul, two scholars who have contributed the most to our understanding of the early communist movement in Thailand. Tejapira described the Thai situation as a combination of “indirect colonization” and “traditional ruling monarchy,” making it an “indirectly colonized dynastic state” which was “in a reluctant transition to modern nation statehood under the leadership of a modernizing and conservative socio-political elite.”61 One consequence was that most Thais did not learn a European language (unlike in colonies), which would have given them access to communist literature. Those who managed to acquire an education in the Thai language were a small group of elites specifically chosen

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to serve the Thai royalty and bureaucracy. The very small number of Thai students studying overseas were also closely monitored for any activities perceived to be subversive. Thus communist ideas in Siam did not come from the West but from the immigrant Chinese and Vietnamese communities. This happened in the 1920s and 1930s, especially after the end of the KMT–CCP united front in 1927, which led to an unprecedented influx of Chinese immigrants into Siam.62 Overall, there were very few communist activities in Siam before 1932 and these were almost entirely confined to the Chinese and Vietnamese communities. Similar to the communists in Malaya, their main focus was the politics in their parent country and not Siam. The South Seas Communist Party of Siam was essentially a branch of the South Seas (Nanyang) Communist Party headquartered in Singapore. When the latter was disbanded in 1930, it became known as the Siamese Communist Party (SCP), which was set up under the guidance of Nguyen Ai Quoc. Many Vietnamese immigrants were concentrated in northeast Siam, where Nguyen Ai Quoc had spent some time in the late 1920s . A large number of SCP members were in fact Vietnamese; effectively all other SCP members were Chinese, mainly based in Bangkok. From 1930 to 1936, the SCP only managed to recruit five to seven Thais. The Siamese government, alarmed by any increased communist activities after 1927, arrested and deported communists.63 Indeed, it is said that anticommunism predated the formal introduction of communism in Thailand as the Siamese royalty and aristocracy was paranoid of any ideology that challenged their status and position. King Vijiravudh (Rama VI), for example, commented that “socialism like Utopia was paradisiacal but impossible” while King Prajdhipok (Rama VII) stated that “communism was possible but infernal and un-Thai.”64 Their efforts to root out and suppress communists in Siam were actively assisted by the British, French, German, and Dutch governments. The first Anti-Communist Act passed by the government led by Prime Minister Manopakorn Nititada on 2 April 1933 was very much a reaction against the National Economic Development Plan proposed by Pridi Banomyong. He was the left-inclined leader of a civilian faction that had contributed to the 1932 coup, which brought an end to absolute monarchy in Siam. The development plan was perceived by some, including the king, to be too socialist if not communist in substance. After the failure of the 1933 royalist Boworadet rebellion (which once and for all sealed the fate of absolute monarchy), both the second and third prime ministers Phraya Phahon (1933–1938) and Phibunsongkhram (1938–1944) were also equally anticommunist although they tolerated the continued presence of Pridi Banomyong. The

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SCP “withered away”65 and by 1940 the Siamese Communist Party was but an empty shell. Last but not least, the three Indochinese states—Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos—are considered together here because their experiences were intricately linked. According to Christopher Goscha, France, from the late nineteenth century, had been “pushing the reality of a Franco–Annamese Indochinese project.” The Comintern had also advised the Afro–Asian communists to “organise themselves spatially along the borders of the colonial states they were opposing.”66 Thus in 1929, one faction of the Vietnamese Revolutionary Youth League (commonly referred to as Thanh Nien, but formally Viet Nam Thanh Nien Cach mang Dong chi Hoi), which was originally formed in 1925 by Nguyen Ai Quoc (aka Ho Chi Minh) to end French colonial rule, established the Communist Party of Indochina. Meanwhile, another faction formed the Communist Party of Annam. Around the same time, yet another group (unrelated to Thanh Nien) formed the League of Indochinese Communists. Not everyone, including Nguyen Ai Quoc, was comfortable with the term “Indochinese” and in 1930, through his prodding, both the Communist Party of Indochina and the League came together to form the Communist Party of Vietnam on 3 February.67 Goscha argued that Nguyen Ai Quoc chose “Vietnam” as a compromise label to unite the different communist groups within Vietnam and in doing so was enmeshed in “the contradiction between the internationalist line (Indochina) and a nationalist one (Vietnam). . . .”68 The reality was that a communist party of “Vietnam” could not effectively represent the Laotian and Cambodian even though Nguyen Ai Quoc himself was very much an internationalist at heart who played a critical role propagating communism in Laos and elsewhere (as I have noted above). In October 1930, it was renamed Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) on the instruction of Comintern, thus making Cambodia and Laos “a part of the Party’s geopolitical domain in view of the Indochina-wide nature of French colonialism and the colonial state.”69 Whether the name was “Vietnam” or “Indochinese,” the Laotians and Cambodians were not consulted. Neither did they support the party. As Goscha noted, other than the Vietnamese and the French, very few Cambodians before the Second World War would speak of “ ‘Indochina for the Indochinese,’ let alone Indochinese citizenship.”70 Vietnamese, who made up the bulk of the party, were hardly attentive to the well-being of the Laotians or Cambodians. As the Laotian Prince Phetsarath commented, “The Annamese are already too prone to think of only Annam when they speak of Indochina” and warned against “creating in Laos ‘a state within a state.’ ”71

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Prior to 1925, there was little communist activity in Vietnam. Marxist ideas began to trickle into Vietnam soon after the establishment of the French Communist Party (FCP) in 1920. Comintern had assigned the FCP the responsibility of encouraging the formation of communist movements in the French colonies. The Thanh Nien mentioned above formed in 1925 and led by Nguyen Ai Quoc was part of the Comintern network in Guangzhou (Canton) in support of the KMT–CCP united front. Nguyen Ai Quoc was by this time a veteran communist operator who had spent time in Moscow and France, where he participated in the formation of the FCP. Laos was somewhat similar to Siam described above. It had a very small pool of educated Laotians and those were mainly from the aristocracy who owed their position and status to their royal connections or the elites who owed it to the French colonial masters. As Martin Stuart-Fox noted, “the first stirrings of cultural nationalism” was in the 1930s and it was “confined to a tiny culturally active group who made little attempt to pursue political goals.”72 The only active political party in Laos was the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP), which had few Laotians. Laotian interest in communism was minimal; the population “remained both tranquil and loyal to France.” France was seen more as “a protecting than an occupying power.” In sum, communism in Laos in the 1930s was “overwhelmingly a Vietnamese phenomenon.”73 It was much the same in Cambodia. The elite based in Phnom Penh was very small. And, as David Chandler noted, while the Vietnamese were restive during the world depression in the 1930s, the Cambodians “remained quiet” so much so that the French officials complimented the Cambodian peasants for their “stoicism” in the face of the “highest and most variegated tax burden in Indochina.” The Cambodians were most unhappy about Vietnamese domination of the civil service, Chinese domination of commerce, and the lack of opportunities for the educated Khmers.74 Soon after the formation of the ICP in October 1930, the Nghe Tinh uprising and the formation of “soviets” of 1930–1931 took place. This was the culmination of a series of strikes and demonstrations against the French beginning in March 1930, by both urban and rural Vietnamese. The uprising was eventually put down by the French. This was not unlike the 1926–1927 revolt in Indonesia that, we would recall, also failed. By the end of 1931, almost all the Indochinese communist leaders involved in the uprising were captured, killed, or fled. The ICP was destroyed, sharing the same fate as the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) after the 1926–1927 debacle. Many Vietnamese fled into Laos

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pursued by the French Sureté. A number fled into northeastern Siam where they continued their propaganda and organizational work. The entire party structure in Laos was destroyed by 1936. Nguyen Ai Quoc was not in Vietnam through this period. Although he had his doubts about whether Vietnam was ready for such an uprising, he felt “morally and politically” obliged to support it.75 Meanwhile, the Seventh Comintern Congress adopted the “popular antifascist front” or united-front strategy in response to Hitler’s policies in Europe. It was clearly tactical and would last as long as the communists and anticommunists had a common enemy. In Europe, it was Nazi Germany; in the case of Southeast Asia, it was Imperial Japan. Although the Second World War (at least in Asia, as Nazi Germany did not invade Poland till September 1939) is generally considered by historians to have started on 7 July 1937 with the Marco Polo Bridge incident marking the opening shot of the Second Sino–Japanese War, Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia only began progressively from December 1941. Well before that, on 25 November 1936, Germany and Japan had signed the Anti-Comintern Pact that made the Japanese an enemy of the Southeast Asian communists as well. This was a very difficult and confusing period for the Southeast Asian communists (with the possible exception of Siam) because they now had to confront two foes—the European empires/colonialists and Japan. By the mid-1930s, most of the Southeast Asian communist parties had been proscribed, neutralized, or destroyed by the colonial governments. The earliest was the PKI in Dutch Indonesia. This was followed by the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP), then the Siamese (in this case, by the Siamese government), and the Indochinese Communist Party. The Communist Party of Burma, the youngest of the communist parties in Southeast Asia was proscribed in 1941, three years after it was established. While the MCP was not banned, it was ineffectual. The complex local conditions which differed from one Southeast Asian state to the other were compounded by the changing dynamics of the situation in Europe, particularly between Germany and the Soviet Union which impacted policy directions of the Southeast Asian communists. For example, not everyone in the Comintern approved of the united-front strategy and those who opposed it were purged. The 1936 Anti-Comintern Pact was suddenly made irrelevant when Germany and the Soviet Union signed a nonaggression agreement in August 1939, which was in turn annulled when Germany launched an invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941.

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IV Historians agree that the Second World War was an important watershed in the history of the communist movements in Southeast Asia. For Southeast Asians, it was primarily the years from 1941 to 1945. All the Southeast Asian communist parties were resuscitated during the interregnum and, for a brief period in the name of unity against fascism, the communist parties once proscribed or banned prior to the Second World War, became legal if not completely respectable. It would be correct to say that it was war rather than the systemic failure of colonialism that brought about the revival of the communist movements in Southeast Asia. The experiences of the communist parties in the various Southeast Asian states, however, differed considerably. The Comintern was dissolved in May 1943, in the midst of the Second World War. But as Alexander Vatlin and Stephen A. Smith noted, the dissolution of the Comintern did not in fact “lead to a fundamental reconstruction of ‘centre-periphery relations’ in the international communist movement. The Executive Committee of the Comintern simply moved into the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and some other parts of the Comintern reorganized as “scientific research institutes.”76 It was dissolved because Stalin calculated that “a decisive breakthrough in the course of the war would require the Soviet Union to strengthen its position in the anti-Nazi coalition especially with regard to the reorganisation of the political landscape of Europe once the war was over,” thus the need to “bury the idea that the ‘hand of Moscow’ controlled all communist parties.”77 This essentially meant that the Soviet Union would not support any deviation from the united-front strategy. The Comintern’s strategy, as noted earlier, had been largely defined by the foreign policy needs of the Soviet Union and aimed principally at Europe. However, the communists in each of the Southeast Asian states, up to the immediate aftermath of the Japanese occupation, by and large abided by its policy. Of all the communist movements, we know the least about the activities of the Indonesian communists during the period between the failed 1926–1927 revolt and the end of the Second World War, except that Musso returned from Moscow in April 1935 (that is, before the Seventh Comintern Congress) and tried to revive the PKI underground. Apparently, he only managed to form a central committee but had to leave Indonesia because the Dutch were in pursuit of him and nothing more was heard of the party. During the Japanese occupation, some communists cooperated with the Allies against the Japanese, which would be in line with Comintern directives.78

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In the case of British Burma, the policy differences and debates amongst the Burmese communists after the Seventh Comintern Congress are characteristic of the experiences shared by most of the other Marxist nationalists in the other Southeast Asian countries: there were those (most prominently Thakin Pe, Thakin Nu, Thakin Soe, Thakin Than Tun) who adhered to the Comintern’s directive that there should not be any cooperation with the fascists, in this case, the Japanese. This group was split between those, such as Thakin Soe, who believed the best policy was a temporary antifascist alliance with the British and those, such as Thakin Pe Myint, who argued that they should seize the opportunity when the British were preoccupied with the Japanese invaders to mount a mass uprising of the people. There was the other group that was of the view that they should accept Japanese assistance and unite with the Japanese (who invaded Burma in January 1942) against the British. Aung San initially believed in this approach but soon changed his mind.79 The differences would eventually lead to the split of the communist movement in Burma and the civil war of 1948. The cobbling together of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) under Thakin Soe, the Burma National Army led by Aung San, and the People’s Revolutionary Party to form the Anti-Fascist Organization in 1944 (was subsequently renamed the Anti-Fascist People’s Liberation League [AFPFL] in 1945) assured the communists a role in postwar Burma. Indeed, Thakin Than Tun became the first general secretary of the AFPFL. But in February 1946, the Burmese communists would split over differences in strategy. The Red Flags led by Thakin Soe represented the radical and militant wing whereas the White Flags led by Thakin Than Tun formed a moderate wing and chose to stay within the AFPFL, pursuing socialism through peaceful means. This split would prove costly for the Burmese communist movement. As Robert Taylor described, “confusing and dividing the rank and file of the communist movement, meant that during the next two years of the independence struggle, the communist leadership . . . was jettisoned by non-communist nationalists who were subsequently recognised by the British as the core of the independent government of Burma.”80 In November 1946, the White Flags were expelled from the AFPFL over differences regarding the pace of achieving socialism. The communists accused the noncommunists within the liberation league of “kneeling before imperialism,” while the latter accused the communists of putting party interest before coalition interest.81 This marked the collapse of the united front in Burma, which from the very beginning was an alliance of convenience, culminating in a civil war just 4 months after the independence of Burma on 4 January 1948.

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In the Philippines, following the decision of the Seventh Comintern Congress, the Communist Party of the United States of America (CPUSA) played a critical role in the “reorientation” of the PKP from its emphasis on anti-US imperialism to antifascism.82 It encouraged the PKP to merge with the Socialist Party of the Philippines to form a new party with the unwieldy name: Communist Party of the Philippines (Merger of the Socialist Party and the Communist Party) in November 1938 thus giving the PKP a fresh lease of life. In Ken Fuller’s words, “in a very real sense” the merger constituted “a relaunch of the PKP.”83 The new party was led by Evangelista, Abad Santos (who was the leader of the Socialist Party of the Philippines before the merger), and Guillermo Capadocia. They would be the “prime movers of the united front movement against fascism” until Evangelista and Santos’s untimely deaths, the former tortured and killed by the military police of the Japanese army, the Kempeitai, in late January 1942 and the latter who died in captivity.84 The Japanese invasion of the Philippines in 1942 gave the “Communist Party of the Philippines its long-sought chance to raise an army of its own.”85 The party led the trade unions and peasant organizations to resist the Japanese. A number of guerrilla groups would emerge in different parts of the Philippines, but the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (more commonly known as “Hukbalahap,” People’s Anti-Japanese Army), which was formed in Pampanga in March, was the most effective and the most well-known.86 According to Alfredo B. Saulo, a key personality in the Philippines communist movement, the Communist Party of the Philippines was “the architect, mentor and leader” of the Hukbalahap which “kept itself in the background for the duration of the war” in order not to alienate the noncommunists who were actively supporting the resistance group.87 Indeed, the Hukbalahap was apparently conceived by the communist leadership as early as October 1941 and the bulk of the “Huk” army came from the National Association of Philippine Peasants (KPMP), which we would recall was the mass organization associated with the PKP, and the Aguman ding Tagapag-obra (AMT, League of Poor Laborers) which was the mass organization of Abad Santos’s Socialist Party. Luis Taruc (chairman of the Military Department of the PKP’s Political Bureau)88 was elected the Huk commander with Casto Alejandrino as his deputy. A small number of Chinese communists from Manila who had some experience in the Chinese Red Army also joined the Hukbalahap as advisers.89 There was in fact an agreement between the Huk and Major Claude Thorpe, who had been assigned by General MacArthur to organize guerrilla forces in Luzon, to establish a joint high command that did not materialize

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because Thorpe was killed by the Japanese.90 The Huk were strongest in Central Luzon and by 1944 they were not only a threat to the Japanese but also the local feudal landlords, who reacted by supporting the Japanese against the Huk. General MacArthur was sufficiently alarmed by the growing strength of the Huk that he had Colonel Jesus Villamor (Head of Allied Intelligence Bureau)—who was in favor of an alliance with the Huk—withdrawn and replaced by the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE).91 American intelligence on the Huk reported that it would allow the Americans to liberate the Philippines but US forces would be attacked if the United States did not grant immediate independence. The Huk also planned to establish a “communistic government in the Philippines after the war on the early Russian model.”92 In the immediate aftermath of the war, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) continued to work behind the scenes (until 22 September 1945) setting up mass organizations in preparation for the eventual entry into the political arena believing that by showing a full and credible Huk administration, the Americans would recognize and accept the party. It was not to be, as the American military distrusted the Huk and ordered the resistance group to disarm.93 Luis Taruc recalled the case of the Filipino Carlos Maelang and his men, who, with the approval of the Americans, disarmed Squadron 77 of 109 Huks, tortured and shot them after forcing them to dig their own graves.94 When Philippines became independent on 4 July 1946 under President Manuel Roxas (1946–1948), the Huk not only had no role in the administration of the country but also was outlawed in a proclamation on 6 March 1948. We would recall that communist activities in Siam before the Second World War were confined mainly to the ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese who looked to their respective motherlands. The details of how the lookjins (Thai born of Chinese descent) and ethnic Thais became involved are too complex to recount and need not delay us here. Very briefly, it was prison that served as the venue where the Chinese, Vietnamese, lookjins, and ethnic Thais—who all shared a common antimonarchy outlook—came into contact. As Kasian Tejapira explained, “ethnically the communists were mostly Chinese and Vietnamese while the politicos (Bowaradej prisoners) were mostly Thai.” It therefore fell upon “the [lookjin] communists to bridge communism and the Thai people.” It was in prison that relationships developed “by teaching foreign languages to each other, [which] then moved on to politics, communist ideology and doctrine, strategy, and . . . communist revolution in Siam.” While not all were converted, they were able to arouse much sympathy.95 We know very little of the communist movement in Siam/Thailand

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during the period from 1935 to the start of the Second World War. After the Comintern adopted the united-front strategy in 1935, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) signaled that it would follow suit, albeit very slowly, eventually leading to the brief second CCP–KMT anti-Japanese united front in August 1937 (only after the Sino–Japanese War, which began in July 1937). The Siamese Communist Party, which was already under siege by the Siamese government and on the verge of collapse, reorganized itself as the Thai branch of the CCP (aka Siamese Overseas Chinese Communist Party—SOCCP). The SOCCP comprised a Chinese and a Thai department. The Second World War gave it a new lease of life. For the first time in twenty years of communist activities in Siam, a Chinese or Vietnamese nationalist, a communist internationalist, a Thai patriot, and antigovernment rebel all came together—it was “the golden opportunity for the Siamese communist movement to be naturalised in the Thai polity.”96 The SOCCP had a difficult time because of Phibunsongkhram’s anti-Chinese suppression campaign. A new communist party was eventually formed on 1 December 1942 from the Thai department of the SOCCP—the Communist Party of Siam—comprising both lookjins and Thais. Although both departments now appeared to have been split, in reality their organizational structures overlapped. The Secretary-General Prasong Vongvivatana was a lookjin. The Comintern (through one of its Chinese agents by the name of Li Hua) played a key role in both its formation and the appointment of the secretary-general.97 It was only in the immediate postwar years that one sees lookjins and ethnic Thais become communists. The communists only came into the open after the war. It is believed that the communists had worked with the Seri Thai led by Pridi Banomyong against the Japanese. The 1933 Anti-communist Act was abrogated in September 1946.98 Though Pridi Banomyong had always denied the allegation that he was a communist, it was during his premiership (March–August 1946) as well as that of his appointed successor Thawan Thamrongnawasawat (23 August 1946–8 November 1947), that the Communist Party of Siam “established itself as a permanent force in Thai politics.”99 It was also the only period that Thai communists could operate openly without persecution in the country. During this period, the Thai government allowed Ho Chi Minh (as he was then better known) to establish a diplomatic office in Bangkok, known as the Representational Office of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.100 Bangkok served as the venue for the representatives of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) led by Ho Chi Minh to contact the Americans, link up

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with the international press, and promote anticolonial solidarity.101 In September 1947, the Southeast Asia League was formed in Bangkok, an initiative of the Vietnamese communists. Pridi Banomyong provided seed money for the establishment of the League. The purpose of the League was to promote “good relations and understanding between Southeast Asian nations; to cooperate in the struggle for independence and freedom; and to promote world peace.”102 Its founding conference was held at the Ratanakosin Hotel in Bangkok and it was attended by exiled Southeast Asian nationalists based in Bangkok, mostly leftinclined if not communists from Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Malaya, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The president of the Southeast Asia League was Tiang Sirikhan, a Seri Thai member from the Isan region who was also founder of the left-wing Sahachip (Cooperative Party); the public relations officer was another Sahachip leader. The vice president was Tran Van Giau, a well-known Vietnamese communist and the general secretary was Prince Souphanouvong of Laos who was closely connected to the Vietnamese communists.103 It is worth noting that Nuon Chea, who would become the deputy secretary of the Communist Party of Kampuchea (aka “Brother Number 2”), was a member of the Thai Communist Party and moved about freely in Thailand under the Thai name “Runglert Laodi” from 1942 to 1950, when he returned to Cambodia.104 In Malaya, the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) only learnt of the 1935 Comintern directive in 1936 through contacts in Hong Kong and it was only in 1937 that the party could implement the new policy. Their interpretation or understanding of the directive was very broad: (a) An antifascist/Japanese united front was the top priority; (b) At the same time, the anti-British imperialist struggle could continue simultaneously.105 Because the MCP was still predominantly a Chinese party, it continued to take instructions from the CCP. When the Chinese communists settled into a second united front with the KMT in 1937 and subsequently also suspended its anti-British policy to focus on resisting Japan after the Soviet–Nazi Non-Aggression Pact (August 1939) was annulled, the MCP was directed to follow suit. At its seventh enlarged plenum in July 1941, one month after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, the MCP leadership decided to cooperate with the British against Japan but would expel the British from Malaya when the opportunity presented itself.106 Lai Teck, the secretary-general of the MCP from 1939, was a British agent and at various times also a Comintern, French, and Japanese agent. Given his multiple personas and thus multiple agendas, it is not surprising that the MCP

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was not as effective as it could have been. The Special Branch also never had full control of the MCP.107 Lai Teck was pleased with the new CCP directive to suspend the anti-British policy and focus on Japan. The Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), which was formed as the guerrilla arm of the MCP, was admittedly “the most effective armed resistance to the Japanese in Malaya.”108 But the capture and extermination of the bulk of the MCP leadership in a Japanese raid of their Batu Caves hideout in September 1942 resulted in the concentration of power in the hands of Lai Teck, who was conveniently away during the raid and thus escaped capture. And Lai Teck clearly had no intention of leading the MCP towards deposing the British by force after the defeat of Japan but instead steered the MCP, despite opposition amongst the party ranks, towards continued cooperation with the British in the hope that the British would at some point grant Malaya self-government. This state of affairs continued till May 1947 when his multiple allegiances were unmasked and he disappeared with the party funds. He was eventually killed in Siam in the same year thus marking the end of one phase of the MCP.109 One of the revelations that emerged from the Lai Teck episode was the connection amongst the communist parties, in this case, the Malayan, Vietnamese, Siamese/Thai, and Chinese. It was the Vietnamese who told Chin Peng that they suspected Lai Teck had links with the Kempeitai. After the exposure of Lai Teck, Chin Peng set out to inform the Thai and Chinese Communist Parties. Lai Teck tried to get help from the CCP in Hong Kong and was subsequently eliminated by the Thai communists.110 Compared to the other communist parties in Southeast Asia during this period, the Vietnamese communists were the most successful in the immediate years after World War Two before their decolonization struggle got entangled with the Cold War. We would recall the Indochinese Communist Party was literally destroyed after the failed 1930–1931 uprisings but the Vietnamese communists made a remarkable resurgence in the years after. In his study of the communist road to power in Vietnam, William Duiker appropriately titled the period between 1930 and 1941 as “Out of the Ashes.” It is indeed “a measure of the tenacity of the Party” that, despite all the problems and obstacles, the party was able to revive.111 The Comintern played a considerable role in the revival. Almost immediately after the earlier group of leaders was captured or killed by the French, the Comintern sent new leaders trained at the Stalin School in Moscow back to Vietnam to replace them, of which the better known ones include Le Hong Phong and Tran Van Giau. The remnants of the Vietnamese communists under the leadership of Phong operated from a new

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base near the Sino–Vietnamese border while Giau led the regional committee in Cochin China. As Duiker described, “because most of the new Party leaders were veterans of training in Moscow, it was not surprising that more than ever before or after, ICP policy reflected the policies of the Comintern and of Stalin.”112 Indeed more than any other communist party in Southeast Asia, the Indochina Communist Party (ICP) was most directly connected to the Comintern. The ICP thus followed the new united-front anti-imperialist line adopted at the Seventh Comintern Congress, which both Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho Chi Minh) and Le Hong Phong attended. The period of the popular front from 1936 “brought the ICP into the mainstream of Vietnamese politics.”113 The Nazi–Soviet Union Non-aggression Agreement brought a brief halt to the popular front and in September 1940, Le Hong Phong was arrested by the French thus leading to the re-emergence of Nguyen Ai Quoc—who in 1940 became known as Ho Chi Minh. From this point on, Ho provided the leadership for the Vietnamese communist struggle for independence, the details of which are well known and need not delay us here.114 After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, the popular front resumed but the struggle for independence against the French nevertheless continued. Soon after the Japanese surrendered in August 1945, Ho, taking advantage of the power vacuum during the transition, declared Vietnam independent with the new name “Democratic Republic of Vietnam” (DRV) on 2 September 1945. This was possible because earlier on 9 March 1945, the Japanese had removed French control over Indochina and at the same time did not prevent Ho and his associates from taking power. The independence struggle was however not over by any stretch. Ho’s government was able to consolidate control over North and Central Vietnam after Chinese nationalist troops, charged at the Potsdam Conference with the task of disarming Japanese forces north of the 17th parallel, withdrew in March 1946. But his government was unable to control the south (Cochin China) because the French were able to regain power there owing to the support of the British who were charged with disarming Japanese troops south of the 17th parallel. Also, as Keith Taylor explained, “although large numbers of Vietnamese rallied to the Viet Minh to defend national independence, there were also many Vietnamese who saw the underlying Vietminh agenda of communist revolution a threat to their vision of an independent Vietnam.”115 Unfortunately for this diverse group who preferred an independent and noncommunist Vietnam, they lacked the leadership and solidarity of the Vietminh. The French were also not prepared to relinquish their colony.

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The Laotian and Cambodian experience during the Japanese interregnum was similar to the other Southeast Asian states. In Laos, the Crown Prince remained committed to the French but others were broadly under the antiFrench Lao Issara (Free Lao) umbrella, such as Prince Phetsarath who was prepared to make use of the Japanese to achieve the independence of Laos and Prince Souvanna Phouma who believed that independence could be achieved through patient negotiation. Whatever their differences in strategy, they shared a common concern of Vietnamese ambitions in Laos, except for one group led by Prince Souphanouvong (aka “The Red Prince”) who was adamant that the best way for Laos to achieve independence was to work with the Vietminh. Martin Stuart-Fox has noted that “the split in the Lao Issara marked the failure of the movement to provide leadership of the nationalist struggle.”116 Similarly in Cambodia, the French in the hope of emerging from the war with its colonial empire as far as possible intact, worked through the monarchy. In 1941, they installed Prince Norodom Sihanouk, supposedly “more malleable and less independent-minded,” to succeed his late maternal grandfather King Monivong.117 Sihanouk was subsequently to prove the French wrong. As in Laos, there was an anti-French movement known as the Khmer Issarak (Independent Khmer). Under its broad umbrella were pro-left types such as Achar Mean (better known as Son Ngoc Minh) and Achar Sok (better known as Tou Samouth) who eventually allied themselves with the Vietnamese communists. Between 1945 and 1947, the Vietnamese communists assisted in the anticolonial struggles in Laos and Cambodia.

V The conclusion of the Second World War triggered the end of the European empires and colonialism in Southeast Asia. Whereas before the war, the communists posed no threat to the European colonial powers, they grew to be one after the war. As the credibility of the Western imperial powers was battered by the war, the local communists grew in confidence. The United States, despite President Roosevelt’s anticolonialism rhetoric, failed to support the nationalist aspirations of the Southeast Asians although it did give the Philippines its independence soon after the war. It viewed the restoration of the colonial regimes with “mixed feelings” as a “necessary evil.”118 We will return to this later. As Warren F. Kimball explained, “[W]hatever [Roosevelt’s] distaste for colonialism on moral and humanitarian grounds, his fear that it would disrupt any peace settlement motivated his wartime actions. . . . That balancing act sometimes required Roosevelt . . . make short-term adjustments and conces-

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sions.”119 Roosevelt died in April 1945 before the end of the war. His failure to realize any anticolonial vision brings to mind a similar failure of Woodrow Wilson back in 1919–1920. The formation of the Communist Information Bureau (Cominform) in September 1947 in reaction to both the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan marked the end of the united- or popular-front strategy. Its manifesto stated that the “the world was divided into two fronts, one imperialist, the other socialist and democratic, and that there must be no Munich with the imperialists.”120 Many Western observers saw the Cominform as a “reincarnation” of the Comintern.121 Others indicate that the Cominform was not envisaged to be “a successor of the Comintern, spreading international revolution. Rather it included only the East European parties and a few strategically important West European parties, and was subject to the dictates of Soviet foreign policy.”122 As for the states beyond Europe, such as those in Southeast Asia, Stalin’s attitude was founded “on a mixture of realpolitik and scepticism.”123 He was unsure that those states were ready for socialism and he was also unwilling to overly antagonize the Western imperial powers whose agreement he needed for the postwar division of Europe.124 This was despite Andrei Zhdanov’s “two camp” speech delivered at the founding of the Cominform when Indonesia and Vietnam were mentioned in passing as being associated with the “anti-imperialist and anti-fascist forces” led by the Soviet Union.125 The Soviet Union in the immediate postwar years, however, lacked the capacity to exert its influence very much beyond its own European neighborhood. Stalin’s Cold War strategy did not envisage an Asian branch of the Cominform. Thus, from around 1943 till 1949, the Southeast Asian communist parties operated without much direction from the Soviet Union. For example, the Vietnamese communists found it exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to contact their European counterparts based in Eastern Europe and the limited contacts with French and Russian communists in Hanoi were “anything but official or secure.”126 The Comintern apparently had not interfered in the affairs of the CCP since 1935. The Chinese Politburo’s view that the dissolution of the Comintern would “strengthen the local communist parties” by making them “even more nationalized” rings true for the Southeast Asia parties that henceforth, like the CCP, need not bow to its directives.127 The Chinese communists were themselves too distracted by their own civil war with the KMT (from mid-1946 to early 1950) to be able to focus on their Southeast Asian counterparts. Odd Arne Westad reminded us that August 1945 was the “dark-

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est moment in Mao Zedong’s political life. . . . The much-vaunted post-war era of Communist power was fast shrinking into about as much influence as the party had held in 1937 and with far fewer avenues of expansion.”128 As for Southeast Asia in general, political independence was a first victory. What followed were “the formidable tasks of constructing the post-colonial state and meeting the related challenges of economic and social development.”129 Of the communist parties in Southeast Asia, the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) initially had a legitimate role in postwar Burma. However, as we have seen earlier, the schism within the communist faction led to the breakup of the Communist Party of Burma in early 1946. By late 1946, the united front between the communists and noncommunists also collapsed after the party’s “moderate” wing, which had remained in the coalition, was expelled. The noncommunists then pressed the British to give Burma its independence as soon as possible to pre-empt the communists from exploiting the issue.130 The British eventually did so on 4 January 1948 but before that Aung San, president of the antifascist league (AFPFL), was assassinated. Indeed his assassination in July 1947 “strengthened the determination of the communists to revive a united front with the AFPFL” in order to recover its lost role in the government.131 Aung San, although not a communist, was seen as more amenable to embracing political differences whereas those who succeeded him after his tragic death were “strongly anti-communist military officers and Socialist Party leaders.” At the time of Aung San’s murder, he was apparently negotiating a political settlement with the BCP leader Than Tun and that could have led to his death.132 Despite the fact that Burma had attained its independence, the communists continued their strikes in the urban centers on the one hand and building up their base areas in the countryside on the other. This led the Rangoon government to order the arrest of the CPB leaders in March 1948. By April, the communist leadership had fled to the countryside and the party went underground. The CPB adopted Mao’s rural guerrilla strategy as they considered Burma to be a “semi-colonial, semi-feudal” country that was not ready for a proletarian revolution.133 The CPB “posed the most serious threat” to the Rangoon government in the immediate years after Burma’s independence as it was “one of the country’s most powerful parties after the AFPFL.”134 It has been said that the difference between the European and Asian experience was that in Europe, communism found support “largely in the tensions between social classes” whereas in Asia, it was more of a “conflict between the empires of the West and the colonies of the South.”135 This is true for all the

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Southeast Asian communist parties up to the end of the Second World War. But after 1945, it became less and less so as the respective states achieved independence. As Bertil Linter noted, the CPB went underground in March 1948 “to fight for a socialist republic.”136 The same is true for the Philippines. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) brought together a number of like-minded groups, such as the National Peasants’ Union (PKM formed from the merger of AMT and KPMP and whose members were almost all the Huk guerrillas who were also landless farmers) and the Congress of Labor Organizations (CLO) to form the Democratic Alliance (DA) with the objective of contesting the April 1946 Philippine general election. The DA, which was essentially the political body of the Hukbalahap, had two major goals—to prevent what they perceived to be Japanese collaborators from taking office and to fight for a “more progressive economic stance towards workers and peasants.”137 Still, most of the top leaders were in fact more “progressive intellectuals” than communists.138 They were unable to stop Manuel Roxas, whom they considered the foremost Filipino collaborator during the Japanese Occupation as well as a US puppet from becoming the president.139 Regardless, a number of alliance candidates won, most prominently, Luis Taruc (in Pampanga), whom we will remember was the commander of the Huk, and Jesus Lava (in Bulacan), the eventual secretary-general of the CPP from 1950. Meanwhile, there were numerous clashes between landlords and peasants over land ownership, a situation which Roxas used as a pretext to cast doubt on the elections in certain provinces, to deny the DA candidates from taking their seats, and to take repressive action against communists. After the Philippines was granted independence, the communist fight became less of an independence struggle and more of a class struggle. Indeed at a June 1945 Central Committee plenum of the CPP, Vicente Lava argued that it was not the United States that was the target since it had already promised to give the Philippines independence in 1946 but “comprador bourgeoisie and the semi-feudal landlords. . . .”140 However in May 1946, he concluded that the United States “would not relinquish its hold on the Philippines, but that it saw the country as part of its ‘inner zone of influence’.”141 While the Americans kept their commitment to grant the Philippines independence, it did retain considerable economic and military control of the country through the Military Bases Agreement and the Bell Trade Act, which the CPP opposed. Between 1946 and 1948, the Huk rebellion grew in both size and organizational strength.142 According to Luis Taruc, the Huk became “reluctant rebels against their elected governments in which the Congress was dominated by the

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landlords who blocked every attempt at land reform. . . .”143 The Filipino communists had so far adopted a combination of legal activity and armed struggle but after President Roxas declared the Huk an illegal organization in March 1948, the Central Committee of the CPP in May decided that “armed struggle should henceforth be the main form of activity to which all other forms would be strictly subordinated.”144 The government forces, Taruc has recalled, were utterly ruthless in burning villages, raping, looting, and torturing prisoners; and the Huk “retaliated in kind matching the cruelty of their enemies.”145 In British Malaya, after Lai Teck was exposed as a spy and absconded with all the party funds, Chin Peng took over the reins of the MCP—or alternatively Communist Party of Malaya (CPM)—in May 1947. He was a leading member of the Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA) and for his role in resisting the Japanese he was decorated by Mountbatten in 1946. He received two military medals and the Order of the British Empire (OBE), which were revoked when the MCP/CPM launched its armed insurrection in June 1948, which in turn led the British to declare an Emergency.146 The term “emergency” and not “war” was deliberately chosen because the British colonial government did not want the London commercial insurance rate to spiral upwards and affect Malayan businesses. Besides the Indochina Wars, the historiography of the Malayan Emergency is the best developed, particularly on the British side. From 1948 to 1960, the uprising aimed to overthrow the British colonial government and establish a Communist People’s Democratic Republic of Malaya. Although called the Emergency, Leon Comber, who was once a member of the Malayan Special Branch, recalled “it was nothing less than an outright war” costing thousands of lives.147 Comber’s view is shared by John Gullick, who was once a member of the Malayan Civil Service. There is general consensus in the historical scholarship that the issues that led to the Malayan Emergency were “complex and ambivalent . . . multi-causal . . . which blended MCP reaction to increasing British labour controls, MCP leadership problems, and to a decreasing degree, international changes.”148 According to Chin Peng, when he took over the leadership of the MCP, his first task was to put the house in order—organize troops; stockpile food, ammunition, and weapons; get the finances in order.149 His goal for the MCP in 1948 was to receive “official recognition as a legal entity.” But as we have noted above, there had always been a restive militant element in the MCP, which had so far been reined in by Lai Teck, that was impatient to get rid of the British. Thus Chin Peng was under some degree of pressure to repudiate the policies of his discredited predecessor.150 This internal pressure was compounded by

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British repression of MCP political and union activities between late 1947 and May 1948.151 The fourth and fifth plenums of the Central Executive Committee of the MCP in March and May 1948 did discuss the need to prepare for a rebellion to counter the British actions but did not draw up an “explicit revolutionary programme” because there was no consensus within the leadership on how best to deal with the British.152 Nevertheless, preparations were made so that they would be ready to respond in the event of a British attack, which they anticipated could be sometime in September or after. Lawrence Sharkey, the leader of the Australian Communist Party who was returning from the Calcutta Conference to Australia, was present at the March meeting and Chin Peng recalled that Sharkey gave advice on “how to get rid of the scabs.”153 Chin Peng, in his memoir of the anticolonial war against the British, revealed that although the decision to launch the armed struggle was agreed upon on 21 March 1948, there remained some doubts and misgivings whether the conditions in Malaya and Singapore were indeed ripe for its success.154 It was not, according to Chin Peng, the strategy per se that was questioned but the timing of its introduction. Some of them felt that the war against the British would last two to three years, others longer, while Chin Peng predicted that it would last at least ten years. But before the details of timing and implementation could be worked out, the Sungai Siput attacks on 16 June 1948 were carried out independently by three communist comrades without the concurrence of their superiors. This inadvertently launched the armed struggle before preparations were complete. The murder in Sungei Siput of the three European planters, of which two “had histories of imposing harsh and bullying treatment on the workers who had no legal redress and no way of achieving any form of justice other than through strike action,” led the British to move earlier than the communists had expected.155 It banned the MCP and declared a state of “Emergency.” In Indonesia, the reborn PKI that emerged after the Second World War was a small insignificant party which joined a coalition or union of socialist parties known as “Sayap (Sajap) Kiri” (Left Wing). It initially kept a low profile within the coalition.156 In November 1946, the Dutch and the unilaterally declared Republic of Indonesia signed the Linggadjati Agreement. Sayap Kiri, among others, opposed the signing of the agreement and brought down the Sutan Sjahrir cabinet responsible for it. Sjahrir (the first prime minister of Indonesia) was succeeded by Amir Sjarifudin (a closet PKI member till he publicly disclosed his true identity on 29 August 1948). The breakdown of the Linggadjati Agreement led to the resumption of the fighting between Indone-

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sian nationalists (which included the communists) and the Dutch throughout much of 1947. The United States (through the UN Security Council Good Offices Committee) mediated the Renville Agreement, which was biased towards the Dutch. Signed in January 1948, it brought about a cease-fire and negotiations resumed to discuss the formal establishment of a United States of Indonesia (which according to the Linggadjati Agreement would be on 1 January 1949) and the nature of its relations with the Netherlands. The coalition partners within Sayap Kiri opposed the Renville Agreement and withdrew their ministers in the cabinet. Amir Sjarifudin who had signed the Renville Agreement under pressure from the United States resigned and was replaced by Vice President Hatta who refused to have any Sayap Kiri ministers in his cabinet. As Harry Poeze noted, “the comfortable position of Sayap Kiri, and the communists within it, in the centre of the Republik’s power came to an end.”157 On 26 May 1948, the Soviet news agency TASS announced, to the surprise of the Hatta government, that an agreement to establish diplomatic relations had been signed between Suripno, Indonesia’s special envoy, and the Soviet ambassador in Prague. Suripno (a PKI member) had been assigned by Amir Sjarifudin when he was the prime minister to enter into contact with the Soviet Union. The United States had so far reluctantly supported the Netherlands in the Dutch–Indonesian conflict. When it eventually shifted its policy to supporting the Indonesians in the summer/fall of 1948, it was not because of its anticolonial stance but because of the exigencies of the Cold War.158 In contrast, the Soviet Union had consistently supported the Indonesian government in the Security Council from 1945 to the end of 1949 when the Dutch finally recognized Indonesia’s independence. This was despite the crushing of the communist-led Madiun uprising by the Hatta government. During this period, Musso remained the key person linking the PKI and the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU. He was working in one of the “scientific research institutes” that emerged from the dissolution of the Comintern and apparently harbored aspirations to lead the PKI. The signing of the Renville Agreement was clearly inconsistent with the Zhdanov Line and on 21 June 1948, he set off from Prague to return to Indonesia with instructions to “help” the PKI leadership and not lead it: “his task is assistance to the leadership of the Indonesian Communist Party and that the Indonesian comrades themselves will define his role in the CPI.”159 Musso arrived back in Indonesia in August and was immediately perceived to be “an envoy of Moscow, with a mandate to reorganise the FDR (Front Demokrasi

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Rayjat—which was the new name of Sajap Kiri), along Stalin’s and Cominform guidelines.”160 The most recent scholarly accounts as well as PKI historiography concur that the Madiun uprising (September 1948), which took place not long after Musso’s return to Indonesia, was neither a US provocation nor a Soviet plot but “a local affair that got out of hand.” In his analysis, Harry Poeze concluded that with the new Soviet policy, it was a matter of time that a confrontation would take place in Indonesia between the communists and the anticommunists. Had it not been for the presence of Musso whose arrival Poeze described as “a catalyst” which “ended caution, diplomacy, and the secrecy about illegal actions,” the rupture would have come later at a time when the PKI/FDR was perhaps stronger and better prepared. In the end, the uprising, like its predecessor in 1926–1927, failed. Musso was also killed.161 Of all the Southeast Asian countries in 1948, only Siam or Thailand after July 1948 did not experience any communist uprising/rebellion. We would recall that an indigenous Thai communist party did not emerge till after the Second World War. For a brief period between 1946 and 1947, Thai communists were able to operate freely and openly. This freedom, including the activities of the Southeast Asia League, was circumscribed after the November 1947 coup against the Pridi-Thawan Thamrongnawasawat government by a number of disgruntled and conservative senior military officers, most prominently Field Marshals Phin Chunhawan (leader of the coup) and Sarit Thanarat, as well as Police General Phao Siyanon. Others involved who subsequently rose to prominence were Thanom Kittikachorn, Praphat Charusathian, who we will come across later in this narrative, and Chatchai Chunhawan. Following the coup, Pridi was replaced by Phibunsongkhram, who had a track record of being anticommunist. An Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand described the developments in this way: “At the end of 1947, the fascist military group again rose to power. American influence began to dominate Thailand. In 1948, the Thai fascist military group signed a treaty of economic and military assistance with America. From then on, America was the number one external enemy of Thailand.”162 The Communist Party of Siam had initially considered supporting Pridi to regain power but eventually decided to organize the peasants in the countryside instead. Marxist communism until this time was very much an urban phenomenon.163 The growing government repression of the communists in 1948–1949 coincided with the end of the 1948 decision of the Communist Party of Thailand (after July 1948, “Siam” was officially renamed “Thailand”)

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to proselytize in the countryside.164 After the coup, Pridi moved to China to plan a comeback that never materialized. Meanwhile in Vietnam, the weakness of Ho Chi Minh’s provisional government and the intransigence of the French—who had no intention at all to relinquish control over Indochina—resulted in a series of abortive negotiations between March and September 1946.165 The “First Indochina War” or what the Vietnamese describe as the “War of Resistance against the French” began on 19 December 1946. This marked the start of a long and bitter Franco–Vietnamese war that concluded with the French defeat in 1954 at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu. On 7 October 1947, the French launched a major offensive, dubbed “Operation Lea” into the Viet Bac, the area between the Chinese border and the Red River that Nguyen Khac Vien described as “the very cradle of the resistance.”166 The aim of this military operation, which lasted until the end of 1947, in the words of General Jean Étienne Valluy, commander-in-chief of the French Army in Indochina, was “to pursue the Vietminh into their lair”—to seize the heart of the Vietminh stronghold (8,000 square kilometers of mountainous and forested terrain) in order to consolidate French dominance not only in the urban/delta areas or cities (which the French already controlled) but throughout North Vietnam and particularly the northern border area. In this operation, Ho Chi Minh narrowly escaped capture. He and his colleagues were forced to move out of the Viet Bac area where he had based himself since December 1946. The French failed to eliminate the Vietminh. Operation Lea did, however, mark a temporary setback for the Vietnamese communists. They were forced to abandon any plan of a conventional war against the French and to resort to guerrilla warfare. The unfavorable circumstance of the Vietnamese communists was compounded by the November 1947 coup in Bangkok described above. Christopher Goscha pointed out that more important than losing the Southeast Asia League as a consequence of the coup was the possible loss of the Viet Kieu and trading networks in Thailand that had been so critical to sustaining the Vietminh struggle against the French.167 The Vietminh leadership entered 1948 with the two problems described above hanging over their heads. There is consensus amongst Vietnamese historians that from 1948 onwards, the Vietminh gradually seized the initiative from the French, which culminated in their victory in the 1950 Border Campaign, one major turning point in the Resistance War against the French (First Indochina War).168 But that is an evaluation from hindsight. A recent study

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edited by Andrew Wiest was perhaps more accurate in suggesting: “No major manoeuvre operations [in 1948] took place; troops were dispersed in small posts for local security. The ‘War of the roads’ was initiated on the Tonkin/ China border, as the VM [Vietminh] repeatedly ambushed convoys serving French posts along RC (Route Coloniale) 4 and RC 3bis and mounted probing attacks on small garrisons.”169 According to the official Vietnamese history, in the wake of Operation Lea, the Communist Party’s Central Committee convened an enlarged session on 15 January 1948 where it laid down the strategic plan for 1948.170 The Vietminh leadership anticipated that the French would ramp up their operations in the North and consolidate their control of the South. As such, the broad goal of the Vietnamese communist leadership was to “smash the enemy’s winter offensive in Bac Bo and to foil the mopping up operations in Nam Bo” through “a people’s war” in enemy-controlled territories; in short, to regain control of the Viet Bac area. The year 1948 was described as “a year when the war raged everywhere.”171 At least two cadres conferences—convened in May and August 1948 and another in January 1949—disseminated the January 1948 decisions. It was a challenging goal for the Vietnamese communists who had little military training and resources. William Duiker, citing a French military observer, noted that after Operation Lea, the conflict became a “war of stagnation.”172 The second problem that the Vietnamese communist leadership had to tackle in 1948 was the fallout of the coup in Thailand.173 In the attempt to protect its Thai operations, on 10 February 1948, General Nguyen Binh sent a personal letter of congratulations to the new Prime Minister Phibun Songkhram “as part of a well-calculated bid to maintain Thai sympathy at this crucial point in the supplying of the south.”174 Besides extending the good wishes of the Vietnamese, Binh also played on Thai antipathy towards the French. This apparently succeeded and at least initially Bangkok allowed the Vietnamese to continue their activities in Thailand. The Vietnamese communist leadership sent one of its most senior members, Hoang Van Hoan, to Thailand to manage the delicate situation. Hoan arrived in northeast Thailand in May 1948 and while there, established the Overseas Working Bureau, the function of which was to support the resistance in Vietnam from the west via Laos and Cambodia.175 Phibun’s goodwill, however, did not last beyond 1948. Immediately after the coup, Phibun had asked for US military and monetary support to strengthen the Thai army. The United States was initially reluctant as Washington viewed Phibun as a wartime enemy, Thailand being an ally of the

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Japanese during the Pacific War. In order to change the view of the Americans and also to garner patronage and support, Phibun gradually burnished his reputation as being anticommunist and anti-Chinese. Those in the northeast of Thailand, who were seen as either opponents of his government or else proPridi, were specially targeted. They were charged with plotting the separation and incorporation of the northeast into a communist-dominated Indochina.176 In the words of Daniel Fineman, “[F]rom viewing [Phibun] in 1947 as a fascist inimical to US interests, the Americans had come to see him by late spring 1948 as a friendly leader. . . .”177 The United States and Britain ultimately recognized Phibun’s government in April. Consequently within a year of assuming power, he had changed his policy towards the Vietnamese communists and vigorously clamped down on Vietnamese communist activities in Thailand.178 The combination of military stalemate and changes in Thai political complexion had implications for Vietnamese communist relations with the liberation movements Khmer Issarak (Cambodia) and the Lao Issara (Laos). Prior to Phibun, both the Khmer Issarak and Lao Issara had the support of the Pridi regime as well as the Vietnamese communists with Bangkok serving as the base. The Vietminh mission in Bangkok directed the resistance movements in Cambodia and Laos. As Motoo Furuta described, “in the early years of the resistance joint Cambodian–Vietnamese and Laotian–Vietnamese forces were at the core of the Khmer Issarak and Lao Issara, respectively.”179 However, because the Vietnamese communists were preoccupied in their own liberation struggle against the French, they were until now unable to control and direct their counterparts in neighboring Cambodia and Laos. The military stalemate forced the Vietnamese communists to extend their operations into Cambodia and Laos, which became “crucial second lines” of defense for Vietnam. At the same time, the deprivation of Thai support for the Khmer Issarak and Lao Issara led the Cambodians and Laotians to turn even more toward Vietnam for support.180 Besides the military dimension, the enlarged session of the Party Central Committee in January 1948 had also discussed political, economic, and cultural issues. The Vietnamese communist leadership endorsed the Cominform view that the world was divided into two opposing blocs of East and West, and that the Vietnamese communist resistance against the French belonged to the democratic camp of the East–West struggle.181 Subsequently, at the August 1948 Cominform conference, the leadership redefined the Indochinese revolution as a “new democratic revolution.” As Motoo Furuta noted, “through 1947 the [Indochinese Communist Party] had accepted the definition used by Mao Ze-

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dong when he introduced the concept in 1940. As redefined, however, ‘new democratic revolution’ meant a ‘people’s democratic revolution’ possessing the potential to evolve into socialism under communist party direction.”182 But constrained by the ongoing armed conflict with the French, the leadership judged that it was premature to reveal their true communist color as it would “expose it to assault from international anti-communist reactionary forces and would stir up domestic unrest among participants in the united front.”183 Thus, although most if not all the Vietnamese communist leadership acknowledged that their differences with the noncommunists were “unbridgeable,”184 with regard to political strategy, the focus continued to be consolidating the unity among the population through broadening the national united front as well as securing the support of the socialist countries and “progressive, peace-loving forces of the world.”185 It is worth noting that in 1947, Ho Chi Minh sent Vice-Minister Pham Ngoc Thach to Bangkok to explain to the Americans the Vietminh policy.186 On 12 December 1947, the Party Central Committee circulated an internal directive explaining that “because the American threat has not been direct, statements in our media should be friendly with the United States and we should make use of the Vietnamese–American Friendship Association” for favorable publicity.187 George Abbot, the American Consul in Saigon, reporting in early 1949 found it “peculiar” that the Vietminh had not indulged in as much anti-American propaganda as was expected.188 Indeed, from 1947 to early 1950, the state news media avoided any criticisms of Washington.189 In addition to the United States, the Vietminh also tried to elicit the assistance of the KMT government in Nanking. Twice in 1947, Ho Chi Minh sent a Vietminh delegation to Nanking but both times it failed. After the fall of Manchuria in October 1948 to the Chinese communists, Ho stopped seeking KMT support.190 The Vietnamese and Chinese communists had had a close relationship ever since the October Revolution in 1917. Much of Ho Chi Minh’s early revolutionary activities were conducted in the Guangxi border area, which served as the base for the Vietnamese communists. On the Chinese communist side, during the War of Liberation (Chinese Civil War—April 1927 to May 1950), when the Guangdong-Guangxi and Yunnan-Guangxi detachments encountered difficulties from the KMT attacks, they moved into the Vietminh liberated areas.191 The Vietminh’s sanctuary in the border areas between Vietnam and China (Guangxi and Yunnan) and cooperation between the Vietnamese and Chinese communists were important factors that made it possible for the Vietminh to survive the French attacks in 1947–1948.192 For example, in 1946, the 1st Reg-

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iment of the Southern Guangdong People’s Force, which was the main CCP force in Guangdong-Guangxi, moved into Vietnam to avoid the KMT attack. It was a small and poorly equipped regiment. While in Vietnam where they remained till August 1949, at the request of Ho, the regiment helped to train the Vietminh troops, specifically to train Vietminh officers and to set up an intelligence system. By July 1947, over 830 Vietminh cadres were trained. An overseas Chinese self-defense force numbering over a thousand was also created and subsequently incorporated into the Vietminh army.193 A new phase in Vietminh’s international relations emerged in the first half of 1948. According to Laura Calkins, after pursuing a strategy of cultivating both communists and noncommunists in the region, the Vietminh leadership in mid-1948 strengthened its ties with the Chinese communists, who at the same time were increasingly developing an interest in Southeast Asia and the Vietminh in particular. This phase of improving Chinese communists–Vietminh relations was marked by cross-border collaboration of both sides.194 In his message to the Fifth Cadres Conference (8–16 August 1948), Truong Chinh observed that the French were becoming more dependent on the American imperialists. He anticipated that eventual victory of the CCP in China would have a major positive impact on the Vietnamese resistance struggle. This did not mean that the Vietminh would rely on “outsiders” but certainly a united front of the Vietnamese and Chinese communists would be better able to resist the American–French imperialists.195 But on the whole, as Hoang Van Hoan (who was the Democratic Republic of Vietnam’s first ambassador to China) wrote, the military situations in both Vietnam and China between 1947 and 1949 made Sino–Vietnamese communication very difficult.196 Chinese sources also confirm that ties between the two parties were limited between 1945 and 1949. There was also no evidence of any substantial Chinese technical assistance during this period. According to Chinese communist accounts of their War of Liberation, the war reached “the decisive phase” in the autumn of 1948. CCP’s victory, however, was not yet a foregone conclusion. But after three major consecutive campaigns beginning in September 1948 (the Liaoxi-Shenyang campaign, the Huai-Hai campaign, and the Beijing-Tianjin campaign), the Chinese communist army finally captured Nanjing, the KMT capital, on 23 April 1949. The military success of the Chinese communists was therefore fortuitous for their Vietnamese counterpart as their military struggle against the French was at a stalemate.197 In late 1948, they were also under great pressure to relocate their Bangkok-based liaison headquarters.198 Chinese communist military forces

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gave substantial operational assistance to the Vietminh for the first time in early 1949. Before the 1st Regiment returned to southern China in autumn 1949 it helped create the first People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN) division in August 1949.199

VI To understand the impact of the Calcutta Conference on the Southeast Asian communists and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, we need to contextualize the conference within the backdrop described above. We have to understand each local condition. While there were some broad similarities, the local situation varied from country to country. The Calcutta Conference of Youth and Students of Southeast Asia Fighting for Freedom and Independence convened from 19 to 26 February 1948.200 Because this conference placed much emphasis on the use of violence, contemporary analysts linked it to the communist-led insurgencies that erupted in Burma, the Philippines, Malaya, and Indonesia soon after the conference. In the case of Vietnam, as we have noted, the war had already started in December 1946. The Vietnamese delegation to the conference was given the honor of delivering the keynote message. The report was a detailed discussion of the Vietnamese experience in guerrilla warfare. Vietnam was represented at the conference by a delegation of seven Vietminh military officers who, as Ruth McVey had suggested, were perhaps the reason for the military emphasis in the report. But given that the Vietnamese communists had only recently engaged the French militarily, it was not surprising that the Vietnamese report focused on their military experience and current condition. In the event, while the military focus of the report seemingly gelled with the general tenor of the conference, the Vietnamese position actually differed from the consensus position at the conference.201 The Calcutta Conference issued a Political Thesis that reiterated the Zhdanov interpretation of the international situation. It condemned the Indian socialists for openly preaching “the illusion that socialism may be achieved by constitutional means” and had called upon the communists to forge a “Democratic Front of all militant sections and honest revolutionaries to launch the final struggle to win real freedom and democracy.”202 But, as Ruth McVey noted, “The Vietnamese delegates showed no inclination to accept the meeting’s declaration as law.” Indeed, they denied its most important point: the rejection of all compromise with imperialism. Instead, the Vietnamese approved of the Indian and Burmese path toward independence. They were

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apparently unrepentant in spite of criticism. Upon returning from the conference the Vietnamese “expressed irritation at the attempts to impose the international line on the Vietnamese movement.”203 The Vietnamese steadfastly maintained that the “struggle for independence and democracy takes on a different character according to the actual conditions prevailing in each country.”204 The Calcutta Conference, thus, did not have any immediate effect on the Vietminh experience. This is not to say that that the Vietnamese communist leadership did not subscribe to the view of a world divided between the socialists led by the Soviet Union, and the imperialists led by the United States. Indeed, the Indochinese Communist Party had anticipated the two camps as early as the eighth plenum in May 1941.205 But while some quarters within the Vietminh leadership supported Andrei Zhdanov’s “two-camp” theory (September 1947), the general consensus was inclined towards the pragmatic view that the bourgeoisie could still be harnessed against the anti-imperialist movement as part of a front led by the communist party. Bertil Lintner, who wrote the most detailed account of the Burmese reaction at Calcutta, described how some of the communists at the conference accused some countries of having achieved “sham independence” which led to a “walk-out in protest” by both the Burmese delegates from the AFPFL and delegates from the Indian National Congress. It was also untrue that H. N. Ghoshal wrote a “thesis” advocating a peasant rebellion on his return from the Calcutta Conference. In fact, he neither attended the Calcutta Conference nor the Second Congress of the Indian Communist Party which took place immediately afterwards.206 The Filipinos found the conference to be “Sovietdominated.”207 The Malayan communists were not invited to Calcutta but heard a report of what transpired from Lawrence Sharkey, who met with Chin Peng on his way back to Australia (as described above). As for Indonesia, L. M. Efimova, who has done the most research in the Russian archive on this subject, concluded that the Central Committee of the All-Union Party (of Bolsheviks) documents showed no orders emanated from Calcutta.208 According to Efimova, Stalin was focused on China and North Korea whereas Indonesia was on the periphery of Soviet Asian policy during this period. While not uninterested, the Soviet Union did not take any special initiatives concerning Indonesia and in fact Stalin was very cautious when asked for his views on the PKI. Last but not least, Musso was not a “Soviet puppet.” He was in fact much closer to the Dutch communists than to the Comintern. While he was definitely a committed communist, he was also very independent

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minded.209 Efimova’s findings on Indonesia concur with the general consensus about Stalin’s foreign policy priority in the immediate post-World War Two years. The Calcutta Conference was thus a somewhat messy gathering and Moscow did not issue any instruction at the conference directing the Southeast Asian communists to rise in rebellion in 1948. However, it is true that Andrei Zhdanov’s “two-camp” speech was well-known and would have been much discussed and debated amongst the Southeast Asian communists in the different countries. The rebellions that occurred in the four countries were largely shaped by local developments and not directed by the Soviet Union as was widely assumed then. Having said that, Robert Taylor rightly reminded us that communism was “a revolutionary movement with an international ideology” and communists everywhere would be “concerned as to whether their ideological views and political tactics were consonant with those of foreign communist parties.”210

CHAPTER 2

The Emergence of Communist China I This chapter makes the argument that it was Communist China more than the Soviet Union that fuelled the Cold War in Southeast Asia, and thus if one has to identify a point critical to the development of the Cold War in post-World War Two Southeast Asia, it would be 1949, specifically 1 October which marked the inauguration of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). We would recall from the previous chapter that the Soviet Union lacked the capacity to focus on Southeast Asia and had no intention to establish an Asian Cominform. John F. Cady recalled that the Soviets knew even less about the situation in Burma than the Americans did.1 The Soviet Union had established diplomatic relations with Siam as early as March 1941 but it was more form than substance. Despite its professed sympathy for the struggles of national liberation, Moscow never paid much attention to Southeast Asia during this period, with the exception of Indonesia towards the end of the 1940s. Moscow was apprehensive that the Vietminh’s war of resistance against the French would adversely affect the political prospects of the French Communist Party (FCP) in France. It is indeed significant that both British and American intelligence had been hard-pressed to find any concrete evidence of Soviet–Vietminh connections. As an Office of Intelligence Research report submitted during the fall of 1948 tersely remarked: “if there is a Moscow-directed conspiracy in Southeast Asia, Indochina is an anomaly so far.”2 Mao Zedong, on the other hand, was very interested in an Asian Cominform (although in the end it not materialize) and to “create a supreme headquarters for the Asian revolution in China.” From a 3 February 1949 con52

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versation between Anastas Mikoyan (Politburo member of Communist Party of the Soviet Union) and Mao, we get a glimpse of Mao’s thinking during this period as well as the links between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Southeast Asian communist parties. According to Mao, the CCP had yet to reach a decision on joint action by the Asian communist parties. The CCP had maintained contacts with the communist parties of Indochina, Siam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Burma, India, Malaya, and Korea. Ties were closer with Indochina and Korea, less so with the others and almost no contact with the Japanese Communist Party. Mao proposed “discussing and establishing an Asian Communist Information Bureau like the Cominform in Europe after the situation had stabilised in China.” He revealed that the communist parties of Siam and Indochina had expressed support for this initiative. He proposed that a few of the Asian communist parties such as China, Korea, Indochina, and the Philippines could take the lead in establishing an Asian Cominform. A report of a May 1949 conversation that Mao had with the representative of the Workers’ Party of North Korea revealed that the CCP had raised this with their counterparts in Burma, Malaya, and Indochina: they all concurred that an Asian Cominform should be recreated. As Shen Zhihua and Xia Yafeng have written, while Mao was keen on the idea of an Asian Cominform, he however was concerned that it was perhaps too soon to do so given that “China and Indochina were still at war and that the situation in North Korea was very tense as well.” Forming such a grouping “would be considered by the capitalist bloc to be a military alliance.” Mao was also apparently wary that his enthusiasm might lead Stalin to consider him an “Asian Tito.” Indeed Stalin also felt that it was not the right time to establish an Asian Cominform. According to Stalin, “once the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) approached the borders of Indochina and Burma, it would lead to a revolutionary situation in these countries and possibly even in Indonesia and the Philippines, as well. It could mean that the imperialist powers might lose control in these countries. Therefore, the imperialists would do everything to blockade or initiate armed conflict with the PLA in order to consolidate south China within their sphere of influence.” Mao would probe Stalin’s thinking again but Stalin still insisted that it was premature to establish one. In his conversation with Liu Shaoqi in June 1949, Stalin said that the Soviet Union was both a European and an Asian country and therefore it might join an East Asian Cominform in the future. According to Shen Zhihua and Xia Yafeng, Stalin might talk about transferring the leadership of the Asian revolution to the CCP but the reality was that he did not completely trust Mao and the CCP.3

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The establishment of the PRC immediately introduced, in the initial years, a new subsidiary communist hub in East and Southeast Asia which was significant given that until then Moscow was unable to effectively exert its influence beyond Europe. “Subsidiary” because until 1956 or thereabouts, Beijing showed deference to the Soviet Union which was regarded as the “Mecca” of the communist movement. Had the KMT (the Nationalist Party under Chiang Kai-shek) not lost the civil war, the Cold War might have developed differently in Southeast Asia.4 In February 1950, Moscow and Beijing signed the Sino–Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance. The Chinese communists, in the words of Odd Arne Westad, “saw themselves as being in the forefront of a global battle against imperialism and capitalism, in an alliance of Communist parties led by the Soviet Union.”5 These developments thus increased the ability of communist parties in Southeast Asia to bid for leadership in the various anticolonial movements. Very quickly after the founding of PRC, the CCP “began to take the initiative on assuming a leadership role in guiding and helping the communist parities of Asia.”6 In a December 1950 conversation with Pavel Yudin, the Soviet ambassador to China, Mao said that all the communist parties in the Asian countries were now looking to the CCP for guidance. Indeed, every communist party in Asia had a resident representative in China; those parties which had opposing factions, such as the Burmese Communist Party and the Indonesian Communist Party, sent separate representatives. The CCP thus needed “to study the conditions in each communist party of Asia and provide them with all aspects of advice and assistance.” It took a few years for the Chinese to familiarize themselves with the different local situations.7 The triumph of the communist party in China has had its most immediate and substantive impact on Vietnam, and Indochina as a whole, which we will describe later. In June 1950, less than a year after the founding of the People’s Republic, the Korean War broke out. The conflict did not directly affect Southeast Asia. Many of the Southeast Asian states—which were food- and commodity-producing countries, such as Indonesia, Burma, and British Malaya—benefited economically from the war. But more importantly, in the words of Nicholas Tarling, it “intensified the Cold War” and “sharpened apprehension about China and its policies among most powers with interests in Asia,” even though the Western powers did not all react in a similar way.8 The Korean War “pitted the PRC and the United States on opposite sides of an international conflict [and] ended any opportunity for accommodation between the PRC and the United States” till the late 1970s.9

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The reaction of the United States, the other principal protagonist of the Cold War, to the founding of the People’s Republic of China is thus most relevant to this narrative. Generally in the years after the end of the Second World War until 1950, US interest in Southeast Asia was not very much stronger than that of the Soviet Union in the region. Until the Korean War, Washington had neither great interest in nor knowledge about Southeast Asia, apart from the Philippines, to which it gave independence in 1946 while continuing to maintain, some would argue, a “neo-colonial relationship.”10 But even with the Philippines, its actions did not really match its rhetoric on its commitment to help in the reconstruction of its former colony until the early 1950s, particularly during the Ramon Magsaysay administration (1953–1957).11 This was despite American fear of communist expansion resulting from the almost back-to-back successes of the communist camp—the Soviet Union detonation of its first atomic bomb in late August 1949 (which caught Washington by surprise) and the victory of the Chinese communists in China. Within the United States, this paranoia led to a witch hunt against alleged communists in the Truman administration and sparked the acrimonious “Who Lost China?” debate which consequently affected US foreign and security policy during the Cold War years. In the case of Vietnam, at the start of 1948, Washington had yet to form a coherent policy towards the First Indochina War but was inclined towards sympathy for the Vietnamese. Recent scholarship shows that it was developments in China in 1948 and 1949, rather than in Vietnam itself, that led Washington to focus more intently on the danger of communism in Southeast Asia (just as the British gradually became more willing to support the French following the communist insurrection in Malaya from 1948).12 This gradual change of attitude from initial sympathy for the anticolonial struggle in Southeast Asia can be discerned from the Department of State policy paper of 27 September 1948 that addressed the need of eliminating communism in Southeast Asia and fostering governments friendly to the United States. With regards to Vietnam, the difficulty was how to support both the interest of the French and at the same time fulfilling the aspiration of the Vietnamese people; how to strengthen the position of the nationalists and weaken the communists. The paper however offered no clear solution of how to achieve a win-win situation for both the French and the Vietnamese but it recognized that a French withdrawal would lead to communist domination of Vietnam, and possibly even Chinese communist domination.13 By the end of 1949 however, the United States began to place Vietnam in

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the context of a West versus East, democracy versus communism dichotomy. This was clearly spelt out in NSC 48/2 (“The Position of the US with respect to Asia”) dated 30 December 1949.14 Washington’s changed attitude had serious implications for Vietnam. In February 1950, Washington recognized the French-created Bao Dai government and also pressured Bangkok to recognize it, which the Thai government under Phibun did in March 1950. In May 1950, Washington finally supported the French war effort in Indochina. Luu Doan Huynh (who served in the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam [DRV]) recalled that the Americans were more or less neutral about the war in Vietnam between 1945 and 1948—“Maybe not 100 percent. Maybe 80 percent neutral. . . . To us, 80 percent neutral was acceptable.” Huynh pinpointed 1950, “not before, not after” when the American “downfall” began.15 To the Vietnamese communists, 1950 was the year the United States intervened in Vietnam. In the words of Nguyen Khac Huynh (a key member of the 1968–1973 Paris Peace Talks that ended the Vietnam War): “After this ‘intervention,’ the Vietnamese people perceived both the French and the Americans as the enemy.”16 This is perhaps the appropriate juncture to briefly introduce Japan into the narrative given its strategic importance. During the Cold War years, Japan has been described as the US’s “unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the Pacific. The idea that US-occupied Japan could or should harmonize with Southeast Asia as a bulwark against a potentially communist China was suggested as early as 1947. A consensus emerged by mid-1948 that Japan rather than China was “the ultimate target of the Asian cold war.” According to a CIA study, the “key” to Japan lay in the control of its economy, thus the American focus on the Japanese recovery. By 1949, this analysis had evolved to a belief that an economically powerful Japan backed by the United States in conjunction with friendly Southeast Asian countries, which had the raw materials that could fuel the Japanese economy, was the most effective strategy to contain communism in East and Southeast Asia.17 Some scholars have described this as a variation of the Imperial Japanese vision of the “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere” during the Second World War but without the military component. In the words of George Kennan and his National Security Council, the United States had to look at Southeast Asia as a “vital segment on the line of containment stretching from Japan southward around to the Indian peninsula.”18 Thus began a gradual and cautious process (given the recent World War Two sensitivities) of restoring Japan–Southeast Asia relations that began during the Yoshida Shigeru government (1946–1947, 1948–1954) based on the Yoshida

