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Vol. 6, No. 1: March 1974
Janet Salaff - Modern Times in Hong Kong
Rick Doner - The Development of Agribusiness in Thailand
John W. Dower - Occupied Japan: A Working Bibliography
Eqbal Ahmad - America and Russia in South Asia: Conflict or
Peter Caplan - Weather Modification and War
Ruben Diario - Managing the Media Filipino Style
Celso Banaag - Political Prisoners in the Philippines New Society
Nguyen Cong Binh - David Marrs Vietnamese Anticolonialism / A
Jayne Werner - Introduction to Binh, Comments on Vietnamese
T. A. Bisson - The American-Japanese Co-Prosperity Sphere:
Japanese Imperialism Today by Halliday and McCormack / A
Connie Young Yu - Fragment from a Lost Diary by Katz and Milton
/ A Review
James Seymour - Sovereignty in the South China Sea
John Comer - Spring Offensive 1972 and the People of Nambo/
BCAS/Critical AsianStudies
CCAS Statement of Purpose
Critical Asian Studies continues to be inspired by the statement of purpose
formulated in 1969 by its parent organization, the Committee of Concerned
Asian Scholars (CCAS). CCAS ceased to exist as an organization in 1979,
but the BCAS board decided in 1993 that the CCAS Statement of Purpose
should be published in our journal at least once a year.
We first came together in opposition to the brutal aggression of
the United States in Vietnam and to the complicity or silence of
our profession with regard to that policy. Those in the field of
Asian studies bear responsibility for the consequences of their
research and the political posture of their profession. We are
concerned about the present unwillingness of specialists to speak
out against the implications of an Asian policy committed to en-
suring American domination of much of Asia. We reject the le-
gitimacy of this aim, and attempt to change this policy. We
recognize that the present structure of the profession has often
perverted scholarship and alienated many people in the field.
The Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars seeks to develop a
humane and knowledgeable understanding of Asian societies
and their efforts to maintain cultural integrity and to confront
such problems as poverty, oppression, and imperialism. We real-
ize that to be students of other peoples, we must first understand
our relations to them.
CCAS wishes to create alternatives to the prevailing trends in
scholarship on Asia, which too often spring from a parochial
cultural perspective and serve selfish interests and expansion-
ism. Our organization is designed to function as a catalyst, a
communications network for both Asian and Western scholars, a
provider of central resources for local chapters, and a commu-
nity for the development of anti-imperialist research.
Passed, 2830 March 1969
Boston, Massachusetts
Volume 6, No.1, January-March 1974 CONTENTS
janet Salaff
Rick Doner
john W. Dower
Peter Caplan
Ruben Diario
Celso Banaag
Nguyen Cong Binh
jayne Werner
jayne Werner
T. A. Bisson
Connie Young Yu
james Seymour
john Comer
Editors: Steve Andors I Nina Adams
Managing Editor: Jon Livingston
Book Review Editors: Felicia Oldfather I
Moss Roberts
Staff for this issue:
Betsey Cobb I Helen Chauncey
2 "Modern Times" in Hong Kong
8 The Development of Agribusiness in Thailand
16 Occupied Japan: A Working Bibliography
22 America and Russia in South Asia:
Conflict or Collusion?
28 Weather Modification and War
32 Managing the Media Filipino Style
35 Political Pris6ners in the Philppines' "New Society"
40 David Marr's Vietnamese Anticolonialism
40 Introduction to Binh
49 Comments on Vietnamese Anticolonialism
52 The American-Japanese "Co-Prosperity Sphere":
Halliday and McCormack, japanese Imperialism Today
65 Katz and Milton, Fragment from a Lost Diary
66 Contributors
67 Sovereignty if! the South China Sea
68 "Spring Offensive 1972" and "People of Nambo (1859- - -)"
70 Materials from the Indochina Resource Center
72 Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars,
Chapters and Contact persons
Editorial Board: Frank Baldwin I Marianne
Bastid I Herbert Bix I Helen Chauncey I Noam
Chomsky I John Dower I Kathleen Gough I Richard
Kagan I Huynh Kim Khanh I Perry Link I Angus
McDonald I Jonathon Mirsky I Victor Nee I
Gail Omvedt I James Peck I Ric Pfeffer I Carl
Riskin I Franz Schurmann I Mark Selden I Hari
Sharma I Yamashita Tatsuo
General Correspondence: Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Bay Area Institute, 604 Mission St., Room 1001, San
Francisco, Ca. 94105. Manuscripts: Steve Andors, Box 24, Minetto, New York 13115. Book Reviews: Felicia Oldfather, Box
579, Trinidad, Ca. 95570. Typesetting: Archetype, Berkeley. Printing: Up Press, Redwood City.
Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, January-March 1974, Volume 6, number 1. Published quarterly in spring, summer, fall,
and winter. $6.00; student rate $4.00; library rate $10.00; foreign rates: $7.00, student rate $4.00. Jon Livingston, Publisher,
Bay Area Institute, 604 Mission St., San Francisco, California 94105. Second class postage paid at San Francisco, California.
Copyright Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, 1974.
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1n Hong Kong !Modern Times'

by Janet Salaff
"Full house" reads the box office sign at the Oriental
Theatre as Charlie Chaplin's film Modern Times continues its
popular run in Hong Kong. In one of the ironies of Hong Kong
life, this classic that won popularity in the West for its
nose-thumbing at the inhumanities of capitalist industrial
organization now appeals to the Chinese audience for the same
reasons-the relief, through humor, of Western-caused
industrial pressures. I saw the film with two factory girls,
Mae-fun and Wai-gun, both of whom have done tedious piece
work and assembly machining for over ten years on products
meant for Western markets in a struggle to improve the living
conditions of their families. Their work .experiences and
attitudes, their personal and familial aspirations reveal the
impact of American and other Western economic institutions
This article was written as a result of some fifteen months of
field work in Hong Kong, 1971-73, where I have been researching the
impact of Westernization on the role of women, family life, and
marriage age. The research was sponsored by the University of Toronto
Programme of International Studies and by a generous grant from the
Ford and Rockefeller Foundations' "Program in Support of Legal and
Social Science Research on Population Policy." The ideas in this paper
are my own and do not reflect the policies of these institutions.
Copyright Janet Salaff 1974.
on the way of life in emerging industrial societies in Asia.
Mae-fun, aged 21, is from an upper working-class family
originating in Kwangtung province, China. Educated through
primary school, she has worked in large and small factories
since age 13, and she currently works in a small shop seaming
plastic bags. Iler family consists of nine members, of which she
is the second of seven children. They live in a partitioned
Resettlement Estate room with twenty-four square feet per
adult. Iler father and brother are employed in white collar
sales and delivery jobs, and she and her elder sister are factory
girls. The youngest children will finish middle school, and at
least one hopes to continue to technical college, with the
support of the family. Mac-fun feels responsible for her family,
to which she is very close.
Wai-gun, aged 20, is of a poor working-class family of
Kwangtung province, China. Sin<.:e her graduation from
primary school (the last year of whiCh she attended at night),
she has worked a gamu t of industries, from piecing together
plastic flowers to the assembly line in the modern Fairchild
semi-conductor factory, and at present seams brassieres in a
German-owned factory of over one hundred workers. She is
the eldest of seven children and her family also lives in a small
Resettlement Estate room. Her parents, herself, and a younger
sister all work in factories, but the wmbined family income is
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lower than that of Mae-fun's family. The second child is about
to drop out from middle school without graduating, but the
youngest children will all have the opportunity to attend
middle school. Wai-gun is a lively and active young woman with
many interests. She follows current affairs and hopes to travel
to China, is engaged with other factory workers in efforts to
improve working conditions, participates in sports and drama
clubs, and continues her formal education in night school. She
hopes to change to "more meaningful" employment in the
Like most Hong Kong working women, these two girls
have worked in the light industrial sectors of textile
manufacturing and garments, plastics, electronics and wigs.
Mae-fun and three other women work in a hot loft without
air-conditioning. She first pushes a fifty-pound roll of plastic
to her machine, unwinds it by hand, pulls one end under the
arm of a machine that resembles an electrified paper cutter,
then presses a foot pedal, which drops the electrified arm
down on the plastic, and seams the bag - motions that take a
few seconds and could be completely mechanized. She
remarks, "We girls are cheaper than machines because a
machine costs over $2,000 USA and would only replace two
of us, and in addition a machine tender whose wages are $120
a month would have to be hired."
All dollars henceforth will be in American currency.
Mae-fun is paid in piece work wages, getting $1.00 USA
for 1,000 plastic bags, which represents two hours of seaming
at a fast pace. She and Wai-gun prefer piece work wages
because of the greater amount of personal freedom this allows.
But in fact, the working situation is completely controlled by
the employer. Wai-gun's company has set an informal
maximum wage of $5 per day. When a worker learns shortcuts
which enable her to speed up and finish several dozens of
brassieres in one day, thus entitling her to earn over $5, the
management reduces the value of each dozen, thereby keeping
wages below the ceiling. Employing a "scientific management"
approach (timing the girls' motions with a stop watch), the
foreman often arbitrarily reduces the piece rates in the middle
of a job, despite workers' protests. Wai-gun commented, "My
boss should see Modem Tillles, he'd pick up a few tricks in
getting work out of us."
The international economic environment greatly affects
local industry because the markets for the colony's products
are abroad. Investment in Hong Kong continues to be cheaper
than in the U.S., but world-wide inflation, the weak dollar,
and revaluation of currencies have led to cancellation of
contracts for Hong Kong consumer goods, and there are
frequent layoffs between contracts. IIong Kong industrial
production is so closely tied to the international political
economy that any change in the world trade balance is felt
lie $ 7 pO'S P
Woman in Kuntong pushing load of plastic flowers, assembled at home, to be shipped abroad (photo: Janet Salaff)
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Embroidery (photo: Sandy Close)
Recently, when Mae-fun's workshop ran out of plastic
materials which are imported from Japan, she worked only a
few hours a day for several weeks. At other times, workers
must put in overtime to meet a shipment deadline, whether or
not they want to. One month, Wai-gun's foreman asked her
section to work overtime; Wai-gun wanted to refuse because
she would have to be absent from evening school, because
overtime work does not receive extra pay, she would miss the
company bus and would have to pay her own carfare, and she
would have to do without dinner because there is no company
canteen and she couldn't afford to eat out. But at 5:00 p.m.
she found the factory exit barred, and she could not leave!
Hong Kong's government favors the foreign investor and
has passed few labor regulations in the name of maintaining a
"free port, free enterprise environment" upon which Hong
Kong's economic prosperity is said to depend. Of the
twenty-eight ordinances recommended by the International
Labor Organization, Hong Kong officially observes only two
those regarding workers' compensation for industrial
accidents and a 48-hour work week for women (excluding
overtime). The Labour Department does not uniformly
enforce even these regulations, with the result that about half
the labor force is not covered in any sense - those like Mae-fun
who work in small workshops. There is no minimum wage, no
secure employment contract, no unemployment insurance, no
sick leave or paid maternity leave. When workers retire they
receive no pension. Workers customarily get six paid holidays
Rattan weaving (photo: Sandy Close)
per year, but in Wai-gun's previous place of work she was not
paid for these holidays. Even the traditional month's double
pay at Chinese New Year is not an inviolable sanction. The
lack of fringe benefits paid by employers is a major Hong
Kong investment advantage, especially when manufacturers are
producing goods for which demand is highly variable, such as
wigs, sweaters, and plastic ornaments. When trade is poor,
investors need not retain workers, thereby maintaining
maximum flexibility and profits for themselves.
Hong Kong factory owners and the government oppose
unions, fearing not without reason that higher wages would
drive foreign capital out of the colony to neighboring
Southeast Asian countries. In following China's
rapprochement political strategy towards Hong Kong,
left-wing union organizers acquiesce in staying out of the new
light industries. Wai-gun and Mae-fun have worked for over ten
years in ten different factories, and in only one case was
Wai-gun approached by union organizers. The lack of vital
union activities in the new industrial sector hinders any
significant development of viable alternatives to the present
situation. Mae-fun explains her poor working conditions, the
layoffs and lack of work security as a result of the personality
Tenement porches. Hong Kong Island (Sandy Close)
of the boss and the competitive economic situation. Perhaps
because she works in shops in which the owner is present, she
attributed a worker-management conflict over wages in a
previous job to that boss's stinginess and said her present boss
was "quite alright." Though he had laid off the workers
without pay when he ran out of materials, this was "not his
fault," but was due to the competition among workshops for
plastic. Having worked in large factories run by foreign
management, and slightly more sophisticated than Mae-fun,
Wai-gun sees the opposing interests of workers and
management. She supported a 1971 strike led by workers in
the semi-conductor plant in which she then worked and
currently complains bitterly over the exploitation of the
workers in her shop. But in the absence of a deeper perspective
into their role as workers in the local and world economy,
both these women cope with their work experiences as
individuals and as members of families, without a vision of
what improved work conditions they could gain as organized
workers. This can be seen in their low expectations of
satisfactions from work.
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Mother ofa factory girl. with primary school age son (Sandy Close)
The hierarchy of work values for these two women is
paycheck, friendly co-workers, and time for leisure. Hong
Kong culture emphasizes working for money to buy consumer
goods, and Wai-gun and Mae-fun work both to improve their
families' economic situation and to attain a greater sense of
economic power and independence for themselves. Ten years
before, Mae-fun's sister earned only SOIL per day making plastic
toys, and sometimes the employer did not even pay all her
wages because she was younger than the minimum legal
working age and was too afraid to complain. While at the time
prices were cheaper (she paid only lOll for a mea!), the family
was still poorly off. Mae-fun's present daily wage of $3.S0 is a
clear improvement over conditions in those times, but this
relative improvement in wages itself commits the women to
remain in tedious factory jobs. Thus, although some factory
girls prefer factory jobs in which they can learn new skills,
they usually give them up for higher-paying piece work
As elder daughters, both support their families and they
contribute over three-quarters of their income for food, rent,
utilities, school fees for younger siblings, medical expenses,
and other goods for the entire family. Mae-fun's family can
afford a telephone, television, and refrigerator, as well as
higher education for the second brother. The eldest sister is
engaged, and is saving up for her dowry. Mae-fun spends the
remainder on herself and enjoys Sunday tea and movies with
her friends. Wai-gun's family is poorer; her family owns a
television but no refrigerator or phone and has lower
educational expectations for her siblings. Wai-gun spends
about $lS per month on her personal needs of lunch, carfare,
movies, outings, and occasional purchases of clothing. Unlike
some of her friends, neither girl dresses in the high fashion of
Hong Kong's middle class. On Wai-gun's birthday, her mother
gave her $2 to buy a piece of cream cake and barbecue pork,
and she spent $4 of her own money on a new blouse and
Boys playing in bedspace of one"t'oom apartment (Sandy Close)
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Wanchai, Hong Kong Island, street scene (Sandy Close)
shoes, her main clothes purchases of the summer.
Mae-fun and Wai-gun both took on major familial
responsibilities at a young age. They had no opportunity for
an "irresponsible" adolescence or peer relationships at school;
thus, in addition to the paycheck, Mae-fun and Wai-gun turn
to the work setting for friends and peer relationships. Friends
teach each other about the emerging Hong Kong adolescent
subculture-about mod clothes, dating, Western films, picnics,
Family in corridor of apartments in Kowloon's walled cIty (Sandy
and work opportunttles. Wai-gun finds her current job
dissatisfying, in part because the fast assembly-line pace and
rigid work rules forbid talking with other workers.
The best praise for a job, after the size of the paycheck,
is, "I don't have to think about the work while I do it, I can
think about other things instead." Lacking satisfaction from
their work, the girls turn to extra-work activities for
amusement and meaning in life. They give most of their
money to the family, but they can spend their time as they
wish. Wai-gun throws herself into courses and programs with
energy and vigor. Mae-fun prefers visiting to taking courses,
although she currently studies English twice a week.
These factory girls do not aspire to advance to positions
of authority in the factory hierarchy. Family, factory and
society discourage any attention towards improvement of their
work situation.
Their mothers need the girls' income now and they do
not expect the girls to support the family after marriage. The
family encourages the daughters to study or change jobs only
when the training does not interfere with their current earning
power. As a result, the girls are fixed in a work routine begun
at an early age, and they can accumulate other training only in
evening schools. The most frequent job advancement in this
manner is to study sewing in the evening and to leave the
factory to become a ladies' seamstress. Their brothers, on the
contrary, are encouraged to take low-paying apprenticeships
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for several years to improve their future employment chances,
because a son is expected to contribute his income to his
family even after his marriage, while a married daughter who
works will be supporting her own husband and children. This
relative neglect of the daughter's training for future career
opportunities is a carry-over from the patriarchal character of
traditional Chinese culture. As the intention of young women
today is to continue working after marriage, this acts as a
severe restraint on their capacity to do so in any advanced
Mae-fun dislikes her work but has no future job plans.
"What other job could I have? I don't know how to do
anything else, and r don't like to sew!" she said. In contrast,
her brother has been supported through middle school so that
he can enter technical college, to become skilled in repairing of
radios or air conditioners. Wai-gun is more independent of her
environment than Mae-fun. She hopes to get work as a nursery
school teacher, but fears her limited formal education
disqualifies her. In her family there was money to educate one
child to continue to middle school and her brother was
chosen. His school fees were paid by an American charity,
while she dropped out to support the family.
The educational system does not encourage factory girls
to gain technical training for skilled factory jobs. In particular,
technical colleges do not accept women who have only
primary school education, as is common among the friends of
these two girls. Many attend private evening schools hoping to
improve their English or Japanese to qualify for sales girls jobs.
Only certain job categories and industries recruit
women. Women are considered appropriate workers in textiles,
plastics and electronics because they have "keen eyesight" and
"nimble fingers" and will work for slightly lower wages than
men. The factory selects a small proportion of girls for section
leader jobs, but does not train the majority for management or
technical posts, which are filled by male graduates from
technical colleges. Thus the girls have few incentives for
advancement in their work.
Although the jobs are not intrinsically satisfying, the
girls do not seek to escape from work into an early marriage.
Their family makes heavy demands on them, it is true, but
they accept this responsibility. Indeed, her parents encourage
Mae-fun to delay marriage to contribute to the family income
for a longer period of time. With her elder sister soon to
marry, Mae-fun's income will become even more crucial to the
family. On the contrary, when Wai-gun was 17 years old, her
mother tried to arrange a marriage with an American-born
Chinese, in the hope that she could thereafter bring her
younger brothers and sisters to America to study. But Wai-gun
resisted this plan because it would "tie her down" and "would
not necessarily be a happy marriage. " She has a steady
boyfriend and plans to delay marriage until she is 23. After
marriage she expects to continue working, but will return
home after work and do housework, relieving her
mother-in-law of the tasks. This means she will give up her
classes, courses and after-work outings, and the prospect of the
double burden of housework and factory work does not
currently appeal to her. Hence she is postponing marriage,
thereby prolonging her relative personal independence as a
factory girl.
The conclusion to Chaplin's Modern Times, in which the
hero and heroine reject the factory system and the
entertainment world and take the uncertain but presumably
carefree road of adventure, is not particularly applicable to the
contemporary situation in Hong Kong. The keen sense of
responsibility to family, combined with the significant lack of
alternatives either within or outside the system itself, severely
restricts the flexibility of the Hong Kong factory worker.
Organization to improve working conditions is the only
feasible solution, but this can only be done through the active
participation of China itself. Material changes (e.g. increased
wages) as well as the possibility of a gteater self-fulfillment for
girls like Wai-gun, through the varied activities factory work
enables her to participate in, will probably be sufficient
inducements to prevent any dramatic or immediate change.
Outside resettlement estate room. All cooking is done in the walkway
outside the single-room apartment. Bucket of water for family use,
lower left, must be hauled in. (Sandy Close)
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The Development of Agribusiness
in Thailand
by Rick Doner
Thailand has historically been important to the West,
especially the United States, as a stable capitalist link in the
Pacific rim area of economic activity. When the political
stability of the area was upset in the late 1940s and early
1950s, private and public American organizations responded
with new techniques known as the green revolution, whose
objective was to increase agricultural production and thus
decrease the chances of revolution. It is important to stress
that at this stage the long-term dangers of regional instability
were more important to the development of the green
revolution as a policy than were any specific American
economic interests in Thailand.
But until very recently the green revolution has not been
succeeding. Because it basically consists of technology, it
depends on suitable socio-political and economic conditions.
These conditions have not existed in Thailand, ironically,
because of the effect of 19th century colonialist pressures on
the society as a whole.
Thailand and the Emerging
"Free World": An Early
Case of Neo-Colonialism
Western academic, government and business writings on
Thailand almost invariably distinguish Thailand from its
unstable neighbors by a lack of a colonial past. This mistaken
view results from a limited conception of colonialism as direct
political control of one country by another. Thailand was not
governed directly by a colonial administration primarily
because France and England accepted Thailand as a buffer
between their colonies and secondarily because of intelligent
Thai diplomatic efforts to achieve this protected status. But
this in no way meant that Thailand escaped very basic
economic and political consequences of imperialism. For as a
result of a series of unequal treaties in the mid-19th century
Thailand'seconomic base was radically affected.
Thailand's economic history has been summarized by
one writer in the following terms:
1. An external source of demand for primary
agricultural commodities like rice led to a fundamental
change in the mode of production through specialization
and division of labor. This resulted in a specific form of
resource allocation in the domestic economy. All this
occurred through the harnessing of formerly existing
surplus capacity so that the extension of commercial
agriculture and a greatly enlarged surplus developed
without changes in productive techniques.
2. Specialization into rice production destroyed a
preexisting pattern of subsistence agriculture, manufac
turing activity, and local handicrafts.
3. Transfer of agricultural products from the
countryside to Bangkok became the main form of
appropriation of the economic surplus. Commercial capital
was in the hands of a Chinese comprador-merchant class
and a European investment class. A definite
metropolis-satellite relationship emerged.
4. The classes which benefited from all this included
(a) foreign elements providing labor, capital and
entrepreneurship for export industries (mineral and
agricultural) the inflow of which gave rise to a small enclave
of modern manufacturing and the remittances from which
formed a further leakage of domestically generated savings;
(b) a class of "bureaucratic capitalists" and the
comprador-merchant class; (c) a rising bourgeoisie in
Bangkok who used up part of the surplus for imported
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luxury goods.
5. There were parallel organizational changes:
establishment of a limited infrastructure (communications),
enlarged and reformed administrative bureaucracy both for
control and surplus appropriation, and functional agencies
like import-export firms. The king lost control over state
trading, taxes, and revenues from customs duties on trade
6. All this exaggerated uneven development: the
dichotomy between Bangkok and the countryside became
more obvious as the new mode of economic operation
enriched the capita!.
7. There were few linkages or feedbacks from the
extension of rice cultivation. There were few concrete
effects from increased output and the level of well being
remained constant or may have declined owing to the
break-down of previous social relationships.
8. Income distribution worsened. Accumulated
capital was used for trading purposes, real estate, or luxury
consumption. Almost none was used for non export related
development expenditures or manufacturing within
Thailand itself.
9. Thailand became a part of the international
division of labor within the world capitalist economy.
Previous self-sufficiency was replaced by reliance on world
markets, i.e. on trade with a limited number of Western
countries. Threats to its territorial independence from the
West forced it to act like a colony and restricted domestic
development potentia!.l
An important social and political consequence of the
above features was the growth of military power, which has
played the major role in 20th century Thai politics. Arising
from the persistently threatening regional situation and
absorbing upwardly mobile Thai of non-royal blood who
found commercial and industrial futures closed, the military
was an important conduit for the transmission of Western
values and orientations. Although the military occasionally led
the government into disputes with specific Western powers
such as France, its Western training and urban power base
precluded the development of any anti-Western movement
within or outside the military until the 1950s.
