26 APRIL 1946, Page 13


Sut,—During the war years many thousands of British people serving in all branches of the Services have visited India and the Far East. They trained in India, fought in the jungles of Burma and Malaya, were prisoners in Siam and Japan and are still today scattered throughout the whole of South-East Asia. Though the reaction of the majority on returning home may be summed up in the wish never to leave England again, there remains nevertheless a considerable minority which discovered new interests and friends in those Eastern countries. If they could, many of them would willingly return to live in Asia, realising that, though Europe can offer much to the East in technological knowledge, the East has much to offer Europe where the art of living is concerned. These newly realised ideas, arising out of a comradeship based on a community of ideals and six years of war, must not be allowed to vanish ; for here, ready-made, is a basis of real European-Asiatic understanding and sympathy.

The political awakening of Asia makes it more urgent than ever that the East and West should understand one another at once. All those who have arrived home in the last few months should realise that it is quite impossible for European politicians to deal fruitfully with Asiatics any longer in a patronising manner; though some Europeans may genuinely believe it, no Asiatic believes that European domination of an Asiatic country was ever undertaken " for the good of the natives." It is now only possible to gain the attention of Asiatic leaders if they are treated unhesitatingly as equals. We need to appreciate that most vitally now in India and Burma, just as the French need to appreciate it in Indo- china and the Dutch in Indonesia. All those who wish to help develop and keep alive this new European-Asiatic relationship are asked to get in touch with the Union of Democratic Control, 34 Victoria Street, London, S.W. t, from which they may obtain up-to-date knowledge of current events and local changes. Will all who are interested write to this address stating their own particular interests, and putting forward...briefly any original ideas they may have.—Yours faithfully, JOHN COAST (Lieutenant); IAN WATT (Lieutenant) ; WOODROW WYATT (Major), M.P.; JOHN FREEMAN (Major), M.P.; DOROTHY WOODMAN (Joint Secretaries, Union of Democratic Control).