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doctrine focusing on economic rehabilitation and diplomacy, specifically after April 1952 when the seven-year American occupation of Japan ended.19 In short, the United States with the onset of the Cold War wanted to draw Japan away from China. Japan, “unable in the Korean War to look to China . . . looked once more to Southeast Asia.” As Prime Minister Yoshida told the Diet in June 1953, “I do not think it is necessary to dwell upon the importance of our relations with Southeast Asia, since we cannot expect much from our relations with China.”20

II While the Chinese civil war was still going on, and even when the Chinese communists appeared to be winning especially after the fall of Manchuria in October 1948, Ho Chi Minh remained very cautious and discreet about Sino–Vietnam relations. Up till late August 1949, he appeared neutral although his colleagues had on various occasions remarked that the success of the Chinese communists would be positive for the Vietminh. The current scholarly consensus is that the Chinese communist victory in 1949 was a critical turning point in the Vietnamese colonial struggle. Shortly after 1 October, Ho Chi Minh dispatched two envoys, Ly Bich Son and Nguyen Duy Thuy, to Beijing to seek Chinese assistance.21 It is also from late 1949 that the First Vietnam War took on a significant international dimension and became part of the wider Cold War struggle. The DRV and the People’s Republic of China established official diplomatic relations on 18 January 1950. According to Nguyen Vu Tung (based on his interview with Vietnamese researchers in Hanoi in 1994), Beijing pressured a reluctant Ho Chi Minh to establish them. Ho went to Beijing in January 1950 to seek Chinese aid—but not to establish diplomatic relations; he actually wanted to avoid having to explicitly take sides for fear of inviting US military intervention in Vietnam. In fact, in his interviews with Andrew Roth and Salt Sanders in the fall of 1949, he told the two American journalists that the DRV would follow the Swiss model of neutrality.22 Ho also did not offer his congratulations to the PRC till November 1949. We will not be able to compare the Chinese and the Vietnamese accounts until the Vietnamese side allows access to its archives on this period. What we can say is that, reluctantly or otherwise, the establishment of diplomatic relations marked the un-categorical acceptance of Zhdanov’s “two-camp theory” and spelled the end of the strategy, tactical or otherwise, to cultivate broad support from both communists and noncommunists. On 17 April 1950, the CCP Central Military Commission ordered the

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formation of the Chinese Military Advisory Group (CMAG) to assist the Vietminh.23 By 1951, Truong Chinh for the first time made the claim that the balance of forces between the democratic and imperialist camps had tipped in favor of the former.24 Also in 1951, the Indochinese Communist Party, which was dissolved in 1945, re-emerged as the Lao Dong or Vietnam Workers’ Party. The late Ilya Gaiduk, who studied the Soviet sources on the Vietnam War more than any other scholar, advised those who are searching for the origins of Soviet involvement in the Indochina conflict to pay attention to what happened in Moscow in late 1949 and early 1950 as nothing significant in Soviet–Vietnam relations happened before those years.25 Moscow was apparently critical of Ho Chi Minh’s insistence on maintaining the united-front approach and also his dissolution of the Indochinese Communist Party in November 1945.26 According to William Duiker, there were no further Soviet contacts with Ho until 1949 and Stalin was in fact skeptical that the Vietminh could win a war against the French. Indeed, Stalin doubted whether Ho was a genuine Marxist-Leninist.27 It is noteworthy that it was only with Mao’s strong recommendation that Moscow eventually recognized the DRV on 30 January 1950, after Beijing had done so, and willingly left the Vietminh to the guidance of the Chinese.28 There was no record of any Soviet assistance to Vietnam before 1955. Thus neither the United States nor the Soviet Union was interested in Vietnam for its own sake. In Cambodia, in April 1950, the inaugural Congress of the Khmer Resistance was convened under the leadership of Son Ngoc Minh (Achar Mean). Other key personalities included Tou Samouth and Sieu Heng, all close to the Vietnamese communists. The United Issarak Front was established initially with only forty ethnic Cambodian members from the Indochinese Communist Party (ICP) although hundreds were being trained in communist political schools set up by the Vietnamese.29 It was not until 1953 that King Sihanouk succeeded to arm-twist the French to grant Cambodia independence in October that year. In Laos, the Lao Issara was dissolved after formal powers were transferred to the Royal Lao government in February 1950, but the French retained considerable power. Some countries followed the United States and the United Kingdom in recognizing the “independence” of Laos. Prince Souphanouvong, whom we would recall was close to the Vietnamese communists, was advised to convene a Congress to create “a Lao revolutionary movement” and establish a resistance government of the communist/nationalist Pathet Lao, which he did in August 1950.30 In May 1951, the Second Congress of the Indochinese Communist Party

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decided to split the clandestine party, as Ho had taken it underground in 1945, into three separate units—but “Vietnamese direction of the overall resistance struggle,” however, would continue.31 Following the decision, the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP) and the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party (LPRP) were eventually established in June 1951 and in 1955 respectively. As David Chandler noted, “the interplay between nationalism and internationalism inside the Cambodian Communist movement . . . has plagued the party since the early 1950s.”32 Meanwhile, in Thailand, by 1949, under the Phibun regime, most of the Thai communist leaders (who came mainly from the middle and lower social classes) had gone underground. We would recall from the previous chapter that Phibun had adopted an anticommunist stance to ingratiate himself with the United States in particular. As Kasian Tejapira explained “there was plainly nothing ideological here about Phibun’s motives for opposition to the Communist camp or alliance with the West but sheer cool, calculating raison d’état.” There was also a “traditional ethno-ideological bias of the Thai ruling classes against radical politics and ideology” and communism was seen as one. Consequently, there was a tendency for the Phibun government to accept at face value the intelligence and news reports provided by friendly anticommunist governments, which often exaggerated the “subversive activities of Beijing, Moscow and the Pridi group.” This is not to say that there was no connection between the Thai communists and their Chinese counterparts. A number of Thai communists studied at the Marxism-Leninism Institute in China, and for example Wirat Anghathawon, an alumnus, was elected to the party’s central committee and political department during the Second Congress of the Communist Party of Thailand in early 1952. It is perhaps worth noting that the ousted Pridi led an unofficial Thai delegation to the ceremony marking the inauguration of the PRC on 1 October 1949, “the only foreign one aside from the Soviet Union.”33 Pridi would spend the next twenty-one years in exile in China. The Communist Party of Thailand launched a “Peace Campaign” in late 1950 imitating the series of Peace Campaigns introduced by the Cominform in Europe. The idea was to bring together communists and noncommunists to oppose American forces in Europe, condemn war, the atomic bomb, colonialism, as well as the Korean War. In Thailand, this initiative attracted considerable interest particularly from students in Thammasat University. After two such successful campaigns, the Second Congress of the Communist Party of Thailand in February 1952 decided to focus their efforts and resources in the Peace

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Campaign movement (which on hindsight they concluded was a wrong decision).34 The Second Congress did acknowledge that an armed struggle to overthrow the government along the lines of the Chinese communist experience was the end goal but there was no clear decision of how to bring this about. The Peace Campaign activities and the perceived communist involvement in the National Salvation Movement (National Liberation Movement), which was an antigovernment movement not initiated by the Communist Party of Thailand, led the Phibun government to pass a new Anti-Communist Activities Act in November 1952 and the arrest of many communists and leftwing activists, marking the end of another phase in the development of Thai communism.35 Beijing’s establishment of a Thai People’s Autonomous Region for its Thai minority in Yunnan in January 1953 further fuelled Bangkok’s fear of Chinese communist influence.36 According to the Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand, the party on hindsight should have continued their work patiently in the countryside, which they started in late 1948, learning from the Chinese experience. Indeed the party had had some success organizing the peasants in the countryside after 1949, for example in Srisaket Province. What happened was that the Peace Campaign activities exposed their forces, “the enemy became interested and launched suppression” and “our work in the countryside had been damaged in the process.”37 As for the Burmese communists, they did not have any substantial contact with their Chinese counterpart until 1951 when Yebaw Aung Gyi went to China to set up a Burmese Communist Party (BCP) committee in order to facilitate communication between the two fraternal parties. From then onwards the Chinese experience became the “leading inspiration” for the Burmese communists—rather than the Indian—even though the party (we would recall from Chapter 1) was formed with guidance from the Indian Communist Party.38 In the early years after the founding of the People’s Republic, Chinese support was mainly moral rather than material.39 Soviet archival documents reveal that the relationship between the International Liaison Department of the CCP Central Committee and the BCP was close from 1953 to 1955 and that much of what the Communist Party of the Soviet Union knew of the Burmese communists came from their Chinese counterpart.40 Burma was the first noncommunist country to recognize the PRC: it shared a long border with China that had not been properly demarcated. The Burmese government was very wary of China’s believing that the Chinese communists could invade Burma and occupy the Kachin State that borders

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China. As John F. Cady recalled, “Burmese policy was not to be subservient to China but also not to do anything that would cause Chinese intervention.”41 While the fight against the communist rebellion that started in March 1948 continued, the Burmese government tried to pursue a neutralist foreign policy. In 1948, Prime Minister U Nu introduced his “Leftist Unity Programme” which involved the formation of a league for “the propagation of Marxist Doctrine.” His idea was to bring “all the leftist elements in the country together . . . so that they could march forward together in harmony towards the goal of state socialism.”42 However, he explained that Burma would pursue a political program that was appropriate for Burma regardless of what the British, Americans, Russians, and Chinese communists did. Burma, “a tiny nation,” must be friendly with all foreign powers and “cannot have the effrontery to quarrel with any power.”43 The British and the United States were not all too comfortable with U Nu’s approach.44 Nevertheless, Burma and the United States signed an economic agreement in September 1950. At the same time, in Mao Zedong’s eyes, U Nu was “using the trick of false Marxism to deceive the Burmese people and save its increasingly dying regime.” To Mao, the Burmese Communist Party was the only “real revolutionary party.”45 Sino–Burmese relations were further complicated by the presence of the remnants of KMT troops (supported by the CIA), which had retreated into northeast Burma in early 1950 and their neighbor as a base to carry out attacks and raids in Yunnan Province. This further exacerbated Burmese fear of a PRC invasion using the KMT presence as a pretext. The Burmese government tried to court the Chinese communists. For example, Burma opposed the labelling of the PRC as the aggressor during the fifth session of the UN General Assembly debating the Korean War.46 In the formative years of Chinese foreign policy (1949–1953), Beijing had a “my way or the highway attitude” and rejected the possibility of a “third way” in the Cold War.47 Beijing showed no interest in Burmese overtures till 1954 when there was a visible change to a more “conciliatory and positive” Chinese foreign policy. In the post-Korean War period, the Chinese leadership wanted a more stable and friendly international environment in order to focus on domestic issues.48 In 1954, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai visited Yangon (Rangoon) where both leaders signed a joint statement on 29 June 1954 affirming that the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence would be guiding principles in their bilateral relationship, as well as serve as the norms governing international relations.49 The “Panchsheel Agreement” was first proposed and signed with Burma’s other large neighbor, India, the day before on 28 June during Zhou’s visit to New

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Delhi. As Nicholas Tarling reminded us, “If Southeast Asia had a strategic importance to India, that was particularly the case with Burma. . . .” U Nu described Burma as “hemmed in like a tender gourd among the cactus.”50

III In Indonesia, interest in China “was intimately linked to their paramount interest in their own domestic issues.”51 According to Liu Hong, who wrote the most recent study of Sino–Indonesian relations in the early years of the republic under Sukarno, Indonesians’ oldest cultural interactions were with China and there was already a substantial Chinese minority (non-pribumi) in Indonesia in 1949.52 Tan Malaka saw cultural commonalities between the two countries. Indonesian nationalist leaders such as Sukarno and Hatta also saw similarities between their nationalist experience and that of the Chinese revolutionaries. Sutan Sjahrir was reportedly an admirer of Mao Zedong. Thus, unlike Burma, in the early years after 1949, the Indonesian leadership did not see the People’s Republic of China as a threat. Indeed, Vice President Hatta (1949–1956) saw “Chinese communism as a variation of nationalism.” There were Indonesians who “implicitly or explicitly delinked China from Communism,” associating communism with the Soviet Union and not China. Thus despite Moscow’s consistent support for the Indonesian struggle for independence, the Indonesians did not allow a Soviet Embassy in Jakarta until 1954. China, on the other hand, was depicted as a “purposeful and harmonious society experiencing rapid economic progress, a nationalistic and populist regime profoundly different from the Soviet Union, and a nation characterised by a vibrant cultural and intellectual renaissance.”53 This is not to say that there were no negative feelings towards China. But the idea or perception of China, to borrow Liu Hong’s phrase, as “an alternative modernity” was not seriously challenged till after 1965.54 Muslim groups in particular were wary of Chinese influence on the Chinese minority, as well as possible Chinese help in the revival of the communist PKI. The actions of the first Chinese ambassador to Indonesia, Wang Renshu, who has been described as a “fanatical communist who believed it was his mission to revive the demoralised PKI,” justified those concerns.55 Indeed as Rizal Sukma pointed out, one reason why the Sukarno–Hatta government adopted the principle of bebasaktif (independent and active) in its foreign policy was “to mitigate domestic rivalries among competing elites” and “prevent an explosive entanglement of foreign policy and domestic politics.”56 It was also a way to fend off accusations by the Indonesian Socialist Party and by the PKI that the Hatta cabinet

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was too pro-West—a very sensitive matter at the time when the feeling of nationalism and anticolonialism was still very fervent. While appreciative of the United States’ support during the struggle for Indonesian independence, the Indonesians also knew that American backing was far from altruistic. Sukarno was very wary that American aid came with strings attached.57 Like Burma, Indonesia thus pursued a “third way” between the capitalist West and the communist camp. Despite opposition from Muslim factions, Indonesia and China established diplomatic relations in 1950 but they were never warm and were subjected to the changes in domestic politics. To the Chinese communists, the Sukarno–Hatta government was a group of “feudal comprador capitalists.”58 We now know, from the research by Larisa M. Efimova, that after the PKI was crushed in 1948 a number of communist leaders moved to Beijing and, with the support and guidance of the CCP, they developed a new program for the PKI.59 Tan Ling Djie was “the main channel of Chinese ideological and political influence” on the PKI until his ouster by a younger group of Indonesian communists led by D. N. Aidit in early 1951. Moscow too, by this time, was paying more attention to the political situation in Indonesia, especially the fate of the PKI. Soviet archival documents unearthed by Efimova show that the PKI leaders based in Beijing—via the CCP—shared their proposed plan with Stalin, who gave his views and guidance on how the PKI should proceed. Stalin advised the party “to focus on practical work concerning the everyday needs and interests of workers, peasants and the working intelligentsia, including the education of the masses and the organisation of the party.” Again according to the Soviet archives, Stalin discouraged them from attempting another premature “seizure of power by military means” in the near future. In his message to Stalin, Liu Shaoqi expressed his fullest support for Stalin’s guidance and assured him that the CCP would pass on his views to the PKI, which the Chinese only managed to do after Aidit had taken over control of the party and reestablished contacts with the CCP. The new PKI leadership initially did not agree with Stalin’s recommendations. For a period from mid-1951, the CCP appeared to have lost the PKI on its radar, which could explain the August 1951 episode when the Sukiman cabinet arrested Indonesian communists suspected of preparing to overthrow the government. As the government believed any communist plot was supported by the Chinese, its “August Raid” led to a period of tense Sino–Indonesian relations. In those early days when Sino–Soviet relations were still good, “Stalin regarded the PKI’s request to him via CCP as quite normal and fully consistent with his own view that it was China and the CCP which must play the leading

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role in the Asian communist movement.” Indonesia, the largest country in Southeast Asia, both in size and population, was a strategic prize during the Cold War years for China, Soviet Union, and the United States. Despite US courting, it was not until 1966 that Indonesia fell into the American orbit of influence. Of all the Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines had the most antipathy towards communist China. When China turned communist in October 1949, the Philippines government was fighting against the Huk guerrillas who they described as communists. The Huk organization had been declared illegal the previous year. Earlier in 1947 the Philippines signed a Military Bases Agreement with the United States that gave the latter access to military facilities in the country, notably Clark Air Base and the Subic Bay naval complex. Both countries signed a mutual defense agreement in 1951. The Philippines and its former colonial master had a very close multifaceted relationship covering economics, military, politics, and culture. Most scholars concur that “the change of flag and status did not appear to be so consequential,” that the United States “essentially dictated Philippine government policies,” and that this arrangement essentially benefited the elites while the general population remained impoverished.60 But it would be going too far to describe the Philippines as having no agency at all. Some Filipino presidents were adept at manipulating the United States for their own ends too, such as playing on Washington’s fear of communism and supporting its “containment” policy.61 Manila took actions that were aimed at containing and isolating the PRC: the Philippines–China commercial relation was suspended after 1 October 1949, Chinese immigration to the Philippines was prohibited, travel between both countries was also banned, the Quirino administration allowed the KMT to openly function in the Philippines, and the Carlos Garcia administration opened a Philippine Embassy in Taiwan. The Philippines, like Japan, because of its close association with the United States and its policies, could not develop any meaningful relationship with the PRC. Manila and Beijing did not have any diplomatic relations until 1975.62 There is no doubt that the leadership of the Huk movement was from the Communist Party of the Philippines, but there is so far no evidence of any role played by the Chinese Communist Party (or the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) in the rebellion, other than verbal support.63 As Collen P. Woods described, the Philippine government’s discourse on the Huk rebellion “illustrates how a local political issue of land inequality could be discursively displaced by an interpretation of the Huks as representatives of an arm of the

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global ‘Moscow-directed’ communist movement. The label of ‘communist’ was mobilized for political reasons and this worked to oversimplify and dilute the specificity of local grievances.”64 By the mid-1950s, with the assistance of the United States, which had an important stake in the economic and political stability of the Philippines, the Huk were annihilated and the rebellion was over.65 The failure of the Huk Rebellion however had less to do with American assistance than with internal contradictions within the communists. There was in fact no consensus of a swift victory within the leadership. In the words of Benedict Kerkvliet, they “self-destructed.”66 The communists under Jose Lava (who succeeded his more moderate brother Vicente Lava) “over-estimated the favourable nature of the international balance of forces” and under-estimated “the strength, and both the willingness and capacity, of US imperialism to intervene in defence of its interests.”67 According to Luis Taruc who did not think that they were ready for a revolution but went along with the party leadership to preserve unity, the great majority remained indifferent and the communists did have enough forces to capture Manila.68 The end of the Huk Rebellion marked the end of one phase in the history of communism in the Philippines.69 Malaya and Singapore were still part of the remnants of the British Empire when China turned communist in 1949. In a 28 January 1950 speech, Lee Kuan Yew (who would eventually become the prime minister of Singapore) openly acknowledged that “the only party organised to force the British to leave, and to run the country” was the Malayan Communist Party (MCP). The Malayan communists, were “not merely so many bandits, shooting and being shot at in the jungle, and creating terror for the sake of terror. Theirs is a tightly knit organisation making their bid for power.”70 In Lee’s assessment, international communism was “the biggest threat to the newly established governments of Asia” and “how far these governments can counter the appeal and force of communism will depend on how far they are both enough to carry out social reforms in the teeth of their own vested interest. . . . [W]hether they can, without the communist religion, do all that a communist state can do for the masses.”71 In another speech delivered the following month, he said that whether or not the communists succeed in their bid for power would depend on “how far they can get the genuine nationalist aspirations of the people behind them.” He warned that “a Tory Government, determined, like the French government in Indochina, to thwart the nationalist aspirations of the people, will send all moderate nationalists over to the communists”—similar to what was happening in Indochina.72

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The armed uprising of the MCP, which would eventually last for twelve years, was just a few months over a year old. Initially both sides were locked in a stalemate. In August–September 1951, the CPM leadership conducted a review of the armed struggle from late 1948 to 1951 and concluded that the military approach had been “utterly inappropriate” but nevertheless remained confident that they could continue with guerrilla warfare. A 1 October 1951 resolution issued at the end of the meeting thus focused on political rather than military strategy. It was felt that excesses committed during the military struggle had jeopardized the close relationship with people, particularly the middle class. But as Chin Peng revealed with the benefit of hindsight, “By neglecting to drive home military requirements in the resolution, we most assuredly lost the initiative on the battlefield at the precise moment the enemy was deeply concerned with what we might be planning to do next.” The assassination of Henry Gurney, the High Commissioner of Malaya, in October 1961 has often been described as the lowest point of British fortunes in the “Emergency.” Chin Peng in his memoir revealed that the assassination was little more than a chance encounter and that those involved did not even know the victim was the High Commissioner till later.73 Regardless, the war had started but the MCP was far from ready for it. After the murder of the British High Commissioner, the British under the new High Commissioner, General Gerald Templer, turned the tide in British favor. The strategies and tactics employed by Templer need not delay us here except to say that between 1952 and 1954, he brought “counter-insurgency to peak efficiency.”74 Most scholars also concur that by 1954, the communist insurrection in Malaya had more or less been neutralized. Kumar Ramakrishna, however, reminded us that while the MCP was unlikely to capture power in Malaya at that point, it did not mean that the communist threat had been eliminated.75 According to Ramakrishna, although there were only 2,100 guerrillas remaining in April 1957 compared to 11,000 in 1948, it was the caliber and not the number of guerrillas that was significant.76 In Chin Peng’s analysis, the MCP on hindsight also made some tactical mistakes.77 He recalled that the insurrection already had weaknesses from the beginning. Apart from not having worked out a comprehensive strategy, there were coordination problems within the organization, due to a lack of wireless communication equipment; and there was also no material support from China, as radio contact with the CCP was only established in 1955. Chinese sources have since revealed that in 1954 after the Geneva Conference, Chinese and Soviet officials met in Moscow to discuss the future development of the MCP. The meeting concluded that as Malaya did not

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share a border with a socialist country, it was difficult for the Malaysian communists to wage an armed struggle and thus they recommended that the party “should change its tactics by adopting a peaceful and democratic approach to develop its strength.”78 Singapore, on the other hand, never became a “fully fledged Emergency battlefield.”79 The Central Committee of the MCP supposedly controlled activities in the island through the secretary of the South Malaya Bureau and the South Johore Regional Committee, although in reality there had been no communication between Johore and Singapore since July 1954. The strength of the MCP in Singapore was estimated to be three thousand of which only about twenty-five were full party members while the majority were sympathizers. It was believed that the MCP members in Singapore had higher morale than their counterparts in the peninsula “because of the more favourable political climate in Singapore with the smaller fear of conviction and sentence” as well as the fact that “in Singapore there is no background of suffering in the jungle or defeatism or disillusion by the discriminatory acts of Party leaders.”80 The communists were active in the Chinese Middle Schools in Singapore and large numbers of students from these schools participated in demonstrations in 1954–1955 over unhappiness with the National Service Bill and the refusal of the government to register their union. There was evidence that the MCP had infiltrated the Singapore Chinese Middle School Students’ Union. The students were vocal in their demand to preserve Chinese culture and in their expression of admiration for the PRC. Besides the students’ union, the MCP also penetrated the trade unions of which the strongest was the Singapore Factory and Shop Workers Union formed in 1953. As we shall see in the following chapter, all came to naught when the People’s Action Party (PAP) led by Lee Kuan Yew turned against the left-wing component in the party. This chapter has shown how the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949 affected the domestic politics of the various Southeast Asia states and ushered in the “conventional” Cold War, as we understand it, into the region. The next chapter will describe how the Southeast Asian states, in their own ways, tried to distance themselves from the rivalry between the United States (with its allies) and the Soviet Union (as well as China).

CHAPTER 3

Geneva, Manila, and Bandung I This chapter has a two-fold objective. It aims to contextualize the three key events that shaped the evolution of the Cold War in Southeast Asia: the 1954 Geneva Conference on the problem of restoring peace in Indochina (May–July 1954), the formation of the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO) in Manila in September 1954, and the Bandung Conference in April 1955. At the same time, it explains the motivations and involvement of the Southeast Asia states in each of these events, which took place a few months apart from each other. Apart from October 1949 when China turned communist, the next consequential year in the development of the Cold War in Southeast Asia has to be 1954. It is to the events of 1954–1955, focusing particularly on the regional responses, that this narrative now turns. Towards the end of 1953, British Commissioner-General for Southeast Asia Malcolm MacDonald convened a meeting of diplomats and colonial officials to review the regional situation. The consensus was that the insurgencies in Malaya, the Philippines, and Burma were “no longer a serious threat to existing governments.” The situation in Indochina was different. By the spring of 1953, the Vietnamese communists engaged in a war with the French, had controlled most of northern Vietnam and were well poised to threaten northern Laos, which greatly alarmed both Thailand and British Malaya. Southern Vietnam and Cambodia were however still relatively safe from the clutches of the Vietnamese communists.1 In 1954, all eyes were focused on Vietnam. Unlike in the other Southeast Asian states where the communist movements were either curbed or repulsed 68

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by the respective authorities, in Vietnam the French suffered an untimely defeat in the hands of the communists at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in May just before the start of the negotiations on Indochina at the Geneva Conference. The Vietnamese communist struggle is essentially part of the anticolonialism and decolonization wave that led to the end of empires and the founding of new sovereign states. For the Vietnamese, despite this supposedly timely military victory, the decolonization struggle or “war of national liberation” as they called it, first against the French and then the Americans, would extend until 1975. From 1950, it had become increasingly enmeshed with the developing Cold War. The Vietnamese communists’ success was the one bright light for the international communist movement in this part of the world. The significance of the 1954 Geneva Conference (8–21 May 1954) is not limited to the agreement to temporarily divide the north (under the Vietnamese communists) from the south (which remained under the French) along the 17th parallel and to agree that free and fair elections would be held in 1956 (which no one truly believed would take place). Neither can the importance of the conference be attached to the rigid anticommunist attitude of the United States, whose representative Undersecretary of State Walter Bedell Smith attended as an observer and insisted that Washington was not bound by the decisions of the conference. The United States’ position had already been clearly and publicly articulated by President Dwight Eisenhower during his 7 April 1954 interview in which the analogy of “dominoes” was introduced. The controversial “Domino Theory” is well known but it is obligatory to quote it in full here because of its direct relevance to Southeast Asia during the Cold War. Asked by Robert Richards of the Copley Press to comment on the strategic importance of Indochina for the free world, and for America in particular, Eisenhower replied: You have, of course both the specific and the general when you talk about such things. First of all, you have the specific value of a locality in its production of materials that the world needs. Then you have the possibility that many human beings under a dictatorship that is inimical to the free world. Finally, you have broader considerations that might follow what you would call the “falling domino” principle. You have a row of dominoes set up, you knock over the first one, and what will happen to the last one is the certainty that it will go over very quickly. So you could

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have a beginning of a disintegration that would have the most profound influences. Now with respect to the first one, two of the items from this particular area that the world uses are tin and tungsten. They are very important. There are others, of course, the rubber plantations and so on. Then with respect to most people passing under this domination, Asia, after all, has already lost some 450 million of its peoples to the Communist dictatorship, and we simply can’t afford greater losses. But when we come to the possible sequence of events, the loss of Indochina, of Burma, of Thailand, of the Peninsula, and Indonesia following, now you begin to talk about areas that not only multiply the disadvantages that you would suffer through loss of materials, sources of materials, but now you are talking about millions and millions of people. Finally, the geographical position achieved thereby does many things. It turns the so-called island defensive chain of Japan, Formosa, of the Philippines and to the southward; it moves to threaten Australia and New Zealand. It takes away, in its economic aspects, that region that Japan must have as a trading area or Japan, in turn, will have only one place in the world to go—that is, toward the Communist areas in order to live. So, the possible consequences of the loss are just incalculable to the free world.2

There were American officials who disagreed with the scenario painted by Eisenhower, most prominently, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and Under Secretary Smith, but his successors John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson imbibed the theory and framed their Cold War policies towards Southeast Asia based on the theory.3 The views of Richard Nixon (after he became president) and his National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger were somewhat ambiguous. Significantly, while there were many discussions at the official level on how to forestall a chain reaction and whether American intervention was the most appropriate strategy, the “Domino Theory” and its underlying assumptions were never rigorously analyzed.4 The significance of the 1954 Geneva Conference lies in what it reveals about the dynamics within the communist fraternity—which was ultimately national interest (particularly in the Soviet Union and China). This trumped all other considerations. According to the Vietnamese communists, they were

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pressured by Beijing and Moscow at the Geneva Conference to end the war prematurely instead of continuing the fight to unify the country. Despite their military victory at Dien Bien Phu, which happened less than twentyfour hours before the scheduled opening of the Geneva Conference and should have given them considerable negotiating advantage, they were coerced by Beijing (with the support of Moscow) to concede more than necessary during the negotiations with the French. Equally, the Vietnamese communists had the advantage that the new French premier Pierre Mendes-France had self- imposed a deadline to secure a settlement by 20 July 1954, failing which he vowed to resign.5 The Vietnamese view, however, is refuted by the Chinese and Hoang Van Hoan (who was North Vietnam’s first ambassador to China).6 According to both Hoan and the Chinese, the Vietnamese communists, having expended all their energy and resources to achieve the historic Dien Bien Phu victory, did not have the capacity to liberate the entire country at that time. Thus, they were reasonably happy with their gains at the conference table.7 Historian Pierre Asselin concluded, in a 2007 article, that Hanoi accepted the provisions of the Geneva Agreements not because of Chinese and/or Soviet pressure but because they concurred with the Chinese view that “implementation [of the agreements] would bring peaceful reunification and promote the cause of socialism in Vietnam.”8 There are elements of truth in both the Vietnamese and Chinese accounts. In the wake of a triumphant victory over the French at Dien Bien Phu, there were indeed some exuberant segments within the Vietnamese communist leadership that believed that they could continue the war and reunite the country shortly. As Wang Bingnan (secretary general of the Chinese delegation to the 1954 Geneva Conference) recalled, “Some people in the Vietminh hoped to unify the whole of Vietnam at one stroke.”9 Their confidence was bolstered by developments on the ground. In June 1954, the Vietminh were indeed making military progress against the French in Central Vietnam and parts of the Mekong Delta.10 At the same time, there were other Vietnamese leaders, significantly Ho Chi Minh, who foresaw the difficulties ahead and the eventuality of having to fight against not only the French but also the Americans. There were then rumors of American intentions to intervene as a result of ambiguous statements made by then-Secretary of State John Foster Dulles as well as the very visible diplomatic consultations Washington, London, and Paris conducted with each other. Ho was thus prepared to settle for a respite, although he and his Chinese patrons differed on the terms of the temporary settlement.11

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Vietnamese and Chinese preferences also diverged over recognition of the “resistance governments” of the Pathet Lao and Khmer Issarak, both protégés of the Vietnamese communists. At the first plenary session of the Geneva Conference on 9 May 1954, the communist bloc was united in demanding that both the Pathet Lao and Khmer Issarak be recognized and represented. The noncommunist governments objected, leading to a month-long stalemate. On 10 June, British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, one of the co-chairs of the conference, told the delegates that the differences were so wide that they would either have to make serious efforts to resolve them or accept failure. Three days later, Bedell Smith announced that he would be leaving Geneva at the end of the week. There were indications that the remaining ministers were also preparing to leave Geneva. A breakdown of the conference was imminent. On 16 June in a restricted session between Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai and Anthony Eden, the Chinese broke ranks with the Vietnamese communists and Zhou told the British foreign secretary that he could persuade them to withdraw from Laos and Cambodia, and that Beijing would recognize the Royal Governments of the two states—on the condition that no American bases would be established there. According to James Cable, a member of the British delegation to the conference, “after some polemics, Pham Van Dong (who was North Vietnam’s prime minister and head of the North Vietnamese delegation to the conference) seemed prepared, not very graciously, to acquiesce in Zhou’s proposal.”12 The Chinese were afraid that a failure to reach an agreement at Geneva could lead to another Korean War. They were also acutely concerned that the United States might seize the opportunity to establish military bases in Laos and Cambodia. During his meetings with Mendes-France and Eden on 17 July, Zhou insisted on a re-affirmation that Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam must not become members of the projected South East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO).13 For the Chinese, neutrality was preferable to anticommunism in neighboring Laos and Cambodia. Recent declassified Chinese sources have also revealed that the Chinese leadership saw the Geneva Conference as a valuable opportunity to present the PRC as a reasonable and responsible country in an international forum, the first occasion since the communist victory in October 1949. Indeed, Zhou repeatedly emphasized to his Foreign Ministry colleagues that Beijing was to do everything possible to make the conference a success.14 Hoang Van Hoan recalled that he accompanied Zhou Enlai to consult with Ho Chi Minh in Liuzhou, a city near the Sino–Vietnamese border from 3 to 5 July 1954 concerning the temporary demarcation of North and South

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Vietnam and other issues. The Liuzhou meeting clearly showed Chinese pressure on the Vietnamese. Recent Vietnamese sources have revealed that Ho and his top military commander Vo Nguyen Giap sought to gain the 13th parallel as the dividing line between north and south but were prepared to accept no less than the 16th parallel. Zhou said that he would try his best to secure that, failing which he told an astonished Ho and Giap that they would have to settle for the 17th parallel. That was the demarcation line that John Foster Dulles had proposed to the French in late June. True enough, on 20 July, the Vietnamese side was forced to accept the 17th parallel.15 At the Liuzhou meeting, Ho was also pressured to agree to the Chinese view that the Pathet Lao should only hold two provinces and the Khmer Issarak would be immediately demobilized. When the Geneva Agreements were eventually signed and the Chinese text was distributed describing how essential Chinese help had been in achieving the “great victory,” Pham Van Dong was incensed at China for having acquiesced to a division of his country. Privately, he felt that Zhou Enlai had double-crossed the Vietnamese revolution.16 Notable amongst those who were angered by Chinese pressure at the 1954 Geneva Conference, was Le Duan, who would rise to become the general secretary of the Vietnamese Communist Party in 1960. This episode left a deep impression on him.17 The Chinese were able to negotiate directly with the French on fundamental points in reaching a solution to the Indochina question at the expense of the Vietnamese communists because Beijing was their sole military supplier and in control of the only aid-supply route to Vietnam. The decisive victory at Dien Bien Phu would not have been possible without Chinese guidance and logistic support from 1950 to 1954. Zhou Enlai never denied that he had exerted pressure on the Vietnamese communists. When South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem reneged on the Geneva Agreements in 1956, Zhou Enlai was apparently very upset although not surprised. He told Harrison Salisbury of The New York Times that “never again” would he “put pressure” on Hanoi to accept an international solution modeled on the 1954 Geneva Conference. He revealed that he had been “personally responsible for urging the Vietnamese to go along with the agreement.”18 Hanoi’s acquiescence was rewarded by Chinese economic largesse and assistance. In late November 1954, discussions on Chinese aid for North Vietnam’s economic reconstruction included an agreement on a substantial aid package that was announced on 24 December 1954. According to the joint communiqué, Chinese aid would be given to re-build the Hanoi–Nanguan railway, improve postal and telecommunication facilities, facilitate highway

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construction, create civil air service, and establish water conservancy. Chinese experts would be sent to North Vietnam to give advice on many technical matters. The monetary value of the aid package was not revealed perhaps because China was having financial problems of its own and thus chose to emphasize their technical assistance rather than the monetary value of the aid package. The Chinese People’s Relief Administration also donated 10,000 tons of rice and five million meters of cloth to the Vietnamese.19 As Laura Calkins noted, by mid-1955, “Sino–Vietnamese relations had reached a new plateau in cooperative consolidation which would help the Vietnamese to continue their struggle for unification.”20 There is no record of Soviet assistance before 1955. Stalin (who died on 5 March 1953) had told Ho Chi Minh that assisting the Vietnamese communists was primarily China’s business.21 Throughout the Geneva Conference, both the Soviets and the Chinese were however united in putting pressure on the Vietnamese communists to trim their demands and expectations. But behind the scenes, even as talks were going on at Geneva to find a negotiated settlement to the ongoing war against the French, the Vietnamese communist leadership at the Sixth Plenary session of the Lao Dong Party Central Committee (15–18 July 1954) had concluded that North and South Vietnam could not be peacefully reunified and that they must immediately prepare for an eventual military confrontation with the US, which had “the greatest economic potential and the most powerful armed forces amongst the imperialist powers.”22 But they hoped that the inevitable could be delayed as long as possible until they had rebuilt their war-torn economy and the ragtag Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA) had been transformed into a modern and regular revolutionary force with the help of both Beijing and Moscow.

II As Damien Fenton, the author of the most recent book-length study of the regional alliance, has noted: “The Southeast Asian Treaty Organization . . . was created as a direct result of the First Indochina War. . . .”23 The idea behind it had in fact been raised and discussed since 1950 but did not gain much traction until John Foster Dulles revived the idea of “a collective security arrangement” in the spring of 1954 when France was facing the prospect of defeat in Vietnam. Dulles had hoped that such an alliance would “stiffen the will of France to resist” but he was unable to establish the group before French defeat at Dien Bien Phu. The alliance was not in place during the Geneva negotiations. But the very possibility of such a security organization being in the pipeline had

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the effect of restraining the communist side in their negotiations (as described above). When it was finally established in September 1954, two months after the end of the Geneva Conference, Dulles had come to regard it as “a means of restoring the Eisenhower administration’s badly tarnished image as ‘leader of the free world.’ ”24 Most importantly, because of the Pentagon’s reluctance to be involved in a land war in mainland Southeast Asia, SEATO was not conceived to be “a mechanism to facilitate military intervention in Indochina, but rather as a symbol of anticommunist unity which would make such action unnecessary.”25 Beijing was fully aware that such an alliance was in the making. There was not much it could do to prevent this, thus Zhou Enlai focused (at the Geneva Conference) on ensuring that Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam would remain neutral and not become part of the military alliance. He publicly attacked the treaty at a session of the People’s Congress on 23 September 1954. In the Chinese analysis—although Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam were not members—the Manila Pact was “an attempt to absorb the Associated States and to intervene in their affairs without their asking for it, and it was inconsistent with the Geneva Agreements.” The United States was “using every method to wreck the Geneva Settlements.”26 Proponents of SEATO, on the other hand, argued that the pact was precisely to ensure the sovereignty of the three states under the Geneva Agreements, as there would not be any need to intervene militarily if no external power attempts to violate their territorial integrity.27 The name “Southeast Asia Treaty Organization” is a misnomer. Of the eight countries that made up SEATO, only two were in Southeast Asia—the Philippines and Thailand.28 The Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty (also known as the Manila Pact) was signed in Manila in September 1954 and formally established on 19 February 1955 at a meeting in Bangkok. The organization’s headquarters was also located in Bangkok. The Thais had lobbied for the SEATO secretariat to be based there arguing that the communist threat was directed at Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and South Vietnam and as such it was “the most suitable place geographically.”29 Both Thailand and the Philippines would have preferred SEATO to have had more “teeth” and “bite” (like NATO). Of the two, Thailand felt the need for such a defense arrangement more urgently given its proximity to the eye of the storm. Bangkok viewed the Geneva Agreements “as a victory for the Vietminh and a defeat for the West,” a respite for the Vietnamese communists “to consolidate their gains” before their next aggression.30 The Philippines only signed on to the treaty after it extracted a considerable increment in American military aid and the assurance

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that Manila would not be “dragged into a war on the mainland on Washington’s coat-tails.”31 Burma and Indonesia strongly opposed the formation of SEATO believing that a military pact only increased the insecurity in Southeast Asia and the best guarantee of peace lay in nonalignment and independence. SEATO was seen as “Western colonialism in a new and more subtle disguise.”32 Jakarta’s negative attitude towards SEATO was made worse by suspicions of SEATO intervention in the early stages of the Sumatran and Celebes revolt. The Indonesians were particularly sensitive to the movement of SEATO forces near its territories. As Foreign Minister Subandrio told Dulles and Australia Foreign Minister Richard Casey, there was the perception that the United States was using SEATO to “pressure” Jakarta to abandon its neutrality.33 The PKI, which made significant gains in the 1955 general election and was gradually emerging into a potent force in Indonesian politics, was especially critical of SEATO.34 Both Malaya and Singapore were still under British rule. Despite the British discomfort that SEATO lacked Asian representation, London believed that the military alliance was useful in defending Malaya and Singapore.35 Tunku Abdul Rahman apparently assured British ministers that Malaya would join SEATO after it achieved independence, but in August 1957 the Tunku could not garner sufficient domestic support to make it happen.36 Many years later when he was asked whether it was American leadership of SEATO that bothered him, the Tunku replied that he was “not keen on SEATO himself” and “it had nothing to do with the American leadership.” In his words, “We knew, in any case, if war were to break out in Malaya, the United States was duty bound to come to our defence because it would not allow the American enemy to control us. The Americans would not allow our country with its rich and vital resources, to fall into the hands of the enemy. So there was no point in having a military pact with the United States. The best thing was just to stick with Great Britain. It would have been better if we did not have to depend on others, of course.”37 As for Singapore, because Britain was a member of SEATO, Singapore was “entwined in SEATO’s military operations.”38 Indeed, British officials believed that “if Britain surrendered the Singapore bases, SEATO would collapse.”39 On 28 May 1954 when discussions on the defense treaty were still at a very early and exploratory stage, the British Special Branch in Singapore arrested eight student members of the editorial team of Fajar, the organ of the University Socialist Club. They were charged with sedition for publishing an editorial comment entitled “Aggression in Asia” that condemned the planned formation of SEATO. This particular issue of Fajar (10 May 1954) also carried

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an article entitled “The Indo China Story” reprinted from the British left-ofcenter weeklies New Statesman and Nation (since merged), which was sympathetic towards Ho Chi Minh and the Vietminh.40 This was exacerbated by the clash between 900 Chinese middle school students and the police over the Registration of National Service Bill on 13 May 1954. To the students, the bill was designed “to support an imperialist war against China, their cultural homeland.”41 S. R. Nathan (who became the president of Singapore in 1999) recalled that the young Chinese feared that they would be called upon to fight the communists in the jungle as this was during the period of the “Emergency” in Malaya.42 The combination of these two events within three days of each other would explain the British sensitivity and reaction to the Fajar article.43 The students were put on trial in August 1954 and subsequently acquitted. Nevertheless, the British authorities were partially successful in putting “fear of the Lord into the hearts of intellectuals who were attracted to socialism and Marxism, to warn the other youngsters off.” But at the same time, the trial boosted “the morale of the Socialist Club and sharpened its sense of purpose and political mission” and it emerged “a more serious left-wing political club and became a major player in Singapore and Malayan politics.” The Fajar trial has been described as “a defining moment for the emerging left-wing movement in Singapore” and as marking the beginning of “the political history of Singapore” in the 1950s.44 As a young lawyer, Lee Kuan Yew assisted in the defense of the students. He would later (as prime minister of Singapore) describe SEATO as “nonsense.” In his words: “[U]ntil you convince Asia that you consider Asia as important to you as Americans, as Europe is to America, you are going to find lots of Asians like me rather critical and really doubting because ninety per cent of you have come from Europe; you understand Europe better than you understand Asia.”45 The February 1955 meeting in Bangkok is worth highlighting for what it reveals of the concerns of the SEATO members. The meeting noted that it was particularly important that Ngo Dinh Diem quickly consolidate South Vietnam, as talks between North and South Vietnam on the 1956 elections (scheduled by the Geneva Agreements) were expected to start in July 1955. The meeting warned that even if South Vietnam managed to hold off the communist challenge, Cambodia and Laos were not necessarily safe. In Cambodia, the underground Vietnamese communists abetted by like-minded Khmers continued to be a source of instability in the country, although so far Sihanouk had managed to control them. The Pathet Lao activities in northeast Laos continued to be a serious threat to the government. In Thailand, there were

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46,000 Vietnamese refugees, many of them inspired by—and in constant contact with—the Vietnamese communists. This situation was complicated by Pridi Banomyong’s “Free Thailand” movement. Bangkok was concerned that Pridi might be assisted by the Chinese communists to launch his movement from the Thai Autonomous Area of Yunnan. The meeting judged that the Malayan communists could not achieve their goal as they lacked sufficient external support. But having failed in their military struggle, they had now turned to infiltrating schools, trade unions, and other organizations. “Last but not least, Indonesia was particularly worrisome,” as some thought it could be lost to the communists without the prior loss of Malaya.46

III One of the most significant events in the early Cold War years was the inaugural Asian–African Conference, more commonly referred to as the Bandung Conference. Anthony Reid suggested that the Bandung Conference held in Indonesia in 1955 should be considered the major Southeast Asian initiative to transcend the ideological divisions of the Cold War.47 Amitav Acharya and Tan See Seng noted that the Bandung Conference was “a forerunner of the Non-Aligned Movement.”48 It was actually not exactly a sole Southeast Asian initiative, per se. Bandung was the brainchild of the prime ministers of two Southeast Asian countries—Burma (now Myanmar), and Indonesia, and three South Asian countries—Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), India, and Pakistan. In addition to the sponsoring countries, twenty-four other countries participated. The Southeast Asian countries were Cambodia, Laos, the Philippines, Thailand, and South Vietnam. (Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei were then still under British rule.) The Bandung Conference was held 18–24 April 1955. Taking place within two months of the formal establishment of SEATO in February, it can best be understood from the vantage point of how the various Southeast Asian states perceived and responded to the fluid security environment during this period.49 Both SEATO and the Bandung Conference are manifestations of the contrasting and seemingly irreconcilable strategic preferences of various Southeast Asian states. There was, borrowing Wang Gungwu’s memorable depiction, on the one hand, “the deep and immediate fear of the Soviet bear’s embrace and the longer-term threat of the Chinese dragon’s reach” and on the other, the emergence during the 1950s of the “American eagle” next to the tired “Imperial British lion.” The Southeast Asian states want to be the “pelanduk”—“the legendary mouse-deer who could always outwit its larger enemies.”50 African-

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American author Richard Wright, who attended the conference as an observer and who subsequently wrote an account of the conference, noted that the gathering was significant as it provided an opportunity for Asians and Africans to develop common strategies that would empower them to modernize their countries and play independent roles in international relations.51 But he also noted that the nations that attended the conference had nothing much in common except for “what their past relationship to the Western world had made them feel”—an important observation to which we shall return later.52 The four aims and objectives of the Bandung Conference were clearly spelled out by the prime ministers of Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan in the joint communiqué issued at the end of their planning meeting in Bogor (28–29 December 1954) and reiterated by Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjojo in his opening speech as President of the Bandung Conference.53 They were: 1. To promote goodwill and cooperation among the nations of Asia and Africa, to explore and advance their mutual as well as common interests and to establish and further friendliness and neighborly relations; 2. To consider social, economic and cultural problems and relations of the countries represented; 3. To consider problems of special interest to Asian and African peoples, e.g. Problems affecting national sovereignty and of racialism and colonialism; 4. To view the position of Asia and Africa and their peoples in the world of today and the contribution they can make to the promotion of world peace and cooperation. The conference attempted to persuade Asian and African nations that the above four objectives could best, if not only, be achieved through “neutralism” and through “peaceful coexistence” amongst themselves and with the major powers. It is thus not surprising that Indonesia was “the primary initiator and most enthusiastic advocate” of the conference, playing the roles of both host and organizer.54 Similar sentiments were held by the other Southeast Asian co-organizer, Burma. We would recall the Rangoon government pursued a neutralist foreign policy. One important aspect of the conference was that it provided the occasion to introduce China—an emerging and, to many, a dangerous Asian power—into the community of newly independent countries. Roeslan Abdulgani (who was the secretary-general of the Bandung Conference) recalled that China was the “focus of attention of the international world at that time”55

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and for the five prime ministers who met at Bogor—and especially for U Nu (and India’s Jawaharlal Nehru)—good relations with China were vital to their national interests. China was considered a “key factor” in the stability of Southeast Asia. The Bandung Conference took place during what has been described as the “brief honeymoon phase” (1949–1957) in Sino-Indian relations. A key concern was also how to reduce the growing tensions between Beijing and Washington, which the Bogor meeting acknowledged would not be easy.56 Washington had grave reservations about the Bandung Conference and monitored its development very closely. A week after the Bogor joint communiqué was published, on 7 January 1955, John Foster Dulles met with his staff to discuss the implications of the impending conference for the United States and to formulate a US position.57 Per meeting minutes, Washington had four major concerns: 1. The communists could introduce anticolonial resolution(s) which no Asian leaders would dare to oppose and in the process “ensnare the relatively inexperienced Asian diplomats into supporting resolutions seemingly in favor of goodness, beauty and truth”; 2. The presence of Zhou Enlai whose “skilful diplomatic machinations” the Americans had experienced at the Geneva Conference (1954). It would be an “excellent forum [for Zhou] to broadcast Communist ideology to a naïve audience of anti-colonialism,” especially when the agenda would only be determined during the conference itself; 3. The Bandung meeting would put the recent Manila Pact (September 1954) meeting in an unfavorable light as the latter had only three Asian participants; and 4. The potential of Bandung’s developing into an effective forum to exclude the United States. The fear was that if the communists succeeded in establishing such groupings in Europe, Asia, and Africa, “the communist engulfment of these nations will be comparatively easy.” One possible outcome could be the establishment of a very solid anti-Western bloc led by India and China in the United Nations. The Philippines and Thailand are particularly relevant at this point in the narrative as they were both Southeast Asian countries and also members of SEATO. Some of the countries that were invited to the Bandung Conference and were closely associated with the United States sought “guidance” from Washington.58 General Carlos Romulo (Philippines ambassador to the United States) had requested papers, ideas, and source materials on issues that would

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arise at Bandung. He believed only the Department of State was in a position to assist.59 In early 1955, it was still unclear how many of the invited countries would attend the Bandung Conference. Dulles was of the view that if the Arab bloc decided to attend (and that hinged on the decision of Egypt), many Southeast Asian states, such as Thailand and Japan would feel obliged to attend. Tokyo was apparently confused. The Japanese did not know what was to be on the agenda but felt that they needed to attend (if the other Asian countries went) in order to overcome their diplomatic isolation. A 1994 memoir by Sirin Phathanothai, the daughter of Thai Prime Minister Pibul Songgram’s closest adviser, Sang Phathanothai, throws some light on Sino–Thai relations and the Bandung Conference. In her recollection, she remembered that her father had for a long time advocated establishing some form of relationship with Beijing. Prime Minister Pibul Songgram vacillated for fear of antagonizing the United States whose assistance and support he needed. At the same time, he was also fearful of China’s potential power and saw the need to reach some form of understanding with China. The Bandung Conference offered an opportunity that Pathanothai immediately grasped. The prime minister was concerned that sending a Thai delegation would anger the Americans. However, Pathanothai argued that not attending the conference would only isolate Thailand from the very neighbors Washington hoped Bangkok to influence. Also, Bangkok need not take an active part in the conference. Pibul was convinced and decided to send his Foreign Minister Prince Wan who was himself concerned about Thailand’s increasing commitment to the United States—and he wanted to get to know Zhou Enlai.60 Prince Wan who was a member of the SEATO Council would eventually serve as rapporteur at the Bandung Conference. He explained Bangkok’s motivation for attending the conference: Thailand wanted to pursue a policy of “rapprochement not only with Laos and Cambodia, but also with Colombo Powers and especially Burma and India,” which if successful would correct the impression of Thailand being dominated by the United States. This could in turn lead to Asian powers adopting a more tolerant attitude towards SEATO.61 The British Foreign Office, too, was greatly interested in the Bandung Conference. London was very worried about the outcome of the conference, fearing that it would establish a bloc to outflank and undermine SEATO as well as the Colombo Plan (for economic cooperation established by the Commonwealth Conference on Foreign Affairs held in Colombo, Ceylon—now Sri Lanka—in January 1950). There was therefore considerable relief when the Soviet Union was excluded from the conference. The British (unlike, the

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Americans) had in 1949 recognized the communist government in China and were less concerned about China. Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden was rather impressed by Zhou Enlai’s reasonable attitude at the 1954 Geneva Conference.62 London’s position was that it would be a mistake to either oppose the holding of the conference or to prevent any country from attending. Instead, they should avoid displaying any signs of anxiety and should encourage “good” or “competent” representatives from the “friendly” countries to attend. This was a view that coincided with the proposal of the US Department of State that Washington should establish as many contacts with the “friendly” countries as possible to work out courses of action to counter any communist agenda.63 Two groups were subsequently established to monitor the development of the Bandung Conference and to coordinate efforts in coming out with an agreed US position: the Afro–Asian Working Group led by William Lacy (who would soon assume the position of ambassador to Korea in March 1955) and the Bangkok Conference Group led by Douglas Macarthur (counselor with the US Department of State). The 8 February 1955 report from these working groups stated that, as only two of the thirty invited were communist countries while ten could be counted as pro-Western, the conference was likely to avoid contentious issues. Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok, and Manila had accepted their invitations by 8 February; Tokyo was likely to accept while Phnom Penh, Vientiane, and Saigon remained undecided. The report further stated that the United States should be concerned about the impact of the conference on the neutral countries and the pro-Western countries. It recommended that Washington should work towards rebutting all communist charges and encouraging endorsement of the “Free World and US achievements and goals” by keeping in close touch through normal diplomatic channels with the governments that were close to the United States. Washington should also counter all issues raised at Bandung by taking public positions on them without directly referring to the conference.64 As described earlier, from 23 to 25 February 1955, the Manila Pact countries met in Bangkok to launch the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO). This meeting was seen to be particularly important in the light of the forthcoming Bandung Conference. Dulles emphasized that it was of “first importance” that the gathering in Bangkok “should present a success to the world and thereby demonstrate that free Asian countries and western countries could deal together with profit and harmony.”65 The Bangkok meeting anticipated that the communists would use the Bandung Conference to attack SEATO but felt comforted that the Asian members of the Manila Pact at

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Bandung would be there to defend both the objectives and aspirations of the Manila and Bangkok meetings.66 The organizers of the Bandung Conference were well aware of American concern, particularly with the presence of communist China at the gathering.67 Unlike Moscow, Washington did not send a message of greetings to the conference. Indonesian Prime Minister Ali Sastroamidjojo in his opening address on 18 April 1955 noted that from the time the intention to convene the conference was publicized there have been many speculations about its agenda. In his speech, he spoke of the “utterances as well of doubts and even suspicions, as if it were our aim to create another source of tension by constituting an antiWestern and even an anti-white bloc.” He took pains to stress that nothing was further from the truth.68 China was indeed represented at the conference by its Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. The role of the Chinese premier has been the most-written about aspect of the Bandung Conference.69 Roeslan Abdulgani recalled that the address by Zhou received the most attention as it was the first time for many to hear Beijing’s views on various world issues firsthand, and from no less than its prime minister.70 Indeed, everything that he said and did at the conference was very closely followed. Of the Southeast Asian countries at the Bandung Conference, Zhou paid particular attention to Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos. Their representatives, in turn, were particularly impressed by him. In the case of Burma, Zhou had already visited Rangoon and U Nu had also visited Beijing in 1954. Roeslan Abdulgani had thought that Prince Wan and Zhou would not get on well because Thailand was a member of SEATO. But at Bandung, Prince Wan was apparently very impressed with Zhou but discreetly maintained a correct and distant attitude during the early part of the conference. Zhou had invited Prince Wan to a private dinner. The Prince was initially hesitant but was persuaded by Nehru (whom he had consulted) to accept. The dinner discussion was frank but friendly. Prince Wan brought up Bangkok’s concern about China, the overseas Chinese in Thailand, and Beijing’s support for Pridi Phanomyong. He was assured by Zhou that China had no ill intentions. Zhou expressed surprise at the degree of anti-Chinese hostility from many of the Asian countries at the conference and urged the prince to help bridge the gap between the two countries. The private meeting left the prince with the impression that Zhou was “an extraordinarily charming man, and a natural diplomat: astute, patient, unfailingly courteous” and “not anything like a communist bandit.”71

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Zhou also impressed Cambodia’s Prince Sihanouk and they both remained on personal and friendly terms till Zhou’s death in January 1976. George Kahin, who had access to the unpublished verbatim record of the conference, noted the striking amount of time and effort Zhou devoted to Sihanouk compared to the other small countries.72 Zhou hosted a special luncheon solely for Sihanouk. According to Sihanouk, Zhou personally assured him that “China would always faithfully adhere to the Five Principles (of Co-existence) in its relations with Cambodia and have a friendly feeling toward my country.”73 The Bandung Conference also paved the way for closer Sino–Indonesian relations, which lasted till 1965 when Jakarta abandoned its leftist foreign policy. In contrast, US–Indonesia relations became increasingly strained till the 1965 coup. At Bandung on 22 April 1955, China and Indonesia signed a treaty whereby China jettisoned its dual citizenship policy. Chinese in Indonesia would have to choose either Indonesian or Chinese citizenship. Soon after the Bandung Conference, Zhou visited Jakarta and the two prime ministers issued a joint statement on 28 April emphasizing the new relationship between Jakarta and Beijing based on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. Whereas the situation in Indochina was discussed at the earlier Colombo Meeting (attended by Burma, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan in April 1954), the subject was avoided in Bandung to preserve the unity of the conference and thus there was no mention of Vietnam in the final communiqué. Nehru did consider bringing the Indochinese states together in a meeting with Zhou Enlai but South Vietnam refused.74 North Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Van Dong and Laotian Prime Minister Katay Don Sasorith signed an agreement in the presence of Nehru and Zhou whereby the Vietnamese communists committed to respecting the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Laos. Pham Van Dong failed to persuade the other participants to recognize the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV). Finally, it is worth noting that a number of the conference delegates “made it perfectly plain” that their condemnation of colonialism was not “restricted to the traditional forms of colonialism, and that the subjection of peoples on the Communist model was at least equally repugnant to them.”75 One view was that yes, while one significant outcome of the conference was the “damnation of communism as a new form of colonialism,” in the same breath, there was a strong indictment against the arrogant patronage of the United States.76 Despite his initial apprehension about the Bandung Conference, John

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Foster Dulles, in his post-conference analysis, judged that it did not cause as much damage to the “interests of the United States and the Free World” as was anticipated. The secretary of state believed that it was the group of friendly countries rather than Zhou that dominated the conference; and that there was so much pressure put on the Chinese that Beijing was now obliged to refrain from acts of violence. After the conference, both Nehru and Indian Foreign Minister Krishna Menon believed that the Bandung Conference gave the Chinese a more realistic view of their international environment while the smaller states of Asia felt less fear of Chinese expansionism.77 Dulles was also at ease with the final communiqué (with the exception of its view on the Palestine issue). He noted about eight points in the communiqué that were supposedly consistent with American foreign policy. In his words, it was “a document which we ourselves could subscribe to.”78 But behind the scenes, the CIA during the Eisenhower administration supported (although unsuccessfully) the efforts of indigenous anticommunist elements in Laos, Indonesia, and Cambodia to overthrow their respective leaders Souvanna Phouma, Sukarno, and Sihanouk. These three pursued a neutralist foreign policy, which to the Americans was equivalent to being pro-communist.79 The British came to more or less a similar conclusion. The communiqué was described as “gratifyingly moderate in tone” and “neither particularly helpful to us nor as positively harmful as it might have been.” The position of the British Foreign Office was that “we should not exaggerate the results of the Conference or, on present evidence, assume that they will necessarily be lasting in their effects.” London not surprisingly was particularly concerned with the implications of the conference on the former colonial powers but concluded that “the Conference is likely to make the task of the Colonial Powers in the United Nations more difficult than in the past, though not disastrously so.” The consensus was that Britain came out remarkably well from the Conference.80 The anticommunist countries at Bandung however warned of the “hidden dangers” of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In their view, it was communist propaganda meant to lull the Free World into a false sense of security; and that the communist countries would not sincerely carry out those principles.81 To assess this plethora of views on the significance of the Bandung Conference, we will need to enter into the world of the Asian communist camp to understand their motivations and compare their words and deeds. This will be the subject of the next chapter.

CHAPTER 4

Antagonisms

I This chapter explains why the admirable commitments made at the Bandung Conference of 1955 were not fulfilled and clarifies how the Sino–Soviet split affected Southeast Asia. To unravel the associated conundrums, we need to examine the relationships between the communists and the governments of each Southeast Asian state, the Sino–Soviet schism, as well as the role of external powers, in particular the United States and the People’s Republic of China. Lee Kuan Yew described Bandung as the high point of the first decade after the end of the Second World War to 1955. It is worth quoting Lee in full here: The high watermark of that age, the first decade, ended with the Bandung Conference in 1955. Then there was still hope that perhaps nations had learned the terrible lessons of politics based completely on big power considerations. And since big nations were unable to resolve their conflicts with other big ones by forces without disastrous results upon themselves, they sought to advance their positions by rallying support from the smaller ones. It appeared then just possible that nations would learn to resolve, or at least contain their differences peaceably. . . . The solidarity of Afro–Asian, of India and the smaller countries of Asia with China, and the states as yet to emerge in Africa, was demonstrated in resounding terms. Pancasila was Afro–Asia’s new code of international ethics. Afro–Asian affirmed their belief in peace, nonaggression and the solution of problems on the basis of mutual respect and esteem.1

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However, by 1965, “all these hopes of a brave new world based on justice and moral right [had] somewhat faded away.”2 Perhaps this is not so surprising if we recall Richard Wright’s observation that the only commonality that all the countries at Bandung shared was their colonial past.3 Here, we might also add the common and mutual distrust between the Southeast Asian incumbent governments and those on the left of the ideological divide. In Indonesia, before the Ali Sastroamidjojo cabinet (which hosted the Bandung Conference), the country’s foreign policy while not exactly pro-West was nevertheless chary of China. The Ali cabinet, which in June 1953 replaced the Wilopo cabinet—itself a coalition between the Islamic Masjumi and the Indonesian National Party (PNI)—began the process to improve Sino–Indonesian relations. It sent its first ambassador to Beijing in October 1953, eventually leading to the signing of the Dual Nationality Treaty at Bandung in April 1955. Unlike the Wilopo cabinet, the Ali cabinet was led by the left-wing faction of the nationalist PNI and depended on the communist PKI led (since 1951) by D. N. Aidit to achieve a majority in parliament. Aidit, in turn, took advantage of this opportunity to rebuild the PKI.4 The Bandung Conference had been “the landmark success story of [President] Sukarno’s commitment to non-alignment and disassociation from the West.”5 But Sukarno, who dominated the political scene during the “Guided Democracy” period of Indonesian politics from 1957 to 1965, moved Indonesian foreign policy to one which was pro-Soviet Union and pro-China and anti-West. This transition coincided, we would recall from the previous chapter, with a phase in Chinese foreign policy (beginning from 1954–1955) that shifted to a more moderate approach in its international strategies and policies.6 Indeed, even in the early 1950s before the advent of “Guided Democracy” when Sukarno was “largely a figurehead president with symbolic power,” Beijing already regarded him “to be the paramount leader holding ultimate authority over Indonesia’s domestic and external policies.” The Chinese communists consciously cultivated him. As historian Liu Hong pointed out, “Sukarno was at the centre of Beijing’s endeavours to win Indonesia’s hearts and minds.”7 Sukarno visited China at the end of September–early October 1955, not long after the Bandung Conference, and was most impressed by the Chinese reception. In contrast, he did not have a good impression of either the United States or the Soviet Union, which he visited in 1956, despite Moscow’s efforts to win him over.8 But despite his lack of enthusiasm for the Soviet Union, in 1960 when Nikita Khrushchev paid a return visit to Indonesia, Sukarno accepted

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Moscow’s generous economic as well as military assistance (particularly for the Indonesian navy). Liu Hong argued that Sukarno’s intention to establish Indonesia’s future political system within a “broadly defined Eastern tradition” (as opposed to Western-style democracy) made him appear to the Chinese as a model and a source of inspiration. Sukarno thus played down the communist ideological aspect of China.9 Sukarno had in fact rejected communism from the very beginning but “without rejecting Communists, whose nationalism and revolutionary fervor he admired.”10 Sukarno was not alone in this respect. The transformation of Pramoedya Ananta Toer, possibly the most internationally recognized Indonesian cultural icon, from a detached intellectual to a political activist, was inspired by his two trips to China in 1956 and 1958. As with likeminded colleagues, “the China metaphor became a major factor in shaping the cultural politics of the Guided Democracy era” particularly between 1963 and 1965.11 This would explain their incarceration, of which Pramoedya’s would be the most well known, after 1965. As Rizal Sukma noted, the Sino–Indonesia relationship “proved still to be vulnerable and subject to pressures from Indonesia’s domestic politics.”12 We would recall that Muslim groups in Indonesia were particularly suspicious of the Chinese. The military and the conservative elites were just as wary of China and Chinese intentions despite a new more conciliatory policy from the CCP. These Indonesians all shared the perception, rightly or wrongly, that Beijing, the PKI, and overseas Chinese were the three interconnected forces that threatened Indonesia’s independence and well-being. This closeness to China during the “Guided Democracy” period was possible principally because of Sukarno’s sheer personality, oratorical skill, and ability to play one group against the other.13 By August 1957, while the anticommunist forces remained strong in the outer Indonesian islands, the communists were apparently gaining strength in Java. The Indonesian military, which was supposedly the stalwart against communism, was also reported to be not as cohesive as it was a year earlier. The noncommunist and anticommunist groups were unable to cooperate against the communist and pro-communist forces. The PKI was seen as the best-organized group in Indonesia with the best opportunity to take control of Java.14 Former Indonesian Vice President Mohammad Hatta too felt that the situation would turn critical if the noncommunist parties failed to get their act together.15 By the end of the year, the political situation can best be described to be in a fluid state.