Military Rule and the
Rise of American Influence
Contradictions between the growing force of the
military and declining royal power led to the overthrow of the
absolute monarchy. The coup itself was masterminded by
radical, French-trained Thai intellectuals but depended on the
discontentment of the military; the 1929 financial crisis had
caused a devaluation of sterling and also of the Burmese
currency linked to it. Burmese rice then outsold Thai rice, and
the Thai royalty responded to decreased revenues by cutting
the size and salaries of the military.
After 1932 a military clique was dominant, tending not
to challenge the West but rather to profit as much from it as
possible. The one progressive effort, an economic plan
submitted by French-trained Pridi Panomyong which called
for Thailand's self-sufficiency through the communalization of
property, was branded "communist" in 1933.
It was during the 1920s and 1930s that American
influence in Thailand began to grow, gradually displacing the
previously dominant British following World War I. The
change was characterized less by increases in trade than by the
growth of closer relationships at higher levels of Thai society.
For example, there was the' interesting role of Francis B.
Sayre, son-in-law of Woodrow Wilson and one of the long list
of Americans from Harvard Law School employed by the Thai
as a foreign affairs advisor. It was precisely because of the
relatively small sum of American investment that the Thais
trusted Americans to mediate disputes with the British and
French, In this context there are two important facts to point
out about Sayre. First, he headed a Thai diplomatic mission to
Europe in 1925 and managed to get most of the unequal
treaties abrogated using a 1920 U.S.-Thai treaty as a mode!.
For this he has been honored by the Thais as a true supporter
of Thai nationalism as contrasted with exploitative Europeans.
Secondly, Sayre later became Assistant Secretary of State and
Chairman of the Presidential Executive Committee on
Commercial Policy under Franklin Roosevelt. In these posts he
was one of the major spokespeople for American trade
expansion. His statements show clearly that he viewed new
markets as having been necessary to America's welfare for
more than forty years.
By that time {the 1890sJ our national surpluses which
could not be sold profitably in this country {the U.S.] had
come to assume formidable proportions, and it was
becoming clear that the loss or curtailment of foreign
markets would mean severe economic dislocation. 2
Sayre played an integral part in the formulation of the New
Deal trade expansion policy patterned after the Open Door
policy. His earlier activities in Thailand were not in the least
aimed at helping Thailand transform her social structure and
reduce her dependence on foreign markets through the
abrogation of the treaties. They were radier efforts at
sustaining and deepening the pattern of free trade imperialism
or informal empire that the U.S. had evolved out of
increasingly outmoded British economic and political policy.
The fact that American trade with Thailand was not yet
very large is not important. The aim at that time was to
consolidate links with areas seen as potential markets,
receptacles for exported capital, and sources for raw materials.
This was especially true in the 1930s when contradictions.
between the U.S. and other expanding capitalist countries like
Japan threatened the markets, so integral a part of the New
Deal policy. Also at this point Thailand provided the only
reliable American foothold on the Southeast Asian mainland,
and America was willing to exploit differences between other
capitalist nations to maintain that foothold.
Besides the above-mentioned presence, the early 20th
century saw American contact with Thailand in fields known
in some circles as "welfare imperialism." For example, the
Rockefeller Foundation sponsored a major public health
program from 1916 to 1929. After 1920 Thai students began
to enter American universities to pursue advanced training in
agriculture and public health. What is significant in terms of
long-term patterns is that these activities sponsored by
American capitalist benefactors paralleled similar programs in
China and Thailand in later years.
By the time World War II broke out, the British empire
was considerably weakened, while American and Japanese
power were growing. At this time Thailand reflected and made
every effort to guage the power balance between Japan and
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the U.S. In 1941 Thailand's military government declared war
on the U.S. and Britain and officially allied itself with Japan,
which occupied the country. A civilian-dominated group
within the government secretly worked for English and
American secret services in gatnering information on the
Japanese while Thai diplomats in Washington disassociated
themselves from the war declaration.
When the war ended and the pro-Japanese military
leaders were turned out, the pro-Allied Thais who took over
the postwar government asked that the declaration of war not
be recognized. The British, who had sustained substantial
economic losses in Thailand due to the Japanese occupation,
refused the request and submitted twenty-two demands which
included an order to dismantle and then reorganize the
military. The Thais rejected most of the demands and
succeeded in sustaining their refusal because of their ability to
exploit differences between England and the U.S. The
Americans were happy to increase their influence with the
Thai government at the expense of the British. More
importantly, the U.S. saw the army as an instrument of
"modernization" and "stabilization" in an area beginning to
shake with national liberation movement.
The U.S. thus became the major Western power affecting
Thailand. By 1947 military rule was restored to those same
leaders who had allied Thailand with Japan in 1941. And by
1950 American aid began to flow officially. From 1950 to
1970 Thailand received over $580 million from the U.S. in
economic aid, while privately sponsored assistance, i.e. welfare
impeJ;ialism, was becoming important.
Green Revolution: Political Response
to Potential Instability
By 1949, agricultural aid to Thailand was seen in the
context of increased food production to be used against the
spread of communism. The Chinese Communists had been
victorious, in Malaysia the British were battling communist
insurgents, in Indochina the French were losing to the
Vietminh, and the Huks were getting stronger in the
Philippines. Moreover, some countries like India and Burma
were facing severe rice shortages which could have had
important political consequences.
The primary causes of revolution became the object of
much study, and the question of food surpluses gained
importance for both Thailand and the region in general.
Thailand was expected to help others with her traditional rice
surpluses as well as strengthen herself through diversification.
But in 1949-1950 rice yields were down by one-third from
their 1906-1909 averages.
Furthermore, the country was
dependent on two primary commodities, rice and rubber, for
75% of its export proceeds. Finally, in 1949 it was estimated
that 10% of the rice crop was lost to pests.
The American response to the Thai needs for
diversification and higher productivity was an effort which
included (largely U.S.-controlled) international aid agencies
like the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (IBRD or World Bank), USAID, and American
The most dynamic elements in this effort were
the foundations, especially Rockefeller.
The identity and experience of the agricultural experts
sent to Thailand in the late 40s and early 50s either directly or
indirectly by the foundations are important. Most of them
were plant breeders with extensive experience in China before
1949 working with various reform-oriented agencies. They had
close links with the YMCA as well as with Cornell University
and the Rockefeller Foundation. This combination had failed
in China, but the United States clearly wanted to make sure a
communist revolution didn't take place in Thailand and still
had faith in the effectiveness of the effort. The fact that these
experts were sent so quickly to Thailand is an illustration of
the country's position in the eyes of the American
These experts were people like H. H. Love, J. R. King,
and Robert L. Pendleton. Pendleton had experience in India,
the Philippines, and China in the field of soil technology
before working for the Thai Agriculture Department in 1935.
He was closely affiliated with the YMCA and returned to
Thailand with a UN-FAa mission in 1947-48 and again in
1952-53 as a soil scientist for the American Mutual Security
Agency Mission to Thailand (The MSA was a forerunner of
USAID). H. H. Love was a professor of plant breeding at
Cornell, a special consultant in plant breeding at various
Chinese universities from 192 5 to 1935, and an advisor at the
University of Puerto Rico in 1939. From 1950 to 1956 he was
an advisor in rice breeding to the Thai government. A letter
from Love in 1951 mentions the political context in which the
experts viewed the program:
We do not know just when we will be back in Ithaca, but it
may be a year or longer. Joe Stalin may have the answer for
us ... our agricultural program for Thailand is being
enlarged and we have a very extensive project on rice
breeding planned. It is probably the biggest single project
on rice that has ever been planned anywhere . ... 4
The early breeding programs have been continued under
the auspices of Rockefeller and AID in conjunction with a
specially established rice department within the Thai Ministry
of Agriculture. This effort has been supplemented by U.S.
foundation-sponsored "international" institutions like the
International Rice Research Institute (iRR!) set up in 1961 to
develop new rice strains. It was the establishment of IRRI by
Ford and Rockefeller and the subsequent awarding of the
Nobel Peace Prize to plant breeder Norman Borlaug for work
on high-yielding varieties that made famous the phrase "green
revolution." But we must keep in mind that the green
revolution actually predates IRRI by almost twenty years. We
should also wonder, as Harry Cleaver points out, why Borlaug
got the prize for peace and not biology. S
Other agencies like the Rockefeller-funded Agricultural
Development Council also playa role in supporting American
aid to Thai agriculture. First established in 1953, the
Agricultural Development Council finances the education of
agricultural economists and managers (mostly Asians) whom it
feels will fit into a "stable pattern of agricultural
development." Perhaps the prime link in all these efforts is
Thailand's Kasetsart University, which has Rockefeller people
teaching and directing research and houses the Agricultural
Development Council, as well as the Thai rice breeding center
which is headed by a Rockefeller person. This complex has
strong links with the U.S. Government aid operations as well
as with breeding centers up-country. Among these centers is a
large experimental farm in the northeast which was set up by
Rockefeller and staffed with Rockefeller personnel and
scholarship holders. Sa There are also USAID-funded regional
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experimental stations staffed in part with people from
American agricultural schools like the University of Kentucky,
which was involved in agricultural activities in Indonesia.
It is important to take note of the increasingly
anti-capitalist political atmosphere in Southeast Asia within
which the above operations were conceived and implemented.
Half of Korea was lost; in Indochina American troops replaced
French; in Indonesia Sukarno had expropriated private Dutch
interests, thrown out the Peace Corps, and was generally
closing the country to foreign investment. In the midst of all
this the Thai military ruling group followed American policy
very closely. It sent its soldiers to Viet Nam, permitted its
peasantry to be trained as mercenaries for combat in Laos, and
allowed (and profited from) American air bases built on Thai
soil for use against Vietnam. Most importantly, Thailand has
constantly reiterated its belief in the necessity of foreign trade
and investment as a major means of development.
It has thus been absolutely necessary to insure that
Thailand itself is not overtaken by some very serious problems
within its own boundaries. There are three rural insurgencies
extending their areas of control at a rate alarming to both Thai
and American military authorities. The Thai government
supported by the U.S. has no hope of dealing with these
revolts on a long-term basis if it does not solve some very basic
agricultural problems. The first is insufficient productivity of
rice cultivation. This may sound strange for a country whose
major weakness has been dependence on a changing foreign
market for the sale of its rice surplus and acquisition of foreign
exchange. But in the present stage of Thai development we
must view the problem in the context of two fairly recent
factors. One is the fact that with the present rate of
population growth the Thai population will double in
seventeen years. Assuming the present level of rice
consumption will remain at ISS kg. per capita, Thailand will
be rice-deficient if productivity is not raised.'
The second factor necessitating higher rice yields is
Thailand's stated desire and obvious need to diversify
agriculture. The important element here is limited land area.
Increased production of all crops in the past has resulted
largely from expansion of area cultivated, not from superior
Now there is simply not much land left. If
diversification is to become a reality, all rice production must
eventually come from one half of the current area planted to
This means at least double yields on land well suited for
rice, since land cannot and will not be directed from rice to
other crops unless rice yields or other crop yields Dr both
greatly increase.
Besides productivity and diversification, there is a third
problem which must be solved: the tendency of
unemployment or underemployment (disguised unemploy
ment) to rise. This is the result of an industrial sector
producing for a narrow market and requiring only a small
portion of the labor force.
Industry generates few linkage
effects and employment opportunities grow more slowly than
output since the capital intensity of most foreign-sponsored
industrial operations precludes large numbers of jobs. If people
are not doing well on farms and cannot find work in industry,
the result will be high unemployment, disguised
unemployment, low agricultural productivity, and social
Stagnation of Agriculture in Spite
of the Green Revolution:
Enter Agribusiness
What have been the results of Western aid and advice to
Thai agriculture in terms of productivity, diversification, and
unemployment? In none of these areas is the outlook very
promising. One source estimates that yield per hectare in the
mid-1960s was roughly the same as during the period
There has been an increase in the amount of
diversified agricultural exports, especially 9f corn, cassava, and
kenaf. But the increases here are also results of expanded area
of cultivation, not of highly productive methods. In fact, there
are Rockefeller-financed American experts in Thailand who
believe that Thai agriculture has reached a plateau, in that
little new land is being cleared and increases in yield are very
small. It may even be that the rate of increase in real
agricultural output is close to zero percent in contrast with the
Thai government's estimate of 4.5%.12
Low productivity and limits on diversification have
seriously affected unemployment and disguised unemploy
ment. Official statistics claim unemployment is less than one
percent. But it is generally acknowledged that disguised
unemployment is very high, over 15% in most areas.
Furthermore, between 1970 and 1985 urban population may
increase by 80%, with rural population increasing 50% during
the same period.
The question is, how could Thai agriculture remain in
what can be justifiably called a stagnant state with the dire
consequences for unemployment, in spite of the efforts by
Rockefeller, USAID, etc.? A major part of the answer lies in
the constraints on rural change imposed by Thai social forces,
social forces which in part derive from imperialist influences
on the economy beginning in the mid-19th century. A
concrete illustration may be found in capital inputs to
agriculture. High-yielding varieties developed within the green
revolution require fertilizer (although relatively little in the
Thai case) and a certain amount of mechanization. IS Yet
marketing channels often make these inputs too expensive for
all but the wealthy farmer, a situation exacerbated by the
continuing lack of agricultural credit extended to small
farmers. Another aspect of the problem is that the new rice
strains as well as increasing crop diversification require well
coordinated irrigation. Capital inputs and water use both imply
the need for some supra-village organization capable of
accumulating capital and coordinating agricultural operations.
One possibility is the cooperative, but the cooperative
movement has shown little sign of advancement since its
inception in 1916. This is not because Thai peasants are averse
to working together, but rather because it has been impossible
for cooperatives to obtain enough control over vital inputs to
make the operation a stable and profitable one.
But not all the obstacles come from forces indigenous to
Thai society. The green revolution itself creates problems. This
can be seen if we examine the issue of high unemployment and
disguised unemployment. If the use of new rice strains and the
cultivation of more varied crops necessitate mechanization and
more skewed land holdings, as many have asserted, then a
landless proletariat will increase in numbers. Unable to find
jobs in capital-intensive industries, these people will have no
choice but to seek employment in service industries, as street
walk vendors, et al. 158
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It should be pointed out here that miracle grains have
been planted in Thailand only to a limited extent, mostly in
the central region. The social consequences of their use are
thus not yet fully clear. But based on the data available,
American and Thai planners are already aware of the potential
problems of land tenure resulting from the need for
coordinated irrigation and the cost of capital inputs.
As a
matter of fact, many Thai and Americans involved are torn
between the desire to see the new strains and diversified crops
adopted under the most favorable conditions (Le. the central
region where irrigation and integration into the consumer
market are facilitated by the 50-75% absentee land ownership
rate, large-sized farms, extensive use of credit, etc.) and the
fear that this adoption will entail large-scale unemployment
and social unrest. Given the present situation in Southeast
Asia, such unrest would be a disaster for American interests in
the region.
What i ~ obviously needed is some way of transforming
traditional Thai agriculture into a labor-intensive operation
with high productivity per acre that contributes to the
country's diversification and expansion of exports. There are
basically two ideas on how this should be done. Some people
have advocated simply intensifying efforts at cooperativization
which would still maintain small ownership. This has not
worked in the past and there is no reason to think it can begin
to now. Marketing structures are still disadvantageous to
peasants; the capacity of the Thai agricultural extension
services to give the cooperatives the support they require is
still lacking; most importantly, the tendency to buyout
whatever operations are making a profit is getting stronger
every day in Thailand. Already, it isn't unusual to see a farmer
in the central region establish some type of successful farm
and then willingly sell it to a wealthy urban buyer.
The second alternative is foreign-financed agribusiness.
Through its emphasis on vertical integration, high
standardization, and larger capital resources, agribusiness can
make available the capital inputs required. Its organizational
capacities through plantation-type operations can deal with
the coordination needed for extensive irrigation. Agribusiness
can also help alleviate the unemployment problem. Not only
are most agribusiness operations in the form of large-scale
plantations requiring large numbers of agricultural workers,
but they also deal in the more profitable and traditional
export sectors like fruit and vegetables. The significance of this
fact is that the processing of these export crops can be geared
to a large supply of local low-cost labor.
Historically, then, agribusiness is extremely significant.
It is an attempt to implement advances of a technical nature
achieved through the green revolution by overcoming social
and economic obstacles in Thai society which the Thai
bureaucracy and commercial sector could not overcome.
Agribusiness Presence in Thailand
Consciousness of the advantages of agribusiness is
growing. USAID has been producing reports on agribusiness
potential for some time. The,Mekong Development Committee
is viewing foreign investment as the most efficient way to
achieve the diversification planned for the Mekong area.
Mekong officials concerned with agricultural development
have plans to ask the F AO Investment Center in Rome to help
channel investment into the project. Rockefeller Foundation
people have been approached to coordinate research activities
. M k . I I . 17
at varIOus e ong agncu tura stations.
On the Thai side, the military leaders have gone even
farther in their stated acceptance of foreign investment,
including agribusiness. A central feature of the third five-year
plan is its aim of facilitating the entrance of foreign capital,
while the new investment law does everything possible to give
foreign capital a beneficial situation.
The new Thai investment law contains the following
major provisions:
-the government will not compete with foreign
investors who are promoted by the Thai authorities by
producing similar goods for domestic or foreign markets;
-foreign companies will be permitted to market their
goods overseas without export and business taxes on finished
-government-approved foreign companies with "privi
leged" status are to be permitted to remit capital, in the form
of foreign currency profits and interest, out of the country;
-foreign investors who put money into Thailand are to
be permitted, in some instances, to take their money out at a
rate of 20% of their capital fund each year for the first two
years. This can be extended up to five years;
-foreign companies will be permitted to bring in
necessary personnel and their relatives, even though the
number may exceed the quota laid down under Thai
immigration laws;
-there may be exemptions from taxes on raw materials
and other items necessary for the manufacturer of goods to
-there may be an import ban or import duties imposed
of up to 50% of the value of imported competitive articles. 18
Although there is negative reaction to foreigners holding
or controlling land, this has been circumvented either by
"leasing" land as is done in the Philippines, or through the
establishment of a Thai firm dependent on foreign capital
and/or technology. Nationalistic reactions to agribusiness, to
the extent that they are heard, are being increasingly
weakened by the military'S consciousness of Thailand's weak
diversified exports. In 1969 a writer in Thailand's Investor
magazine discussed the possibilities of a foreign-financed
banana plantation. He stated:
Thailand has not il/ the past developed a plantation type
agriculture on a wide scale, and this would involve radical
social as well as economic cha11ges in the rural areas whicb
go far beyond considerations of the banana industry. For
tbe time being it is possible only to stress tbe urgency of
exploring every avenue for diversificatioll of Tbailalld's
agricultural exports. 19
Viewing agribusine.'>s from the side of the Western and
Japanese capitalists, agribusiness on the international level is
both a means of extracting profit and a method of insuring
stability of Third World countries in the long-term interests of
potential exploitation. Viewed in this way the complentarity
of substructural and superstructural elements within
agribusiness is obvious, that is, the superstructural need to
maintain the free enterprise system in a certain area meshes
with the substructural potential for concrete economic activity
and profit. This is manifested directly through the efforts of
multinational firms and international aid organizations to help
countries like Thailand diversify and increase exports.
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In earlier periods of capitalist development the
encouragement of diversification of exports might have
appeared unlikely. But the increasing extension of foreign
capital into new areas has made this advisable for several
reasons. There is first of all the already-discussed question of
stability which will be threatened unless productivity is raised
and employment opportunities made available. Next is the
necessity of Third World countries earning their own foreign
currency. Increased exports would take the burden off
international aid organizations to provide large sums of foreign
exchange. Increased foreign exchange earnings would in turn
increase the demand of countries like Thailand for
foreign-produced goods. Another element is the way in which
agribusiness operations permit a multinational corporation
already investing in a Thai industrial enterprise to develop its
capacities of coordination and influence to a higher level of
sophistication within the country. Perhaps the most important
aspect of agribusiness and increased exports is simply that
increases in agricultural exports will profit those countries
controlling the basic productive factors. This is especially true
in the traditional export industries like fruit, vegetables, oil
palm, etc. which have higher demand elasticities than simple
food grains.
Thus import substitution, which is so often praised by
Thai and Americans alike, cannot be seen as a real step
towards economic independence since the food or textiles
substituted for imports are produced in Japanese or
American-financed operations. Finally, all these factors
accelerate the integration of the peasantry into a capitalist
consumption-based economy. In the words of one Rockefeller
expert in Thailand discussing the value of televisions and
Honda motorcycles:
One might call such things luxuries, but one might also call
them very necessary incentives to farmers to increase their
output . .. so that they can buy them . ... 20
Agribusiness operated within the context of the above
stated objectives and strategies can first be seen on the
international level. One form is the multinational companies
made up of other multinational firms for purposes of
coordination and availability of capital. An example of this is
the Private Investment Company for Asia (PICA), whose
functio.n is "to make and facilitate capital investments in the
developing countries of Asia." With a board that includes
people like the president of Mitsubishi and Co., the vice
president of Standard Oil of New Jersey, and the chairman of
the Union Bank of Switzerland, and a group of shareholders
which includes most big firms investing in Asia, PICA is in an
excellent position to mobilize capital for agribusiness
operations and coordinate this investment with industrial
operations within Thailand or the region as a whole.
But firms like PICA are fairly new, and the dynamic
element in foreign agribusiness comes from nationally-based
multinational corporations appearing among PICA's
shareholders. An American example is Castle & Cook, a
diversified firm that is the largest producer of pineapples in the
world. Its operations in Thailand illustrate one of the main
factors causing American capital to be invested in agribusiness
in Asia: the search for operations yielding a higher rate of profit
in the short run. Castle & Cook has recently begun cutting
back pineapple production in Hawaii, its main base, due to
high labor prices resulting in difficulties in competing with
foreign canners (probably Taiwanese). Through its Dole
subsidiary, Castle & Cook has gone ahead and begun growing
pineapples cheaply on a 16,000-acre plantation in the
Philippines. This year Dole (Thailand) "leased" over 2,000
acres in central Thailand and began growing and canning
operations using cheap Thai labor.
Nor is the land formerly
used in Hawaii for pineapple cultivation wasted: Castle &
Cook rents or sells it at a high profit due to rising land values
in Hawaii. Nor is Castle & Cook's presence in Thailand limited
to pineapples. The company holds a major share in the Thai
American Steel Company, and Malcolm MacNaughton, Castle
& Cook president, is Thailand's hon6rary consul in Honolulu.
Other American firms are beginning to get involved in
Thai agribusiness. The International Minerals and Chemicals
Corporation has undertaken a large marketing program to
accelerate utilization of agricultural chemicals. Massey
Ferguson was granted exclusivity of local production and
restrictions against competitive imports in return for building a
large tractor assembly plant in Thailand. Arbor Acre
Corporation will add a jointly-owned chicken-raising operation
in Thailand to those it already runs in Pakistan, India, and the
Philippines. Its predictions are that it will be able to undercut
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indigenous Thai operations by one-half. Esso, which is the
largest American investor in Thailand, currently holds oil
exploration leases and is also an important producer of
fertilizers. International commodity traders like U.S. Calabrian
and Continental Grain are playing a substantial role in the
export of selected Thai agricultural goods like corn and sugar.
Japanese agribusiness in Thailand is much more
extensive than American. This parallels Japanese investment in
Thailand as a whole, which exceeds $400 million as opposed
to the U.S. figure which is approaching $200 million. In May
1972 Japan signed a $200 million loan agreement with the
Thais. This money represents 46% of total foreign borrowings
in the Thai third five-year plan.
In agribusiness alone there are at least eighteen
Japanese-financed and controlled firms, fourteen in textiles
and four in foodstuffs. Textiles is the largest and fastest
growing area of Japanese investments, with Japanese capital
invested in textiles rising from $8 million in 1967 to $23
million in 1970, to $40 million in 1972.
