26 FEBRUARY 1954, Page 13


SIR,—Mr. Peterson says, In the last twenty of these years [1921-52] Dr. Purcell has only once held a post which was not specifically connected with the Chinese.' If he will again consult the Civil List he will find that in this period I was Magistrate, Seremban, First Magistrate, Ipoh, and Immigration Officer, Straits Settlements and Federated Malay States, as well as Director-General of Infor- mation—posts intimately connected with all races and not specifically with the Chinese. I visited Malaya in 1947 as representative of the United Nations (ECAFE), again in 1950 for Chatham Hou-se, and again in 1952 as honorary adviser to the Malayan Chinese Association.

It Would be surprising if in his very short experience of Malaya Mr. Peterson had gained an intimate acquaintance with the people or, with the country. Can he, for example, speak two sentences of any of the d;alects of the Malayan Chinese whose ' hearts and minds' it is essential for him to capture ? Can he read one word in the original of the clever Communist propaganda which his own pur- ports to answer ? (General Templer, it is reported in the Press, recently learnt Chinese in two days to enable him to order the bandits to surrender, thus putting himself in a better linguistic position than 99 per cent. of his officers.) To suggest that I visited Malaya in 1952 without the knowledge or against the wishes of General Templer is to give an entirely false impression. Before going there with Mr. Carnell, of Oxford University, on the invitation of the M.C.A.. I wrote to the Head of the Far Eastern Department of the Colonial Office and received a reply in which he said: We should be very interested indeed if you and Carnell could find time to come and give us your impressions on your return. In the mean- while, you have our best wishes for an inter-' esting and fruitful visit to Malaya.'

To say that the objectionable matter in Jungle Green is confined to three or four pages is untrue, as is the statement that the opinions given are exclusively those of imaginary other ranks.' The author, speak- ing for himself, says (p. 33), I did not trust the man. To begin with, he was n Chinaman. They were all two-faced beggars, sitting, on the fence, waiting to see who was going to get the upper hand,' etc., etc.

I now come to what Mr. Peterson appar- ently regards as his trump card, There is no more dangerous suggestion which any respon- sible authority could make (he says) than that the High Commissioner is anti-Chinese.' I do, however, make this dangerous suggestion, for when Mr. Carnell and I interviewed the General he told us so. He burst out into violent vituperation against the Chinese, said that ' if you gave them an inch they would take an ell,' that there wasn't a leader among them worth a damn, that the Federal Consti- tution -was a rotten one but that he wouldn't have it touched to please the Chinese, that he relied almost exclusively on the Malays,' etc., etc., etc. 'There is no censorship in Malaya,' says Mr. Peterson. For that matter, there is no censorship in Russia.

Mr. Peterson • answers my article, which appeared in the Twentieth Century, in the Spectator, mentioning a mere fraction'of it.— Yours faithfully,


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