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One important factor that fuelled Sukarno’s distrust of the United States was the role of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in abetting a revolt in eastern Indonesia in 1957–1958. From mid-1957, the Eisenhower administration was increasingly concerned about Jakarta’s gravitation to the left and the strengthening of the PKI. It therefore decided to exploit local grievances against the central government with the objective of changing “the character of the Indonesian government, move the country into an anti-Communist alignment with the United States” by eliminating the PKI and weakening the army’s strength on Java, and finally to “drastically clip the wings of, if not fully remove, President Sukarno.”16 However, poor intelligence and understanding of the Indonesian situation led to the rebellion’s failure by mid-1958 when Washington withdrew its covert support. The whole episode has been described as a “debacle” as “it actually strengthened those elements the [US] administration had sought to eliminate or weaken and destroyed those whom it wished to reinforce.”17 As David Mozingo noted, the abetment of the failed 1958 Indonesian rebellion “not only hurt American policy but also put Beijing in a position, for the first time, to invite active Sino–Indonesian cooperation against American imperialism.”18 By 1959, the PKI under Aidit boasted a membership of one and a half million and gaining electoral strength, indeed a remarkable recovery since the failed Madiun rebellion in 1948. Guy Pauker, amongst others, noted that many observers believed that the PKI would emerge as the strongest political party in Indonesia with the potential to emerge as “the first Communist party anywhere in the world to gain control of a national government by legal, peaceful means” in the anticipated 1959 general elections. Such a victory would confirm that a “parliamentary road to socialism” (as spelt out by Khrushchev at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1956) was indeed achievable.19 The Soviet aid program and Chinese trade agreement had also given the PKI “considerable moral support.”20 In the event, as a result of military interference, it was decided that the general election would be postponed for six years, thereby depriving the PKI of a possible electoral victory. There was no communist insurgency as the PKI continued to stress united-front action and cooperation with Sukarno. As long as Sukarno supported the PKI, there was little the army could do. The poor state of the Indonesian economy, described as “in a chronic state of near crisis, with monetary inflation, and lack of faith in the currency, . . .” was fertile ground for the PKI. Australian intelligence noted that in 1960 there had been “a discernible trend to the left in both the political situation in Indonesia and in Indonesia’s external relations.”21

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Burma (today Myanmar), the other Southeast Asian nation that sponsored the Bandung Conference, also desired to develop good relations with Beijing but without undermining its own sovereignty and pursuit of a neutralist foreign policy. Burma’s courting of China (and China courting Burma) was “quite unmistakable by the middle of 1953.”22 This continued into the post-Bandung period. There were four outstanding bilateral issues: the un-demarcated boundary between both countries, the remnants of the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) troops near the China–Burma border, the incursions of communist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) into disputed Burmese territory (ostensibly to find KMT soldiers), and last but not least the status of the Burmese Communist Party (BCP).23 By the early 1960s, the border and KMT issues were resolved, not least because of Rangoon’s willingness to accommodate Beijing and Beijing’s willingness to accommodate Burma as an example to India. To cite two examples, Rangoon consented to allow the PLA to enter Burma on at least two occasions (in 1960–1961) to attack the KMT troops, a decision which was significant in resolving the KMT issue. The Burmese leadership however continued to have “great suspicions” regarding the PLA’s presence in their territory.24 The Dalai Lama revealed to Bertil Lintner in an interview that as Burma was a Buddhist country, and that as both Tibetan and Burmese belong to the same language family, he had in 1959 originally intended to go in exile to one of the Tibetan villages north of Putao in Kachin State, Burma. The Burmese leadership replied that they would like to welcome him but as they were then negotiating with the Chinese on the border issue, “the time was not appropriate.”25 On 1 October 1960, the Burma–China border treaty was ratified in Beijing. As Lintner surmised, if the Dalai Lama had indeed settled in the Burmese mountains, Rangoon would certainly “have felt the wrath of Beijing in a way that could have been even more devastating than Chinese support for the Communist Party of Burma in the 1960s and 1970s.”26 The relationship between the two communist parties did not affect Sino–Burmese ties because until 1967 Beijing gave little support to the BCP and gave priority to state-to-state relations. BCP members who traveled to China secretly to request for aid were well received by the Chinese, allowed to stay in Szechuan Province, and given political training—but not military aid.27 Bertil Lintner noted that the failure of the communists in Burma “can partly be attributed to the strength displayed by the U Nu government’s persistent, actively neutral foreign policy.”28 On several occasions, Beijing urged the U Nu government to hold peaceful negotiations with the BCP but was ignored.29 In March 1962, the military led by Ne Win staged a coup d’état

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that brought an end to Burma’s “experiment with democracy and federalism.” Burmese opponents responded with huge student-led demonstrations that the military cracked down on with force and violence. A number of students fled into the jungles to join the BCP.30 The KMT issue was as much an obstacle in US–Burma relations as it was in Sino–Burma relations, even though the CIA had evidently terminated financial aid to the nationalist army by 1952. The U Nu government had previously severed an aid agreement with the US over the KMT problem.31 Rangoon expected Washington to persuade Chiang Kai-shek to remove his army from Burma. This difficult task was left to the State Department and it was only with the involvement of the United Nations (which U Nu eventually turned to for help) that Chiang “only reluctantly and under pressure from both Washington and the United Nations” ordered the phased withdrawal of his troops in 1953–1954. At the end of the evacuation exercise, four thousand to five thousand troops still remained but “the international community accepted that Taipei had made a good faith effort” and the Formosa-based Republic of China (ROC) was relieved from any further responsibility for the remaining troops.32 It was then left to the Burmese army jointly with the PLA to oust them and by 1961, it was estimated that only about 700 KMT troops remained in the area.33 Washington knew that it had to compete with Moscow for influence in the Third World; that was certainly the case with Burma. In the 1950s, the Burmese economy was in decline and Rangoon was considering trading its surplus rice with China and other communist countries. U Kyaw Nyein, who was the minister for industries and later minister of the National Economy, in his attempt to get the Americans to help Burma, warned that unless the United States provided his country with the economic assistance it badly needed, Burma would be completely sucked into the Soviet orbit within five years.34 In the assessment of the State Department half a year later, the “communist-bloc tactics of economic warfare [were] steadily enveloping Burma in the communist vise, despite Burmese intentions.”35 The communist aim, according to the United States, was to remove Western influence and to sway Burma from being neutral to pro-communist by buying up Burma’s surplus rice and providing much needed economic assistance. During their visit to Rangoon in 1955, Yuri Bulganin and Khrushchev agreed to absorb all remaining unsold Burmese rice. Apparently, not all of that was bought for Russian consumption alone but was also intended for North Vietnam, which was then facing a rice shortage. The communist bloc also offered equipment and technicians to facilitate Burmese development programs.36 Washington, on the other hand, was constrained by

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the stipulations of the US Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act, which disallowed US assistance to countries shipping strategic goods to states deemed hostile to the US. That law only further hindered Washington’s ability to compete with the communist bloc as Burma had a trading arrangement with China for the supply of raw materials, such as rubber and copper. American officials thus had to improvise and to “adopt a more flexible interpretation” of the rules, which they did.37 Meanwhile in Thailand, a top-secret exercise to establish better relations with China was being planned by Sang Phathanothai. We would recall that Sang was Prime Minister Phibunsongkhram’s closest adviser and a longtime advocate of establishing some form of relationship with Beijing. It was Sang who convinced the prime minister that Bangkok should be represented at the Bandung Conference. Thais have long perceived China as a “latent threat.”38 Bangkok wanted to find a way to develop a stable Sino–Thai relationship for the long term without antagonizing the United States whose support and aid it needed. Sang turned to Aree Pirom, an old acquaintance who had very good Chinese contacts. Aree had been imprisoned for being a communist sympathizer and was recently released from prison with the help of Sang. In December 1955, he led a small Thai delegation to Beijing secretly where they met senior Chinese officials including Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. During that meeting, Aree asked Mao what Thailand should do regarding its relations with the United States and China. Mao said that he personally felt that the most advantageous policy for a small country like Thailand was to remain neutral, although that would not be an easy road for Thailand to take. Both countries signed a secret agreement and the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon became the point of liaison between Zhou and Phathanothai. Subsequently, Phathanothai’s two children, Sirin and Warnwai, were sent to China in 1956 as “an offering of goodwill” from Thailand’s political elite to serve as a “living bridge” between the two countries.39 The Americans knew that after the Bandung Conference some members of the Thai leadership were making discreet overtures towards Beijing. General Carlos P. Romulo told Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that he was greatly disturbed by Zhou Enlai’s effect on the Thai foreign minister, Prince Wan, at Bandung. According to Romulo, the prince (whom we recall from the last chapter desired to meet Zhou) had been completely beguiled by the Chinese diplomat.40 The US Embassy took the view that Thai actions were a manifestation of a “Thai political tradition of attempting, as a small nation, to maintain its independence by keeping in line with apparent trends in the international

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pattern of power.”41 American assessment was that in the event of a direct communist attack on Laos, Cambodia, or South Vietnam, Bangkok would only participate in military counter-measures if assured of prompt commitment of US forces to the region. If that was not forthcoming, the Thais would almost certainly seek an accommodation with the communist bloc. If communist control of the mainland Southeast Asian countries were achieved through subversion, then Thailand would move towards a neutralist position.42 The Thai Communist Party (CPT) had established a Thai Autonomous Republic in Yunnan Province, China. But according to General Phao Siyanon (director-general of the Thai National Police Force), the government was not particularly worried as communists were closely monitored and would not be allowed to “spin out of control.”43 The Thai communists did take advantage of the window of opportunity made possible by the Bandung spirit to agitate among the workers and students legally. The Thai coup d’état masterminded by Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat in September 1957 put an end to that, however. According to the Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand, “in the short periods of ‘democracy,’ . . . although our work could spread widely and create a stir, it collapsed when the fascists came back to power. . . .”44 The coup provided the opportunity for the United States to persuade the new Thai leadership to reverse Thailand’s policy towards China. Despite his doubts regarding an American commitment to fight communism in Southeast Asia, Field Marshal Sarit concluded that aligning with the United States was in the best interest of Thailand.45 Furthermore, he needed American patronage in order for him to control the military.46 Sarit “virtually ruled as a dictator” until his death in December 1963.47 Under his regime, Phibun Songgram fled Thailand while Aree Pirom (and his assistant Karuna Kusarasai) who made the secret trip to Beijing was imprisoned for many years. Sang Pathanothai, too, was imprisoned. Zhou Enlai believed that Phibun was overthrown because Washington had learnt of Bangkok’s secret ties with Beijing.48 The Thai communists however did not easily give up. At the Third Congress of the Communist Party of Thailand in September 1961, it was decided that they would “build a broad united patriotic united front, struggle against the enemy in all forms.” The Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand has recorded that in essence the armed struggle had begun at that time but “this was not openly written in order to maintain secrecy. . . . [T]he spirit of the political report was the decision for armed struggle.”49 The Philippines, on the other hand, had neither diplomatic relations nor cultural contacts with the Sino–Soviet bloc. The US ambassador to the

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Philippines noted that President Ramon Magsaysay’s American orientation was based entirely on the objective of defeating communism.50 In a letter to Dulles arguing for an increase in American economic aid, Magsaysay wrote: “I wish to call your attention to certain facts. While it is true that I have succeeded so far in defeating the communists here that success is only temporary. The masses of my people expect me to ameliorate their lot. If I cannot show them in a tangible way that their lot is being ameliorated, they will be disillusioned. Disillusionment is dangerous. We must therefore prevent the masses of this country from being disillusioned.”51 Dulles, never known to be soft on communism, however felt that Magsaysay had some bad personal advisers who told him to play up the internal communist threat in order to extract more from the United States.52 So did President John Kennedy, who also noted that Manila was constantly complaining that the Americans were not doing enough to stand up to the communists in Asia.53 The communist threat to the Philippines had in fact steadily decreased since 1950. The “backbone” of the Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan or Huk, the military arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CCP), had been crushed in 1954 and the CPP was outlawed in 1957, forcing it underground.54 From an army of ten thousand well-organized men in 1950, the Huk had been reduced to about 500 scattered and disorganized individuals by 1958. The communist party had to switch strategy to one of subverting the influential urban intelligentsia using highly appealing slogans such as “nationalism” and “colonialism” in its attempt to undermine the US–Philippines alliance, which was viewed as a form of neocolonialism. The CPP’s long-term goal of establishing communism in the Philippines, however, remained unchanged.55 Besides the urban educated, there was also the Chinese community estimated to be between 300,000 and 400,000, which had not been assimilated and was thus seen as potential communist fodder. Full diplomatic relations with the Republic of China (Formosa/Taiwan) had kept to some extent communist influence to the minimum. Philippine–Taiwan relations however lacked any “real affinity” and were essentially based on a shared “anti-communist sentiment.” Beijing in fact did not have any substantial contact with the Philippine communists. The Philippines was evidently not an “important element in its geopolitical plans.”56 A third group that could be subverted was the Muslims concentrated in Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago. The proximity of China and North Vietnam naturally concerned the Filipinos but what was more worrisome to Manila was the growing strength of the PKI and the threat from infiltration and subversion from Indonesia.57 In sum, although US–Philippine relations

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went through some difficulties in the 1950s, mainly because of Filipino domestic reasons, of the three foreign policy options open to Manila—align with the United States, be neutral, or succumb to communism—Manila chose to further strengthen its collaboration with the United States.58

II We would recall from the previous chapter that the communist insurrection in British Malaya had been put down and the British were gaining the upper hand in the insurgency. Singapore, on the other hand, remained a safe haven for the Malayan communists attempting to leave Malaya. US intelligence noted that since the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu and the 1954 Geneva Conference, there was a marked increase of communist-inspired and directed activities in Singapore.59 From about 1955 when the British were clearly winning the war against the communists in Malaya, the latter began to switch from terrorism to subversion in the schools and labor unions, particularly in Singapore. In the 1950s, according to the official history of the Communist Party of Malaya (MCP), the party adopted the “open and legal form of struggle to mount mass actions on a large scale in Singapore.”60 The party sent cadres to set up the People’s Action Party (PAP) jointly with Lee Kuan Yew. The communists also mobilized the masses to support the PAP in the 1959 Singapore elections, ensuring a landslide victory for Lee’s party.61 An American study noted that the British were so focused on anti-guerrilla military action that they were ill prepared to respond to the “alarming inroads which communist subversion has made in the schools, trade unions, press, and political parties of Singapore and, to a lesser extent, the Federation of Malaya.”62 The communist strategy in Singapore was essentially a function of the urban environment they were operating in. It was also a strategy that both Moscow and Beijing had recommended (soon after the 1954 Geneva Conference).63 Implementing it in Malaya was much more difficult given that the MCP was an illegal party, banned soon after the British declared a state of “Emergency” in June 1948. A negotiated peace between the MCP and the government, if successful, could pave the way for the Malayan communists to adopt a “peaceful and democratic approach to develop its strength.”64 Exploratory meetings between the two sides began in October 1955, culminating in the Baling Talks on 28–29 December 1955 led by communist Chin Peng on one side and Tunku Abdul Rahman (chief minister of the Federation of Malaya) and David Marshall (chief minister of Singapore) on the other. The talks broke down because the government refused to recognize the MCP as a

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legal party in any form and Chin Peng refused to surrender unconditionally. In the words of Tunku Abdul Rahman, “If you want peace in this country, one side must give in—either we give in to you or you give in to us. The two ideologies, yours and ours, can never work side by side.” Chin Peng told the Tunku that capitulation would subject his comrades “to a level of humiliation too great to bear,” and that “if you demand our surrender, we would prefer to fight to the last man.”65 Chin Peng subsequently did try to resume negotiations with the Tunku, but he was repudiated. If not for the communist insurrection, Malaya would not have secured its independence in 1957. The Tunku acknowledged as much.66 As Cheah Boon Kheng noted, when the British returned to Malaya after the Second World War, they had “no immediate plans to grant Malaya self-government, democracy or to set an early date for national independence.” But, “anxious to end the Emergency, the British government agreed to concede those powers of internal security and defence and [agreed] to the demand for independence for Malaya by 31 August 1957, if possible.”67 The MCP lost the raison d’être for its anticolonial struggle when the Federation of Malaya became an independent and sovereign country. By 1958, the MCP leadership had completed a revision of its battlefield strategy and concluded that in order to survive and to continue the military struggle they had to direct future military activities from bases outside Peninsular Malaya. Chin Peng recalled that as the central committee grappled with the problem of phasing out its army throughout 1959, the communists were forced to leave their senior political cadres in both Malaya and Singapore “very much to their own devices.” There was also little if any guidance from Beijing during this period although the Chinese were kept informed of the deliberations of the MCP Central Committee through its Politburo member Siao Chang, who had been based in China since 1953.68 While the guerrilla army in Malaya atrophied, the political development in Singapore was more hopeful for the communists and their sympathizers. Nevertheless, communists in Singapore “fell prey to the sin of ‘left-wing adventurism’ ” that led to the 1956 crackdown by Lim Yew Hock (chief minister of Singapore) and resulted in a brief “state of inactiveness of the MCP network.”69 The leftists however recovered in time for the 1959 general election. A British intelligence report noted that Lim Chin Siong—“No.2 in the PAP (People’s Action Party) and an activist on behalf of the MCP”—became secretary in March 1955. Lim as well as Devan Nair and James Puthucheary, both assistant secretaries, were described in the report as followers “of the MCP line implicitly, although evidence is lacking that this is at MCP direction.” The PAP through

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its “extreme left-wing” dominated the Singapore Factory and Shop Workers Union, had the capability of controlling the actions of one third of Singapore’s trade unionists, and thus could partially disrupt the economy of the colony if they so wanted. Lee Kuan Yew was described as “an extreme left wing socialist” but he was neither a communist nor a “fellow traveller.” However, he was in a difficult position of being “a prisoner of the extremist group of his party led by Lim Chin Siong” who had told the Deputy Commissioner for Labor that he was prepared to exploit the groundswell of anti-European feeling in some sections of the community. If Lee were to advocate anything less than an extreme position, he was in danger of losing his position to Lim. Exacerbating his difficulty, Lee was faced with “the threat of a merger between the Labour Front and the Liberal Socialists” in early 1956. At a University of Malaya Socialist Club forum on 1 February 1956, Lee pressed for the recognition of the MCP and at the same time expressed the view that Malaya and Singapore should be “part of the neutral bloc of Asian nations.” The intelligence report concluded that the MCP would “remain underground and will not show its hand unless it considers the time is ripe to attempt to bring about the fall of the Government.” The MCP would “support Lim’s faction in every possible way and . . . continue to penetrate and extend its influence in the PAP to use it as a front for MCP activity.” The communists, the report said, were unlikely to resort “to open revolt in a situation which is so suitable for peaceful penetration.”70 Until the PAP’s victory in the 1959 general elections, Singapore remained a relatively safe haven for MCP guerrillas attempting to extricate themselves from Malaya.71 The 1959 general election was the first since Singapore was granted internal self-government in 1955 and the People’s Action Party led by Lee Kuan Yew won a landslide victory. It has been acknowledged that this political victory (43 out of 51 seats) was achieved with the support of communists and the pro-communist electorate in Singapore. According to Chin Peng, in its review of the election results, the MCP Central Committee predicted that “Lee would one day move against the CPM to consolidate his power.” This was indeed a prescient analysis that we will revisit in the next chapter. The MCP leadership apprised their cadres of this eventuality “but could do little more.”72 Chin Peng did not play a direct role in the communist activities in Singapore, having only indirect contact with his comrades there. That role was left to Fang Chuang Pi—more popularly known by his designation given by Lee Kuan Yew as “The Plen.” Lee Kuan Yew recalled that when he took power in 1959, the majority of

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the American press dubbed him as “communist” or a “dangerous fellow traveller.”73 That was the perception. However, it was clear from the beginning that the collaboration between the right and left wing of the PAP could not be sustained for long. Still initially and Melanie Chew has noted, “as the PAP government settled into power, the uneasy condominium between the Left and Right continued.”74 It was never going to be easy for the English-educated and English-speaking faction of the PAP to win the support of the largely Chinese electorate. P. J. Thum pointed out that Chinese resistance to colonial rule was not only ideological but “material” as well—injustices, local grievances, and the increasing, direct state intervention into the affairs of the Chinese-speaking community in the postwar years.75 Lee had on more than one occasion warned the Tunku and his deputy Tun Abdul Razak that without a merger, Singapore would become independent and communist in the near future. The PAP lost the Hong-Lim by-election in April 1961 to a disgraced former PAP minister turned independent candidate, who was indirectly supported by the left, whose leaders had advised their followers not to vote for the PAP.76 Watching the developments across the causeway the Tunku, fearing that Singapore “was about to become a Communist state, a ‘second Cuba’ and a danger to the Federation of Malaya,” put aside his long-standing reluctance of a merger between Malaya and Singapore. He went on to propose the possibility, in fact the inevitability, of the formation of “Malaysia” that would include Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak, and possibly Brunei in a speech he made in Singapore on 27 May 1961.77 Apparently, it was the British more than the Tunku who were seriously troubled by the threat posed by the communists in Singapore. It was a proposal that the PAP under Lee Kuan Yew, though caught by surprise like everyone else by the Tunku’s change of heart, immediately seized and ran with it.78 In Lee’s view, the Tunku’s speech was a declaration that would “accelerate the speed of political progress towards complete independence” for Singapore.79 The disagreement within the PAP eventually led to a split and the formation of a rival party known as Barisan Socialis (led by Lee Siew Choh and Lim Chin Siong) on 29 July 1961. Before the official break, the left who had supported Lee Kuan Yew in the 1959 election switched to support the rival candidate David Marshall (of the Workers’ Party) in the Anson byelection in 1961. Marshall won, once again demonstrating the potency of the left wing. The PAP was under intense pressure from both the Labour Front and the newly formed Barisan Socialis to the point of “being toppled.”80 Independence, through merger, was a major part of the PAP 1959 election platform, which endorsed full internal self-government for Singapore. Indeed,

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merger with the federation had been a policy of the PAP since its formation in 1954.81 The left initially supported merger although the left and right within the party did not share a common understanding of the meaning of merger.82 Because of their different visions of any merger, the Barisan Socialis subsequently viewed merger as a colonial plot for Britain to prolong their control and influence in the region. The British authorities, to preserve their own strategic interest, were keen on merger and had in fact been exploring this idea on and off since the 1950s. London was not prepared to give independence to Singapore on its own precisely for fear of the eventuality that the PAP could one day be controlled by the communists.83 But merger was never seriously discussed because of the Tunku’s reluctance. Thus his change of mind certainly pleased both the British (who described the Tunku’s announcement as a “joyful surprise”) and Lee.84 Lee exerted “great pressure” on the Tunku for an early merger. The Tunku recalled, “Lee Kuan Yew knew Singapore needed it badly, as owing to a breakup in his party, the left-wing extremists had formed a new party, the Barisan Socialis, and he could foresee himself having a lot of security trouble on his hands. ‘Merger’ with Malaya would help settle the problem.”85 When asked whether Singapore would have gone communist had there not been a merger in one form or another, Lee replied that “in the long run, if you don’t have merger and you don’t have a bigger economic base, you will be unable to solve the problem of economic growth and unemployment will become greater and greater over the years until eventually you can’t resolve it. And when people give up hope of resolving their problems by one-man, one-vote, then they try the other systems of government.”86 In Singapore, a referendum was held on 1 September 1962 in which 71 percent of the voters supported merger under the terms dictated by the PAP; essentially any spoilt ballots were counted as in favor of merger. But before merger could take place, the left wing would have to be completely demolished, as Chin Peng had feared. Meanwhile, back in Malaya, the MCP was preoccupied with the complicated process of winding down the armed struggle in Malaya.87 The official history of the communists revealed that as a consequence of the “right-opportunist line” of 1954, the party lacked a comprehensive and long-term view, and placed too much focus on the open and legal struggle. For example, it downgraded the role of secret organizations. Consequently, the communists suffered seriously in the face of full-scale suppression by the authorities. Nevertheless, they did preserve a “well-tempered revolutionary armed force and quite an extensive guerrilla base area in the border region.”88 The communist pressure

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on Malaya was clearly easing. Since early 1958, Kuala Lumpur could afford to clandestinely (against the terms of the 1954 Geneva Agreements) give aid to South Vietnam. When the Malayan Emergency officially ended in July 1960, Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman secretly sent all the arms and equipment previously used to fight the communists to President Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam. In his words, “we both faced a common enemy, though we were miles apart in our ways of life.”89 The MCP’s decision to end its armed struggle was however short lived. Chin Peng and his colleagues would soon reverse its decision in 1961 after interactions with their Vietnamese and Chinese comrades.90 The Vietnamese communists had themselves recently decided to resume their armed struggle, which we will recount below. Chin Peng began his journey to Beijing in December 1960. In his memoir, he described the close cooperation of Siamese, Laos, Vietnamese, and Chinese communist parties, which made it possible for him to make the hazardous journey to Beijing. On the way he had discussions with Ho Chi Minh, Le Duan, and Le Duc Tho in Hanoi, conferring on how the Sino–Soviet schism had affected the Southeast Asian communist parties. He recalled that the MCP’s presence in Hanoi on May Day 1961 had to be inconspicuous because Hanoi had a vested interest in avoiding any form of alignment in the Sino–Soviet conflict (which had become increasingly acrimonious and open): “to have had a line-up of Chinese guests on the official May Day viewing dais or at some other prominent location—albeit Chinese from Malaya—would certainly have signalled the wrong message and endangered Hanoi’s cultivated neutrality.”91 The MCP had always looked to the Communist Party of China (CCP) as its mentor and in the Sino–Soviet schism it naturally stood on the side of the Chinese. In Beijing, amongst other Chinese leaders, Chin Peng met in July 1961 Deng Xiaoping. Deng “knew the minds and plans of the Burmese, Siamese, Lao, Cambodia, and Indonesian comrades, who all maintained important training facilities in China at this time.” According to Chin Peng, the MCP reversed their 1959 decision to abandon armed struggle “to accommodate Beijing and Hanoi and their Indochina aspiration.” The Chinese also began funding the MCP from 1961 (and not earlier as claimed by the Western media). As Chin Peng said, “[T]he nub of our position was the success or failure for the CPM’s return to armed struggle rested on the degree of assistance Beijing was willing to extend.”92 The official communist history recounted that in September 1961, at the eleventh enlarged plenary session of the central committee, the leadership corrected the “right-opportunist line” and reaffirmed the pursuit of armed struggle to the end. A new policy was put in place. A number of revolutionary

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mass organizations were formed and base areas and guerrilla zones were rapidly revived and gradually consolidated.93 The foreign policy of the Federation of Malaya (and subsequently Malaysia) in the first decade from independence was unambiguously anticommunist. In the words of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the first chief minister and subsequently prime minister, “there can be no half-way policy. Either we go all out and sink with Democracy, or with Communism if we support Communism.”94 Malaysian foreign policy in the early years owed much to the personality of the Tunku who was unabashedly anticommunist. As Hari Singh observed, even though Malaysia was a member of the official Non-Aligned Nations, Kuala Lumpur “had minimal contact with the majority of the nonaligned nations. . . .” It would appear that the lack of resources, manpower, and finance were the reason, but “in reality, the ideological premise in Malaysian foreign policy was the more convincingly reason.”95 The Tunku was however careful not to offend his Asian communist neighbors (in one half of Vietnam and in China) and directed his anticommunist tirades mainly at the Soviet Union.96 As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Tunku would have joined SEATO had he not taken into consideration the views of his immediate neighbors and his alliance partners.

III Chin Peng had revealed that he met the Vietnamese communist leaders, specifically Le Duan and Le Duc Tho, in June 1961 (when en route to Beijing). They persuaded and encouraged him to rethink the MCP’s decision to end armed struggle. In Beijing, Deng Xiaoping also told him to reconsider his decision. Le Duan was the principal proponent for the resumption of armed struggle in Vietnam having authored a fourteen-point plan of action to restart armed resistance (known as Duong Loi Cach Mang Mien Nam) in the southern part of Vietnam after a brief hiatus brought about by the Geneva Agreements of 1954. He had spent many years imprisoned in Poulo Condore (Con So’n or alternatively Con Lon island) for resisting the French colonial masters. He was thus now considered to be the most trusted person to oversee the implementation of the plan to reunify North and South Vietnam, endorsed at the eleventh plenary session of the Central Committee of the Lao Dong Party (Vietnam Workers’ Party) in December 1956. Sometime around the end of 1956 or the beginning of 1957, Le Duan left South Vietnam for Hanoi to assume the position of acting secretary-general of the Lao Dong to assist Ho Chi Minh in the running of the daily affairs of the party. He was in fact the de facto secretary-general.

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His most trusted lieutenant was the influential head of the party’s Organization Department, Le Duc Tho.97 By 1956 when it was evident that there would not be an election to reunify the country as specified in the 21 July 1954 Geneva Agreement, a “debate” started within the Vietnamese communist leadership on the best strategy to achieve the goal of reunification. The debate continued into the late 1960s. While the goal of reunification was shared by all, there was disagreement regarding the pace to achieve that goal. There was a brief period of consensus at the highest level that the primary focus should be on the rebuilding of North Vietnam’s shattered economy and modernizing the Vietnamese People’s Army. However, towards the end of 1957, the communists in South Vietnam were beginning to feel the pressure of Ngo Dinh Diem’s anticommunist policies. Nevertheless, until March 1958, a military campaign to achieve reunification was still considered an unrealistic proposition, a view with which the Russians and Chinese concurred. By mid-1958, Diem’s renewed efforts to exterminate the communists in South Vietnam, which culminated in the passing of Law 10/59 (6 May 1959), were fatally damaging the communist revolutionary struggle in the south. According to a Vietnamese communist source, Diem’s policy of terror in the south reached its height at the end of 1958–early 1959 and Hanoi could not continue to advocate restraint without losing the control and allegiance of the southern communists as well as losing the reunification struggle to Diem.98 The difficult decision to renew the military struggle in the south was eventually made at the landmark Fifteenth Lao Dong Party Plenary Session in January 1959. It was however not announced until a week after the promulgation of Law 10/59 in May. Soon after the communiqué was issued, construction work on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (much of which was in Laotian territory) began. Even then, when the January 1959 decision was finally translated into action from September 1960, the political struggle still took precedence. The 13 January 1961 directive issued by the Lao Dong Party reiterated that the armed struggle was meant to support and not replace the political struggle. This was so because the North Vietnamese, specifically the military, were still unprepared for an expansion of the war. Moscow and Beijing—Hanoi’s principal sponsors—remained lukewarm to the decision to reactivate the armed struggle. It was against the above background that Chin Peng had his aforementioned meetings with Le Duan, Le Duc Tho, and later Deng Xiaoping. During this period, it was Laos—not Vietnam or the other Southeast Asian countries—which captured the headlines and international attention.

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The United States supported the Royal Laotian Government (RLG). President Dwight D. Eisenhower told his successor John F. Kennedy that if Laos was allowed to fall to the communists, it would only be a matter of time before South Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Burma would follow. Laos (because of its geographic location and weak government), he said, was the key to the entire area of Southeast Asia.99 Developments in Laos, which were not necessarily within the control of Hanoi (or Moscow or Beijing) but which impinge on the situation in Vietnam, consumed much of the Vietnamese communists’ energy and attention from 1960 to mid-1962. Laos became even more strategically important when the North Vietnamese made public their decision to renew the struggle in the south because much of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, as said earlier, was being constructed within Laotian territory. According to the Official History of the Vietnamese People’s Army, the united struggle of Laos and Vietnam against the common enemy—the American imperialists—was a special relationship based on the traditional closeness of the two countries and the spirit of proletarian internationalism between the two parties and armies. And it was this unity which made possible the success of both the Vietnamese and Laotian revolutions.100 The crisis in Laos was essentially a struggle for power between the Pathet Lao (supported by Hanoi) and the Royal Laotian Government (backed by Washington). On 25 December 1959, the US-backed Committee for the Defence of National Interests (CDNI), an anticommunist right-wing political party (backed by the CIA), and the Royal Laotian Army carried out a coup that forced the Phoui Sananikone government to resign. They replaced it with a provisional government headed ostensibly by elder stateman Kou Abhay when in fact the real power was in the hands of General Phoumi Nosavan and the CDNI. Phoui Sananikone had failed to ensure the demobilization of the Pathet Lao troops (two battalions) and their integration into the Royal Laotian Army, stipulated by the 1954 Geneva Agreement and the 1957 Vientiane Agreement signed between the RLG and the Pathet Lao. Instead, one battalion was able to escape into the virtually inaccessible mountainous areas in eastern Xieng Khoang, with many of them crossing over into North Vietnam. In January 1960, the Laotian Council of Ministers announced that a general election would take place in April. By introducing electoral requirements weighted against the left-wing parties, the aim of the RLG was to prevent the political arm of the Pathet Lao—the Neo Lao Hak Xat (NLHX)—from gaining any political power. The Royal Laotian Army carried out mopping-up operations during the campaign period. The election itself was blatantly rigged apparently

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with assistance from CIA agents. As General Nosavan intimated to the British ambassador in Laos, the result of the election was a foregone conclusion.101 The participation of the NLHX in the election despite the odds against them provided the cover and time for the Pathet Lao forces (trained by the North Vietnamese) to prepare for a military offensive. On 9 August 1960, the so-called “revolutionary forces” led by Captain Kong Lae, Commander of the Second Paratroops Battalion, staged a coup in Vientiane. Kong Lae, who did not have any political affiliation, explained that he had organized the coup in order to stop any civil war, eliminate corruption amongst civil servants and military commanders, and rid the country of foreign armed forces, specifically the United States. The “revolutionary committee,” he declared, would ensure the neutrality of Laos and establish friendly and neighborly relations with all countries.102 Kong Lae proclaimed Souvanna Phouma as the chosen prime minister of the Revolutionary Government. Souvanna Phouma promised to reach out to the Pathet Lao and carry out the agreements of 1954 and 1957. Meanwhile, Phoumi Nosavan rallied his forces for a counteroffensive to retake Vientiane. The Pathet Lao with the support of North Vietnamese troops captured Sam Neua (the capital city of Laos’ northeastern province), which gave the Laotian communists a large base area bordering North Vietnam. Hanoi was now able to organize and coordinate the two revolutions unfettered. In the ongoing civil war, Kong Lae became completely dependent on the Pathet Lao who in turn was supported by Hanoi and Moscow. The Russians airlifted fuel, ammunition, and combat rations to Kong Lae while North Vietnamese military personnel were parachuted in to augment Kong Lae’s forces outside Vientiane. On the other side, the United States supported the Phoumi Nosavan faction. It was rumored that Bangkok, possibly supported by SEATO, might intervene militarily to prevent a communist takeover of Laos. The Laotian crisis presented an opportunity for Moscow to gain a foothold in the country that it had been trying to secure since July 1956. In October 1956, Laos finally established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. In the context of the simmering Sino–Soviet rivalry, it was certainly a boon for Moscow. Indeed, the Soviet ambassador to Thailand told General Sarit that Soviet involvement in Laos was in part meant to keep China from intervening there.103 Beijing was keenly watching developments in Laos but up till the end of 1960, the Chinese were hesistant to get involved in the civil war. They were absorbed by internal economic problems caused by the Great Leap For-

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ward. However, Beijing was acutely sensitive to any developments in Laos that could potentially affect Chinese interests. They therefore wanted to have better control of the situation in Laos and not leave everything in the hands of the North Vietnamese, with whom they did not always agree. In January 1962, China and Laos signed an aerial transportation and particularly a road building agreement. The Chinese government would undertake the work of building a highway and shoulder all the costs. This highway when completed would be the first to directly link Laos and China, and would replace the existing longer supply line from China to Laos, which had to pass through North Vietnam. The air-transport agreement meant that China could now also air-drop supplies into Laos, which had so far been the responsibility of North Vietnam (with help from Moscow).104 None of the external supporters of the Laotian factions wanted to be directly involved in any civil war that could potentially develop into a major conflict. The North Vietnamese communists and the Pathet Lao were also not ready for such a war. Thus when Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru—in a message to the co-chairmen of the 1954 Geneva Conference (the Soviet Union and Britain)—proposed the reactivation of the International Supervisory and Control Commission (ISCC) in Laos, Hanoi and Beijing immediately supported it. So did Phnom Penh. Cambodia, under the firm control of Prince Sihanouk, had been able to resist being sucked into the war thus far. Although there were Vietnamese communist cells in Cambodia, there were as yet no serious communist activities in the country.105 On 22 December 1960, Moscow delivered a note to its counterpart in London proposing that a new conference involving all the participants of the 1954 Geneva Conference be convened to resolve the situation in Laos and that the ISCC resume its activity as suggested by Nehru. The International Conference on the Settlement of the Laotian Question was eventually convened on 16 May 1961 and the Protocol and the Declaration of Neutrality of Laos was signed on 23 July 1962 in Geneva. After more than a year of negotiations, it finally brought the Laotian crisis officially to an end.106 But in reality, it merely moved the war away from the limelight into the “shadow of Vietnam.”107 As the reunification war in Vietnam intensified, the civil war in Laos and that in Vietnam became increasingly entangled.

IV The two years following the 1961 International Conference on Laos, which ostensibly brought the Laotian crisis to an end, saw the destruction of com-

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munism as a force in maritime Southeast Asia (defined as Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore, and Indonesia). But before we recount the developments in the various Southeast Asian countries, we need to make a slight detour to examine—in the context of Southeast Asia—the growing Sino–Soviet dispute and the schism in the communist bloc. The precise and detailed reasons for the Sino–Soviet split, which had its beginnings in mid-1959, need not delay us here.108 In the initial period, there were attempts “to preserve unity that led to a détente.” At the Twenty-second Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1961, the Chinese communists—for the first time—publicly described the CPSU as a “revisionist party.” Party-to-party relations collapsed in July 1964. As Xia Yafeng noted, “The competition over the authority to interpret Marxism actually was a struggle for the leadership position in the international Communist movement.”109 We would recall that before the breakdown of Sino–Soviet relations, there was a willingness on the part of Moscow then under Stalin to allow Beijing to play a leading role in the Asia, albeit still under the overall leadership of the CPSU. Indeed, according to one Chinese source, during the second meeting between Khrushchev and Mao Zedong in August 1958 in Beijing (and in the presence of Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping) the Soviet leader reiterated that China, being more familiar with the situation in Asia and Southeast Asia, should concentrate on that region. The Soviet Union would focus on Europe, since it had a better understanding of European affairs, he said. Mao apparently demurred to what, in his view, was a policy of divide and rule.110 But their attitudes changed over the next few years. Indeed, the Soviet diplomat (who later defected to the West), Aleksandr Kaznacheev recalled that he witnessed a “new period of Soviet policy in Southeast Asia” as early as 1958–1959 when Moscow abandoned the gentlemen’s agreement on “division of spheres of interest, and of barely concealed political struggle against the Chinese brother for control of the area, while still keeping the common front with them in pursuing their common and more immediate goal—to bar the West completely from the region.”111 In April 1964, the Soviet Union declared itself to be an Afro–Asian country as well thus justifying their interest in Southeast Asia. After the Chinese carried out its first nuclear test successfully in October 1964, Beijing could confidently affirm that it was no longer a junior partner of the Soviet Union in the socialist bloc.112 One other point worth noting is that it was not just China that was asserting its independence from Moscow from the 1960s. In the words of Stephen A. Smith, “This steady ‘nationalisation’

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of the communist movement ultimately gave rise to such bizarre phenomena—bizarre, at least when judged by the canons of socialist internationalism—as the invasion and occupation of communist Cambodia by Vietnam (1978–1989) and war between Vietnam and China in 1979.”113 (Such developments will be recounted in a later chapter.) These conflicts occurred because “communist regimes, like all twentieth-century polities, based themselves on the territorial and social space of the nation-state.”114 Most of the communist parties in Southeast Asia chose to be in the Chinese camp and were thus not very much affected by the Sino–Soviet schism. The PKI moved into the Chinese camp in 1963. The Vietnamese Communist Party was the exception that tried to straddle both communist giants.

V Continuing our narrative, in Thailand, Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat died at the end of 1963. Under his regime from 1957 to 1963, the Thai communists were suppressed. Furthermore, Sarit’s fervent promotion of “King-ReligionNation,” particularly the revitalization and cultivation of the monarchy (which had a tense relationship with the country’s leaders since the 1932 coup that abolished absolute monarchy) and shrewdly using the young and relatively inexperienced King Bhumibol to support his policies, made it extremely difficult for communism to take root. His successor Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn, along with his son Narong Kittikachorn and Narong’s father-in-law Praphas Charusathian, maintained a dictatorial leadership style as well as anticommunist and pro-American policies for the next decade (until 1973), which coincided with the Vietnam War. As Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit noted, “[T]he Thai army treated communism as a foreign invasion. The US was interested in Thailand as a base for its war in Indochina. . . .”115 Indeed, the first Thai contribution to the war in Vietnam was in September 1964 when a sixteen-man contingent from the Thai Royal Air Force went to South Vietnam to help train the South Vietnamese pilots.116 We will focus on the Thanom–Praphat decade in a later chapter. For now, we need to turn our attention to the northeast region of Thailand or Isan region where the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) was based and operated. The northeast became a “particular focus of the security policy” of Sarit and his successors. According to the renowned anthropologist Charles Keyes who had spent much of his lifetime studying the Isan region, there was (and still is) a “schizophrenic” relationship between Bangkok (where the Thai elites are based) and the northeast.117 While those who live in the northeast con-

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sidered themselves Thai, deprivation and discrimination in Bangkok and the “disruptive impact of increased political control” all combined to increase a sense of a “specific ethno-regional identity.”118 Since the 1930s, politicians from the northeast were largely associated with the opposition and leftist politics that gave rise to the perception in the eyes of the Bangkok elites, rightly or wrongly, that they were communists. For example, the members of parliament representing the Isan region had opposed Thailand’s membership in SEATO, American aid, and Bangkok’s pro-Western foreign policy.119 The geographical proximity of northeast Thailand to Laos, which made the region “susceptible to communist infiltration from across the Mekong,” was another contributory factor to many perceptions of the region. As Benedict Anderson explained, “The CPT leaders did not belong to the old capital city political elite, nor did they attempt to participate directly in capital-city politics. They took very good care to remain out of the reach of the state executioners. And they carried on their struggle in remote rural areas which traditionally had had next to no political importance, but which now, in an age of defined nation-states, had become accepted by the state as a significant political arena.”120 We would recall from the previous chapter that the armed struggle essentially began after the Third Congress of the CPT in September 1961. It began with the preparation phase that included sending cadres to the countryside to organize the peasants, open a training school to prepare the military cadres in both political and military skills, and establish a radio station (Voice of the People of Thailand). According to the Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand, the preparations were different from before because being forced out of Bangkok, the leadership now moved into the countryside. By mid-1965, their work in the countryside had “developed a bit but not a lot.”121 The first major clash with the government forces occurred on 7 August 1965 as a result of a chance encounter between a police patrol and a guerrilla band in Nakhon Phanom. Prior to this, the communists had avoided clashes with the authorities in order to focus on building a mass base. The August clash caused the government to monitor the region more closely and the CPT thus decided to fight on even though they were not ready. They would “fight and make preparations” simultaneously. They reasoned that their “armed struggle was not like the armed struggle in Russia which was a capitalist country, and where it was necessary to wait until the situation developed throughout the country. Because, Thai society is unevenly developed, our armed struggle could begin in some parts of the country and gradually spread from these flashpoints to become a bushfire.”122

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We now know that in 1964, Mao Zedong had encouraged the Vietnamese communists to assist the CPT to develop its military forces so that “in five or ten years a Thai revolution would be launched.” Mao had also on several occasions, most notably in December 1965, asked the Pathet Lao to help the CPT carry out armed struggle. According to him, it was important for the CPT to develop guerrilla warfare and that “it would be best if the Lao liberated areas could be expanded into Thailand because the primary area behind the enemy line lay in Thailand and not in Laos.”123 Mao’s stance had shifted considerably since the 1950s when he initially tried to persuade the Thais to stay at least neutral if they could not choose China’s side because of its relations with the United States. Then, he had pledged neither to propagate communism in Thailand nor encourage the CPT to oppose the Thai government.124 He had also on several occasions asked Burma’s U Nu and others to convey his message to the Thai leadership that China did not have any intention to interfere with the internal affairs of Thailand.125 Sarit and his successors ignored Mao’s overtures and did just the opposite by welcoming the Americans in order to consolidate their rule. In the eyes of Washington, Sarit was “a perfect dictator . . . eager and willing to make ‘development’ part of his quest for legitimacy and to accept the advice of US-trained technocrats” for that end.126 The other Southeast Asian country completely aligned to the United States during this period of the Cold War, of course, was the Philippines. There are some similarities between Thailand and it. Like their Thai counterparts the Filipino leadership was anticommunist and both countries did not have diplomatic relations with China. Like Sarit and his successors, the Filipino leadership also chose to ally with the United States for political and economic benefits. President Macapagal (1961–1965) tried unsuccessfully to persuade the Philippine Congress to approve the deployment of an engineering task force—Philippine Civic Action Group (PHILCAG)—to South Vietnam in support of the Americans. He did so not because of any existential threat from the communists but in exchange for American largesse that would essentially enhance his popularity with the general Philippine population.127 However, 1965 being a presidential year, he was opposed by challenger Ferdinand Marcos (then, majority leader of the Senate). When Marcos became president, he approved the deployment in exchange for a large amount of American financial concessions.128 We would recall that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was outlawed in 1957. After the arrest of Jose Lava, his brother Jesus Lava took over the leadership of the CPP. Alfredo B. Saulo, a former member of the

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CPP, recalled that for seven years from 1957 until his arrest in 1964, Jesus Lava “worked underground, shuttling secretly to and from Manila, using Bulacan as his base and centre of operations. His work consisted of setting up a network of mass organisations, both legal and illegal, which would carry on the struggle for the attainment of the party objectives. . . .”129 The short-term objective of the CPP was to initiate social, economic, and political reforms. The long-term objective was the building of a communist society that, according to Saulo, “even under the most favourable condition lies in the distant future, hence it had little relevance and persuasive value to the party’s recruitment.” In fact, many so-called Filipino communists were attracted to the CPP not because of its communist ideology but by its “concrete, down-to-earth short range programme.” After Jesus Lava’s (controversial) arrest by government agents in Manila on 21 May 1964, which almost completely decimated the top CPP leadership, it took almost four years for the party to be reorganized under Pedro Taruc (a distant relative of Luis Taruc). The exact date is unclear because of its illegal status. 130 The party subsequently split into two, very similar to that of the Burmese Communist Party: a moderate group following the lineage of the Lava brothers and a radical Maoist-oriented group led by Amado Guerrero—nom de guerre of Jose Maria Sison. The latter officially called CPP–Mao Zedong Thought was founded on 26 December 1968, coinciding with Mao’s seventy-fifth birthday. Sison had in November 1964 founded the Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth), which was against imperialism, neocolonialism, and all its manifestations, as well as the Vietnam War. It also promoted the study of Maoism. But neither Beijing nor Mao personally had any interest in the CPP or the Philippines during this period. Turning to Burma, both the United States and China were fairly unconcerned about Ne Win who took over the leadership of the country in a coup in March 1962 because of his “reassurance that Myanmar’s foreign policy, emphasising non-aligned and neutrality would not change.”131 Ne Win would remain the dominant figure in the politics of Burma (renamed Myanmar in 1989) through the Cold War era. The following is distilled from Robert Taylor who has written the definitive biography of Ne Win. He clearly considered himself very different from the CIA-backed Phoumi Nosavan of Laos. Indeed, he was very wary of the CIA, which he believed was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy. At the same time, he repeatedly said that “he was not a communist, never had been a communist and never will be a communist,” despite his economic policies (outlined in “The Burmese Way to Socialism”), which in the eyes of many appeared to be very akin to communism. The Amer-

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ican ambassador to Burma was confident that Ne Win was capable of putting the country in order. Beijing recognized the Ne Win government five days after the coup and Moscow followed soon after. The conversation between the outgoing US ambassador, John Scott Everton, and Ne Win in 1963 is worth highlighting for what it reveals about Ne Win’s foreign policy disposition. According to Ne Win, while Burma had an interest in the developments in Laos, “it could do little about it” as “it all depends on the giants: Russia, the United States and China.” Similarly, he refused to denounce the American bombing of North Vietnam in the wake of the Tonkin Gulf incident in 1964, explaining that his government had sent notes to both the US and China emphasizing the need to work towards a peaceful resolution through negotiations. Indeed, in spite of Chinese subtle and not so subtle cajoling, Ne Win stood firm in not condemning the American escalation of the war in Vietnam beyond expressing his deep concern.132 He was also uninterested in any involvement in regional groupings that Malaya and other regional countries were then discussing. Neither did he show any interest in the formation of Malaysia or Indonesia’s opposition to it. The bottom line was that, in his words, Burma “was a small country and we can only take care of our own problems” and “the strength of the country lies in the country.” Although Ne Win was courted by both sides of the Cold War, throughout his years in power, he believed that “domestic politics and national independence required economic austerity and self-reliance.”133 Australian External Minister Paul Hasluck reported that Ne Win “revealed a very strong antipathy towards foreign aid.” Ne Win flatly rejected US President Lyndon B. Johnson’s new approach to aid to Southeast Asia explaining that “acceptance of any aid from Western sources, particularly Britain and the US would immediately intensify Chinese communists’ pressures and for that reason alone Burma was not interested.” Besides that, any external aid unless completely controlled by the Burmese government would automatically result in “graft and corruption.”134 The US ambassador concluded that it was in the interest of Washington not to interfere in developments in Burma given that the United States already had its plate full and more importantly Ne Win was indeed an anticommunist. Beijing, on the other hand, was increasingly disappointed by Ne Win’s neutrality but remained patient until after the Sino–Burmese rift in 1967 when it began to provide the BCP with massive material support.135 On coming to power, Ne Win’s primary concern was the ethnic problems in Burma. But he also kept a watchful eye over communists as he feared that they would exploit the continuing ethnic insurgencies in the country to further

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their cause.136 So, although illegal, the White and Red Flag Burmese communist parties with links to China remained a constant source of worry. Aleksandr Kaznacheev revealed that there existed a clandestine channel of regular communications between Soviet intelligence and the Burmese communists but “the ultimate control over them belonged to Communist China.” The Russians were unable to compete with the Chinese not for lack of trying but because the Burmese communists knew that their “very existence and lives depended upon Chinese support.”137 In 1963, the Ne Win government called for peace talks with the communists (which Beijing had encouraged), amongst others, which broke down because it was only prepared to grant an amnesty to the rebels and no other political concessions. According to Bertil Lintner, twenty-nine veterans of the Burmese Communist Party (CPB) flew in from Beijing to attend the talks but only two returned to China. Thakin Ba Thein Tin apparently used the occasion to visit the CPB’s headquarters located in Pegu Yoma, delivering radio transmitters and aid from China. Through the peace talks, the Burmese government “unwittingly helped the CPB exiles in China not only reestablish de facto leadership of the remnants of their ‘People’s Army’ in Burma, but also set up a direct radio link between them and the leadership in Beijing.”138 After the breakdown of the talks, there was apparently a plan to establish a new base area along the northeastern Burma–China border that could eventually link up the Yunnan area with Pegu Yoma and the vicinity around it. Had it succeeded, Burma would become “a communist-run client state in Southeast Asia—and with a longer border with India.”139 In mid-1964 the Burmese communists living in China (the Guizhou and Sichuan Groups) were mobilized to prepare for “the eventual opening of a military front” in Burma.140 That this ambitious plan did not materialize owes much to Ne Win’s firm leadership. Had it not been for Ne Win, Burma would most likely have ended up in a “hot war” like in Laos or Vietnam.

VI The formation of Malaysia in September 1963 and less than two years later, the separation of Singapore from Malaysia on 9 August 1965 are seldom viewed through a Cold War lens. This episode needs to be understood in the context of British interests, decolonization, ruthless domestic politics, and the Cold War. As described in the previous chapter, the communist threat in the Federation of Malaya had receded. The Malayan communists had decided to retreat into the Malaya–Thai border (and Chin Peng went to China), thus to con-

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solidate and fight again another day. It was only in 1968 that they were able to resume their armed struggle.141 Meanwhile, the attention shifted to Singapore. Whereas the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) was a spent force in Malaya, the communist challenge in Singapore was much more complicated. In fact, in 1961, as we described in the previous chapter, the PAP under Lee Kuan Yew was under extreme pressure from the left (communist and pro-communist) only to be saved by the Tunku’s agreement to merger. The Tunku’s unexpected change of mind (as we have seen) was driven by a combination of factors, including his apprehension with Indonesian ambitions, the status of Borneo, and by his fear of a left-wing or communist-led government in Singapore. It had nothing to do with his regard for Lee except that he was a known entity and a noncommunist. It was a decision that did not have very enthusiastic support in Malaya, particularly the majority Malays. Indeed, in the early 1950s, Malcolm MacDonald (commissioner general for Southeast Asia) already noted that “all the favourable comments in Singapore and the Federation for a merger came from the Chinese, Indian and other non-Malay communities and not from the Malays. . . . This was probably because of their concern that if a merger came about, they would be overwhelmed economically by the Chinese and it was possible too that their political strength would be affected.”142 Some Malays in fact preferred a “Greater Indonesia.” In August 1962, the British in Kuala Lumpur further reported that for many Malayans, Singapore was seen as “a liability which is being taken on with great reluctance—a reluctance felt not only by Malays but by the Federation Chinese as well. . . . [N]o one in the Federation has ever been really happy about merger with Singapore.”143 According to the record of a series of conversations between the Tunku and Abdullah Ahmad (former Malaysian member of parliament, political secretary to the country’s second prime minister, as well as special envoy to the UN) between 1982 and 1984, and only recently made public, the Tunku revealed that he was more interested in getting Sarawak and North Borneo (now Sabah) into Malaysia. The British, on the other hand, were more concerned about the communist influence in Singapore and insisted that Singapore must be included as well “because we (meaning Kuala Lumpur) would be the influence that could keep Singapore from the communist menace.”144 Having agreed to merger, the Tunku then appeared to have got cold feet. In early February 1962, the Tunku demanded that Singapore must first take action against the communists in the state as a precondition for merger.145 This resulted in almost a year of wrangling amongst the governments of the United Kingdom, the Federation of Malaya, and Singapore over the modalities, cul-

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minating in the controversial Operation Coldstore on 2 February 1963. That operation saw the arrests and detention of a group of politicians and political activists, of which the most well known was Lim Chin Siong—“the most important Chinese-educated founder member of the PAP.”146 The deliberations (as well as shenanigans) leading up to and the operation itself have been the subject of a number of recent books.147 There have also been a number of scholarly publications as well as personal recollections of Lim Chin Siong produced after his death in 1996. What is perhaps more useful here is to highlight the ongoing debate over Operation Coldstore. The “official” or government version is that those arrested were communists who, either on their own or in conjunction with hostile external elements, were determined to obstruct merger. The mass incarceration was to safeguard the security and stability of Singapore. This preemptive action was, in Lee’s words, “regrettable but necessary.”148 The “revisionist” version is that although those arrested were critical of the terms of merger, they were not communists and they also did not collude with foreigners. Operation Coldstore was thus politically motivated to strengthen Lee Kuan Yew and the PAP by destroying his political opponents, namely the Barisan Socialis and most importantly Lim Chin Siong who was once described by Lee in 1955 as “without doubt, the best Chinese speaking orator in Singapore” and “a potential prime minister.”149 Indeed, the Barisan Socialis never recovered after Operation Coldstore. In the general election held in September 1963, the PAP won 37 out of 51 seats, whereas the Barisan Socialis, which on its formation in mid-1961 “struck an almost fatal blow to the PAP,” only managed to win thirteen seats.150 The revisionist historians further pointed out that that Lim and a number of his colleagues who were arrested on 2 February 1963 were never proven to be communists. Lim Chin Siong never admitted that he was a communist. Lim once told then Chief Minister David Marshall that he was “not a communist not a communist sympathiser, but that he was also not anti-communist.” To which, Marshall retorted that he was an “agile fence sitter.” To Lim, the choice of the people lay not in choosing between communism and anticommunism but colonialism and independence. He apparently considered Sukarno and Nehru as worthy of emulation.151 So was he a communist? According to Albert Lau, in his essay that accompanied the republication of The Battle for Merger, a number of Lim’s contemporaries who had worked with Lim said he was.152 Chin Peng did not know but was certain that the Barisan Socialis was not controlled by the MCP and that Lim had no contacts with the MCP in southern Thailand.153 The Tunku believed, on the other hand, that Lim was

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and insisted that Lim and his associates must be arrested to ensure the security of Malaysia. Lee supported the Tunku on the arrests but disagreed over the timing, preferring it to happen after the formation of Malaysia. Having witnessed the fate of former Chief Minister Lim Yew Hock over his “inappropriate application of repressive measures,” and given his political weakness at this stage, Lee wanted to avoid the responsibility for the arrests if he could.154 On the British side, the United Kingdom Trades Union Council believed that Lim was a communist.155 The British “men on the spot” were of the view that though “it was possible to formulate a plausible case proving that Lim Chin Siong and others were communists,” it was impossible to “substantiate a charge that they (were) planning to use violence” and thus British operatives were reluctant to recommend to London their arrests.156 In the end, the fateful lunch meeting between A. M. Azahari, leader of the Brunei Partai Rakyat, and Lim Chin Siong (as well as Said Zahari) at Rendezvous restaurant (a few days before the Brunei revolt on 8 December 1962)—and the subsequent Barisan Socialis statement of support for the revolt—provided the golden opportunity and excuse that the authorities seized upon to justify Operation Coldstore. Lim and his associates were accused of colluding with Azahari and as such were considered a security threat, even though there was never any concrete evidence of collusion, other than moral support. The declaration of Confrontation (with Malaysia) by Indonesia on 20 January 1963 further created the perception that there was a regional communist plot to prevent the formation of Malaysia. As Lee Kuan Yew put it, “[B]ut for the stupidities of the Socialist Front in 1961, for mounting an agitation and protest against Malaysia together with the Barisan Socialis in Singapore, the Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) in Sarawak and the Partai Rakyat in Brunei, Confrontation may never have happened. By their fierce words and postures, they encouraged the Indonesians into believing that Malaysia could be stopped, leading to an armed revolt in Brunei and Indonesia’s intervention and Confrontation.”157 It is worth noting that that the SUPP was an open front political party controlled by the Sarawak Communist Organization that had close ties with Beijing.158 All three governments would now accept joint responsibility for the arrests. As Tan Peng Hong noted, Operation Coldstore was “a compromise reached in order to ensure the attainment of a larger political objective.”159 The Malayan communist leadership had indeed viewed Lee Kuan Yew’s desire to join Malaysia “as due in part to his perception of the advantages it provided him in moving against the CPM (Communist Party of Malaya).” They had predicted that Lee would maneuver behind the Tunku to destroy the commu-

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nists not only in Singapore but in Malaya as well. We would recall that the communists had anticipated such a move as early as 1955 and had revisited such a scenario in 1961 but did not take any preemptive action. As Chin Peng noted, “Operation Coldstore, shattered our underground network throughout the island. Those who escaped the police [went] into hiding. Many fled to Indonesia.”160 In Indonesia, even with his “exceptional charisma” which had propelled him to the peak of political power by the early 1960s, Sukarno was unable to balance the warring factions in the country, particularly between the army and the PKI.161 One consequence of the rivalry between the army and the PKI was Confrontation (Konfrontasi) with Malaysia. The strongest external opposition to merger came from Sukarno, backed particularly by the PKI and somewhat reluctantly by the army.162 Confrontation was not preplanned. The Indonesians “just drifted into it as they made ad hoc decisions.”163 In 1961, the Indonesian Foreign Minister Subandrio had initially stated that Jakarta had no interest in the Malaysian plan and that “it is a matter for the countries to decide for themselves” so long as “no Indonesian territory is involved, and there is no conflict of interest. . . .”164 He was to reverse his views in February 1963 by declaring that Indonesia would adopt a hostile attitude towards Malaysia, this “neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist enemy.”165 But behind the bluster, the Indonesians knew that they did not have the capacity for any major offensive. Unlike the Philippines, which also opposed merger because it had a territorial dispute with the Federation over Sabah, Indonesia did not. Sukarno, the PKI, and the army all had their own interests in supporting the Confrontation with Malaysia. For Sukarno, it would distract from his economic failures at home by focusing attention, whatever history might say of him, on his “revolutionary posture by a visionary.”166 For the PKI, the formation of Malaysia was a neocolonialist plot. The party also needed an “external crisis” to replace the West Irian issue and keep the army preoccupied.167 The army had to find a new mission/raison d’être with the resolution of the West Irian issue in May 1963. Confrontation, in Lee Kuan Yew’s analysis, was thus “a convenient hook on which the Indonesian Army and the Indonesian Communist Party could hang up their differences for as long as President Sukarno can make it worthwhile for both sides to hang up their difference.”168 In the view of Tunku Abdul Rahman, “No one gained any satisfaction at all while the Confrontation was going on, no one except perhaps the Communist Party, both in Indonesia and Malaysia. Naturally they welcomed this dangerous situation as an opportunity to win political power in these two

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countries, and then finally to gain control of all politics throughout Southeast Asia. With this common dream of a ‘Red Empire’ of communism in the region, a sense of strong understanding existed between the two Communist Parties, though their spheres of operations were divided.”169 Chin Peng remembered that the MCP benefited from the Confrontation because Kuala Lumpur was distracted from any communist threat thus giving the party an opportunity to boost its recruitment drive and increase its financial support from its supporters. MCP membership in the mainland increased from the low point of three hundred to one thousand by 1967–1968.170 There was contact between the PKI leader Aidit and the MCP—in fact all the communist parties in the region kept in contact—but there was no coordination with regards to opposing the formation of Malaysia. Unlike Chin Peng who “sided with CCP from the beginning,” Aidit tried to maintain a neutral position in the Sino–Soviet dispute till late 1963 when, after returning from a long trip to both the Soviet Union and China, he “aligned PKI unequivocally with China against the Soviet Union.”171 It is not clear why. M. C. Rieklefs suggested that Aidit might have accepted Chinese advice to mount a domestic political offensive. Rex Mortimer believed that the principal reason was Chinese encouragement for the nationalist struggle that was so vital to PKI’s internal strategy.172 According to Chinese sources, Mao had on several occasions urged the PKI to prepare for armed struggle. In his words, “It is the duty of Marxists and Leninists to make revolution. If you are not making revolution, you are not a Communist party. In the eyes of the people, a Communist party without revolution is indistinguishable from bourgeois parties and there is no need for such a party to exist.”173 In contrast, Moscow’s “withdrawal from a confrontation” with the United States in the Cuban missile crisis (October 1962) and its support of India instead of China in the Sino–Indian border war (October–November 1962) “had a telling effect on the PKI leaders.”174 The Chinese hosted two important meetings in 1963–1964 that included the communist leaders of Vietnam, Laos, and Indonesia. Aidit attended as the leader of the PKI. These were “strategic planning meetings to promote revolutions in Southeast Asia.” Zhou Enlai made the following points: (a) Southeast Asia had become the key arena of the international anti-imperialist struggle; (b) the communist parties in the various Southeast Asian countries should “strengthen” their leadership, “win over the masses and expand their united fronts” as well as simultaneously “go deep into the countryside, prepare from armed struggle, and establish base camps”; and most importantly (c) China

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would be “the reliable home front of the Southeast Asian revolutions” and would “fully support anti-imperialist struggles in the region.”175 Sukarno’s flirtation with both the Soviet Union and China was not because he believed in communism. He had said that he could never be a communist but he was “a friend of the Communists because the Communists are revolutionary people.”176 Much like Cambodia’s Sihanouk, his cultivation of the Soviet Union and particularly China had much to do with his complicated relations especially with the United States. Indonesia benefited considerably from Soviet assistance in terms of “loans, equipment and advisers, for both military and civilian purposes.”177 The Soviet Union was caught in a difficult situation with regards to Konfrontasi. On the one hand, Moscow thought Chinese unqualified public support for the Confrontation would affect peaceful coexistence. On the other hand, not supporting the Indonesians would risk losing influence to China. The Russians resolved the conundrum by providing considerable military aid while at the same time, cautioning Sukarno from being overly belligerent.178 Amongst Sukarno’s disagreements with Washington was the formation of Malaysia, which the United States supported. When Malaysia was made a nonpermanent member of the United Nations Security Council in 1965, Sukarno withdrew from the UN and moved into a “de facto power axis” with China. Beijing appeared to share his concern about Malaysia as an imperialist plot and a serious security threat to both Indonesia and China.179 It is however worth noting that despite Chinese hostility, there was a growing and profitable trade going on between China and Singapore even though neither side had an official relationship.180 As for Sino–Indonesian relations, as Rizal Sukma noted, it was built on “unstable foundations” being “vulnerable to the domestic pressures of anti-communist forces in Indonesia,” most notably Muslim groups and the army.181 In his study of elite perceptions and Indonesian foreign policy, Daniel Novotny also concluded that despite the close alliance developed between Indonesia and China during the period of the Confrontation, Beijing was still viewed by certain quarters in Jakarta with suspicion.182 Before 1966, Indonesia “was on the front line of the battle” between the opposing camps of the Cold War “for sway over the direction of Third World politics.”183 Sukarno appeared to have gotten along better with President Kennedy than Khrushchev.184 But declassified US documents (pertaining to the Johnson administration) in 2001 provide the most detailed account of the political maneuverings during this period. They reveal a difficult relationship between the United States and Indonesia from 1964 till August/September

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1965 when the relationship reached the brink of a complete breakdown. It was during this period that Washington vacillated over whether or not to renew its aid program to Indonesia given the Confrontation. To resolve the dilemma, the Johnson administration, with British encouragement, attempted to broker an end to Konfrontasi in 1964 without success.185 Given the failure of the overt efforts to resolve the Confrontation and related bilateral problems, the CIA recommended stepping up the use of covert action. Former CIA Director William Colby recalled that after the failed CIA covert action in support of Indonesian rebels in 1958, the CIA “just backed off” and in the early 1960s, while it did have people on the ground essentially to ferret out Soviet activities in Indonesia, there was no “active cooperation” with the Indonesian military.186 The CIA noted that there were elements inside and outside government, and in the military, who opposed Sukarno’s policies and who were prepared to fight against communism. The United States could therefore assist the building of noncommunist and anticommunist groups and organizations so that Sukarno would realize that there was a strong anticommunist sector that he could not ignore. The CIA memorandum raised a number of policy questions for the State Department to consider, such as the extent the Johnson administration was prepared to pit the PKI against the noncommunists (specifically the army); whether it was allowed to foment an internal crisis which could lead to the army taking control of the levers of power; and whether Sukarno himself was “out-of-bounds”?187 On 22 October 1964, officials from the State Department and the CIA met to agree on a covert-action program that produced the Political Action Paper of 19 November 1964. The Action Paper noted the increasing influence and strength of the PKI and its sustained effort to penetrate the Indonesian army, which was the only organized entity capable of checking the PKI. In order to further consolidate its influence, the PKI needed Sukarno, who had played a significant role in the growth of the communist party and would want to be around for a few more years and no more. The Action Paper thus recommended the following course of action: (a) tarnish the image of the PKI; (b) support individuals and organizations that were prepared to challenge the PKI; (c) develop a broad-based ideology (possibly, the Pancasila) to drive a cleavage between PKI and others; (d) identify and cultivate potential leaders within government who could succeed Sukarno; and (e) identify and cultivate other anti-Sukarno elements that could be persuaded to support a noncommunist regime if and when it came to being. Meanwhile, Indonesia–US relation continued to deteriorate. Sukarno had

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withdrawn from the United Nations just before the start of 1965. The Americans were extremely concerned over the escalation of anti-American activities such as the damage and forced closure of US Information Service (USIS) facilities in Surabaya, Medan, and Jakarta. By March 1965, according to an internal US memorandum, Indonesia–US relations were “on the verge of falling apart.” Washington also received information that Sukarno was planning to take over US oil assets in Indonesia. In early August 1965, Marshall Green (who had recently succeeded Howard Jones as ambassador to Indonesia) warned that the US should prepare for a break in diplomatic relations with Indonesia. Back in Washington a meeting on Indonesia was convened in late August 1965. Everyone at the meeting agreed that Indonesia was as strategic as the whole of Indochina in terms of size and importance and that a communist takeover of Indonesia would in time have an immense pincer effect on the position of the noncommunist countries of Southeast Asia. But when it came to finding a preemptive solution, “there was not a single friendly element or favorable factor that could be effective, even if it were wise to seek to galvanize it.” The CIA representative at the meeting said that they did not have effective assets in Indonesia to which they could turn.188 A memorandum to President Johnson dated 23 September on Indonesia concluded that the prospects for continued diplomatic relations with Indonesia was becoming “dimmer each day.”189 The above account provides the context and the “springboard” to discuss the next important—and one of the most tragic episodes of the Cold War in Southeast Asia—the 1 October 1965 coup attempt in Indonesia and its immediate aftermath.190 The rebellion that took place in Indonesia on 30 September/1 October 1965, which resulted in the murder of six senior right-wing army generals, a captain as well as General Nasution’s six-year-old daughter (who was killed by mistake), continues to be a subject of historical interest and debate. It led to the military takeover of Indonesia under General Suharto and the indiscriminate and mass killing of people (estimated to be between 250,000 and a million) who had the slightest connection with the PKI.191 The actual number killed remains controversial and is perhaps undeterminable. Early debate on the coup centered on whether the Communist Party of Indonesia was actually responsible for the coup or whether it was an internal army affair, in which case the PKI was merely a scapegoat. According to the army and the anticommunist version, the PKI (with Chinese support) was the culprit. The communists and their sympathizers contend that it was the army that was responsible and the PKI was only the victim.192 Related to this

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debate was the question of the roles of Sukarno, Suharto, Beijing, and Washington (particularly the CIA)193 in the whole episode. During Suharto’s “New Order” regime until his fall from power in 1998, the army’s version of the historical events was the official, standard, and the only accepted (politically correct) version within Indonesia.194 According to historian Taufik Abdullah, the Indonesian government was trying to dominate the country’s collective memory—a view shared by many.195 The coup attempt in fact caught Washington by surprise. The following reconstruction shows how the United States incrementally reversed and strengthened their relation with Indonesia, which had been on the brink of collapse before 1 October 1965.196 According to the CIA’s earliest assessment, the immediate objectives of the “30 September Movement” were the elimination of anticommunist elements in the Indonesian army and to forestall any change in the army leadership both in Jakarta and further afield. The CIA feared that the affair might also be used to generate anti-American activity. The Agency suspected that the masterminds of the affair were First Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio as well as communist leaders close to him and Sukarno. Under Secretary of State George Ball however strongly believed that it was a PKI operation although he could not be absolutely certain. He noted that most of the army officers friendly to the United States had been shot or were under house arrest. Ball thought the situation in Indonesia was “hopeless” and asked Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara to look into the options available in the event that the United States had to evacuate its citizens.197 In a telephone conversation with Secretary of State Dean Rusk on 5 October, Ball complained that the army was not moving fast enough against the PKI. He was concerned that having disavowed its role in the coup, the PKI was now moving back “towards a position of respectability.”198 The challenge that faced Washington was how to shape the developments in Indonesia to American advantage, knowing full well that events there had a life of their own, well beyond the United States’ ability to control. American Embassy officials in Jakarta recommended that the United States refrain from any overt involvement in the power struggle but indicate discreetly to key friendly elements in the army, like General Abdul Haris Nasution and of course General Suharto that Washington would be of assistance where it could. One suggested priority was to assist the army effort to spread the “guilt, treachery and brutality” of the PKI.199 In May 1990, Kathy Kadane, on the basis of declassified cables and interviews with former American officials involved in Indonesia during the 1960s, confirmed that the United States had supplied the Indonesian army with lists

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of PKI members that the US Embassy in Jakarta had compiled.200 Marshall Green’s memoir published in the same year corroborated Kadane’s findings. But Green, who was at that time the US ambassador to Indonesia, clarified that the lists were compiled from open sources that were already known to the army. He refuted the view that not stopping the killings made the United States an accomplice to any crimes.201 Kadane’s Washington Post article revived the debate on the role played by the United States in the events of 1965 in Indonesia. This was soon broadened to include Britain and Australia as newly declassified documents from the British and Australian archives became available.202 In 2016, a non-binding international tribunal at The Hague found that Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States were all “complicit in facilitating the 1965 mass killings in Indonesia.”203 We now know that from October 1965, Robert J. Martens, a political officer in the US Embassy in Jakarta, had been passing to the noncommunist side those lists with the PKI leaders names and information of senior cadre system that he had compiled. In 1965, Martens was responsible in the embassy for updating the statuses of PKI officials. According to Martens, the names were only drawn from the Indonesian communist press, sources which were widely available in Indonesia. He had passed the list of names to the noncommunist side on his own initiative. He neither sought nor was he given permission to do so by his superiors. Ambassador Green (who knew that Martens had been passing such information to the Indonesians but did not express any disapproval) believed the Indonesian security authorities, “who seemed to lack even the simplest overt information on the PKI leadership at the time,” would have found the lists useful.204 By late December 1965, the embassy reported that the PKI was no longer a significant political force and the Jakarta–Beijing axis was “in tatters.” The army was also consolidating its position as both Sukarno’s prestige weakened and Foreign Minister Subandrio’s authority waned. In his last ambassadorial report of 1965, Ambassador Green noted that it was time to prepare to work with a new order “which will still contain many problems for us but will definitely be more healthy and more promising than what we had before October 1.”205 Washington however remained hesitant to throw its support fully behind the army. But as the army gained the upper hand in the struggle against Indonesian communists, some American officials (most prominently Robert Komer, Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs) began to push for Washington to seize the opportunity and be more forthcoming in giving covert support to the Indonesian army.