Japanese capital in
the Thai foodstuffs industry went from $2.6 million in 1967
to $3.6 million in 1970.
Since then, a number of major
investments have been made, including the Thailand-Japan
Food Industry, Ltd., a joint venture in which Japanese
interests hold 40% of the capital. The company is constructing
a $25 million plant to can corn, asparagus, pineapple, and
other fruit exclusively for export. Another Japanese-controlled
company established in 1970, the Thai Fruit Packing and
Export Co., has begun a large-scale banana plantation which
will eventually encompass several thousand acres. All the
bananas grown would be exported. In this example, Japan will
not only profit from exports of Thai products and make
Thailand dependent on a foreign market, but will also benefit
from the fertilizer and "technical guidance" the company
plans to provide for the private Thai growers with whom it will
eventually contract for extra bananas.
Agribusiness and Foreign Investment
as a Whole
It is difficult to estimate the total magnitude of foreign
(i.e. mainly American and Japanese) agribusiness activity or its
importance relative to total foreign capital invested in the
country, although there is more information for Japan than
for the U.S. Another problem is the relationship between
foreign agribusiness investment in a country like Thailand and
the economic situation in the home capitalist country. Part of
the difficulty is a lack of information. But a more important
although related factor is the multinational and diversified
nature of most of the American and Japanese firms i!1volved in
Thailand. This concerns firms involved in non-agricultural fields
in Thailand but which do not have agricultural interests
elsewhere and thus a definite potential for agribusiness activity
in Thailand. It is thus difficult to say exactly what capital is
"agribusiness" capital due to the facility with which large
diversified firms can shift funds from one sector to another.
This is also tied up with the question of links between
agribusiness in Thailand and the American or Japanese
economic situation. Tenneco, for example, has some of the
largest agribusiness operations in the U.S. and is involved in Qil
exploration in Thailand. It is not yet involved in any Thai
agricultural activities. But if, through labor agitation of the
farmworkers, the cost of farm labor rises as in Hawaii, the
company could well shift its operations to Thailand as did
The primary criterion for shifting operations to a
country like Thailand is, of course, a higher rate of profit than
could be obtained at home. In some cases, like that of Dole or
the potential example of Tenneco, this profit is obtained
directly from sales of agricultural products. In other cases, and
this already occurs within the U.S., a profit is not made from
the agricultural operation, but the costs or losses of that
operation are transferred to one of the firms's industrial
subsidiaries where they can be used as tax write-offs. I do not
have the hlformation to give examples of where this has taken
place in a firm operating in Thailand.
Another way of obtaining a higher rate of profit in
Thailand than at home might come at a time when foreign
investment in both agricultural and industrial sectors is even
more extensive than at the present.
This would be a situation
in which the terms of trade between foreign agriculture and
foreign industry in Thailand are such that industrial profits in
Thailand are higher than in the home country. There are
obviously very serious problems with this type of scenario. For
one thing, it ignores the fairly significant relationship between
industrial wages in the U.S. and agricultural exports from
underdeveloped countries like Thailand. It assumes that the
products of agribusiness would be used for consumption
within Thailand and not for export. But I do think the
possibility is worth some thought, if only in trying to
understand the differences between agricultural development
in a country like Thailand and in advanced capitalist countries.
Agribusiness represents one type of organization in
which new techniques can be used. A planned socialist
economy such as that in China has been shown capable of
adapting new techniques in successfully raising agricultural
productivity, diversifying crops, and solving the problem of
unemployment and disguised unemployment.
Of course the basic difference between the agribusiness
approach and the socialist approach is much more than
organizational. In fact, as capitalist control of agriculture
increases there will be a tendency for greater socialization of
the productive forces and processes. What does differ are the
relations of produ<:tion, who owns the means of production,
and who gets the surplus produced. It is on this factor that the
substructural core of agribusiness is based, i.e. that its mode of
organization facilitates implementing green revolution
techniques for the profit of the owners of capital.
1. These points, somewhat shortened. are Peter F. Bell's,
"The Historical Determinants of Underdevelopment in Thailand," Yale
University, Economic Growth Center, Discussion Paper no. 84
(February 1970).
2. William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American
Diplomacy, (New York: Dell, 1962). 171.
3. James C. Ingram, Economic Change in Thailand Since 1850,
(Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1955), 48.
3a. Established in 1946 by the major capitalist nations under
American leadership, the World Bank has a charter which instructs it to
"promote private investment" in the Third World. It does this through
the granting of loans primarily to underdeveloped countries. Loans are
made to governments or to private companies, but if the loan is made
to a private concern, the country in which the company operates must
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guarantee the loan. One, if not the major, function of the bank is to
provide investment in areas not profitable for private funds:
infrastructure. From 1949 to 1970, $9 billion of the $14.3 billion
loaned by the bank has been in areas of electric power and
transportation. Almost no loans have been made to public enterprises in
ventures that the bank considers profitable to private enterprise. It is in
this area of infrastructure that the I.B.R.D. is principally active in
On November 29, 1965, a past president of the bank, George
Woods, made a statement to a group of British bankers which makes
clear the bank's objectives:
It is very risky for one in my position to say anything nice about
empires, but I have to run that risk: a grea.t deal of the routine of
the World Bank Group is simply carrying on-with you and
others-some of the great works of construction which you started
in the exciting days of empire. {Bruce Nissen, "The World Bank: A
Political Institution, " Pacific Research and World Empire Telegram,
2:6 (September-October 1971), 9.]
The Nissen article gives a good basic analysis of the development and
general functioning of the IBRD as well as of related institutions. See
also Teresa Hayter, Aid as Imperialism (Baltimore: Penguin Books,
The World Bank takes on even greater importance as the
American emphasis shifts from bi-Iateral to multi-lateral aid.
4. Letters of H. H. Love, Collection of Regional History and
University Archives, Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. Another aspect of
this university-foundation effort is the activities of anthropologists like
Lauriston Sharp. Sharp taught at Cornell before taking leave to serve in
the State Department in 1936. He returned to Cornell and in 1947
became the director of the Thailand Project at Cornell financed by
Rockefeller, Carnegie, the Viking Fund, and the Social Science
Research Council. One of his main areas of study has been rice
production. He did research in the late 1940s and early 1950s in
Thailand and co-authored a book on the Siamese rice village in 1953. In
1956 he was named a trustee of the Rockefeller-funded and founded
Asia Society along with people like Howard C. Shepherd, chairman of
the First National City Bank of N.Y., Juan T. Trippe, president of Pan
Am, Lloyd W. Elliot, vice-president of Standard Oil of New Jersey. In
recent years Sharp has engaged in foundation and government
sponsored research on Thailand's northern hill tribes, many of whom
are currently in revolt against the Thai government.
5. Harry M. Cleaver, Jr., "The Contradictions of the Green
Revolution," Monthly Review, Vol.24 (June 1972),80-111. This article
contains probably the best general discussion of the origins and
consequences of the green revolution.
5a. The political and economic implications of Rockefeller
Foundation-sponsored activities can be seen not only from the content
of their research and recommendations, but also from the Rockefeller
business presence in Thailand. The Rockefeller-controlled Chase
Manhattan Bank is the seventh largest foreign bank in Thailand, and the
second largest American bank. (first is Bank of America). Chase
Manhattan is listed as a leading American investor in Thailand, as is
another Rockefeller-controlled corporation: the International Basic
Economy Corporation (IBEC). With the Rockefeller family holding
70% of IBEC's stock, the corporation is a worldwide enterprise, half of
whose sales come from agribusiness activities. In Thailand, IBEC has
been chiefly concerned with the development of the textile industry,
and it seems to be the only. American competition to an already active
Japanese presence in Thai textiles. In Latin America, where IBEC is
most active (half of its revenues come from the area), !BEC is involved
heavily in agribusiness. It is the largest supermarket distributor of food
products in South America, raises hybrid corn seed in Brazil, catches
and cans tuna in Puerto Rico, processes and distributes milk in
Venezuela, produces coffee in EI Salvador, and grows and refines sugar
cane in Peru. An example of the connections of a company like !BEC
with government and education is Nathaniel Samuels, chairman of
!BEC. Samuels has served as under secretary of state for economic
affairs and as a U.S. alternate governor to the International. Monetary
Fund, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(World Bank), the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Asian
Development Bank.
Another Rockefeller corporation active in Thailand is the
International Executive Service Corps (IESC), founded in 1964 by
David Rockefeller, Sol Linowitz, and other American business leaders.
Often referred to as the "Executive Peace Corps," IESC utilizes the
experience of retired American executives to teach entrepreneurial and
managerial techniques in Thailand and other "developing" countries.
IESC emphasizes aid to the private sector rather than to government
industries, but works closely with USAID, as well as with large
multinational corporations. The influence of IESC is significant in
Thailand, where much is being said of the "new" Thai businessman.
(See the NACLA Newsletter devoted to the Rockefellers, 3:2-3
[April-May and May-June 19691).
6. I interviewed a tropical fruit specialist from the University of
Kentucky working in an AID-funded agricultural research station in
Northeast Thailand just outside of Khon Kaen. He had previously spent
four years in an AID-funded project at the Agricultural University of
Bogor, Indonesia. (see Kentucky at Bogor: A Final Report to the U.S.
Agency for International Development, Nicholas M. Rice, CEC Project
Report Number 2, March 1968.) He is formulating a proposal for an
international tropical fruit research institute to be set up in Thailand
under Rockefeller direction. He was especially insistent on the need for
Rockefeller, and not AID, to undertake such a project.
Rockefeller-organized research teams were generally composed of
highly qualified experts and were able to mobilize experts from a
number of different countries, while an agency like USAID was not
known for the high quality of its technicians nor was it able to organize
research efforts across national lines as efficiently as Rockefeller.
7. Delane Welsh and Sopin Tongpan, R ice in Thailand
(unpublished paper, Department of Agricultural Economics, Kasetsart
University, Bangkok), mimeo, 10.
8. T. R. Silcock, Economic Development of Thai Agriculture
(Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1970), 180.
9. Ibid.
10. For a discussion of this problem see John Weeks,
"Employment, Growth, and Foreign Domination in Underdeveloped
Countries," Revue of Radical Political Economics 4: 1 (1972), 59-70.
11. Welsh and Tongpan, 1.
12. Interviews at Kasetsart University, Bangkok, August 1972.
13. Fredrich W. Fuchs and Jan Vingerhoets, Rural Manpower,
Rural Institutions, and Rural Employment in Thailand (National
Economic Development Board, Bangkok), unpublished paper, 14.
14. Ibid.
15. Cleaver ,88-89.
15a. Agribusiness should also be seen in the context of the Nixon
Doctrine. As exemplified in the hiring of underemployed Thai peasants
to fight for the CIA in Laos, the Nixon Doctrine and agribusiness
depend upon the same type of stalled agricultural development to tap
cheap labor. Under-employment is a growing problem in Thailand, and
when tens of thousands of peasants can no longer be absorbed into a
mercenary force, agribusiness will try to be there to provide the "job
opportunities." For a brief analysis of the example of Thai mercenaries
in Laos and their relation to agribusiness, see Rick Doner, "Thailand:
The Nixon Doctrine," American Report, 3:2 (October 23, 1972),9.
16. Eldon B. Smith and Halvor Kalshnes, Determinants of
Fertilizer Use by Paddy Farmers - A Preliminary Analysis, (USAID
Northeast Agricultural Center, Khon Kaen, 1971), mimeo.
17. A Mekong official whom I interviewed admitted that Thai
cooperatives were not progressing at all. He stated that besides
agribusiness, the only alternative for getting agriculture moving was
revolution from the bottom and Mao Tse-tung type communes.
18. cf. Far Eastern Economic Review, November 4, 1972.
19. "Bananas," Investor, November 1969,925.
20. Delane E. Welsh, "Agricultural Problems in Thailand: Some
Policy Alternatives," Bangkok Bank Monthly Review 12: 3 (March
21. Dole has leased 5,000 rai (2,000 acres); Business in Thailand,
"Export: Pineapples for Christmas," December 1972, 17 ff. Castle and
Cook also owns 55% of the Thai American Steel Works in Bangkok,
which makes galvanized steel pipe and furniture tubing. See Pacific
Basin Reports, February 1973,25.
22. Pacific Basin Reports, October 1972,276,278.
23. Ibid.
24. Foreign investment is growing in Thailand. A recent edition
of the Bangkok Bank Monthly Review quoted infonned sources to the
effect that "more than 70% of Thailand's new factories are owned and
operated by foreigners, leaving only small plants to be operated by Thai
owners while medium sized factories are jointly owned by Thais and
foreigners." Quoted in Pacific Basin Reports, October 1,1972.
lS BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Occupied Japan: A Working Bibliography
John W. Dower
Among the more puzzling hiatuses in the study of
postwar Japan as well as postwar Pacific capitalism has been
the relative paucity of scholarship on the occupation of
1945-1952. Puzzling because it can be argued that the
contours of the contemporary Japanese state were
significantly shaped (or not reshapen) in these years. Puzzling
because the occupation and the two succeeding years which
capped it with the Mutual Security Agreement offer an
exceptional insight into an international neo-capitalist nexus in
the making-with all its hesitancy, cul-de-sacs, tangled
ganglions, and dynamics. And puzzling also because there is a
wealth of discrete material on the subject available in English,
much of which has been around for a long while, and virtually
no one has yet tried to piece it together systematically.
Whether one is concerned with American policy,
Japanese social structure, soybeans and their agricultural
cousins, petroleum, overseas capital investment, the
Rockefellers, military-economic or aid-trade symbiosis, or the
tentacles of international finance, all are implicit (sometimes
in seeming contradiction) in the problem of occupied japan.
Definitive treatment of this will require use of japanese
materials, and a flawed but lengthy and useful bibliography of
Japanese sources has recently become available: Nihon
Gakujutsu Shinko Kai, ed., Nihon Senryo Bunken Mokuroku
(1972). Much can be accomplished, however, with English
materials alone, and beginning with case studies of issues
commonly lobotomized in Western bourgeois scholarship. A
most promising bibliography of Western materials on the
occupation, The Allied Occupation of Japan, 1945-195,2: An
Annotated Bibliography of Western-Language Materials, is
scheduled for publication this spring as a companion to the
above japanese reference work. Edited by Robert E. Ward and
Frank J. Shulman and published by the American Library
Association, this excellently annotated work will be the single
most important basic guide for future occupation research in
English. It is with some diffidence, therefore, that the
following bibliography is offered. Its relative virtues, if any,
may be compactness and inclusion of materials either
overlooked in the Ward-Shulman bibliography or published
subsequent to the manuscript deadline of that work.
Serious future scholarship in this area, it might be
suggested, can profit greatly from some of the inexplicably
ignored primary, or quasi-primary, materials listed below-such
as the SCAP monograph series; Official Gazette Extra; United
Nations papers; reports of the Bank of japan and Mitsubishi
Research Bureau; Nippon Times; ATIS translations from the
japanese press; Civil Affairs in Occupied and Liberated
Territory series; as well as the numerous contemporary
accounts or monographs by participants. Also, while the initial
occupation reforms and the activities of SCAP's Government
Section (GS) in particular have already received considerable
attention, more challenging and less immediately accessible
research remains to be done on the broad implications of the
post-1947 "reverse course." This will entail greater
concentration on the activities and reports of the Economic &
Scientific Section (ESS) and possibly also the Natural
Resources Section within SCAP; and on the various economic,
fiscal, and monetary missions sent to Japan by Washington
during the latter half of the occupation.
An example of the type of problems which might be
addressed may be suggested by the research papers prepared in
a recent graduate seminar at the University of Wisconsin, in
connection with which this bibliography was developed. These
included: comparative study of prewar and postwar American
capital involvement in Japan; Rockefeller interests in occupied
and post-occupation Japan; effects of the purge on business
and economic structure; post-1947 planning for the
integration of Japan into a regional capitalist system (the
U.S.-japan-Southeast Asia interlock); land reform and its
concommitant implications for agrarian priOrIties; the
relationship between occupation policy and the American
agricultural-surplus problem; non-reform of the Japanese
banking and fiscal structure; the "production-control"
attempts of the early labor movement; and the alternative
courses, both economic and military, posed by the Japanese
peace movement. (The depth of the iceberg is indicated by the
fact that most of the researchers are still on their projects,
although the semester is long finished.)
16 BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Royal Institute of International Affairs. Survey of
International Affairs.
1. The Far East, 1942-1946. (Hugh Borton on Japan,
2. 1947-1948. (F. C. Jones on Japan, pp. 328-346)
3. 1949-1950. (F. C. Jones on Japan, pp. 443-466)
4. 1951. (F. C. Jones on Japan, pp. 378-433)
5. 1952. (F. C. Jones on Japan, pp. 355-393)
6. See also companion volumes in RIIA. Documellts 011
Internati01lal Affairs.
Kazuo Kawai. Japan's American Interlude. (1960)
Baron E. J. Lewe van Aduard. Japall: From Surrellder to
Peace. (1964)
Edwin M. Martin. The Allied Occupation ofJapan. (1948)
Robert Fearey. Tbe Occupatioll ofJapall: Tbe Secol/d Pbase,
1948-1950. (1950)
Hugh Borton. Japal/ 's Modem Cel/tury: From Perry to 1970.
(1970 ed.). Ch. 20
Harry Emerson Wildes. Typbool/ ill Tokyo: The Occupatio/l
and its Aftermatb. (1954)
John D. Montgomery. Forced to Be Free: The Artificial
Revolutiol/ ill GermallY alld Japal/. (1957)
Edwin O. Reischauer. Tbe United States al/d Japal/. 3rd
Edition. (1965)
Gabriel Kolko. The Politics of War. (1968)
Joyce & Gabriel Kolko. The Limits of Power. (1972)
Harold S. Quigley & John E. Turner. The New Japall:
Government and Politics. (1956)
P. Linebarger, C. Djang & A. Burks. Far Eastem Governmellts
and Politics: China and Japan. (1954). Ch. 20,21
Asahi Shimbun. The Pacific Rivals. (1972)
Herbert Passin. The Legacy of the Occupatioll--Japall. (1968;
43 pp.)
Grant Goodman, compo -Tbe American Occupation of Japan:
A Retrospective View. (1968; 41 pp.)
Robert Ward, "Reflections on the Allied Occupation and
Planned Political Change in Japan," in Robert Ward, ed.
Political Development in Modern Japan. (I968)
--. American Presurrender Planning for Postwar Japan.
Masataka Kosaka, One Hundred Million Japanese: Their
History Since the War (1972).
J. W. Dower. "The Eye of the Beholder: Background Notes on
the U.S.-Japan Military Relationship," Bulletin of
Concerned Asian Scholars. (October 1969)
--."Occupied Japan in the American Lake, 1945-1950," in
Edward Friedman and Mark Selden, ed. America's Asia:
Dissenting Essays on Asian-American Relations. (1971)
-- "The Superdomino in Postwar Asia: Japan In and Out
of the Pentagon Papers, .. in Noam Chomsky and Howard
Zinn, ed. Tbe Senator Gravel Edition of the Pentagon
Papers. Volume V. (1972).
W. Macmahon Ball. Japan: Enemy or Ally? (1949)
Thomas A. Bisson. Prospects for Democracy in Japan. (1949)
Russell Brines. MacA rthur's Japan. (1948)
Brookings Institution. Major Problems of United States
Foreign Policy, 1948-49. (1948)
Noel Busch. Fallen Sun: A Report 011 Japan. (1948)
William Costello. Democracy Vs. Feudalism in Postwar Japan.
J. K. Fairbank, Harlan Cleveland, E. O. Reischauer. Next Step
ill Asia? (1949)
Miriam S. Farley. Aspects of Japan's Labor Problems. (1950)
Carl Friedrich et aI., ed. American Experiences in Military
Govemmellt in World War II. (1948)
Mark Gayn. Japall Diary. (1948)
Robert King Hall. Education for a New Japan. (1.949)
Douglas G. Haring, ed. Japan's Prospect. (1946)
Institute of Pacific Relations. Security ill tbe Pacific. (1945)
--. Problems of Economic Reconstruction ill the Far East.
W. C. Johnstone. The Future ofJapan. (1945)
Frank Kelley & Cornelius Ryan. Star Spangled Mikado. (1947)
Owen Lattimore. Solutioll in Asia. (1945)
--. The 5;ituatioll ill Asia. (1949)
John LaCerda. The Conqueror Comes to Tea: Japan Under
MacArtbur. (1946)
Helen Mears. Mirror for Americans: Japall. (1948)
Harold S. Moulton & Louis Marlio. Tbe Control of Germany
alld Japall. (1944: Brookings)
Andrew Roth. Dilemma ill Japan. (1945)
Royal Institute of International Affairs, ed. Japan in Defeat: A
Report by a Chatbam House Study Group. (1945)
A. Frank Reel. Tbe Case of General Yamashita. (1949)
Robert B. Textor. Failure in Japan. (1951)
Harold Wakefield. New Paths for Japan. (1948)
Dean Acheson. Present at tbe Creation: My Years in the State
Department. (1969)
James F. Byrnes. Speaking Frankly. (1947)
George F. Kennan. Memoirs 1925-1950. (1967)
--.Memoirs 1950-1963. (1972)
Douglas MacArthur. Reminiscences. (1964)
William Sebald. Witb MacArthur in Japan: A Personal History
of the Occupation. (1965)
Harry S. Truman. Memoirs. 2 volumes. (1955)
Courtney Whitney. MacArthur: His Rendezvous witb History.
Charles A. Willoughby & John Chamberlain. MacArthur,
1941-1951: Victory in the Pacific. (1954)
Shigeru Yoshida. The Yoshida Memoirs: Tbe Story ofJapan in
Crisis. (1962)
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
History of Non-Military Aspects of the Occupation of japan
Series comprises a total of 55 monographs, all of which
contain appendices of documents. All but a few of the
monographs have been declassified and are available on
microfilm from the National Archives. This is the basic, and by
far most comprehensive, official account of the occupation,
but should be used with recognition of the fact that (1) it is a
house history, which seeks to present the occupatioFl in its
most favorable light; (2) most of the monographs cover only
the period up to 1950, and thus this is not an adequate source
for the crucial 1950-1952 period; (3) the authors of the series
(SCAP's Civil Historical Section) relied primarily on public
statements and internal SCAP memoranda, and were not
privileged with access to materials at the highest and most
classified levels; (4) attention is devoted primarily to the
formal policy process, rather than to critical analysis of the
actual effects and implications of policy application and policy
revisions; (5) the monographic approach adopted tends to
convey a fragmented and compartmentalized impression of the
occupation, rather than the broader overview which was held
by key decision-makers then, and which the scholar must also
recreate; (6) the approach is essentially unilinear, that is,
focused on American policy and intiative, and neglects the
crucial dimension of U.S.-Japanese interaction. The series
nonetheless remains of central importance to scholars of that
period. The individual monographs, In their officially
designated order, are as follows:
1. Introduction
2. Administration of the Occupation
3. Logistic Support
4. Population
5. Trials of Class 'B' and Class 'C' War Criminals
6. Local Government Reform
7. The Purge
8. Constitutional Revision
9. National Administrative Reorganization
10. Election Reform
11. Devel6pment of Political Parties
12. Development of l.egislative Responsibilities
13. Reorganization of Civil Sen'ice
14. Legal and Judicial Reform.
15. Freedom of thc Press
16. Theater and Motion Pictures
17. Treatment of Foreign Nationals
18. Public Welfare
19. Public Health
20. Social Security
21. Foreign Property Administration
22. Reparations
23. Japanese Property Administration
24. Elimination of Zaibatsu Control
25. Deconcentration of Economic Power
26. Promotion of Fair Trade Practices
27. The Rural and Land Reform Program
28. Development of the Trade Union Movement
29. Working Conditions
30. Agriculture Cooperatives
31. Education
32. Religion
33. Radio Broadcasting
34. Price and Distribution Stabilization: Non-Food Program
35. Price and Distribution Stabilization: Food Program
36. Agriculture
37. National Government Finance
38. Local Government Finance
39. Money and Banking
40. Financial Reorganization of Corporate Enterprise
4l. The Petroleum Industry
42. Fisheries
43. Forestry
44. Rehabilitation of the Non-Fuel Mining Industries
45. Coal
46. Expansion and Reorganization of the Electric Power and
Gas Industries
47. The Heavy Industries
48. Textile Industries
49. The Light Industries
50. Foreign Trade
51. Land and Air Transportation
52. Water Transportation
53. Communications
54. Reorganization of Science and Technology in Japan
55. Police and Public Safety
Jerome B. Cohen. jLlp<lll'S EcollolllY III War and
l?I'COIIStl'llctioll. (1949)
--)LI/hlll'S Postwar !-.CO//OIllY. (1958)
T, A. Bisson. LLlibatslI Dissoilltio// ill japall, (1954)
Eleanor M. lladley . .'\lIti-Trllst ill j,lpall. (1970)
1\litsubishi Economic Research Institute, ed. Mitsui-Mitsubisbi
-sII III it 0/1111 Presellt StLituS of tbe Former Zaibatsu
/:'l/t<'l'prist'S. (1955)
Shigeto Tsuru. "Survey of Economic Research in Postwar
Japan," AlIIl'ricLlI/ Ecollolllic Review, 54:2 (June 1964),
--, ESSLlyS Oil Ecollolllic De,'c/oplllt'l/t. (1968)
George C. Allen. japLlI/'s EC(J//olllic Recovery. (1958)
Seymour E. Harris, ed. Foreigll Ecol/o1l1ic Policy for tbe
Ullited States. (1948)
Kozo Yamamura. Ecollomic Policy ill Postwar japall: Growth
Versus Ecollomic Democracy. (1967)
Ch itoshi Yanaga. Big BIISilleSS ill japal/ese Politics. (1968)
Saburo Shiomi. japall's Finance and Taxation, 1940-1956.
