1 OCTOBER 1948, Page 2

Trouble in Indonesia

The tempo and scope of Communist mischief-making in Indonesia are increasing. An insurrection in East Java, based on the important town of Madiun, has broken out and is making headway under one Musso, recently arrived from Moscow. North-west Sumatra is similarly afflicted, and (as in Burma) various non-Communist elements opposed to the Government are making common cause with the rebels. Dr. Soekarno and his colleagues in the Republican Government have taken extraordinary powers to deal with what looks like a serious emergency, and confused fighting is in progress at a number of widely separated points. The Dutch have announced delays in the demobilisation and repatriation of their forces—some 140,000 strong—in Indonesia, but their offer to assist the young Republic to deal with the insurrection has been somewhat brusquely turned down as an unwarrantable intervention in a purely internal affair. The Republican regime, whose administrative structure is precarious, is in a difficult position ; it is politically impossible for it to accept Dutch help, yet it may soon be militarily impossible for it to survive without it, for the Communists are posing, as usual, as the true champions of national aspirations. What in fact they are doing, here and elsewhere in Asia, is to spread chaos by ruthless and partially co-ordinated methods ; and the tardy but firm British reaction to their disruptive tactics in Malaya is so far the only example of how the interests of an Asiatic community can be pro- tected against them. Where—as in Burma and the Indonesian Republic—there is no force strong enough to stand up to them intervention from outside is the only alternative to chaos.