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Although the official narrative of the Suharto regime insisted that China colluded with the PKI in the abortive coup, we in fact know very little of the Chinese and Soviet roles in the coup due to the lack of access—even to this day—to the documents on the communist side. Taomo Zhou’s research into the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives showed that between 1960 and 1965, the Chinese leadership made a considerable effort to form a strategic alliance with Indonesia in order to undermine the influence of the United States and Soviet Union in the region.206 Contrary to the Indonesian “official” narrative which claimed that PKI was following Chinese direction, “Beijing’s actual influence over the PKI . . . was far more limited than what the Suharto regime . . . have previously claimed.”207 However, she confirmed that the PKI’s Aidit was involved in the coup and that he had briefed Mao Zedong on 5 August 1965 about a plan to preempt the right wing from seizing power, but not the exact details.208 From the little we know of the 5 August meeting, both Aidit and the Chinese side were concerned about Sukarno’s poor health. Sukarno had suffered a severe cerebral vasospasm (narrowing of blood vessel in the brain) the previous day. Mao expressed the view that the Indonesian right wing was determined to seize power and asked Aidit if he was equally as determined. Aidit revealed that the United States had advised Nasution not to initiate a coup as it would only provoke the left wing to do the same. Nasution accepted the American advice to remain patient and flexible. On hearing that, Mao’s response was: “That is unreliable. The current situation has changed.” This is a significant remark by Mao because until Sukarno’s health scare, Beijing believed that a united-front strategy with the PKI working closely with Sukarno and carrying out the Confrontation with Malaysia was in the best interest of both the PKI and China. Taomo Zhou noted that “though the Chinese leadership’s attitude remained unclear, it is evident that Beijing was informed of Aidit’s plan, and at least did not object to it.”209 In the immediate aftermath of the coup, Beijing still placed high hopes on Sukarno’s ability to control the situation and maintain the continued alliance with the PKI.210 Mao thought the failure of the coup would finally force the PKI to conduct armed struggle. He told a visiting Laotian communist delegation not to regard the failure of the coup as a disaster and that he was very pleased to see that the Central Committee of the PKI had taken his advice and “had gone to the mountains” to carry out revolution. On hearing of Aidit’s capture and execution in November 1965, Mao criticized the PKI “for not taking a sufficient stand in continuing armed struggle.”211 As for the Soviet Union’s views and role, we know even less. According

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to Ragna Boden, more than once in 1965, the PKI in their conversations with Soviet and East German diplomats/comrades had alluded to a possible change of leadership in Indonesia. Moscow did not encourage Aidit to usurp power and in fact was not even keen on a PKI-led government that would side with Beijing. Indeed, in 1965, the Soviet Union appeared to have lost in its rivalry with China for influence in Indonesia. Despite the fact that Soviet aid to Indonesia far exceeded that of China, both Sukarno and Aidit gravitated towards Beijing. The Soviet attitude, Boden reminded us, “continued the Soviet tradition since Stalin’s times to discourage communist revolts in Indonesia.” We would recall from the earlier chapters that in 1926 and 1948, the Soviet Union and Comintern had warned the Indonesian communists that the revolts were premature. There is still no evidence that Moscow was privy to the 1965 coup.212 The Soviet Union was surprised by the coup. They reacted by blaming it on “the US, Great Britain, Western secret services in general and the CIA in particular; but also on China, thus combining the view of the PKI (for the first part) with that of Western observers (the latter part)”.213 On the basis of currently available evidence, it is reasonable to conclude that the PKI, contrary to the official account, was not the mastermind of the 1965 coup although some key personnel within the party were associated with it. The idea of an organized communist movement responsible for the murder was deliberately invented to justify the eradication of the PKI and all associated with the party, however tangential.214

VII It is to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos that we now turn. Whereas all the communist parties described above were either floundering or in the process of reinventing themselves, the Vietnamese Communist Party remained strong in this same period. Indeed, the years 1963 to 1965 saw the move towards armed struggle in Vietnam gathering pace. We would recall Hanoi’s short-term goal was a neutral South Vietnam that excluded President Diem and any American presence, and as such was careful not to prematurely escalate the military struggle. Efforts were also made to manage the more hawkish elements in the party. According to Pierre Asselin, the initial wave of optimism that accompanied the successful conclusion of the Geneva Conference on Laos in July 1962 raised the possibility that it could be repeated for South Vietnam. Asselin quotes extensively a letter by Secretary-General Le Duan to the Central Office for South Vietnam (COSVN) in July 1962 to illustrate how seriously Hanoi was considering neutrality; the objective “was not to settle the fate of South Vietnam once

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and for all” but rather “to bring about a gradual reduction and then complete withdrawal of American forces, and after that a diminishment of their assistance to the Saigon government.”215 Thus it was not genuine neutrality that Le Duan was pursuing. In fact, Hanoi never ever countenanced complete neutrality for Laos because it would have meant the closing down of the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The 2 November 1963 assassination organized by colleagues and military officers of Diem and his brother and adviser Ngo Dinh Nhu (who apparently were not opposed to a secret dialogue with Hanoi) and the subsequent Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 forced a reassessment of the North Vietnamese strategy and inadvertently strengthened the voice of the pro-escalation camp. The unexpected death of Diem led to a landmark decision taken at the ninth plenary of the Lao Dong Party in November/December 1963. Having considered the new developments in the south, particularly the political uncertainties following Diem’s demise, the Hanoi leadership anticipated that the Americans would now move into South Vietnam sooner rather than later. The communists felt that they had no choice but to escalate the military struggle to preempt the Americans and to gain as much strategic advantage as they possibly could before the Americans intervened directly in the fighting. The decision of the ninth plenary of the Third Party Congress can thus be viewed as a shift of gears in line with the policy adopted at 1959’s fifteenth plenary (after the Second Party Congress). That said, the decision of the 1963 plenary session did not mean that the Vietnamese communists had thrown all caution to the wind. Indeed, if one were to review the events following both the 1959 and 1963 decisions, one would see that the Hanoi leadership was still fairly cautious about the military struggle. Within the leadership, there were those who continued to advocate caution, and rightly so, arguing that the targets set out in the Second Five-Year Military Plan (1961–1965) had yet to be fully achieved. Compounding that, the north was also experiencing the worst drought since 1954.216 But without doubt, by the ninth plenary, “Le Duan and the party’s militant wing had carried the day, and the balance of the power within the [Lao Dong] had shifted.”217 Immediately following the passing of Resolution Nine, war preparation by the communist forces went into full swing in both northern and southern areas of Vietnam. The hope was to achieve a quick victory or at least a strategic advantage before the Americans took over the war. Of course no one then knew when the Americans would take over the war, but clearly there was a sense of urgency. The Tonkin Gulf incident in August 1964, of course, was another impor-

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tant turning point in the Vietnamese communists’ struggle. The Americans, alleging that the Vietnamese communists had torpedoed their ship in international waters (which Hanoi vehemently denied) launched an aerial reprisal on 5 August which destroyed an estimated twenty-five North Vietnamese PT boats, an oil storage depot at Phuc Loi, and seven anti-aircraft installations at Vinh.218 A week later the Lao Dong Party Central Committee decided to dispatch combat troops from the north to South Vietnam. The Tonkin Gulf episode also fuelled Chinese fears of the US threat and strengthened Beijing’s support for the Vietnamese communists.219 Similarly, the Kremlin, which had so far been rather lukewarm towards Hanoi’s decision to relaunch hostilities, finally came around to recognizing that both North Vietnam and the United States were bent on resolving their differences by military means. Moscow had to support the Vietnamese communists if it wanted to hold on to its leadership status in the global communist camp and not to concede it to Beijing in the two countries’ competition for influence in Southeast Asia.220 While the objective of the Vietnamese communists was to try to win the reunification struggle before any direct US intervention in the war, Hanoi also did not wish to give the United States a pretext to attack North Vietnam. The escalation of the military struggle therefore needed to be handled very adroitly. This came across most clearly in a conversation of both Pham Van Dong and Hoang Van Hoan with Mao Zedong on 5 October 1964. According to Dong, Hanoi would try to confine the conflict within the sphere of a “special war,” defeat the enemy within that sphere, and try not to let the Americans turn the war into a limited war or expand it into North Vietnam.221 In early 1965, the Vietnamese communists were still not confident of being able to confront the Americans in any “limited war.” They knew all along that they would never be able to defeat “the strongest in the world” in a straight fight. The strategy was therefore to force the Americans to withdraw through negotiations. In the view of the Hanoi leadership, this was only achievable when they could withstand the US air war, exhaust the US troops in the south, and weaken the will of the American politicians and soldiers. American troops eventually landed in Danang in March 1965. On hindsight, that event perhaps marked the beginning of direct American military intervention in the reunification struggle, which the Vietnamese communists had predicted in 1954 and had hitherto been trying to delay.222 The Vietnamese communists had always considered Indochina as a single battlefield. Despite the signing of the Geneva Agreements on Laos in July 1962, Hanoi never withdrew its forces from Laos. In the words of Roger Hils-

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man, “the Viet Minh were the military backbone of the Pathet Lao and the shock troops in attack.”223 The military situation in the strategic Plaine de Jarres (Plain of Jars) continued to deteriorate and Pathet Lao–North Vietnamese forces were positioning themselves to control the area. The Pathet Lao had since April 1963 broken ranks with neutral forces led by Kong Lae, following the assassination of the leftist Quinim Pholsena who was at the time Foreign Minister in the coalition government led by Souvanna Phouma. A CIA report of 1 November 1963 showed that key routes to Laos from North Vietnam had been re-opened and communist resupply activities were detected along Highway 7 into the Plaine de Jarres, highways 12 and 8 into central Laos, as well as various routes into the Tchepone region.224 In February 1964, Pathet Lao–North Vietnamese forces advanced into central Laos. On 27 May 1964, the post-1962 Geneva Conference Laotian coalition government collapsed.225 Meanwhile, Cambodia, under the astute leadership of Prince Sihanouk, was still able to resist being fully drawn into the war. Sihanouk was, however, unable to persuade the major powers to convene an international conference to guarantee the neutral status of Cambodia. According to the US State Department, although there were numerous reports since 1956 about Vietnamese communist cells in Cambodia, there was no indication of any serious intensification of communist activities there.226 It is perhaps worth noting that the position of secretary-general of the Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party (KPRP), which was held by the pro-Vietnamese Tou Samouth until his untimely death in 1962 (it is believed that he was assassinated), was assumed by a Phnom Penh schoolteacher Saloth Sar in February 1963. He disappeared into the jungle soon after and subsequently emerged as the notorious Pol Pot. But at this stage, he “had no immediate place in Chinese strategy.”227 Intertwined into the above was the broader debate within the communist bloc between the Soviet strategy of peaceful coexistence (read: no fighting, negotiation instead) and the Chinese approach of supporting national liberation struggles in the colonial countries (read: protracted struggle, no negotiation). Although the Vietnamese communists refrained from talking openly about the widening Sino–Soviet rift in public, they were acutely concerned about its negative impact on their struggle. The significance of both Soviet and Chinese moral and material support to the Vietnamese communist national liberation struggle is well known. It was impossible for Hanoi to stand apart, as much as they wanted to, from the Sino–Soviet rivalry that had been brewing since 1956 and which worsened as the years went by. Those such as Vo Nguyen Giap, Hoang Minh Chinh, and Nguyen Kien Gian—who advocated a more cautious

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pace—were crudely labeled as “pro-Soviet” while Le Duan and others who shared his view on speeding up the struggle became known as “pro-China.”228 (Ironically, Le Duan was later relabeled as “pro-Soviet.”) Le Duan, in fact, had played a moderating role in debate over the pace of the reunification struggle from 1956 until November 1963. Then he became more “hawkish” (more than even the Chinese would have liked) after the death of Diem and particularly after the Gulf of Tonkin incident. Ho Chi Minh was the only Vietnamese leader who had the stature and the willingness to mediate between the two global communist giants. But Ho’s health was declining from 1964 and he no longer oversaw the day-to-day decisions, which were gradually being made by Le Duan and his associates. By the end of 1965, the communist parties in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines were no longer in a position to challenge the incumbent non- or anticommunist governments in those countries. Less than two years into the Federation of Malaysia, Singapore became independent on 9 August 1965. This time there was no concern about an independent Singapore becoming a “Cuba” which in 1961 was a key reason why the Tunku agreed to any merger. Neither Beijing nor Moscow made any political capital out of the Singapore–Malaysia separation. Washington was not overly concerned about the left-wing Barisan Socialis. Lee Kuan Yew apparently thought that US strategic interest in Singapore would put him in a dominant position and that Washington “could be brought to heel by hardnosed bargaining and threats of Barisan takeover.” On this, Secretary of State Dean Rusk commented that “Lee grossly overestimates strength of his bargaining position.” In Malaysia, UMNO had no serious political opponent although a strong proChinese pro-communist dissident movement with the potential to challenge the government existed in Sarawak. But as long as the British Commonwealth troops remained in Malaysia, any confrontation was unlikely to happen.229 The situations in Thailand and Burma were somewhat more complicated but there, too, the communist parties certainly did not pose any existential threat to the ruling governments (nor did it ever in Thailand). The period in which the Burmese Communist Party seriously threatened the Burmese government (between 1948 and 1951) had long since passed.230 Mainland Southeast Asia—Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos—was a different story, however. There, the communist challenge led by the Vietnamese Communist Party—supported by both Beijing and Moscow, albeit not always wholeheartedly—was just gathering pace. It is the Vietnam War, the subject of the next chapter, to which we now need to turn our attention.

CHAPTER 5

The Vietnam War Divide

I This chapter focuses on the Vietnam War years. It elucidates the attitudes and responses of the Southeast Asian states towards the war and its eventual outcome. When one recalls the Cold War in Southeast Asia, the “Second Indochina War” or more popularly, the “Vietnam War,” commonly comes to mind. There has never been an official date for the start of the war although for the American side, the landing of the first combat troops on the beach of Danang in March 1965 is often considered the start despite the fact that the Americans had been involved in Vietnam since the 1950s. As for the Vietnamese communists, the war against the Americans was a continuation of a colonial war from 1945 against the French—the only difference being that the French colonial master they defeated at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 had now been replaced by a more powerful adversary, the United States. The war ended with the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. The years from 1965 to 1975 are often remembered as the Vietnam War decade. But there were also other developments in the region beyond Indochina during those ten years. The formation of sub-regional organizations, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is an event that on hindsight laid the foundation for the Southeast Asia we know today. That Southeast Asia is one primarily of economic success under market-oriented governments, in great contrast to the poverty and agricultural dependency at the start of the Cold War. We will focus on the economic dimension of the Cold War in the next chapter. From 1965 to 1967, the Vietnam War was fought to a stalemate. A stalemate was not good for the communist side because a protracted war, presuming 129

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the Americans had the patience, would only lead to a communist defeat. Hanoi therefore had to find ways to break that stalemate and in the spring of 1967, the Vietnamese communist leadership endorsed the plan for the “General Offensive General Uprising” (more popularly known as the Tet Offensive), which was launched on the Vietnamese New Year or Tet 31 January 1968.1 During the previous three years, while the fighting was going on, quite a number of behind-the-scene attempts were made to arrange secret talks between the two sides, for example, “Marigold,” “Sunflower,” and “Pennsylvania.” The various secret negotiations should be seen in the context of the military struggle. Regarding negotiations, Mao remarked in 1964 that the North Vietnamese had “earned the qualification to negotiate” but whether or not the negotiation would succeed was another matter. The Chinese, according to Zhou Enlai, had been talking to the US for nine years and there had been more than 120 meetings and the Sino–American ambassadorial talks were still continuing in Warsaw.2 We now know that the Vietnamese communists were never really serious about negotiations before late January 1968. They had concluded very early on that it was not possible to achieve on the diplomatic table that which they could not obtain on the battlefield. After numerous failed attempts to bring both sides to the negotiating table, both the US and North Vietnamese representatives finally met face to face in Paris on 13 May 1968. The breakthrough came only when both sides, in their own ways, suffered significant defeats at the 1968 Tet Offensive—the United States politically and the Vietnamese communists militarily. In the critical weeks leading to the Tet Offensive, much international attention was focused on Quang Tri Province where the battle of Khe Sanh took place.3 Although the Americans (as well as the international community) focused on the military buildup and fighting at Khe Sanh, the North Vietnamese apparently placed more emphasis on the military developments in Northern Laos. According to the Vietnamese communist accounts, Laotian forces under the direction of American advisers were incrementally taking over Pathet Lao-controlled areas. In July 1966, the US-advised troops took control of Nam Bac and were developing a defense line north of Luang Prabang, thereby threatening Pathet Lao territory. In order to preempt this, in December 1967, both the Central Committees of the Neo Lao Hak Xat (Lao Patriotic Front) and the Vietnamese Communist Party (CPV) jointly decided to launch a military offensive in Nam Bac. To this end, they sent the 316th infantry division into Laos. The 147th and 148th regiments were involved in the fighting that appar-

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ently took place between 12 and 27 January 1968 before Nam Bac was finally “liberated.”4 All the resources expended in this military operation makes one wonder if the Hanoi leadership considered the Nam Bac military campaign either to be more significant or more successful than Khe Sanh. It further reminds us of Indochina as a unified battlefield, in the communist perspective. As for Cambodia, Prince Sihanouk tried his utmost to prevent his country from being sucked into the Vietnam War with limited success. Sihanouk did not have the means to protect his territorial borders with Vietnam and thus he allowed the Vietnamese communists to utilize Cambodia both as a sanctuary as well as a transit point for supplies. At the same time, he turned a blind eye to American hot pursuit and bombing of the Vietnamese communists in Cambodian territory.5 As long as Cambodia did not follow the path of Thailand and the Philippines and join the anticommunist camp, Hanoi and Beijing were willing to let Sihanouk be.

II For the rest of Southeast Asia, it was China (more than the Soviet Union) that posed a greater security threat particularly after 1966. This was the period of the “Cultural Revolution” in China that saw a radical change in China’s foreign policy to one “characterised by countering imperialism, revisionism, and all reactionaries of various countries, and supporting and aiding the revolutionary movements in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”6 Robert Taylor’s observation—“the Chinese effort to export the Cultural Revolution to Myanmar [Burma] impinged on Myanmar state sovereignty and the state’s obligation to maintain order”—is equally true for all the other Southeast Asian countries. As he rightly concluded, any government would have responded similarly by taking a firm stand against the Chinese.7 The Indochina War and China’s foreign policy towards the Southeast Asian states were thus the two main Cold War issues of this period. Of all the Southeast Asian countries outside the war zone, Burma was the only country that deliberately and successfully kept its distance from the Indochina war. But that is not to say that Burmese leader Ne Win had no interest in the war. He was aware that the American presence in the region permitted Burma to remain independent. Thus, he did not want the United States to lose the war although he feared that escalation might involve Burma. He also believed that Moscow was trying to use its influence to end the war while Beijing was doing the opposite. Washington, on its part, was willing to countenance a “neutral” Burma. In the words of Henry Byroade, the US ambassador to Burma,

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“[W]e want above all a stable, independent Burma which can manage to stay out of Southeast Asian conflict, and whose relations with us continue, in a slow and un-dramatic way, to improve up to the point of neutrality leaning slightly—but not too much—on our side.”8 Burma continued to enjoy some limited form of American military assistance based on a bilateral military assistance agreement signed in 1958. While this was not a secret, it was also not widely publicized and deliberately so. Ne Win continued to keep a friendly distance from both the United States and China; the one blip was the anti-Chinese riots in Burma (26–28 June 1967)—a consequence of the Chinese Cultural Revolution—that adversely affected the carefully cultivated Sino–Burmese relations since the 1950s.9 There was renewed fighting between the Burmese military and the Burmese Communist Party (BCP) in July 1967 when the latter opened a new front, with Chinese assistance, in the Kokang region along the Chinese border. China during this period even publicly expressed support for the BCP and allowed its leaders to appear publicly in Beijing. The Burmese communists would not have been be able to sustain their insurgent activities over the years into the 1970s if not for Chinese support.10 That said, Sino–Burmese acrimony was “relatively short-lived” and the relationship gradually re-normalized from 1968. Although by themselves, the Burmese communists were never a serious threat to the government (compared to the 1948–1951 period), Beijing’s continued and persistent support of the Burmese communists (as well as the other ethnic groups allied to the communists) remained a thorn in the Sino–Burmese relationship. Despite this, Ne Win was still willing to restore relations with China—in fact he went out of the way to do so—because of China’s strategic importance as well as the fact that he did not have the ability to retaliate against countries that supported the insurgents from outside Burma.11 Last but not least, his determination was to remain neutral between the United States and China. Cambodia went through an experience roughly similar to Burma’s. Like Ne Win, Sihanouk too was upset by the Chinese subversive activities in Cambodia and failure to abide by the principle of nonintervention in Cambodian domestic affairs to the extent that he dissolved all the friendship associations connected with China and ordered all Cambodian embassy staff in Beijing to return home in 1967. He only rescinded the order after being persuaded by Zhou Enlai personally.12 At the other end of the spectrum were the Philippines and Thailand, which were both firmly in the American camp. Ferdinand Marcos succeeded

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Diosdado Macapagal as the tenth President of the Philippines in December 1965. Unlike Macapagal, who maintained a very close relationship with the Republic of China (ROC)/Taiwan, President Marcos ordered a study on the implications for the Philippines of a policy shift from containment to engagement of Communist China. In his January 1969 state of the nation address, he spoke of the need to “co-exist peacefully with Communist China” and stated that “we in Asia must strive toward a modus vivendi with Red China. . . .”13 But Manila did not act on this until after the announcement of the “Nixon Doctrine” in July 1969. The Nixon Doctrine, in Claude Haberer’s words, was “the impetus” that enabled Marcos to “proceed in this direction, and he did so rapidly.”14 But between 1965 and 1969, the Philippines remained tightly aligned to the United States more out of economic considerations than a fear of any specific communist threat. As noted in the previous chapter, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was split and posed hardly a threat to the government. It was not until the end of 1968 that a new and radical CPP under the Maoist Jose Sison was established. This breakaway CPP led by Sison was significant because it had a military arm.15 The New People’s Army (NPA) was formed in March 1969 marking the relaunching of an armed struggle. In contrast, the CPP led by Lava brothers Jose and Jesus, opted for the legal and parliamentary route. The early period of the armed struggle met with more failures than success. But the CPP–NPA was prepared for a protracted war like that of the Chinese Red Army.16 Although it was a Maoist party and faithfully adhered to the “people’s war framework,” there is no evidence of any substantial link between the Communist Party of the Philippines and Chinese Communist Party. In fact, both the Philippines government and the Philippines military found no evidence of any foreign assistance to the CPP and the NPA between 1968 and 1985.17 Ricardo “Dick” Malay, a member of the CPP, however revealed that there was an effort to reach out to Beijing in 1971 because “the communist party-led insurgency felt it needed more than ideological support from the putative centre of world revolution” and subsequently there were two abortive attempts by the Chinese to ship arms to the CPP in the 1970s, after which no more attempts were made.18 That the CPP–NPA grew from “a small number of intellectuals and a slightly larger armed group” to become “the biggest threat facing the Philippine state” in the 1980s owed much to the excesses of the Marcos administration (which we will see in the next chapter).19 The Filipinos had been assisting South Vietnam as early as the 1950s, initially led by nongovernmental organizations within the Philippines. In July

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1964, the Philippine Congress passed a law that allowed the president to send additional economic and technical assistance to South Vietnam. Following that a large number of medical professionals and rural development workers from the armed forces went to South Vietnam. As US President Lyndon Johnson wanted to show that the free world supported his Vietnam policies, a “More Flags” program was conceived. There were discussions in the fall of 1964 between Washington and Manila on how the Philippines could further assist South Vietnam. In February 1965, US Secretary of State Dean Rusk reluctantly approved the agreement to fund the Philippines with $9.13 million a year. As a quid pro quo, Manila would deploy a 2,300-strong engineering force to South Vietnam. Washington made it very clear to the Filipinos that this financial concession did not constitute “an open-ended commitment” of American aid to the Philippines. The engineering troop task force (known as PHILCAG or Philippine Civic Action Group), however, could not be deployed because the Macapagal administration was unable to obtain endorsement of the Philippine Congress in an election year. His political opponent, (then Senate leader) Marcos, opposed sending Filipino military aid to South Vietnam, but on assuming the presidency he soon changed his stance under both American pressure and economic enticement. Marcos eventually agreed to send PHILCAG, which was considered an engineering and civic detachment, but he refused to send any combat units to South Vietnam.20 The PHILCAG was finally established in South Vietnam on 14 September 1966 and reached full strength by mid-October. The sending of PHILCAG was sufficiently controversial that Marcos instructed that the troops depart in the early morning hours and as quietly as possible without fanfare.21 PHILCAG remained controversial in Filipino domestic politics right to its end in 1969.22 The US Department of the Army study, Allied Participation in Vietnam, noted that Marcos’ explanation that Manila was sending the engineers to South Vietnam because of “the long-held convictions of the Philippine people, that the option for liberty must be kept for every nation” and that the security interests of the Philippines required that “democracy be given the chance to develop freely and successfully in our part of the world” was not untrue. But it was equally true that in return for Philippine support, the US Military Assistance Program granted aid to the Philippines in all the areas asked by Marcos and condoned much of the excesses of Marcos during his tenure in office.23 This was also true for Thailand. As early as 1961, Thailand had become the “unofficial and disguised base of operations for the United States in South-

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east Asia.”24 As Tunku Abdul Rahman pointed out, Thailand was situated in the “most delicate spot” in Southeast Asia surrounded by Vietnamese and Laotian communists in the northeast, the Kampucheans in the east, neutral Burma in the west, and Malaysia in the south. The “enemies of democracy” were therefore concentrated on three sides of the border of Thailand and any outbreak of civil war in the country “could easily lead to the communists infiltrating into Thailand itself.”25 Bangkok had always been concerned about developments in northeastern Thailand (where the base of the Communist Party of Thailand was located) which borders Laos. Bangkok was upset when SEATO appeared ineffective during the 1961 Laotian crisis and had serious misgivings about the international conference on Laos. In the view of the Thai leadership, ceasefires and conferences were devices that the communists could exploit to take over Laos first, then South Vietnam, and later Thailand. As such, they prodded Washington to sign a joint communiqué—what is known as the “Rusk–Thanat Agreement”—in March 1962, which committed the United States to protecting Thailand against communist aggression. Although it was only an informal protocol, it did placate the Thai leadership. Thai involvement in the Vietnam War was minimal at the beginning but grew as the war worsened. Similar to the Philippines case, while Washington’s priority was strategic, US–Thai relations and Thai involvement in the Vietnam War “was more complex than simply the fear of communism.”26 As the US report on allied involvement noted, besides “the desire to assume a more responsible role in the active defense of Southeast Asia” as a front-line state in the Indochina war, “it was also an opportunity to accelerate the modernization of the Thai armed forces.”27 The American assessment was that the Thai army was incapable of effectively combating communist-inspired insurrections or fighting a guerrilla war. Sinae Hyun described the period from 1957 to 1973 as “the heyday of the Thai elite allies’ indigenisation of the American Cold War.” Under Sarit and his successors, the Thai military used modernization as a pretext to “mobilise an enormous amount of US foreign aid and a variety of counterinsurgency strategies” to safeguard their authoritarian regimes, which indirectly also benefited Thai royalty.28 The main Thai communist bases were in the remote mountain areas of Nakhon Phanom and Sakon Nakhon provinces, but they were also active in the Loei, Ubon, Ratchathanie, Kalasin, Udon Thani, and Nong Khai areas.29 As noted in the previous chapter, in mid-1965 the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) was still not ready to mount a fully fledged armed struggle in the northeast and they never were able to despite the training of cadres and pro-

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vision of weaponry from Laos and North Vietnam.30 The CPT was never in a position to threaten Bangkok although there was always the possibility of Bangkok losing control of the northeast given that much of northeastern Thailand had “for centuries been in the sphere of influence” of the Lao Kingdoms (in fact, part of Laos) and the war spilling into Thailand.31 The 1962 Rusk–Thanat Agreement was supplemented by a “military contingency plan” in 1965 that, if successfully implemented, would “cut Vietnam into two just south of the former demilitarized zone, which straddled the Ben Hai River.” It is believed that this “insurance” plan involved a “lightning attack” across Savannakhet in Laos, into Vietnam’s Khe Sanh Valley and along highway 9, which runs east through Quang Tri Province until it intersects with Highway 1 (Vietnam’s major north–south artery). It was put in place essentially to elicit agreement from the Thai leadership for American use of Thai bases in northeastern Thailand.32 By 1966, it was common knowledge that American planes based in Thailand were being used in the Vietnam War. On 3 January 1967, the Thai government announced the decision to deploy a combat battalion to South Vietnam.33 The first deployment of the Royal Thai Army Volunteer Regiment (better known as the Queen’s Cobra) was carried out incrementally and was completed by November 1967. Following this, in July 1968, the Black Panther Division was sent to South Vietnam. Bangkok was continually badgering Washington for more concrete assurance that the United States would protect Thailand from the communists—but it also did not want US ground forces in the country. Thai Foreign Minister Thanat Khoman told Secretary of State Rusk that while Thailand was willing to make considerable effort to help the United States in the Vietnam War, the country should not let decisions on their policy be made by “outside people.” If the Thai leadership were to run the risk of being involved, “they must do so in full conscience.” Bangkok could not simply allow American planes to “go and bomb Vietnam, otherwise they would find themselves in war.” As such, Thanat wanted a “reasonable guarantee” given the risk of attracting retaliation by the communists. In response, Rusk said that there was nothing Washington had done in Thailand without the consent of the government. Thanat retorted that it had not always been done explicitly and “it was a very grave matter.” Some critics had even accused Thailand of “prostituting” itself.34 Thai diplomat Pote Sarasin told American Embassy officials that Bangkok knew fully the urgent need for additional forces in Vietnam, both in its military, psychological, and political aspects. Thais understood that the war in Vietnam was also their

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war. Their requests for more military assistance from the United States were to bolster their own defense against threats and should not be construed as bargaining chips.35

III Turning to Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, although these three countries did not send troops to South Vietnam, they were strongly supportive of American involvement in the Vietnam War. We would recall that after the Malayan Emergency ended in 1960 the Malaysian Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman sent his excess arms and equipment to South Vietnamese leader Ngo Dinh Diem because “both faced a common enemy. . . .”36 Both the Tunku and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew were already supporters in 1961 of the “placement of US forces in South Vietnam.”37 Indonesia (under President Sukarno) was a founding member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on its inception in 1961; Malaysia and Singapore became members in 1970. As we have described in an earlier chapter, Indonesia under Sukarno went through a phase in which its foreign policy was very much skewed towards the communist camp. This changed with the October 1965 coup and the subsequent indiscriminate mass killings of communists and left-wing sympathizers, followed by the banning of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) in March 1966 and finally the stripping of Sukarno’s effective power in March 1967 (thus bringing an end to the 18-month political struggle). From then on, the country under the new Suharto regime/”New Order” leadership recalibrated its foreign policy stance. It was ostensibly nonaligned but in reality, Jakarta was very much in the American camp even though it maintained diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) throughout the Vietnam War period. In October 1966 Indonesia closed its embassy in Beijing and asked China to do the same in Jakarta and Medan. Beijing subsequently entrusted whatever residual Chinese interest in Indonesia to Romania.38 China was thus “completely . . . removed from the country’s political scene, cultural imagination, and historical memory” until after the end of the Cold War.39 Rizal Sukma has explained why anticommunism was such a strong element of Indonesia’s foreign policy post Sukarno. Both Sukarno and Suharto used foreign policy to affirm their regimes’ legitimacy. But while the former used foreign policy as a tool to “register the revolutionary credentials of his government” the latter used it to achieve “the twin objectives of internal stability and economic development.” It was “the element of anti-communism in domestic politics” that “provides the rationale for unrelenting vigilance in the maintenance of na-

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tional stability and security, so that national development can be carried out smoothly.”40 Daniel Novotny in his study of elite perceptions and Indonesian foreign policy however noted that “the New Order leadership’s view of the United States and its role as a provider of economic and military assistance to Indonesia as well as a guarantor of stability in Southeast Asia was essentially ambivalent . . . ambivalence inherent in the ‘dilemma of dependence’.”41 Neither Malaysia nor Singapore had the means to send troops to assist the South Vietnamese even if they had wanted to. Both countries were dependent on Britain for their security. When British commitments ended in 1967 as a consequence of its withdrawal from East of Suez, the defense of both countries was replaced by the Five Power Defense Arrangement in 1971.42 In the immediate years after Singapore separated from Malaysia in 1965, it was not even able to defend itself and had to build an indigenous security force almost from scratch. Conscription was introduced in 1967.43 Winston Choo, the first and longest serving Chief of the Singapore Armed Forces, recalled that after August 1965, from the original two battalions comprising Singaporeans and Malaysians, Singapore had only had “one and one quarter of a battalion after the Malaysians left.”44 By all accounts, the communists (or what was left of them) no longer posed any existential threat to either government. The People’s Action Party (PAP) led by Lee Kuan Yew won every single seat in all four by-elections and four general elections between 1965 and 1980. Of all the Southeast Asian leaders, Lee Kuan Yew was by far the most vocal in his support of American involvement in Vietnam.45 When Ambassador Marshall Green met General Suharto for the first time on 26 May 1966, Suharto expressed his intention to bring the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia (discussed in the last chapter) to an end but added that it would require “give and take on both sides.” Suharto also emphasized Pancasila rather than Sukarno as the unifying force in Indonesia and described China as “the enemy.” This pleased Green considerably: American interest had been to keep Indonesia outside Beijing’s orbit. Green noted that this did not imply Jakarta would abandon its professed policy of nonalignment but that Indonesia would be more willing to associate with countries that it found strategically and economically useful. This was good enough for the United States.46 In early July, Ambassador Green recommended Washington offer short-term assistance to Indonesia but cautioned against getting involved too deeply and prematurely while laying the groundwork for subsequent assistance. On 25 July 1966, Suharto announced a new cabinet that saw a further diminution of Sukarno’s influence. Washington however remained

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wary that the developments in Indonesia, for various reasons, could still reverse course.47 The Confrontation with Malaysia, which began towards the end of 1962 and which the Johnson administration had been trying to help bring to a resolution since he assumed office, finally ended on 11 August 1966 with the signing of the Bangkok Accord in Jakarta.48 By August, Washington judged that its “traditional interest” in keeping Indonesia from turning communist had been achieved “for the time being.” The next step was to “help this populous, potentially rich and strategically placed nation—hitherto a disruptive force in Southeast Asia—overcome the inheritance of Sukarno’s management, develop an effective government, and become a constructive force in the area.”49 Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines concurred.50 On 1 September, President Johnson finally signed the required Presidential Determination on the renewal of US aid program to Indonesia which had been put on hold since 1964. At the MPR (People’s Consultative Assembly) session in mid-March 1967, Sukarno’s effective power was formally and completely withdrawn. When Green next met Suharto on 7 July 1967, he noted that Suharto now spoke as a national leader rather than just an army general. Also, the PKI was no longer viewed as the immediate threat. Suharto at this time was more concerned about “lingering Sukarnoism, disunity and defeatism.” Green left the meeting with the firm impression that Suharto was someone with whom Washington could do business.51 For Singapore, Lee and his colleagues were not worried so much about the communist threat but that with the end of Confrontation, the Malay fear of the Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore would drive Malaysia and Indonesia closer together—to the detriment of Singapore.52 Communalism rather than communism was also a greater concern in Malaysia especially after 1966 when the Labor Party was dissolved and leaders of the Socialist Front were arrested after their failure to oppose the formation of the Federation of Malaysia.53 The removal of Sukarno, the demise of the PKI, the ascendancy of General Suharto, and the end of the Confrontation paved the way for the formation of ASEAN in August 1967. Despite its name, it was until the 1990s a subregional organization comprising Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and Singapore. Brunei joined on the day it gained independence in 1984. Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik failed to convince Sihanouk that joining ASEAN could help Phnom Penh withstand Chinese communist pressure.54 The founding members were apparently wary of including Laos and getting enmeshed in the politics of the Indochina war. According to Laotian

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Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma, there was no approach from any quarter about Lao membership. He said that it was somewhat ironic as he had been one of the first to propose such an organization a few years earlier.55 As for Burma, Ne Win “remained aloof from ASEAN . . . all having defence agreements or military pacts with Western states.”56

IV Among shared characteristics of the ASEAN members was not only an aversion to communism but also their histories of demolishing the left-wing elements in their respective countries. It was therefore not surprising that the reaction of the communist bloc to the formation of ASEAN was predictably hostile. At one level, what brought these countries together to establish ASEAN was the shared fear of communism—of Chinese (or Soviet) hegemony and the prospect of a Vietnamese communist victory in Indochina. But the initial motivation for creating a regional grouping—the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA) in 1961 and also the stillborn MAPHILINDO in 1963 (precursors of ASEAN)—was rather different.57 Indeed, all five countries had their own reasons for joining ASEAN “apart from the principal object of reversing the domino theory which many, including communists, predicted would follow a Vietnamese victory in Southeast Asia.”58 S. Rajaratnam, Singapore’s first foreign minister and one of the founding fathers of ASEAN recalled, Initially, it was Mr. Thanat Khoman of Thailand and Mr. Adam Malik of Indonesia. The Thais were the nearest to Indo-China. The Thais, as you know, had been involved in Indo-China and had been very proAmerican. Indonesians were concerned that if the Vietnamese won, they would become the proxy of either the Chinese or the Russians or both. Who would then dominate mainland Southeast Asia? Would it be China or Russia? Both would be equally bad for Indonesia. So they thought that something had to be done to deal with this threat. Singapore was responsive to the concept of ASEAN because it saw merit in it, provided it was not a resurrection of SEATO or ASA, or an anti-communist or pro-American outfit, because then we would be repeating an error. We stressed that ASEAN should be a regional organization for economic, political and cultural cooperation. We did not highlight the political motivations because the Chinese and the Russians would have attacked them. In fact, in the early years, both the Chinese and the Soviets ac-

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cused ASEAN of being a stalking horse for American imperialism, a neo-colonial plot.59

Within the US Department of State, some discussions in early 1965 talked of “some kind of Asian development defense agency, or organization” that could be “initiated to replace existing groups or pacts” or preferably an economic bloc based on the assumption that it would lead to regional stability. Security organizations would follow once the Southeast Asian countries were economically viable and could cooperate with each other. But importantly, the initiative had to come from the region if it were not to be perceived as “American interference.”60 The United States (and Britain, as well) was naturally supportive of the formation of ASEAN.61 Contrary to the belief held strongly by the communists, ASEAN was not a US creation although there was no doubt that Washington would benefit from any kind of cooperation amongst non- or anticommunist countries. The founding members were acutely aware that the new organization should not share the “overt” anticommunist posture of organizations such as SEATO or the Asian–Pacific Council (ASPAC). This was essential for the survival and credibility of an organization designed for intra-regional development. Thai Foreign Minister Thanat Khoman told the US secretary of state that the primary emphasis “should be on patience, letting successes of modest programs provide their own attraction so that expansion either in size or in functions would come spontaneously.” In all of these activities, he hoped ASEAN could have “the discreet blessing of the United States.” The secretary replied that the foreign minister was apparently suggesting that the United States should not bestow the kiss of death by too close an embrace. Thanat smilingly assented, saying the United States would be kept fully informed of ASEAN developments.62 Similarly, Indonesian Foreign Minister Adam Malik reportedly remarked that the United States “must leave the flower of regional cooperation to our initiative.”63 American officials based in Indonesia also advised that American expressions of support for regional organizations such as ASEAN should be “decidedly low-key.” They explained that the Soviets, whom the Indonesians hope to receive additional aid from, were alleging that ASEAN was a “Western puppet.” Jakarta was concerned that “too close an embrace” by the United States would not only complicate their relations with Moscow but also add substance to these allegations and perhaps make it more difficult for ASEAN to enlist the support of additional nonaligned nations.64

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Even before ASEAN reached its first anniversary and put its own house in order, the member states were faced with the major turning point of the Vietnam War. As noted earlier, the Vietnamese communists launched the “General Offensive General Uprising” (or more popularly known as the Tet Offensive) on the Vietnamese New Year or Tet on 31 January 1968.65 The heavy casualties suffered by the communists during the Tet Offensive compelled the Hanoi leadership to reexamine its strategy and led to the resumption of the “debate” between the “escalation camp” and the “protracted war camp” over military strategy and the appropriate time to begin negotiations with the enemy. Although, the Tet Offensive failed to achieve its military goal, the general perception at that time was that it was an American defeat, given the shock of attacks upon Saigon—and the US Embassy in particular. This perceived defeat started the long and convoluted process of the American extrication from the Vietnam War. It is not necessary to dwell on American post-Tet decision making (since so much has already been written and continues to be written on the subject) except to examine two points: President Johnson’s decision not to pursue another term as president and to open fresh negotiations with Hanoi—without preconditions. As the well-respected Walter Cronkite said on 27 February 1968 after returning from South Vietnam, “it is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”66 The fact that the noncommunist South Vietnamese forces actually foiled Hanoi’s offensive was completely overlooked. All five ASEAN member states were distressed by this turn of events. The two countries that had been the most vocal about US post-Tet policy were Thailand67 and Singapore.68 As Johnson’s Special Adviser for Economic and Social Development of Southeast Asia Eugene Black noted, “Thai politicians who were closely identified with the American build-up are understandably uneasy over the inability of the United States to bring the war in Vietnam to a smooth conclusion.”69 The Thais in particular were deeply disturbed by the Tet Offensive as well as the Pathet Lao advances in Laos, although they had kept their nerve and reacted calmly.70 Still, “the de-escalation of American military power in the Vietnamese war and the possibility of a retrenchment in American policy in Southeast Asia aroused a growing sense of doubt and uncertainty among officials in the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”71 According to Arne Kislenko, Johnson’s decision not to run in the 1968 election “sent major shock waves through the Thai government and marked a significant turning

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point in the history of US–Thai relations.”72 Soon after Johnson’s announcement, Thanat Khoman said that Thailand should not be blamed if it were to seek an accommodation with Beijing.73 Thai leaders were deeply worried about the consequences of a premature large-scale American withdrawal from Southeast Asia and were anxious to know about American thinking at the highest level and negotiation positions with regards to the war. They hoped to be kept informed of the latest developments, even if they were not consulted (although they hoped to be). Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn and his entourage traveled to Washington in May where he met President Johnson and other top US officials. Thanom wanted an assurance that some US Air Force units would remain in Thailand after American withdrawal from Vietnam. The Thai Finance Ministry was concerned about the adverse impact of a rapid reduction of US war-related spending on the Thai economy.74 Washington was aware they needed to handle any withdrawal of US forces from Thailand without causing distress and panic in the country. The withdrawal of US troops from Thailand was a very sensitive and tricky operation that demanded impeccable timing.75 US officials devoted much effort in 1968 towards reassuring the Thais that the US remained committed to SEATO and would continue to support the Thai counterinsurgency program. Johnson told Thanom that he would devote the remainder of his time in office to achieving an “honorable peace” and would not “run out on his commitments, his principles, or his friends.”76 Despite Johnson’s assurances, by the end of 1968 Bangkok was reevaluating its relations with Washington and Beijing.77 A 1978 internal history of the Communist Party of Thailand (CPT) implicitly acknowledged that the armed struggle launched on 7 August 1965 had not been successful and that the party faced difficulties particularly from the end of 1965 when the military government first launched “a major repression.” Government operations, however, did not manage to wipe out the communists. At the beginning of 1968 the CPT had a base covering the provinces of Nan and Chiang Rai and by the end of 1968 the base area covered the provinces of Phetchabun, Phitsanulok, and Loei. Within the CPT there were differences as to whether peaceful or armed struggle was the more appropriate strategy.78 Prime Minister Thanom informed Johnson that the situation in northeast Thailand had “cooled down” and in a perspective similar to that of both Suharto and Singapore’s Defense Minister Goh Keng Swee that “the real cure there and elsewhere lay in economic and social measures.”79 US Ambassador Leonard Unger was also sanguine about the insurgency problem in Thai-

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land, describing it as “more potential than actual.”80 General Praphat—deputy prime minister, minister of interior, and commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Army—told US General William Westmoreland, commander of forces in Vietnam, that even though the communist insurgency in northeast Thailand had declined “resistance against communist insurgency is a long-term undertaking.”81 Indeed, the 9 May 1968 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) warned that the insurgent movement would almost certainly benefit from a settlement in Vietnam favorable to the communists and even more so if all of Laos fell into communist hands, in conjunction with uncertainty over the future of the US role in mainland Southeast Asia.82 In Singapore, the People’s Action Party (PAP) headed by Lee Kuan Yew won a landslide victory in its first general election after independence in April 1968, winning all 58 seats in the Parliament. Although Lee had successfully crippled the opposition, communist and noncommunist alike, he remained concerned over serious unemployment in Singapore and a revival of communist insurgency in Malaysia. It is difficult to say to what extent this fear of the resurgence of communist insurgency in Malaysia was warranted. Some analysts had pointed out that although the communists were still active in parts of Malaysia, they were “irritants more than serious threats to stability” and there was “little likelihood under present condition of any return to the darker days of the Emergency.”83 According to information that emanated from the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), the CPM began to talk about the possibility of resuscitating the armed struggle by 1967 and on 1 June 1968, the twentieth anniversary of their armed struggle, the party officially announced its intention to revive the armed struggle in Malaya.84 As for Singapore, according to Fang Chuang Pi’s memoirs, the communist underground was a spent force as early as the late 1950s.85 The period in Malaysia from communist declaration in June 1968 until 1989 has been dubbed “the Second Emergency” within the security community whereas almost all scholars regard it as a non-event. The term exaggerates the intensity of the revived communist armed struggle mainly in the northern states of the Malay Peninsula adjoining southern Thailand where the CPM was based. It was in fact fairly low grade and sporadic guerrilla warfare unlike the original war or “Emergency” as declared by the British. It was also plagued by leadership differences, with different factions trying to outdo the other, and was curbed by the Malaysian government’s effective counter-insurgency measures. Most notable of the communist activities were the failed attempt to blow up the National Monument in Kuala Lumpur and the successful assassina-

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tion of the police chief of Perak. In 1973–1974, the Malaysian government was able to persuade one of the leaders of the Sarawak Communist Organization to surrender with his 481 followers.86 The ability of the Malay communists to supposedly influence some “urban middle class” Singaporeans surprised but did not alarm the Singapore government.87 Perhaps the most significant was the series of clandestine radio broadcasts known as the Voice of the Malayan Revolution (VMR), led by exiled Chin Peng and sponsored by Beijing from November 1969 to 1981. The radio station operated from “a restricted Chinese military base in Hunan.”88 Ong Wei Chong described it as “the first concerted strategic propaganda campaign of the CPM that sought to win the hearts and minds of Malaysians and Singaporeans. Its goal was to subvert their respective societies and states, and so bring about the establishment of a People’s Republic of Malaya (PRM).”89 A greater concern of Lee Kuan Yew was the British decision announced at end of 1967 to withdraw from its Singapore base by 1971. It was not the economic implications of the British withdrawal that worried Lee as much as the security of Singapore. As he told British Prime Minister Harold Wilson, he was not concerned about the economic effect of the British withdrawal. He was also not asking the British forces to remain to fight the Chinese but to maintain confidence in the stability of Malaysia and Singapore.90 Lee believed that Singapore’s survival as a noncommunist state would henceforth have to depend on a US presence in Southeast Asia.91 For this reason, Lee had consistently expressed his unequivocal support for US defeat of the communists in South Vietnam. Much of what Lee said during his October 1967 visit to the United States (described earlier) was repeated in 1968, perhaps with a sense of more urgency. For example, his 29 March interview with Fred Emery of The Times of London, where he was quoted in a telegram as saying that the United States has “to find a formula which gradually brings about a condition where nobody can believe or will have grounds for believing that they have abandoned their commitments in Southeast Asia.”92 As for the Philippines, much of 1968 was focused on the Sabah dispute with Malaysia, which impacted the development of ASEAN. Washington made it very clear to Marcos that it would not get involved in the Sabah dispute under any circumstances. American impartiality on the Sabah issue however did not go down well with the “radical nationalists” who saw this as “a rejection and repudiation by the US.” Most Filipinos accepted that the US–Philippine alliance was the cornerstone of Philippines foreign policy. A week after Johnson’s 31 March 1968 announcement, Marcos said that if the

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Americans pulled out of Asia Manila might have to reach an accommodation with Beijing. This was consistent with an early remark he made that the loss of South Vietnam would lead most, if not all the countries in Asia, into China’s arms.93 US–Philippines relations continued to experience ups and downs. The Filipinos were generally “apathetic about the war in Vietnam” and it was anticipated that Marcos could be pressured by the opposition to scale down PHILCAG, if not withdraw it completely, in retaliation for American refusal to support Manila on the Sabah claim.94 Marcos complained that the State Department did not like the Philippines. US Ambassador G. Mennen Williams explained to Marcos that in both the Philippines and the United States, there was “a new generation who doesn’t remember Bataan” and they look at many issues “in a different light.” Williams said that that “people in the US are fed up with other countries and are looking inward. . . . Any of the little irritants that come up are viewed in a different light from the earlier days of our close relationship. . . .”95 American intelligence assessed that while the communists or the Left had the potential “to convert existing apathy and resignation into discontent and eventually active opposition,” they did not pose any immediate threat to the country in the immediate future.96 In Indonesia, the Suharto government was in effective control and the army was in an unassailable position. The Indonesian communists no longer posed any threat to the country.97 American assessment was that over the next three to five years, it was unlikely that “any threat to the internal security of Indonesia will develop that the military cannot contain.”98 Jakarta believed that the main threat to itself and other Southeast Asian countries lay in “internal communist subversion designed to capitalize on their economic and social weaknesses.” The solution was to devote their energy to improving the living condition of their people and strengthening their internal security organizations, a view which was also expressed by Goh Keng Swee of Singapore.99 In Suharto’s view, US assistance to Indonesian recovery “was an investment in Southeast Asian security that would bring far reaching beneficial results.”100 While Kuala Lumpur continued to support US policy in Vietnam, there was a noticeable shift in Malaysian policy from the beginning of 1968. US officials based in Malaysia reported that the Tunku’s public and private comments on Vietnam and security matters had increasingly reflected “a disposition on the part of Kuala Lumpur towards posture of non-alignment.” While no one doubted that the Tunku remained strongly anticommunist, he seemed less willing to vocalize publicly his support for the United States in Vietnam. This was

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apparently because of his concern over serious security problems posed by the impending British withdrawal, as well as some internal pressures. American officials speculated that it could also be a sign of the Tunku’s “initial protective reaction to concern that peace talks in Paris will leave the neighbors dangerously exposed to further communist aggression.”101 In an interview with Pierre Ferenczi (USIS Paris publication Informations et Documents), the Tunku expressed the hope that the United States would still provide protection to Southeast Asia after the Vietnam War was settled. He added that Washington wanted to protect its markets and he could not see any harm in that.102 One of the manifestations of the gradual shift in Malaysia’s foreign policy was establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union and Tun Razak’s visit to Moscow. The Soviet Union was the first communist country that Kuala Lumpur recognized. The Tunku explained why Kuala Lumpur chose to establish diplomatic relations with Moscow but not Beijing. He believed that Moscow believed in coexistence whereas Beijing did not. But he also said that all communist powers were imperialistic. The Soviet Union and China were essentially the same despite their disagreements: both aspired to dominate the world. He hoped that the Soviet Union could serve as a counter-balance to China. Malaysian and Soviet officials had discussed the Vietnam War during the period when Washington and Hanoi were sparring over the site for the peace talks. The Malaysians told the Soviets that they supported US action to reduce bombing and urged Moscow to persuade Hanoi to reciprocate. Kuala Lumpur was moving towards the view that the Big Powers including the Soviet Union should guarantee the independence and neutrality of the region.103 This is a view subsequently crystallized as ZOPFAN (in November 1971), which we will come back to later.104

V Hanoi’s decision between late March and early April 1968 to accept President Johnson’s proposal to negotiate an end to the Vietnam War is an important turning point of the war. The communist decision to negotiate was not unanimous. But having agreed to negotiations, the Vietnamese communists had to quickly achieve some tangible military victory to bolster its negotiating position. The first round of the Tet Offensive failed militarily, but it led to President Johnson’s decision not to run in the forthcoming US presidential election. Tet’s military failure explains the controversial decisions to launch a second and then a third round of military offensives that lasted till the end of September 1968, all of which failed to achieve the elusive victory that the

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communists so badly needed. Not surprisingly, the Vietnamese communists dragged their feet over the preconditions and modalities for the peace talks. The Vietnamese communist leadership had evidently not thought through the whole issue of negotiations and this explained their capriciousness in forwarding instructions to the negotiating team in Paris. After almost eight months of wrangling, the Four–Party talks finally convened in Paris in January 1969, but they were mainly for the public eye. The real negotiations took place in private between Le Duc Tho and Averell Harriman (who after 20 January 1969 was succeeded by Henry Cabot Lodge as part of the Nixon administration). In Laos, the Pathet Lao in 1961 was just one of three contending factions in the country. By 1968, they were, or at least they felt, strong enough to challenge Prime Minister Souvanna Phouma and his neutralist government, describing him as a “traitor” and a “puppet” of the United States. The Neo Lao Hak Xat (NLHX) was also positioning itself to be a party that could lead a real government of national union for a new “progressive” Laos.105 The intensified military activities in the dry season from November 1967 to May 1968 inflicted the worse defeat on the government since 1962.106 The Special National Intelligence Estimate of 21 March 1968 noted that “the communists have the capacity to reduce the area controlled by the Laotian Government to a few enclaves in fairly short order.” The only reason why they did not do that was because Hanoi’s primary and current concern in Laos was the security of the Ho Chi Minh trails, which had been vastly improved and relabeled as a “road system.”107 It was therefore prudent not to “over-extend their forces . . . or run grave risks of destroying the general framework of the 1962 settlement.”108 American intelligence noted that “the improvement in the communist road system in the Laos panhandle has undoubtedly facilitated the unprecedented level of supplies moving toward South Vietnam during the greater part of 1968. . . . Without a logistical effort of this magnitude, the communists could have hardly undertaken the accelerated military offensives this year in South Vietnam.”109 As for Cambodia in 1968, its territory contiguous to South Vietnam was increasingly being used by the Vietnamese communists in the war.110 Confirmed intelligence reports revealed that many of the attacks during the Tet Offensive were staged from Cambodia, and communist forces had also retreated into Cambodian as well as Laotian territories to await further developments and actions, as well as to replenish their supplies.111 By the end of 1968, next to Laos, Cambodia—particularly Nam Lyr and “Parrot Beak”—had become a major “enemy logistic system for support” of the

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Vietnamese communists.112 US–Cambodia relations generally improved, albeit at a glacial pace and with ups and downs. Asked by Ambassador-at-Large Llewelyn Thompson why Phnom Penh usually made a loud outcry at every alleged violation of Cambodian territory by the United States or South Vietnamese, but said little about North Vietnamese intrusions, the Cambodian ambassador said that “any other course would be dangerous for Cambodia” and that he hoped Washington would be understanding.113 A testament of the improving relations was when Sihanouk agreed on 31 December 1967 to receive Chester Bowles (US ambassador to India). The Bowles–Sihanouk meeting took place in January 1968 culminating in the formal signing of a joint communiqué on 12 January.114 One of the significant outcomes of the meeting was a possible reestablishment of normal Cambodia–US relations, although by late 1968 it had still not materialized. Sihanouk remained most concerned about Cambodia’s borders and territorial integrity. Cambodian officials had privately expressed on more than one occasion that Phnom Penh was not strong enough to prevent Vietnamese incursions into their territory.115 Anticipating that the Vietnam War would end soon, Sihanouk was understandably anxious about Vietnamese ambitions on Cambodian territory and was therefore looking for external assistance, of which the United States was one possibility. The other country that Sihanouk was considering was the Soviet Union. In mid-1969, it did not look likely that the new Nixon administration would be able to fulfill his campaign promise to bring about an “honorable” end to the Vietnam War and the fighting would continue for the foreseeable future. The new administration adopted an “exit-strategy” which comprised four components: peace talks, the secret bombing of Cambodia, “Vietnamization,” and gradual withdrawal of American forces from South Vietnam. On 25 July 1969 in Guam, President Nixon announced what is known as the Nixon (or Guam) Doctrine, which essentially states that, while the United States would continue its commitment to its allies, it would no longer intervene directly in overseas conflicts. The combination of troop withdrawals from Vietnam and now the new foreign policy direction further flustered the ASEAN countries. The general feeling was that the United States wanted to get out of the war as quickly as possible. This in turn motivated the ASEAN states to find ways to mitigate the consequences of an American withdrawal from the region. On the one hand, they tried to impress upon the Americans the dangers of a too-sudden withdrawal or of a communist-controlled South Vietnam. On the other hand, the Philippines withdrew PHILCAG at short notice, followed by Thai-

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land more gradually between 1971 and April 1972, a few months before the Americans completely withdrew their troops from Vietnam.116 Even as Bangkok continued to assist the Americans, there was already, as early as 1972, a growing feeling in certain quarters of the establishment as well as the public that continued American military presence in Thailand was an obstacle to establishing new relationships with Hanoi and Beijing in the future. As Thomas A. Marks noted, President Nixon’s trip to China in February 1972 led to “the most severe soul-searching in a decade in Thailand.”117 Washington was not unaware of the Thai concern and the US military did as much as possible to ameliorate it. Major General Ira A. Hunt, Jr., former deputy commander of the US Support Activities Group (USSAG) headquarters based in Nakhon Phanom (Thailand) recalled that in early 1975, there was a major flood—“the country’s worst natural disaster in a hundred years”—which caused great economic damage in southern Thailand resulting in more than two hundred deaths and fifteen thousand homeless; the US Air Force, on the request of the Thai king, provided airlifts in support of the flood relief operations.118 Nevertheless, fear that the United States would leave Thailand in the lurch grew into resentment over matters related to planned American military withdrawals and the economic dislocation caused by them.119 As for Singapore, “the promulgation of the Nixon Doctrine moved the country towards a close and stable relationship with the United States due to the Singapore government’s emphasis on self-reliance coupled with support from a great power. . . .”120 Bangkok, Manila, and Jakarta all agreed with the Malaysian assessment that the US withdrawal from Southeast Asia would not be reversed. However, there were different interpretations as to the meaning of the Nixon Doctrine and the extent to which the Southeast Asian countries could rely on it. Kuala Lumpur was the most skeptical. In Kuala Lumpur’s assessment, US withdrawal from Southeast Asia would be virtually completed by 1975. By then, China would have entered the ranks of superpowers and obtaining a Chinese guarantee to respect the independence and neutrality of the ASEAN countries after 1975 might be more complicated. While there was no illusion of getting a guarantee from Beijing in the immediate future, the next four years should be utilized to create the conditions and to draw China into some sort of agreement to ensure the peace of Southeast Asia. Malaysian officials hoped to obtain major power guarantees for the neutralization of Southeast Asia by 1975.121 Kuala Lumpur never managed to obtain the full-hearted support of its neighbors for its neutralization policy even though the five ASEAN members cobbled together a Declaration of Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality (ZOPFAN) in

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Kuala Lumpur on 27 November 1971.122 During Vice President Spiro Agnew’s February 1973 visit to Malaysia, Tun Razak accepted the need for an American presence in the region for some years to come. He said he was thinking of three to four years down the road for the implementation of neutralization. US forces could be positioned in Hawaii and Guam, which were nearby Southeast Asia.123 On 25 October 1971, the Twenty-Sixth United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution Number 2758, which recognized the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the sole representative of China. The Razak Administration started the process of establishing diplomatic relations with China in the same year, culminating in the opening of diplomatic relations in 1974.124 The reason why Kuala Lumpur took three years to finally establish diplomatic relations with China was because of Beijing’s support of the CPM call for violence in May 1972. But “not wanting to be seen as intransigent,” Kuala Lumpur reluctantly accepted Beijing’s distinction between state-to-state and party-to party relations. In the words of Razak Baginda, “Kuala Lumpur often pointed out that China’s recognition of the country rendered the (CPM) struggle worthless.”125 Malaysia’s move was followed soon after by the Philippines, the second ASEAN country to formally recognize the People’s Republic, although Manila allowed trade relations with China as early as 1971–1972. Jose Almonte (who was then aide-de-camp to Executive Secretary Alejandro Melchor, Jr.) recalled that Marcos had given secret orders to Melchor to “explore” diplomatic relations with China and the Soviet Union as early as 1970.126 It is notable that both Kuala Lumpur’s and Manila’s very early and tentative approach to China in 1971 coincided with Henry Kissinger’s secret trips (July and October) to Beijing in the same year, “which put an end to more than two decades of diplomatic rupture” between the two countries.127 Kissinger’s visit paved the way for Nixon’s landmark visit to China in February 1972, which caught the world by surprise. Lee Kuan Yew had encouraged such rapprochement.128 He told Nixon in 1973 that his visit to China could not be “faulted except for the element of surprise.”129 Jose Almonte recalled how the world was “electrified by the shift away from the Cold War” following Nixon’s visits to China and to Moscow in May the same year. Marcos was concerned that the Philippines would be left behind. In his words, “we were looked at as a lapdog of American imperialism with two US military bases stationed in the country. By forging ties with the enemies of our allies, Marcos would be steering the Philippines slowly out of the big American umbrella.”130 Most notable amongst the numerous visits by Filipino officials to Beijing was the govern-

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ment delegation led by Imelda Marcos in September 1974. Foreign Secretary Carlos P. Romulo was of the view that SEATO should change its focus from opposing Beijing and communism to opposing subversion. In Romulo’s words, “with subversion, there can be no development.” Twice in the conversation, Romulo told Henry Kissinger that the Philippines needed logistics/military hardware, not American troops. Romulo suggested that Kissinger divert some of the hardware that Washington was withdrawing from Vietnam and Korea to the Philippines.131 Thailand was caught between its (1) need for the Americans because of the ongoing war in Indochina and the insurgency in north and northeastern Thailand, and (2) growing concern that the continued US military presence in the country would hinder Bangkok’s possibilities to establish working relations with Hanoi and Beijing. In fact, the Thais had been mulling over the establishment of diplomatic relations with China for some years. July 1969 was a “critical moment” for Thailand when Nixon declared the Guam Doctrine. Soon after, Bangkok tried to establish more contact with Beijing through third parties, such as Yugoslavia, Sweden, and France, as well as through Anand Panyarachun who was the Thai representative at the United Nations. On 13 January 1971, Foreign Minister Thanat Khoman, in a speech delivered in the United States, said that Thailand wanted cordial relations with China. As Tej Bunnag (then a young Foreign Ministry official) recalled, “[B]uilding ties with a communist country in the peak of anti-communist campaigns was not easy, especially when the Communist Party of China was providing support to the Communist Party of Thailand.”132 Eventually, Bangkok opened normal trade relations with China in 1974 and formally established diplomatic relations in July 1975. The two exceptions were Indonesia and Singapore, which did not establish formal relations with China till after the end of the Cold War.133 Sino–US relations after the rapprochement however did not develop as quickly as anticipated. At the end of 1967, Zhou Enlai was beginning to rein in the excesses of the ongoing Cultural Revolution in the area of foreign relations. Although Mao officially declared the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1969, it was not till after the Gang of Four was overthrown and the emergence of Deng Xiaoping at the helm in the latter part of 1976 that the Cultural Revolution was fully repudiated.134 Meanwhile, the Vietnamese communists’ quest for the much-needed military victory continued without any tangible results. On 2 September 1969, Ho Chi Minh died a disappointed man. The reunification of the country was

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nowhere in sight and the relationship of Hanoi’s two patrons—China and the Soviet Union—was at a nadir. Significantly, Ho’s untimely death did not lead to a power struggle in North Vietnam. Neither did it break the resolve of the Vietnamese communists. In the immediate months after Ho’s passing, there was also a noticeable improvement in Sino–Vietnamese relations, initiated by the Chinese side. The Sino–Vietnamese relationship had deteriorated because of Beijing’s disapproval of the strategy adopted in the Tet Offensive and also because of its unhappiness over Hanoi’s reluctance to side with Beijing in the ongoing Sino–Soviet dispute. Nixon’s ploys—his threat to unleash a massive mining and bombing operation on North Vietnam (Operation Duck Hook) as well as his activation of a secret nuclear alert to threaten the Soviet Union in October 1969 into pressuring the Vietnamese communists to negotiate—failed to unnerve the communists.135 While the Paris talks were going on, the Hanoi leadership at the Eighteenth Party Central Committee Meeting calculated that the military struggle was becoming an increasingly critical factor in bringing the Vietnam War to a conclusion. The communist leaders anticipated correctly that the fighting in Laos would soon spill over into Cambodia. On 18 March 1970, Sihanouk was ousted in a coup by Lon Nol. The coup was not directly instigated by the United States, but, as George Kahin pointed out, the perception was that Lon Nol and Sri Matak could not have made a number of moves without “backup assurances from the United States.”136 Declassified transcripts of the 1970–1971 conversations between Zhou Enlai and Henry Kissinger showed that Zhou believed that the CIA had a role in the deposition of Sihanouk. The coup essentially derailed the Paris talks for a time, further expanded the war, and brought about an uneasy coalition of the communist parties of the three Indochinese countries. The ouster of Sihanouk led the prince to join hands with the Khmer Rouge despite his not being a communist. The ramifications of the coup will be described in the next chapter. The relations between the Vietnamese and Cambodian communists were particularly troublesome and unstable. The attention of the Vietnamese communists in those months was not focused on the Paris talks but on how to exploit the 1970–1971 dry season to achieve a military advantage. After the 27 September 1970 private meeting between Xuan Thuy and Henry Kissinger, despite the many requests from the US side for another meeting, the parties did not meet again till 31 May 1971. During that eight-month hiatus, the communists conducted their 1970–1971 dry-season military campaigns. Although they were reasonably successful, they were not resounding enough to serve as

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leverage at the negotiations. Vietnamese communists’ relations with Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge continued to deteriorate. There were also telltale signs that Sino–US relations were thawing. All these developments would explain Hanoi’s decision to resume the secret talks at the end of May 1971. On 9 July 1971, Henry Kissinger made his first secret visit to Beijing. He left Beijing on 11 July and met Le Duc Tho the next day. The day after, on 13 July, Kissinger’s recent visit to Beijing was officially publicized worldwide. On 15 July, Nixon announced his plan to visit China. Believing that Beijing and Washington were in collusion to pressure Hanoi to concede in Paris, the knee-jerk reaction of the Vietnamese communists was to appear even more intransigent. Another natural response of the Hanoi leadership was to turn to the Soviet Union to counter-balance China, but they were only to learn that Nixon would visit Moscow next. This was clearly a very difficult period for the Vietnamese communists and there was a lot of soul searching on what should be their new strategy in the light of these developments. At the end of June 1972, four years after the Hanoi leadership first agreed to negotiations (in April 1968), they finally decided to shift “from a strategy of war to a strategy of peace.” This is a significant turning point. On 21 September 1972, Hanoi instructed their negotiators in Paris to make an all-out effort to obtain a peace agreement before November 1972 (that is, before the US presidential election). They almost managed to achieve that goal. Indeed, when Le Duc Tho and Kissinger met in early October 1972, they both agreed on a timetable leading to the signing of the peace agreement on either 30 or 31 October 1972. But at the last moment, Nixon decided to launch the controversial Linebacker II (Christmas bombings) to pressure Hanoi to accede to the revised peace terms and to assure Saigon of American support. This led to another two months of delay. Both Moscow and Beijing publicly condemned the bombings and reaffirmed their support for Hanoi. But in private, the Russians persuaded the Vietnamese communist leadership to continue to negotiate and to see workable compromises. The Chinese were also of the view that the prospect for an agreement was reasonably good and that Hanoi should go ahead to reach a settlement. Negotiations eventually resumed on 8 January 1973 and the Paris Peace Agreement was finally signed on 27 January 1973. Throughout the duration of the negotiations, the Hanoi leadership was determined that there would not be a repeat of Geneva 1954. Soon after the signing of the Paris Peace Agreement, in February 1973, the ASEAN foreign ministers established the ASEAN Coordinating Committee

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for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Indochina (ACCRIS) to consider the question of ASEAN aid to the Indochina states. The view was that both the ASEAN governments and the Indochina states should meet to “discuss matters of vital interest and mutual concern” and also “to remove misunderstanding and dispel suspicion, when and where they exist.” It was proposed that a conference of all Southeast Asian nations “to serve as an Asian Forum” be convened in the near future. This view was first expressed at the sixth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting in Pattaya in April that year and reiterated at the next meeting in Jakarta in May 1974.137 Henry Kissinger in his account of the peace negotiations recollected that both Nixon and he “had no illusions that Hanoi’s fanatical leaders had abandoned their lifetime struggle” and that he had warned Nixon in late 1972 that “Hanoi would press against the edges of any agreement and that the peace could only be preserved by constant vigilance.”138 But nobody, not even the Vietnamese communists themselves, expected that they would be able to reunify the country so quickly after the Paris Peace Agreement. Robert Hopkins Miller who visited South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in October 1974 in his capacity as the officer in charge of those three countries in the State Department’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs recalled that he left with the impression that the situation in Cambodia was fast deteriorating—“on the ragged edge”—and that “if friendly forces were deprived of ammunition, they could not survive for long.”139 In contrast, he found that Laos “resembled nothing so much as a peaceful, mythical kingdom of the mysterious East.” The Neo Lao Hak Xat (NLHX) and the Royal Laotian Government had signed the Vientiane Agreement on Restoring Peace and Achieving National Concord on 21 February 1973, about a month after the Paris Peace Agreement was signed. As for the situation in South Vietnam, Miller reported that it “appeared to be salvageable” and “tenable even though some territory was likely to be lost to Hanoi’s forces in the anticipated spring offensive of 1975.” Indeed, the Hanoi leadership had initially projected that the struggle would continue till 1976–1977 and no specific date was set for reunification. It was only at some point near July 1974 that a decision was taken to aim for a victory in 1975–1976. Tran Van Tra, then commander of the B2 Front, recalled that it was not easy to reach that decision and that there were long debates over the communists’ strengths and weaknesses vis-à-vis the South Vietnamese military (which was still being supplied by the US). By December 1974, the general sense was that the United States was unlikely to reintervene in the Vietnam War. Nixon had resigned four months earlier on 9 August 1974 and the US

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House of Representatives had also in that month slashed US military aid to South Vietnam. Still, most were only cautiously optimistic of an early victory. When the communist’s 1975 dry-season offensive began with the Tay Nguyen campaign on 4 March, no one—not even the most optimistic—expected the Saigon administration to capitulate within two months. In fact, the Hanoi leadership only gave the green light to attack Saigon on 22 April 1975. Saigon fell on 30 April 1975, marking the end of the Vietnam War.140 The fall of Saigon was a watershed in the international politics of Southeast Asia. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew fully concurred with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger that if Washington had kept the right to bomb North Vietnam and had there had been no Watergate scandal, the North Vietnamese communists would not have launched their military offensive in 1975. As Lee put it, “there was no inevitability [that Saigon] would fall,” but as events proceeded his immediate reaction was “one of astonishment and alarm at the rapidity with which the situation fell apart.” The Indonesians, too, were surprised not as much by the fall of Saigon but by the speed and completeness of the defeat. The Filipino leadership was also shocked by the US inaction in the face of the collapse of South Vietnam. Ferdinand Marcos was sympathetic toward Nixon and felt that Nixon’s troubles were brought about by a hostile press and Congress, which he also saw as being unfriendly to himself.