Robert S. Ozaki. Tbe Control of Imports aud Foreign Capital
in japan. (1972)
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Warren Hunsberger. japan and the United States in World
Trade. (1964)
Sherwood M. Fine. japan's Postwar Industrial Recovery.
Gunnar Adler-Karlsson. Western Economic Warfare,
1947-1967. (0000) NOTE: DATE NEEDED!
Ryutaro Komiya, ed. Postwar Economic Growth in japan.
Leon Hollerman. japan's Dependence on the World Economy.
Miyohei Shinohara. Structural Changes in japan's Economic
Development. (1970)
Koichi Emi. Government Fiscal Activity and Economic
Growth in japan, 1868-1960. (1963)
Edward A. Ackerman. japan's Natural Resources and Tbeir
Relation to japan's Economic Future. (1953)
Mitsubishi Economic Research Bureau. Monthly Circular.
(From ca. June 1947)
Foreign Capital Research Society, compo japanese Industry
After the War: Foreign Investment Possibilities. (Annual
from 1950)
Bank of Japan. Quarterly Review (1948). Thereafter Monthly
Review (from 1949).
Business Intercommunications, Inc., compo Foreign Capital
Affiliated Enterprises in japall. (1970)
Edwin W. Pauley. Report on japanese Reparations to the
President of tbe United '<';tates, November 1945 to April
1946. Dept. of State Publication 3174, Far Eastern
Series 25. (1946) The Pauley Ueport.
U.S. Department of State. Report of tbe Missioll 011 japanesc
Combines, Part I, Allalytical and Tecbllical Data. Dept.
of State Publication 2628, Far Eastern Series 14 (1946).
The Edwards Report. Part II of this report, formerly
classified Top Secret, is now also available.
Report of the Special Committee on japanese Reparations.
February 18, 1947. The first Strike Report.
Statement of u.s. Policy with Respect to Excessive
Concentrations of Economic Power in japall. April 29,
1947. SWNCC 30212,3,4. The famous FEC-230,
contained in appendices of Eleanor Hadley, A IIti- Trust
ill .Japall.
Economic & Scientific Section. Possibility of a Balallced
japanese Ecollomy. October 1947. The so-called I:".',S
Report on Industrial Reparatio/lS Survey of japal/ to tbe
United States of America. February 1948. Overseas
Consultants Report, also sometimes identified as the
second Strike Report.
United States, Dept. of the Army. Report 011 tbe E c o l l o m i ~
Position and Prospects of japan and Korea and tbe
Measures Required to Improve Them. April 26, 1948.
The johnston Report.
Report of tbe Special Mission on Yen Foreign Exchange
Policy. June 12, 1948. Plus supplement of August 16,
1948, entitled Yen-Dollar Exchange Rate Program. Tbe
Young Report.
Economic & Scientific Section. Program for a Self-Supporting
japanese Economy. November 1948. The so-called ESS
Blue Book, reprinted with little change by the Dept. of
the Army in January 1949.
Recommendations and Findings of tbe Advisory Mission for
International Trade. October 1949. Tbe Freile Report.
Report on Excbange and Trade Controls in japan. November
1949. Tbe Mladek & Wicbin Report.
United Nations Economic and Social Council, Economic
Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE),
Committee on Industry & Trade. Numerous reports on
the integration of Japan into Asian economy; see
especially the documents emanating from sessions in
Singapore (October 1949), Bangkok (May 1950), Lahore
(February 1951), and Rangoon (January 1952).
Economic & Scientific Section. japan's Industrial Potential, I.
February 20,1951.
-. japan's Industrial Potential, II. October 20, 1951.
--. japan's Industrial Potential, Ill. February 20, 1952.
-- . Mission and Accomplishments. (Summary reports of
ESS for 1950,1951, and 1952)
Gabriel Kolko. The Politics of War: The World and United
States Foreign Policy, 1943-1945. (1968)
Akira Iriye. The Cold War in Asia: A Historical Introduction.
Joyce & Gabriel Kolko. Tbe Limits of Power: Tbe World al/d
Ullited States Foreigll Policy, 1945-1954. (1972)
John W. Dower. "The Eye of the Beholder: Background Notes
on the U.S.-Japan Military Relationship, Bulletin of
COllcerned Asiall .<.;cbolars. (October 1969)
-. "Occupied Japan in the American Lake, 1949-1950," in
Edward Friedman and Mark Selden, ed. America's Asia:
Dissenting Essays on Asian-American Relations. (1971)
--. "The Superdomino in Postwar Asia: Japan In and Out of
the Pel/tagon Papers," in Noam Chomsky and Howard
Zinn, ed., Tbe .'-;enator Gravel Editioll of the Pelltagoll
Papers, Volume V. (1972)
Max Beloff. Soviet Policy ill tbe Far East, 1944-1951. (1953)
Herbert Feis. C01ltest Over japall. (1967)
Frederick S. Dunn. Peace-Makillg alld tbe Settlemcnt witb
japan. (1963)
Bernard C. Cohen. Tbe Political Process alld Foreigll Policy:
Tbe Makillg of tbe japallese Peace ScttICI/lCllt. (1957)
Martin E. Weinstein. japall's Postwar Dcfcllsc Policy,
1947-/968. (1971)
James E. Auer. Thc PostW<lr Rearmamellt of japallese
Maritime Forces, 1945-/971. (1973)
Burton Sapin, "The Role of the Military in Formulating the
Japanese Peace Treaty," in Gordon B. Turner, ed. A
History of Military Affairs Since the Eigbteentb
Century. (1953)
Savitri Vishwanathan. Soviet-japanese Relatiuns Since 1945.
(1973 )
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
George H. Blakeslee. The Far Eastern Commission: A Study in
International Cooperation, 1945-1952. Dept. of State
Publication 5138, Far Eastern Series 60. (1953)
U.S. Department of State. Treaty ofPeace with Japan. Signed
at San Francisco, September 8, 1951. Dept. of State
Publication 4613. (1952)
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on Armed Services. Military
Situation hI the Far East. 82nd Congress, 1st Session. 5
Parts. (1951)
U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary,
Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the
Internal Security and Other Internal Security Laws.
blstitute of Pacific Relations. 82nd Congress, 1st
Session. (1951) 15 Parts. (See esp. "Transcript of Round
Table Discussion on American Policy Toward China
Held in the Department of State, October 6, 7, and 8,
1949." pp. 1551-1682)
U.S. Department of State. United States Relatiolls with Cbilla,
with Special Reference to the Period 1944-1949. Dept.
of State Publication 3573. Far Eastern Series 30.
(August 1949). The China White Paper.
Department of Defense. Uuited States-Vietnam Relations,
1945-1967. Book 8. (1971. The Government edition of
The Pentagon Papers) Key documents relating to Japan
are NSC 48/1 and 48/2 of December 1949 (pp. 225-272)
and NSC 48/4 of May 1951 (pp. 425445).
Ronald P. Dore. Land Reform in Japan. (1959)
Lawrence I. Hewes. Japan: Land and Men. An Account of the
Japanese Land Reform Program, 1945-1951. (1955)
--. Japanese Land Reform Program. (1950)
W. J. Ladejinsky. "Agriculture," in Hugh Barton, ed., Japan.
Andrew Grad (Grazhdanzev). Land and Peasant in Japan.
[See also various issues of the journal The Developing
Miriam S. Farley. Aspects of Japan's Labor Problems. (1950)
I. F. Ayusawa. A History of Labor in Modern Japan. (1966)
'-. Organized Labor in Japan. (1962)
Solomon Levine. Industrial Relations in Postwar Japan. (1958)
Robert Scalapino. "Japan," in Walter Galenson, ed. Labor and
Economic Development. (1959)
Kazuo Okochi. Labor in Modern Japall. (1958)
Koji Taira. Economic Development and the Labor Market ill
Japan. (1970)
Haruhiro Fukui. Party in Power: The. Japanese Liberal
Democrats and Policy Making. (1970)
Paul Linebarger, Chu Djang and Ardath Burks. Far Eastern
Governments and Politics. (1954)
Harold S. Quigley and John E. Turner. The New Japan:
Government and Politics. (1956)
Alfred B. Clubok, "Japanese Conservative Politics, 1947-55."
Occasional Papers No.7 (University of Michigan, Center
for Japanese Studies).
Evelyn Colbert. The Left Wing in Japanese Politics. (1952)
R. Cole, G. Totten & C. Uyehara. Socialist Parties in Postwar
Japan. (1966)
Arthur Stockwin. The Japanese Socialist Party and Neutralism.
George Packard. Protest in Tokyo: The Security Treaty Crisis
of 1960. (1966)
Rodger Swearingen and Paul Langer. Red Flag in Japan:
11lternational Communism in Action, 1919-1951. (1952)
Robert A. Scalapino. The Japanese Communist Movement,
1920-1966. (1966)
Toshio G. Tsukahira. The Postwar Evolution of Communist
Strategy in Japan. (1954; Center for International
Studies, MIT)
W. MacMahon Ball. Nationalism amd Communism in East
Asia. (1952)Ch. 12.
Richard L. G. Deveral!. Red Star Over Japan. (1952)
--. The Great Seduction. (1953)
Chalmers Johnson. Conspiracy at Matsukawa. (1972)
Benjamin C. Duke. Japan's Militant Teachers: A History of the
Left-Wing Teachers' Movement. (1972)
Stuart Dowsey, ed. Zengakuren: Japan's Revolutionary
Students. (1970)
Hans H. Baerwald. The Purge of Japanese Leaders Under the
Occupation. (1959)
John D. Montgomery. The Purge in Occupied Japan: A Study
in the Use of Civilian Agencies Under Military
Government. (1953. Operations Research Office, The
Johns Hopkins University. Technical Memorandum
ORO-T48 [FEC]).
Dan Fenno Henderson, ed. The Constitution of Japan: The
First Twenty Years, 1947-67. (1968)
John M. Maki. Court and Constitution in Japan: Selected
Supreme Court Decisions, 1948-60. (1964)
Arthur Taylor Von Mehren. Law ill Japan: The Legal Order in
a ChangillgSociety. (1963)
Kurt Steiner. Local Government in Japan. (1965)
Genji Okubo. The Problems of the Emperor System in Postwar
Japan. (1948)
Richard H. Minear. Victors' Justice: The Tokyo War Crimes
Trial. (1971)
Ivan I. Morris. Nationalism and the Right Wing in Japan: A
Study ofPostwar Trends. (1960)
Masao Maruyama. "Nationalism in Postwar Japan." (1950; 25
pp. mimeo)
Edward Wagner. The Korean Minority in Japan. (1951)
Jean Stoetzel. Without the Chrysanthemum and the Sword:
Youth in Postwar Japan. (1955 )
Akira Kubota. Higher Civil Servants in Postwar Japan. (1969)
William J. Coughlin. Conquered Press: The MacA rthur Era in
Japanese Journalism. (1952)
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
William P. Woodard. The Allied Occupation of japan and
japanese Religions. (1972)
[Note: See also items under Economic Issues, Basic Economic
Reports, and Global Issues. The number of SCAP reports and
publications is immense, but no comprehensive index to these
appears to be available. Some of the most significant are listed
in Hugh Borton, et al. A Selected List of Books and Articles
on japan. (1954)]
Supreme Commander Allied Powers. Government Section.
Political Reorientation of japan: September 1945 to
September 1948. 2 Volumes. (1949) The basic and most
often cited official documentary source, but as title
indicates this is restricted to political matters, with a few
exceptions, during the first three years of the
-- General Headquarters. Selected Data on the Occupation
ofjapan. (ca. 1950)
---. Instructions to the japanese Government from 4
September 1945 to 8 March 1952. (1952) The complete
collection of SCAP instructions on political, economic
and social matters.
U.S. Department of the Army. Reports of General MacArthur.
Gaimusho Tokubetsu Shiryoka hen. Nihon Senryo Oyobi
Kanri juyo Bunsho Shu. 4 Volumes. Basic documents in
English with Japanese translations. To December 1949.
Sometimes catalogued as Japanese Government. Foreign
Office, Division of Special Records, compo Documents
Concerning Allied Occupation and Control of Japan. A
basic documentary source.
Foreign Relations of the United States. Relevant volumes from
1944. Publication of this official State Department
documentary record follows 25-year rule.
Department of State Bulletin.
Congressional Record.
Far Eastern Commission. Activities of the Far Eastern
Commission. Report by the Secretary-General, February
26, 1946 -July 10, 1947. Dept. of State Publication
2888, Far Eastern Series 24. (1947)
--. The Far Eastern Commission, Second Report by the
Secretary-General, july 10, 1947-December 23, 1948.
Dept. of State Publication 3420, Far Eastern Series 29.
The Far Eastern Commission, Third Report by the
Secretary-General, December 24, 1948-June 30, 1950.
Dept. of State Publication 3925, Far Eastern Series 35.
George H. Blakeslee. The Far Eastern Commission: A Study in
International Cooperation, 1945-1952. Dept. of State
Publication 5138, Far Eastern Series 60. (1953)
Official Gazette. English Edition. Texts of laws, ordinances,
government announcements from 1 April 1946.
Official Gazette Extra. English edition. Proceedings of
Imperial Diet'and National Diet from May 1946. Useful
for interpolations, party conflicts, etc.
Foreign Affairs Association of Japan, ed. The japan Yearbook.
(Prewar and ca. 1949 on)
Nippon Times. The English-language newspaper of the
occupation period. Later renamed The japan Times.
Stars & Stripes. Tokyo.
ATIS (Allied Translator and Interpreter Service). Translations
of Japanese press 1945-1948. 100-plus volumes.
Complete set available in Library of Congress.
U.S. Army. Civil Affairs in Occupied and Liberated Territory.
A valuable file of clippings from a broad spectrum of the
American press dealing with Japan, Germany, the
Balkans, and to a lesser extent Korea and China.
Published weekly in tabloid form until mid-1948.
Complete series available in the National Archives.
Soviet Press. Soviet Press Translations.
. New Times.
Chinese Press.
For American press and periodical literature, check Readers
Guide to Periodical Literature, and note particularly the
following journals:
Far Eastern Survey
Foreign Affairs
The Oriental Economist
SCAP Archives. Maintained under auspices of National
Archives in Suitland, Maryland.
SWNCC Papers. State-War-Navy Coordinating Committee
materials maintained by National Archives in main
building, Washington, D.C.
U.S. Army. Monographs, etc., maintained under Chief,
Historical Section.
MacArthur Papers. MacArthur Memorial, Norfolk, Virginia.
Dodge Papers. Joseph M. Dodge papers, covering basic fiscal
policy 1949-1952, maintained in Detroit Public Library.
Hussey Papers. On constitutional revision. University of
Dulles Collection. Selected documents from 1950-52 peace
conference period, plus extensive oral history collection
including transcripts of interviews with persons con
nected with Dulles on this matter. Princeton University.
Eichelberger Papers. Duke University.
Sebald Papers. Annapolis? State Dept. representative to SCAP.
Columbia Oral History Project. Small number of interviews
with persons connected with Occupation.
Okurasho Collection. Japanese Ministry of Finance collection.
Including extensive Japanese-language materials on
financial aspects of occupation; general library of
Japanese and English works on all aspects of occupation
period; and copies of many valuable basic materials from
the U.S. archives noted above.
Planning Agency Collection. Kikakucho. Holds reports, etc., of
the key Japanese economic agency in occupation period,
the Economic Stabilization Board (ESB). Including re
POrts prepared in English for submission to SCAP.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.

A merica and Russia In South Asia:

Conflict or Collusion?
by Eqbal Ahmad
Disbelief, incomprehension and anger were common
reactions to U.S. policy during the political crisis which ended
in the break-up of Pakistan. President Nixon incurred wide and
bi-partisan criticism in the American Congress and the press
for supporting the Pakistani military government despite the
latter's brutal suppression of the popular movement for
autonomy in East Pakistan. No one seemed to discern any
rationale-moral, political, or economic-for this policy. It is
noteworthy that instead of dissipating the accusations of its
favoritism to Islamabad, the White House helped reinforce the
impression of its support for the junta, thus risking rising
Congressional criticism and lampooning by liberal cartoonists,
columnists, and editors.
The actualities of the conflict and its potential outcomes
appeared to require an American posture favorable to the
Bengali opposition and the government of India. The Pakistani
military dictatorship had brutally intervened to deny the
electoral verdict of the Bengalis in favor of autonomy. It
would have been more commensurate with Washington's
rhetoric to uphold the sanctity of the democratic process.
Secondly, the leaders and the party under assault (Sheikh
Mujibur Rahman and company, and the Awami League) had
long been allies and clients of the U.S.A. Supporting them
could only have assured U.S. influence in the inevitably
independent state of Bangladesh, while enhancing its position
of influence in India. Third, the U.S. posture was clearly
objectionable to India, whose well-being and future were
viewed as being threatened by the influx of refugees. What
sense, critics asked, does it make to endanger and alienate
Asia's largest non-communist, democratic country in which
the U.S. had invested $10 billion, for the sake of pandering to
the murderous generals of a disintegrating Muslim
"theocracy"? The belief that India was being irrevocably lost
to Russian influence was reinforced in August 1971 when
India and the U.S.S.R. signed a treaty of friendship, and large
quantities of Russian armaments were reported flowing into
India. Finally, it took little foresight to predict that unless
India withdrew its support from the Bengali separatist
movement, which was unlikely, and barring massive U.S. aid in
arms and money to the Pakistani military regime, which
Washington had ruled as being out of the question, the
Pakistanis could not suppress the movement in East Bengal. At
the cost of "betraying" its loyal Bengali friends, of alienating
India, and of permitting the expansion of Soviet influence in
South Asia, the U.S. appeared to continue its support for the
Pakistani regime. It is only understandable that editorialists,
observers, Congressmen, and Senators used adjectives like
incomprehensible, ignoble, irrational, inept, and demented
to describe U.S. policy during the crisis in the sub-continent.
The outcry climaxed with the publication by columnist
Jack Anderson of the minutes of the Washington Special
Action Group's meetings on December 3,4,6, and 8, 1971.
These memos of meetings, held under the chairmanship of
Kissinger on American response to Indian intervention in East
Pakistan, added little light but much heat and drama to the
controversy. "The audience," Max Frankel of the New York
Times reported from Washington, "for Mr. Anderson's
disclosures was unusually large here today, clearly because the
Nixon administration's policies and conduct in South Asia
over the last ten months are not yet widely understood." I
That audience must have been disappointed, for the
revealed documents did nothing to enhance understanding.
They offered no explanation of the strategy behind the White
House policy. Max Frankel correctly pointed out that these
papers "deal with tactical discussions during a few days,
without relation to the larger calculations of American
interests in South Asia and elsewhere." Kissinger repeatedly
impressed upon his colleagues his view that the conflict in the
sub-continent was of global significance and should not be
regarded as a local conflict. But at no point did he spell out
the significance or the goals his tactics were designed to
achieve. At one point he stressed the need for the U.S. to
"make clear our position relative to our greater strategy." But
nowhere is there any indication of what the "greater strategy"
One can only sympathize with the New York Times'
lament that despite the Anderson revelations, there has been
no official "accounting of why t)1e U.S. was willing to
diminish its own influence in India, and in the new state
proclaimed by the Bengali secessionists, because of its
pro-Pakistani exertions and assertions that could not alter the
course of the war.,,3 Such complaints are. common in the U.S.
today, yet few critics appear to comprehend that the absence
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
of "accounting" is not an aberration of policy but the policy
itself. According to Kissinger's maxims for an effective foreign
policy, the public qualifies only as the object of manipulation
while the government must not be subject to accountability.
In fact, far from clarifying Washington's reasoning the
Anderson papers compounded public confusion. Unless they
are viewed in the context of larger U.S. strategy, the U.S.
posture on the crisis in South Asia does not make much sense.
Because they reveal much of Kissinger's tactics and
assumptions without even hinting at his objectives, most
commentators concluded that Presidential caprice (Nixon's
reported friendship with General Yahya Khan and his
presumed dislike of Mrs. Gandhi) rather than political
calculations dictated U.S. policy on South Asia. To my
knowledge columnist Joseph Kraft is the only observer who
while describing U.S. performance as "inept and then ignoble"
concluded that"... what actually happened on the ground in
the sub-continent, far from being a defeat, is in keeping with
American interests."
Nevertheless, these documents yield a series of more or
less expected confirmations of American motives and
presumptions. They make sense when viewed in the context of
the U.S. policy: a) of promoting a new pro-Western
constellation of power in the Southern Mediterranean and
Indian Ocean regions; b) of stimulating the conflict between
U.S.S.R. and China; and c) of raising the Russian stake in
international "stability" through the process of selective
rewards and cooptation as a junior partner in certain areas of
the world.
Before examining how American policy helped serve the
above goals, it may be useful to recall the salient features of
Washington's tactics during the South Asian crisis. First, it is
now clear that American moves were designed to assure for the
U.S. dominant influence in West Pakistan, and not to protect
the integrity of the state as it was constituted since 1947. At
no point during the crisis did Washington give Pakistan
military, economic, or political aid in a quantity or manner
that could conceivably affect the outcome of the conflict in
East Pakistan. On April 6, ten days after the military
intervened to suppress the Bengali separatist movement, the
U.S. announced the suspension of all military aid and sales to
Pakistan. At the time the total value of outstanding licenses
issued by the State Department's Office of Munitions for
Pakistan was estimated at $35 million.
The ban was loosely
enforced, and on June 21, 1971, the New York Times
disclosed that the U.S. was permitting military supplies to sail
to Pakistan under the pretext that these were in fulfillment of
licenses issued and sales commercially contracted prior to
March 25. On July 23, 1971, Senator Stuart Symington
accused the government of permitting Pakistan to ship
approximately $15 million worth of armaments which were
already in the "pipeline."
