20 MARCH 1942, Page 4

Malayan planters have come under a good deal of criticism

one way and another the last few weeks, but the charge that they are receivers of stolen goods is rather new. You will find it in John Gunther's new book, Inside Latin America. Giving various reasons why Brazil, which was once the only rubber:producing country in the world, has now hardly any rubber-industry at all, Mr. Gunther observes, " most important, British traders -stole Amazon seedlings, smuggled them out of the country, transported them to Malaya, and set up a rival industry there." The word italicised (in the original) seems to embody a rather far-fetched allegation. The rubber-trees grew wild in the Amazon jungles. They were no one's private property. They could hardly be called the Brazilian State's property. Some of the plants were undoubtedly sent to Asia, as coffee-plants and tobacco-plants and potatoes have at different times been spread over the world from their countries of origin. It is not customary to call this stealing.