VI We pause at this point to make a short digression from the narrative to highlight three events between 1969 and 1973 respectively in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand that had some connections with the Cold War. The first was the 13 May 1969 riots in Malaysia, which occurred soon after the 11 May 1969 general election that saw the Alliance suffer its worse defeat since independence. The riots involved non-Malays, particularly the Chinese ethnic group that had performed exceptionally well in the recent election, and the Malays. In the words of K. Kesavapany, the episode “underscored the ethnic, social, and economic disparities of Malaysian society at that point of time.”141 The riots resulted in the declaration of a state of emergency followed by the Tunku stepping down as prime minister in 1971, the rejection of his approach in managing the multiracial society, and the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP)—an affirmative action policy that favored the indigenous Malays. The 13 May 1969 episode was essentially an issue of domestic politics. It is brought up here because the Tunku blamed the communists for inciting the riots. The riots strengthened the Tunku’s long-held view that Bei-

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jing was intent on taking over Southeast Asia, just as the Soviet Union did in Eastern Europe; and that the Vietnam War was much more than a civil war.142 The “official” account of the race riots remains unchanged and “any discussion of this dark episode in Malaysian history has been discouraged by the ruling party.”143 However, we now know from declassified British documents that the communists had nothing to do with the riots. In fact, Beijing was “very circumspect” in its comments on the riots, apparently not fully cognizant of the political developments there, and undecided how best to exploit the riots.144 A number of discontented Chinese youths, according to Chin Peng, did join the CPM across the Thai border. As Cheah Boon Kheng noted “after the riots, communalism, not communism, began to be in ascendancy.”145 The second event was the declaration of martial law in the Philippines in 1972. Like in Malaysia, this was also essentially a domestic issue whose details need not delay us. Suffice to note that by 1971, President Marcos having almost reached the two terms allowed under the constitution, was a “lame-duck president.” In order to extend his rule, he declared martial law in September 1972, which lasted till 1981.146 Foremost amongst his reasons for doing so was containing the spread of communism. Marcos pinned the blame on the CPP for the 21 August 1971 Plaza Miranda incident where nine were killed and a hundred, including candidates in the Senate election, were injured by grenade attacks during a pre-election rally organized by the Liberal Party. But there has been no concrete evidence to link the attack to the Philippine communists. The possibility that the attack was carried out by Marcos loyalists with or without his order cannot be ruled out.147 The reality was that even as late as the mid-1970s, the CPP was still not well organized and although it relaunched its armed struggle in 1969, the CPP–NPA was far from an effective fighting force ready to challenge the government.148 Maurice Baker who was then Singapore’s ambassador to the Philippines recalled Marcos claimed that the NPA numbered one thousand with another two thousand active supporters and a mass base of fifty thousand. But Brigadier-General Fidel V. Ramos told Baker that there were just between six hundred and one thousand insurgents. In fact, as David Steinberg noted, the declaration of martial law was “the best recruiter the NPA could have had.”149 The successes of the CCP were fairly limited until the declaration of martial law.150 As Filipino political scientist Francisco Nemenzo noted, “The irony is that Marcos declared martial law in 1972 precisely to nip this movement in the bud. Unluckily for him, martial law crippled only the moderate opposition parties who were caught unprepared. The resulting polarization contributed immensely to the growth of

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the NPA.”151 It is worth noting that the declaration of martial law by Marcos had the strong support of both the business community and Washington.152 In the words of Maurice Baker, “the US administration under all the presidents was fanatically anti-communist and supported right-wing dictators no matter what their human rights violations. . . . Even Jimmy Carter. . . .”153 The third and final event was the 14 October 1973 uprising in Thailand in which the student demonstrators were shot at by the army. Like the above events, this was essentially a domestic issue. The government/military junta blamed it on the communists when in fact the student uprising was an outcome of unhappiness over the inept rule of the military dictatorship. The students were against the Vietnam War and American use of Thai bases, as well as issues pertaining to social and economic inequalities in the country.154 From this perspective, one can argue that “the CPT helped to nudge the student movement leftwards” but the CPT did not lead or play any role in the uprising.155 The students were eventually “saved” by the king’s intervention and the military leaders—Thanom, Praphat, and Narong—were forced into exile. A brief period of civilian rule followed. The military response to the uprising however drove many students, who had avoided arrest, to join the CPT.156 Returning to our narrative, there was a general consensus that there was no immediate worry that Hanoi, “fully occupied with absorbing what they have already conquered,” would do more than exert control over Laos. But it was envisaged that the Vietnamese communists would step up their subversive activities in Thailand and Malaysia the following year. The communist insurgents in Thailand and Malaysia were “creatures in their own rights” but the Vietnamese communists’ triumph over the United States was inspiring to them. To ensure that the Vietnamese success would not be emulated by their other Southeast Asian comrades, regional actors felt that the United States could not afford to be protectionist and also had to provide Thailand and Malaysia with counter-insurgency assistance. At the same time, the ASEAN countries needed to put aside their differences and cooperate much more closely. The inaugural summit meeting of ASEAN heads of state was finally convened in Bali on 23–24 February 1976—one year shy of the organization’s tenth anniversary. The fall of Saigon jolted them to action. This was the time to allay fears and anxieties and to prevent the self-fulfilling prophecy of falling dominoes. It called for a new approach. Thus, almost immediately after the end of the Vietnam War, some Southeast Asian leaders for the first time began to

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openly question the assumptions behind the Domino Theory. For example, shortly after the fall of Saigon, on 6 May 1975, Malaysian Foreign Minister Tan Sri Mohammad Ghazali Shafie delivered a scathing critique of it. According to him, although the Vietnamese communists’ victory might inspire Malaysian insurgents, the Domino Theory was “patently suspect in terms of both theory and empirical validity” and that “in practical empirical terms” it had no relevance to the states of Southeast Asia. However, in his presentation, he did concede in passing that there was a time when the noncommunist Southeast Asian states believed in the theory.157 The next and final chapter will focus on the post-Vietnam War period, which is also the last phase of the Cold War in Southeast Asia.

CHAPTER 6

Ending the Cold War Chasm

I This chapter serves two purposes. It describes the noncommunists’ initial reactions to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia (Kampuchea) in December 1978 and the Sino–Vietnamese War in February 1979. It also recounts an implosion within the Asian communist camp, which marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. It was believed that the communist victory in Indochina, particularly in Vietnam, gave a fillip to the communist movement in the rest of Southeast Asia. Cambodia fell to the Khmer Rouge on 17 April 1975 ahead of the fall of Saigon on 30 April. Laos followed this, unsurprisingly, at the end of the year. The country closest to the communist epicenter in the region is Thailand. But the communist achievements in Indochina did not directly lead to the brief strengthening of the Communist Party of Thailand. We would recall from the previous chapter that the Thai government was indeed very nervous about the situation in Indochina long before April 1975. Some argued that US–Thai relations were too skewed towards military cooperation and proposed a more balanced relationship; others cautioned against moving too quickly towards China, citing the risk of subversion given that the situation in Southeast Asia remained unstable.1 Opinions were divided. Those on the left of the political spectrum interpreted the fall of Indochina as “the predictable and inevitable steps towards a new world order, which soon would also apply to the Thais,” while “conservative[s] perceived an urgent need to shield Thailand, Buddhism, and royalty from the evils that ensue when a communist revolution took place.”2 160

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As the political climate in Washington changed, so did the political mood in Bangkok. A delegation led by Anand Panyarachun, the Thai ambassador to the United States, traveled to Beijing in June 1975 to discuss diplomatic recognition. This was soon followed by Prime Minister Kukrit’s visit to Beijing on 1 July during which Thailand established diplomatic relations with China. The Thais were hopeful that by normalizing relations with China, Beijing could help counter the potential Vietnamese threat and would be more willing to reduce, if not terminate, its support of the communist insurgency in Thailand. Last but not least, they also saw the potential economic benefits that improved relations could bring. An account of an October 1976 conversation between Malcolm MacDonald (who had become chancellor of Durham University after his retirement from active politics) and King Bhumibol is worth relating here for what it reveals of the revered Thai king’s view of the communist threat to Thailand. This meeting took place in the immediate aftermath of the 6 October 1976 massacre (on the grounds of Thammasat University) of students protesting the return to Thailand of the former military dictator Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn. Apparently, the students also hung an effigy that supposedly resembled the Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn.3 This episode remains murky and is often described as a “black hole” in Thai history.4 The episode also marked the return to military rule, which replaced the civilian government installed after the October 1973 uprising, supported by the king. In the aftermath of the October 1976 massacre the military installed Tanin Kraivixien, known to be a hard-core anticommunist, as prime minister. According to King Bhumibol, the students “had been encouraged by outsiders” and “had developed relations with other associations such as the labour unions, not to improve conditions, but simply to increase their power.” Given that the king had to choose either a military government or student power, he chose the former even though he was “no lover of dictatorship.” Although the students might have some ideals, they lacked experience and “were badly influenced from outside,” King Bhumibol said. The military, on the other hand, “had a sense of discipline and responsibility, were concerned for the betterment of the country and had experience of government.” The king, based on his own conversations in villages in northeast Thailand following the communist takeover of Laos, concluded that there was no evidence that his subjects really wanted communism. A military-supported takeover of the government was in his view inevitable given the weakness of the civilian Sanya Thammasak caretaker government. Finally, and perhaps

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most importantly, the king said that “all sorts of forces had been at work in the events at Thammasat, including external and communist influences, but there had been very little if any actual evidence of Vietnamese involvement.”5 The overthrow of the government shattered the vision of a “more open democratic society” following the October 1973 incident.6 The new rightwing government was completely intolerant of any views that were critical of the government. Critics of the government were accused of endangering society and were promptly arrested. The violent handling of the October 1976 incident drove many students to join the insurgency, principally in the northeast region. They thus helped a surge in the communist strength—only to be subsequently disappointed and alienated by the “rigid Maoism of the CPT leadership.”7 Even Ne Win of “neutral” Burma (Myanmar), who initially adopted a nonchalant attitude when Saigon fell, paid an unpublicized visit to Beijing in November 1975 and both sides reiterated the principles of peaceful coexistence and nonintervention. Ne Win’s visit was preceded by his foreign minister in August. The Chinese however refused to accede to Ne Win’s request to terminate their support for the Communist Party of Burma (BCP).8 As David Steinberg and Hongwei Fan noted, “both sides had not made substantive progress in improving relations. . . . China was still implementing a ‘dual track’ foreign policy and maintaining support for the BCP while Burma was unwilling to support the Chinese against the Soviet Union and the United States.”9 In December 1976, leaders of the BCP visited Beijing and were warmly received by Hua Guofeng who had succeeded Mao Zedong. Despite Chinese support, the BCP performed badly in its fight with the Tatmadaw (the Burmese/Myanmar military), which caused the communists to be even more dependent on the Chinese. The collapse of communist headquarters in central Burma and the death of two of the BCP leaders in Bago Yoma precipitated a leadership reshuffle. The new central committee considered moving their headquarters from China to Burma (which they eventually did in 1978) and signed a ten-year agreement whereby the CCP would provide arms and ammunition to the BCP (a commitment which the Chinese fulfilled only until 1978). The Chinese also built an ammunition factory in Pangsan in 1977.10 The activities of the BCP continued to bother the Ne Win government, which made persistent efforts to cultivate the Chinese and to persuade them to end their support for the communists. Deng Yingchao, wife of the late Zhou Enlai and vice-chairman of the People’s National Congress, visited Burma in February 1977 and received an “enthusiastic reception, . . . usually only re-

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served for heads of state.” Deng was the first high-level Chinese leader to visit Burma since 1967. In April 1977, Ne Win led a high-level delegation to Beijing. High on the agenda was the BCP problem.11 In January 1978, Deng Xiaoping visited Burma as part of his foreign tour: his first step to shore up support for China against the Soviet Union and Vietnam (which we will elaborate below). Although Deng still refused to break off relations with the BCP, Chinese moral and material support for the communists was substantially reduced. However, that was not sufficient to satisfy Ne Win, who raised the issue again when he next visited China in October 1980. He left disappointed and angry at what he perceived to be continuing interference by China in Myanmar’s “internal affairs.”12 According to Robert Taylor, the BCP was apparently influenced by both internal and external pressures to reconsider its strategy and by 1981 it expressed some willingness to negotiate with the government to end the insurgency. However, the talks that the Chinese encouraged broke down “because of the government’s unwillingness to accept the communist demands that they be permitted to maintain autonomous territory under their sole control as well as the parallel existence with the government’s Army of the BCP guerrilla forces.”13 In the course of the 1980s, government-to-government relations incrementally improved particularly in the latter part of the decade “at the expense of party-to-party relations between the CCP and BCP.”14 This, in addition to the inability of the BCP to defeat the military, further weakened the communists. Many BCP cadres eventually accepted an amnesty offered by the government and surrendered. Beijing had also repeatedly encouraged the BCP leaders and high-ranking cadres to retire in China. The offer included a “modest government pension, along with a house and a plot of land” on the condition that they refrain from any further involvement in politics. The Chinese made the offer four times (in 1981, 1985, 1988, and 1989), but apart from some younger and lower-ranking cadres, none of the top leadership accepted it. In fact, at a secret crisis meeting in February 1989, BCP Chairman Thakin Ba Thein Sin “lashed out at the Chinese.”15 We know considerably less of Burma’s relations with the United States in the post-Vietnam War period. US Ambassador to Burma Maurice Darrow lacked access to Ne Win. Darrow was tasked by the administration of President Jimmy Carter to assist in the drug eradication programs in the Golden Triangle, where 80–90 percent of the world’s opium was produced. Rangoon was eager to curb heroin production in order to cut off the finances to the BCP insurgency in northeastern Shan state but was constrained by the remote location

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and the military’s lack of capacity to fight the rebels.16 Washington provided the Burmese army and air force with equipment to fight the war on drugs but the weapons were also used against the ethnic insurgents. Relations rapidly deteriorated after the mass uprising and the bloody military coup in 1988.17 In the words of Aung Saw, “after decades of ignoring Burma’s poor human rights record and political repression, Washington suddenly became a staunch champion of the country’s brutally suppressed pro-democracy movement and an outspoken critic of the junta.”18 The Philippines was under martial law from 1972 to 1981. As for Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore—despite having removed the “teeth and fangs” of the communist movements in their countries—their governments were deeply concerned by the turn of events in Indochina. Jakarta was the most disturbed given its antipathy to communism, particularly since 1965. Given Indonesia’s sense of entitlement as the largest country in Southeast Asia, it was also the least willing to accommodate China and Vietnam. Indeed, President Suharto had remarked that he was “far from convinced” that accommodating China or Vietnam would resolve the security concerns of the region. In his view, Hanoi and Beijing would eventually feel impelled by a sense of solidarity to help dissidents in the neighboring countries. Jakarta wished for American assistance in the modernization of the Indonesian armed forces so that the country could play a bigger security role in the region. Suharto paid an informal visit to the United States in July 1975 to discuss US interest and commitment to Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia. The Indonesians were pleased to hear that the United States considered Indonesia to be one of the principal countries in Asia and the main center of power in Southeast Asia. East Timor was not discussed but Jakarta was watching the Portuguese colony very closely and since early 1974 attempted through Operation Komodo (controlled by the Indonesian State Intelligence Agency or BAKIN) to influence political developments there. The objective was “for a peaceful, diplomatically driven act of self-determination that would favour absorption by Indonesia.”19 The failure of Operation Komodo to achieve its goal eventually led to the military taking over and launching Operation Seroja. President Ford visited Indonesia in December 1975. A few hours after his departure from Jakarta, Indonesia (with Washington’s tacit consent) invaded East Timor supposedly to forestall the region’s being controlled by the left-leaning Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor (Fretilin). Suharto had assured Kissinger that it would be “a small guerrilla war” and that it would be ended quickly.20

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The fighting and killings however continued till 1999. A recently discovered August 1975 document suggests that Canberra too was complicit in the brutal invasion.21 The Carter administration continued to value the strategic importance of Indonesia and despite its emphasis on human rights “failed to address the basic issue of self-determination” of the Timorese. Indeed most of the deaths in East Timor occurred between 1977 and 1981. The Final Report of the Commission for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR) noted that the Carter Administration “recognized Indonesia’s sovereignty, made no mention of self-determination in its annual human rights reports and voted against UN resolutions on Timor.” It was true also for the ASEAN member states.22 This indifference continued until the end of the Cold War.23 Singapore shared much the same gloom as the Indonesians, although communal resistance more than communism was considered a greater security threat in the city-state. According to the report of the Quadrilateral Intelligence Committee (Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and United States missions), the long-standing policy of the Malaysian communists (CPM) was to use Singapore as a source of personnel, material, and financial support—and to avoid overt political or terrorist acts that could jeopardize that. It was estimated that there were 250–300 hard-core communist cadres either in Singapore or within easy access to Singapore from Johore, and approximately 500–600 communist sympathizers.24 Malaysia, although it was unhappy with the continuing Chinese support of the CPM, viewed Beijing as “offering potential ballast against the Vietnamese.”25 Kuala Lumpur quietly approached the Americans for weapons, armored cars, and communications equipment.26 The Malaysian Internal Security was also very effective and apparently had a good grasp of the insurgency problem in the country. The Malaysian communists were unable to integrate with the forces of nationalism, unlike in China and Vietnam, and thus “had a limited scope, as they did not develop into a civil war or ethnic conflict. . . . They appeared to be fighting for the sake of their ideology and remained isolated from the mainstream politics of the new nation-state.”27 Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore were worried that Thailand, which they saw as the “weak link in ASEAN,” would be too accommodating towards Hanoi; the Indonesians were the most apprehensive.28 This explains why Lee Kuan Yew in his conversations with the Americans kept urging them to reassure Bangkok that Washington would not leave the Thais high and dry after the Vietnam War.29

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II The Cold War in Southeast Asia was transformed when the whole of Indochina came under communist control. A major question was this: What would the attitude of the North Vietnamese be towards their neighbors who had in one way or another supported the Americans in the Vietnam War? There was the fear that Hanoi would become the “fountain-head of regional communism,” thus a sense of urgency for the ASEAN states to cobble together a regional approach to counter the perceived encroachment of communism.30 In the wake of the fall of Saigon, the eighth ministerial meeting of ASEAN was convened in Kuala Lumpur from 13–15 May 1975. This ASEAN meeting deserves attention although it is less well known and has been overshadowed by the more prominent First ASEAN Heads of State Summit in February 1976, when the five ASEAN leaders met for the first time since 1967. Nevertheless, the May 1975 ASEAN meeting has been described by Tunku Abdul Rahman as “the most vital one to be held since its (ASEAN) birth.”31 In his opening speech, Singapore’s Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam summed up ASEAN’s stance well when he said that “we should not give the impression, as far as ASEAN is concerned, that we are hostile (to the Indochinese states) until they prove to us that they are hostile to a non-communist Southeast Asia. Equally, ASEAN should not give the impression that it is disconcerted by the emergence of communist or communist-influenced regimes. . . . [N]or should we give the impression that we are prepared at any cost to re-adjust ourselves to win the favour of the Indochinese states. We should not be the only ones wooing the new regimes in Indochinese; they should be wooing us, too. They must feel that we are as important to their well-being as we think they could be to our well-being.”32 In their press statement issued at the end of the meeting, the foreign ministers “welcomed the end of the war and the restoration of peace in Cambodia and South Vietnam” and expressed the hope that it would open up prospects for real peace in the region. They further expressed “their readiness to enter into friendly and harmonious relationship with each nation in Indochina” and “reiterated their willingness to cooperate with these countries in the common task of national development” on the basis of the five Bandung principles of peaceful existence. “[D]ifferences in social and political systems . . . should not be an obstacle . . . to relations. . . .”33 The idea of a conference of all Southeast Asian states, expressed at the previous sixth and seventh ASEAN ministerial meetings, was however dropped and not mentioned again. Tunku Abdul Rahman cautioned, “The ASEAN policy of live-and-let-live is a simple and good

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policy, but it must be well-based. ASEAN nations should not be duped like the fly, invited by the spider as a gesture of friendship to ‘come into my parlour’.”34 Noting that Beijing still refused to stop supporting the communist parties in the region, the Tunku concluded that the position was “status quo. . . . No assurance of peace or even of peaceful co-existence is given.”35 The Chinese were evidently interested in establishing state-to-state relations with the noncommunist Southeast Asian states without having to give too much away in the process. As Shu Guang Zhang noted, in his final years, Mao “was resolved to break through the country’s self-imposed isolation from the international community” which Deng Xiaoping pursued with “a great deal more rigour” when he assumed power shortly after Mao’s death. It was, however, not a simple and straightforward path and involved many twists and turns. The top priority of the post-Mao leadership was to advance China’s economic development.36 A summary of a conversation between Malcolm MacDonald and Chinese Foreign Minister Qiao Guanhua on 17 June 1975 is worth highlighting here. In response to MacDonald’s comment that Chinese recent statements of sympathy with the communist insurgents’ activities in Southeast Asia was an obstacle to Sino–Southeast Asian relations, Qiao remarked that this position was “nothing new or hitherto unknown regarding Chinese government’s policy. Everyone recognised that it had always given moral support to the communist fighters in Southeast Asia (as well as other parts of the world) but that it gave them no military or other material aid.” Qiao was clearly not being completely truthful here. In response to his comment that it was unhelpful for the Chinese to choose to make a such public statement in the wake of the fall of Saigon, MacDonald recalled that Qiao responded “with an unusual vehemence which made me feel that perhaps he personally agreed with me, but that (in front of the other Chinese at the table) he felt he must defend an official policy which had been imposed on him by higher Powers-that-be in Beijing.” In the course of the conversation, Qiao also criticized Lee Kuan Yew. He was particularly unhappy with Lee’s speech at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, on 30 April 1975. In that speech, Lee had spoken about the Americans, Russians, and Chinese not wanting to fight each other but would do so through “third parties, their proxies.” Qiao added that the Chinese did not care whether or not Singapore recognized the PRC. In his words, “Singapore was an unimportant little state, and it would not matter if it retained its obstinate unfriendliness towards China for many years.”37

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Singapore, however, did reach out to Beijing after Malaysia, the Philippines, and Thailand. Singapore’s Foreign Minister S. Rajaratnam had visited China in March 1975 at the invitation of none other than Qiao. This paved the way for Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s visit in May 1976.38 Singapore’s position was that it would be “at the end of the queue” in exchanging diplomatic missions with China because of its relations with Indonesia. They were so important that Singapore must wait until the Indonesian government was ready to exchange ambassadors with China.39 As John Wong noted, despite not having formal diplomatic relations till 1990, Singapore’s “half-relations” with China had not hampered the “normal progress of economic links. . . . Singapore was the only country in the region whose trade and business with China had never been disrupted, not even at the height of the Cold War. For many years, bilateral trade was carried out in the absence of a formal diplomatic framework.”40 The general consensus among political observers is that nothing substantial happened in ASEAN in the first ten years.41 The first high point of ASEAN since its formation in 1967 was its inaugural summit of heads of state in Bali (23–24 February 1976), one year shy of its tenth anniversary. ASEAN meetings previously had been attended by the foreign ministers and department officials. Two of ASEAN’s most well-known agreements emerged from the initial heads of state summit: the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia, which remains an essential document for diplomatic relations within the organization to this day, and the Declaration of ASEAN Concord that essentially remains the key working document of the member nations. Both agreements are reiterations and extensions of the Bangkok Declaration signed in 1967. The communist victory in Indochina was without doubt the stimulus for convening the leadership summit. While the noncommunist Southeast Asian states concurred that the communist victory in Indochina need not necessarily lead to a domino effect, there was concern that the communist successes would encourage and possibly give material support (for example, American military equipment left behind in Vietnam) to local insurgency movements. That could lead “possibly to regional wars of a dangerous size with the great powers aiding but not intervening.”42 Thus they saw a need to develop and strengthen “national and ASEAN resilience.”43 Both sides remained suspicious of each other although ASEAN made the first move to proffer an olive branch, as well. The joint communiqué, without specifically citing the Indochinese states by name, stated that the ASEAN countries were ready “to develop fruitful relations and mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries in the region” and hoped

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that those “other powers” would do the same for “peace, stability and progress in Southeast Asia.”44 In contrast, Kampuchea did not respond to ASEAN’s offer of recognition. Laos had said it would not join ASEAN. Vietnam remained critical of the association and published its “most detailed attack against ASEAN on the eve of the Bali summit.”45 Vietnamese statements, as well as those by the Laotian Communist Party during this period, showed (in Michael Leifer’s words) that “Vietnam’s position was not only hostile but also alarming because of open support proffered to revolutionary movements in the region.”46 Lee Kuan Yew has presented the most articulate and persuasive analysis of Southeast Asia in the immediate aftermath of the Vietnam War. According to Lee, neither Beijing nor Hanoi would contemplate deliberate aggression against the other Southeast Asian countries. The main danger was an increase in guerrilla activities fuelled by the large quantities of arms and ammunition (from the Indochina theater) likely to fall into dissident hands. Thus, as long as the noncommunist Southeast Asian governments “act sensibly against these dissidents, and at the same time build up enough general prosperity to preserve the loyalty of the bulk of the population, they should be able to contain the communist threats, which are unlikely to have more than moral support from any of the communist powers, at least in the near term.”47 Reflecting on the early years of ASEAN, Lee recalled that it took ten years before the association developed cohesion and direction in its activities, which was also “time for the leaders and officials to get to know and take the measure of each other.” In his words, “we had a common enemy—the communist threat in guerrilla insurgencies, backed by North Vietnam, China, and the Soviet Union. We needed stability and growth to counter and deny the communists the social and economic conditions for revolutions. America and the West were prepared to help us. . . . While ASEAN’s declared objectives were economic, social, and cultural, [we] knew that progress in economic cooperation would be slow. We were banding together more for political objectives, stability, and security. ASEAN succeeded in creating a sense of stability and security, but as expected, initially there was little tangible progress.”48 Washington (as well as London) was pleased with ASEAN developments. Both agreed that it was “lucky that ASEAN was already firmly established when Indochina fell” and that ASEAN was showing “more and more cohesion.” Washington’s attitude towards ASEAN was the same as it was at its formation. According to Philip Habib (then US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs), “The US had no wish to interfere with, or seem to be manip-

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ulating, ASEAN but agreed to deal with it on economic matters. . . .”49 The Australians too were positive about ASEAN’s development. Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser remarked that “despite the impatience of some of its critics (including Lee Kuan Yew) at the rate of its progress, ASEAN has . . . emerged the most important and significant organisation in the region. . . .”50 On 30 June 1977, SEATO, a symbol of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, was officially disbanded. Established in 1954 with a bit of a bang, it ended twenty-three years later without a whimper. The SEATO Council at its twentieth meeting in September 1975 simply stated that the organization would be terminated “in view of the changing circumstance.”51 Indeed, in 1971, it was already being described, in private, as “long being a dead horse.”52 After President Nixon’s visit to Beijing in February 1972, ushering in a new US policy in Asia, there was renewed speculation about SEATO’s future. This, in addition to France’s and Pakistan’s disinterest in the organization, “contributed to strengthen the general view that SEATO’s days were numbered.” Indeed, Gough Whitlam (who would become the prime minister of Australia in December 1972) on the eve of the seventeenth meeting of the SEATO Council (27–28 June 1972) made the remark that this would be “the last time that busy Foreign Ministers wasted time on such a charade.”53 The Thais however wanted the organization to remain with some finetuning, particularly in the area of intelligence and better coordination between SEATO’s military and economic activities in Thailand. The Filipinos also took the view that the treaty should not be scrapped but needed a “massive overhaul” given the changed situation in the region. So, at the seventeenth meeting, SEATO was given a “reprieve.” In the words of the British ambassador in Bangkok, “I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that at Canberra it was given at least the prospect of a new lease of life but equally I think that it would be unrealistic to deny that it remains a terminal patient.”54 In July 1975, both the Thais and the Filipinos, having established relations with Beijing and hoping to normalize relations with the Indochina states, finally agreed on phasing out SEATO “without any discussion of the Manila Pact.”55 This was confirmed at the twentieth and final SEATO Council meeting in September the same year. It was agreed that SEATO would be phased out over a period of two years.56

III According to Ghazali Shafie, at the time of the Bali Summit in 1976, the ASEAN member states were paying particular attention to the situation in

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Kampuchea [formerly Cambodia], particularly with regards to Beijing and Hanoi—which seemed to have brought the country “to a new stage of fluidity.” It was for this reason that ASEAN “decided in favour of prudence and to wait a little longer before taking a definite position collectively” with regards to Indochina.57 We would recall the negativity and lack of enthusiasm of the Indochinese states towards ASEAN mentioned above. By the Second ASEAN Summit in August the following year, the attitudes of the Indochinese countries had somewhat changed. In the joint communiqué issued at the end of the Second ASEAN Summit (of heads of state) in Kuala Lumpur in 1977, the meeting “noted with satisfaction that exchanges of diplomatic and trade visits as high level have enhanced the prospects of improved relations between ASEAN countries and the countries of Indochina.”58 It is this turn of events that we must now explore. By July 1976, the Vietnamese attitude towards the ASEAN countries (if not ASEAN, itself) appeared to have shifted away from a negative or even hostile approach: Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Phan Hien went to Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Singapore, Rangoon, and Vientiane. The destinations were deliberately chosen to show that Phan Hien was not on a tour of ASEAN countries, per se, as Hanoi remained unwilling to recognize the association. On the eve of Phan Hien’s Southeast Asian trip, Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh, proposed a four-point policy towards the Southeast Asian countries, that generally corresponded to the ASEAN agreements reached earlier in Bali.59 During this trip, Vietnam also established diplomatic relations with the Philippines despite the fact that Manila still hosted American military bases. Hanoi also showed much interest in developing economic relations with the individual Southeast Asian countries. K. K. Nair noted that “most observers seem to see the Phan Hien swing through the region as an indication that Vietnam, despite its double-edged policy, was softening its position towards ASEAN.”60 Nevertheless, concerns remained as Hanoi persisted in supporting the communist insurgencies in the Southeast Asian countries. According to Phan Hien, Hanoi was merely supporting “the just cause of the peoples of Southeast Asia fighting for independence.”61 In his opening address at the Tenth ASEAN Ministerial Meeting held in Singapore in July 1977, Lee Kuan Yew emphasized that “the changed political situation in Southeast Asia required ASEAN countries to build their relations with Vietnam, Laos, and Kampuchea on a constructive and productive basis with the assurance that there would be non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.”62 (My emphasis.) By the time of the Second ASEAN Summit in August, the

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consensus was that relations were beginning to thaw although much more needed to be done.63 Writing about this period thirty years later, Luu Van Loi (assistant to Vietnam’s foreign minister from 1970–1978) defended Hanoi’s attitude during those years. He wrote that Vietnam then “did not fully understand the situation of Southeast Asian countries and was still imbued with the two-camp ideology of the cold war period, but it clearly revealed our policy of peace and our desire for cooperation with the Southeast Asian countries in general and ASEAN countries in particular.”64 The following year at the Eleventh ASEAN Foreign Ministers Meeting (Pattaya, 14–16 June 1978), Thai Prime Minister General Kriangsak Chomanan in his opening speech said that he was “heartened by the positive and constructive responses of other regional countries, especially Vietnam, Laos and Kampuchea, to the bilateral contacts being fostered by the ASEAN member countries.”65 From the Vietnamese perspective, the period 1976–1978 is considered to be the “start of the fine relations between Vietnam and ASEAN” but was derailed by the “Cambodia problem.”66 The “Cambodia problem” Luu referred to was the Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea (as Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge regime was then called) in December 1978. That started the Third Indochina War that in the words of Odd Arne Westad “created shock-waves within the international system of states. Not only was this the first time that countries led by Communist parties had been at war with each other, but these wars also happened in the immediate aftermath of the Second Indochina War during which the Vietnamese, Chinese, and Cambodian Communists had been allies fighting the United States. For many, the world seemed to have turned upside down. The certainties of the past—especially the question of who was allied to whom—seems to evaporate alongside the hopes for stability and peace in Indochina. . . .”67 When Phan Hien visited Southeast Asia in July 1976, the war was not imminent although Vietnam–Cambodia relations were rocky. Space does not allow us to delve into the root causes of the acrimony between Vietnam and Cambodia here. Newly independent countries are especially sensitive of their territorial integrity. Both Vietnam and Cambodia had land and maritime border problems and disagreements that resulted in sporadic skirmishes soon after April 1975. Between April 1975 and December 1977, the Vietnamese made a number of attempts to settle the border disputes. In June 1975, Phan Hien met with Cambodian officials and both sides agreed to the establishment of provincial liaison committees to resolve their problems at the local level, and—if

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that failed—to raise the issues to higher authorities. In the same month, Kampuchea’s Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot headed a delegation to Hanoi to discuss the Vietnamese seizure of Poulo Wai islands, which were subsequently returned to the Cambodians in August 1975. Le Duan had also made a trip to Phnom Penh in August for further discussions on the border disputes. The Vietnamese media reported that both sides had reached a “a shared point of view” but it was short lived. In April 1976, Pol Pot became prime minister in a cabinet that included pro-Vietnam members who had their own power base and armed forces. At this time, Pol Pot (and his clique) had still not demolished his opponents. In the same month, Kampuchea and Vietnam agreed to hold a high-level meeting in June to resolve any outstanding differences and to draft a border treaty. The summit, however, did not materialize because the Cambodian side apparently aborted the preparatory and agenda meeting midway.68 According to Soviet sources, the Vietnamese underestimated the Khmer leadership’s determination to govern Cambodia independently and without relying upon external support, a mistake that then-Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Co Thach admitted to the German communists in 1978. The Vietnamese held on to its neocolonialist mindset of wanting to control Kampuchea (and Laos) by supporting like-minded people in positions of power. In the first half of 1976, they still believed they could achieve this and were hopeful that Vietnam–Cambodia relations were improving. The Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister Hoang Van Loi told the Soviet ambassador in July 1976 that the Vietnamese leadership “deems it necessary to have patience and work towards gradually strengthening its influence in Cambodia.”69 In September 1976, Pol Pot stepped down as prime minister for reasons that remain unclear but were possibly related to the power struggle with the pro-Hanoi faction. He was only to resume the position in late October 1976. Over the next two years until the Vietnamese invasion in December 1978, Pol Pot’s faction successfully carried out an extermination campaign of all his opponents, mostly those who were either pro-Vietnamese or had links with Vietnam. In February 1977, Hoang Van Loi made a confidential trip to Phnom Penh with the proposal of holding a summit of Vietnamese and Kampuchean leaders but was rejected by Pol Pot. The failure of Loi’s visit “finally convinced” the Hanoi leadership that it was impossible to come to terms with the Kampuchean regime.70 The twists and turns in Sino–Vietnamese relations share some connections with that of Vietnam and Cambodia. By April 1975 when the Vietnam

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War ended, Sino–Vietnamese relations were already becoming difficult. Le Duan’s first visit to Beijing in September 1975, soon after the reunification of Vietnam, was a sharp contrast to that of Pol Pot earlier in June. Most significantly, the Vietnamese leadership’s refusal to accept Mao’s “Three Worlds” theory, which required Hanoi to oppose the Soviet Union, further soured Sino–Vietnamese relations.71 It should be noted that Hanoi also refused to side with Moscow in the Sino–Soviet ideological dispute and continued to procrastinate over Moscow’s invitation to join the Russian-led Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) and grant Soviet access to Cam Ranh Bay. At the 4th Congress of the Vietnamese Workers’ Party (VWP) in December 1976, all of the ostensibly pro-China group—as well as those who had reservations of a unified Indochinese communist movement under Vietnam’s leadership—were purged. Sino–Vietnamese relations went quickly downhill from then and never recovered till the 1990s. The ethnic Chinese and border issues between Vietnam and China which emerged in 1977 were mere symptoms of a much deeper malaise. In contrast, Vietnam’s relations with the Soviet Union were relatively better than with China. In February 1977, Beijing informed the Vietnamese that they were unable to provide new economic aid because of domestic economic problems although financial support and technical aid to Kampuchea were unaffected. In reality it was because of Beijing’s way of showing displeasure with the conduct and outcome of the VWP’s Fourth Party Congress. Hence, the Vietnamese turned to the Soviet Union for help. There were a series of successful visits to Moscow led by Pham Van Dong, Vo Nguyen Giap, Truong Chinh, and Le Duan. A Soviet military delegation in turn visited Hanoi in October 1977. It can be said that Sino–Vietnamese animosity played into the hands of the Soviet Union, which seized the opportunity to increase its influence in Vietnam. The Khmer Rouge, on the other hand, never managed to develop a close relationship with Moscow.72 Sino–Vietnam and Vietnam–Kampuchea relations became intertwined. Meanwhile, Hanoi was keen to normalize relations with Washington after the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement, but the situation was not conducive. Although the American military might have withdrawn from Vietnam, the war had not really ended. Soon after the fall of Saigon, Prime Minister Pham Van Dong extended a formal overture to the United States to normalize relations—on the condition that Washington fulfilled its commitment to provide reconstruction aid to North Vietnam (as stated in Article 21 of the 1973 Paris Peace Agreement). The Ford Administration, however, was only prepared to

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discuss normalization of relations without any preconditions. Aid would only be considered when the American side was satisfied that the Vietnamese were seriously addressing the MIA issue, which was a very high-priority concern in the United States. Thus, for the first eighteen months after the fall of Saigon (May 1975–December 1976), the two sides were “locked into their uncompromising stances.”73 Another reason for the intransigence of the Ford Administration was that “Vietnamese–American normalisation would have hampered Kissinger’s geopolitical strategy.” Kissinger’s foremost concern was, and always had been, the balance of US–Soviet relations and the strategic importance of the China factor in the equation. As Steven Hurst put it, “easing Chinese fears of Soviet Vietnamese collusion would have reduced the incentive to normalise with the United States on terms acceptable to Washington.”74 The arrival of a new president in the White House in 1977 appeared to provide both sides with a fresh opportunity to revisit the issue of relations. The state department of the Carter Administration had a different perspective and approach from that of Kissinger. Whereas Kissinger was principally focused on US–Soviet relations (and Southeast Asia was to him just a subordinate or an extension of that relationship), the new Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and his assistant for Far Eastern and Pacific Affairs, Richard Holbrooke, placed ASEAN at the core of American policy in Southeast Asia. In the case of Vietnam, they saw a country “trying to find a balance between overdependence on either the Chinese or the Soviet Union” thus offering “an opportunity for a new initiative.” It was in American interests, Vance believed, to wean Vietnam of its dependence on China and/or the Soviet Union.75 The Carter Administration however shared the same position as its predecessor. Reconstruction aid could only be discussed after the MIA accounting had been satisfactory concluded. This did not appear to be a difficult task since the House Select Committee on Missing Persons in Southeast Asia, which delivered its final report in late 1976, had concluded that there were no American POWs alive in Indochina. The American side was hopeful of a quick agreement. But negotiations in 1977 to bring about normalization failed because the Hanoi leadership insisted that the United States was legally bound to provide aid. To make matters worse, as a rebuke to Washington’s refusal to fulfill the aid commitment Hanoi stubbornly refused to bring the MIA accounting to a close. After the failures of March and May 1977 meetings, no more substantial discussions occurred. In October, Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach met Holbrooke during the United Nations General Assembly and both agreed

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to meet for further talks to find a compromised solution. Subsequently, Phan Hien and Holbrooke met in Paris from 7–10 December 1977 but could not resolve their differences. Thus by the end of 1977 (at the time of Nguyen Duy Trinh’s ASEAN tour), the only country that Vietnam could depend on, when push came to shove, was the Soviet Union. Phan Hien’s July 1977 visits across Southeast Asia should be seen in the above context. By the time of Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Duy Trinh’s tour of ASEAN capitals (except Singapore) 20 December 1977–12 January 1978, Vietnamese relations with both Kampuchea and China had deteriorated even more. Vietnam–Kampuchea territorial disputes became so serious that following a massive Vietnamese attack on Kampuchea’s eastern frontier zone in December 1977, Phnom Penh severed diplomatic relations with Vietnam on 31 December 1977.76 Beijing was clearly on the side of the Khmer Rouge. Trinh’s mission was to present Hanoi’s point of view of the developments in Indochina and also to improve relations with the ASEAN countries, but he met with minimal success. As K. K. Nair observed, “The fact that the Vietnamese foreign minister continued his tour while the battles were going on at home seemed to underline the importance he attached to the ASEAN mission.”77 Phnom Penh, not wanting to have two large and unfriendly neighbors at the same time, was also making efforts to improve relations with Bangkok. The Thais in particular had the difficult task of improving relations with both Kampuchea and Vietnam and at the same time remain neutral in the Vietnam–Kampuchea conflict. Vietnamese relations with both Kampuchea (and China) continued in its tailspin in 1978, culminating in the final decision taken towards the end of 1978 to invade Kampuchea. The worsening of Sino–Vietnamese relations corresponded with the rupture in Vietnam–Kampuchea relations. Chinese public statements in 1978 clearly showed that Beijing’s sympathy lay with the Khmer Rouge regime. China suspended all aid to Vietnam at the end of May 1978 and recalled all their specialists in Vietnam on 3 July. Vietnam joined COMECON on 29 June. Finally, in July 1978, a resolution was passed that identified China as Vietnam’s primary enemy. Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua in a May 1978 conversation with Zbigniew Brzezinski (President Carter’s national security adviser) succinctly described the Chinese perspective of the developments in Indochina as a “problem of regional hegemony.” Vietnam’s goal was to dominate Kampuchea and Laos and establish the Indochinese Federation and “behind there lies the Soviet Union.” So rightly or wrongly the Chinese saw Moscow as supporting if not directing Vietnamese aspiration. Vietnam

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had already achieved its dominance over Laos but was encountering difficulties in Cambodia. Vietnamese–Kampuchean tension was “more than merely some sporadic skirmishes along the borders” but a major conflict that “may last for a long time” as long as Vietnam persisted in realizing its goal.78 It was amid rumors emanating from Bangkok that Hanoi was planning to attack Kampuchea in order to oust the Khmer Rouge regime that Foreign Minister Pham Van Dong visited the ASEAN countries in September–October 1978 in a failed attempt to improve relations with the ASEAN states. Lee Kuan Yew recalled that Dong (who was in Singapore on 16 October) was “arrogant and objectionable.”79 By mid-October 1978, it was clear to the Vietnamese that Washington’s priority was China and Vietnam–US normalization would not happen in the foreseeable future. With no prospect of US–Vietnam rapprochement and Sino–Vietnamese relations at its nadir, the only country that Vietnam could count on was the Soviet Union. The moment when push came to shove had arrived. Hanoi finally signed the Treaty of Friendship with the Soviet Union on 3 November 1978, which Vietnamese Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach explained was a necessary response to China’s preparation for an invasion of Vietnam as evidenced by its military moves along the Sino–Vietnamese border.80 To Beijing, the treaty was synonymous to having a Cuba next to China. We do not have any direct evidence that Moscow instigated or urged the invasion of Kampuchea.81 But this does not mean that Moscow was not aware of Hanoi’s intention. According to Dmitry Mosyakov, Soviet documents revealed that in an October 1978 meeting, the Vietnamese firmly assured Soviet representatives concerned about the Chinese response to any invasion that “China will not have time to dispatch large military units to Phnom Penh to rescue the Kampuchean regime.” During the meeting, they were also rather open in telling the Soviets what they knew of the Kampuchean leadership.82 By late November 1978, when the rainy season had ended, most observers expected a large-scale Vietnamese attack of Kampuchea, although the precise timing and the nature of the military campaign remained unclear. Defense analysts in Singapore, for example, were of the view that Hanoi had two options—an all-out invasion leading to the capture of Phnom Penh and the occupation of Kampuchea or “a more prudent military option,” which was to close in on the Khmer Rouge troops deployed along the border and destroy or disperse them without the necessity of a Vietnamese occupation of the whole country. Engaging the Khmer Rouge troops would enable pro-Vietnamese Kampuchean armed forces to occupy Kampuchean territory with relative ease while Pol

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Pot’s troops were engaged with the Vietnamese army. The first option was likely to provoke a major Chinese military response. No one could tell with certainty whether the recently signed defense treaty between the Soviet Union and Vietnam would deter the Chinese. An all-out invasion would also likely damage Hanoi’s standing in the Third World. The ASEAN states would view it as “naked aggression,” while Japan and the West would be “greatly disturbed” and would be less inclined to give aid to Vietnam.83 In the end, Vietnam chose the first option believing that “in two weeks, the world will have forgotten the Kampuchean problem.”84 The Vietnamese have, in retrospect, admitted that it was a strategic mistake.85 In the words of Alice Ba, “Whatever optimism ASEAN states may have had for an all-encompassing resilient Southeast Asian regional order came to an end. . . . ASEAN states all viewed Vietnam’s intervention as highly problematic and not easily dismissed.”86 With the invasion, the Cold War configuration in Southeast Asia changed. As the saying goes, “nations have no permanent friends/allies or enemies, only permanent interests.” The noncommunist Southeast Asian countries were now in a marriage of convenience, an uncomfortable alliance with China against Vietnam and the Soviet Union. As Ralph Smith noted, “Cambodia was now the focal point of rivalry between a pro-Soviet Vietnam and anti-Vietnam forces headed by China. But Beijing’s continuing assistance to the forces of Khieu Samphan and Pol Pot, although controversial from a humanrights point of view, presented no security threat to the US; nor to ASEAN. . . .”87 Both the United States and ASEAN in turn supported the Khmer Rouge in the fight to oust the Vietnamese from Kampuchea. Beijing was unable to prevent the Vietnamese invasion of their client-state Kampuchea in December 1978. While not surprised by the Vietnamese invasion, the Chinese were taken aback by the speed at which it took place. In response, the Chinese launched an attack on Vietnam on 17 February 1979 “to teach Vietnam a lesson” for its invasion of Kampuchea.88 Apparently the idea of punishing Vietnam for its “ungrateful and arrogant behaviour” was discussed in a Politburo meeting as early as May 1978 and the decision was eventually taken in “absolute secrecy” two months later during a regular Chinese Politburo meeting. Deng Xiaoping succeeded in persuading the skeptics that (a) the limited military action would demonstrate to Moscow (which Deng believed instigated and emboldened the Vietnamese to invade Kampuchea) that China “was ready to stand up to its bullying” and (b) Moscow would not want to get militarily involved. The Chinese strategy was to frame the military action as part of a “global anti-hegemonic strategy serving broader interests” (rather than

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just a bilateral conflict between Vietnam and China). For this, they would first need to improve relations with the United States, noncommunist Asia, and the West.89 During the deliberations of the Enlarged Working Conference of the Chinese Politburo (11 November-15 December 1978) a debate over whether or not to intervene on behalf of the Khmer Rouge took place. This conference has been described as marking the establishment of Deng Xiaoping’s control over the key levers of power in the Party Central Committee. The hawks, such as Wang Dongxing, reportedly supported Pol Pot’s request for troops. The first political commissar of the PLAN (Chinese navy) suggested sending a detachment of the East Sea Fleet to help guard Kampuchean territorial waters. Veteran commander of the Guangxi Military Region, Xu Shiyou, even offered to lead his troops against the Vietnamese. But in the analysis of Deng Xiaoping and his close associates, the fighting between Vietnam and Kampuchea was Moscow’s ploy to bait China into sending troops into Kampuchea. That would then give the Soviet Union an opportunity to mobilize world opinion against China and sabotage China’s modernization goals. Vietnam’s membership of COMECON (29 June 1978) followed not long after by the Treaty with the Soviet Union (3 November 1978) affirmed Deng’s view. Deng thus preferred a “self-defensive counterattack” on Vietnam rather than an intervention in Kampuchea, as such actions would not give the Soviets a pretext to attack China. It would also not provoke unfavorable international reaction and interrupt China’s modernization agenda. It would however demonstrate to the Soviet Union and to Vietnam China’s determination and ability to break through any encirclement. From Deng’s argument, it can be gleaned that it was not so much Kampuchea’s territorial integrity that he was concerned with but China’s security.90 The Chinese launched an attack on Vietnam on 17 February 1979 “to teach Vietnam a lesson” for its invasion of Kampuchea.91 The Chinese attack did not surprise the ASEAN countries. Lee Kuan Yew recalled in his memoir that when Deng Xiaoping visited Singapore in November 1978, a possible Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea was very much on the Chinese leader’s mind—and on Lee’s as well. He probed Deng on the Chinese response if indeed the Vietnamese crossed the Mekong River. From the conversation with Deng, he concluded that China would not sit by idly.92 A declassified Australian analysis issued less than a fortnight before the Chinese invasion pointed out that the Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea “created an extremely dangerous situation” that had “the potential for expansion into a war involving the So-

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viet Union and China.” But on hindsight it also came to the wrong conclusion that the Chinese military buildup along the Sino–Vietnamese border looked “much more likely to be part of a war of nerves than the prelude to an attack on Vietnam.”93 While the ASEAN countries felt that Vietnam could not be let off without repercussions, none could officially support the Chinese action for the same reason that not one could support Vietnam’s invasion of Kampuchea.94 S. R. Nathan (then director of the Security and Intelligence Department in Singapore) recalled that while strongly opposed to the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, the ASEAN countries had a problem in “coming to terms” with the Chinese invasion. ASEAN “could not reasonably endorse” the Chinese action. But luckily the Chinese troops withdrew a month after the attack “and so ASEAN was let off the hook.”95 Singapore was of the view that “by combining diplomatic moves with military pressure against Vietnam, China had brought about the isolation of Vietnam and her economic impoverishment.”96 Lee Kuan Yew, who found the Vietnamese so tough even in defeat, was thankful that the Chinese had punished the Vietnamese.97 But in the wake of the attack, Mushahid Ali (deputy director of the Singapore foreign ministry, in charge of China affairs) recalled that Singapore was concerned about how far and long China would pursue its “punishment” of Vietnam and the possible fallout. Thailand was less troubled by the Chinese action.98 Whatever the reservations some quarters of the Thai leadership might have of China, they needed the support of Beijing (and Washington) against the Vietnamese. From late 1979, many Chinese delegations visited Bangkok to confer on the Kampuchean issue, most notably that of Deng Yingchao (Chinese Politburo member and wife of the late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai) in February 1980.99 On the other hand, the attack “enhanced the suspicions” Malaysia and Indonesia already had of Beijing. They were also concerned about the growing Sino–Thai relationship.100 Ghazali Shafie (Malaysian minister of home affairs), in a November 1979 speech on “Security and Southeast Asia,” analyzed the Chinese strategy in this way: Beijing was trying “to get the Soviets committed further and further into the bottomless pit in which the United States [once] found herself in Vietnam.” They needed to make the Soviets “bend and bleed” for aiding Vietnam until they could not withstand the strain anymore and then they “would lose Indochina altogether.” When that happened, “China would be free to pursue her own ‘hegemonism’ in Asia.”101 Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Seri

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Mahathir Mohamad said, “Perhaps China’s invasion did have a salutary effect on Vietnam but it also demonstrated unequivocally the willingness of China to act regardless of the usual norms of world opinion.”102 Lee put it well: “Our dilemma is acute,” he said. “If there had been no (Chinese intervention), we would face Vietnamese supremacy. If the intervention is over-successful, it means that in ten, fifteen years there will be an assertion of influence perhaps not amounting to hegemony, by a Communist power that has influence over the guerrilla movements in the countries of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.”103 On 5 March 1979, China announced the beginning of its troop withdrawal from Vietnam after having achieved its objective. All Chinese troops were withdrawn by 16 March. Although the Soviet Union did not come to the aid of the Vietnamese during the war, the Soviet military presence in Vietnam accelerated after it.104 Deng Xiaoping did not expect that the brief February 1979 attack would force Vietnam to withdraw from Kampuchea. As he told US Vice President Walter Mondale in August of that year, “Vietnam is not yet in enough of a difficult position to accept a political solution. Perhaps later, when the difficulties the Vietnamese are facing increase to an unbearable extent, then the time would be appropriate for them to accept.”105 Indeed, the twelve-year occupation of Kampuchea was “costly and futile” and with hindsight, the Vietnamese have since admitted that it was a strategic mistake.106 Deng who had pushed for the “punishment” of Vietnam in 1979 would have felt vindicated. As Lee Kuan Yew observed, the Chinese have “a long view.”107 Seen from both Deng and Lee’s perspective, China’s exercise of influence in invading Vietnam was certainly a success. China’s short-term “red line” and long-term message showed China’s power over Vietnam. This was despite the fact that the Chinese military was then weaker than the battle-beaten Vietnamese military and was generally assessed to have performed less well than the Vietnamese during the brief war.

IV Space does not allow us to dwell on those dozen years before the resolution of the Cambodia issue in October 1991 except to highlight the developments that are pertinent to the Cold War.108 Despite cooperation between ASEAN and China over the Cambodia issue, the ASEAN states remained mistrustful of Chinese long-term intentions. During his meeting with Deng Xiaoping in November 1980, Lee Kuan Yew tried to persuade Deng to abandon Chinese support for the Southeast Asian communist parties, as both Indonesia and

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Malaysia remained very distrustful of Beijing. Indeed, it was common knowledge that Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur, despite presenting a united ASEAN position through the 1980s with regards to the Cambodia issue, were in fact rather sympathetic to Vietnam’s fear and apprehension of China. Deng was not unaware of this but, as he told Lee, it had to be “handled properly” as “it was not a matter concerning the Southeast Asian parties only. It was a question of a global nature.”109 Suharto told both new President Ronald Reagan (elected in November 1980) and outgoing Japanese Prime Minister Zenko Suzuki that China’s basic policy of support for revolution and subversion in Southeast Asia had not changed. He expressed his concern to Reagan that US support of China, although based on American strategic concerns, “might enhance Chinese ability to cause trouble in the region.” He appealed to Reagan “not to support the PRC at ASEAN’s expense.” Similarly, Suharto urged the Japanese prime minister “to pass on to his successor Indonesian concerns that Japanese economic support for Beijing could undermine ASEAN security.”110 As for the Soviet Union, they remained interested in Southeast Asia although the region was not a high priority in its global interests.111 As we have described in earlier chapters, its “remoteness and lack of influence” compared to the United State and China was a major handicap. Vietnam was Moscow’s main asset in Southeast Asia but at the same time its strong support of Vietnam also constrained its ability to improve relations with the ASEAN states. Jakarta, for example, was wary of Vietnam’s commitment to the Soviet Union. Indonesian intelligence apparently possessed “hard evidence” that Moscow was assisting in the reconstruction of a base in Cam Ranh Bay.112 Quoting from an Australian analysis, “a major Soviet breakthrough would require change in the prevailing equilibrium.”113 United States’ relations with the ASEAN states—Southeast Asia in general—since the end of the Vietnam War and through the 1980s (and in fact all the way till the early 2000s) has been variously described as “ad hoc and reactive”,114 “benign neglect and missed opportunities,”115 and “a backwater of US foreign policy.”116 Such characterizations have not been disputed by policy makers and scholars. Given the political climate in the United States after the Vietnam debacle, it took some effort to persuade Washington to play a more active role in supporting the coalition against Vietnam. Edwin Martini noted that the Carter administration “maintained a stance—in word if not in deed—of neutrality toward the situation in Southeast Asia” while the Reagan administration had “fewer qualms about providing aid to the coalition” that included the Khmer Rouge.117 Even so, in spite of Reagan’s strong anticommunist world-

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view, there was no clear policy towards Southeast Asia in the early years of his presidency.118 According to the National Security Decision, Directive Number 158 (9 January 1985), “global as well as regional US interests are affected by the situation in Kampuchea and its outcome.” Thus, to protect these interests, the US sought “to restore a neutral Kampuchea as a buffer between Thailand and Vietnam; to minimize Soviet influence and presence in the area; and to enhance cooperation with ASEAN in ways that also enhances or does not significantly harm our China relationship.” The directive concluded by stating that the United States “should continue the main lines of current policies. . . . We should follow ASEAN’s lead rather than getting out front. . . .”119 As for Sino–US relations, despite twists and turns, ups and downs in the 1980s, “The Soviet and Vietnamese threat to Chinese and American interests still proved sufficient to bind the two countries” through the final Cold War years.120 On occasions, Washington’s singular pursuit of Beijing to counter Moscow took precedence over US–ASEAN relations, a grievance (mentioned earlier) that Suharto and other ASEAN leaders raised.121 Despite ASEAN’s valiant efforts over the years to ensure that the international community did not forget “in two weeks” about the Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea, as the Vietnamese had hoped, the divisions in Southeast Asia brought about by the Vietnamese act would mostly likely have continued indefinitely had it not been for the end of the Cold War (which virtually no one had predicted). Vietnam came under increasing pressure to reduce overreliance on the Soviet Union after Mikhail Gorbachev (who in 1985 became the general secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union) embarked on domestic reforms.122 As its strategic options narrowed, Hanoi had to reassess its relationship with China. In a February 1985 speech marking the fifty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Le Duan said that friendship between China and Vietnam would have to be restored. Gorbachev, in a landmark speech delivered in Vladivostok in July 1986, spoke of the need for both the Soviet Union and Vietnam to improve relations with China. In that same speech, he also emphasized that the future of Kampuchea had to be decided within Kampuchea. With the introduction of perestroika and glasnost, it was obvious that Moscow was neither willing nor able to continue bankrolling the Vietnamese indefinitely.123 In an effort to extricate itself from its dependency on the Soviet Union, the Vietnamese pursued simultaneously a two-pronged strategy. This meant, first, a “multi-directional orientation”—reaching out to the West and in particular to the United States—which was spearheaded by Foreign Minister Nguyen

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Co Thach. Unfortunately for Thach, Washington was not ready to respond to Hanoi’s overture. Second, reaching out to China, the remaining pillar of socialism/communism led by General Secretary Nguyen Van Linh, whose priority was defending the socialist state especially in the wake of the Tiananmen Incident (June 1989) and the developments in Eastern Europe.124 By December 1989, the Cold War was over, at least according to President George H. W. Bush and Gorbachev. However for Southeast Asia, it was still too early to bury the Cold War corpse. On 2 September 1990, at the invitation of the Chinese, Nguyen Van Linh, Prime Minister Do Muoi, and Communist Party Adviser Pham Van Dong flew to Chengdu. Tran Quang Co (who was then vice minister of foreign affairs) recalled that the Chengdu meeting focused mainly on the Cambodia issue and barely discussed the normalization of relations, which the Vietnamese were given to expect. Due to their hastiness to improve their relationship with China, the Vietnamese side accepted all the demands of the Chinese with regards to the establishment and composition of the Supreme National Council of Cambodia (SNC), which were disadvantageous to the Vietnamese-backed Phnom Penh regime. The Vietnamese were initially opposed to a quadripartite government headed by Sihanouk, arguing that Sihanouk should work with Hun Sen instead to counter the Khmer Rouge. The Chinese, on the other hand, wanted to protect the Khmer Rouge and insisted on giving Sihanouk one additional vote in the quadripartite power sharing: therefore, the Vietnameseinstalled regime led by Hun Sen had six votes; the Khmer Rouge, two; the KPNLF led by Son Sann, two; FUNCINPEC led by Sihanouk’s son Ranaridhh, two; and Sihanouk, himself, one. The meeting was meant to be a secret but soon the Chinese made public the Chengdu agreement, thus embarrassing the Vietnamese and compromising their public negotiating position.125 The Chengdu meeting was followed by Minister of Defense Le Duc Anh’s unpublicized visit in August 1991. Anh (who subsequently rose to the position of president of Vietnam in the following year) apparently played a key role in persuading the Chinese to agree to restore relations with Vietnam. On the other hand, Foreign Minister Nguyen Co Thach, who had pursued an equidistant foreign policy between China and the West, was removed from the Politburo in July 1991. This was apparently intended to appease the Chinese and both countries finally normalized relations in November 1991. In October 1991, a political deal was struck in Paris bringing the decade-long Cambodian conflict to an end. The interim UN custody of Cambodia and the subsequent elections in May 1993 fall outside the scope of this study. Suffice to say here that the

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Khmer Rouge, burdened by their human rights actrocities, would eventually disappear from the political scene in Cambodia.