The effect of the ban, nevertheless, was to reduce U.S.
arms supplies to Pakistan to a negligible quantity. In his
December 7, 1971 backgrounder Kissinger claimed that the
U.S. supplied Pakistan "less that $5 million worth" of military
spare parts after March 25;6 the backgrounder of December 7
was inserted in the Congressional Record by Senator Barry
Goldwater on December 9, 1971. Senator Frank Church, a
vocal critic of the government, has challenged this figure and
claimed that U.S. military supplies to Pakistan amounted to
some $22 million. It is an irrelevant controversy, for even the
allegedly exaggerated figure cannot be construed .as meaningful
aid to an ally at war. Of negligible military value, the supplies
did serve the political purpose of keeping the Pakistani ruling
class assured of U.S. support and hooked into the U.S. military
machine. On economic aid Kissinger claimed in the
above-quoted backgrounder that the U.S. "has made no new
development loans to Pakistan since March 1971." As for
refugee relief aid, the U.S. provided a larger share of it to India
than to Pakistan partly because the refugee problem was
viewed as being more serious there, and partly, Kissinger was
to affirm later, to assure India of American goodwill.
Second, the Anderson papers confirm that while denying
its policy was aimed against India, the Administration had in
fact deliberately "tilted" in Pakistan's favor, and wanted this
prejudice to be widely known and broadcast. Thus, Kissinger
opened the December 3 meeting with the statement that "I am
getting hell every hour from the President that we are not
being tough enough on India.... He wants to tilt in favor of
Pakistan." Later on Kissinger rejected an earlier draft of the
U.S. statement to the U.N. Security Council as "too
evenhanded," and underscored: "It is hard to tilt toward
Pakistan if we have to match every Indian step with a Pakistan
step." 7 On December 8 Kissinger admonished his colleagues
that "we are not trying to be even-handed. There can be no
doubt what the President wants. The President does not want
to be even-handed." 8
The "tilt" toward Pakistan consisted mainly of
statements disapproving of Indian intervention. The stress was
on symbolic gestures that would create the impression of
support for Pakistan rather than actually punish India. Some,
not all, aid to India was to be cut off. But, records the Memo
on December 6 meeting, "Dr. Kissinger said to make sure that
when talking about cut off of aid for India to emphasize what
is cut off and not what is being continued." Similarly,
American diplomatic moves were intended more for their
propaganda and image value than for their actual effect on the
course of events. This was true until December 8 when the
White House appeared genuinely concerned that India might
follow up its victory in East Pakistan by pushing into West
Pakistan. Thus on December 4, Kissinger set aside a suggestion
by Samuel de Palma, Assistant Secretary of State for
International Organization, that the U.S. "get others lined up
with our resolution before we introduce it." "According to Dr.
Kissinger," records the account, "the only move left for us at
the present time is to make clear our position relative to our
greater strategy. Everyone knows how this will come out and
everyone knows that India will ultimately occupy East
Pakistan. We must, therefore, make clear our position, table
our resolution."
Third, in abstaining from meaningfully aiding the
Pakistani military effort in East Pakistan, the United States
could only have assumed the eventual outcome-the
emergence of a separate, overpopulated, resource-poor East
Bengal on the borders of India. For it took little prescience to
predict that without massive foreign help the West Pakistani
army could not possibly suppress, in a populous and
geographically separated province, a popular rebellion which
enjoyed full support of the neighboring government of India.
As Kissinger put it, everyone knew how it would come out.
Nor is it conceivable that anyone in the White House
imagined that an independent Bangladesh could escape
dominance by India. The White House maintained frequent
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
contact with the Indian government and kept it apprised of its
limited objective of preserving West Pakistan as an allied state.
In his December 7 backgrounder Kissinger claimed that: "We
told the Government of India on many occasions-the
Secretary of State saw the Indian Ambassador eighteen times;
I saw him seven times since the end of August on behalf of the
President. We all said that political autonomy for East Bengal
was the inevitable outcome of political evolution and we
favored it.,,9 These contacts culminated in Mrs. Gandhi's visit
to the White House at a time when without doubt Americans
knew of Indian plans for military intervention in East
Fourth, it is noteworthy that the Nixon administration, so
given to confrontation in testing its will against those of
others, took no tangible steps to prevent the Indian invasion.
This, despite the fact that it had known, considerably in
advance, of Indian preparations with Soviet help for
intervention in East Pakistan. Since early October newsmen
had been reporting massive movement of Russian armaments
to the Bengali frontier and the imminence of Indian
intervention. Furthermore, knowledgeable Pakistani and
Indian officials say that during her visit to the White House
Mrs. Gandhi conveyed in clear terms her impatience with the
continuation of the crisis and her resolve to hurry the
independence of Bangladesh. President Nixon and his officials
confined themselves to expressing hope for a political solution,
and to stressing their commitment to the integrity of West
Pakistan-a gesture that Mrs. Gandhi could only interpret as
In an effort to offset the damaging impression of
complicity in the dismemberment of an allied country,
Kissinger claimed rather equivocally that when Mrs. Gandhi
visited Washington "We had no reason to believe that military
action was that imminent and that we did not have time to
begin work on a peaceful solution." (Italics added) However,
this statement suggesting only that the U.S. had no knowledge
of the timing for military action was refuted by Ambassador
Keating. On this point his cable read: "With vast and
voluminous efforts of the intelligence community, reporting
from both Delhi and Islamabad, and his own discussions in
Washington, Ambassador Keating said he did not understand
the statement that 'Washington was not given the slightest
inkling that any military operation was in any way imminent.'
See lfor) example DIAl B 219-71 of November 12 stating
specifically that war is 'imminent.' ,,10
In other words, for at least two weeks in advance the
Nixon government knew that Pakistan, since 1953 an ally and
client, signatory of a mutual defense treaty with the U.S. and
member of SEATO and CENTO alliances, was to fight a war
for its survival. Yet it did nothing worthy of note to prevent
the outbreak of hostilities or to help the invaded ally, although
in a remarkable denouement of shadow-play diplomacy the
U.S. displayed diplomatic and military strength (e.g.
representation to U.S.S.R., and sailing the Ellterprise into the
Bay of Bengal)- only after the outcome of the conflict had
been clearly determined. The case of Pakistan gives the lie to
Nixon's claim that his sole reason for supporting the Saigon
regime is to protect the credibility of America's commitment
to its allies.
First, the conduct of U.S. policy during the South Asian
crisis and the tone of the Anderson papers indicate a
remarkable absence of concern with the potential and actual
extension of Russian influence in India and Bangladesh. With
regard to India one encounters the assumption that the U.S.
public posture would undoubtedly cause it some irritation, but
its leaders would understand and accept the limited American
objective of preserving the integrity of West Pakistan while
permitting India a freer hand with regard to East Bengal.
Ambassador Kenneth B. Keating, popular in India, was
understood as doing an admirable job of reassuring the Indian
govt:rnment leaders. Jack Anderson portrayed Nixon as
"confident that the Indians would not allow themselves to
become wholly dependent on the Russians, and that the risks
of offending them were therefore less than critics believed." 11
As for Bangladesh, there was equanimity over the
possibility that it might come not only under Indian but
Russian influence. Here is an exchange as recorded in the
Memo on December 6 Meeting: "Dr. Kissinger asked whether
we will be appealed to bailout Bangladesh. Mr. Williams
[Maurice J. Williams, Deputy Administrator, A.J.D.) said that
the problem would not be terribly great if we could continue
to funnel 140 tons of food a month through Chittagong, but
at this time nothing is moving. He further suggested that
Bangladesh will need all kinds of help in the future, to which
Ambassador Johnson [U. Alexis Johnson, State Department)
added that Bangladesh will be an 'international basket case.'
Dr. Kissinger said, 'however it will not necessarily be our
basket case. ' " (Italics added)
Nevertheless, the Memos as well as subsequent decisions
indicate a policy of maintaining American economic and
political presence in India and Bangladesh. Thus there has been
no actual or projected diminution of American economic aid
to India, and the U.S. has become the largest aid giver to
Bangladesh. In effect, India and Bangladesh offer the most
clear-cut example of peaceful co-existence and of Russia's
junior partnership in the Pax Americana.
There were solid reasons for White House indifference to
its liberal critics' warnings that the policy of 'tilting' toward
Pakistan would lead to the loss of India to Russian influence.
And there were good grounds for welcoming an extension of
the Russian role in the sub-continent. The risk of India turning
into a Soviet client under the leadership of the Congress party
is about as remote as Bhtain's entry into the Warsaw pact
under the prime ministership of Harold Wilson. An intelligent
practitioner of Realpolitik, Kissinger could not conceive of
Mrs. Gandhi basing her long-term policies on temporary
irritation. After all, India is one country to have clearly
profited from its "neutralism." Thanks mainly to its hostility
toward China, and its place as the second most populous
country in the world, it has been the object of courtship by
both the U.S.S.R. and U.S.A. Both have invested billions in
rubles and dollars to build its economy to match China's; since
the Sinolndian War both have contributed heavily to the
modernization of its armed forces. It is difficult to imagine
India cutting off a primary source of support just because
American rhetoric caused it some inconvenience or anger. Dr.
Kissinger put the point rather succinctly when, referring to the
Indian Prime Minister, he told the W.s.A.G. meeting that "The
lady is cold-blooded and tough and will not turn into a Soviet
satellite merely because of pique." 12
India is also one of the rare countries which could be
presumed "safe" under Russian influence, even if the latter
were to extend beyond tolerable limits. For in India the
U.S.S.R. must continue to favor the status quo under the
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
anti-Chinese Indian National Congress over an assumption of
power by the Communists who, despite the many rifts among
them, constitute the only viable opposition movement in the
country. For if the Communists were to come to power they"
would most likely be neutral in the Sino-Soviet dispute, i.e., if
the pro-Chinese factions do not dominate the government.
Hence India will be "safe for democracy" even or especially
under Soviet tutelage. Much the same can be said about
Bangladesh. The pro-Western Awami League leaders are
assured of continued Soviet support and protection for the
simple reason that the only alternative to them are the
Communists and leftists who are unlikely to join the Russian
crusade against China. The facts that the Indian government
coupled its intervention in East Bengal with massive repression
of the left in the Indian half of Bengal, and that subsequently
both Mrs. Gandhi and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman have continued
their assault on the left without even mild disapproval from
the U.S.S.R. only confirm this expectation.
More importantly, the extension of the Soviet role in
India and Bangladesh-and this has been noticeable especially
in the field of armaments-helps promote the single most
important objective of recent American policy: the stimu
lation of Sino-Soviet confrontation and the military encircle
ment of China by the U.S.S.R. Since the U.S. is less interested
in multiplying its own encirclement of China, Bangladesh and
Eastern India have practically no strategic value for it. On the
other hand, expanding Soviet presence on their southwestern
flank can be perceived only as an ominous development by the
The White House attitude of equanimity toward the
potential expansion of the Soviet role did not extend to West
Pakistan. Maintaining its "integrity," not the unity of the old
Pakistan, and Pakistan's status as a client state were important
to the U.S. The White House risked considerable public
criticism to create the illusion of support for and solidarity
with the West Pakistani-dominated central government. And as
the war with India entered its last phase, the U.S. became
genuinely concerned over the possibility that India might
follow up its victory in East Pakistan by pushing toward the
West. The Anderson papers indicate this concern in all the
WSAG meetings.
However, it was not until December 6 that the White
House began considering ways to prevent India from
"dismembering" Pakistan. By that day the Pakistani defense in
the East had crumbled, and America's "ally" had in fact been
dismembered. At this meeting, CIA director Richard Helms
"stated that for all practical purposes it [East Pakistan] is now
an independent state recognized by India." Ambassador
Johnson suggested that the "Pak armed forces now in E.
Pakistan could be held hostage." His opinion was reinforced
by General Westmoreland who noted that "there was no
means of evacuating West Pak forces from the East Wing ..."
Whereupon leaving some 90,000 beleagured soldiers of an
allied nation in the lurch, "Dr. Kissinger stated that the next
state of play will involve determining our attitude toward the
state of Bangladesh."
According to the Memo the meeting of December 6
"was devoted to the massive problems facing Bangladesh as a
nation" with Dr. Kissinger indicating that "the problem should
be studied now." However, the "subject of possible military
aid to Pakistan is also to be examined but on a very close hold
basis. The matter of Indian redeployment from East to West
was considered as was the legality of the current 'sea blockade'
by India." The "close hold basis" meant simply that Pakistan
would get military aid only if India seemed determined to
overrun its Western provinces. "The President," indicated
Kissinger, "is not inclined to let the Paks be defeated." And
Mr. Sisco [State Department] "stated that from a political
point of view our efforts would have to be directed at keeping
the Indians from 'extinguishing' West Pakistan." A decision
was made to look into the possibility of supplying arms to
Pakistan quietly-through Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Augmented concern with the security of the Western
wing of Pakistan dominated the meeting of December 8. The
War had stiffened on the Western front. CIA Director Helms
reported that Mrs. Gandhi had indicated that before heeding a
U.N. call she intends to straighten out the Southern border of
Azad Kashmir. It is reported that ... Mrs. Gandhi attempts to
eliminate Pakistan's armor and air force capabilities." Kissinger
was alarmed and obviously agitated: "Dr. Kissinger suggested
that the key issue if the Indians turn on West Pakistan is Azad
Kashmir.... The elimination of the Pak armored and air
forces would make the Paks defenseless. It would turn West
Pakistan into a client state. The possibility elicits a number of
questions. Can we allow a U.S. ally to go down completely
while we participate in a blockade? Can we allow the Indians
to scare us off, believing that if U.S. supplies are needed that
will not be provided?" On that day, for the first time Kissinger
expressed doubt over the U.S. ban on sales of arms to
Pakistan: "Dr. Kissinger suggested that perhaps we never really
analyzed what the real danger was when we were turning off
the arms to Pakistan." 13
It is doubtful whether India actually intended or had the
capacity to "extinguish" West Pakistan. But it is clear that
Nixon and Kissinger feared that India was getting carried away
by the momentum of its victory and was not heeding earlier
White House warnings to keep off the one half of Pakistan the
U.S. wished to protect. In an interview in Time magazine
Nixon too claimed that the American intelligence community
had reason to believe that there were forces in India pushing
for total victory. Once this perception took hold, the White
House made the minimal moves needed to prevent escalation
of fighting on the Western front: King Hussein of Jordan was
kept in a "holding pattern" as a conduit of arms to Pakistan.
India received warnings against pushing on to West Pakistan.
The Enterprise, the nuclear warship, showed the flag in the
Bay of Bengal. President Nixon intervened with the Kremlin
and induced Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily V. Kuznetsov to
journey to New Delhi with warnings favoring Indian
acceptance of a cease-fire. This was obtained on December 16
following the fall of Dacca and the surrender of 90,000
Pakistani soldiers. The next day, Z. A. Bhutto,
President-designate of Pakistan and an erstwhile "Yankee
baiter," faced T.V. cameras outside the Western White House;
his right hand raised, fingers crossed, he said that Pakistan was
"beholden" to America for its friendship and support.
The importance of West Pakistan to the U.S. derives, of
course, from its strategic value as a state bounded by India,
Iran, Afghanistan, China, and the U.S.S.R. But even more
important to the American interest is its commanding location
at the Indian Ocean's opening into the Persian Gulf-the
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source of 60% of the world's oil reserves. The policy of
maintaining an all-American foothold in West Pakistan while
creating a U.S.-Soviet condominium in the rest of the
sub-continent appears to be related to the Kissinger-Nixon
strategy of creating a new and dependable pro-Western
constellation of power in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean
regions-an informal yet cohesive military network which
would supersede the role in that region previously assigned to
NATO and to the ill fated Baghdad Pact. Spain and Portugal at
one end, with Turkey, Greece and Israel in the heartland, Iran
and Pakistan are willed to constitute the eastern primates of
Pax Americana. We are witnessing the development of the
Mediterranean version of Nixon's "Southern Strategy."
The outlines of Nixon's design emerged during his
Mediterranean tour in the fall of 1970, and they were also
discernible in the seemingly contradictory developments
associated with the cease-fire along the Israeli-Egyptian front.
In reports written at the time, I had pointed out that the
Rogers' Plan, which in fact was drafted by Kissinger's staff in
the White House not by Roger's men in the State Department,
was promoted to obtain some tactical gains rather than to
achieve a Middle East settlement based on the U.N. Security
Council Resolution of November 22, 1967. It is now a fact
that the cease-fire brought about by the now-abandoned
Rogers' Plan accomplished the tactical objectives of
a) defusing the Arab-Israeli conflict and freezing the situation
to Israel's advantage; b) reducing the risks of U.S.-U.S.S.R.
confrontation; c) slowing down the influx of Soviet arms in
Egypt and growing Russian influence in the Middle East at a
time when the Egyptian deployment of defensive SAM missiles
and the arrival of Soviet-flown Migs in the area were regarded
as disturbing developments in Washington; d) further dividing
the Arabs, and isolating the Palestinian resistance who then
became a relatively easy target of King Hussein.
Nixon's 1970 visit to the Sixth Fleet, his first trip
abroad as President, underscored the importance his
government attached to the region. The visit to the Fleet was
expected to be an exercise in gunboat diplomacy, but the
manner in which he conducted it surprised many observers. He
skipped France altogether. The stopover in Italy was a
formality, as was the return through London. Nixon set the
tone of this tour with the declaration in Rome that "one of
the primary indispensable principles of American policy is to
maintain the necessary strength in the Mediterranean." 14 In
the Vatican, a maleable Pope had his "spiritual power"
contrasted with the reminder that the "President of the
strongest nation in the world" had come to visit "the mightiest
military force which exists in the world on any ocean."
The scene then shifted to the aircraft carrier Saratoga
which had been poised in a well coordinated plan with Israel,
American officials later confirmed, for intervention in Jordan
in case Syria entered the battle or the Palestinian resistance
made unexpected gains in the battle against Hussein; to
Yugoslavia, Spain, and Greece. Display of strength,
saber-rattling, and flag-showing are important ingredients in
Kissinger's concept of imperial diplomacy; and they are
congenial to Nixon's temperment. He was resentful :>f Abdel
Nasser for dying at an inconvenient time, for it led to the
cancellation of the Fleet's elaborate display of fire power. Max
Frankel of the New York Times, on board with Nixon,
reported him wondering, "How would the Russians or the
Israelis regard a president who could be driven off his course
by the Egyptian leader, even in death." He was worried too
that Tito might cancel his invitation. But the surviving grandee
of the neutralist bloc passed by the funeral of his avowed
friend to wine and dine Nixon during the week when the Arab
people buried Abdel Nasser and under intensified attack
10,000 tons of U.S. bombs fell on Vietnam. That week Nixon
learned an important fact about "socialist realism" which
would later help him in dealings with China and the U.S.S.R.
Armaments supplies to Greece had been resumed two
weeks earlier despite protests from influential European and
American groups. A Presidential visit to Greece, however, was
deemed inopportune at the time. Hence while Nixon visited
Franco, Defense Secretary Laird was in Athens giving what he
described as "high priority" to the modernization of Greek
forces. IS The "modernization" of the junta has since
continued on a bilateral basis as well as under the cover of
NATO. The enlargement of U.S. armaments aid to Greece and
expansion of U.S. naval activities in Greek ports are now well
known facts. Similar developments obtain in case of Turkey
and Iran, Spain and Portugal.
If these states are being readied to act as sentinels, Israel
appears to have been allotted the role of chief constable. It fits
all the specifications of an ideal surrogate. Its military
performance in 1967 has been a matter of unabashed envy to
the Vietnam-frustrated Chief of General Staff. Its air force is
regarded as an effective deterrent against Syrian or Iraqi
attacks on friends and allies in the oil-rich kingdoms. Between
France and India it is the only power to enjoy the nuclear
option. Its technological sophistication reassures U.S. officials
who have deep faith in the decisive power of machines. Above
all, its economic and military dependence on the U.S. is
viewed as being permanent; hence its stability as an ally is
presumed. The image is of Sparta in the service of Rome, an
irrestible opportunity. As a result, since September 1970 the
Congress has given the White House what the Times has
described as "the most open-ended arms buying program in
the world." 16 And the Honorable John McCormack, the
Speaker of the House, said with an injured note of surprise: "I
have never seen in my 42 years as a member of this body
language of this kind used in an authorization or in an
appropriation bill." Consequently, Israel armed with the most
advanced offensive weapons in the conventional arsenal of the
U.S. has become the great power of the Middle East. No other
country in the world ever enjoyed so complete a commitment
from the U.S. And no other state in history achieved status as
a great regional power almost entirely on the basis of foreign
support. It is only in this context that one can explain active
Israeli campaigning for the re-election of Nixon, the Zionist
lobbies' rejection of McGovern, and Nixon's statement that
there can be no viable security for Israel without U.S. military
aid to Greece.
A country like Pakistan cannot expect so exalted a
place. Its role is to remain inhospitable to the Soviet Union,
particularly to its navy, while expansion of some U.S. naval
facilities there could be of value. Hence preparations are under
way for the development of port facilities in Pasni and
Gawadar along the Mekan Coast overlooking the Persian Gulf.
As a Muslim state which is neither Persian nor Arab, Pakistan
is also ideally situated to help administer the disputed oil
sheikdoms of the Gulf. Hence with American blessings and
British help it has established military and policy advisory
missions in Muscat, Oman, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait.
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The assumptions which define the U.S. strategy in the
Mediterranean and Indian Ocean region need to be briefly
capitulated. First, a basic tenet of the Nixon-Kissinger
diplomacy is a certain suspicion of U.S.S.R. as a rival and
potential challenger of the paramountcy of the U.S.
International instability IS viewed as potentially
disadvantageous to America. Hence U.S. policy toward the
U.S.S.R. combines elements of containment and confrontation
in some regions, of cooptation and selective rewards in others.
In the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and Persian Gulf regions,
it perceives its hegemony threatened by Soviet "intrusion."
Officials in the Nixon government believe that following the
Johnson-Kosygin meeting in Glassboro, the U.S. miscalculated
the extent of Soviet ambition and its capability for
penetration in the Middle East. As a result, they remained
sanguine over growing Soviet influence in the area. An
example was cited of Soviet military missions in U.A.R.:
Lacking sizable aircraft carriers necessary for air combat
and deep inland penetration, the Russian navy was considered
incapable of posing a challenge to the Sixth Fleet. American
officials had felt sure that in an effort to overcome this
disadvantage, the U.S.S.R. would not introduce Soviet
personnel in the Middle East, as it had not done so in North
Vietnam. The news that Soviet pilots might be manning the
advanced MIG's in the U.A.R. destroyed both assumptions and
aroused American concern to the extent that the normally
cool Dr. Kissinger spoke of forcibly ejecting U.S.S.R. from
Second, the region in question is strategically and
economically too crucial to allow for a policy of
"co-existence" such as the one obtaining in South Asia. The
projected future shortage of gas and oil supplies make middle
Eastern oil not only a major source of profit but the mo.,'>t
strategic resource of modern times. For the West to control
this resource is not only an economic but a military necessity.
Third, the fear that American power is slipping from
both Western Europe and the Mediterranean region is
enhanced by the belief that France (for reasons of "Gaulist
chauvinism") and Italy (because of "instability and leftward
swing") have become unreliable allies. In Great Britain
Washington retains a lingering hope and trust. But given its
economic problems, and the isolationist mood of its people,
the United Kingdom is expected to continue to "abdicate its
responsibilities" as a world power. As a result, officials
envisage a gradual elimination of NATO activities in the
Mediterranean and wish to replace it with a new alliance of
dependable states more or less dependent on U.S. economic
and military power.