V The communist parties in Southeast Asia were the biggest casualty of the Sino–Vietnamese fallout and subsequent Sino–ASEAN “alliance” against the Vietnamese. Foremost and the earliest casualty was the Communist Party of the Thailand (CPT), which had the closest links with its Chinese counterpart. Charles Keyes noted that the large number of refugees from Cambodia and Laos, who fled into particularly northern Thailand in the immediate years after the Vietnam War, also brought with them “disturbing stories about life under communist rule in those countries . . . (which) had the unintended consequence of making many rural people sceptical of a communist political system.”126 The CPT was also unable to offer “a vision of a political order that was compelling to the villagers.”127 The CPT suffered a double whammy. It lost not only the support of Vietnam and Laos because of its alignment with China, and of Kampuchea as well after the Vietnamese invasion, but also Chinese material support, which decreased significantly in 1979 because of Beijing’s need for noncommunist Bangkok’s support against both Hanoi and its patron, Moscow. In July 1979, the radio station Voice of the People of Thailand (VOPT) in Kunming was closed. It was difficult to send material assistance to the CPT, even if Beijing wanted to. Thus confronted by Thai counter-insurgency and without any help from its neighbors, the CPT “rapidly withered.”128 Under the premiership of General Kriangsak Chomanan (1977–1980) and his successor General Prem Tinsulanonda, policies were implemented to win back the hearts of the people. For example, in September 1978 there was an amnesty given to students who were involved in the 6 October 1976 uprising. General Prem brought the CPT insurgency to an end when he promulgated Ministerial Order No. 66/2523, “Policy of Struggle to Win Over Communism” in April 1980. In the words of Charles Keyes, “The proclamation laid the foundation for a new political order.”129 In contrast to 1977–1979 (when the communist insurgency was a daily affair), in the period between 1984 and 1987, there was hardly any military threat from the CPT while communist activists continued to surrender.130 Sino–Thai strategic cooperation, which started in 1979 as a result of “convergence of strategic interests against the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia,” continued into the 1980s. As Chulacheeb Chinwanno described, “The strategic cooperation not only provided Thailand with military equipment but also consolidated the relationship between Thailand and

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China, especially that between the Thai military and the Chinese PLA. The strategic cooperation also provided the opportunity for Thailand to play the role of an intermediary between China and ASEAN.”131 The next big casualty was the Burmese Communist Party (BCP and alternatively, the CPB) although it managed to stay as a party until 1989.132 Back in November 1977, Ne Win was the first and only head of state of a noncommunist country to visit Kampuchea under the Khmer Rouge. As Bertil Lintner noted, “[T]he Chinese were no doubt behind the unusual visit, hoping to draw the Khmer Rouge out of its diplomatic isolation. Ne Win played along, for his part hoping that Beijing would further reduce its support for the insurgent Communist Party of Burma. . . .”133 It is unclear whether Ne Win’s gesture paid dividends. The BCP’s China-based office and broadcasting station moved back from China to Panghsang. The Chinese “volunteers” who had fought alongside the BCP cadres (since 1968) were apparently recalled.134 The US ambassador to Burma Maurice Darrow Bean reported, however, that in the dry season of 1978 there was, in northeast Burma, “fighting of a scale and intensity” that “clearly exceeded that of previous years” and which “was conspicuously absent from state-run newspapers. . . .” General San Yu apparently expressed his distress to the Israeli ambassador in April 1978 that “China was continuing to refuse a modification of its stance in support of the Communist insurgents.”135 But after 1979, the Chinese attitude changed. Sino–Burmese relations improved considerably after Ne Win’s May 1985 visit to China.136 This was Ne Win’s twelfth and last visit to China and finally the Chinese acknowledged the Burma Socialist Program Party (BSPP) as the “sole legitimate party” in Myanmar and also assured Ne Win that Beijing had ended all support for the BCP. That was a goal that we would recall Ne Win had been trying to elicit from Beijing since the 1950s.137 By this time, China’s interest and priority was in economic development rather than in ideology. The Chinese decision to reduce aid drastically to the BCP from 1979 and an internal revolt led to its final demise in April 1989.138 The BCP has been reincarnated as the United Wa State Army (UWSA)—Myanmar’s “largest and richest armed group” today. Its early members were once BCP cadres who had led the internal revolt in the late 1980s that led to the collapse of the CPB. Another group was the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) led by Peng Jiasheng, a Kokang Chinese and once a member of the BCP. Before 1989, Kokang was controlled by the BCP and the Kokang guerrillas formed the main fighting force of the BCP. According to Bertil Lintner, the mainstream CPB had little interest in Kokang “except as a base from which its forces could push down to

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the Myanmar lowlands.” The MNDAA signed a cease-fire with the Myanmar government in 1989 but in early 2015 fighting apparently resumed.139 Today, the Myanmar government continues to fight ethnic groups as it did with the BCP throughout the Cold War years. In the Philippines, although Marcos lifted martial law in June 1981, the act “abrogated none of the power it had given him” and he won a third term in the presidential election, the first poll in twelve years.140 His final downfall, however, came when he rigged victory for a fourth term in the snap February 1986 election. By then, even the United States under Ronald Reagan was distancing itself from him. Marcos was already very ill and eventually died in Honolulu in September 1989. Seth Mydans reminded us that when Marcos first declared martial law in 1972, he cited the communist insurgency then estimated to be about 500 strong as a justification. Fourteen years later, in 1986 when he was forced to leave office, “the insurgency had grown to an organised nationwide movement of 16,000 or more whose expanding influence contributed to his downfall.”141 The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) controversially chose to boycott the February 1986 election, a decision which on hindsight they have admitted was a major error. The leadership saw a “revolutionary situation” developing that they believed could potentially turn into an “insurrectionary moment.” Thus they should not support any parliamentary process that could derail the momentum. However, many in the CPP-led mass organizations ignored the CPP directive and joined the “People’s Power Movement” which brought Corazon “Cory” Aquino to power. In the words of Kathleen Weekley, “the reading made by the CPP leadership matched neither political realities nor the views of many CPP cadres and rank-and-file members.”142 In the final analysis, even if it had not boycotted the election the CPP “would probably have had little influence on events following the People’s Power revolution.”143 As the author of the CPP’s National Youth and Student Department noted, participation “wouldn’t have catapulted the movement into power, or into a position near power. The benefit of an anti-boycott position mainly would have been to trigger a process of rethinking strategy and tactics. In turn, this would have minimized the political losses between 1986 and the present.”144 Disagreements over strategy and tactics led to “expulsions, resignations, redeployments and eventual splits in the middle and high-level ranks” within the party and related organizations into the 1990s.145 It is worth noting that unlike its approach to other Southeast Asian communist parties, Chinese communists adopted a “hands-off treatment” of the

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Philippines because right from the beginning it had little influence on the communist movement there and furthermore “it viewed the Philippines as non-strategic and irremediably tied to the United States.”146 The two parties however maintained fraternal relations until December 2011 when the Chinese Communist Party finally broke off relations with the CPP because it was on the list of terrorist organizations drawn up by the United States and the European Union. The fact is that the New People’s Army (NPA) did not rely on international support, but rather only on its own resources within the Philippines. Whatever little material support the NPA receives came not from fraternal parties but from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).147 The Aquino government and American diplomats in the 1980s were in general agreement that the communist insurgency would persist as long as the economic and social inequalities were not adequately addressed. In the last years of the Cold War, the Aquino government initiated dialogue with the communists while threatening to “use force against force” if the talks failed. Efforts were in vain. President Aquino declared “total war” against the communists in February 1987.148 Despite the end of the Cold War and unlike the other Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines still has a communist insurgency problem today, although its strength and influence have waned compared to the 1980s. As John McBeth noted, this situation existed because of “a feudal system that leaves political power in the hands of a few powerful families. . . . As long as endemic poverty and poor local governance persist throughout the country, so will the long-standing and complicated NPA (New People’s Army) problem.”149 Despite the fact that Beijing did not give any support to the CPP, Sino–Philippines relations did not improve significantly in the 1980s (unlike Thailand) essentially over the issue of Taiwan/ROC, with which the Filipinos had close ties.150 It is not possible to talk about the Philippines and the Cold War without mentioning the American naval presence in Subic Bay and Clark air force base. As Maurice Baker (Singapore’s ambassador to the Philippines) noted, “Ironically enough, even the Soviets preferred the Americans in the Philippines to restrain China. China also wanted the Americans in the Philippines after the Soviets moved into Cam Ranh Bay. . . .”151 So for all their own reasons, there is an alignment of views amongst Moscow and Beijing, ASEAN, and Japan favoring an American military presence in the region. Manila wanted the US bases to remain but “on a new basis involving Filipinization, reduction of the base areas and economic development within them. . . .”152 Talks began towards the

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end of 1975. It would be more appropriate to discuss the closure of the American bases and its ramifications in a narrative of the post-Cold War period. For now, it suffices to note that in June 1983, Washington and Manila concluded an agreement to extend for another five years the 1947 Military Bases Agreement, previously revised in January 1979 in the wake of the Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea. As long as Marcos was in power, he was able to silence those that opposed the bases and US military presence in the Philippines. Soviet presence in Cam Ranh Bay also offered a strong rationale for continued American military presence. With the ouster of Marcos in 1986, and the rise of the Peoples’ Power movement, “the drive to remove US bases emerged from the bottom up.” As Roland Simbulan, a Filipino activist put it, “[I]t was the power of the people that ended the most visible symbols of our colonial legacy and the Cold War in the Philippines.”153 By the mid-1980s, “the old romantic notion that the bases were put there to defend Philippine independence and democracy is no longer invoked. . . .”154 The Philippine–US bases became a central issue in the Aquino administration and in the last years of the Cold War as the Military Bases Agreement reached the critical year of 1991. Three years of negotiations came to a climax on 16 September 1991 when the Philippine Senate voted against renewing the Bases Agreement. By this time, the Cold War had ended.155 By the 1980s, there was no longer any serious communist threat to the Suharto regime in Indonesia. The 1982 Yearbook of International Communist Affairs described communism in Indonesia as of “negligible significance.”156 But the regime continued to play up the communist bogeyman as a way to affirm the regime’s legitimacy until the end of the 1980s. By this time, in the words of Rizal Sukma, “normalisation with China was no longer a risky political business because his (Suharto) legitimacy no longer rested exclusively on the need to maintain stability from communist threats but rather on the ability of his government to deliver economic goods.”157 Jakarta finally normalized relations with Beijing (broken off since 1967) in 1990. As for Malaysia, by the end of 1986, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad acknowledged that the CPM threat was a peripheral security issue, and that Kuala Lumpur and Beijing could “get around such minor problems.” He also made the point that he believed China’s assurance that it would not support the communists in Malaysia.158 The split within the CPM led to a faction living as exiles in southern Thailand surrendering to the Thai military in December 1987. In November 1989, Kuala Lumpur revealed that it was in secret talks with the CPM and the Thai authorities for almost a year to close down the CPM and on 2 December 1989

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the communist insurgency in Malaysia (which began in 1948) was formally ended with the signing of separate peace treaties with both the Malaysian government and the Thai military commanders based in southern Thailand.159 Sino–Singapore relations “grew by leaps and bounds” after Deng Xiaoping implemented economic reforms in China and his visit to Singapore. The good chemistry between Deng and Lee Kuan Yew led to warm bilateral relations that continue until this day. Diplomatic relations were finally established on 3 October 1990 (shortly after Indonesia normalized relations in August), something that was more a formality than anything else. As we have seen earlier, there had been informal economic and political relations since the end of the Vietnam War.160 One May 1987 episode in Singapore is perhaps worth highlighting: what is known as “Operation Spectrum,” in which twenty-two people, mainly Catholics, were arrested by the Internal Security Department (ISD) for being involved in a “Marxist conspiracy” to “overthrow the Government and establish a communist state.”161 Many of the detainees were apparently tortured and coerced into admitting their role in the conspiracy. This and “Operation Coldstore” in 1963 stand out as the two most controversial historical events in the city-state’s Cold War history. It is worth noting that “Liberation Theology,” which states that the Roman Catholic Church must exercise its “primordial role” in effecting political change in society against despotic regimes, originated from Latin America and spread to the rest of the Third World in the 1980s. This occurred even though John Paul II (who was pope 1978–2005) was against the theology. In Southeast Asia, it was most influential in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country. “Liberation Theology” turned Cardinal Jaime Sin, once closely associated with Marcos, into “a rabid Marcos critic.” The Catholic Church subsequently played a major role in the ouster of Marcos in 1986.162 If what KGB spy Ion Mihai Pacepa (a former general in the Romanian secret police and one of the highest ranking defectors from the Eastern Bloc in the 1970s) has said is true, “Liberation Theology” was “kick-started, funded and moulded” by the Russian Secret Service.163 The Philippines under the Marcos regime was understandably fertile ground for the appeal of “Liberation Theology” but the governance of Singapore under Lee was vastly unlike the Philippines. We will have to leave to future historians to answer the question whether there was indeed a Marxist conspiracy to topple the Singapore government or the arrests were initiated by Lee Kuan Yew “to establish a firm pattern of effective authoritarian rule that he could be confident would outlast his premiership.”164 This is not the place to adjudicate the Singapore govern-

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ment’s claims against the social activists except to note that not everyone in the leadership concurred with the arrest although most acquiesced in Lee Kuan Yew’s assessment of the threat and the potential collision between church and government. The Singapore government continues to stick to its position but interestingly in 2015 (about nine months after Lee’s death) it allowed a film critical of its actions in 1987 to be screened, albeit with a R21 rating. This presented a deviation from its standard practice of not allowing films sympathetic to the communists to be shown in the country.165

VI Very little has been written about the economic dimension of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, although in the last few years there have been some studies pertaining to Indonesia, albeit more from the US and Soviet perspective than from Indonesia’s.166 In bringing this account of the Cold War in Southeast Asia to a close, there are four reasons why it would be remiss not to address, at least broadly, the economic development of the Southeast Asia countries during the Cold War years. The first is the close relationship between economics and politics, in this case, development, and foreign and security policy.167 Second, as David Engerman reminded us, the Cold War was more than “a series of disconnected political-military crises” and a focus on the economics of the period would make “new international histories of the Cold War both more international and historical.”168 Third, an important prerequisite to effective counter-measures against communism is the management of social, including economic, discontent.169 Fourth, we do need to account for the fact that by the time the Cold War ended, the economies of the ASEAN states (with the exception of the Philippines) were on a growth trajectory that only came to a halt during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. With the exception of Vietnam, Indochina—as well as Myanmar—remain among the poorest countries in the world. Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar are still on the United Nations List of Least Developed Countries (LDC) in 2015. While it is true that every individual country has its own historical experience that shaped its economic development and while economists have emphasized certain key determinants, the Cold War as a contributory factor is often overlooked.170 Being on the side of the United States in the Cold War divide was necessary although not sufficient. Positive examples include Thailand from the time of the Sarit regime, which aligned the country with the United States because of the Vietnam War. As Priyambudi Sulistiyanto noted, Sarit “launched

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the first capitalist-led economic development in the early 1960s” with American support that enabled the Thai economy to be more integrated into the free-world economy.171 The economic boom in Thailand in the 1960s was largely due to the Vietnam War.172 In Indonesia, Suharto (1966–1998) revived the economy ruined during the Sukarno period by relying exclusively on a team of economists trained in the United States, popularly known as the “Berkeley Mafia,” and through the American connection, as well as access to assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.173 While Singapore’s economic success has often been explained by its strategic location and far-sighted leadership, the role of the World Bank is rarely mentioned and under studied.174 Like Thailand, Singapore also benefited economically from the Vietnam War. The Americans believed so, although Lim Chong Yah, one of Singapore’s most respected economists, argued that the war’s impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was not as significant as it was made out to be.175 As Lee Kuan Yew famously said, although the United States lost in the Vietnam War, “the long effort gave the rest of Asia the time needed to develop the strength to resist communist takeovers.”176 Being on the side of the United States during the Cold War “opened doors” and had its economic benefits although not every country was able to fully capitalize on this: for example, the Philippines. As Park Keunho noted, “The effects of the Vietnam War on economic development in Asia included not only cash revenue aspects due to ‘Vietnam-related procurement’ but also a profitable climate in international economic relationships, which played a definite important role.”177 In the case of Burma, although it straddled the middle of the Cold War divide, its economic policy under Ne Win was closer to the communist economic ideology and that led to economic stagnation. As for the Indochina countries, years of war seriously affected their economic growth and prospects. Jim Glassman noted that “many ‘laggards’ in Asia’s GDP growth and industrial transformation sweepstakes have been the most war-torn Asian countries—Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Burma–while the dynamos have been countries that were not war torn and were at the centre of the US wartime alliance, including Thailand and South Korea.” He then raised a pertinent question: Can we be sure that the differential patterns of growth in East and Southeast Asia reflect policy choices more so than differential effects of war on economic development?178 But one cannot deny the fault of communism as a flawed economic ideology where the state controlled everything—where the economic system is

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closed and with the emphasis on autarky. In 1976, for example, the Hanoi leadership promised a radio, a refrigerator, and a television set for each Vietnamese family within ten years. It never materialized. Vietnam’s invasion and occupation of Cambodia further prolonged its economic woes because of the American-led embargo (only lifted in 1993). Cut off from the IMF and no access to the World Bank, compounded by Moscow’s decision to stop bankrolling its budget, the Vietnamese Communist Party’s Politburo at the end of 1986 decided that a complete overhaul of its economic system would be required, thus the Doi Moi (Open Door) policy was born.179 Quoting David Engerman, “Economic priorities played a crucial role in the international history of the Cold War, attracting leaders and citizens all over the world to visions of industrial productivity and eventually a good life. . . . [B]ut the shift to defining socialism in terms of consumption ultimately contributed to the downfall of the Soviet system. Its promises of cornucopia were contradicted by empty shop counters; its direct comparisons with the West undermined by the rapidly increasing standards of living there.”180 That said, Joe Studwell reminded us that the IMF, the World Bank, and even the United States have to bear some of the blame for the Asian Financial Crisis (1997). Comparing Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia during the Cold War years, Studwell, using the analogy of adult and children, wrote, “The US was an idealised responsible adult, supporting not only land reform in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, but also tolerating protectionist infant industry policies over a long period of time. Those economic children grew up, and by the 1980s, the US was quite reasonably telling them to stop sponging.” As for Southeast Asia, the United States “did nothing to push land reforms,” condoned and supported elites who practiced corruption, cronyism, and nepotism and then, particularly in the post-Cold War years, “began to press for inappropriate rich-country-style industrial and financial deregulation.”181 Images of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which were reproduced in almost all of the front pages of newspapers throughout the world—and Southeast Asia was no exception—became a symbol of the Cold War’s end. There is, however, not a moment, event, or image of equal significance that would mark an end to the Cold War in Southeast Asia. Yet without so much as a whimper, the Cold War did come to a denouement in Southeast Asia. As described in this chapter, the “wall” that divided the communists and the anticommunists in Southeast Asia had already been breaking down piece by piece, albeit at different paces in each country, for almost a decade before 9 November 1989.

Conclusion This book started with a discussion of Southeast Asia within the field of Cold War Studies. It highlighted the absence of a state-of-the-field account of the Cold War in Southeast Asia within the expanding and voluminous historiography of the Cold War, a gap that this study attempts to fill. The introduction argues that despite the shift away from the diplomatic and military in the Cold War historiography, politics should be central for a proper understanding of the Cold War period. The cultural turn in Cold War Studies should be applauded for opening up the field of study. It is perhaps a welcome outgrowth in a field that perhaps has reached a certain maturity in the military and diplomatic dimension. But this is certainly not the case for Southeast Asia where we still lack a full narrative of the Cold War years, even a contentious one. The introduction further makes the point that a narrative of the Cold War years in Southeast Asia must incorporate “decolonization” and “nationbuilding” histories as well as the “Cold War” matters as conventionally understood. This book is thus an account of how and why the Cold War in Southeast Asia evolved in the way it did against the backdrop of the superpower rivalry. The roles and motivations of the United States as well as Britain are covered at the appropriate places but much more sparingly because so much has already been published from their perspectives. Indeed the existing literature of the Cold War in Southeast Asia is very much dominated by US perspectives. With regards to Britain and Southeast Asia, it is usually considered from the lens of decolonization, but the Cold War is always there in the background. In short, this is an account of the international politics of the region seen from within rather than without. The Southeast Asian communists and the left are also given more space in this narrative because being losers of the Cold War their perspectives are often ignored, forgotten, or interpreted through the lens of the winners. Most scholars trace the origins of the Cold War to the immediate years after the Second World War.1 Chapter 1 however goes back to the interwar years to illustrate the point that the Cold War in Southeast Asia did not suddenly begin in the late 1940s because of the US–Soviet Union rivalry. The antagonisms between the indigenous communists and their opponents, be it the colonial 194

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governments or their successors, predate the conventional starting date of the Cold War. The years after the First World War saw the gradual development of a communist network in Southeast Asia spearheaded by Moscow, which had some interest in Southeast Asia but was distracted by developments in its own backyard. One of the objectives of chapter 1, which covers the years from 1919 to 1949, is to show that the wars in Southeast Asia were not “proxy wars,” as they were once thought to be. They were indigenous grievances particularly against the colonial masters and those associated with them. The communist parties in Southeast Asia had the most appeal and were most influential when they were fighting against the colonialists for independence. They, however, failed largely because of organizational weakness as well as strategic errors and only managed to recover as a result of the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia in the Second World War. Whereas they were almost decimated at the eve of the Japanese invasion, the communist parties emerged from the war stronger than they had been before. Jeremy Black rightly noted that “to discuss the period after 1945 without considering the earlier years is mistaken, not least because the later period in many respects witnessed a resumption and revival of earlier animosities and disputes after World War Two.”2 Chapter 2 describes the developments from 1949 to 1954. The emergence of communist China is an important point in the evolution of the Cold War in Southeast Asia. In the words of Rana Mitter, “China played a pivotal role as the third (albeit shorter) leg of a cold war tripod.”3 To the Southeast Asian countries, China rather than the Soviet Union was in fact the longer leg of the tripod. Whereas Moscow under Stalin lacked the capacity to assist the Southeast Asian communist parties, Mao Zedong was all fired up to lead, build on, and further develop the communist network in Southeast Asia. Moscow was also not particularly interested in Southeast Asia until the Sino–Soviet rift. According to Jeremy Friedman, scholarship and knowledge of the region “was nearly absent at the highest levels of [Soviet] policymaking.”4 The first beneficiary of Mao’s ambition was North Vietnam. One of the key themes of the book is how the Southeast Asian states perceived China and managed their relationship with China and the evolution of Chinese attitudes towards the Southeast Asian states. China, not so much the Soviet Union (until 1978), was always on the minds of the Southeast Asian leaders. Indeed, the Bandung Conference (1955) described in chapter 3 was “in large part an attempt by Asian countries to gain a commitment by China to peaceful interaction with its neighbors.”5 China remains the main foreign policy concern of the Southeast

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Asian countries up to this day while Russia is the least developed of ASEAN’s dialogue partners.6 Chapter 3, covering the period from 1954 to 1955, is where the conventional understanding of the Cold War—a contest between the United States and the Soviet Union—as well as the “shadow cold war” becomes merged with the developments in Southeast Asia.7 This and the following chapters show that the Southeast Asian states had a lot of agency and their own agenda, and were very much in control of their respective destinies although not always completely, as illustrated by the Southeast Asian states’ attitudes towards the formation of SEATO and the Bandung Conference. While all the incumbent Southeast Asian governments had their own clashes with the communists within their own country which go back to 1919 if not earlier, they had hoped to avoid being sucked into the superpower rivalry which has become increasingly global. But unfortunately, they were not able to do so because of their own conflict with the communists in their respective countries, who were supported by China (with the exception of the Philippines), as described in chapter 4 (1955–1965). China was seen as “a radical force that could not be ignored” but at the same time “could not be readily assimilated.”8 The Southeast Asian governments, however, managed to exploit the rivalries to maintain as much as possible their power of agency. Bandung is an example of an interesting term that Jennifer Wenzel coined: “unfailure.”9 She defined this as “the paradox that many seemingly failed political and social movements, even though they did not realize their ambitions in their own moment, often live on as prophetic visions, available as an idiom for future generations to articulate their own hopes and dreams.”10 It is not possible to write a history of Southeast Asia and the Cold War and leave out the Vietnam War, which lasted for almost a decade.11 But there were also other developments during these years beyond Indochina which laid the foundation for the Southeast Asia we know today as chapter 5, covering the period from 1965 to 1975, shows. A number of observations are worth highlighting: The communist parties, apart from those in the Indochina states, posed no existential threat to the governments in the other Southeast Asian countries. Ideology became increasingly less important (for example, the Burmese Communist Party from the late 1960s found ethnicity a more effective organizing formula than communism) compared to regime preservation and the more familiar pattern of geopolitics. Here we should acknowledge the “policymakers’ calculations and miscalculations” that severely and often tragically affected the lives of ordinary people (which this study is unable to

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fully describe).12 Communism, like anticommunism, was a very broad church and this was a period whereby being communist or being liberal was deemed antigovernment. As a group of well-respected and progressive Singaporean architects recalled, “[T]hat was the Government’s attitude in those days. You are either for me or against me,” which is an attitude also fairly prevalent in the United States.13 At the geopolitical level, what Philippine President Marcos said in his state of the nation address in 1969 is a view shared by all the other Southeast Asian states and still rings true: “We, in Asia must strive toward a modus vivendi with Red China. I reiterate this need, which is becoming more urgent each day. Before long, Communist China will have increased its striking power a thousand fold with a sophisticated delivery for its nuclear weapons. We must prepare for that day. We must prepare to coexist peacefully with Communist China.”14 The reliance on the United States as a countervailing force against China is a dominant theme even as the various Southeast Asian states began to engage Beijing, a not unfamiliar pattern that we would recognize even until today. Finally, chapter 6 describes the next significant point in the Cold War in Southeast Asia from 1975 to 1989–1990. One should, as Barbara Zanchetta has reminded us, be wary about assessing historical processes from the perspective of the outcomes.15 However, it may be tempting to ask ourselves what if the Vietnamese had not invaded Kampuchea? The fact that Hanoi did invade in December 1978 marked the fracturing and rearrangement of the Cold War order in Southeast Asia and with hindsight the beginning of the end of the Cold War in the region. If the Sino–Soviet split had been hard for contemporaries to decipher as Jeremy Friedman pointed out, its impact on and implication for Southeast Asia can be clearly seen from the decade-long Cambodian conflict and the Sino–Vietnamese War of February 1979.16 A combination of domestic and geopolitical considerations compelled Beijing to develop relations with the noncommunist Southeast Asian governments at the expense of their relationships with the Southeast Asian communist parties.17 It took almost another decade before Beijing finally cut off all ties with these parties, but the relationships had been weakening since the late 1970s as China’s revolutionary zeal ebbed. It is worth noting that none of the clandestine radio stations of the Southeast Asian communist parties welcomed Beijing’s rapprochement with the United States and initially none reported Beijing’s attack on Vietnam. In conclusion, it is this author’s hope that the reader will have gained a better understanding of the Cold War and how it unfolded both from the perspectives of the historian’s narrative—constructed from old and new

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sources—and from the many Southeast Asian participants. Even for those who find the treatment somewhat old fashioned, this narrative should provide the political background to better appreciate the “newer” scholarly interests and micro-studies such as human rights, propaganda, gender, media, festival, films, and “cultures” in general—which cannot be fully understood without the context of the local, regional, and international actors and events in history.

Notes

Introduction 1 See Ang Cheng Guan, “The Cold War in Southeast Asia” in The Oxford Handbook of The Cold War, ed. Richard H. Immerman and Petra Goedde (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), chap. 14. Also Bradley R. Simpson, “Southeast Asia in the Cold War” in The Cold War in the Third World, ed. Robert J. McMahon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), chap. 3. The Routledge Handbook of the Cold War, ed. Artemy M. Kalinosky and Craig Daigle (London: Routledge, 2014) also has a chapter each on Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Central Asia—but not Southeast Asia. 2 Nicholas Tarling, ed., The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, Vol. 2 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 327. 3 Wong Lin Ken’s review of Southeast Asian History and Historiography: Essays Presented to D. G. E. Hall, ed. C. D. Cowan and O. W. Wolters, in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 8, no. 2, September 1976, p. 239. 4 See Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005). 5 “The Role of Archives in Documenting a Shared Memory of the Cold War: Asia-Pacific Perspective,” Seminar Proceedings, 13–14 May 2009, National Archives of Singapore, 2010, pp. 8–11. 6 Henry Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace, 1812–1822 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1957), p. 331. 7 Tuong Vu and Wasana Wongsurawat, eds., Dynamics of the Cold War in Asia: Ideology, Identity, and Culture (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), p. 3. 8 See Saki R. Dockrill and Geraint Hughes, eds., Cold War History (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006). 9 “Conference on the Cold War in Asia” (University of Chicago, Center for East Asian Studies), http://www.uccochicago.org/article.html? aid=190, accessed on 12 August 2013.

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10 Vu and Wongsurawat, eds., Dynamics of the Cold War in Asia, p. 3. 11 A recent book focusing on Thai culture is Matthew Phillips’ Thailand and the Cold War (London: Routledge, 2016). 12 See Wang Gungwu’s blurb in Dynamics of the Cold War, ed. Vu and Wongsurawat. For a recent example of the “New Cold War History” see Phillips, Thailand and the Cold War. 13 Akira Iriye, “Culture” in the Journal of American History, vol. 77, no. 1, June 1990, pp. 99–107. 14 Vu and Wongsurawat, eds., Dynamics of the Cold War in Asia, p. 12. Also see Matthew Connelly, “Taking Off the Cold War Lens: Visions of North-South Conflict during the Algerian War of Independence” in the American Historical Review, no. 105, June 2000, pp. 739–769. 15 This quote has been attributed to J. F. Kennedy. See Charles W. Freeman, Jr., The Diplomat’s Dictionary (Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1997), p. 154. For a staunch defense of diplomatic history, see T. G. Otte, “Diplomacy and Decision Making” in International History, ed. Patrick Finney (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). 16 See Michael J. Hogan, ed., America in the World: The Historiography of American Foreign Relations since 1941 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chaps. 2–5. 17 Holger Nehring, “What was the Cold War?” in English Historical Review, vol. 127, no. 527, August 2012, p. 923. 18 Finney, ed., International History, p. 19. 19 “Blind men and an elephant,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki /Blind_men_and_an_elephant, accessed on 6 August 2013. 20 Michael Charney, “U Nu, China, and the ‘Burmese’ Cold War: Propaganda in Burma in the 1950s” in The Cold War in Asia: The Battle for Hearts and Minds, ed. Zheng Yangwen, Hong Liu, and Michael Szonyi (Ledien: Brill, 2010), chap. 3. 21 Finney, ed., International History, pp. 1, 10. 22 Akira Iriye, Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), p. 62. 23 See Masuda Hajimu, Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015). 24 Bruce Cumings objects to this labeling as he argues that it obscures much of the nuances of various interpretatations. See Cumings, “‘Revising Postrevisionism,’ or, The Poverty of Theory in Diplomatic History” in America in

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27

28

29

30

31 32 33

34 35 36

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the World: The Historiography of US Foreign Relations since 1941, ed. Michael J. Hogan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), chap. 2. Milton Osborne, Exploring Southeast Asia: A Traveller’s History of the Region (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 2002), p. 156. Ibid. For a summary, see The Cambridge History of Southeast Asia, “From World War Two to the Present.” Also see Osborne, Southeast Asia: An Introductory History, one of the best one-volume histories of Southeast Asia now in its 9th edition. See John R. W. Smail, “On the Possibility of an Autonomous History of Modern Southeast Asia” in the Journal of Southeast Asian History, vol. 2 (July 1961), pp. 72–102. Reynaldo C. Ileto, “On the Historiography of Southeast Asia and the Philippines: The ‘Golden Age’ of Southeast Asian Stuides—Experiences and Reflections,” http://www.meijigakuin.ac.jp/~iism/frontier /Proceedings/08%20Ileto%20Speech.pdf. Thongchai Winichakul, “Writing at the Interstices: Southeast Asian Historians and Postnational Histories in Southeast Asia” in New Terrains in Southeast Asian History, ed. Abu Talib Ahmad and Tan Liok Ee (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2003), chap. 1. Clive J. Christie, A Modern History of Southeast Asia: Decolonization, Nationalism and Separatism (London: I.B. Tauris Publishers, 1996), p. 1. See also George Dutton, “Threatening Histories: Rethinking the Historiography of Colonial Viet Nam” in Critical Asian Studies, vol. 45, no. 3, 2013, pp. 365–392. Stephen A. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook of The History of Communism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), chap. 13. Winichakul, “Writing at the Interstices” in New Terrains, chap. 1. Heonik Kwon, “Cold War in a Vietnamese Community” in Four Decades On: Vietnam, the United States, and the Legacies of the Second Indochina War, ed. Scott Laderman and Edwin A. Martini (Durham: Duke University Press, 2013), chap. 4. See also Kwon, The Other Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010). Ruth T. McVey, The Rise of Indonesian Communism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965), p. xiv. Glenda Sluga, Internationalism in the Age of Nationalism (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), p. 7. Prasenjit Duara, ed., Decolonization: Perspectives from Now and Then (London: Routledge, 2004), p. 2.

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37 John Darwin, “Diplomacy and Decolonization” in International Diplomacy and Colonial Retreat, ed. Kent Fedorowich and Martin Thomas (London: Frank Cass, 2001), p. 5. 38 Raymond F. Betts, Decolonization: The Making of the Contemporary World (London: Routledge, 1998), p. 3. 39 Robert C. Young, Postcolonialism: An Historical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2001), p. 4. 40 Ibid. 41 See Chua Beng Huat, “Southeast Asia in Postcolonial Studies: An Introduction” in Postcolonial Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, 2008, pp. 231–240. 42 Wang Gungwu, ed., Nation-Building: Five Southeast Asian Histories (Singapore: ISEAS, 2005), p. 2. To date only the histories of Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, have been published in 2002, 2008, and 2009, respectively. The remaining two histories of this series are the Philippines and Thailand. 43 Ibid., p. 15. 44 Stephen A. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook of The History of Communism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), chap. 13. 45 John Darwin, “Diplomacy and Decolonization” in International Diplomacy and Colonial Retreat, ed. Kent Fedorowich and Martin Thomas (London: Frank Cass, 2001), p. 5. 46 Long Shi Ruey Joey, email correspondence with author, 27 May 2011. 47 Marc Frey, Ronald W. Pruessen, and Tan Tai Yong, eds., The Transformation of Southeast Asia: International Perspectives on Decolonization (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2003), p. vii. 48 Ibid., pp. vii–viii. 49 See Christopher J. Lee, “Decolonization of a Special Type: Rethinking Cold War History in Southern Africa” in Kronos, vol. 37, no. 1, 2011, http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid =S025901902011000100001. 50 Matthew Connelly, “Taking Off the Cold War Lens: Visions of NorthSouth Conflict during the Algerian War of Independence” in American Historical Review, no. 105, June 2000, pp. 739–769. 51 Wang Gungwu, ed., Nation-Building: Five Southeast Asian Histories, (Singapore: ISEAS, 2005), p. 196. 52 Leading scholars in the field of Postcolonial Studies, such as Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak and Homi Bhabah are not without their critics. See James D. Le Sueur, ed., The Decolonization Reader (London: Routledge, 2003).

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53 See Frey, Pruessen, and Tan, Transformation of Southeast Asia, pp. 270–272. See also the essays by Akira Iriye, Prasenjit Duara, and Cary Fraser in this volume. 54 Ibid., p. 272 and chap. 7. 55 Christopher E. Goscha and Christian F. Ostermann, eds., Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1945–1962 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), p. x. See also Frey, Pruessen, and Tan, eds., The Transformation of Southeast Asia. 56 See Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, vols. 1–3, transl. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984–1988). 57 Roland Barthes, Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives. The Semiotic Challenge, transl. Richard Howard (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994), p. 95. 58 “Jerome Bruner: The lesson of the story,” interview by John Crace in The Guardian, London, 27 March 2007, http://www.theguardian.com /education/2007/mar/27/academicexperts.highereducationprofile. 59 Paul Ricoeur, “Narrative Time” in Critical Inquiry, vol. 7, no. 1, Autumn 1980, p. 174. 60 Ibid. Chapter 1 Antecedents 1 Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 3. 2 John Mueller, “What was the Cold War About? Evidence From Its Ending” in Political Science Quarterly, vol. 119, no. 4, 2005, pp. 609–631. 3 Akira Iriye, The Cold War in Asia: A Historical Introduction (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974), p. 6. 4 Antony Best, “ ‘We are Virtually at War with Russia’: Britain and the Cold War in East Asia, 1923–40” in Cold War History, vol. 12, no. 2, May 2012, pp. 205–225. 5 Ibid., p. 206. 6 Erez Manela, The Wilsonian Moment: Self-Determination and the International Origins of Anticolonial Nationalism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), pp. 6–7. 7 Ibid., pp. 196, 225. See also David Milne, Worldmaking: The Art and Science of American Diplomacy (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), p. 118.

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8 Adam Tooze, The Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global Order, 1916–1931 (London: Penguin, 2014), pp. 118–123, 143. 9 See for example Lucian W. Pye, Guerilla Communism in Malaya: Its Social and Political Meaning (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956). 10 Quoted in Asad-Ul Iqbal Latif, The Life and Times of Gerald de Cruz: A Singaporean of Many Worlds (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), 2015), p. 182 11 See Goh Keng Swee, “The Nature and Appeals of Communism in NonCommunist Asian Countries” in the Economics of Modernization (Singapore: Federal Publications, 1972), chap. 25. The article was originally an address given in Canberra to the Australian Institute of Political Science on 28 January 1967. Goh was Singapore’s first Minister of Defense. He had studied Marxism-Leninism under Professor Harold Laski at the University of London as well as had personal experience working with the communists in the People’s Action Party (PAP). 12 Stephen A. Smith, ed., The Oxford Handbook of The History of Communism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 238. 13 Goh, “Nature and Appeals of Communism” in Economics of Modernization, p. 189. 14 Robert H. Taylor, Myanmar Literature Project, Introduction, Working Paper no. 10:10, http://www.burmalibrary.org/docs11/mlp10.10 -op.pdf. 15 Smith, ed., History of Communism, p. 188. 16 The Communist International, no. 1, 1919, cited in Ken Fuller, Forcing the Pace: The Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas: From Foundation to Armed Struggle (Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press, 2007) pp. 22, 38n. 40. 17 William R. Keylor, The Twentieth-Century World: An International History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 112. See also Smith, ed., History of Communism, p. 191. 18 Smith, ed., History of Communism, p. 188. 19 Ibid., pp. 237–238. See also Ruth T. McVey, The Rise of Indonesian Communism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965) pp. 57–58. 20 R. Quested, “Russian Interest in Southeast Asia: Outlines and Sources 1803–1970” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 1, no. 2, September 1970. 21 Caroline S. Hau and Kasian Tejapira, eds., Traveling Nation-Makers: Transnational Flows and Movements in the Making of Modern Southeast Asia

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23 24

25

26

27 28

29 30

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(Singapore: NUS Press, 2011), pp. 99–101. See chap. 3 for a discussion of why Shanghai was chosen as the location for the Far Eastern Bureau. Onimaru Takeshi, “Living ‘Underground’ in Shanghai: Noulens and the Shangai Comintern Network” in Traveling Nation-Makers: Transnational Flows and Movements in the Making of Modern Southeast Asia, ed. Caroline S. Hau and Kasian Tejapira (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011), p. 118. Ibid., p. 105 Onimaru Takeshi, “Shanghai Connection: The Construction and Collapse of the Comintern Network in East and Southeast Asia” in Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 5, no. 1, April 2016, pp. 115–133. For a concise but useful discussion of the broader implications of Woodrow Wilson’s support of self-determination, see Erez Maneli, “Article Review 480, ‘Bernath Lecture: The United States and the Curious History of Self-Determination’,” https://networks.h-net.org/system /files/contributed-files/ar480.pdf. Cheah Boon Kheng, ed., From PKI to the Comintern, 1924–1941: The Apprenticeship of the Malayan Communist Party: Selected Documents and Discussion (Ithaca: Cornell University, Southeast Asia Program, 1992), p. 7. See Smith, ed., Oxford Handbook, p. 239. Also Ruth T. McVey, The Rise of Indonesian Communism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965), pp. 83–104. Ruth T. McVey, The Rise of Indonesian Communism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965), pp. 83–104. “A Short History of the Indonesian Communist Party,” http://www.socialistalternative.org/indonesia/a-short-history-of-theindonesian-communist-party, accessed on 7 January 2016. See Cheah, ed., PKI to the Comintern. For details, see Fujiro Hara, The Malayan Communist Party as Recorded in the Comintern Files, Working Paper no. 1, 2016, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS)–Yusof Ishak Institute. See also Anna Belogurova, “The Chinese International of Nationalities: The Chinese Communist Party, the Comintern, and the Foundation of the Malayan National Communist Party, 1923–1939” in the Journal of Global Studies, vol. 9, no. 3, November 2014, pp. 447–470. See Yong Chin Fatt, The Origins of Malayan Communism (Singapore: South Seas Society, 1997) and Cheah, ed., PKI to the Comintern. See Yong, Origins of Malayan Communism and Cheah, ed., PKI to the Comintern.

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33 Harry A. Poeze, “The Cold War in Indonesia, 1948,” presented at the Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia: A Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948, National University of Singapore, 10–11 July 2008. 34 Belogurova, “Chinese International of Nationalities” in Global Studies, p. 456. 35 Cheah Boon Kheng’s review of Yong’s The Origins of Malayan Communism in the Journal of the South Seas Society, vol. 53, December 1998, p. 203. 36 Ban Kah Choon, Absent History: The Untold Story of Special Branch Operations in Singapore 1915–1942 (Singapore: SNP Editions, 2001). For Yeo Kim Wah’s review, see Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (JMBRAS), vol. 74, 2001, pp. 135–139. 37 See Cheah Boon Kheng, ed., From PKI to the Comintern, 1924–1941: The Apprenticeship of the Malayan Communist Party: Selected Documents and Discussion (Ithaca: Cornell University, Southeast Asia Program, 1992). 38 Smith, ed., History of Communism, p. 241. Cheah, ed., PKI to the Comintern. 39 Charles B. McLane, Soviet Strategies in Southeast Asia: An Exploration of Eastern Policy under Lenin and Stalin (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), p. 114. 40 Ken Fuller, Forcing the Pace: The Partido Komunista ng Pilipina: From Foundation to Armed Struggle (Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press, 2007), pp. 16–18. 41 Ibid., p. 19. 42 Ibid., p. 27 (for details). 43 Jim Richardson, Komunista: The Genesis of the Philippine Communist Party 1902–1935 (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2011), p. 138. 44 Charles B. McLane, Soviet Strategies in Southeast Asia: An Exploration of Eastern Policy under Lenin and Stalin (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), p. 116. 45 Fuller, Forcing the Pace, p. 29. 46 Ibid., p. 24. 47 Ibid., p. 29. See also Richardson, Komunista, p. 91. 48 Richardson, Komunista, pp. 92–93. McLane, however, was doubtful that Tan Malaka played any significant role in the development of communism in the Philippines given that his autobiography made no claim to

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55

56 57 58 59 60 61 62

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him having influenced the Filipinos. It would appear that Tan Malaka’s principal concern was Indonesia. See McLane, Soviet Strategies, pp. 115–116. Fuller, Forcing the Pace, pp. 26, 30. Espena Darlene Machell de Leon, email correspondence with author, 27 May 2014. See also Fuller, Forcing the Pace, pp. 45–46. Jim Richardson, email correspondence with author, 30 May 2014. Fuller, Forcing the Pace, pp. 75, 112–114. Robert H. Taylor, Marxism and Resistance in Burma 1942–1945: Thein Pe Myint’s Wartime Traveler (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1984), p. 5. Ibid., p. 3. See also Robert H. Taylor, “The Burmese Communist Movement and Its Indian Connection: Formation and Factionalism” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, March 1983, pp. 95–108; and Li Chenyang, “The Burmese Nationalist Elites’ Pre-Independence Exploration of a National Development Road” in Kyoto Review of Southeast Asia, issue 10, August 2008. Bertil Lintner, Great Game East: India, China and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier (New Delhi: HarperCollins Publishers India, 2012), p. 228. Taylor, “Burmese Communist Movement,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 95–108. Ibid., pp. 95–108. See Bertil Lintner, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) (Ithaca: Cornell University, Southeast Asia Program, 1990). Robert H. Taylor, Marxism and Resistance in Burma 1942–1945: Thein Pe Myint’s Wartime Traveler (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1984), p. 7. Lintner, Communist Party of Burma, p. 7. Kasian Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism: The Formation of Modern Thai Radical Culture, 1927–1958 (Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 2001), p. 5. Somsak Jeamteerasakul, “The Communist Movement in Thailand,” an unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Politics, Monash University, 31 July 1991, p. 4. I wish to record my thanks to Professor Patrick Jory for sharing this thesis with me. Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” pp. 18, 58–59, 67–69. Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism, p. 18. Ibid., p. 21. Christopher E. Goscha, Going Indochinese: Contesting Concepts of Space and Place in French Indochina (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2012), p. 76

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67 For a discussion of the changes in terminology, see Goscha, Going Indochinese, pp. 77–78, pp. 84–85. 68 Ibid., p. 85. 69 Ibid., p. 83. 70 Ibid., p. 108. 71 Arthur J. Dommen, The Indochinese Experience of the French and the Americans: Nationalism and Communism in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), pp. 25–27. 72 Martin Stuart-Fox, A History of Laos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 52. 73 Ibid., p. 53. 74 See David P. Chandler, A History of Cambodia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), chaps. 9, 10. 75 William J. Duiker, Ho Chi Minh (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. 183. 76 Alexander Vatlin and Stephen A. Smith, “The Comintern” in History of Communism, ed. Smith, p. 194. 77 Ibid., p. 194. 78 J. H. Brimmell, Communism in Southeast Asia: A Political Analysis (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), pp. 144–145. For the most detailed information on the Indonesian communists during World War Two, see Poeze, “The Cold War in Indonesia.” 79 See Taylor, Resistance in Burma, pp. 7–8. 80 Taylor, “Burmese Communist Movement,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 95–108. 81 See Oliver Hensengerth, “The Burmese Communist Party in the Stateto-State Relations between China and Burma” in Leeds East Asia Papers, no. 67, 2005, pp. 15–18. 82 Fuller, Forcing the Pace, p. 120. 83 Ibid., p. 145. 84 Alfredo B. Saulo, Communism in the Philippines: An Introduction (Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1990), p. 28, chap. 6. 85 Ibid., p. 29. 86 For details of the activities of the Hukbalahap, see Fuller, Forcing the Pace, chap. 5. 87 Saulo, Communism in the Philippines, pp. 29–30. 88 Ibid., p. 177. 89 For details see Fuller, Forcing the Pace, pp. 167–169, 173–174, 197. 90 Saulo, Communism in the Philippines, p. 32.

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91 Ibid., p. 186. 92 Fuller, Forcing the Pace, p. 220. 93 See Robert Martin N. Galang, “A Brief History of the Philippine Communist Movement,” http://ssrn.com/abstract=2084850. 94 Maurice Baker, The Accidental Diplomat (Singapore: World Scientific, 2014), p. 224. 95 Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism, pp. 25–33. “Boworadej prisoners” is a reference to those arrested in the failed coup in 1933 led by royalist Prince Boworadej. 96 Ibid., pp. 51–52, 112. 97 Ibid., pp. 52–53. Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” pp. 131–145. 98 For details see Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism, pp. 57–59; and Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” chap. 4. 99 Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” pp. 182–183. 100 Christopher E. Goscha, Thailand and the Southeast Asian Networks of the Vietnamese Revolution, 1885–1954 (Richmond: Curzon Press, 1999), pp. 238–239. 101 Ibid., pp. 240–243. 102 Ibid., pp. 260–261. 103 Ibid. See also Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” p. 242. 104 See Eiji Murashima, “The Young Nuon Chea in Bangkok (1942–1950) and the Communist Party of Thailand: The Life in Bangkok of the Man who became ‘Brother No. 2’ in the Khmer Rouge” in the Journal of AsiaPacific Studies (Waseda University), no. 12, March 2009. 105 Cheah, PKI to the Comintern, p. 34. 106 Ibid., pp. 36–39. 107 See Yeo’s review of Absent History in JMBRAS, pp. 135–139. 108 Anthony Reid, “Chin Peng, an Obituary,” http://asiapacific.anu.edu.au /newmandala/2013/10/05/chin-peng-an-obituary. 109 See Cheah Boon Kheng, “Some Aspects of the Interregnum in Malaya (14 August–3 September 1945)” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, March 1977. See also Leon Comber, “ ‘Traitors of all Traitors’—Secret Agent Extraordinaire: Lai Teck, Secretary-General, Communist Party of Malaya (1939–1947)” in the Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, vol. 83, part 2, no. 299, September 2010, pp. 1–25; and “Lai Teck—the Traitors of all Traitors,” The Straits Times, 21 January 2011.

210

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111 112 113 114 115

116 117 118

119 120 121 122 123 124 125

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Notes of meeting with Chin Peng, secretary-general, Malayan Communist Party, at 11 Bedford Square, London, 18 June 1998. I wish to thank Dr. Kumar Ramakrishna for sharing the notes of the meeting with me. See also Comber, “Secret Agent Extraordinaire,” pp. 1–25. William J. Duiker, The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996), p. 49. Ibid. Ibid., p. 58. See, for example, William J. Duiker, Ho Chi Minh (New York: Hyperion, 2000). Keith Taylor, A History of the Vietnamese (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), p. 544. See also Ronald H. Spector, “Phat Diem Nationalism, Religion, and Identity in the Franco-Viet Minh War” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 15, no. 3, Summer 2013, pp. 34–46; and Tuong Vu, “It’s Time for the Indochinese Revolution to Show its True Colours: The Significance of 1948 in Vietnam,” Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948: Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 10–11 July 2008. Martin Stuart-Fox, A History of Laos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), p. 74. David P. Chandler, A History of Cambodia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), p. 167. A. J. Stockwell, “The United States and Britain’s Decolonization of Malaya, 1942–1957” in The United States and Decolonization: Power and Freedom, ed. David Ryan and Victor Pungong (Houndsmill: Macmillan Press Ltd., 2000), chap. 9. See Warren F. Kimball, The Juggler: Franklin Roosevelt as Wartime Statesman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), chap. 7. Colin Brown and Peter J. Mooney, Cold War to Détente 1945–80 (London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1981), p. 19. Lintner, Great Game East, p. 233. David Priestland, The Red Flag: A History of Communism (London: Allen Lane, 2009), p. 226. Ibid., p. 232. Ibid., pp. 232–233. See “Speech by Andrei Zhdanov (member of the Soviet Politburo) at the founding of the Cominform (a Communist International Organization)

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126 127

128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146

147 148

211

in September 1947,” http://educ.jmu.edu/~vannorwc/assets/ ghist%20102-150/pages/readings/zhdanovspeech.html, accessed on 29 August 2017. Goscha, Networks of the Vietnamese Revolution, p. 237. Tony Saich, “The Chinese Communist Party During the Era of the Comintern (1919–1943),” http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/asaich /chinese-communisty-party-during-comintern.pdf. Odd Arne Westad, Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750 (London: Vintage Books, 2013), chap. 8. David Koh Wee Hock, ed., Legacies of World War II in South and East Asia (Singapore: ISEAS, 2007), p. ix. Taylor, “Burmese Communist Movement,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 95–108. See Belogurova, “Communism in Southeast Asia” in History of Communism, ed. Smith, chap. 13. Taylor, “Burmese Communist Movement” in Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 95–108n. 65. See Lintner, Communist Party of Burma, p. 18. Lintner, Great Game East, pp. 232–233. Priestland, Red Flag, p. 233. Lintner, Great Game East, p. 233. Roberto Martin N. Galang, “A Brief History of the Philippine Communist Movement,” http://ssrn.com/abstract=2084850. Saulo, Communism in the Philippines, pp. 36–37. For details see Fuller, Forcing the Pace, chaps. 7–10. Ibid., p. 232. Ibid., p. 244. Galang, “Philippine Communist Movement,” http://ssrn.com /abstract=2084850. Baker, Accidental Diplomat, p. 225. Fuller, Forcing the Pace, p. 273. Baker, Accidental Diplomat, p. 226. Cheah Boon Kheng, “An Intriguing Enigma to the End,” http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/09/17/An-intriguingenigma-to-the-end. Leon Comber, “The Malayan Emergency: Nothing Less than Outright War” in The Straits Times, 27 June 2008. See Karl Hack, “The Origins of the Asian Cold War Revisited: Malaya

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154 155 156 157 158

159 160 161

162

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1948,” Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948: Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 10–11 July 2008. See Chin Peng, My Side of the Story (Singapore: Media Masters Pte. Ltd., 2003). Phillip Deery, “Malaya, 1948: Britain’s Asian Cold War?” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, Winter 2007, pp. 29–54. Hack, “Asian Cold War Revisited,” Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War. Phillip Deery, “Malaya, 1948: Britain’s Asian Cold War?” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, Winter 2007, pp. 29–54. Hack, “Asian Cold War Revisited,” Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War. See also C. C. Chin and Karl Hack, eds., Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004); and Peng, My Side, pp. 202–205. Chin, My Side. Ibid., p. 215. “Cold War in Indonesia, 1948.” Ibid. See Richard Mason, “The Southeast Asian Revolts in 1948 and the US Policy toward Southeast Asia,” Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948: Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 10–11 July 2008. Poeze, “Cold War in Indonesia, 1948.” For details of Musso’s speeches and activities, see Poeze, “Cold War in Indonesia, 1948.” Poeze, “Cold War in Indonesia, 1948.” See also Katherine McGregor, “The 1948 Madiun Affair: Reverberations for the Indonesian Communist Party,” Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948: Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 10–11 July 2008; and Ann Swift, The Road to Madiun: The Indonesian Communist Uprising of 1948 (Cornell Modern Indonesia Project, Monograph Series no. 69, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1969). “An Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand” (first drafted in 1974, updated in 1978), trans. Chris Baker in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 33, no. 4, 2003, pp. 510–541. See Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism. Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” p. 254. Much of the following section was condensed from “1948: The Begin-

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166 167 168

169 170

171 172 173

174

175

176

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ning of the Cold War in Southeast Asia?—The Vietnam Dimension,” delivered by the author to the Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948: Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 10–11 July 2008. Nguyen Khac Vien, Vietnam: A Long History (Hanoi: The Gioi Publishers, 1993), p. 263. Goscha, Southeast Asian Networks, pp. 282–283. Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, “Vietnamese Historians and the First Indochina War” in The First Vietnam War: Colonial Conflict and Cold War Crisis, ed. Mark Atwood Lawrence and Fredrik Logevall (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), chap. 3. Andrew Wiest, ed., Rolling Thunder in a Gentle Land: The Vietnam War Revisited (Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2006), p. 40. “40 Years of Party Activity,” Vietnam Documents and Research Notes, no. 76, p. 123. See also The 30-Year War 1945–1975, vol. 1: 1945–1954 (Hanoi: The Gioi Publishers, 2000), pp. 135–136; Ban Nghien Cuu Lich Su Dang Trung Cong (Department of Party History Research), Nam Muoi Nam Hoat Dong Vua Dang Cong San Viet Nam (Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban Su That, 1982), pp. 98–99; and Lich Su Quan Doi Nhan Dan Viet Nam, Tap I (History of the Vietnamese Communist Party, vol. I), (Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban Quan Doi Nhan Dan, 1977), pp. 331–334. The 30-Year War 1945–1975, vol. 1, p. 135. William J. Duiker, Ho Chi Minh: A Life (New York: Hyperion, 2000), p. 411. For a brief account of internal Thai politics in 1948, see Paul M. Handley, The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 90–93. Handley, Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej, pp. 283–284. The best account, perhaps, is Daniel Fineman, A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand, 1947–1958 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997. Thomas Engelbert and Christopher E. Goscha, Falling out of Touch: A Study on Vietnamese Communist Policy Towards an Emerging Cambodian Communist Movement, 1930–1975 (Centre of Southeast Asian Studies, Monash Asia Institute, Monash University, 1995), pp. 35–36. See also Hoang Van Hoan, A Drop in the Ocean: Hoang Van Hoan’s Revolutionary Reminiscences (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1988). For details see Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Thai-

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180 181 182

183 184 185 186 187

188 189

190 191

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land (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 144–145; and David K. Wyatt, Thailand: A Short History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), pp. 266–268. Fineman, A Special Relationship, p. 61. Engelbert and Goscha, Falling out of Touch, pp. 37–38. Motoo Furuta, “The Indochina Communist Party’s Division into Three Parties: Vietnamese Communist Policy towards Cambodia and Laos, 1948–1951” in Indochina in the 1940s and 1950s, ed. Takashi Shiraishi and Motoo Furuta (Ithaca: Cornell Southeast Asia Program, 1992), p. 146. For details see Furuta, “Indochina Communist Party’s Division,” in Indochina in the 1940s and 1950s, ed. Shiraishi and Furuta, pp. 147–153. Ibid., p. 156. Ibid., p. 155. For details of the internal party debates and decision, see also Tuong Vu, “The Significance of 1948 in Vietnam,” Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War. Furuta, “Indochina Communist Party’s Division,” in Indochina in the 1940s and 1950s, ed. Shiraishi and Furuta, p. 157. Tuong Vu, “The Significance of 1948 in Vietnam,” Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War. Ban Nghien Cuu Lich Su Dang Trung Cong, Nam Muoi Nam Hoat, pp. 98–99. Robert S. McNamara, Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (New York: Public Affairs, 1999), p. 81. Nguyen Vu Tung, “The Chinese Factor in the Relationship between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the United States 1949–1968” (unpublished paper, The Norwegian Nobel Institute, 1995), pp. 8–9. The Vietnamese-American Friendship Association was formed on 17 October 1945. Tung quoted from Party Document, vol. 4 (Hanoi: compiled and internally circulated by the Nguyen Ai Quoc Party High School, 1964). Andrew J. Rotter, The Path to Vietnam: Origins of the American Commitment to Southeast Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 101. Nguyen, “The Chinese Factor,” pp. 8–9. Nguyen cites personal interviews with Vietnamese researchers in Hanoi and party documents compiled and circulated by the Nguyen Ai Quoc High School. For details see King C. Chen, Vietnam and China 1938–1954 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969). Editorial Board of the Journal of International Studies, “Facts about Sino-Vietnamese Relations” in China and the World (1979), p. 99.

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192 Chen, Vietnam and China, pp. 192–195. 193 Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1974 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000), pp. 11–12. 194 See Laura M. Calkins, China and the First Vietnam War, 1947–54 (London: Routledge, 2013). 195 Truong Chinh, “We Struggle for Independence and Democracy” distributed at the Fifth Central Cadres Conference, 8–16 August 1948 in Lich Su Quan Doi Nhan Dan Viet Nam, Tap I, pp. 334–335. 196 Hoang Van Hoan, “Distortions of Facts about Militant Friendship between Vietnam and China is Impermissible” in Beijing Review, 7 December 1979, p. 12. 197 David W. P. Elliot, The Vietnamese War: Revolution and Social Change in the Mekong Delta 1930–1975 (Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2007), pp. 70–71. See also William J. Duiker, US Containment Policy and the Conflict in Indochina (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), p. 87; and Nguyen, Vietnam: A Long History, p. 267. 198 Engelbert and Goscha, Falling out of Touch, pp. 38–39. 199 Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1974 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000), p. 12. 200 See Ruth McVey, The Calcutta Conference and the Southeast Asian Uprisings (Ithaca: Modern Indonesia Project, Southeast Asia Program, Department of Far Eastern Studies, Cornell University, 1958). 201 Ibid. 202 M. R. Masani, The Communist Party of India: A Short History (London: Derek Verschoyle, 1954), pp. 89–90, 281, 282n. 4, 283n. 5. 203 McVey, The Calcutta Conference. 204 Ibid. 205 See Tuong Vu, “From Cheering to Volunteering: Vietnamese Communists and the Coming of the Cold War, 1940–1951” in Connecting Histories: Decolonization and the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 1945–1962, ed. Christopher E. Goshca and Christian F. Ostermann (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), chap. 7. 206 Lintner, Great Game East, pp. 233–237. 207 Ibid., p. 235 208 L. M. Efimova, “New Russian Evidence on the Calcutta Youth Conference (February 1948) and Soviet Policy toward Indonesia,” Roundtable on the 60th Anniversary of 1948: Reassessing the Origins of the Cold War in Southeast Asia, 10–11 July 2008.

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209 Efimova, email correspondence with author, 25 February 2005. See also Larissa Efimova, “Who Gave Instructions to the Indonesian Communist Leader Musso in 1948?” in Indonesia and the Malay World, vol. 31, no. 90, July 2003, pp. 171–189. 210 See Taylor, “The Burmese Communist Movement,” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 95–108. Chapter 2 The Emergence of Communist China 1 Oral History Interview with John F. Cady, 31 July 1974, http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhis/cadyjf.htm. 2 Andrew J. Rotter, The Path to Vietnam: Origins of the American Commitment to Southeast Asia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987), p. 101. 3 Zhihua Shen and Yafeng Xia, “Leadership transfer in the Asian revolution: Mao Zedong and the Asian Cominform” in Cold War History, vol. 14, no. 2, 2014, pp. 195–213. 4 See Akira Iriye, The Cold War in Asia: A Historical Introduction (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1974), pp. 186–187. 5 Odd Arne Westad, Restless Empire: China and the World since 1750 (London: Vintage Books, 2013), p. 319. 6 Shen and Xia, “Mao Zedong and the Asian Cominform,” Cold War History, pp. 195–213. 7 Ibid. 8 Nicholas Tarling, Britain, Southeast Asia & the Impact of the Korean War (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2005), pp. 65, 440. 9 US Department of State, Office of the Historian, Milestones: 1945–1952, https://history.state.gov/milestones/1945-1952/chinese-rev. 10 Tarling, Impact of the Korean War, p. 441. For the idea of “the imperialism of decolonization” see W. M. Roger Louis and Ronald Robinson, “The Imperialism of Decolonization” in The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 462–511. 11 Collen P. Woods, “Bombs, Bureaucrats, and Rosary Beads: The United States, the Philippines, and the Making of Global Anti-Communism, 1945–1960,” unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 2012, p. 88. 12 For the historiography of Sino–US relations see Warren I. Cohen , ed., Pacific Passage: The Study of American–East Asian Relations on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1966), chaps. 1, 7, and 9. See also Zach Fredman, “The Specter of an Expansion-

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13 14

15 16 17

18

19

20 21 22

23

24

217

ist China: Kennedy Administration Assessments of Chinese Intentions in Vietnam,” in Diplomatic History, vol. 38, no. 1, 2014. William J. Duiker, US Containment Policy and the Conflict in Indochina (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994), pp. 66–67. See The Pentagon Papers, Senator Gravel editions, vol. 1 (Boston: Beacon, 1971) and Yano Toru, “Who Set the Stage for the Cold War in Southeast Asia?” in The Origins of the Cold War in Asia, ed. Yonosuke Nagai and Akira Iriye (Tokyo: University of Tokyo Press, 1977), pp. 321–337. Robert S. McNamara, Argument Without End: In Search of Answers to the Vietnam Tragedy (New York: Public Affairs, 1999), p. 81 Ibid., pp. 78–79. Michael Schaller, “Japan, China, and Southeast Asia: Regional Integration and Containment, 1947–1950” in The Occupation of Japan: The International Context, ed. Thomas W. Burkman, Proceedings of a Symposium at Old Dominion University, 21–22 October 1982 (MacArthur Memorial Foundation, 1984), pp. 163–192. Ibid., p. 171. See also Michael Schaller, “Security the Great Crescent: Occupied Japan and the Origins of Containment in Southeast Asia” in the Journal of American History, vol. 69, no. 2, September 1962, pp. 392–414. See Bhubhindar Singh, “ASEAN’s Perceptions of Japan: Change and Continuity” in Asian Survey, vol. 42, no. 2, March/April 2002, pp. 280–281; and Akira Iriye, The Cold War in Asia: A Historical Introduction (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1974), pp. 186–188. Nicholas Tarling, Southeast Asia and the Great Powers (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 110. Qiang Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1974 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000), p. 13. Nguyen Vu Tung, “The Chinese Factor in the Relationship between the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and the United States 1949–1968,” unpublished paper, the Norwegian Nobel Institute, 1995, pp. 5–6 See Zhai, China and the Vietnam Wars, chap. 1 and Chen Jian, “China and the First Indo–China War, 1950–54” in China Quarterly, no. 133, March 1999, pp. 85–110. Report to the Second National Congress of the Vietnam Workers’ Party, February 1951 in Selected Writings, Truong Chinh (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1977), p. 235, as cited by Gareth Porter,

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29 30 31 32 33

34

35

36 37

38

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“Hanoi’s Strategic Perspective and the Sino–Vietnamese Conflict” in Pacific Review, vol. 57, no. 1, Spring 1984, p. 11n. 12. Ilya V. Gaiduk, Confronting Vietnam: Soviet Policy toward the Indochina Conflict, 1954–1963 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), p. 1. William J. Duiker, The Communist Road to Power in Vietnam (Boulder: Westview Press, 1996), p. 142. See William J. Duiker, Ho Chi Minh: A Life (New York: Hyperion, 2000), pp. 418–423, 648–649nn. 29–30. For an account of Soviet–Vietminh relations in this period see Christopher Gosha, “Courting Diplomatic Disaster? The Difficult Integration of Vietnam into the International Communist Movement (1945–1950)” in the Journal of Vietnamese Studies, vol. 1, no. 1–2, February/August 2006, pp. 59–103. David P. Chandler, A History of Cambodia (Boulder: Westview Press, 1992), p. 181. Martin Stuart-Fox, A History of Laos (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 75–78. Ibid., pp. 80–81. Chandler, History of Cambodia, p. 182. Kasian Tejapira, Commodifying Marxism: The Formation of Modern Thai Radical Culture, 1927–1958 (Kyoto: Kyoto University Press, 2001), pp. 65, 355–356. For details of the Peace Campaign and the Second Congress, see Somsak Jeamteerasakul, “The Communist Movement in Thailand,” unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Politics, Monash University, 31 July 1991, pp. 334–353. Ibid., pp. 340–353. For further details of the National Salvation Movement see also Katsuyuki Takahashi, “How did the Communist Party of Thailand extend a United Front? The Case of the National Liberation Movement during 1951–1952,” http://sydney.edu.au/southeast-asia -centre/documents/pdf/takahashi-katsuyuki.pdf. Thomas A. Marks, “Sino–Thai Relations” in Asian Affairs, vol. 5, October 1974. “An Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand” (first drafted in 1974, updated in 1978), trans. Chris Baker in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 33, no. 4, 2003, pp. 511, 523–524 and Somsak, “Communist Movement in Thailand,” p. 9. Robert H. Taylor, “The Burmese Communist Movement and Its Indian

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39

40

41 42 43 44

45 46 47 48

49 50 51 52

53 54 55

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Connection: Formation and Factionalism” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, March 1983, pp. 95–108. See Oliver Hensengerth, “The Burmese Communist Party in the Stateto-State Relations between China and Burma,” Leeds East Asia Papers, no. 67, 2005. Shen and Xia, “Mao Zedong and the Asian Cominform,” Cold War History, pp. 195–213. See also David I. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan, Modern China–Myanmar Relations: Dilemma of Mutual Dependence (Copenhagen; NIAS Press, 2012), pp. 68–70. Oral History, Cady, http://www.trumanlibrary.org/oralhis/cadyjf.htm. Maung Maung, Burma in the Family of Nations (Amsterdam: Djambatan, 1958), p. 135. Steinberg and Fan, China–Myanmar Relations, pp. 10–13. See Matthew Foley, The Cold War and National Assertion in Southeast Asia: Britain, the United States and Burma, 1948–1962 (London: Routledge, 2010). Steinberg and Fan, China–Myanmar Relations, p. 14. Maung, Burma in the Family of Nations, p. 147. See Hensengerth, “The Burmese Communist Party,” Leeds East Asia Papers and Steinberg and Fan, China–Myanmar Relations. For details see Chen Jian, “China and the Bandung Conference: Changing Perceptions and Representations” in Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian–African Conference for International Order, ed. See Seng Tan and Amitav Archarya (Singapore: NUS Press, 2008), chap. 6. Rui Wen, “Neighbors in Harmony,” http://www.bjreview.cn/EN /200423/Cover-200423(C).htm. Tarling, Southeast Asia, p. 35. Liu Hong, China and the Shaping of Indonesia 1949–1965 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011), p. 53. Liu Hong, in his recent study of Indonesia–China relations, noted Ruth McVey’s observation that China has been not one thing to Indonesians but rather three: a state, a revolution, and an ethnic minority. See Liu Hong, Shaping of Indonesia, pp. 9, 53–57, 63, 77. Ibid., pp. 267–268. Ibid. See Rizal Sukma, “Indonesia’s Perceptions of China: The Domestic Bases of Persistent Ambiguity” in The China Threat: Perceptions, Myths and Re-

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59 60

61 62

63

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65 66 67 68

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ality, ed. Herbert Yee and Ian Storey (London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2002), chap. 9. Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 19–23. Richard Mason, “Indonesia, the Cold War and Non-Alignment: Experiences of the Hatta, Natsir and Sukiman Cabinets, 1950–52,” presented at the 21st Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA), Singapore, 22–25 June 2010. See Larisa M. Efimova, “Stalin and the Revival of the Communist Party of Indonesia” in Cold War History, vol. 5, no. 1, February 2005, pp. 107–120. Ibid. Glenn Anthony May, “The Unfathomable Other: Historical Studies of US–Philippine Relations” in Pacific Passage: The Study of American–East Asian Relations on the Eve of the Twenty-First Century, ed. Warren I. Cohen (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996), chap. 11. May, “Unfathomable Other” in Pacific Passage, ed. Cohen, chap. 11. Benito Lim, The Political Economy of Philippines–China Relations, PASCN Discussion Paper, no. 99–16, September 1999. See also Ken Fuller, Forcing the Pace: The Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas: From Foundation to Armed Struggle (Quezon City: The University of the Philippines Press, 2007), p. 283 and Claude Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon: A History of Philippine Relations with China and Taiwan (Manila: Anvil, 2009). In 1950, Luis Taruc sent an emissary to Beijing in the hope of eliciting Chinese support but the emissary apparently disappeared with his travel allowance. See Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon, p. 60. Collen P. Woods, “Bombs, Bureaucrats, and Rosary Beads: The United States, the Philippines, and the Making of Global Anti-Communism, 1945–1960,” unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 2012, pp. 88–89. Fuller, Forcing the Pace, p. 294. See Benedict J. Kerkvliet, The Huk Rebellion: A Study of Peasant Revolt in the Philippines (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977). Jose Lava quoted in Fuller, Forcing the Pace, p. 284. Luis Taruc quoted in Maurice Baker, The Accidental Diplomat: The Autobiography of Maurice Baker (Singapore: World Scientific, 2015), pp. 226–227.

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69 See Alfredo B. Saulo, Communism in the Philippines: An Introduction (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1990). 70 Lee Kuan Yew, “The Returned Student,” a talk given to the Malayan Forum at Malaya Hall, London, 28 January 1950, in The Papers of Lee Kuan Yew: Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, Vol. 1, 1950–1962 (Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia Pte. Ltd., 2012). 71 Yew, “The Returned Student,” Papers of Lee Kuan Yew. See also “If I Were an Englishman,” speech at a Labour Party rally during the 1950 British General Elections, Papers of Lee Kuan Yew. 72 Yew, “If I Were an Englishman,” Papers of Lee Kuan Yew. 73 Chin Peng, My Side of the Story (Singapore: Media Masters Pte. Ltd., 2003). For the Sungai Siput incident see pp. 212–215. For the 1 October 1951 Resolution refer to pp. 280–286. For the assassination of Henry Gurney see pp. 288–295. 74 The historiography of the Malayan Emergency is vast. The most wellknown early scholars on this subject include Anthony Short and Richard Stubbs. See Karl Hack, “Iron Claws on Malaya: The Historiography of the Malayan Emergency” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 30, no. 1, March 1999, pp. 99–125. 75 See Kumar Ramakrishna, “Anatomy of a Collapse: Explaining the Malayan Communist Mass Surrenders of 1958” in War & Society, vol. 21, no. 2, October 2003, pp. 109–133. Chin Peng provides a much lower figure. 76 Ibid., pp. 110–111. 77 See Chin, My Side of the Story. 78 See Yang Kuisong, Changes in Mao Zedong’s Attitude toward the Indochina War, 1949–1973, Working Paper no. 34, Cold War International History Project (CWIHP). 79 Chin, My Side of the Story, p. 405 80 Ibid. Chapter 3 Geneva, Manila, and Bandung 1 R. B. Smith, Changing Visions of East Asia, 1943–93: Transformations and Continuities, Chad J. Mitcham, ed. (London: Routledge, 2007), pp. 58, 60–61. 2 Full text reproduced in http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306 /documents/domino.html. 3 See Gareth Porter, “Explaining the Vietnam War: Dominant and Con-

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11 12 13 14

15 16 17

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tending Paradigms” in Making Sense of the Vietnam Wars: Local, National and Transnational Perspectives, ed. Mark Philip Bradley and Marilyn B. Young (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), p. 80. See also Gareth Porter, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to the War in Vietnam (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), chap. 8. J. Justin Gustainis, American Rhetoric and the Vietnam War (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), p. 87. Vietnamese Foreign Ministry White Book on Relations with China, FE/ 6238/6 October, FE/6242/11 October 1979 in the Beijing Review, 23 November 1979, 30 November 1979, and 7 December 1979. See Hoang Van Hoan, A Drop in the Ocean (Beijing: Foreign Languages Press, 1988). See Beijing Review, 23 November 1979, 30 November 1979, and 7 December 1979. See Pierre Asselin, “Choosing Peace: Hanoi and the Geneva Agreement on Vietnam, 1954–1955” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 9, no. 2, Spring 2007, pp. 95–126. Zhai Qiang, “China and the Geneva Conference of 1954” in The China Quarterly, no. 129, March 1992, p. 112. Priscilla Roberts, ed., Behind the Bamboo Curtain: China, Vietnam and the World beyond Asia (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2006), pp. 339–440. See Beijing Review, 23 November 1979, 30 November 1979, and 7 December 1979. James Cable, The Geneva Conference of 1954 on Indochina (London: Macmillan, 1986), p. 97. Ibid. See “The Geneva Conference of 1954: New Evidence from the Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China” in the Cold War International History Project Bulletin, issue 16, Fall 2007/ Winter 2008. Roberts, Behind the Bamboo Curtain, pp. 441–442. David Chanoff and Doan Van Toai, Portrait of the Enemy: The Other Side of the War in Vietnam (London: I.B. Tauris, 1987), p. 26. See Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012).