Fourth, given the economic and social pressures at
home, the U.S. government foresees the impossibility of
committing more military personnel abroad. In order to avoid
serious opposition to an aggressive foreign policy, to reduce
operational costs of deploying large numbers of American
soldiers, and to prevent the resurgence of "neo-isolationist
sentiments" in America, the government is seeking to
minimize direct involvement of Americans abroad by making
maximum use not only of technology, but also of mercenaries
and surrogates. Thus, the Mediterranean is witnessing not only
the emergence of a "Southern Strategy" and the application of
"Nixon Doctrine," but also a special brand of
"Vietnamization. "
Fifth, it appears clear that U.S. policy under Nixon
prefers the creation of regional constellations ot pro-Western
allies based on bilateral ties with the U.S. rather than on
formal collective security pacts favored under Truman and
Eisenhower. This trend is based on Kissinger's correct
assessment of the disadvantages which accrue to the leading
member of formal collective security arrangements. A set of
allies each tied by separate bilateral agreements to the
paramount power gives the latter maneuverability and control
unobtainable in collective arrangements. It is a tribute to the
flexibility of this arrangement that countries such as Muslim
Pakistan, Arab Jordan, fascist Greece, and militarist Turkey
can all fit in the same alliance without causing any
embarrassment to themselves, each other, or the paramount
Lastly, it is noteworthy that, with the exception of
Israel and Pakistan, all the primary agents in this configuration
of power are fascist or proto-fascist governments. Close
analysis of the recent U.S. role in the making and survival of
regimes in Greece and Turkey indicates a conscious preference
in Washington for what my be described as "developmental
fascism." Yet American alliances are probably difficult for
regimes in quest of stability. Alliance with the U.S. is unlikely
to be a popular posture in any country of the region except
Israel (whose population apparently believes such a
relationship to be basic to their security). Hence no
democratic governmel)t can sustain it for too long. Only a
tyranny can keep the lid on popular demands for a neutralist
or independent foreign policy. Spain and Portugal are viewed
as examples of the success and suitability for underdeveloped
nations of national fascism wedded to economic growth.
1. New York Times, January 6, 1972.
2. Memo for December 4, 1971 meeting, New York Times,
January 6,1972.
3. New York Times, January 6,1972.
4. New York Times, July 7,1971.
5. New York Times, July 24,1971.
6. New York Times, January 6, 1972.
7. Ibid., memos on meeting December 3, 4, 6, 1971.
8. New York Times, January 15, 1972.
9. In a cable to Secretary William Rogers, Kenneth B. Keating,
U.S. Ambassador to India seemed to challenge this claim, but in effect
he confirmed its substance and spirit. The operative paragraph of the
cable reads: "Story indicates that both the Secretary Mr. Rogers and
Dr. Kissinger informed Ambassador Jha of India that Washington
favored autonomy for East Pakistan. Mr. Keating said he was aWare of
our repeated statements that we had no formula for a solution and our
belief that the outcome of negotiations would probably be autonomy if
not independence, but he regretted that he was uninformed of any
specific statement favoring autonomy." (New York Times, text of
cable, January 6, 1972, italics added.)
10. New York Times, January 6, 1972, Keating cable to Rogers.
11. New York Times, January 6, 1972.
12. New York Times, January 15, 1972, text of memo of
December 8.
13. Text of memo on lndian-Pakistan War, New York Times,
January 15, 1972.
14. New York Times, September 28, 1970.
15.New York Times, October 15, 1970.
16. New York Times, September 29,1970.
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Weather Modification and War
by Peter Caplan
Although the cost already borne by the people of
Indochina in terms of human deaths and injuries is staggering,
still more suffering awaits them as a consequence of the
lingering effects of the new use of an old weapon
environmental warfare - on a scale never before seen.
Throughout the war, the United States systematically attacked
the ecosystem through intense application of herbicides,
large-scale bulldozing, attempted creation of firestorms, and
the incredibly concentrated bombing, which cratered vast
areas and repeatedly damaged the dikes in North Vietnam.
This has created irreversible damage to the environment. In
addition to serving the announced purpose of denying cover to
the insurgents, it has become clear that the environmental
warfare has had a more sinister purpose: to destroy the social
structure that supports the National Liberation Front by
removing millions of people from their ancestral homes and
packing them into more easily controlled areas, such as urban
slums and refugee camps.
The mindless destruction in Indochina obliged interna
tional law professor Richard Falk,l for lack of a precedent, to
invent a definition for environmental weapons as weapons
intended to "destroy the environment per se, or disrupt
normal relationships between man and nature on a sustained
basis." To accomplish this same purpose on a much grander
scale but in a more subtle fashion, there are ominious reports
of a new class of weapons which are to be the tools of what
refers to as "geophysical warfare." These wea
pons, which include earthquakes, climate change, altered
ocean currents, and tidal waves, can be triggered at a great
distance from the intended victim and may be indistinguish
able from natural disasters. Although there is as yet no
evidence that a capability to use these weapons exists now,
one line of research that is being intensely pursued is climate
modification. The most important work here is done under
project "Nile Blue" (now called "Climate Dynamics"), which
the Pentagon asserts is necessary because other major world
powers have "the ability to create modification of climate that
might be seriously detrimental to the security of this
country." 3 Funding for computer time to run the necessary
numerical simulations is over $3 million annually, and in 1973
ILLIAC IV, the fastest machine available, did the work.
Evidence of U.S. Use of
Weather Modification in Indochina
A key precedent for geophysical warfare has already
been established by the use, for the first time, of weather
modification as a weapon of war. As used in Indochina, it has
consisted mainly of attempts to increase rainfall by the
injection of chemicals into selected thunderclouds to enable
them to overcome natural atmospheric restraints on their
growth. Although these techniques, loosely referred to as
"cloud seeding," have existed for over thirty years, only
recently has there been wide agreement that some of them
really work.
Due to rigid secrecy, evidence of rai.nmaking activities in
the war did not begin to appear until 1971, when Jack
Anderson's syndicated column of March 16
stated that the
Air Force had been stimulating rainfall over the Ho Chi Minh
trail network since 1967. Shortly thereafter, Rep. Gilbert
Gude and Sen. Alan Cranston began an unproductive
10-month correspondence on the subject with Administration
Senator Pell was less patient; when, after three
months of government evasion, John Foster, director of
defense research and engineering for the Pentagon, finally
informed him simply that the information he sought was
classified, Pell published the whole correspondence.
months later, Pell and thirteen other Senators submitted Senate
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Resolution 281, urging the United States to seek international
agreement on a treaty that would prohibit "any environmental
or geophysical modification activities as weapons of war" as
well as "research or experimentation, directed to the
development of any such activity as a weapon of war ... "?
Finally, in April 1972 at Senate hearings,S Senator Pell
got to question Secretary of Defense Laird directly, explaining
that he had introduced a draft treaty opposing the use of
weather modification for military reasons and asking Laird:
"Are you able to comment in any way on this subject?" Laird
replied that he would be pleased to do so and promptly evaded
the question by presenting a list of weather modification
programs in the Philippines, the Caribbean, and Texas. Pell
tried again: "Excuse me, I know my colleagues are waiting to
question you too. Have we engaged in these activities for
military reasons in Southeast Asia?" Laird tried to close the
door with, "I can't discuss the operating authority that we go
forward with in Southeast Asia." After a short digression,
however, Fulbright reopened with, " ... why do you decline to
discuss weather control activities in North Vietnam when you
freely discuss B-52 flights over North Vietnam? What is the
sensitive nature of weather control, or whatever you may do
with the weather? ... " And Laird's unconvincing reply, "I do
not talk about things that we haven't done ..." and, in the
next sentence, "In connection with the weather programs ...
we have not conducted ... such operations, but I am not
going to rule them out." Fulbright: "In other words, you have
never engaged in the use of weather control ...?" Laird: "We
have never engaged in that type of activity over North
Vietnam." Fulbright: "That is a perfectly logical answer. I
don't know why you were so sensitive about it." Laird: "I am
not sensitive about it, Mr. Chairman, but ... " Fulbright: "But
you didn't discuss it."
Having thus established that weather modification was
considered an extremely sensitive subject, more sensitive even
than B-52 raids, Fulbright unfortunately neglected to examine
Laird's refusal to discuss weather modification in the rest of
Southeast Asia, in the light of his denial of weather
modification over North Vietnam. If Laird was telling the
truth, the clear implication, of course, is that military weather
modification was carried out in the combat area exclusive of
North Vietnam; however, most meteorologists will agree that
it is not necessary to be "over" a country as small as North
Vietnam in order to modify its weather.
At about the same time, the Chicago Collective of
Science for Vietnam distributed a mimeographed report
containing the first direct evidence on the subject - a
reference in the Pentagon Papers (Gravel edition, vol. IV, 421)
to rainmaking over Laos in 1967 to "reduce trafficability.
along infiltration routes." The research was prompted by the
receipt of a letter from Huynh Huu-Nghiep of the Union of
Vietnamese Intellectuals in France asking for information on
reports of American military use of meteorology, "to
denounce this new form of war to the American public" and
forward relevant data to Vietnamese scientists. The resulting
report apparently had the desired effect; Deborah Shapley, in
an extensively quoted article in Science
(which made no
reference to the above report), located another Pentagon
Papers reference and, for the first time, brought the facts
before a large scientific audience.
At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearingsll
that preceded the UN Stockholm Conference on the Human
Environment, it was made clear that key members of the
American delegation had not been adequately informed about
S. R. 281. Russell Train, chairman of the delegation, had not
received a copy and refused to express any opinion. As might
have been expected, the US acted to dilute an already weak
resolution requiring essentially that nations engaging in
activities "in which there is an appreciable risk of effect on
climate" should be open about these activities and consult
with other nations. There was apparently some disagreement
within the American delegation, in the course of which it was
revealed that it was the military that objected to the
Starting with the publication of an article in the
Providence Journal of June 26, 1972, in which Senator Pell
linked the disastrous 1971 floods in North Vietnam to
American rainmaking efforts, other accounts appeared in
nationally read newspapers.13 Seymour Hersh, on the basis of
numerous interviews with high-ranking government officials
and military sources, indicated that cloud seeding had been
used as early as 1963 to control a Buddhist demonstration in
Saigon and later to increase the duration of the summer
monsoon over North Vietnam, to hamper anti-aircraft missiles
and to muddy infiltration routes. An official Pentagon
spokesman responded to the articles only by insisting that "we
have not engaged in any [rainmaking] over North Vietnam." 14
Hearings on Senate Resolution 281 took place on July
26 and 27,1972. Among the witnesses were three who were in
a position to know about weather modification in Indochina:
Benjamin Forman, a DOD counsel, Gordon J. F. MacDonald
of the President's Council on Environmental Quality and
formerly of DOD's Institute for Defense Analyses, and
Herman Pollack, director of the State Department's Bureau of
International Scientific and Technological Affairs. All three
refused to divulge the information on the grounds that it was
classified; Forman in particular aroused Chairman Pell's ire by
confirming Laird's "not over North Vietnam" statement and
then providing nothing else of substance. Pell remarked, "In
my own twelve years here I don't recall a single area where
comment is as flatly refused as this." In addition, Pell revealed
that DOD had also refused to comment in a closed session of
the committee. 15 These refusals testify to the great significance
of the program. (Further evidence was the quiet elimination of
weather modification from a U.S.-U.S.S.R. science and
technology cooperative agreement.)
In August an excellent study by Gliedman
analyzed in
painstaking detail the structure of dike systems of North
Vietnam, explained how nearby bomb explosions can create
invisible weakening, and calculated possible rice-crop losses
from monsoon flooding. He estimated the relatively modest
additional volume of water from rainfall at the end of the
monsoon season (when waters are highest and soil saturated)
that would be needed to cause flooding, then compared that
to the volume claimed to be obtainable by the latest weather
modification techniques. He concluded that existing tech
niques could have produced dangerous flooding, thus lending
some weight to Pell's accusation that the disastrous 1971
monsoon floods (among the five worst of this century) were
attributable to rainmaking activities.
In September 1972, Weather Engineering Corporation of
Canada, Ltd., sued the Pentagon for $95 million, claiming that
it had used the firm's cloud-seeding device III Indochina in
violation of patent rights. I?
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Two more recent attempts to obtain information about
American military weather modification activities have again
elicited the customary stony silence from the Pentagon. One
took place at the Spring 1973 Senate Armed Services
Committee hearings; the other was a petition to the president
dated March 1, 1973, from the 4500-member Federation of
American Scientists
urging full disclosure. Strangely enough,
Gordon J. F. MacDonald, serving as spokesman for the group
(although denying "personal knowledge" of DOD operations),
became the first former government official to state that the
US had used weather as a weapon. 19
On July 11, 1973, S.R. 281 (having been reintroduced as
S.R. 71) was approved by an impresive 82-10 margin. Yet as of
that date the Pentagon had still failed to confirm or deny the
use of rainmaking in the Indochina war.
Meteorology and the Military
Public reactions by meteorologists have ranged from
shoulder-shrugging to anger, but none have expressed much
surprise; meteorology and the military have long been
bedfellows. As far back as the War of 1812, Army medics were
instructed to keep weather diaries, and the original National
Weather Service in 1870 was run by the Army Signal Service.
Their symbiotic relationship was recently celebrated by Brig.
Gen. W. H. Best, USAF, Commander of the Air Weather
Best cited a RAND study that showed for operations
over Southeast Asia, the probability of "mission success" was
28 percent without weather forecasts, 50 percent with, and 74
percent if the forecasts were perfect. The Air Force alone now
employs more than 3.5 times as many meteorologists as the
National Weather Service. Estimates of Federal spending for
1973 show that of the $350 million atmospheric sciences
research budget, only about 15 percent is military, but the
combined DOD-NASA portion amounts to about 78 percent.
Although civilian agencies now finance most weather
modification research, its origins are military. The initial lab
experiments in the mid-1940s grew out of wartime research on
aircraft icing. These, plus the initial field trials of cloud seeding
and the. early years (1946-1950) of development, were mostly
financed by the military.21 The field experiments were widely
publicized, leading to unproven extravagant claims for the
potential benefits of weather modification. Commercial
rainmaking activities prospered in the following years, reaching
a peak in 1952, with about 10 percent of the entire
continental US seeded, as well as portions of thirty other
After a period of retrenchment, in which questions were
raised about the ability of cloud seeders to influence rainfall
significantly, a period of steady growth in government funding
of weather modification research ensued, the total rising from
$2.4 million in 1960 to $12 million in 1970 and then more
than doubling in the next two years.
The rapid growth of weather modification in the sixties
was correlated with a general growth in science research
funding and further stimulated by a new series of inflated
claims, with the American Meteorological Society in 196224
holding out hope of "tremendous economic and humanitarian
advantages" and in 1967
"great benefit to mankind." No less
a personage than Lyndon Johnson proclaimed in 1963
we will some day "eliminate droughts and floods, bring rain to
the deserts, and control deluges of jungles"; and in 1967
Robert M. White, Environmental Science Services Administra
tion (ESSA) chief, foresaw improving "the well-being of
people in ways and to a degree that are now inconceivable."
These statements contrast sharply with the cautious conclu
sions published in the journals by the investigators in the field
and also with the language in the status reports frequently
issued by the National Academy of Sciences and the National
Science Foundation, among others. For example, a 1971 NAS
reiterated its careful 1966 statement that "there is
increasing but still somewhat ambiguous statistical evidence
that precipitation from some types of cloud and storm systems
can be modestly increased or redistributed by seeding
techniques. "
Throughout the period after World War II there was
little mention of military applications, with the exception of
the post-Sputnik scare in the late '50s. Then, dark hints about
Russian progress were in style, typified by Houghton's
statement: 29 "I shudder to think of the consequences of a
prior Russian discovery of a feasible method of weather
control. "
The attitude of the NAS and NSF status reports toward
military matters is curiously inconsistent. They list all of the
military research being conducted (mostly on subjects similar
to those of civilian research, e.g., rainmaking, fog clearance,
hail and hurricane modification) and dutifully express the
need for international cooperation and peaceful uses of
weather modification; yet they fail to see any conflict between
military research and international cooperation, or to acknowl
edge that the military research being described has very real
offensive as well as defensive potential. The NSF Special
Commission report of 1966,30 for example, innocently
recognized a "remote possibility" that sometime in the future
a nation might develop the capability to use weather
modification to inflict damage on the economy and civil
population of another country," while the NAS 1971 report
allowed that "military applications of weather modification
are conceivable." St. Amand back in 1966
was more
forthright: "We regard the weather as a weapon. Anything one
can use to get his way is a weapon and the weather is as good a
one as any." His reaction to the recent disclosures was: "I
don't think using weather to discourage people from moving is
a bad thing to do.,,33
Military Research and the University
Since a sizeable portion of militarily supported research
is done by people outside the military, some of whom hold
academic positions, it is enlightening to look at the Pentagon's
views of the benefits of collaboration between itself and the
campus. William J. Price, executive officer of the Air Force
Office of Scientific Research, pointed out
that "One of the
strengths of the DOD-university relationship is that it is built
upon mutual understanding and respect for their common
interests." Universities must function in such a way as to
"assure the future of society" (American society, presumably).
Professors are depicted as desiring "especially to work on
problems of national security ... in their concern to assure the
future of society." Price estimates that DOD in 1968
supported up to half of Federal research in math, physics, and
engineering on campus.
Compliance with the Mansfield amendment to the 1970
Military Procurement Act has caused some
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problems. It required, as originally worded, that DOD-spon
sored research bear "a direct and apparent relationship to a
specific military function or operation." According to Shap
ley's account
of DOD research at Stanford, the Defense
Documentation Center has, for its records, changed the titles
and in some cases the descriptions of proposals approved by
DOD to justify funding them.
Just what is required of the DOD-sponsored scientist was
made clear by Paul Lukasik, director of their Advanced
Research Projects Agency: He must have a "degree of
objectivity that enables him to separate his science from his
advice. He can work in the area of quantum mechanics
regardless of his position on the ABM ... or on [thel test ban
treaty." 36 In other words, as long as he lets the DOD pick his
mind, what his conscience says is irrelevant. Lukasik contin
ues, " ... the universities ... not only provide the input to us,
but they learn from us ..." Thus General Best isn't the only
one to talk about symbiosis.
This view of the university scientist as an objective
intellect to be placed at the disposal of the government can
equally well be applied to scientists outside the university. It
was stated succinctly by Richard Reed, president of the
J American Meteorological Society, in his explanation
? of the
philosophy that went into the Society'S testimony on S.R.
291: It is the government (not, in this case, the AMS) that is
to determine "the use to which meteorological knowledge and
skill are ultimately put." The message that AMS and DOD
seem anxious to communicate is that scientists, when they act
in this matter, are being politically neutral. However, where
the only "scientific opinion" heard by the public comes from
scientists on the payrolls of the powerful, it is imperative that
other voices be heard. Having the privilege of far more
education than most of the public, the scientist has a unique
responsibility to challenge and criticize; his silence is not
neutrality, but acquiescence.
The Indochina war is by no means the first instance of
the use by the West of the latest technological and scientific
advances in the service of imperialism. It was the key to the
early Spanish conquests, the exploitation of Asia and Africa
by the Europeans, and the destruction of the American
Indians by our own forefathers. Indochina has been a grisly
laboratory and its people guinea pigs for the weapons of the
future - infrared sensors, air-dropped antipersonnel weapons,
the computerized electronic battlefield and now geophysical
warfare. In its policy of "Vietnamization" and in its current
world-wide program of providing technical aid and training to
the police and the military in client countries run by repressive
regimes, it is clear that the US is going to depend more and
more on science and technology and less and less on the
Marines for maintaining the status quo or worse (as in Chile).
A few of the scientific and technical people in this country
whose talents are being used in the service of this global
strategy have become politicized sufficiently to see the
position that they are in and must begin the long process of
educating themselves and their colleagues to seek ways in
which to turn their talents to the service of those who need it.
The politically aware non-scientists in contact with Third
World people have a vital role to play in this process. It is
hoped that the collaboration that produced the Science for
Vietnam report on weather modification and the Gliedman
book will serve as a model for much more work of this kind.
1. Richard Falk, Prohibiting Military Weather Modification
(hereafter PMWM), Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Oceans and
International Environment, Senate Committee on Foreign Relations,
1972, testimony of Richard A. Falk, 38.
2. Falk, 124, from G. J. F. MacDonald, "How to Wreck the
Environment," in Nigel Calder, ed., Unless Peace Comes (New York:
Viking, 1968).
3. DOD Appropriations for FY 1972, Hearings Before the
Senate Committee on Appropriations, 1971, 739.
4. Jack Anderson, "U.S. Rainmakers Proving Success over Ho
Chi Minh Trails," Bell-McClure Syndicate, March 16, 1971.
5. PMWM, 103-108.
6. Congressional Record, January 26, 1971, S508.
7. Congressional Record, March 17, 1972.
8. Foreign Assistance Act, Hearings Becore the Senate Commit
tee on Foreign Relations, April 18, 1972, 128,159.
9. Science for Vietnam, Chicago Collective, "The Big Gun Is in
the Rain" (1103 East 57 Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637).
10. D. Shapley, "Rainmaking: Rumored Use Over Laos Alarms
Experts, Scientists," Science 176, 1216-1220.
11. U.N. Conference on Human Environment: Preparations and
Prospects, Hearings Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations,
May 3, 1972, 20.
12. D. Shapley, "Rainmaking: Stockholm Stand Watered Down
for Military," Science 176, 1404.
13. De Silva, Providence Journal, June 20, 1971; Victor Cohn,
Washington Post, July 2, 1972; John Wilford, New York Times, July 3,
1972; Seymour Hersh, New York Times, July 3, 1972, and July 9,
1972 (all of these also in PMWM, 5-17); in addition: Robert C. Cowen,
Christian Science Monitor, July 3, 1972.
14. Seymour Hersh, "1967 Order to End Rainmaking Re
ported," New York Times, July 4, 1972 (quote is from Jerry
15. D. Shapley, "Science Officials Bow to Military on Weather
Modification," Science 174 (1972), 411.
16. John Gliedman, Terror from the Skies (Cambridge, Mass.:
Vietnam Resource Center, 1972).
17. D. Shapley, "Weather Watch," Science 178 (1972),
18. Congressional Record, March 8, 1973.
19. Victor Cohn, Washington Post, March 9, 1973.
20. W. H. Best, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
53: 5 (1972), 429-432.
21. V. J. Schaefer, Bull. A.M.S. 49:4 (1968), 337-342.
22. R. Huschke, Bull. A.M.S. 44:7 (1963), 425-429.
23. E. Droessler, Bull. A.M.S. 53:4 (1972),345-348.
24. H. Houghton, Bull. A.M.S. 43:8 (1962), 400-401.
25. H. Houghton, Bull. A.M.S. 49:3 (1968), 272-273.
26. Government Weather Programs, House Report no. 177
(1965),151. Statement made May 2, 1963.
27. Robert M. White, quoted in "Weather and the Hand of
Man," ESSA pamphlet (1967),2.
28. The Atmospheric Sciences and Man's Needs, Report of the
Commission on Atmospheric Sciences (Washington, D.C.: National
Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, 1971), 56.
29. H. Houghton, Bull. A.M.S. 38:10 (1957),567-570.
30. Weather and Climate Modification, Report of NSF Special
Commission on Weather Modification, NSF 66-3 (1966), 119.
31. The Atmospheric Sciences and Man's Needs, op. cit., 56.
32. Weather Modification, testimony of P. St. Amand Before
the Senate Committee on Commerce, on bills S23 and S2916, 1966.
33. D. Shapley, "Rainmaking: Rumored Use Over Laos," op.
34. W. J. Price, Armed Forces Research Review (July-August
35. D. Shapley, "Defense Research: The Names Are Changed to
Protect the Innocent," Science 175 (1972), 84, 866-868.
36. DOD Appropriations for FY 1973, Hearings Before the
Senate Committee on Appropriations, Testimony of P. Lukasik, March
14, 1972, 75.