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18 Harrison E. Salisbury, To Peking and Beyond: A Report on the New Asia (New York: Quadrangle, 1973), pp. 225–226, cited in “China and the Geneva Conference,” China Quarterly, pp. 103–122. 19 Laura M. Calkins, China and the First Vietnam War 1947–54 (London: Routledge, 2013), p. 127. 20 Ibid., pp. 126–130. 21 Zhai, “China and the Geneva Conference,” China Quarterly, pp. 103–122. 22 Lich Su Quan Doi Nhan Dan (The Official History of the Vietnamese People’s Army), Tap II—Quyen Mot (Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban Quan Doi Nhan Dan, 1988), p. 12. 23 Damien Fenton, To Cage the Red Dragon: SEATO and the Defence of Southeast Asia 1955–1965 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2012), p. 7. 24 See Roger Dingman, “John Foster Dulles and the Creation of the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization in 1954” in The International History Review, vol. 11, no. 3, August 1989, pp. 409–612. 25 Ibid. 26 Nicholas Tarling, Britain, Southeast Asia & the Impact of the Korean War (Singapore: NUS Press, 2005), p. 417. 27 Ibid., chap. 6. 28 The SEATO members were: Australia, Britain, France, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and the United States. 29 Tarling, Impact of the Korean War, pp. 436–437. 30 Ibid., p. 436. 31 Dingman, “John Foster Dulles,” International History Review, pp. 409–612. 32 Ralph Braibanti, “The Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty” in Pacific Affairs, vol. 30, no. 4, December 1957, pp. 321–341. See also Tarling, Impact of the Korean War, chap. 6. 33 National Archives of Australia, Message from Australian Embassy, Washington, to Department of External Affairs, Canberra, 6 November 1958 (secret), A1838, Item 3034/9/5 and Australian Embassy, Djakarta, to Department of External Affairs, Canberra, 12 June 1958 (secret), A 1838, Item 3034/9/5. 34 National Archives of Australia, SEATO Brief—Indonesia, December 1960 (secret), A1838, Item 3034/9/5/1. 35 S. R. Joey Long, “Bringing the International and Transnational back in: Singapore, Decolonization and the Cold War” in Singapore in Global His-

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tory, ed. Derek Heng and Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2011), p. 219. Matthew Jones, Conflict and Confrontation in Southeast Asia 1961–1965: Britain, the United States, Indonesia, and the Creation of Malaysia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 8. See also Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, Conversations with Tunku Abdul Rahman (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International, 2016), pp. 85–87. (Politician and Malay prime minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, is commonly referred to as simply “the Tunku” in Southeast Asia.) Abdullah, Conversations with Tunku, pp. 85–87. This is a record of a series of conversations with the Tunku between 1982 and 1984. Long, “Decolonization and the Cold War,” Singapore in Global History, p. 219. Ibid. See Loh Kah Seng and others, The University Socialist Club and the Contest for Malaya: Tangled Strands of Modernity (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012), chap. 3. Ibid., p. 61. S. R. Nathan in Conversation, with Timothy Augur (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2015), p. 9. Loh et al., University Socialist Club, pp. 61–64. Ibid., pp. 78, 81. Ang Cheng Guan, Lee Kuan Yew’s Strategic Thought (London: Routledge, 2013), pp. 12, 108nn. 17–19. Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, 1955–1957, vol. XXI, East Asian Security; Cambodia; Laos, Telegram from the Delegation at the SEATO Council Meeting to the Department of State, Bangkok, 23 February 1955, and Telegram from the Secretary of State to the Department of State, Bangkok, 24 February 1955. See also Telegram from the Delegation at the SEATO Council to the Department of State, 23 February 1955 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990). Online sources of FRUS documents can be found at https://history.state.gov /historicaldocuments. Tan See Seng and Amitav Acharya, eds., Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order (Singapore: NUS Press, 2008), p. 23. This edited volume was the product of a conference in April 2005 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference. On the occasion of the 60th anniversary,

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51 52

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a number of new assessments of the conference were published, most notably the Special Issue of the Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 70, no. 4. See also Bill Durodie, “Remaking Bandung 60 Years On” in Global Change, Peace & Security, 2016, http://dx.doi.org /10.1080/14781158.2016.1193848. Particularly notable for its use of Indonesian sources is Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher, eds., Indonesian Notebook: A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Bandung Conference (Durham: Duke University Press, 2016) and it should be read alongside Richard Wright, The Colour Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1956). The latter is still a principal source in the historiography of the Bandung Conference. Tan and Acharya, eds., Bandung Revisited, p. 9. See Jamie Mackie, Bandung 1955: Non-Alignment and Afro-Asian Solidarity (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2005). Much of the following account is from my “Bandung Conference and the Cold War International History of Southeast Asia” in Bandung Revisited, chap. 2. Marc Frey, Ronald W. Pruessen, and Tan Tai Yong, eds., The Transformation of Southeast Asia (London: M.E. Sharpe, 2003), pp. viii, ix, 268–269. See Wright, The Colour Curtain. Richard Wright, The Colour Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1956), p. 12. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, “Asia Africa speaks from Bandung” (Jakarta: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1955), pp. 11–13. Address by Ali Sastroamidjojo, President of the Conference. Antonia Finnane and Derek McDougall, eds., Bandung 1955: Little Histories (Caulfield: Monash University Press, 2010), p. 9. Roeslan Abdulgani, The Bandung Connection: The Asia–Africa Conference in Bandung in 1955 (Jakarta: Guning Agung, 1981), p. 32. Ibid., chap. 5. See also Niharika Chibber Joe, “Fifty Years of Sino-Indian Relations: The Idea of ‘Chindia,’” http://mansfieldfdn.org/fiftyyears. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXI, East Asian Security, Minutes of a Meeting, Secretary’s Office, Department of State, Washington, 7 January 1955. There were no delegates from Singapore or Malaya. Singapore’s Chief Minister David Marshall wanted to attend but was prevented from going by the British colonial government. Two representatives attended as ob-

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70 71

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servers: C. H. Koh, a member of the Labour Front, and Samad Ismail from the People’s Action Party. See “Ex-Reporter relives Summit 50 years Later” in The Straits Times, 26 April 2005. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXI, East Asian Security, Memorandum for the Record by the Counselor of the Department of State (MacArthur), Washington, 10 February 1955. See Sirin Phathanothai, The Dragon’s Pearl (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994). Tarling, Impact of the Korean War, p. 437. Ms. July Stowe, who was with the British Foreign Office in the 1950s, correspondence with the author, 14 January 2005. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXI, East Asian Security, Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, 10 January 1955. Ibid. Memorandum from the Acting Chief of the Reports and Operations Staff (Gilman) to the Secretary of State, Washington, 8 February 1955. Ibid., Editorial Note. Ibid., Telegram from the Delegation at the SEATO Council Meeting to the Department of State, Bangkok, 23 February 1955; Telegram from the Secretary of State to the Department of State, Bangkok, 24 February 1955. See also Telegram from the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State, London, 11 February 1955. Abdulgani, The Bandung Connection, p. 46. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Indonesia, “Asia Africa Speaks.” See George McTurnan Kahin, The Asian-African Conference, Bandung, Indonesia, April 1955 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1956). There are multiple works of note: Dick Wilson, The Story of Chou En Lai, 1898–1976 (London: Hutchinson, 1984); Ronald C. Keith, The Diplomacy of Zhou Enlai (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989); Han Suyin, Eldest Son: Zhou Enlai and the Making of Modern China, 1898–1976 (London: Jonathan Cape, 1994); and Chen, “China and the Bandung Conference” in Bandung Revisited, chap. 6. Han, Eldest Son: Zhou Enlai, p. 103. See Phathanothai, Dragon’s Pearl. See also Daniel Fineman, A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand, 1947–1958 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997) and FRUS, vol. XXII, Southeast Asia, Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, 3 May 1955 (Washington, DC: Government Printing

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72 73 74 75

76 77 78 79

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81

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Office, 1989). Lee Khoon Choy, the Singapore politician and diplomat, was one of three journalists from Singapore at the conference. He recalled that some leaders attacked China as a new colonial power. Zhou Enlai, who was taken aback, thus put aside his original remarks and spoke off the cuff: “I’m here to make friends, not make enemies.” (See “Ex-Reporter relives Summit” in The Straits Times.) George McT. Kahin, Southeast Asia: A Testament (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003), p. 260. Quoted in Kahin, Asian-African Conference, p. 15. G. H. Jansen, Afro-Asian and Non-Alignment (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), p. 219. Quoted in Nicholas Tarling, “ ‘Ah-Ah’: Britain and the Bandung Conference of 1955” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 23, no. 1, March 1992, pp. 74–111. Andrew Roadnight, United States Policy Towards Indonesia in the Truman and Eisenhower Years (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), p. 128. Kahin, A Testament, p. 146. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXI, East Asian Security, Minutes of a Cabinet Meeting, White House, Washington, 29 April 1955. See Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia ( New York: The New Press, 1995); William J. Rust, Before the Quagmire: American Intervention in Laos, 1954–1961 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2012); William J. Rust, Eisenhower and Cambodia: Diplomacy, Covert Action, and the Origins of the Second Indochina War (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2016); and William J. Rust, “Plausible Denial: Eisenhower and the Dap Chhuon Coup,” presented at the Annual Conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, San Diego, California, 24 June 2016, http://beforethequagmire.com /Before_the_Quagmire_by_William_J._Rust/About_the_Author_files /Rust_SHAFR_2016.pdf. The National Archives, Kew, Effects of the Afro-Asian Conference on the United Nations, 4 May 1955, 24 May 1955, 26 May 1955, 27 May 1955, and 7 June 1955, CO 936/350, IRD 168/164/03. For details see Abdulgani, The Bandung Connection, chaps. 14, 15.

Chapter 4 Antagonisms 1 Lee Kuan Yew, “Multiple and Overlapping Divisions of Interests,”

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speech at the National Press Club, Canberra, Australia (16 March 1965) in The Papers of Lee Kuan Yew: Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, Vol. 2: 1963–1965 (Singapore: Cengage Learning Asia Pte Ltd., 2012. Ibid. Richard Wright, The Colour Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference (Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1956). Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 25–26. The period from 1951 has been described as “the point that the third incarnation” of the PKI begins. See also Craig Bowen, “A Short History of the Indonesian Communist Party” in Indonesia: An Unfinished Revolution (first published by Militant International Publications, Australia, September 1990), http://www.socialistworld.net/pubs/Indonesia/Inch1a.html. Jamie Mackie, “The Bandung Conference and Afro-Asian solidarity: Indonesian aspects” in Bandung 1955: Little Histories, ed. Antonia Finnane and Derek McDougall (Caulfield: Monash University Press, 2010), chap. 1. Chen Jian, “China and the Bandung Conference: Changing Perceptions and Representations” in Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 AsianAfrican Conference for International Order, ed. Seng Tan and Amitav Archarya (Singapore: NUS Press, 2008), p. 134. Hong Liu, China and the Shaping of Indonesia, 1949–1965 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011), p. 211. Ibid., pp. 213–216. See also Andrew Roadnight, United States Policy towards Indonesia in the Truman and Eisenhower Years (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), chap. 6. Hong, China and the Shaping of Indonesia, pp. 210–211, 216. See James R. Rush, “Sukarno: Anticipating an Asian Century” in Makers of Modern Asia, ed. Ramachandran Guha (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014), chap. 7. Hong, China and the Shaping of Indonesia, chap. 8. Sukma, Indonesia and China, p. 26. Ibid., p. 31. Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Southeast Asia, Message from the Department of State to the Ambassador in Indonesia (Allison), Washington, 8 August 1957, pp. 406–407; and National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 65–57), Washington, 27 August 1957, pp. 429–431.

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15 Ibid., Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, Djakarta, 30 August 1957, pp. 432–434. 16 Audrey R. Kahin and George McT. Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia (New York: The New Press, 1995), p. 17. For a narrative focused on the role of CIA Director Dulles in manipulating grievances of the outer islanders and the 1958 rebellion see Greg Poulgrain, The Incubus of Intervention: Conflicting Indonesia Strategies of John F. Kennedy and Allen Dulles (Petaling Jaya: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, 2015). The US objective was to strengthen the Indonesian military (which we have noted was not as cohesive as before) in order to diminish the growing power of the PKI. 17 Kahin and Kahin, Subversion as Foreign Policy, p. 217. 18 See David Mozingo, Chinese Policy toward Indonesia 1949–1967 (Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2007), pp. 144–146. 19 Guy J. Pauker, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Indonesia (The RAND Corporation, Memorandum RM-5753-PR, February 1969). 20 National Archives of Australia, The Outlook for Indonesia up to the End of 1965, 14 December 1960 (secret), A1838, Item 3034/9/5/1. 21 National Archives of Australia, Council Representatives’ Political Discussion—December 1960—Indonesia (secret), A1838, Item 3034/9/5/1. 22 David I. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan, Modern China–Myanmar Relations: Dilemma of Mutual Dependence (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2012), p. 33. 23 Anthony Reid and Zheng Yangwen, eds., Negotiating Asymmetry: China’s Place in Asia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009), chap. 4. 24 Steinberg and Fan, Modern China–Myanmar Relations, pp. 54–55. 25 Bertil Lintner, “Myth and Meaning in Tibet” in The Irrawaddy, 19 January 2015, http://www.irrawaddy.org/asia/myth-meaning-tibet.html. 26 Ibid. 27 Bertil Lintner, Great Game East: India, China, and the Struggle for Asia’s Most Volatile Frontier (New Delhi: HarperCollins, 2012), p. 239. 28 Bertil Lintner, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) (Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1990), p. 19. 29 Steinberg and Fan, Modern China–Myanmar Relations, pp. 69–70. 30 Bertil Lintner, “History Lessons” in The Irrawaddy, 13 April 2015. According to Robert Taylor, in correspondence with the author July 2015, the number of students who joined the BCP at that time was not large. 31 Matthew Foley, The Cold War and National Assertion in Southeast Asia:

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36 37

38 39

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Britain, the United States, and Burma, 1948–1962 (London: Routledge, 2010), pp. 104–105. See also Nicholas Tarling, Britain, Southeast Asia, and the Impact of the Korean War (Singapore: NUS Press, 2005), pp. 148–168. For details, see Richard M. Gibson with Wenhua Chen, The Secret Army: Chiang Kai-Shek and the Drug Warlords of the Golden Triangle (Singapore: Wiley, 2011). Reid and Zheng, Negotiating Asymmetry, p. 103. See also “In remote Thai Villages Legacy of China’s Lost Army Endures” in The New York Times, http://nyti.ms/1Cnke8y. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Telegram from the Embassy in Burma to the Department of State, Rangoon, 23 June 1955, pp. 12–13. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to the Secretary of State, Washington, 9 February 1956, pp. 36–40. Ibid., pp. 36–40. Matthew Foley, The Cold War and National Assertion in Southeast Asia: Britain, the United States, and Burma, 1948–1962 (London: Routledge, 2010), p. 138. Thomas A. Marks, “Sino–Thai Relations” in Asian Affairs, vol. 5, October 1974. For details see Sirin Phathanothai, The Dragon’s Pearl (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994) and Daniel Fineman, A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand, 1947–1958 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997). See also FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XII, Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, 3 May 1955. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXI, East Asian Security; Cambodia; Laos, Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, 24 May 1955, pp. 103–105. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Dispatch from the Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State, Bangkok, 23 May 1956, pp. 875–881. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, National Intelligence Estimate 62–57 (Probable Developments in Thailand), Washington, 18 June 1957, pp. 925–926. Leon Comber, Templer and the Road to Malayan Independence: The Man and His Time (Singapore: ISEAS, 2015), pp. 29–30, 43nn. 31–32. “An Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand” (first drafted in 1974, updated in 1978), trans. Chris Baker in Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 33, no. 4, 2003, p. 526.

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45 Fineman, A Special Relationship, chap. 10. 46 Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Thailand (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), chap. 6, p. 148. 47 B. J. Terwiel, Thailand’s Political History: From the 13th Century to Recent Times (Bangkok: River Books, 2005), p. 278. 48 Phathanothai, Dragon’s Pearl, pp. 139–140. 49 “Communist Party of Thailand” in Journal of Contemporary Asia, p. 527. 50 FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Telegram from the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State, Manila, 12 August 1955, pp. 600–602. 51 Ibid., Letter from President Magsaysay to Secretary of State Dulles, Manila, 15 March 1956, pp. 640–642. 52 Ibid., Telegram from the Secretary of State to the Department of State, Taipei, 16 March 1956 in Southeast Asia, pp. 642–643. 53 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Southeast Asia, Memorandum from President Kennedy to his Special Assistant for National Affairs (Bundy), Washington, 10 July 1961, p. 769. 54 See Alfredo B. Saulo, Communism in the Philippines: An Introduction (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1990), pp. 54–56. 55 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defence McNamara, Washington, 29 May 1963, pp. 821–823. See also Saulo, Communism in the Philippines, p. 56. 56 Claude Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon: A History of Philippine Relations with China and Taiwan (Manila: Anvil, 2009), pp. 64–65. 57 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to Secretary of Defense McNamara, pp. 821–823. 58 FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Telegram from the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State, Manila, 27 August 1956, pp. 676–679. 59 Ibid., Memorandum from the Deputy Director for Plans of the Central Intelligence Agency (Wisner) to the President’s Special Assistant (Rockefeller), Washington, 1 June 1955, pp. 735–736. 60 From the 1980s, in the literature, the Malayan Communist Party or MCP was renamed Communist Party of Malaya or CPM. The two names are often used interchangeably. 61 Voice of Malayan Revolution, 27 June 1981, part 5 in Voice of Malayan Revolution: The CPM Radio War against Singapore and Malaysia, 1969–1981, ed. Wang Gungwu and Ong Wei Chong (Singapore: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, 2009). See also Chin Peng, My Side of History (Singapore: Media Masters, 2003), p. 409, and C. C. Chin

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70

71 72 73

74 75 76

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and Karl Hack, eds., Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004), chap. 9. FRUS, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, Staff Study Prepared by an Interdepartmental Committee for the Operations Coordinating Board, Washington, 14 December 1955, pp. 744–754. See Yang Kuisong, Changes in Mao Zedong’s Attitude toward the Indochina War, 1949–1973, Working Paper no. 34, Cold War International History Project (CWIHP). See also Chin, My Side of History, p. 367 and chap. 3 of this volume. Yang, Changes in Mao. Chin, My Side of History, pp. 385–386 Tunku Abdul Rahman, Lest We Forget: Further Candid Reminiscences (Kuala Lumpur: Heinemann, 1983) cited by Cheah Boon Keng, “The Communist Insurgency in Malaysia, 1948–90: Contesting the NationState and Social Change” in the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, June 2009, p. 151. Cheah, “Communist Insurgency in Malaysia.” Chin, My Side of History, p. 408. Freedom News: The Untold Story of the Communist Underground Publication (Singapore: S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, 2008), pp. 22–23. National Archives of Australia, “The MCP as a Force in Singapore,” April 1956, A1838, TS383/5/2 part 2. The full document is available in Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore Documentary Database. Chin, My Side of History, p. 405 Ibid., p. 409. Lee, Interview with Mr. Harry Reasoner, CBS News Correspondent of 60 Minutes, Istana, Singapore in Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, vol. 10, p. 227. Melanie Chew, Leaders of Singapore (Singapore: Resource Press Pte. Ltd., 1996), p. 80. See http://dissertationreviews.org/archives/1590. Lee Kuan Yew, The Singapore Story (Singapore: Times Editions, 1998), pp. 348–354 and Matthew Jones, Conflict and Confrontation in Southeast Asia 1961–1965 (London: Cambridge University Press, 2002), p. 65. For the full text of the Tunku’s 27 May 1961 speech to the Foreign Cor-

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83 84 85 86

87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97

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respondents Association in Singapore, see Lee Kuan Yew, The Battle for Merger (Singapore: Government Printing Office, 1961), app. 3. Commonwealth Relations Office, DO 169/249, From the Office of the United Kingdom Commissioner to Far East and Pacific Department, 14 September 1963. Alex Josey, Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Donald Moore Press Ltd., 1968), p. 172. Melanie Chew, Leaders of Singapore (Singapore: Resource Press Pte. Ltd., 1996), p. 80. National Archives, Kew, “Lee Kuan Yew–Committed to Merger and Malaysia,” 14 September 1963, NAB 1754, DO 169/269. See Thum Ping Tjin, “ ‘Flesh and Bone Reunite as One Body’: Singapore’s Chinese-speaking and their Perspectives on Merger” in Chinese Southern Diaspora Studies, vol. 5, 2011–2012, pp. 29–56. Kua Kia Soong, ed., K. Das and The Tunku Tapes (Petaling Jaya: Strategic Information Research Development, 2002), p. 97. Lee, Singapore Story, p. 366. Tunku Abdul Rahman, Looking Back: The Historic Years of Malaya and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977), p. 78. Lee, Meet the Press session of the Australian Broadcasting Commission at Adelaide, 30 March 1965 in Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, vol. 2, p. 493. Chin, My Side of History, p. 409. Voice of Malayan Revolution, 27 June 1981, part 5. Tengku Abdul Rahman Putra, Looking Back: The Historic Years of Malaya and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977), pp. 140–142. Peng, My Side of History, p. 421 and Cheah, “Communist Insurgency in Malaysia.” Peng, My Side of History, pp. 420–421. See also chaps. 25, 26. Peng, My Side of History, pp. 428–429, 434, 455. Voice of Malayan Revolution, 27 June 1981, part 5. Straits Times, 2 November 1962, quoted in Hari Singh, “Malaysia and the Cold War” in Diplomacy & Statecraft, vol. 6, no. 2, July 1955. Singh, “Malaysia and the Cold War,” Diplomacy & Statecraft. Ibid. See Ang Cheng Guan, Vietnamese Communists’ Relations with China and the Second Indochina Conflict, 1956–1962 (Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 1997), pp. 21, 48.

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98 “How Armed Struggle Began in South Vietnam” in the Vietnam Courier, no. 22, March 1974, pp. 19–24. 99 The Pentagon Papers, Vol. II, Senator Gravel Edition, Memorandum of Conversation on 19 January 1961 between President Eisenhower and President-elect Kennedy on the subject of Laos (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp. 635–637. The author also has seen and refers readers to the original document in the National Archives, United States Department of Defense, United States–Vietnam Relations 1956–1960, pp. 1360–1364. 100 Lich Su Quan Doi Nhan Dan (The Official History of the Vietnamese People’s Army), Tap II—Quyen Mot (Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban Quan Doi Nhan Dan, 1988), p. 12. 101 National Archives, Kew, FO 371/159811, DF 1011/1, 23 June 1961, From Vientiane to Foreign Office. 102 BBC, Summary of World Broadcast, Vientiane Home Service, 9 August 1960, BBC/SWB/FE/407/B/2. 103 National Archives, Kew, FO 371/159846, DF 1015/734, 4 May 1961, From Bangkok to Foreign Office. 104 BBC, Summary of World Broadcast, NCNA, 13 January 1962, BBC/ SWB/FE/845/C/1–3. 105 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Memorandum from the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rice) to the deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson), 10 April 1963, pp. 231–233. 106 For details of the 1962 Geneva Conference, see Ang, Vietnamese Communists’ Relations and Nicholas Tarling, Britain and the Neutralisation of Laos (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011). 107 Timothy Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam: US Military Aid to the Royal Lao Government, 1955–1975 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). 108 See the useful review by Yafeng Xia, “Mao’s China and the Sino-Soviet Split: Ideological Dilemma by Mingjiang Li” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, Fall 2014, pp. 260–263. 109 Ibid. See also Danhui Li and Yafeng Xia, “Jockeying for Leadership: Mao and the Sino-Soviet Split, October 1961–July 1964” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 16, no. 1, Winter 2014, pp. 24–60. 110 Quan Yanchi, Mao Zedong Yu Khrushchev, 1957–1959 Zhongsu Guanxi Jishi (Jilin: Jiling Renmin Chubanshe, 1990), pp. 123–133. See also Li and Xia, “Jockeying for Leadership,” Journal of Cold War Studies, pp. 24–60. 111 Aleksandr Kaznacheev, Inside A Soviet Embassy: Experiences of a Russian

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112

113

114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132

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Diplomat in Burma (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1962), pp. 145–146. See also, Robert H. Taylor, General Ne Win: A Political Biography (Singapore: ISEAS, 2015), p. 243. Lorenz M. Luthi, “The Sino-Soviet Split and Its Consequences” in The Routledge Handbook of the Cold War, ed. Artemy M. Kalinovsky and Craig Daigle, (London: Routledge, 2014), chap. 6. Stephen A. Smith, “Towards a Global History of Communism,” in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Communism, ed. Stephen A. Smith (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), p. 14. Ibid. Baker and Phongpaichit, History of Thailand, p. 184. Vietnam Studies: Allied Participation in Vietnam (Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1973, pp. 26–27. See Charles Keyes, Finding Their Voice: Northeastern Villagers and the Thai State (Bangkok: Silkworm Books, 2014). David Brown, The State and Ethnic Politics in Southeast Asia (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 185. Keyes, Finding Their Voice, pp. 74–75. Benedict Anderson, The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia and the World (London: Verso, 1998), p. 179. “Communist Party of Thailand” in Journal of Contemporary Asia, p. 527. Ibid., pp. 528–529. Yang Kuisong, “Mao’s Talk with Le Duan, 13 August 1964,” and “Mao’s Talk with LPP Delegation, 11 December 1965,” in Changes in Mao. Yang, “Mao’s Talk with a Thai Delegation, 21 December 1955,” Changes in Mao. Ibid. Anderson, Spectre of Comparisons, p. 145. William Schoenl, ed., New Perspectives on the Vietnam War: Our Allies’ Views (Lanham: University Press of America, 2002), p. 14. Ibid., pp. 12–13. Saulo, Communism in the Philippines, pp. 57, 62. Ibid., chap. 14. Taylor, General Ne Win, p. 256. Maung Aung Myoe, “Dealing with the Dragon: The China Factor in Myanmar’s Foreign Policy” in Negotiating Asymmetry: China’s Place in Asia, ed. Anthony Reid and Zheng Yangwen (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009), chap. 4.

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133 Taylor, General Ne Win, pp. 272–273, 286, 290. 134 National Archives at College Park (NACP), From American Embassy, Canberra, to Secretary of State, Washington, 4 June 1965 (secret), RG 59, Box 1955, POL 1 Burma, 135 Maung, “Dealing with the Dragon,” Negotiating Asymmetry, chap. 4. 136 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Memorandum from Acting Secretary of State Ball to President Kennedy, Washington, 4 May 1963, in Foreign Relations of the United States, pp. 118–120. 137 Kaznacheev, Inside A Soviet Embassy, pp. 215–218. See also Linter, Great Game East, p. 242. 138 Linter, Great Game East, pp. 241–242. 139 Ibid., p. 242. 140 Maung, “Dealing with the Dragon,” Negotiating Asymmetry, p. 104. See also Lintner, Communist Party of Burma. 141 C. C. Chin and Karl Hack, eds., Dialogues with Chin Peng: New Light on the Malayan Communist Party (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 2004), p. 218. 142 As quoted by Comber, Road to Malayan Independence, p. 34. 143 National Archives, Kew, From Office of the High Commissioner for the United Kingdom (Kuala Lumpur) to Commonwealth Relations Office (London), 29 August 1962, NAB 1754, DO 169/250. 144 Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, Conversations with Tunku Abdul Rahman (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International, 2016), pp. 101–102. 145 See Tan Peng Hong, “Reaching a Compromise: The Deliberations of the Singapore Internal Security Council (1962–1963),” B.A. thesis 1997/1998, Department of History, National University of Singapore, p. 4. 146 Roxana Waterson and Kwok Kian-woon, eds., Contestations of Memory in Southeast Asia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2012), p. 235. 147 See Poh Soo Kai, Tan Kok Fang, and Hong Lysa, eds., The 1963 Operation Coldstore in Singapore: Commemorating 50 Years (Petaling Jaya: SIRDC, 2013) and Poh Soo Kai, Living in a Time of Deception (Singapore: Function 8 Ltd., 2016). 148 Tan, “Reaching a Compromise,” p. 51. 149 See T. N. Harper, “Lim Chin Siong and the ‘Singapore Story’ ” in Comet in Our Sky: Lim Chin Siong in History, ed. Tan Jing Quee and Jomo K.S. (Kuala Lumpur: Insan, 2001). Harper provides a sympathetic view of Lim Chin Siong. 150 Ibid., p. 35.

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151 National Archives, Kew, Who’s Who, November 1955 (secret), FCO 141/15308, C621952. 152 Albert Lau, “The Battle for Merger—The Historical Context,” essay added to a revised edition of The Battle for Merger by Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Straits Times Press, 2014), pp. xxiii–xxvi. This is a collection of Lee Kuan Yew’s radio talks in support of merger delivered in 1961. 153 Chin and Hack, Dialogues with Chin Peng, pp. 190–192. 154 Tan, “Reaching a Compromise,” pp. 8, 12–13. 155 National Archives, Kew, Delegates to Constitutional Conference, 13 April 1956, Secret Telegram No. 128, FCO 141/15308, C 621952. 156 Tan, “Reaching a Compromise,” p. 11. 157 Lee Kuan Yew, Speech at a Rally at the Esplanade, Penang for the 1964 Federal Parliamentary Elections, 24 March 1964, in Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, vol. 2, p. 138. 158 See Vernon L. Porritt, The Rise and Fall of Communism in Sarawak 1940–1990 (Clayton: Monash Asia Institute, 2004). See also Chin and Hack, Dialogues with Chin Peng, p. 190. 159 Tan, “Reaching a Compromise,” p. 50. 160 Chin Peng, My Side of History (Singapore: Media Masters, 2003), pp. 436–439. 161 Ramachandra Guha, ed., Makers of Modern Asia (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014), pp. 192–193. 162 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 54/ 59–62), Washington, 11 July 1962 and Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE 54/59–63), Washington, 20 February 1963, pp. 707–708, 712–717. 163 Lee, The Motivations Behind the Indonesian Confrontation: Press Conference at Qantas House, Sydney, for Radio, Television and press Representatives, 23 March 1965 in Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, vol. 2, p. 138. 164 Tengku Abdul Rahman Putra, Looking Back: The Historic Years of Malaya and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977), p. 89. 165 Ibid., p. 93. 166 Lee, The Motivations Behind the Indonesian Confrontation: Press Conference at Qantas House, Sydney, for Radio, Television and press Representatives, 23 March 1965 in Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, vol. 2, p. 138.

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167 David Mozingo, Chinese Policy toward Indonesia 1949–1967 (Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2007), p. 193. 168 See Lee, Only Self Defence, Never Offence: Press Conference held at the Broadcasting House, Wellington, New Zealand, 11 March 1965 and The Motivations Behind the Indonesian Confrontation in Speeches, Interviews and Dialogues, vol. 2, p. 138. 169 Tengku Abdul Rahman Putra, Looking Back: The Historic Years of Malaya and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977), p. 132. 170 Peng, My Side of History, p. 463. 171 M. C. Rieklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia since c. 1200 (Houndsmills: Palgrave, 2001), p. 331. 172 Rex Mortimer, Indonesian Communism Under Sukarno: Ideology and Politics, 1959–1965 (Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press, 1974), p. 330. 173 See Yang, Changes in Mao. 174 David Mozingo, Chinese Policy toward Indonesia 1949–1967 (Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2007), p. 216. 175 The above account is taken from Taomo Zhou, “China and the Thirtieth of September Movement” in Indonesia, no. 98, October 2014, p. 33. 176 Ramachandra Guha, ed., Makers of Modern Asia (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014), p. 193. 177 “When the Russians were last in Jakarta” in The Straits Times Interactive, 8 December 2005. 178 Balazs Szalontai, “A Labyrinth of Conflicting Interests: Malaysia and Konfrontasi from the Perspective of the Soviet Bloc, 1957–1965” (unpublished paper). 179 Mozingo, Chinese Policy toward Indonesia, pp. 203, 211. 180 Ibid., p. 203. See also John Wong, “S’pore’s bid to sustain its unique ties with China” in The Straits Times, 3 November 2015. 181 Sukma, Indonesia and China, p. 32. 182 Daniel Novotny, Torn between America and China: Elite Perceptions and Indonesian Foreign Policy (Singapore: ISEAS, 2010), p. 175. 183 “When the Russians were last in Jakarta,” Straits Times Interactive. 184 Ibid. 185 For a concise account of the US role, see Ang Cheng Guan, “The Johnson Administration and Confrontation” in Cold War History, vol. 2, no. 3, April 2002, pp. 111–128. See also FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Indonesia, Malaysia–Singapore; Philippines. 186 “CIA’s Covert Indonesia Operation in the 1950s Acknowledged by U.S.:

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188 189 190 191 192

193

194

195 196

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Cold War: State Department publishes unprecedented 600-page history documenting anti-Communist Program” in the Los Angeles Times, 29 October 1994, http://articles.latimes.com/1994-10-29/news/mn56121_1 _state-department. FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Memorandum Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency for the Department of State, Washington, 18 September 1964, pp. 161–164. Ibid., Editorial Note, p. 288. Ibid., p. 299n. 3. The coup is also referred to as the “Gestapu Affair,” “the September 30 Movement,” and “G30S.” See Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning documentary film The Act of Killing, Final Cut for Real Films. See Arnold C. Brackman, The Communist Collapse in Indonesia (Singapore: Asia Pacific Press, 1970) and Benedict R. Anderson and Ruth T. McVey (with the assistance of Frederick P. Bunnell), A Preliminary Analysis of the October 1, 1965, Coup in Indonesia (Ithaca: Interim Report Series, Modern Indonesia Project, Southeast Asia Program, (Cornell University, 1971). See also Benedict R. O’G. Anderson, Scholarship on Indonesia and Raison d’Etat: Personal Experience (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program, Indonesia, no. 62, Cornell University, 1996) and Ben Anderson, “How Did the Generals Die?” in Indonesia, vol. 43, April 1987, pp. 109–134. For two contrasting views see Peter Dale Scott, “The United States and the Overthrow of Sukarno, 1965–1967” in Pacific Affairs, no. 58, Summer 1985, pp. 239–264 and H. W. Brands, “The Limits of Manipulation: How the United States Didn’t Topple Sukarno” in The Journal of American History, vol. 76, no. 3, December 1989, pp. 785–808. Scott’s account is based on circumstantial evidence whereas Brands had limited access to the official records. Mary S. Zurbuchen, “History, Memory, and the ‘1965 Incident’ in Indonesia” in the Asian Survey, vol. XLII, no. 4, July/August 2002, pp. 564–581. “Total Correction: As Interest in History Grows, Official View Is Asserted” in the Far Eastern Economic Review, 12 October 1995, pp. 22–23. For a concise account see my article “The 1965 Coup and After” in War and Society, vol. 21, no. 1, May 2003, pp. 119–136. See also FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI.

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197 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Acting Secretary of State Ball and Secretary of Defence McNamara, Washington, 1 October 1965. 198 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia, Washington, 6 October 1965. 199 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, Djakarta, 5 October 1965. 200 Kathy Kadane, “US Officials’ Lists Aided Indonesian Bloodbath in 60s” in The Washington Post, 21 May 1990. See also Kadane’s Letter to the Editor, New York Review of Books, 10 April 1997. 201 Marshall Green, Indonesia: Crisis and Transformation 1965–1968 (Washington, DC: The Compass Press, 1990). 202 See the newspaper series of articles “The Secret Slaughter,” “Hidden Holocaust,” and “The Silent Watchers” in the Sydney Morning Herald, 9–11 July 1999. 203 Australian Broadcast Network, “Australia, UK, US all complicit in Indonesian 1965 massacres, international judges say,” http://www.abc.net .au/news/2016-07-21/1965-indonesian-mass-killings-were-crimes-against -humanity/7647274. 204 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Editorial Note. See also Green, Indonesia: Crisis and Transformation, pp. 154–155. 205 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, Djakarta, 22 December 1965. 206 Taomo Zhuo, “Ambivalent Alliance: Chinese Policy towards Indonesia, 1960–1965” in The China Quarterly, vol. 221, March 2015, pp. 208–228. 207 See Taomo Zhou, “China and the Thirtieth of September Movement” in Indonesia, no. 98, October 2014, pp. 29–58. 208 This summary is from Ibid., pp. 50–51. John Roosa came to the same conclusion of Aidit’s role in the coup. See John Roosa, Pretext for Mass Murder: The September 30th Movement and Suharto’s Coup d’etat in Indonesia (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006). 209 Zhou, “Thirtieth of September Movement,” Indonesia, p. 51. 210 Ibid., p. 52. 211 Yang, Changes in Mao. 212 See Ragna Boden, “Silence in the Slaughterhouse: Moscow and the Indonesian Massacres” in 1965: Indonesia and the World, ed. Bernd Schaefer and Baskara T. Wardaya (Jakarta: Gompas Gramedia, 2013), pp. 86–98. 213 Ibid., p. 91.

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214 See Roosa, Pretext for Mass Murder. This is the most detailed and up-todate account of the event: he argues that Aidit and Sjam were involved. See also Mortimer, Communism Under Sukarno, pp. 392–399. Mortimer, writing in the early 1970s, concluded that any degree of PKI involvement was probably peripheral to the main conspiracy. For additional reading see Jusuf Wanandi, Shades of Grey: A Political Memoir of Modern Indonesia 1965–1998 (Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2012). 215 Pierre Asselin, Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War 1954–1965 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013), pp. 134–137. 216 For details see Ang Cheng Guan, The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists’ Perspective (London: Routledge Curzon, 2002), chap. 3. 217 Asselin, Hanoi’s Road, p. 164. 218 We now know that the torpedo attack never occurred. Among other sources see H-Net, https://www.hnet.org/reviews/showpdf.php ?id=761. 219 Zhang Xiaoming, “Communist Powers Divided: China, the Soviet Union, and the Vietnam War” in International Perspectives on Vietnam, ed. Lloyd C. Gardner and Ted Gittinger (College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2000), p. 84. 220 Ilya Gaiduk, The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War (Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996), pp. xv, 12–21, 258nn. 35–38. 221 Hoang Van Hoan, “Conversations between Mao Zedong and Pham Van Dong in Beijing, 5 October” in 77 Conversations Between Chinese and Foreign Leaders on the Wars in Indochina, 1964–1977, ed. Odd Arne Westad et al., Working Paper no. 22, May 1998, CWIHP, pp. 74–77. 222 For details of the fighting in 1965 from Hanoi’s perspective see Ang, Vietnam War from the Other Side, chap. 3. 223 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIV, Laos Crisis, Memorandum from the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hilsman) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Harriman), 24 September 1962, pp. 897–901. 224 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIV, Special Report Prepared in the Central Intelligence Agency, 1 November 1963, pp. 1054–1057. 225 Foreign Broadcast Information Service, Vietnam: The Anti-US Resistance War for National Salvation, 1954–1975 (JPRS 80968, 3 June 1982), pp. 58–59. 226 FRUS, 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Memorandum from the Deputy Assistant

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228 229 230

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Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rice) to the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson), 10 April 1963, p. 231–233. Ang, Vietnamese Communists’ Relations, pp. 17, 235. See also Ralph Smith, Changing Visions of East Asia, 1943–93: Transformations and Continuities (London: Routledge, 2007), p. 80 and Nicholas Tarling, Britain and Sihanouk’s Cambodia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2014). See Asselin, Hanoi’s Road. FRUS, 1964-1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Department of State to the Embassy in Malaysia, Washington, 29 January 1966. Robert Taylor, email correspondence with the author, 13 June 2015.

Chapter 5 The Vietnam War Divide 1 See Ang Cheng Guan, “Decision-making Leading to the Tet Offensive (1968)—The Vietnamese Communist Perspective” in the Journal of Contemporary History, vol. 33, no. 3, July 1998, pp. 341–353 and Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012). 2 Hoang Van Hoan, “Mao Zedong and Pham Van Dong, Beijing, 5 October 1964,” in New Evidence on the Vietnam/Indochina Wars, Cold War International History Project, The Cold War in Asia, nos. 6–7, Winter 1995/1996 (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars). 3 For a discussion of the siege of Khe Sanh see Ang Cheng Guan, The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists’ Perspective (London: Routledge Curzon, 2002), chap. 4. 4 Lich Su Quan Doi Nhan Dan (Official History of the Vietnamese People’s Army), Tap II—Quyen Mot (Hanoi: Nha Xuat Ban Quan Doi Nhan Dan, 1988), pp. 384–385. 5 Kenton Clymer, Troubled Relations: The United States and Cambodia since 1870 (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 2007), pp. 94–99. 6 David L. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan, Modern China–Myanmar Relations: Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2012), p. 91. See also Ma Jisen, The Cultural Revolution in the Foreign Ministry of China (Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2004). The Cultural Revolution began in May 1966. The expression “san dou yi duo” (threestruggles and one-more) was Mao Zedong’s response to Khrushchev’s policy of peaceful co-existence.

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7 Robert H. Taylor, General Ne Win: A Political Biography (Singapore: ISEAS, 2015), p. 366. 8 Ibid., p. 347. 9 For a recent account and analysis of the riots see Steinberg and Fan, Modern China–Myanmar Relations, chap. 4. For a succinct summary of the riots, see Taylor, General Ne Win, pp. 365–366 and Ma, Cultural Revolution, pp. 175–176. 10 For details of Chinese support for the Burmese Communist Party, see Maung Aung Myoe, In the Name of Pauk-Phaw: Myanmar’s China Policy since 1948 (Singapore: ISEAS, 2011), pp. 80–100. 11 Taylor, General Ne Win, p. 386. See also Maung, Myanmar’s China Policy, pp. 83–84. 12 Ma, Cultural Revolution, pp. 177–178. 13 Claude Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon: A History of Philippine Relations with China and Taiwan (Manila: Anvil, 2009), p. 80. 14 Ibid., p. 81. 15 Alfredo B. Saulo, Communism in the Philippines: An Introduction (Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 1990), chap. 25. 16 Ibid., pp. 142–143. 17 Kathleen Weekley, The Communist Party of the Philippines 1968–1993: A Story of Its Theory and Practice (Diliman: The University of the Philippines Press, 2001), pp. 84–85, 105n. 12. 18 Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon, pp. 78–79. See also “Secrets of the Communist Party” in the Philippine Daily Enquirer, 12 February 2010, http://funwithgovernment.blogspot.sg/2015/02/the-cpp-china-joma -and-dick-malay.html. 19 Weekley, Communist Party of the Philippines, p. 1. 20 William Schoenl, ed., New Perspectives on the Vietnam War: Our Allies’ Views (Lanham: University Press of America, 2002), pp. 3, 12–14. 21 Lt. Gen. Stanley Robert Larsen, Vietnam Studies: Allied Participation in Vietnam (Washington, DC: Department of the Army, 1973), p. 62. 22 See Ang Cheng Guan, Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War (London: Routledge, 2010), passim. 23 For details see Larsen, Vietnam Studies, p. 55. For a first-person account of PHILCAG in Vietnam , see Jose T. Almonte (as told to Marites Danguilan Vitug), Endless Journey: A Memoir (Quezon City: Cleverheads Publishing, 2015), pp. 46–47, 57–58. Almonte was then the Intelligence Officer for PHILCAG.

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24 Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1961–1963, vol. XXIII, Southeast Asia, Memorandum from the Ambassador to Thailand (Young) to the President’s Military Representative (Taylor), 27 October 1961, pp. 28–31. 25 Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Lest We Forget: Further Candid Reminiscences (Petaling Jaya: Eastern Universities Press, 1983), pp. 156–157. 26 See Daniel Fineman, A Special Relationship: The United States and Military Government in Thailand, 1947–1958 (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1997). Although Fineman’s observation was confined to the period up till 1958, it was true for the period up to 1975 as well. 27 Larsen, Vietnam Studies, pp. 26–27. 28 Sinae Hyun, “Indigenizing the Cold War: National-Building by the Border Patrol Police in Thailand, 1945–1980,” unpublished PhD thesis, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 2014, p. 35. 29 See David Brown, The State and Ethnic Politics in Southeast Asia (London: Routledge, 1994), p. 193. 30 Charles F. Keyes, Finding Their Voice: Northeastern Villagers and the Thai State (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2014), p. 118. See also “An Internal History of the Communist Party of Thailand” (first drafted in 1974, updated in 1978), trans. Chris Baker, in the Journal of Contemporary Asia, vol. 33, no. 4, 2003. 31 Federico Ferrara, The Political Development of Modern Thailand (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), pp. 42–43. 32 Kenneth Stanley Harbin, “The Expanding Sino–Thai Military Relationship: Implications for U.S. Policy in Thailand,” Master’s thesis, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 1990, pp. 11–12. 33 Larsen, Vietnam Studies, pp. 27–28. 34 National Archives at College Park (NACP), Memorandum of Conversation, 22 September 1966, RG 59, Box 2701, POL THAI-US. 35 NACP, Telegram from the American Embassy in Thailand to the Department of State, Bangkok, 25 September 1967, RG 59, Box 2519, POL 7. For details of the discussions as well as the procedures leading to the deployment of additional Thai troops in Vietnam see also Larsen, Vietnam Studies, pp. 34–42. 36 Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Looking Back: The Historic Years of Malaya and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977), pp. 140–142. 37 Digital National Security Archive (DNSA), National Security Council, “Supporters of Placement of U.S. Forces in South Vietnam, Secret, List, November 1961,” no. VI00853.

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38 Ma, Cultural Revolution, pp. 165–167. 39 Hong Liu, China and the Shaping of Indonesia, 1949–1965 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2011), p. 272. 40 Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 37. 41 Daniel Novotny, Torn between America and China: Elite Perceptions and Indonesian Foreign Policy (Singapore: ISEAS, 2010), pp. 114–115. Novotny described “the love–hate attitude to the United States.” 42 See Chin Kin Wah, The Defence of Malaysia and Singapore: The Transformation of a Security System 1957–1971 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983) and Ang Cheng Guan, “Malaysia, Singapore and the Road to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), July 1970–November 1971” in War & Society, vol. 30, no. 3, October 2011. 43 See Tim Huxley, Defending the Lion City: The Armed Forces of Singapore (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 2000), chap. 1. 44 See “From Scepticism to Accepted Way of Life” in Pioneer, November 2013, pp. 26–29. 45 See Ang Cheng Guan, “Singapore and the Vietnam War” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 40, no. 2, June 2009. 46 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Indonesia; Malaysia-Singapore; Philippines, Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, 27 May 1966. Also see, Memorandum from Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson, Washington, 1 August 1966. 47 Ibid., Notes of the 563rd Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, 4 August 1966. 48 For a contemporary account of the events that led to the end of Confrontation, see Franklin B. Weinstein, Indonesia Abandons Confrontation: An Inquiry into the Functions of Indonesian Foreign Policy (Ithaca: Modern Indonesia Project, Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1969). 49 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Memorandum from the Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson, Washington, 1 August 1966. 50 See FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVII, Mainland Southeast Asia; Regional Affairs, and FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI. 51 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, Djakarta, 7 July 1967. 52 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 54/ 59–65), “Prospects for Malaysia and Singapore,” Washington, 16 December 1965.

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53 Cheah Boon Kheng, “The Communist Insurgency in Malaysia, 1948–90: Contesting The Nation-State and Social Change” in the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, June 2009, pp. 132–152. 54 NACP, Airgram from the American Embassy in Singapore to the Department of State, Singapore, 29 September 1967, RG 59, Box 2478, POL 7 Singapore. 55 NACP, Telegram from the Embassy in Laos to the Department of State, Vientiane, 31 May 1967, RG 59, Box 2207, POL 7 Indonesia. 56 Taylor, General Ne Win, pp. 370–371. 57 See Tunku Abdul Rahman, Looking Back. 58 Chan Heng Chee and Obaid ul Haq, eds., S Rajaratnam: The Prophetic and the Political (Singapore: Graham Brash, 1987), pp. 490–491. 59 Ibid., p. 490. 60 See Sue Thompson, “The Western Powers and the Development of Regional Cooperation in Southeast Asia: The International Dimension, 1945–1967” in Global Change, Peace and Security, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 75–88. 61 For the British perspective meticulously documented see Nicholas Tarling, Regionalism in Southeast Asia: To Foster the Political Will (London: Routledge, 2006), chap. 6. 62 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVII, SEATO Council Meeting, Canberra, 27–29 June, 1966; ANZUS Ministerial Meeting, Canberra, 30 June–1 July, 1966. 63 Eugene R. Black, Alternative in Southeast Asia (New York: Praeger, 1969), p. 45. 64 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Airgram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, Djakarta, 21 February 1968. 65 For a concise account, see Ang, “Tet Offensive (1968),” Journal of Contemporary History, pp. 341–353. See also Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, Hanoi’s War: An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2012). 66 Quoted in Martin Gilbert, Challenge to Civilisation: A History of the 20th Century, 1952–1999 (London: HarperCollins Publishers, 2000), p. 378. 67 Frank C. Darling, “Thailand: De-escalation and Uncertainty” in the Asian Survey, vol. 9, no. 1, January 1969. See also Robert J. McMahon, The Limits of Empire: The United States and Southeast Asia since World War II (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), pp. 152–153.

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68 Jerome R. Bass, “Malaysia and Singapore: Moving Apart?” in the Asian Survey, vol. 9, no. 1, January 1969. 69 Black, Alternative in Southeast Asia, p. 38. 70 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVIII, Memorandum from the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read) to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow), Washington, 26 March 1968. 71 Darling, “De-escalation and Uncertainty,” Asian Survey, p. 115. 72 Arne Kislenko, “Bamboo in the Shadows: Relations between the United States and Thailand during the Vietnam War” in America, the Vietnam War, and the World: Comparative and International Perspectives, ed. Andreas W. Daum et. al (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003), chap. 9. 73 Ibid. 74 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Briefing Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Bundy) to Secretary of State Rusk, Washington, 3 May 1968 and Document 385: Memorandum from Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson, Washington, 6 May 1968. 75 Ibid., Memorandum from Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow), Washington, 8 May 1968. 76 Ibid., Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, 9 May 1968. 77 Kislenko, “Bamboo in the Shadows,” America, the Vietnam War, chap. 9. 78 “Communist Party of Thailand,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, trans. Baker. 79 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (Bundy) to the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow), Washington, 8 May 1968. 80 Ibid., Summary of Discussion and Decisions at the 36th Meeting of the Senior Interdepartmental Group, Washington, 13 May 1968. 81 Ibid., Memorandum for the Record, Washington, 16 October 1968. 82 Ibid., National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 52–68), Washington, 9 May 1968. The limitations of Intelligence and the Thai insurgency are well presented in Memorandum Prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency (No. 0604/68), Washington, 10 July 1968. 83 Bass, “Malaysia and Singapore,” Asian Survey, p. 128. 84 Ong Wei Chong, “Voice of the Malayan Revolution”: The Communist Party of Malaya’s Struggle for Hearts and Minds in the “Second Malayan Emergency” (1969–1975), IDSS Working Paper no. 116, 13 October 2006.

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85 “More on the Communist Underground in Singapore” in The Straits Times, 30 October 2006. 86 Cheah, “The Communist Insurgency,” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, pp. 132–152. 87 Ong Wei Chong, Malaysia’s Defeat of Armed Communism: The Second Emergency, 1968–1989 (London: Routledge, 2015), p. 66. 88 Ibid. 89 Ibid., p. 7. 90 Document 109, PREM 13/2081, SMV (68) 1, 14 January 1968 in British Documents on The End of Empire, Series A, Volume 5, East of Suez and the Commonwealth, 1964–1971, Part 1: East of Suez, ed. S. R. Ashton and Wm. Roger Louis (London: TSO, 2004), pp. 373–377. See also FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Embassy in Singapore to the Department of State, Singapore, 3 January 1968. 91 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, Telegram from the Embassy in Singapore to the Department of State, Singapore, 3 January 1968. 92 Telegram from the Embassy in Singapore to Department of State, 16 April 1968, U.S. Declassified Documents Online (Declassified Documents Reference System). 93 McMahon, Limits of Empire, p. 152. 94 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 56–68), Washington, 20 June 1968 and Telegram from the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State, Manila, 2 October 1968. 95 Ibid., Telegram from the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State, Manila, 14 October 1968 and Telegram from the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State, Manila, 13 December 1968. 96 See Jean Grossholtz, “The Philippines: New Adventures with Old Problems” in the Asian Survey, vol. 9, no. 1, January 1969. 97 John M. Allison, “Indonesia: Year of the Pragmatists” in the Asian Survey, vol. 9, no. 1, January 1969. 98 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVI, National Intelligence Estimate (NIE 55–68), Washington, 31 December 1968. 99 Ibid. 100 Ibid., Telegram from the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State, Djakarta, 6 November 1967. 101 NACP, Telegram from the American Embassy in Malaysia to the Department of State, Kuala Lumpur, 20 June 1968, RG 59, Box 2321, POL 15–1 Malaysia.

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102 NACP, Telegram from the American Embassy in Malaysia to the Department of State, Kuala Lumpur, 17 April 1968, RG 59, Box 2324, POL 15–1 Malaysia. 103 NACP, Telegram from the American Embassy in Malaysia to the Department of State, Kuala Lumpur, 5 June 1968, RG 59, Box 2324, POL 15–1 Malaysia. 104 The “Declaration of Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality” or ZOPFAN for short. 105 Paul F. Langer, “Laos: Preparing for a Settlement in Vietnam” in the Asian Survey, vol. 9, no. 1, January 1969. 106 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVIII, Memorandum from the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach, Washington, 9 October 1968. See also Timothy N. Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), pp. 94–97. 107 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVIII, Memorandum from the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach, Washington, 9 October 1968. 108 Ibid., Special National Intelligence Estimate (SNIE 58–68), Washington, 21 March 1968. 109 Ibid., Memorandum from the Director of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Acting Secretary of State Katzenbach, Washington, 9 October 1968. See also The Ho Chi Minh Trail (Hanoi: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1982). 110 See Kenton Clymer, The United States and Cambodia, 1870–1969: From Curiosity to Confrontation (London: Routledge Curzon, 2004), pp. 143–152 and Nicholas Tarling, Britain and Sihanouk’s Cambodia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2014). 111 FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVII, Telegram from the Commander in Chief, Pacific (McCain) to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Wheeler), Honolulu, 18 December 1968. 112 Ibid. 113 Ibid., Telegram from the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State, Moscow, 5 December 1968. 114 Ibid., Telegram from the Embassy in India to the Department of State, New Delhi, 12 January 1968. 115 See for example FRUS, 1964–1968, vol. XXVII, Telegram from the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State, Moscow.

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116 See Ang Cheng Guan, Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War (London: Routledge, 2010), chap. 4. 117 Thomas A. Marks, “Sino-Thai Relations” in Asian Affairs, vol. 5, October 1974, p. 307. 118 Maj. Gen. Ira A. Hunt Jr., USA (Ret.), Losing Vietnam: How America Abandoned Southeast Asia (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2013), p. 313. 119 For details see Ang, Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War, chap. 7. 120 See Daniel Wei Boon Chua, “Becoming a ‘Good Nixon Doctrine Country’: Political Relations between the United States and Singapore during the Nixon Presidency” in the Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 60, no. 4, December 2014, pp. 534–548. 121 NACP, Telegram from the American Embassy in Malaysia to the Department of State, Kuala Lumpur, 2 February 1971, RG 59, Box 2462, POL 7 Malaysia. 122 For full text of the peace declaration, see http://www.icnl.org/research /library/files/Transnational/zone.pdf. See also for a first-person Australian account of ZOPFAN, John Rowland, Two Transitions: Indochina 1952–1955; Malaysia 1969–1972 (Centre for the Study of Australia-Asia Relations, Griffith University, Australia in Asia Series, Number 9, April 1992), pp. 43, 47–48. Another useful history is Nicholas Tarling, Regionalism in Southeast Asia: To Foster the Political Will (London: Routledge, 2006), chap. 7. 123 NACP, National Security Council Files, Memorandum for the President, the Vice President, Washington, 9 February 1973, VIP Visits, Box 952 and Telegram from the American Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State, Manila, 8 February 1973, National Security Council Files, VIP Visits, Box 952. 124 For a detailed account of Sino–Malaysia relations in the 1970s, see Abdul Razak Baginda, China-Malaysia Relations and Foreign Policy (London: Routledge, 2016). 125 For details see Ang, Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War, chap. 6; Chong, Malaysia’s Defeat of Armed Communism, pp. 60–65; and Baginda, ChinaMalaysia Relations, pp. 213–214. 126 Jose Almonte (as told to Marites Danguilan Vitug), Endless Journey: A Memoir (Quezon City: Cleverheads Publishing, 2015), p. 84. 127 Yoav J. Tenembaum, “Kissinger’s Visit, 40 Years On,” The Diplomat, 8 July 2011, http://thediplomat.com/2011/07/kissingers-visit-40-years-on.

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128 See NACP Memorandum for the Record: Views of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, 12 May 1969, RG 59, Box 3, POL 15–1 and Lee’s Speeches 1969, Subject Files of the Office of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore Affairs, 1965–1974. 129 NACP, Letter from Lee Kuan Yew to President Nixon, 23 April 1973, National Security Council Files, VIP Visits, Box 938. 130 Almonte, Endless Journey, p. 84. 131 DNSA, Memorandum of Conversation, 30 September 1974, Kissinger Transcripts, KT01344. 132 For details, see “How Sino-Thai relations were Sparked off 40 Years ago” in The Nation, 29 June 2015. 133 Indonesia in fact was the first Southeast Asian country to recognize China in 1950 but relations were suspended in 1967 after the 1965 coup. 134 See Ma, Cultural Revolution. 135 William Burr and Jeffrey Kimball, “Nixon’s Nuclear Ploy” in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 59, no. 1, January/February 2003, pp. 28–37, 72–73. 136 George McT. Kahin, Southeast Asia: A Testament (London: Routledge Curzon, 2003), p. 294. See also Ang Cheng Guan, Ending the Vietnam War: The Vietnamese Communist’s Perspective (London: Routledge, 2004), pp. 45–48 and Nicholas Tarling, Britain and Sihanouk’s Cambodia (Singapore: NUS Press, 2014). 137 Lau Teik Soon, “ASEAN, North Vietnam, and the Communist Challenge” in Southeast Asia Affairs (Singapore: ISEAS, 1976), pp. 72–79 138 Henry Kissinger, Ending the Vietnam War: A History of America’s Involvement in and Extrication from the Vietnam War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003), p. 456. 139 Robert Hopkins Miller, Vietnam and Beyond: A Diplomat’s Cold War Education (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2002), pp. 143–144, 148–149. 140 To assert their independence from the Vietnamese communists, the Khmer Rouge deliberately took control of Phnom Penh on 17 April 1975 while the fighting in South Vietnam was still going on. In contrast to the Khmer Rouge, the Pathet Lao only took full control of Laos on 2 December 1975. 141 “KL Race Riots: 40 Years On—The Maturing of Malaysian Society” in The Straits Times, 13 May 2009. See also Leon Comber, 13 May 1969: A Historical Survey of Sino-Malay Relations (Kuala Lumpur: Heinemann Asia, 1983).

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142 Kua Kia Soong, ed., K. Das & The Tunku Tapes (Petaling Jaya: Strategic Information Research Development, 2002), chap. 10. 143 Kua Kia Soong, May 13: Declassified Documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969 (Petaling Jaya: Suaram, 2007), p. 2. 144 Ibid., pp. 103–104. 145 Cheah, “Communist Insurgency in Malaysia,” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, p. 146. 146 David Joel Steinberg, The Philippines: A Singular and a Plural Place (Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), pp. 120–127. See also Susan F. Quimpo and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo, Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years (Athens: Ohio University Press, 2016), pp. 98–99, 105n. 2. 147 Weekley, Communist Party of the Philippines, p. 34. See also Maurice Baker, The Accidental Diplomat (Singapore: World Scientific, 2015), pp. 207–208 and Alfred W. McCoy, Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2009), pp. 395–396. The CCP was responsible for the Miranda bombing, according to former communist Nathan Quimpo. He is not the only one to allege this. 148 Weekley, Communist Party of the Philippines, chap. 3. 149 Steinberg, The Philippines, p. 127. See also Baker, Accidental Diplomat, p. 208; and Miriam Coronel Ferrer, “The Communist Insurgency in the Philippines” in A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia, ed. Andrew T. H. Tan (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2007), chap. 19. 150 Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon, pp. 87–88. 151 Chandran Jeshurun, ed., Governments and Rebellions in Southeast Asia (Singapore: ISEAS, 1985), pp. 243–244. 152 Steinberg, The Philippines, p. 123. 153 Baker, Accidental Diplomat, p. 208. 154 Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Thailand (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 188–190. See also Ferrara, Political Development of Modern Thailand, pp. 166–171 and B. J. Terwiel, Thailand’s Political History: From the 13th Century to Recent Times (Bangkok: River Books, 2011), pp. 279–280. 155 Baker and Phongpaichit, History of Thailand, p. 189. 156 Ferrara, The Political Development of Modern Thailand, pp. 166–171; Charles Keyes, Finding Their Voice: Northeastern Villagers and the Thai State (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Press, 2014), pp. 119–124; and “Communist Party of Thailand,” Journal of Contemporary Asia, trans. Baker.

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157 From M. Ghazali Shafie, Malaysia: International Relations—Selected Speeches, On the Domino Theory, RTM Broadcast, 6 May 1975 (Kuala Lumpur: Creative Enterprise Sendiran Berhad, 1982), pp. 233–240. For a brief but useful discussion of the Domino Theory, albeit from the Australian perspective, see Peter Edwards, “Fifty Years On: Half-century Reflections on the Australian Commitment to the Vietnam War” in New Perceptions of the Vietnam War: Essays on the War, the South Vietnamese Experience, the Diaspora and the Continuing Impact, ed. Nathalie Huynh Chau Nguyen (Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2015), pp. 72–83. Chapter 6 Ending the Cold War Chasm 1 Thomas A. Marks, “Sino–Thai Relations” in Asian Affairs, vol. 5, October 1974, pp. 296–310. 2 B. J. Terwiel, Thailand’s Political History: From the 13th Century to Recent Times (Bangkok: River Books, 2011), p. 280. 3 See Paul M. Handley, The King Never Smiles: A Biography of Thailand’s Bhumibol Adulyadej (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), pp. 228–237. 4 Ben Anderson, “Withdrawal Symptoms: Social and Cultural Aspects of the October 6 Coup” in the Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, vol. 9, no. 3, 1977, pp. 13–30. See also “Samak’s Denial of 1976 Mob Lynching reopens Old Wounds” in The Straits Times, 20 February 2008. 5 The author wishes to thank Andrew MacGregor Marshall for sharing this 9 October 1976 document on his Facebook. See also Andrew Macgregor Marshall, A Kingdom in Crisis: Thailand’s Struggle for Democracy in the Twenty-First Century (London: Zed Books, 2014), pp. 84–88. 6 Charles Keyes, Finding Their Voice: Northeastern Villagers and the Thai State (Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books, 2014), p. 121. 7 For details see Keyes, Finding Their Voice, pp. 119–124. See also Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, A History of Thailand (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 191–196 and Gawin Chutima, “The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Thailand (1973–1987),” University of Kent at Canterbury, Centre of South-East Asian Studies, Occasional Paper no. 12, 1990. 8 Robert H. Taylor, General Ne Win: A Political Biography (Singapore: ISEAS, 2015), pp. 439–440. 9 David L. Steinberg and Hongwei Fan, Modern China-Myanmar Relations: Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence (Copenhagen: NIAS Press, 2012), pp. 132–133.

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10 Maung Aung Myoe, In the Name of Pauk-Phaw: Myanmar’s China Policy since 1948 (Singapore: ISEAS, 2011), pp. 86–87. 11 Steinberg and Fan, China-Myanmar Relations, pp. 133–136. See also Taylor, General Ne Win, pp. 446–447. 12 Maung, In the Name of Pauk-Phaw, pp. 87, 93. 13 Robert H. Taylor, “Government Responses to Armed Communist and Separatist Movement: Burma” in Governments and Rebellions in Southeast Asia, ed. Chandran Jeshurun (Singapore: ISEAS, 1985), pp. 119–120. 14 For details see Maung, In the Name of Pauk-Phaw, pp. 93–100. 15 Bertil Linter, Great Game East (New Delhi: HarperCollins India, 2012), pp. 250–251. 16 “Blast from the Past a Window to the Present” in The Irrawaddy, https://m.irrawaddy.org/burma/blast-from-the-past-a-window-to-the -present.html. 17 Aung Zaw, “No Turning Back” in The Irrawaddy, vol. 17, no. 6, September 2009, https://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=1667. 18 Ibid. 19 Jusuf Wanandi, Shades of Grey: A Political Memoir of Modern Indonesia 1965–1998 (Jakarta: Equinox Publishing, 2012), pp. 197–198. 20 Greg Grandin, Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2015), pp. 116–117. See also Brad Simpson, “ ‘Illegally and Beautifully’: The United States, the Indonesian Invasion of East Timor, and the International Community, 1974–1976” in Cold War History, vol. 5, no. 3, 2005, pp. 281–315; “US approved 1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor” in World Socialist Website, 19 December 2001, https://www.wsws.org/en /articles/2001/12/kiss-d19.html; and “Complicity Shown in East Timor Takeover” in the International Herald Tribune, 1 December 2005, https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/183 /34173.html. 21 “Australia received East Timor ‘Hit List’ before Indonesian Invasion,” http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/australian -received-east-timor-‘hit-list’/6979268. 22 Maria Ortuoste, “Timor–Leste and ASEAN: Shaping Region and State in Southeast Asia” in Asian Journal of Political Science, vol. 19, no. 1, 2011, pp. 1–24. Singapore, after abstentions in 1975 and 1976, voted against the resolutions on East Timor. For a table of how countries voted on the UN General Assembly resolutions on East Timor, see the

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23 24 25 26

27

28 29 30 31

32 33 34 35 36

37

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Committee for Reception, Truth, and Reconciliation in East Timor (CAVR), pp. 124–127, http://www.etan.org/news/2006/cavr.htm. CAVR was established by the UN Transitional Authority in East Timor in July 2001. See http://www.etan.org/news/2006/cavr.htm. National Archives of Australia, Singapore Internal Security (November 1977–June 1978), 31 July 1978, A1838, 3024/2/9/3, part 1. National Archives, Kew, Southeast Asia Reactions to Events in IndoChina (secret), June 1975, FCO 15/2025. National Archives, Kew, Record of Conversation between Mr. Philip Habib, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and Mr. Wilford at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 10 July 1975, FCO 21/1358, C289210 and Southeast Asian Department Memorandum, 18 July 1975, FCO 21/1358. Cheah Boon Kheng, “The Communist Insurgency in Malaysia, 1948–1990: Contesting the Nation-State and Social Change” in New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, June 2009, p. 150. National Archives, Kew, Southeast Asia Reactions to Events in IndoChina (secret), June 1975, FCO 15/2025. See Ang Cheng Guan, Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War (London: Routledge, 2010), chap. 7. See Lau Teik Soon, “ASEAN, North Vietnam, and the Communist Challenge” in Southeast Asia Affairs, 1976 (Singapore: ISEAS, 1976), pp. 72–79. Tunku Abdul Rahman, “Why ASEAN Failed to Achieve Goal,” Looking Back: The Historic Years of Malaya and Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur: Pustaka Antara, 1977), pp. 157–160. “ASEAN: Letting the Bosses Call the Tune” in the Far Eastern Economic Review, vol. 88, no. 22, 30 May 1975. Lau, Southeast Asia Affairs, pp. 72–79. See also “Bosses Call the Tune,” Far Eastern Economic Review. Tunku, “Why ASEAN Failed,” Looking Back, pp. 157–160. Ibid. Shu Guang Zhang, Beijing’s Economic Statecraft during the Cold War 1949–1991 (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2014), p. 241. National Archives, Kew, Talk with Chinese Foreign Minister: Peking, 1975, FCO 15/2028. Qiao Guanhua was closely associated with the Gang of Four. Lee Kuan Yew’s speeches can be found in http://www.nas.gov.sg/archivesonline/speeches.

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38 Tommy Koh, “China On My Mind,” http://tembusu.nus.edu.sg /news_events.php/news/details/163. See also Ang Hwee Suan, ed., Dialogues with S. Rajaratnam: Former Senior Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office (Singapore: Shin Min Daily News (S) Ltd.) and Lee Khoon Choy, Golden Dragon and Purple Phoenix: The Chinese and Their Multi-Ethnic Descendents in Southeast Asia (Singapore: World Scientific, 2013), pp. 516–520. 39 National Archives, Kew, Talk with Chinese Foreign Minister: Peking, 1975FCO 15/2028. 40 John Wong, “Singapore’s Bid to Sustain its Unique ties with China” in The Straits Times, 3 November 2015. 41 Tan Sri Abdullah Ahmad, Conversations with Tunku Abdul Rahman (Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International, 2016), p. 108. This is a record of a series of conversations with the Tunku between 1982 and 1984. See also Shee Poon-Kim, “A Decade of ASEAN, 1967–1977” in the Asian Survey, vol. 17, no. 7, July 1977, pp. 753–770. 42 See the lecture from S. Rajaratnam, “Southeast Asia in Transition,” Australian National University, Canberra, 15 November 1973, in S. Rajaratnam: The Prophetic & the Political, ed. Chan Heng Chee and Obaid ul Haq (Singapore: Graham Brash, 1987), pp. 365–372. See also National Archives, Kew, From British High Commission, New Zealand, to Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 28 November 1973, Visit to New Zealand of the Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs, FCO 24/1788. 43 See Declaration of ASEAN Concord, http://www.asean.org/news /item/declaration-of-asean-concord-indonesia-24-february-1976. 44 Joint Communiqué, The First ASEAN Heads of Government Meeting, Bali, 23–24 February 1976, http://www.asean.org/index.php/news /item/joint-communique-the-first-asean-heads-of-government-meeting -bali-23–24-february-1976. 45 “Hanoi Blows Colder” in the Far Eastern Economic Review, 5 March 1976. 46 Michael Leifer, ASEAN and the Security of South-East Asia (London: Routledge, 1989), p. 73. 47 National Archives, Kew, Reactions of Southeast Asian Countries to the fall of Indo-China, 11 June 1975, FCO 15/2025,. 48 Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First: The Singapore Story, 1965–2000 (Singapore: Times Editions, 2000), pp. 369–370. 49 National Archives, Kew, Record of Conversation between Habib and

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50

51

52 53

54

55 56

57

58 59 60

61

62

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Wilford at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 10 July 1975, FCO 21/1358. National Archives of Australia, 1977 Cabinet Records—Selected Documents, Submission, A12909, 1577, ASEAN—Post-Summit Meetings, 12 August 1977. Leszek Buszynski, “SEATO: Why It Survived until 1977 and Why It was Abolished” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 12, no. 2, September 1981, pp. 295–296. National Archives, Kew, British Embassy, Manila to SEAD, FCO, 2 December 1971, FCO 24/967. National Archives, Kew, Diplomatic Report Number 369/72, 11 July 1972, 17th Meeting of the Council of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) held in Canberra on 27–28 June, FCO 24/1301. The National Archives, Kew, Diplomatic Report Number 369/72, 11 July 1972, 17th Meeting of the Council of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) held in Canberra on 27–28 June, FCO 24/1301. Digital National Security Archive (DNSA), Memorandum of Conversation, 23 September 1975, Kissinger Transcripts, KT01790. Buszynski, “SEATO: Why It was Abolished,” pp. 287–296. See also Damien Fenton, To Cage the Red Dragon: SEATO and the Defence of Southeast Asia 1955–1965 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2012), pp. 228–235. Tan Sri M. Ghazali Shafie, “ASEAN: Contributor to Stability and Development,” keynote address by minister of foreign affairs, Malaysia, at the conference on “ASEAN—Today and Tomorrow” at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Boston, USA, 11 November 1981 (Kuala Lumpur: External Information Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs), pp. 15–17. See http://www.asean.org/news/item/second-asean-summit-kuala -lumpur-4-5-august-1977. Luu Van Loi, 50 Years of Vietnamese Diplomacy (Hanoi: The Gioi Press, 2002), pp. 28–29. K. K. Nair, ASEAN-Indochina Relations Since 1975: The Politics of Accommodation, Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence, Number 30 (Canberra: ANU, 1984), pp. 70. For a first-person account of Phan Hien’s visit to Singapore, see Lee Kuan Yew, From Third World to First, The Singapore Story: 1965–2000 (Singapore: Times Edition, 2000), p. 348. Joint Communiqué of the 10th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Singapore, 5–8 July 1977, http://www.asean.org/1762.htm.