37. R. Reed, Bull. A.M.S. 53:12 (1972),1185-1191.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Managing the Media Filipino Style
October 22,1973
by Ruben Diario
Right after martial law was declared, the military,
through the Office of Community Relations (OCR) of the
headquarters of the Philippine Armed Forces, decided which
media organizations could operate, which publications might
be printed, and which newsmen were to be given a clean bill of
health. On May 11, 1973, these functions were turned over to
the Media Advisory Council, a "private" body established to
exercise the functions of a press council. In mid-October,
President Marcos "froze" the MAC and to date, the question
of who will watch the press is still unanswered. The choice, it
appears, is between the military and the Department of Public
Information (DPI).
The fall from grace of the MAC, abetted by many
sectors, including the military and the DPI, is interesting in
that it presents, in microcosm, the problems that have plagued
the Philippine press - both before and after martial law.
The President "froze" MAC after having received a
"White Paper" (some say it was two inches thick) from the
military, setting forth and documenting widespread mulcting
of media and business organizations by the MAC, especially by
its chairman, Mr. Primitivo Mijares. The call for the dissolution
of MAC was echoed by the DPI as well as some of the special
assistants around the President who had supported Mr. Mijares
until _. the story goes -- they found out he had not been giving
them their full share of the monies "contributed" by business
and media organizations. Business and media organizations
even those that were willing to give money under the table as
long as this was in "tolerable" amounts - added their pressure.
MAC turned out to be a monster and expectedly so,
because the President, in setting up the "private" body
through which the press was supposed to discipline itself,
chose for its personnel the very people who epitomized the
worst vices of which he accused the pre-martial law press. It is
true that there were newsmen who were on sale to the highest
bidder, newsmen who virtually extorted money from the
businessmen and politicians they covered, newsmen who used
their connections with government to further their own and
their publishers' interests. The worst of these newspapermen
were those who covered the House of Representatives, whose
over-lOO headline-hungry members were easy pickings for
newsmen-extortionists. The dean of these Congressional
reporters was Mr. Mijares himself (who bragged before martial
law that he was worth P3 million), who, upon his appointment
as MAC chairman, promptly surrounded himself with his
cronies from the Congressional Press Club.
Mr. Mijares himself is a most interesting case study in
media opportunism. He worked for the Manila Cbrollicle
(owned by the Lopez family, Mr. Marcos' political opponents)
and then switched over to the President's side when he joined
the Daily Express, which had been set up as the
administration's mouthpiece. Mr. Mijares' credentials to head
the body through which the press was to discipline itself are
based on his being president of the National Press Club - a
post he won in an election held after martial law: he had run
unopposed and only about 30 of the Club's several hundred
members had voted.
Upon becoming head of MAC, which was to be
supported not out of government funds but out of a fund to
which every media organization had to contribute one-tenth
of one percent of its gross income, Mr. Mijares proceeded to
define as many corporations as possible as "mass media."
Advertising agencies, presses that did only job printing, private
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tele-communications companies, the telephone company, and
even the public relations of big corporations were
defined by Mr. Mijares as "mass media" which therefore had
to kick in a percentage of their income. (For corporations'
public relations departments, Mr. Mijares' people claimed that
these departments' shares of the company budget was their
"income.") Mr. Mijares did not succeed in getting his
definition of "mass media" (and therefore his power) to stick
in all instances. But every institution that either faced the
threat of having to contribute part of its income or had
"consented" to buy several P5 ,000 sponsor's tickets to a MAC
benefit movie was willing to do what it could to grease the
skids for MAC and Mr. Mijares.
Within the government, Mr. Mijares did his best to
increase his influence and that of the MAC at the expense of
the Department of Public Information. MAC sent out its own
press releases glorifying the government. MAC planned an
overseas news service to improve the Philippine image abroad.
And Mr. Mijares himself undertook a number of
image-building (or wrecking) projects, notably his attempt to
smear the Philippine consul in the United States who had
defected from the Marcos government. And it appeared as if
Mr. Mijares had far greater influence with the President than
did Press Secretary Tatad. What rankled was that in contrast
with Mr. Mijares' high-living colleagues, many of Mr. Tatad's
people, especially those at the lower echelons, went without
pay for months on end.
The military was unhappy about Mr. Mijares' activities
and when complaints started coming to their attention (after
all, media people had dealt with the military before MAC came
into existence), they silently started gathering evidence against
the MAC. Although the military'S handling of the media might
have been heavy-handed at times, it was not as pure as the
driven snow either. The story is told of a couple of newsmen
who presented a proposal to set up a newspaper catering to the
military; the permit was not granted, but such a paper was
published, this time under the aegis of a lady who happens to
be the sister of the major who screened such applications. But
whatever the criticisms against the military, its handling of the
media was far more honest than the MAC's.
The case of MAC, and in more personal terms, that of
Mr. Mijares and his cronies, shows the kind of irresponsibility
that characterized certain sectors of the pre-martial law press.
This irresponsibility is still very much present, precisely among
the very newspapermen favored by the Marcos administration.
This inconsistency between the administration's attacks on the
evils of the pre-martial law press and its favoring the very
perpetrators' of these evils suggests that the administration is
less interested in an effective press than it is in a servile press:
no matter how corrupt a newsman you are, you're okay as
long as you toe the line. What this means in practice is that it
is the opportunist who wins. Even those newsmen sympathetic
to the Marcos administration but who retain enough
professionalism to be willing to question certain policies and
procedures do not get far. What is called for is not just giving
the administration the benefit of the doubt, but to ascribe to
it the virtues of infallibility, indefectibility, impeccability.
Media and Development
It has been argued, with no small amount of cogency,
that a certain amount of authoritarianism is necessary for a
country to develop. A free press tends to break consensus,
limit political power, and scatter resources which could,
theoretically, be better harnessed together in pursuit of
development. The task of the press, in this context, is to
become one of the moving forces in development. Its task is to
inform, motivate, guide opinion, and otherwise generate public
support for the tasks of modernization and development.
Hence, the press is but a player in an orchestra: it must
respond to the baton of the conductor. This is the line that
many newsmen - quite a number of them far more
responsible than the likes of Mr. Mijares - take with respect to
the martial law situation.
It would be easier to adopt, or at least not to criticize,
this position if the present partnership between the
press and government were really leading towards
development. But from the looks of things, the present
partnership is very one-sided.
If performance is an indicator of policy, it looks as if the
role of the press, as envisioned by government, is that of
hypnotist, huckster, and ass-licker.
The Press as Hypnotist
Partly because talking about government performance in
terms other than praise is dangerous and partly out of policy,
the attention of the press is increasingly directed towards
entertainment and non-controversial, matters. Today, there are
more women's magazines, more sports magazines, more
entertainment magazines, and more comics magazines than
were ever published before. In any case, even if the number of
magazines dealing with sports and entertainment had remained
the same, there certainly are many more things for them to
It cannot be claimed that the increasing number of
sports tournaments is due to decisions made by the
government or people close to the government. But the
invitation of the Yugoslav basketball team, the plans to send a
basketball team to China, the holding of an international chess
tournament in Manila, and such events that call for a
tremendous expenditure of foreign exchange could not take
place without administration backing. One need not even
mention the basketball series sponsored by the Dona Josefa
Edralin Marcos (the President's mother) Foundation.
The cultural events sponsored by the First Lady or
through her Cultural Center are newsworthy events in their
own right (although the press has often been forced to go
overboard - as in the case of Van Cliburn). Prizes to national
artists, concerts by people ranging from Renata Tebaldi to
Jose Feliciano, performances by national dance groups from as
far away as Russia and Africa ... all these would have to be
covered in their own right. And the press willy-nilly has to
cover the comings and goings of the First Lady's fellow
jet-setters, Cristina Ford and the Countess Pignatelli.
Radio and television have not been spared. The
watchword is escapism, or so Buddy Tan, the program director
of KBS (the radio-TV network owned by a presidential crony),
has been paraphrased as saying. The movies and specials on TV
are far better than the vintage films of the '50s and '60s that
used to be shown before. But even the beat films they show
are basically escapist. And local cinema has followed the trend
towards escapism. Notorious before martial law for its explicit
productions, Philippine cinema has gone back to cops and
robbers, situation comedy, and fantasy. (Almost all the
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pre-martial law movie sirens are out of jobs. The only
noticeable exception is the mistress of one of the people on
the Media Advisory Council. This man has actually done his
best to advance her career, even to the point of personally
bringing her publicity releases to newspaper and magazine
The Press as Huckster
The press has gone overboard in publicizing
government development projects as unqualified successes
and keeping silent about government reverses. The press is
silent about the war in Mindanao, about clashes with
insurgents in Central Luzon, Southeastern Luzon, and Panay
Island in the Visayas. It is silent about the massive drafting of
men in the Visayas, its loss of practically all of J010 and
Basilan islands in the South.
Other reverses that have not been mentioned or have
been outright lied about include the rice cnS1S. The
government started out denying that there was a rice crisis,
then admitted that there was one due to distribution rather
than production problems; then it claimed that massive
imports were coming in. (Significantly, it reported shortages in
terms of thousand metric tons and reported imports in terms
of cavans [50-kilogram sacks].) They it blamed Pakistan and
Thailand for having reneged on an export commitment. The
press was silent on the Pakistani government's protest over this
lie. Finally the official line was that all over the world
countries were in the same boat. And dutifully the press
printed every new version of the story.
Nor has the press been able to report the extent of
damage to the rice crops due to flood, drought, or pest. Even
the fact of typhoons in Mindanao has not been reported.
While metropolitan newspapers carry "how to" features
on agriculture and "success stories" involving common people
involved in this or that government project, radio and
television blare out jingles about different government
programs ranging from the Masagana 99 (miracle rice) program
to that of Samabang Nayoll (cooperatives).
Besides these jingles, there are government news
programs, government discussion programs, and even
government personality shows. Scheduling leaves a lot to be
desired. Even Metropolitan Manila people get bombarded with
farmers' programs (including jingles aimed at tenant farmers).
There was even a time when the showing of a basketball game
was interrupted at the half to make way for a government
propaganda show - to the viewers' howls of protest. Finally,
since many of these programs are simulcast, the poor listener
or viewer has no alternative other than to listen or switch off
the set.
And interspersed with all these are the ubiquitous
advertisements and, yes, even full-length marches glorifying
the New Society, to the point that composers of marches (who
never had very much business) are now very much in demand.
(Among the march composers of the New Society is an old
gentleman who numbers among his works the march of the
KALlBAPI, the Filipino collaborationist group during the
Japanese occupation.)
Before martial law, the editorials and opinion columns
of Manila's press ranged from the violently, virulently,
slanderously critical to the cloyingly, ingratiatingly flattering.
Today, only the latter type is left. Under ordinary
circumstances, this would not be so bad since people could
just ignore the editorials and opinion columns. But one can't
get away from the ass-licking even in the news columns: the
government officials' (who are, ipso facto, newsworthy)
effusive praises are given big play. The most notorious
statement of late has been that of a presidential assistant (who
happens to hold a Ph.D. from somewhere) who spoke
glowingly of the "apotheosis of Marcos." Which the press
dutifully published. In the past, any columnist worth his salt
would have recalled that the Emperor Caligula had deified his
horse and that here in the Philippines we had the reverse.
The society pages are full of effusive praise for the First
Lady as tbe patroness of art and culture, as the foremost social
worker, as tIJe first in the forefront of the battle against air
and water pollution.
The news programs on radio and television echo these
praises. Documentaries on various highly successful
government projects all ascribe their success ultimately to the
President or his policies.
Even the movie houses are not free from this type of
propagandizing. The administration, through presidential
cronies, has moved to acquire interests in at least three movie
studios. What they have produced are thinly disguised
glorificatory biographies of the President.
And even if one doesn't bother to see these films, one
gets reached nonetheless. Movie theaters in the Philippines are
required by law to play the National Anthem before the first
and last show. A film carrying the lyrics is generally shown
during the singing. One version flashes the pictures of different
national heroes on the screen and then, at the finale, the
picture that appears is that of President Ferdinand Edralin
Tomorrow a researcher steeped in communication
theory will criticize the way the government has used media so
far. The main criticism is that it is based on a wrong theory of
persuasion: it is not true that persuasion automatically results
from propaganda; people do not accept messages uncritically;
they respond with agreement, disagreement, or doubt; people
talk to one another, compare notes, and on the basis of facts
and logic, decide to agree or diagree. One does not engineer
popular consent the way one markets a deodorant.
Perhaps. But this is not the only inference that may be
drawn from the government's use of media. An equally valid
inference is that the government views the Filipino as, to all
intents and purposes, a child - ignorant, pliable, trusting. And
even where he is logical and critical, logic and criticism need
the facts on which to work.
Today, news is what the President - acting through his
media people defines as news.
Today, one does not know how goes the war in
Mindanao; whether there will be another rice shortage next
year; whether prices will go up; whether the Philippines will \
recognize mainland China; or even whether the First Lady has
gone to the opening of the Sydney Grand Opera House.
Today, one knows only what he reads in the newspapers.
No matter how logical, how rational the Filipino may
be, what judgements will he reach tomorrow? What kind of
judgements can he reach if they are based on facts as defined
by a press that through its hucksterism and ass-licking has
hypnotized itself into believing that development and
President Marcos' New Society are, now and forever, one and
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Political Prisoners in the
Philippines' New Society
- ~
September 15, 1973
by Celso Banaag
They came in blue Toyotas, their red lights flashing. But
they did not use a siren. Perhaps they did not want to wake
the neighbors, for it was after midnight and already September
23, 1972. The Metrocom officers who came for me were nice
enough. They let me get a book, my toothbrush, and a change
of underwear. I was able to talk privately with my parents. On
the way to Camp Crame they stopped long enough at a
roadside stand to allow me to buy cough drops. When we
reached the hastily barricaded Camp Crame gymnasium, I
discovered that others had not been as lucky.
Ramon V. Mitra, member of the Philippine Senate and
the opposition Liberal Party, said:
At 1:30 in the morning of September 23, 1972, my
houseboy was roused by the barking of my dog and the
ringing of the gate bell. At the gate the boy was jumped by
several armed Metrocom men. With cocked armalites poked
at the boy's throat, they ordered that I be awakened and
told the boy that should he lie about my presence in the
house 'we will blow your head of! ' Having in the meantime
risen from bed, I opened my door to submit to the
occupation of my home, which the fully armed Metrocom
men promptly did. They 'covered' all the rooms, and had a
gun-wielding man guarding each of my six little children,
aged two years to twelve . .. I asked if I could call a lawyer.
They did not permit me. I asked where I was to be taken.
. They did not tell me. Nor my distraught wife. (Annex 6,
Reply memorandum for petitioners - In the matter of the
Petition for Habeas Corpus of Joaquin Roces, et. al.)
Luis R. Mauricio, editor and general manager of the
popular Graphic Magazine, suspected that the uniformed men
who came for him were imposters, so he tried to stall for time.
I told Major Arcega I could not go with him at that hour
(12:30 a.m.); but if he returned in the morning, I could. He
said he had orders to take me and he would carry out these
orders by force, if necessary. In that case, I said, I would go
with him, but first he must allow me to dress up. He said I
should go as I was - in my T-shirt, pajamas and slippers.
After he was forcibly dragged to the waitiQg Metrocom car,
Mauricio called out to his crying wife to bring him a pair of
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pants, a shirt, and his eyeglasses.
I then asked for a pack of cigarettes alld a lighter. III the
meantime, the driver was ordered to go, and again I pleaded
for them to wait for my things. I also called out to my wife
to have my false teeth brought to me. My wife came out;
she threw my clothes to the car, but my teeth were still
missing. My daughter, ill the meantime, had gone to get
them. She brought them to IIniformed guard near tbe gate,
crying. (Ibid, Annex 9)
As the night wore on and more and more people were
brought to the Camp Crame gym (we took to calling it
"crummy gym" after a while), we saw that there were more
serious problems than brusque and impolite arresting officers.
Erika Torres, a near-hysterical housewife, turned from one PC
[Philippine Constabulary] officer to another, pleading for
information to explain her plight. "I'm only a housewife," she
said, "[ don't know anything about politics, and besides I'm
not even a Filipino citizen." It turned out later that she had
been the victim of an ugly mixture of military inefficiency and
unconcern for peoples' rights. They wanted an activist named
Eric Torres, thought she was the poet and art critic with the
same name and ended up with the poor, terror-stricken
housewife. Other victims of the same Kafkaesque nightmare
included the son of a well-known columnist, the tubercular
father of a progressive journalist, a lame hunchback and a
blind masseur.
l\''1uch has been made of the so-called humane treatment
of political prisoners. Every once in awhile, domestic and
foreign media men are invited into the concentration camps in
Manila to show the world how "happy and well-adjusted" the
political prisoners are. This kind of propaganda point would be
ludicrous if it were not pernicious. It is as if, having wounded
somebody, one then brags about one's maganimity because at
least one didn't kill him. The truth, of course, is that while the
camps in Manila are nothing like the tiger cages of Thieu or the
malaria-ridden Buru Island of Suharto, abominable hygienic
conditions, torture, inadequate food, corrupt and brutal
guards - all these exist but are carefully hidden from public
The treatment of political prisoners varies. Camp
conditions are generally better in Manila than in the provinces,
primarily because of the presence of large numbers of foreign
correspondents in the city. Facilities for prisoners in the Camp
Crame gym, the [pil Reception Center, and the Youth
Rehabilitation Center (such lovely names!) in Fort Bonifacio
were for a time passable if not altogether adequate. The
tremendous increases in the number of prisoners in these
camps in the past few months, however, have created
conditions which endanger the health of their occupants. Until
a few months ago, the number of prisoners at the Camp Crame
gym was kept under 150 at the advice of the PC's own
doctors. There are today more than 300 prisoners at that
camp. At the same time, food rations have been lowered to
P2.50 a day, a scandalously small amount given that rice alone
now costs P8.00 per ganta.
Rvery prisoner who is released has to sign a form letter
saying that he has not been maltreated, which of course
everyone signs unless he wants to remain in jail. In November
last year, four men got a taste of the kind of violence and
inhumanity that military men are prone to in the absence of
legal restraints. After a fistfight provoked by two "lawless
elements," they and their two opponents were mauled by the
guards after which they were packed into a stinking,
windowless toilet cubicle, where there was only enough room
to stand, for a whole day. When they were released they were
made to dance and kiss each other while the whole leering
squad of guards cheered. The unfortunate whose stomach
reacted against the revolting indignities they were being
subjected to, was made to lap up his own vomit. More
recently, prisoners at the Ipil Reception Center went on a
hunger strike when another six prisoners were accorded the
same treatment.
In the provinces, camp conditions and the treatment of
prisoners is much worse. Unprepared for the sudden flood of
prisoners and not provided with sufficient funds to construct
appropriate facilities, local PC commanders shoved prisoners
into whatever prison space was available without consideration
for elementary hygenic requirements. Little or I ) food was
provided. Without the restraint of possible adverse publicity,
the beating of prisoners for minor infractions and the use of
torture during interrogation has been the rule rather than the
Apart from observable differences between concen
tration camps in Manila and in the provinces, the treatment of
prisoners also varies according to criteria that bear no relation
to alleged offenses. This is not to say that even the most
humane treatment of prisoners in any way justifies the
continued imprisonment of thousands of men and women
without due process of law. But given this basic fact,
differences in the treatment of prisoners because of social
background, bribery, and social connections add insult to prior
injury. Although they did not themselves request it, members
of Congress, the Constitutional Convention and some media
men were billeted in separate and much more comfortable
quarters than the rest of us. The highly publicized
air-conditioned rooms that were made to look like standard
accommodations for prisoners were in fact only for the few
prominent media men and members of Congress and the
Concon, who were the main objects of foreign press attention.
There seem to have been two broad categories of
political arrests which deter!TIined how prisoners were
subsequently treated. There were, on the one hand, what we
might call exemplary arrests - the selective seizure of
representative personalities from among members of Congress,
the mass media, intellectuals, university professors, students,
priests, and other sectors of the political public. The arrest of
particular individuals often seemed to defy rational
explanation. Most of the prisoners in this category could be
classified as opposition personalities ranging from anti-Marcos
oligarchs to reformist priests to radical journalists. But there
were also a number of wholly arbitrary arrests calculated to
increase the demonstrative effect of the whole process and to
terrorize the public.
It was obvious from the kinds of people in this category
who were arrested that some of the lists used to go back to the
'fifties and even the 'forties. Former Huks, peasant leaders,
and labor union men who since the 'forties had been engaged
in perfectly harmless occupations were taken. Arresting teams
went looking, for men who had long since died. Among the
most unfortunate are men such as Angel Baking and Sammy
Rodriguez, who had already served fifteen to twenty year
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sentences for alleged subversion only to be rearrested for no
apparent reason. There were also people whose only " c r i ~ e "
seems to have been that they had incurred the personal enmity
of Mrs. Imelda Marcos and/or powerful military men.
Man-about-town George Sison was jailed for several months
because he wrote catty tidbits about the First Lady in his
gossip column. A journalist remains in jail after almos.t a year
because a PC colonel wants to keep him away from hiS mece.
The bulk of the arrests in the "exemplary" category,
however, were calculated to assure the Marcos-military clique's
control over the mass media, the reformist segment of the
Catholic church and schools and universities. The arrest of
publishers such as Chino Roces of the Manila Times and
Teodoro Locsin of the Free Press, of editors such as Amando
Doronila of the Manila Chronicle, columnists such as Louis
Beltran (Pace Magazine) and Max Soliven (Manila Times),
prepared the way for the regime's control over and total
monopoly of the mass media today. Students such as Gerry
Barrican and university professors such as Hernando Abaya,
Ester Albano and Ernesto Constantino were arrested not
because they belonged to allegedly subversive organizations
but in order to terrorize the academic community into meekly
accepting the curtailment of academic freedom in schools such
as the University of the Philippines. Selective arrests of
influential foreign clerics, activist Filipino priests, recalcitrant
officers of Catholic church-financed and -influenced
organizations such as the Federation of Free .Farmers (FFF)
have seriously set back the Christian Democratic movement III
the Philippines. Father Daniel McLaughlin, parish priest of
Panabo, Davao del Norte, was arrested and quickly deported
without trial. Father Vincent Cullen of Malaybalay, Bukidnon,
and Fathers Healy and Donohue in Cagayan were detained for
several weeks. Fourteen leaders of the FFF who opposed FFF
President Montemayor's efforts to turn the FFF into an
instrument of the regime were arrested on the ridiculous
charge of having plotted to assassinate Imelda Marcos. Mr.
Isagani Serrano, an organizer for ZOTO, the church-supported
organization of Tondo families, was arrested last May and
remains, to this day, in jail.
With the exception of journalists such as Ernesto
Granada (Manila Cbrollicle) and professors such as Francisco
Nemenzo, Jr. (U.P.), the bulk of prisoners in the "exemplary"
category have been released. After having spent from ~ h r e e to
six months in jail, the prisoners in this group had, as It were,
already served their function of demonstrating the
capabilities of the New Society and could be tempor.anly
released. As a rule, prisoners in this category were relatively
well treated. This has not been true of prisoners who are
considered as presenting a more serious threat to the
Marcos-military clique.
The second category of political prisoners includes
political rivals of the president such as former Senators
Benigno Aquino and Jose Diokno. In the past few months,
Aquino and Diokno have been kept in solitary confinement
and continuously subjected to both physical and mental
torture to get them to endorse the New Society. They have
been shunted from one prison camp to another and at various
times prohibited from seeing members of their families. It was
only after the Supreme Court ordered it that Aquino's and
Diokno's families were allowed to see them. After this visit,
Mrs. Diokno said:
I almost failed to recognize him; he looked very much older
than his age; he was so thin, obviously because he had lost a
lot of weight; he had worry lines all over his face and bags
under his eyes; his face was completely unshaven; he looked
choked and could not seem to utter a word. ...