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63 Joint Communiqué of the 2nd ASEAN Heads of Government Meeting, Kuala Lumpur, 4–5 August 1977, http://www.asean.org/1674.htm. 64 Luu, Vietnamese Diplomacy, p. 28. 65 Joint Press Release of the 11th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting, Pattaya, 14–16 June 1978, http://www.asean.org/1764.htm. 66 Luu, Vietnamese Diplomacy, pp. 102, 168. 67 Odd Arne Westad and Sophie Quinn-Judge, eds., The Third Indochina War: Conflict between China, Vietnam, and Cambodia, 1972–1979 (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 1. 68 See Grant Evans and Kelvin Rowley, Red Brotherhood at War: Indochina since the Fall of Saigon (London: Verso Editions, 1984), chap. 4. 69 See Dmitry Mosyakov, “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists: A History of Their Relations as Told in the Soviet Archives,” http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Digital-Library/Publications/Detail/? lng=en&id=46645. 70 Ibid. 71 Qiang Zhai, China & the Vietnam Wars, 1950–1975 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000), pp. 213–214. 72 For details see Mosyakov, “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists.” 73 Steven Hurst, The Carter Administration and Vietnam (London: Macmillan Press, 1996), p. 23. 74 Hurst, Carter Administration and Vietnam, p. 24. 75 Cyrus Vance, Hard Choices: Critical Years in America’s Foreign Policy (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1983), p. 450 and Hurst, Carter Administration and Vietnam, pp. 25–28. 76 See Mosyakov, “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists.” 77 Nair, ASEAN-Indochina Relations, p. 94. 78 See Henry Kissinger, On China (New York: Penguin, 2011), pp. 352–353. 79 Lee, Third World to First, p. 348. 80 William J. Duiker, Vietnam since the Fall of Saigon (Athens: Ohio University Center for International Studies, 1985), pp. 130–134. 81 Stephen J. Morris, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia: Political Culture and the Causes of War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), pp. 215–217. 82 Mosyakov, “The Khmer Rouge and the Vietnamese Communists.” 83 R. H. Solomon, ed., Asian Security in the 1980s: Problems and Policies for

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84 85

86

87 88

89

90

91 92 93

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a Time of Transition (Cambridge: Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, Publishers, Inc., 1979), chap. 7. K. Mahbubani, “The Kampuchean Problem: A Southeast Asian Perspective” in Foreign Affairs, vol. 62, no. 2, 1983–1984, p. 408. See David W. P. Elliot, Changing Worlds: Vietnam’s Transition from Cold War to Globalization (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. xi. For the Southeast Asian response to the invasion, see Ang Cheng Guan, Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict, 1978–1991 (Singapore, NUS Press, 2013). Alice D. Ba, (Re)Negotiating East and Southeast Asia: Region, Regionalism, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009), p. 85. R. B. Smith, Changing Visions of East Asia, 1943–93: Transformations and Continuities, ed. Chad J. Mitchum (London: Routledge, 2007), p. 143. For a recent account of Chinese decision making on the Sino-Vietnamese War see Zhang Xiaoming, “Deng Xiaoping and China’s Decision to go to War with Vietnam” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, Summer 2010, pp. 3–29. Nayan Chanda, Brother Enemy: The War After the War: A History of Indochina since the Fall of Saigon (New York: Colliers Books, 1986), pp. 260–261. See also Ezra F. Vogel, Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011), pp. 526–538 and Alexander V. Pantsov and Steven I. Levine, Deng Xiaoping: A Revolutionary Life (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), pp. 349–352. Vogel, Deng Xiaoping, pp. 526–538. See also Pantsov and Levine, A Revolutionary Life, pp. 349–352 and Xiaoming Zhang, Deng Xiaoping’s Long War: The Military Conflict between China and Vietnam, 1979–1991 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015). See Zhang, “China’s Decision to go to War,” Journal of Cold War Studies, pp. 3–29. Lee, Third World to First, pp. 661–662. For details see National Archives of Australia, Cabinet Memorandum No. 5: Vietnam’s invasion of Kampuchea: Chinese and Soviet Policies and their implications, Office of National Assessments, 2 February 1979 and presented to the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee on 5 February 1979 (top secret), A/12930.

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94 Interview with S. Dhanabalan, 1994, Senior ASEAN Statesmen (Oral History Centre, National Archives of Singapore, National Heritage Board, 1998). 95 S. R. Nathan, An Unexpected Journey: Path to the Presidency (Singapore: Editions Didier Millet, 2011), p. 386. 96 Goh Keng Swee, “The Vietnam War: Round 3” in Wealth of East Asian Nations: Speeches and Writings by Goh Keng Swee, ed. Linda Goh (Singapore: Federal Publication, 1995), p. 312. 97 Lee, Third World to First, pp. 353. 98 Mushahid Ali (Singapore’s former ambassador to Cambodia), email correspondence with author, 20 January 2011. 99 Nair, ASEAN-Indochina Relations, p. 143. 100 Nicholas Tarling, Regionalism in Southeast Asia: To Foster the Political Will (London: Routledge, 2006), p. 181. 101 Malaysia: International Relations, Selected Speeches by M. Ghazali Shafie (Kuala Lumpur: Creative Enterprise Sendiran Berhad, 1982), p. 297. In the same volume see also speech by the Minister of Home Affairs to the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College at the Officers Ministry of Defence, Kuala Lumpur, 8.30pm, 9 June 1980, pp. 311–321 and see Nayan Chanda’s interview with Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Han Nianlong in Nayan Chanda, Brother Enemy: The War after the War (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1986), p. 379. 102 Foreign Affairs Malaysia, vol. 12, no. 2, June 1979 (Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Foreign Affairs), pp. 226–227 cited in Jyotirmoy Banerjee, “Indonesia, Malaysia and the Indochina Crisis: Between Scylla and Charybdis” in China Report, 1981, 17: 41, n 62, http://chr.sagepub.com /content/17/1/41.citation. 103 Lee Kuan Yew quoted in Singapore Bulletin, August 1979 cited in Nair, ASEAN-Indochina Relations, p. 120. 104 Ibid., pp. 129–130. 105 Vogel, Deng Xiaoping, pp. 534–535. See also Kissinger, On China, chap. 13. 106 See David W. P. Elliot, Changing Worlds, p. xi. For the Southeast Asian response to the invasion see Ang, Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict. 107 Graham Allison and Robert D. Blackwill (with Ali Wyne), Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World (Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2012), p. 11

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108 For details see Ang, Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict and Pou Sothirak, Geoff Wade, and Mark Hong, eds., Cambodia: Progress and Challenges Since 1991 (Singapore: ISEAS, 2012). 109 Ang, Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict, p. 37. 110 DNSA, Soeharto Visit to Toyko: Japanese Embassy Readout, Confidential, Cable, 016282, 28 October 1982, Item JA01037. 111 See Sergey Radchenko, Unwanted Visionaries: The Soviet Failure in Asia at the End of the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), chap. 4. 112 National Archives of Australia, From Jakarta to Canberra, Indochina (secret), 15 August 1978, A1838, Item 3016/11/113 Part 11. 113 National Archives of Australia, From Moscow to Canberra, The Soviet Union and Southeast Asia, 11 July 1978, A1838, Item 3016/11/113 Part 11. 114 “The United States and Southeast Asia: A policy Agenda for the New Administration,” Report of an Independent Task Force sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, 2001, http://www.cfr.org/content /publications/attachments/SEAsiaTF.pdf. 115 Diane K. Mauzy and Brian L. Job, “U.S. Policy in Southeast Asia: Limited Re-engagement after Years of Benign Neglect” in the Asian Survey, vol. 47, no. 4, July/August 2007, pp. 622–641. 116 “United States and Southeast Asia: A Policy Agenda,” Council on Foreign Relations, 2001. 117 Edwin A. Martini, Invisible Enemies: The American War in Vietnam (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2007), pp. 106–108. 118 See Ang, Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict, pp. 76–79. 119 DNSA, United States Policy in Southeast Asia (The Kampuchean Problem), Secret, National Security Decision Directive, NSDD 158, 9 January 1985, Item CH00688. 120 Jean-Marc F. Blanchard and Simon Shen, eds., Conflict and Cooperation in Sino-US Relations: Change and Continuity, Causes, and Cure (London: Routledge, 2015), p. 30. 121 See also Ang, Singapore, ASEAN and the Cambodian Conflict. 122 See Vladislav M. Zubok, A Failed Empire: The Soviet Union in the Cold War From Stalin to Gorbachev (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007), pp. 278–302. 123 See Bill Hayton, Vietnam: Rising Dragon (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) and Lewis Stern, “Chengdu 1990: Nguyen Co Thach and

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126

127 128

129

130

131 132 133

134 135

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Vietnam’s Normalisation with China,” Vietnam Blog, http://vietpoliticsblog.blogspot.sg/2012_07_01_archive.html. Stern, “Chengdu 1990.” See Hoi Ky Tran Quang Co, accessed online on 8 October 2013. For a Chinese account see Qian Qichen, Ten Episodes in China’s Diplomacy (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2005), chap 2. Keyes, Finding Their Voice, p. 124. See also, M. Ladd Thomas, “Communist Insurgency in Thailand: Factors Contributing to Its Decline” in Asian Affairs, vol. 13, no. 1, Spring 1986. Keyes, Finding Their Voice, p. 125. Kenneth Stanley Harbin, “The Expanding Sino-Thai Military Relationship Implications for U.S. Policy in Thailand,” Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 1990, p. 23. Keyes, Finding Their Voice, pp. 130–131. See also Yos Santasombat, “Leadership and Security in Modern Thai Politics” in Leadership Perceptions and National Security: The Southeast Asian Experience, ed. Mohammed Ayoob and Chai-anan Samudavanija (Singapore: ISEAS, 1989), chap. 4 and Roy D. Morey, The United Nations at Work in Asia: An Envoy’s Account of Development in China, Vietnam, Thailand, and the South Pacific (Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2014), pp. 72–73. Gawin Chutima, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Thailand (1973–1987), University of Kent at Canterbury, Centre of South-East Asian Studies, Occasional Paper no. 12, 1990, p. 83 and Santasombat, “Leadership and Security,” Leadership Perceptions, p. 93. Chulacheeb Chinwanno, Thai-Chinese Relations: Security and Strategic Partnership, RSIS Working Paper no. 155, 24 March 2008. Bertil Lintner, The Rise and Fall of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB), Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 1990. Bertil Lintner, “Broadening the Breach” in The Irrawaddy, 7 July 2000, http://www.irrawaddy.org/database/2000/vol8.7/article.htm. See also Taylor, General Ne Win, pp. 450–451. Bertil Linter, Great Game East (New Delhi: Harper Collins Publisher India, 2012), p. 250. Sean Gleeson, “Blast From the Past a Window to the Present” in The Irrawaddy, 29 May 2015, http://m.irrawaddy.org/burma/blast-from-the -past-a-window-to-the-presetn.html. Maung Aung Myoe, “Dealing with the Dragon: The China Factor in Myanmar’s Foreign Policy” in Negotiating Asymmetry: China’s Place in

Notes to pages 000–000

137 138

139

140

141 142 143 144 145

146

147 148

149

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Asia, ed. Anthony Reid and Zheng Yangwen (Singapore: NUS Press, 2009), p. 107. Taylor, General Ne Win, pp. 494–495 Seamus Martov, “Wa Tycoon’s Jade Ties Exposed in New Report” in The Irrawaddy, 4 December 2015, http://m.irrawaddy.org/burma /102291.html. “Burma reports Clashes between Troops, Kokang Ethnic Rebels,” Asia Correspondent, 11 February 2015, http://asiancorrespondent.com/2015 /02/burma-reports-clashes-between-troops-kokang-ethnic-rebels. See also Bertil Lintner, “Kokang: The Backstory” in The Irrawaddy, 9 March 2015, http://m.irrawaddy.org/magazine/kokang-the-backstory.html and Leo Suryadinata, “Can the Kokang Chinese Problem in Myanmar be Resolved?” ISEAS Perspective, 15 July 2015. Kathleen Weekley, The Communist Party of the Philippines 1968–1993: A Story of Its Theory and Practice (Diliman: The University of the Philippines Press, 2001), p. 125. Seth Mydans, “Philippine Communists are Spread Widely, but not Thinly” in The New York Times, 14 September 1986. Weekley, Communist Party of the Philippines, pp. 137–138. Ibid., p. 138. Ibid., p. 138n. 94. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, “The Communist Insurgency in the Philippines” in A Handbook of Terrorism and Insurgency in Southeast Asia, ed. Andrew T. H. Tan (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2007), p. 420. Claude Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon: A History of Philippine Relations with China and Taiwan (Manila: Anvil, 2009), pp. 103–104. See also Ken Fuller, A Movement Divided: Philippine Communism, 1957–1986 (Diliman: The University of the Philippines Press, 2011), chap. 2. Chandran Jeshurun, ed., Governments and Rebellions in Southeast Asia (Singapore: ISEAS, 1985), pp. 244–245. Seth Mydans, “Philippine Communists,” New York Times, 14 September 1986. See also Gareth Porter, “Philippine Communism After Marcos” in Problems of Communism, September–October 1987 and Weekley, The Communist Party of the Philippines. “Policy Shift on Communists: More Bluster from Manila Government” in The Straits Times, 30 May 2009. See also Porter, “Philippine Communism After Marcos,” Problems of Communism and Ferrer, “Communist Insurgency in the Philippines,” Handbook of Terrorism, chap. 19.

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150 Haberer, Between Tiger and Dragon, chap. 5. 151 Maurice Baker, The Accidental Diplomat (Singapore: World Scientific, 2015), p. 209. See also “ASEAN Security and U.S. Bases,” keynote speech of Senator Raul S. Manglapus, chairman of the Philippines Senate Committee on National Defence and Security, at the Conference on Military Bases in Southeast Asia, Singapore, 5 October 1987, organized by the Information and Resource Center. 152 National Archives, Kew, Record of Conversation between Habib and Wilford at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, 10 July 1975, FCO 21/1358. 153 Quoted in Andrew Yeo, “Challenging US Military Presence in the Philippines” in The South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 111, no. 4, Fall 2012. 154 Keynote speech of senator Manglapus, Conference on Military Bases in Southeast Asia, Singapore. 155 William R. Feeney, “The United States and the Philippines: The Bases Dilemma” in Asian Affairs, vol. 10, no. 4, Winter 1983, pp. 63–85. See also Barton Brown, “The Philippine-United States Bases Debate: Why the Twain Never Met” in Asian Affairs, vol. 20, no. 3, Fall 1990, pp. 162–178. 156 Yearbook of International Communist Affairs, 1982 (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 1982), p. 189. 157 Rizal Sukma, Indonesia and China: The Politics of a Troubled Relationship (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 208. 158 Leonard C. Sebastian, “Ending an Armed Struggle Without Surrender: The Demise of the Communist Party of Malaya (1979–1989) and the Aftermath” in Contemporary Southeast Asia, vol. 13, no. 3, December 1991, p. 277. 159 Cheah Boon Kheng, “The Communist Insurgency in Malaysia, 1948–1990: Contesting the Nation-State and Social Change” in the New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 11, no. 1, June 2009, p. 150. See also Leonard C. Sebastian, “Ending an Armed Struggle,” Contemporary Southeast Asia, pp. 271–298. 160 John Wong, “Singapore’s Bid to Sustain its Unique Ties with China” in The Straits Times, 3 November 2015. 161 National Library Board, Singapore Government, http://eresources .nlb.gov.sg/history/events/78426a95-7114-4a12-be92-5d4d7ce40cca. See also Jason Soo’s documentary 1987: Untracing the Conspiracy, http://1987untracing.wix.com/1987untracing and Michael D. Barr,

Notes to pages 000–000

162 163

164

165

166

167

168

169

170 171

265

“Marxists in Singapore? Lee Kuan Yew’s Campaign against Catholic Social Justice Activists in the 1980s” in Critical Asian Studies, vol. 42, no. 3, 2010, pp. 335–362. “Easing its Conscience by Opposition” in The Straits Times, 20 December 2000. See for example, “Former Soviet Spy, We Created Liberation Theology,” Catholic News Agency, http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news /former-soviet-spy-we-created-liberation-theology-83634/. Barr, “Marxists in Singapore?” Critical Asian Studies, p. 360. Lee Kuan Yew stepped down as prime minister in November 1990 to become eventually minister mentor in 2004. See also Francis T. Seow, To Catch a Tartar: A Dissident in Lee Kuan Yew’s Prison (New Haven: Yale Southeast Asia Studies, Yale Center for International and Area Studies, Monograph 42, 1994), pp. 68–80, 230–231. “R21 rating for film on Marxist Conspiracy,” Today, Singapore, http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/film-about-operation -spectrum-gets-r21-rating. Ragna Boden, “Cold War Economics: Soviet Aid to Indonesia” in the Journal of Cold War Studies, no. 10, Summer 2008, pp. 110–128. See also Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and US–Indonesian Relations, 1960–1968 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008); J. Thomas Lindblad, “Current Trends in the Economic History of Southeast Asia,” in the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, March 1995, pp. 159–168; and Mark T. Berger, The Battle for Asia: From Decolonization to Globalization (London: Routledge, 2004). See, for example, Uk Heo and Terence Roehrig, South Korea’s Rise: Economic Development, Power and Foreign Relations (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014). See David C. Engerman, “The Romance of Economic Development and New Histories of the Cold War” in Diplomatic History, vol. 28, no. 1, January 2004, pp. 23–54. Goh Keng Swee, The Economics of Modernization (Singapore: Federal Publications, 1972). See particularly chap. 25: “The Nature and Appeals of Communism in Non-Communist Asian Countries.” See Joe Studwell, How Asia Works: Success and Failure in the World’s Most Dynamic Region (New York: Grove Press, 2013). Priyambudi Sulistiyanto, Thailand, Indonesia, and Burma in Comparative

266

172 173 174

175

176

177

178 179

180 181

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Perspective (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), pp. 59, 71. See also Matthew Phillips, Thailand in the Cold War (London: Routledge, 2016). Federico Ferrara, The Political Development of Modern Thailand (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015), p. 164. Priyambudi Sulistiyanto, Thailand, Indonesia, and Burma in Comparative Perspective (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002), pp. 121–125 Jordon Z. Schwartz (acting director, World Bank Group Singapore), “World Bank’s shared History with S’pore” in The Straits Times, 28 September 2015. Lim Chong Yah and Ow Chwee Huay, “The Singapore Economy and the Vietnam War” in The Singapore Economy, ed. You Poh Seng and Lim Chong Yah (Petaling Jaya Eastern Universities Press, 1971), chap. 15. Steve Forbes, “Lee Kuan Yew: Why Singapore’s Extraordinary Leader Will be Missed,” Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveforbes /2015/03/23/lee-kuan-yew-why-this-extraordinary-leader-will-be-missed. Park Keunho, “The Vietnam War and the ‘Miracle of Asia’,” trans. Hiroko Kawasakiya Clayton in Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, vol. 4, no. 3, 2003, p. 372. Park’s article, however, is primarily focused on the South Korean experience. Jim Glassman, “The Geography of Vietnam” in Geopolitics, vol. 20, no. 4, 2015, pp. 732–735. Roy D. Morey, The United Nations at Work in Asia: An Envoy’s Account of Development in China, Vietnam, Thailand, and the South Pacific (Jefferson: McFarland and Company, 2014), pp. 185–186. David C. Engerman, “Romance of Economic Development,” Diplomatic History, p. 51. Studwell, How Asia Works, pp. 135–136. See also Joe Studwell, Asian Godfathers: Money and Power in Hong Kong and South-East Asia (London: Profile Books, 2008).

Conclusion 1 Arne Westad has suggested that the origins of the Cold War in the Third World could be traced back to 1878 or even as early as 1415. See Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 396. 2 Jeremy Black, The Cold War: A Military History (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015), p. xi.

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3 Rana Ritter, “China and the Cold War” in The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War, ed. Richard H. Immerman and Petra Goedde (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 124. 4 Jeremy Friedman, Shadow Cold War: The Sino-Soviet Competition for the Third World (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2015), pp. 25, 31. 5 Ibid, p. 27. 6 Bilahari Kausikan, “Fulfilling the potential of ASEAN-Russia relations” in Today, 30 June 2016. 7 Friedman, Shadow Cold War. 8 Robert A. Mortimer, The Third World Coalition in International Politics (Boulder: Westview Press, 1984), p. 21. 9 Jennifer Wenzel, Bulletproof: Afterlives of Anticolonial Prophecy in South Africa and Beyond (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010). 10 Quoted in H-Diplo Article review Forum 627 on “Special Issue: Toward a History of the New International Economic Order,” introduction by Nils Gilman, https://networks.h-net.org/pdf-h-diplo -article-review-forum-627–6-july-2016. See also See Seng Tan and Amitav Acharya, eds., Bandung Revisited: The Legacy of the 1955 Asian-African Conference for International Order (Singapore: NUS Press, 2008) and Andrew Phillips, “Beyond Bandung: The 1955 Asian-African Conference and its Legacies for International Order” in the Australian Journal of International Affairs, vol. 70, no. 4, 2016, pp. 329–341. 11 For many Vietnamese, the war against the Americans was a continuation of their independence struggle that started long before 1965 (as described in the preceding chapters). But the war attracted international attention from 1965. 12 Masuda Hajimu, Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), p. 86. 13 “Architects who Helped Build a Nation” in The Straits Times, 9 October 2015. See also Masuda Hajimu, Cold War Crucible: The Korean Conflict and the Postwar World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), p. 23 and Niall Ferguson, Kissinger 1923–1968: The Idealist (London: Allen Lane, 2015), p. 283. 14 Quoted in Benito Lim, “The Political Economy of the Philippines-China Relations,” PASCN Discussion Paper No. 99-16, September 1999 (Philippine APEC Study Center Network), pp. 8–9.

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15 Barbara Zanchetta in H-Diplo, vol. 17, no. 10, 4 January 2016, http://www.tiny.cc/Roundtable-XVII-10. 16 Friedman, Shadow Cold War, p. 215. 17 William R. Heaton, “China and Southeast Asian Communist Movements: The Decline of Dual Track Diplomacy” in Asian Survey, vol. 22, no. 8, August 1982, pp. 779–800.

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Index Abbot, George, 47 Abdulgani, Roeslan, 79, 83 Achar Mean (Son Ngoc Minh), 36, 58 Achar Sok (Tou Samouth), 36, 58, 127 AFPFL (Anti-Fascist People’s Liberation League; Burma), 29, 38, 50 Aidit, D. N.: control of PKI, 63, 87, 89, 117, 123; execution of, 123; and the 1965 coup, 124, 240n. 208, 241n. 214 Alejandrino, Casto, 30 Alimin bin Prawirodirdjo, 16–17, 18, 21 AMT (Aguman ding Tagapag-obra), 30, 39 Anand Panyarachun, 152, 161 Anti-Comintern Pact (1936), 27 Aquino, Corazon (“Cory”), 187, 188, 189 Aree Pirom, 92, 93 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations): approach to Indochina after the fall of Saigon, 166, 168–169, 171–172, 176; Carter Administration and, 175; Coordinating Committee for the Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Indochina, 154–155; economies of, 191–192; eighth ministerial meeting (1975), 166; formation of, 129, 139, 141; Heads of State Summits of 1976/1977, 158–159, 166, 168, 171; Lee’s analysis of, 169–170; membership of, 139–140; policy on East Timor, 165, 254n. 22; precursors to, 140; relations with China, 180, 181–182, 185, 196; relations with Soviet Union, 182, 196; US support for, 141; and US withdrawal from Southeast Asia, 142, 149–150; and Vietnam’s invasion of Kampuchea, 178, 180, 181–182, 183

Asian-African Conference. See Bandung Conference Asian-Pacific Council (ASPAC), 141 Aung Gyi, 60 Aung San, Thakin, 23, 29, 38 Azahari, A. M., 115 Baker, Maurice, 157, 158, 188 Baling Talks (1955), 95–96 Ball, George, 121 Bandung Conference (1955): assessment of, 85, 86, 196; Bogor planning meetings, 79, 80; British interest in, 81–82, 85; condemnation of colonialism, 84; context for, 68; focus on China, 79–80, 195; historiography of, 224–225n. 47; objectives of, 79; opening address, 83; participants in, 78, 80–81, 82, 92, 225n. 58; presence of Zhou Enlai, 80, 83–84, 226–227n. 71; Sukarno and, 87; as “unfailure,” 196; US position on, 80, 82–83; view of Richard Wright, 79, 87 Bangkok Accord (1966), 139 Bao Dai, 56 Barisan Socialis, 98, 99, 114, 115, 128 Ba Thein Tin, Thakin, 112, 163 Bean, Maurice Darrow, 186 bebasaktif (independent and active) principle, 62 Bell Trade Act, 39 Bhumibol, King (Thailand), 107, 158, 161–162 Black, Eugene, 142 Bognot, Cirilo, 21 Bolshevism, 13, 14 Bowles, Chester, 149 Britain: and the Bandung Conference,

293

294

Index

81–82, 85; in Indonesia, 122; in Malaya, 33–34, 40–41, 65, 66, 76, 128; role in Southeast Asia, 195; in Singapore, 19, 76, 145 British Special Branch, 16, 19, 22, 40, 76 Brother No. 2 (Nuon Chea), 33 Brunei, 98, 115, 139 Brunei Partai Rakyat, 115 Brzezinski, Zbigniew, 176 Bulganin, Yuri, 91 Burma (Myanmar): anti-Chinese riots of 1967, 132; and ASEAN, 140; and the Bandung Conference, 79; border with China, 90, 112, 132; and the Calcutta Conference, 50; civil war of 1948, 12, 29; communist movement in, 22–23, 29, 186; democracy in, 5; drug eradication programs with United States, 163–164; economy of, 91, 191, 192; ethnic issues in, 111–112, 187, 196; independence of, 29, 38; and the Indochina war, 131; military coup of 1988, 164; neutralist foreign policy, 61–62, 79, 90, 110–111, 131–132, 162; non-communist nationalists in, 29; policy on Malaya, 111; relations with China, 5, 60–61, 90, 92, 111, 131, 132, 162–163, 186; relations with United States, 5, 61, 91–92, 111, 131–132, 163; rice purchased by Soviet Union, 91; view of SEATO, 76. See also Burmese Communist Party Burma Socialist Program Party, 186 Burmese Communist Party (BCP/ CPB): and the Anti-Fascist Organization in 1944, 29; banning of, 23, 27; Chinese support for, 54, 60, 90, 111–112, 162–163, 186; formation of, 23; and ethnicity issues, 196; insurgency along Chinese border, 132, 186; negotiations with government, 163; Red and White Flags, 29, 112; student membership, 91, 229n. 30; underground movement, 38–39; as

United Wa State Army, 186; weakened position of, 128 Byroade, Henry, 131–132 Calcutta Conference (Southeast Asian Youth and Student Conference, 1948), 12, 49–51 Cambodia (Kampuchea): and ASEAN, 169, 171; border disputes with Vietnam, 172–173, 176; and the early Indochinese communist movement, 25, 26; economy of, 191, 192; and the Geneva Conference of 1954, 72, 73, 75; independence of, 58; during the Japanese interregnum, 36; Ne Win’s visit to, 186; after the Paris Peace Agreement, 155; refugees in Thailand, 185; relations with China, 84, 132, 174; relations with Thailand, 176; UN custody and elections of 1993, 184; US policy on, 149, 183; and Vietnamese communists in the 1940s–1950s, 36, 46, 58–59, 77, 105, 148–149; Vietnamese invasion of, 107, 160, 172, 176, 177–180, 181, 183, 184, 193, 197; and the Vietnam War, 127, 148–149, 153; and war in Laos, 105. See also Khmer Rouge; Sihanouk, Prince Norodom Carter, Jimmy, 158, 163, 165, 175, 182 CCP (Chinese Communist Party): civil war with KMT, 37–38; connection with MCP, 17–18, 33–34; founding of, 16, 17; relations with the PKI, 63; relations with Soviet Union, 63, 106; relations with Vietminh, 48–49; role in Southeast Asia, 18–19, 37, 53, 54; role in the Philippines, 21, 64, 187–188; Thai branch, 32; united fronts with KMT, 18, 19, 24, 26, 32, 33 Chatchai Chunhawan, 43 Chiang Kai-shek, 91 China: aid to Vietnam, 73–74; and the Bandung Conference, 79–80, 83–84;

Index

and communist movements in Southeast Asia, 52–54, 117–118, 166, 181–182, 195–196, 197; dual citizenship policy, 84; foreign policy during the “Cultural Revolution,” 131–132, 152; inauguration of the People’s Republic, 52, 54, 55, 59, 67; nuclear capability of, 106; policy on Laos and Cambodia, 72, 104–105, 178–179; punishment of Vietnam, 178–181; relations with ASEAN states, 180, 181–182, 185, 196; relations with Burma, 5, 60–61, 90, 92, 111, 131, 132, 162–163, 186; relations with India, 61–62, 80, 90, 117; relations with Indonesia, 62–63, 84, 87–88, 89, 122–123, 137, 152, 164, 168, 182, 189, 219n. 52, 251n. 133; relations with Malaysia, 151, 165, 182, 189; relations with Philippines, 64, 93–94, 133, 146, 151–152, 187–188; relations with Singapore, 118, 152, 167–168, 190; relations with Thailand, 81, 92, 143, 152, 160–161, 180, 183–184, 185–186; relations with United States, 130, 151, 152, 182, 183; relations with Vietnam, 74, 153, 107, 160, 173–174, 176, 177–179, 184; role at Geneva conference, 71–72; support for Khmer Rouge, 176, 178, 179, 184. See also CCP; Sino-Soviet split Chinese Military Advisory Group (CMAG), 58 Chinese Nationalist Party. See KMT Chin Peng: and armed struggle in Malaya, 100–101; and the Baling Talks, 95–96; on the Confrontation, 117; exile in China, 112, 145; interactions with Vietnamese and Chinese, 100; as MCP leader, 40–41, 50, 96; memoir of, 66; on Operation Coldstore, 114, 116; on riots of 1969, 157; on Singapore, 97, 99 CIA (US Central Intelligence Agency):

295

activities in Indonesia, 89, 119–121, 229n. 16; involvement in Laos and Cambodia, 85, 103–104, 110, 153; and the Kennedy assassination, 110; and the KMT, 61, 91 Cochin China, 35. See also South Vietnam Colby, William, 119 Cold War: cultural phenomena of, 3; defined, 11; economic dimension, 191–193; end of, 183, 184, 193, 197; historiography, 1–10, 194, 197–198, 200n. 24; origins, 11–16, 194–195, 266n. 1; “shadow,” 196; Southeast Asian perspectives on, 1–2 Colombo Plan (1950), 81 colonialism, 11, 17, 26, 27, 33–34, 40–41, 76, 84, 195. See also decolonization Comintern: dissolution of, 28, 37; Far Eastern Bureau, 15–16, 18, 19, 205n. 21; formation of, 14–15; role in Southeast Asia, 11, 15–18, 20–22, 25–26, 34–35; Shanghai regional headquarters, 15–16, 19, 205n. 21; united front strategy, 22, 27, 32, 33, 35 Communist Information Bureau (Cominform), 37, 46, 52, 59 communist movement: appeal to Southeast Asians, 13–14; history of, 7; nationalization of, 106–107; organizational and operational methods of, 14; “threat” of, 66, 75, 94, 112, 117, 133, 139, 161, 169, 189 Communist Party of Annam, 25 Communist Party of Burma. See Burmese Communist Party Communist Party of Indochina. See Indochinese Communist Party Communist Party of Kampuchea, 33. See also Khmer Rouge Communist Party of Malaya. See MCP Communist Party of Siam, 24, 32, 43. See also Communist Party of Thailand Communist Party of Thailand: CCP connections, 59–60, 152, 185; operations in the northeast, 107–108, 135–136,

296

Index

143–144; Peace Campaigns, 59–60; strategy in the countryside, 43–44, 60, 108; and the student movement, 158, 162 Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), 30, 133, 157, 187; CPP–Mao Zedong Thought, 110; CPP–NPA, 133, 157–158; and the Huk movement, 30–31, 39–40, 64–65, 94; outlawing of, 94, 109–110; People’s Power Movement, 187; relations with CCP, 187–188. See also PKP Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), 28, 42, 106 Communist Party of Vietnam. See Indochinese Communist Party; Lao Dong Party; Vietnamese Communist Party Confrontation, 115, 116–119, 123, 138, 139 Congress of the Khmer Resistance (1950), 58 Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), 174, 176, 179 Cultural Revolution, 131, 152, 242n. 6 Dalai Lama, 90 Danang, US landing at, 126, 129 Darcy, Sam, 21 Darrow, Maurice, 163 decolonization, 6, 8, 9, 10, 38–39, 69, 194 Democratic Alliance (Philippines), 39. See also Huk movement Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV), 32–33, 35, 57, 84. See also Vietnam Deng Xiaoping, 152, 167, 178–179, 181–182, 190; meetings with Chin Peng, 100, 101 Deng Yingchao, 162–163, 180 Dien Bien Phu, 44, 69, 71, 73, 74, 129 Domino Theory, 69–70, 140, 159 Do Muoi, 184 Dulles, Allen, 229n. 16 Dulles, John Foster, 70, 71, 73, 94; posi-

tion on the Bandung Conference, 80, 81, 85; and SEATO, 74–75, 82 East Timor, 164–165, 254–255nn. 22–23 Eden, Anthony, 72, 82 Eisenhower, Dwight, 69–70, 85, 89, 103 Evangelista, Crisanto, 20–21, 30 Everton, John Scott, 111 Fajar, 76–77 Fang Chuang Pi (The Plen), 97, 144 First Indochina War, 44–45, 55 Five Power Defense Arrangement (1971), 138 Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (1954), 61, 84, 85 Four-Party talks (Paris, 1969), 148, 153, 154 France, 36, 44, 46, 170; and First Indochina War, 44–45, 55 “Free Thailand” movement, 78 French Communist Party, 26, 52 Front Demokrasi Rayjat (FDR), 42–43 Garcia, Carlos, 64 Geneva Agreements, 73, 75, 77, 102, 103, 126, 127 Geneva Conference (1954), 68–74. See also Geneva Agreements George, Harrison, 21 George, Lloyd, 13 Gestapu Affair, 120–121, 239n. 190 Ghazali Shafie, 159, 170–171, 180 Ghoshal, H. N. (Thakin Ba Tin), 23, 50 Goh Keng Swee, 14, 143, 146, 204n. 11 Golden Triangle, 163–164 Gorbachev, Mikhail, 183, 184 Goto Shinpei, 13 Green, Marshall, 120, 122, 138, 139 Guerrero, Amado (Jose Maria Sison), 110, 133 guerrilla warfare, 30, 38, 39, 44, 49, 66, 144, 169. See also Huk movement Gulf of Tonkin incident (1964), 111, 125–126, 128, 241n. 218

Index

Gullick, John, 40 Gurney, Henry, 66 Habib, Philip, 169–170 Harriman, Averell, 148 Hasluck, Paul, 111 Hatta, Mohammad, 42, 62–63, 88 Hilsman, Roger, 126–127 Hoang Minh Chinh, 127–128 Hoang Van Hoan, 45, 48, 71, 72–73, 126 Hoang Van Loi, 173 Ho Chi Minh: approach to United States, 47; Bangkok office of, 32; death of, 152–153; and the First Indochina War, 44, 71; meeting with Chin Peng, 100; relations with China and the Soviet Union, 57, 58, 72–73, 128. See also Nguyen Ai Quoc Ho Chi Minh Trail, 102, 103, 125, 148 Holbrooke, Richard, 175–176 Hua Guofeng, 162 Huang Hua, 176 Huk movement, 30–31, 39–40, 64–65, 94 Hun Sen, 184 India: relations with China, 61–62, 80, 90, 117 Indian Communist Party, 12, 16, 22, 23, 50, 60 Indian National Congress, 50 Indies Social Democratic Association, 16 Indochinese Communist Party, 25, 26, 27, 34–35, 58–59. See also Lao Dong Party Indonesia: August Raid (1951), 63; and the Bandung Conference, 79, 87; and the Calcutta Conference, 50; Chinese minority in, 62, 84; communist movement in, 28, 78, 128, 146, 189; complicity of Australia and United Kingdom, 122; Confrontation with Malaysia, 115, 116, 123, 138, 139; coup of 1965, 84, 120–124, 239n. 190, 251n. 133; economy of, 192; elections in, 89; and the fall of Saigon, 156; “Guided

297

Democracy” era, 87–88; invasion of East Timor, 164–165; Muslim factions in, 62, 63, 118; “New Order” regime, 121, 137; opposition to formation of Malaysia, 111, 115, 116; rebellion of 1957–1958, 89, 229n. 16; relations with China, 62–63, 84, 87–88, 89, 118, 122–123, 137, 152, 164, 168, 180, 182, 189, 219n. 52, 251n. 133; relations with Democratic Republic of Vietnam, 137; relations with Soviet Union, 52, 62, 63, 124, 141; relations with the United States, 63, 118–122, 123, 138–139, 164, 245n. 41; Sumatra and Celebes revolt, 76; support for South Vietnam, 137; as threat to Philippines, 94; uprising of 1948, 12; view of SEATO, 76; West Irian issue, 116; withdrawal from UN, 118, 119–120. See also Indonesian Army; PKI Indonesian Army, 116, 119, 121, 122 Indonesian Communist Party. See PKI Indonesian National Party (PNI), 87 Indonesian Socialist Party, 62 Indonesian State Intelligence Agency (BAKIN), 164 International Conference on the Settlement of the Laotian Question (1961), 105 International Monetary Fund, 192, 193 International Supervisory and Control Commission, 105 Japan: invasion of Southeast Asia, 27, 29, 30, 35, 195; postwar relations with Southeast Asia, 53, 56–57, 70, 81 Johnson, Lyndon B.: policy on Indonesia, 119–120, 139; policy in Southeast Asia, 70, 111, 134; speech of March 31, 1968, 142, 145; withdrawal from Vietnam, 142, 143, 147 Jones, Howard, 119 Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth; Philippines), 110

298

Index

Kampuchea. See Cambodia; Khmer Rouge Katay Don Sasorith, 84 Katipunan, 22 Kennedy, John F., 70, 94, 103, 110, 118, 200n. 15 Khieu Samphan, 178 Khmer Issarak (Independent Khmer), 36, 46, 72, 73 Khmer People’s Revolutionary Party, 59, 127 Khmer Rouge, 153–154, 160, 178, 184, 186, 251n. 140 Khrushchev, Nikita, 87, 89, 91, 106, 118, 242n. 6 Kissinger, Henry, 2, 70, 152, 156, 164, 175; secret trips to Beijing, 151, 154; talks with Vietnamese, 153, 154, 155; talks with Zhou Enlai, 153 KMT (Chinese Nationalist Party), 18, 37, 47–48, 61, 64, 90, 91. See also under united front strategy Kokang (Burma), 186–187 Komer, Robert, 122 Konfrontasi. See Confrontation Kong Lae, 104, 127 Korean War, 54, 61, 72 KPMP (National Association of Philippine Peasants), 20, 21, 30, 39 Kriangsak Chomanan, 172, 185 Kukrit, Prime Minister (Thailand), 161 Kuomintang. See KMT Kyaw Nyein, U, 91 Labour Front (Singapore), 97, 98, 225n. 58 Lacy, William, 82 Lai Teck, 33–34, 40 Lao Dong Party (Vietnam Workers’ Party), 58, 74, 101–102, 125–126, 174. See also Indochinese Communist Party; Vietnamese Communist Party Lao Issara (Free Lao), 36, 46, 58 Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, 59 Laos: and ASEAN, 139–140, 169; com-

munist control of, 160, 252n. 140; and the early Indochinese communist movement, 25, 26, 27; economy of, 191, 192; election of 1960, 103–4; and the Geneva Conference of 1954, 72, 73, 75; independence of, 58; during the Japanese interregnum, 36; neutrality of, 105, 125; and northeast Thailand, 108, 136; refugees in Thailand, 185; relations with Soviet Union, 104; relationship with Vietnam, 103, 105, 125, 126, 176–177; struggle between royal government and Pathet Lao, 103–105, 135, 155; transportation agreement with China, 105; and Vietnamese communists, 36, 46, 84, 126; and the war in Vietnam, 102–103, 105, 126–127, 130–131, 144, 148, 153. See also Ho Chi Minh Trail; Pathet Lao; Royal Laotian government Lapiang Manggagawa (Philippines), 20–21 Lava, Jesus, 39, 109–110, 133 Lava, Jose, 65, 109, 133 Lava, Vicente, 39, 65 League of Indochinese Communists, 25 League of Poor Laborers (Philippines), 30, 39 Le Duan, 73, 100, 101–102, 124–125, 128, 173, 174, 183 Le Duc Anh, 184 Le Duc Tho, 100, 101, 102, 148, 154 Lee Kuan Yew: and ASEAN, 169, 171, 177; and authoritarian rule, 190–191; on the Bandung Conference, 86; and British withdrawal, 145; on communism’s appeal, 65, 99; on the Confrontation, 116; defense of Singapore students, 77; and the election of 1959, 97–98; move against Malayan Communist Party, 97, 115; and Operation Coldstore, 114, 115; and the PAP, 67, 95, 97–98, 113, 138, 144; and relations with Chinese, 151, 167, 168, 181–182, 190; on SEATO, 77; stepped down as prime minister, 265n. 164;

Index

support for merger with Malaya, 98, 99, 115, 237n. 152; support for US involvement in Vietnam, 137, 138, 145, 192; and US policy in Singapore, 128; on the Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea, 179, 180, 181; view of Southeast Asia after Vietnam War, 156, 165, 169, 192 Lee Siew Choh, 98 Le Hong Phong, 34–35 Liberation Theology, 190 Lim Chin Siong, 96, 97, 98, 114–115, 236n. 149 Lim Yew Hock, 96, 115 Linggadjati Agreement, 41–42 Liu Shaoqi, 53, 63 Lodge, Henry Cabot, 148 Lon Nol, 153 Ly Bich Son, 57 Macapagal, Diosdado, 109, 132–133, 134 Macarthur, Douglas, 30–31, 82 MacDonald, Malcolm, 68, 113, 161, 167 Madiun uprising (1948), 42, 43, 89 Magsaysay, Ramon, 55, 94 Mahathir Mohamad, 180–181, 189 Malaka, Tan, 16, 18, 21, 62, 206n. 48 Malaya: aid to South Vietnam, 100; anticommunist foreign policy, 101; British colonial rule, 33–34, 40–41, 76; communist movements, 17–18, 55, 78, 95–96, 99, 112–113; independence of, 96, 101; and SEATO, 76, 101; uprising of 1948, 12. See also Malayan Emergency; Malaysia; MCP Malayan Emergency, 40–41, 66, 95, 100, 144, 221n. 74; in Singapore, 67, 77 Malayan People’s Anti-Japanese Army (MPAJA), 34, 40 Malaysia: British Commonwealth troops in, 128; communist movement in, 128, 144–145, 165, 189–190; and the Confrontation with Indonesia, 115, 116–118, 123, 138, 139; defense of, 138; formation of, 112, 113–115, 116,

299

117, 118; independence of Singapore from, 128; May 1969 riots, 156–157; as multiracial society, 113, 156; neutralization policy, 150–151; New Economic Policy, 156; proposal for, 98, 111, 113; relations with China, 118, 151, 165, 182, 189; relations with Soviet Union, 147; relations with the United States, 165; Second Emergency, 144; support for US policy in Vietnam, 137, 146–147; view of Chinese punishment of Vietnamese, 180–181 Malik, Adam, 139, 140, 141 Manahan, Jacinto, 21 Manila Pact, 75, 80, 82, 170. See also SEATO Manopakorn Nititada, 24 Mao Zedong: and Asian communist parties, 52–53, 58, 61, 106, 117, 123, 195; mentioned, 13, 38, 62, 167, 242n. 6; “new democratic revolution,” 46–47; and Thailand, 92, 109; “Three Worlds” theory, 174; and the Vietnam War, 126, 130 Marcos, Ferdinand: Catholic criticism of, 190; downfall and death of, 187; excesses of, 133, 134; and martial law, 157, 187; and relations with China, 132–133, 151–152, 197; and US bases, 189; and the Vietnam War, 109, 134, 145–146, 156 “Maring” (H. J. F. M. Sneevliet), 16, 17, 18 Marks, Thomas A., 150 Marshall, David, 95, 98, 114, 225n. 58 Martens, Robert J., 122 Marxism, 13, 14–15, 23, 106 McNamara, Robert, 121 MCP (Malayan Communist Party; also CPM): and the anti-British struggle, 33–34, 65, 66; and armed struggle, 66, 99, 100, 144; CCP guidance of, 19, 33, 96, 100, 151; Chinese and Soviet recommendations for, 66–67; and the

300

Index

Confrontation with Indonesia, 117; establishment of, 17–18, 19; faction in Thailand, 189–190; ineffectiveness of, 27; Japanese raid on, 34; joined by disaffected Chinese youths, 157; leadership of, 40; and the Malayan Emergency, 40–41; and Malayan independence, 96; name of, 231n. 60; and the PAP, 96–97; in Singapore, 19, 67, 96–97, 165; and the united front strategy, 33–34. See also Chin Peng Mendes-France, Pierre, 71, 72 Mikoyan, Anastas, 53 Military Bases Agreement (Philippines, 1947), 39, 64, 189 Mondale, Walter, 181 Monivong, King, 36 “More Flags” program, 134 Musso, Munawar, 16–17, 18, 28, 42–43, 50 Myanmar. See Burma Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, 186–187 Nair, Devan, 96 Nam Bac (Laos), 130–131 Narong Kittikachorn, 107, 158 Nasution, General Abdul Haris, 120, 121, 123 Nathan, S. R., 77, 180 National Association of Philippine Peasants (KPMP), 20, 21, 30, 39 Nehru, Jawaharlal, 80, 83, 84, 85, 105, 114 Neo Lao Hak Xat, 103–104, 130, 148, 155. See also Pathet Lao “new democratic revolution,” 46–47 Ne Win, 90–91, 110–112, 131–132, 140, 163, 186, 192 New People’s Army (Philippines), 133, 188 Nghe Tinh uprising (1930–1931), 26 Ngo Dinh Diem, 73, 77, 100, 102, 124, 125, 137 Ngo Dinh Nhu, 125

Nguyen Ai Quoc, 16, 18, 19, 24, 25–26, 27, 35. See also Ho Chi Minh Nguyen Binh, General, 45 Nguyen Co Thach, 173, 175, 177, 183–184 Nguyen Duy Thuy, 57 Nguyen Duy Trinh, 171, 176 Nguyen Khac Huynh, 56 Nguyen Kien Gian, 127–128 Nguyen Van Linh, 184 Nixon, Richard: resignation of, 155; and the Vietnam War, 149, 150, 153, 156; view of Domino Theory, 70; visit to China, 150, 151, 154, 170. See also Nixon Doctrine Nixon Doctrine, 133, 149, 150, 152 Non-Aligned Movement, 78, 101, 137 Nu, U (Thakin Nu), 29, 61, 62, 91; Ludu Aung Than, 4–5; and relations with China, 80, 83, 90, 109 Nuon Chea (Brother No. 2), 33 Operation Coldstore (Singapore, 1963), 114–116, 190 Operation Duck Hook, 153 Operation Komodo (1974), 164 Operation Lea, 44, 45 Operation Seroja (1975), 164 Ora, Antonio D., 20 Pacepa, Ion Mihai, 190 Pancasila, 86, 119, 138 Paris Peace Agreement (1973), 154–155, 174 Pathet Lao: and civil war in Laos, 77, 103–104, 105, 127, 148; and the CPT, 109; creation of, 58; issue of, at Geneva Conference, 72, 73, 103; and the war in Vietnam, 130, 142, 252n. 140 Pe Myint, Thakin, 29 Peng Jiasheng, 186 People’s Action Party (PAP): and the election of 1959, 97–98; left wing of, 11, 67, 95, 96–97, 204n. 11; men-

Index

tioned, 225n. 58; and Operation Coldstore, 114; after Singapore’s independence, 138, 144; split with Barisan Socialis, 98, 99; support for merger with Malaya, 98–99 People’s Army of Vietnam (PAVN), 48–49 People’s Liberation Army (PLA), 90, 91 People’s Republic of China. See China Pham Ngoc Thach, 47 Pham Van Dong, 84, 126, 174, 177, 184; and the Geneva Agreements, 72, 73 Phan Hien, 171, 172, 176 Phao Siyanon, 43, 93 Phetsarath, Prince, 25, 36 Phibunsongkhram: anticommunist stance, 24, 43, 59, 60; policy towards Chinese, 32, 92, 93; relations with United States, 45–46, 56 Philippine Civic Action Group (PHILCAG), 109, 134, 146, 149, 243n. 23 Philippines: and the Bandung Conference, 80–81; and the Calcutta Conference, 50; Chinese in, 64, 94; communist movement, 19–21, 30–31, 39, 94, 128, 187–188; declaration of martial law, 157, 164, 187; economy of, 192; elections of 1946, 39; independence of, 31, 36, 39, 55; Japanese occupation, 30, 39; labor organizations, 20–22, 30, 39; Liberation Theology in, 190; Muslims in, 94; opposition to formation of Malaysia, 116; People’s Power Movement, 189; Plaza Miranda incident (1971), 157, 252n. 147; relations with China, 64, 93–94, 133, 146, 151–152, 187–188; relations with Soviet Union, 151; relations with Taiwan, 64, 94, 133, 188; relations with United States, 30–31, 55, 64, 93–95, 109, 133, 145–146, 152, 187; relations with Vietnam, 171; and the Sabah dispute, 116, 145; and SEATO, 75–76, 170; US aid

301

to, 75–76, 109, 134; US bases in, 64, 171, 188–189; and the Vietnam War, 133–134, 145–146, 156. See also Communist Party of the Philippines; Huk movement Phin Chunhawan, 43 Phoui Sananikone, 103 Phoumi Nosavan, General, 103, 104, 110 Phraya Phahon, 24 PKI (Indonesian Communist Party): attempts to revive, 28, 41, 62, 63, 87, 94, 228n. 4; and the Confrontation with Malaysia, 116; and the coup of 1965, 120–124, 241n. 214; criticism of SEATO, 76; demise of, 124, 137, 139; and the Dutch colonial government, 16–17, 26, 27; factions of, 54; founding of, 16; influence of China, 117, 123; in Java, 88–89; in local and international context, 7; and the MCP, 18, 117; relations with Soviet Union, 124; and the Sino-Soviet split, 107, 124; US policy towards, 89, 119, 121–122 PKP (Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas), 19, 21–22, 27, 30. See also Communist Party of the Philippines Plaine de Jarres (Plain of Jars), 127 Pol Pot (Saloth Sar), 127, 154, 173–174, 178, 179. See also Khmer Rouge Pote Sarasin, 136 Poulo Wai islands, 173 Prajdhipok, King (Rama VII), 24 Praphat Charusathian, 43, 107, 144, 158 Prasong Vongvivatana, 32 Prem Tinsulanonda, 185 Pridi Banomyong, 24, 32–33, 43–44, 46, 59, 83; “Free Thailand” movement, 78 Protocol and the Declaration of Neutrality of Laos (1962), 105 Qiao Guanhua, 167, 168, 255n. 37 Quinim Pholsena, 127 Rajaratnam, S., 140, 166, 168 Ranaridhh, 184

302

Index

Reagan, Ronald, 182–183, 187 Republic of China (ROC), 64, 91, 94, 133, 188 Romulo, General Carlos, 80, 92, 152 Roxas, Manuel, 31, 39, 40 Royal Laotian Government, 58, 103, 155 Royal Thai Army Volunteer Regiment (Queen’s Cobra), 136 Rusk, Dean, 121, 128, 134, 135, 136 Rusk–Thanat Agreement (1962), 135, 136 Saigon, fall of, 129, 156, 159 Saloth Sar, 127. See also Pol Pot Sang Phathanothai, 92, 93 Sanya Thammasak, 161 San Yu, General, 186 Sarekat Islam, 17 Sarit Thanarat, 43, 93, 104, 107, 109, 135, 191–192 Sastroamidjojo, Ali, 83, 87 Sayap (Sajap) Kiri (Indonesia), 41, 42, 43 SEATO (Southeast Asia Treaty Organization): and the Bandung Conference, 80, 81, 82–83, 196; Bangkok meeting of February 1955, 77–78, 82; Chinese view of, 75; compared with ASEAN, 140, 141; creation of, 68, 74; disbanding of, 170; effect on Geneva negotiations, 74–75; and events in Laos, 104, 135; and Malaya and Singapore, 76–77; membership of, 72, 75, 101, 108, 223n. 28; viewed as Western colonialism, 76 Second Indochina War. See Vietnam War Seri Thai, 32, 33 Sharkey, Lawrence, 41, 50 Siam. See Thailand Siamese Communist Party, 23–25, 32. See also Communist Party of Siam; Communist Party of Thailand Siao Chang, 96 Sieu Heng, 58 Sihanouk, Prince Norodom: and ASEAN, 139; and Cambodian independence, 58; CIA efforts to

overthrow, 85; and communist movement, 77; cultivation of China and Soviet Union, 118; installed by French, 36; meeting with Chester Bowles, 149; ouster by Lon Nol, 153; relations with Zhou Enlai, 84, 132; response to Chinese intervention, 132; and Vietnamese ambitions in Cambodia, 149, 184; and the Vietnam War, 127, 131 Singapore: ASEAN membership, 141, 142, 180; and the Bandung Conference, 225n. 58, 226n. 71; British rule, 19, 76, 145; Chinese community in, 67, 77, 98, 139; communist movements in, 17, 18, 95, 96, 98, 99, 113–116, 128, 144, 145, 165; and the Confrontation, 139; defense of, 138; economy of, 192; election of 1959, 97; independence of, 98–99, 128; left-wing movement in, 77, 97; and the Malayan Emergency, 67; MCP in, 67; merger with Malaya, 98–99; and the Nixon Doctrine, 150; Operation Coldstore (1963), 114–116, 190; Operation Spectrum (1987), 190–191; relations with China, 118, 152, 167–168, 190; SEATO and, 76–77; separation from Malaysia, 112; trade with China, 118, 168; and US policy in Vietnam, 142; view of Chinese punishment of Vietnam, 180; votes on East Timor, 254n. 22. See also Lee Kuan Yew; Malaysia Singapore Factory and Shop Workers Union, 67, 97 Sino-Japanese War (1937), 17, 32 Sino-Soviet split: Cambodia and, 197; and events in Malaysia and Indonesia, 117–118, 124; Laos and, 104; and Southeast Asian communist parties, 100, 106–107; and Soviet involvement in Southeast Asia, 183, 195; and the war in Vietnam, 126, 127–128, 152–153, 174–177

Index

Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance (1950), 54 Sino-Vietnamese War (Third Indochina War, 1979), 107, 160, 172–181, 197 Sirin Phathanothai, 81, 92 Sison, Jose Maria (Amado Guerrero), 110, 133 Sjahrir, Sutan, 41, 62 Sjarifudin, Amir, 41, 42 Smith, Walter Bedell, 69, 70, 72 Sneevliet, H. J. F. M. (“Maring”), 16, 17, 18 Socialist Party of the Philippines, 30 Soe, Thakin, 23, 29 Son Ngoc Minh (Achar Mean), 36, 58 Son Sann, 184 Souphanouvong, Prince, 33, 36, 58 Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty (Manila Pact), 75, 80, 82, 170. See also SEATO Southeast Asia League, 33, 44 Southeast Asian Youth and Student Conference (Calcutta Conference, 1948), 12, 49–51 Southeast Asia Treaty Organization. See SEATO Southern Guangdong People’s Force, 48 South Seas Communist Party, 18, 22, 24 South Vietnam: aid to, 107, 109, 133–134, 136, 137, 138, 156; under Diem, 102, 124; under the French, 35; Hanoi’s policy on, 124–125, 126, 155; US withdrawal from, 149–150; violation of Cambodian territory, 148–149. See also Vietnam; Vietnam War Souvanna Phouma, 36, 85, 104, 127, 140, 148 Soviet-Nazi Non-Aggression Pact (1939), 27, 33, 35 Soviet Union: CPSU, 28, 42, 106; denotation of atomic bomb, 55; and Liberation Theology, 190; policy in Southeast Asia, 12, 52, 106, 182, 195, 196; relations with ASEAN states,

303

182; relations with Cambodia, 174; relations with Indonesia, 42, 62, 63–64, 118, 123–124; relations with Laos, 104, 105; relations with Nazi Germany, 27, 33, 35; relations with Thailand, 52; relations with United States, 11, 175; relations with Vietnam, 58, 74, 91, 126, 174, 176, 179, 180–181, 182, 183, 193; role in Burma, 5, 60, 91; and Southeast Asian communist parties, 37, 195; and the Vietnamese invasion of Kampuchea, 177–179. See also Comintern; Sino-Soviet split Stalin, Joseph: and the Comintern , 28, 35; policy on Vietnam, 58, 74; postwar foreign policy, 37, 50–51; and Southeast Asian communist parties, 63, 195; view on establishing an Asian Cominform, 37, 50, 53 Subandrio, 76, 116, 121, 122 Suharto: economic development under, 192; foreign policy, 137–138, 164; military takeover by, 120; as national leader, 139; “New Order” regime, 121; policy on communists, 189; and US–China relations, 182, 183; US support for, 121, 146 Sukarno: CIA efforts to overthrow, 85, 89, 119–120; and the Confrontation with Malaysia, 116; and the coup attempt of 1965, 121, 122, 123; distrust of the United States, 89; economy under, 192; foreign policy of, 87–88, 137; health of, 123; mentioned, 114; and the PKI, 89; removal of, 139; Sino–Indonesian relations under, 62–63; and the Sino-Soviet split, 118, 124; Sukarno-Hatta government, 62–63 Sungai Siput attacks (1948), 41, 221n. 73 Supreme National Council of Cambodia, 184 Taiwan. See Republic of China Tang Ling Djie, 63

304

Index

Tanin Kraivixien, 161 Taruc, Luis, 30, 31, 39–40, 220n. 63 Taruc, Pedro, 110 Templer, General Gerald, 66 Tet Offensive, 130, 142, 147, 148, 153 Thailand: anticommunist acts, 24, 32, 60; armed forces of, 135; and the Bandung Conference, 80–81, 92; Bangkok elite, 107–108; coup of November 1947, 43, 44, 45; early communist movement, 23–25, 31–32; economy of, 191; and events in Laos, 104; after the fall of Indochina, 160–161; flood of 1975, 150; Isan region, 107–108, 135; and the Malaysian communist insurgency, 189–190; National Intelligence Estimate on (1968), 144, 247n. 82; “Policy of Struggle to Win Over Communism” (1980), 185; postwar communist movement, 32–33, 43, 59, 93, 128, 135–136, 143–144; refugees in, 78,185; relations with ASEAN states, 186; relations with China, 81, 92, 143, 152, 160–161, 180, 185–186; relations with Kampuchea, 176; relations with United States, 93, 107, 109, 135–136, 142–143, 150, 160, 191; relations with Vietnam, 165, 176; revitalization of monarchy, 107; and SEATO, 75, 108; strategy to maintain independence, 92–93; student uprising of October 1973, 158, 161–162; Thammasat massacre of 1976, 161–162, 185; US troops in, 136, 143, 158; Vietnamese activities in, 45–46, 77–78; and the Vietnam War, 107, 134–137, 142–143, 149–150, 158; view of SEATO, 170 Thai People’s Autonomous Region (Yunnan), 60, 78, 93 Thammasat University, 59; massacre of 1976, 161–162 Thanat Khoman, 136, 140, 141, 143, 152

Thanh Nien (Vietnamese Revolutionary Youth League), 25, 26 Thanom Kittikachorn, 43, 107, 143, 158, 161 Thant, U, 5 Than Tun, Thakin, 29, 38 Thawan Thamrongnawaswat, 32, 43 Third Communist International. See Comintern Third Indochina War (Sino-Vietnamese War, 1979), 107, 160, 172–181, 197 Thompson, Llewelyn, 149 Thorpe, Major Claude, 30–31 Tiananmen Incident (China, 1989), 184 Tiang Sirikhan, 33 Toer, Pramoedya Ananta, 88 Tou Samouth (Achar Sok), 36, 58, 127 Tran Quang Co, 184 Tran Van Giau, 33, 34–35 Tran Van Tra, 155 Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (1976), 168 Truman Doctrine, 37 Truong Chinh, 48, 58, 174 Tunku Abdul Rahman (the Tunku): aid to South Vietnam, 100, 137; anticommunism of, 101; and the arrest of Lim Chin Siong, 114–115; on ASEAN summit of 1975, 166–167; and the Baling Talks, 95–96; on the Confrontation, 116–117; policy on Vietnam, 146–147; proposal of Malaysia, 98, 99, 113; and the riots of 1969, 156–157; and SEATO, 76; and Singapore, 98, 128 united-front strategy, 12, 27, 28, 33, 37, 58; first CCP–KMT united front, 18, 19, 24, 26; second CCP–KMT antiJapanese united front, 32, 33 United Issarak Front (Cambodia), 58 United Kingdom Trades Union Council, 115 United Nations: custody of Cambodia, 184; fears of anti-Western bloc, 80;

Index

and the KMT in Burma, 91; List of Least Developed Countries, 191; membership of Malaysia, 118; recognition of the People’s Republic of China, 151; withdrawal of Indonesia, 118, 119–120 United States: bombing of North Vietnam and Cambodia, 111, 131, 136, 149, 153, 154, 156; communists in, 21, 30; as countervailing force against China, 197; Domino Theory, 69–70, 140, 159; economic policy in Asia, 193; failure to support nationalist movements, 36–37; fear of communist expansion, 55–56, 64, 69–70, 94; and the Gulf of Tonkin incident (1964), 111, 125–126, 241n. 218; military intervention in Vietnam, 71, 125–126, 129; and the origins of the Cold War, 11–12; policy on East Timor, 165; policy in Indonesia, 42, 63, 64, 118–122, 123, 138–139, 164; policy in Laos and Cambodia, 72, 102–103, 104, 149, 182–183; policy in Thailand, 43, 45–46, 92–93, 109, 135–137; policy in the Philippines, 39, 64, 94–95, 145–146, 158, 187; position on Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia, 182–183; reaction to the founding of the People’s Republic, 55; relations with ASEAN states, 158, 182–183; relations with Burma, 5, 61, 91–92, 111, 131–132, 163; relations with China, 130, 151, 152, 182, 183; relations with Malaysia, 165; relations with Soviet Union, 11, 175; relations with Vietnam, 174–175, 177; support for the French in Vietnam, 56; view of ASEAN, 169–170; withdrawal from Southeast Asia, 142–143, 149–150. See also CIA; Vietnam War United Wa State Army, 186 US Information Service (USIS), 120 US Mutual Defense Assistance Control Act, 92

305

Vajiralongkorn, Crown Prince (Thailand), 161 Valluy, Jean Étienne, 44 Vance, Cyrus, 175 Vientiane Agreement: of 1957, 103; Agreement on Restoring Peace and Achieving National Concord (1973), 155 Viet Bac, 44, 45 Vietminh: and the Calcutta Conference, 49–50; and the First Indochina War, 44–45; policy towards the United States, 47; relations with Chinese communists, 46–49, 58; relations with Soviet Union, 52, 58; support for, in Vietnam and Laos, 35–36; victory at Dien Bien Phu, 71 Vietnam: activities in Thailand, 45–46; American embargo of, 193; armed struggle in, 100, 102, 125; attitude towards ASEAN, 169, 171–172; and the Bandung Conference, 84; border disputes with Cambodia, 172–173; border disputes with China, 174, 176; Calcutta Conference delegation, 49–50; Chengdu agreement with China, 184; Chinese aid to, 73–74; Chinese invasion of, 178–181; communist movement in the 1940s–1950s, 36, 46, 58, 77, 105, 148–149; demarcation line, 73; Doi Moi policy, 193; and the early Indochinese communist movement, 25–27; economy of, 193; ethnic Chinese in, 174; and the Geneva Conference of 1954, 68–69, 70–71; invasion of Cambodia, 107, 160, 172, 176, 177–180, 181, 183, 184, 193, 197; in Kissinger’s geopolitical strategy, 175; policy in Laos, 103, 105, 125, 126, 176–177; relations with China, 74, 107, 153, 160, 173–174, 176, 177–179, 184; relations with Khmer Rouge, 153–154, 173, 176–177; relations with Soviet Union, 74, 154, 174, 176, 177–178, 179, 180–181, 183; relations with

306

Index

Philippines, 171; relations with Thailand, 165, 176; relations with United States, 174–175, 177; reunification of, 101–102, 105, 155; Second Five-Year Military Plan, 125; and Sino-Soviet split, 100, 107, 127–128; Soviet role in, 182–184, 193. See also Democratic Republic of Vietnam; Indochinese Communist Party; Lao Dong Party; Sino-Vietnamese War; South Vietnam; Vietminh; Vietnam War Vietnamese-American Friendship Association, 47 Vietnamese Communist Party, 25, 124, 128, 130. See also Lao Dong Party Vietnamese People’s Army, 74, 102 Vietnamese Revolutionary Youth League (Thanh Nien), 25, 26 Vietnam War: ASEAN and, 140; battle of Khe Sanh, 130, 131; benefit to Southeast Asian economies, 192; Cambodia and, 127, 148–149, 153; as continuation of independence struggle, 267n. 11; dry-season military campaigns, 153, 156; fall of Saigon, 129, 156, 159; Gulf of Tonkin incident (1964), 111, 25–26, 128, 241n. 218; in Laos, 103, 105, 126–127, 130–131, 136, 148; MIA issue, 175; negotiations, 130, 142, 147–148, 154; Nixon and, 149, 150, 153, 156; Paris Peace Agreement (1973), 154, 155; Paris talks in 1968, 129; refugees in Thailand, 185; Soviet support for Vietnam, 154; start date of, 126, 129; support for US from Southeast Asia, 134–137; Tet Offensive, 130, 142, 147, 148, 153; US bombing, 111, 131, 136, 149, 153, 154, 156; US extrication and withdrawal, 142–146, 149–150; US military intervention, 71, 125–126, 129; US–Vietnam relations following, 174–175, 177 Vietnam Workers’ Party. See Lao Dong Party

Villamor, Colonel Jesus, 31 Voice of the Malayan Revolution, 145 Voice of the People of Thailand, 108, 185 Vo Nguyen Giap, 73, 127–128, 174 Wan, Prince (Thailand), 81, 83, 92 Wang Bingnan, 71 Wang Dongxing, 179 Wang Renshu, 62 Warnwai Phatanothai, 92 War of Resistance Against the French. See First Indochina War Westmoreland, William, 144 Whitlam, Gough, 170 Williams, G. Mennen, 146 Wilson, Harold, 145 Wilson, Woodrow, 20, 37, 205n. 25; “Fourteen Points,” 12–13 Wirat Anghathawon, 59 Wu Wei Sai (Wu Ching Sin), 22 Xuan Thuy, 153 Xu Shiyou, 179 Yoshida Shigeru, 56–57 Young Communist League (Philippines), 21 Yudin, Pavel, 54 Zhdanov, Andrei, 49; “two camp” theory, 37, 50, 51, 57; Zhdanov Line, 42 Zhou Enlai: at Bandung Conference, 80, 83–84, 92, 226–227n. 71; and Chinese–Thai relations, 92, 93; and the Geneva Agreements, 72–73, 75, 82; joint statement with Burmese, 61; Liuzhou meeting with Ho Chi Minh, 72–73; at the Pan-Pacific Trade Union Secretariat, 21; on secret negotiations with United States, 130; strategy meetings with Southeast Asian communist leaders, 117–118; talks with Kissinger, 153 ZOPFAN (Zone of Peace, Freedom, and Neutrality; 1971), 98, 150

About the Author Ang Cheng Guan is presently head of graduate studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University. He specializes in the international history of Southeast Asia. He is the author of Vietnamese Communist Relations with China and the Second Indo-China Conflict, 1956–1962 (Jefferson: MacFarland and Company, 1997, and reprinted in paperback, 2012); The Vietnam War from the Other Side: The Vietnamese Communists’ Perspective (London: Routledge Curzon, 2002, and reprinted in paperback, 2006); its sequel, Ending the Vietnam War: The Vietnamese Communists’ Perspective (London: Routledge Curzon, 2004, and reprinted in paperback, 2006); Southeast Asia and the Vietnam War (London: Routledge, 2010); Lee Kuan Yew’s Strategic Thought (London: Routledge, 2013); and Singapore, ASEAN, and the Cambodia Conflict, 1979–1991 (Singapore: NUS Press, 2013). Most recently, he co-edited Perspectives on the Security of Singapore (Singapore: World Scientific, and London: Imperial College Press, 2015), which includes his chapter on “Singapore’s Conception of Security.” He has published essays in various anthologies, as well as in journals including Asian Survey, Journal of Contemporary History, War and Society, War in History, Australian Journal of International Affairs, Security Dialogue, Southeast Asia Research, Cold War History, Asian Security, and the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. He was a Gerald R. Ford Foundation Research Grant Award recipient (Fall 2005), Fulbright Singapore Researcher award recipient (2006–2007), and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy Scholar (2006–2007). He is currently working on the sequel tentatively titled Southeast Asia after the Cold War: Order and Regionalism.