At the recent abortive trial of Aquino the media men did not
recognize him at first for he has lost some thirty pounds. His
refusal to participate in the farcical mock trial, which would
have subjected him to the will of a military organization acting
both as prosecutor and judge, served to dramatize the
inhumanity and injustice of the Marcos regime to the whole
The worst treatment, finally, is reserved for members of
allegedly subversive mass organizations - for those men and
women, young and old, who, with the vigilance and intense
commitment to ideals of social justice and democracy, have
over the past few years exposed the bankruptcy of Marcos and
his military and technocratic cronies. Many of them do not
even reach the prison camps, for often as not they are killed at
the time of their capture by ambitious military men anxious to
report "battle" victories. They end up, mal1Y of them still in
their teens, listed as the "commanders" and "amazons" of
military reports of the "insurgent campaign." Those who are
lucky enough not to get murdered are taken to secret
apartments and at times to military camps where they are
squeezed for information through the use of a wide range of
crude to sophisticated torture techniques. Many of these cases
of torture go unreported, for the Marcos regime has gone to
great lengths to show its supposed humane authoritarianism.
But the truth will out: Tommy Urog, a broken arm; John
Quimpo, water forced up his genitals; Rio Dantes, two weeks
in a hospital to recuperate from several days of torture; and
finally, Liliosa Hilao, a young girl of twenty, tortured to
death, then muriatic acid poured down her throat to make it
look like she had committed suicide.
The list could be made longer but the truth which belies
government propaganda is already known to the thousands
plus their families who have been victims of martial law justice
since that fateful day over a year ago which we are now
supposed to celebrate as a day of thanksgiving. In the
September 8, 1973 issue of Focus Pbilippilles, one of the
propaganda mouthpieces of the Marcos regime, it was reported
that 11,697 people have been jailed since September 23, 1972.
Of these some 8,000 are alleged to be "criminal elements."
Since political prisoners are often listed as "criminal elements"
and since the list does not include those who have been
detained since before martial law, such as Nilo Tayag and
hundreds of others in Manila and the provinces, the number of
pulitical prisoners is probably much larger than the 3,500 or so
admitted by the government. Furthermore, every additional
day of martial law and denial of people's civil and political
rights means that more and more patriots are going to suffer
imprisonmen t.
With the exception of TV commentator Roger Arienda
and Senator Aquino, the government has not tried any of the !
political prisoners or even so much as told them their alleged
crimes beyond the general catch-all categories of subversion,
rebellion, and inciting to rebellion. The arbitrariness which
characterized the arrests has also been evident in the releases.
It is generally agreed among political prisoners that releases are
dependent upon who one knows in the military establishment
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and among those politicians who continue to have access to
Malacanang Palace. Upper-middle-class and middle-class
prisoners whose families have social connections tend to get
released earlier than working-class prisoners from Tondo or
from peasant families. Worst, military officials who are in a
position to facilitate the processing of a prisoner's papers have
been known to solicit bribes. The amount of money
circulating in Camp Crame offices which handle the cases of
prisoners runs into the tens of thousands. Brigadier General
Tagumpay Nanadiego, who occupies the key position in the
AFP Judge Advocate General's Office, is reported to have
accumulated six private cars in the past year alone.
The problems of political prisoners do not end after
their release. To start with, everyone is considered to be only
temporarily released and has to report regularly to the military
authorities. Some report as often as twice a week and have to
submit a schedule of daily activities. Movement is restricted
to the Greater Manila area. Trips to the provinces require prior
permission from the reporting officer. As a result university
professors have been prevented from attending conferences
abroad. Businessmen have lost out on key contracts which had
to be negotiated outside the country. For released prisoners
the constant threat of rearrest and the continuing restrictions
on their movement are only part of the problem. A more serious
one has to do with the fact that most of them have lost their
jobs and cannot get the necessary clearances for landing new
As in other dictatorial countries, the political prisoner
situation reflects the character of the ruling regime. The large
number of arrests for demonstrative and terror-creating
purposes shows the tremendous resistance of the people to the
rape of their rights and freedoms and the consequent need for
shock techniques. The use of torture; the cavalier regard for
prisoners' hygienic and dietary requirements; the corruption,
bribery, and class-based favoritism shows that the new regime
has not in fact created a new society. It has succeeded mainly
in preserving the worst features of the old. And if the high
morale, camaraderie, continuing political education and
heightened dedication to revolutionary ideals among political
prisoners is any measure, Marcos has not succeeded in his
efforts to terrorize us. He has, instead, simply brought the day
of his downfall closer.
BETTER IDEAS ... from Xerox
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Vol. 2, No.4, Fall 1970
S. lenaga, "The Japanese Textbook Lawsuit"
F. Branfman, "Laos: No Place to Hide"
J. Dower, "Asia and the Nixon Doctrine: 10 Points"
J. Mirsky and J. Morrell, SIU Vietnam Center Struggle
J. Pearson and J. Smilowitz, The Lon Nol Coup and Sihanouk
J. Halliday, Suh's The Korean Communist Movement 1918-1948
M. Young, "Why I Chose Imperialism-An Open Letter to
'Imperialists' "
Vol. 3, Nos. 3-4, Summer-Fall 1971
K. Gough, Women's Conference
CCAS, "Interview with Chou En-Iai"
Kung, Tiao Yu-tai movement
W. Pomeroy and B. Kerkvliet, Sources on the Philippines
Revolu tionary Movement
Modern China Studies
M. Roberts, "The Structure and Direction of Contemporary China
D. Horowitz, "An Unorthodox History of Modern China Studies"
J. Fairbank, Comment
Vol. -l, No. I, Winter 1972
r AhmeJ. "The Struggle in HallglaJe'h"
E. AhmaJ. "Note, on South A,ia in Cri,i,"
M. Kam. "The Commu n i,t Movement in India"
M. Shivaraman, "Thanjavur, Kuml>ling' in Tamo!
S. AhmaJ, "Pea,ant Cia"", in Pak"tan"
K. Gough, "South A,ian Kevolutionary Potential"
E. FrieJman. "China. Pakistan, lIangladc,h"
K. DeCamp, "The (;1. ,\1ovcmcnt in A,ia"
D. Marr, "Vietnamc,,, Source, on Vietnam"
Vol. 4, No.2, Summer 1972
C. & G. White, "The Politics of Vletnami/ation"
N. Long, "The Weaknesses of Vietnamil.ation"
II. Bix, "Report from Japan 1972 I"
D. Wilson, "Leatherne,ks in North China, 1945"
K. Buchanan, "The Geography of Empire" -map'
F. Baldwin, books on the USS Pueblo incident
V. Lippit, "Economic Development and Welfare in China"
A. Feuerwerker, Communication
Vol. 4, No.3, Fall 1972
V." B. Nee, "Longtime Californ' "
H. Lai, "Organizations of the Left Among the Chinese in America"
C. Yu, "The Chinese in American Courts"
S. Won" Barth's Bitter Streng,b
F, Chi, J. Chan, L. Inada, " Wong, "Aieeeee! An Introduction to
Asian-American Writing"
D. Mark, W. Lum, S. Tagatac, L. IDada, & Wong, Poetry
F. Chin, "Confessions of the Chinato..wn Cowboy"
Vol. 4, No.4, December 1972
A. Nathan, "Imperialism's Effects on China"
J. Esherick, "Harvard on China: The Apologetics of Imperialism"
H. Bix, "Report from Japan 1972-11"
T. Huu, Ho Chi Minh, N. Ngan, T. Khanh, & L. Lien, Vietnamese
U. Mahajani, Comment on E. Ahmad on South Asia
Vol. S, No.1, July 1973
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C. Riskin, "Maoism" Motivation: Work Incentives in China"
E. Ahmad, "South Asia in Crisis" & India's Counterinsurgency War
Against the Nagas and Mizos
G. Kolko, D. Rosenberg, et aI., "The Philippines Under Martial
R. Kagan & N. Diamond: Solomon's Mao's Revolution and the
Chinese Political Culture
M. Roberts, Scott's The War Conspiracy
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G. Porter, "The Myth of the Bloodbath: North Vietnam's Land Reform
H. Schonberger, "Zaibatsu Dissolution and the American Restoration
of Japan"
J. Fairbank, J. Esherick, & M. Young, "Imperialism in China-An
B. Kerkvliet, "The Philippines: Agrarian Conditions in Luzon Prior to
Martial Law"
Communist Party of the Philippines, "Tasks of the Party in the New
A. Kuo, "New Letters from Hiroshima"'poem
P. Scott, "Opium and Empire: McCoy on Heroin in Southeast Asia"
M. Klare, "Restructuring the Empire: The Nixon Doctrine after
Vietnam"-Brodine and Selden, eds., The Kissinger-Nixon
Vol. 5, No.3, November 1973
F. Baldwin, "The Jason Project: Academic Freedom and Moral Respon
H. Bix, "Regional Integration: Japan and South Korea in America's
Asian Policy"
J. Comer, "The Assassination of Ngo Dinh Diem" and "The Front'"
J. Halliday, "What Happened in Korea? Rethinking Korean History
M. Selden, "Imperialism and Asia: A Brief Introduction to the
Vol. S, No, 4, December 1973
L. Francisco, "The First Vietnam: The philippine-American War of
R. Thaxton, "Modernization anJ Counter-Revolution in Thailand"
R. Comer, "Correspondent" & "The People"'poetry
M. Scher, "U.S. Policy in Korea 1945-194H: A Neo-Colonial Model
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C. Yu, "Chinatown as Home Base"-V. & B. Nee, Longtime Californ'"
R. Pfeffer, "Revolting: An Essay on Mao's Revolution, by Richard
N. K. Vien, "Myths and Truths: Frances Fitzgerald's Fires in the Lake"
Index, 1973, Volume 5, nos. 1-4
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David Marr's 'Vietnamese Anticolonialism'
by Nguyen Cong Binh
Translated by Jayne Werner, Le Dinh Tuong, Phil Hill, Tran Quae Hung, and Gary Porter; annotated by Jayne Werner and Trarz
Quae Hung. Tran Quae Hung, of the Union of Vietnamese in the United States, helped with the editing and with the difficult
task of translating political terminology.
From Ngbien Cuu Licb Su No. 144 (May-June 1972),43-53.
Vietnamese Anticolonialism 1885-1925, by David G. Marr.
Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press,
1971. pp. xix, 322, maps, glossary, bibliography.
Because of its legendary resistance against the United
States and its struggle for national salvation, Vietnam has
entered into the consciousness of progressive mankind and has
begun to attract the attention of foreign historians. In the
United States, the war of aggression waged by the U.S.
government has been costly in lives and property and has
seriously weakened the country in all aspects, leading to the
increasing opposition among the American people to the war.
While protesting against the policy of the U.S. government of
continuing and widening its aggression in Vietnam, for the
purpose of defending America's honor and to fight for their
democratic rights and economic livelihood, the American
people from all walks of life have been building a friendly
by Jayne Werner
The following essay is a translation from the Vietnamese of a
review of David G. Marr's Vietnamese Anticolonialism (University of
California Press, 1971) by Nguyen Cong Sinh, a prominent Democratic
Republic of Vietnam historian, whose work on the Vietnamese
revolution has been a significant part of the collective scholarship on
contemporary Vietnamese history being undertaken today. Sinh's work
on contemporary Vietnamese history has included numerous articles in
Nghien Cuu Lich Su IHistorical Studiesl and other journals on aspects
of the Can Vuong (royalist movement against the French), the working
relationship with the Vietnamese people. Because of this
reason, the American people would like to have a better
understanding of the land and people of Vietnam, past and
present. However, in the United States "the study of
Vietnamese anti-colonial movements has been largely the
preserve of the political scientist, the practicing journalist, and
the intelligence specialist." 1 Since nearly all of these people
have conducted their research according to strict political
guidelines from the White House and the Pentagon, they have
ignored the historical truth in an effort to justify present-day
American neo-colonialism. Despite these limitations, Marr's
Vietnamese Anticolonialism is one of the first historical
studies published in the United States which makes a larger
contribution to America's understanding of the Vietnamese
struggle for freedom and independence, and thereby shows
that the present U.S. war of aggression is doomed to failure.
ciass, the nature of the Vietnamese bourgeoisie, and aspects of the 1945
August Revolution. The appearance of the review of Marr's book by
such a prominent D.R.V. historian, plus the fact that this is the first
serious U.S. historical work on Vietnam that has been reviewed in
Ngbien Cuu Lich Su, and the unusual length of the review (which
testifies to the reviewer's interest in the book), all serve to underscore
the importance of Vietnamese Anticolonialism as a scholarly study of
contemporary Vietnamese history. The Vietnamese interest should lead
to a greater effort on the part of progressive Asian scholars in the
United States to become acquainted with this book as a basic guide, in
English, to the first resistance struggle against the French from I H85 to
1925. On the whole the review of Vietnamese Anticolonialism is a
favorable one, which is notable since the Vietnamese have not been
satisfied with most Western attempts to conceptualize their history.
Even Jean Chesneaux, a noted French historian, has come under attack.
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A Search for the Historical Truth
To lay a scientific foundation for his study, Marr
collected and painstakingly researched much of the published
material on Vietnamese history from 1885 to 1925, material
dating from then to the present published in Vietnam, France,
and the United States, as well as such other countries as China,
Japan, and Great Britain. He did not overlook French authors
of the past any more than contemporary foreign authors who
write about Vietnamese history. Marr's clearly stated
viewpoint is worth noting: "One of the historiographical aims
of this book is to demonstrate that the time has come to take
Vietnamese language sources quite seriously. The bulk have
corrie out since 1954, in an effort to make up for all the decades
when Vietnamese publishing suffered under strict French
controls." 2 Vietnamese language sources are listed first in the
bibliography and they amount to approximately 70 percent of
the total. Marr's opinions and methods are objective and
scientific. Previous research on Vietnam has been the preserve
of French authors, many of whom were administrative
officials or senior military men engaged in attacking or
occupying our country. They looked at Vietnam from the
steps of a Catholic church or from the deck of a French
warship; and because of their vested interest in colonialism,
they distorted the truth about the history of the Vietnamese
anti-colonial struggle. The Vietnamese nation and people have
created a glorious achievement in their struggle for
independence and freedom, and this struggle has been
documented by books, popular cultural forms, and historical
artifacts. These are the most important materials any historian
must use who wants to reconstruct Vietnam's anti-colonial
history accurately. Marr writes:
Nguyen Cong Binh does have a number of criticisms of Marr's book,
discussed at the end of the review. But he essentially feels that it
captures the national and progressive character of the first resistance
efforts against the French, first in the royalist movement led by
members of the Vietnamese imperial and loyal scholar-gentry after the
French conquest, and then by other scholar-gentry figures such as Phan
Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh, who bridged the gap between the
royalist resistance and communist resistance. (The Communist party
was founded in 1930 by Ho Chi Minh.)
One of the major points that the reviewer makes is that through
their anti-French, anticolonial struggles the Vietnamese people in many
instances rose up spontaneously against their foreign aggressor without
being prompted by their supposed leaders, the scholar-gentry, many of
whom accepted collaboration. Thus although backward in many ways
they were able to advance their history and take a proud place among
other nations, some of them more advanced than they along the road to
socialism. What was basically a national struggle against French rule,
with thousands of years of national history and heritage behind it,
became at last capable, with the founding of the Communist party, of
being directed towards the ultimate defeat of the French, and by
extension of the United States, and to building of socialism in the
D.R.V. The reviewer feels that David Marr's book shows a new
methodology for U.S. historians of Vietnam, seeing the early national
movement as a progressive and important struggle and patriotism as the
thread which runs through Vietnamese history. Only thus can one
explain the continuity of the entire struggle and why the communist
movement won in the end. Nguyen Cong Binh also praises the book for
bringing out how savage and brutal colonialism was in Vietnam, a fact
which most Western historians have either ignored or underplayed. He
also lauds Marr's presentation of the vacuity of la mission civi/isatrice
and of the contrasting constant efforts undertaken by the Vietnamese,
at all stages during the colonial period, to get rid of the French,
dispelling the illusion of the "peaceful native." The main criticism the
Some readers may feel tbat I bave relied too beavily 01/
publications from Hal/oi. Tbis is maillly because scbolars ill
North Vietnam have moved far abead of their
contemporaries ill tbe Soutb ill tbe patiellt collectioll,
annotation, and publicatioll of primary data 011
anti-colollial activities. 3
That point is obvious, as anyone who studies Vietnamese
history can see. For example, the British historian Martin
Bernal, who visited both Hanoi and Saigon in the beginning of
1971, commented that he was "deeply impressed" by the large
amount of historical research being undertaken in north
Vietnam, and he reported that even the most ardent
anticommunist "scholars" in Saigon have had to acknowledge
that the North promotes historical and archaeological research
and translation of ancient writings much more than the
This accomplishment is based on the superior political
system the North has, a system which was built on a glorious
victory over colonialism, consequently opening up many
opportunities for people engaged in historical studies to do
research and to put the historical record straight, and to
investigate objectively the process of our people defeating the
colonial power. This research has in turn stimulated the whole
people to rise up and defeat present-day American
neo-colonialism. If "the Ilanoi system is the only genuine
representative of the Vietnamese spirit," 5 then the system in
Saigon fears the historical truth about the people's
anti-colonial struggle. It obstructs and even forbids progressive
southern intellectuals from wrItmg about what actually
happened. A case in point is that of Father Truong Ba Can
reviewer has of the book is that it does not emphasize enough the
popular chantcter which was the driving force hehind the early national
movement, which was not exclusively in the hands of a few
scholar-gentry living in exile abroad in Japan and China but truly
expressed a spirit of resistance that permeated the popular classes.
I1istorical research is now a large part of scholarly activity being
undertaken today in the D.R.V., after a century of neglect under
colonial rule when the French Ecole Francaise de l'Extreme-Orient,
located in lIanoi, was forbidden by law to study controversial political
matters in Vietnamese history. c'oncentntting instead on art and
literature. In 1953, when the Vietnamese resistance against colonial rule
was heading towards the Dien Bien "hu victory, the Central Committee
of the Communi,t p a r t ~ ' took steps to establish historical research
priorities and facilities. The Committee for Vietnamese Literary,
Ilistorical, and Geographic'al Studies was founded and guidelines, basing
Vietnamese historical researdl on Marxism-Leninism and orienting
research towards developing the national spirit of the people, were
established. In the beginning of 1959 the Ilistoricallnstitute, under the
direction of the State Committee for Sciences, was founded and in that
same year this Institute staned publishing .Vgbie/l CIIII Lie/} SII, the
D.R.V. 's main historic'al journal. One of the D.R.V.'s most well-known
historians, Tran lIuy Lieu, headed the Institute until his recent death.
With the new priorities, historical studies throughout the country were
spurred, as other organizations and localities started to conduct
research on topi.:s, including both pre-historic and modern history,
most pertinent to them; historical commissions of the party in local
areas and in factories started to work on .:ollecting data on history in
their areas, while schools and the army have also contributed to the
general effort. Nguyen Cong Sinh has been at the forefront of the
effort by the Vietnamese to write their own history of the last one
hundred years, both at the Historical Institute and on party
commissions on historical research_
See Phan Gia Ben, La Recherche historique en Republique
Democratique du Vietnam, 1953-1963 (Hanoi: Editions Scientifiques
IXuat Ban Khao Hoc] ,1965).
41 BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
whose historical work was written in mid-1971.
Tran Trong
Kim's An Outline History of Vietnam (Viet Nam Su Luoc),
written during the heyday of French colonialism and
presenting the colonialist and feudalist viewpoint, on the other
hand, "is regarded as either official teaching or irrefutable
dogma."? Marr's research for Vietnamese Anticolonialism was
conducted from an impartial standpoint and it displays an
objective attitude essential to historians doing scientific
research. Marr has also used a wide range of materials, from
which he has been able to draw his own objective conclusions.
An Improvement in Methodology:
The Theme That Patriotism Is the Red Thread
Running through Vietnamese History
The unique feature of modern Vietnamese history is that
since the early 1930s Vietnamese patriots have solely rallied
around the banner of national salvation of the Communist
Party. This situation contributed to the rapid development of
the Vietnamese revolution which moved from one victory to
another. Today Vietnam represents to the world the
knife-point of the attack of mankind on its number one
enemy, American imperialism. Many foreign historians
studying Vietnam have focused on the political question
central to recent Vietnamese history, that is, the
anti-colonialist movement. They have been faced with the
unique feature of this movement, as mentioned above, the fact
that the Party of the working class has provided the only real
leadership of the people. In Vietnam: A Political History,
Joseph Buttinger says:
in writing the history of modern Vietnam, the question
inevitably arises why the Communist Party gained such an
enormous influence among intellectuals, workers, and
peasants. The same question can be formulated differently:
why did the non-communist nationalists fail to rally enough
popular support to prevent the Communists from securing
the leadership of the anti-colonial forces?8
Marr poses a similar question: "Why did Communists succeed
in Vietnam ... ? More precisely, why did non-communist
groups lose out so decisively in Vietnam?,,9
Buttinger's answer is that the strength of communism in
Vietnam came from the fact that the French failed to
industrialize. Vietnam sufficiently and did not let indigenous
capitalism develop to the point where "real" benefits to the
people could be attained, and therefore "non-communist
nationalist groups" were unable to assume the leadership of
the people. Jean Chesneaux's answer in the book Le Vietnam
is that one of the factors was that "colonial authorities were
never concerned with developing a loyal opposition like the
Congress Party in India." 10
Although Marr's study does not treat the communist
Tran Trong Kim was head of the Japanese-installed Vietnamese
government March-August 1945. (The Japanese ended French rule in
Indochina in March 1945 after a coup de force against the
Vichy-appointed regime.) He was deposed by the August Revolution
led by the Viet Minb which proclaimed the independence of Vietnam
on September 2. Tran Trong Kim wrote An Outline History of Vietnam
in 1928.
movement as such in Vietnam, Vietnamese Anticolonialism
only covers the years up to 1925-26 when the leader Nguyen
Ai Quoc [Ho Chi Minh) founded the Vietnam Revolutionary
Youth Association, forerunner of the Indochinese Communist
Party), he still answers this question in a way that does not
see the strength of the Communist movement in terms of any
"mistakes" made by French colonialism. "The French did not
allow the Vietnamese to modernize their institutions
effectively or allow them any real responsibility for
self-government, but that is not because the French made a
mistake" 11 (my emphasis). In other words, he does not
consider "mistakes" to have been the essence of colonialism.
Where has colonialism in fact industrialized a colony or
encouraged the development of national capitalism? For real
industrialization to occur, the feudal system of agriculture
would have to be eliminated and the peasants given the land
they till. Markets for native industry would have to be
developed, raw materials would have to go into the industrial
development of the colony, rather than to enrich monopoly
capitalists in the metropolitan country, which makes the
colony dependent on the colonial power. To ask colonialism
to industrialize its colony and develop national capitalism is to
ask that it no longer be colonialism. Also it is not historically
accurate to state that the French colonialists were not
interested in supporting reformist nationalists. Albert Sarraut's
(former Governor General of Indochina) statement of May
1919 together with the activities of people like Pham Quynh,
Nguyen Van Vinh, Tran Trong Hue, and even people like Bui
Quang Chieu * show that one of the most important policies of
the colonialists after World War I was to build up and support
reformist nationalism among native upper-class intellectuals in
order to counteract the influence of communism. The fact was
that in the colony of Vietnam, the national movement of the
people had become very strong and that is why reformist
nationalism never fully developed. Revolutionary nationalist
organizations, on the other hand, like the Vietnam Nationalist
Party (Viet Nam Quoc Dan Dang) disintegrated entirely after
the failure of the Yen Bai revolt.t Some of the true patriots
who survived the repression later fought under the banner of
the Communist Party. If one blames the failure of the
non-communist nationalist-reformist movement to develop on
The Vietnam Revolutionary Youth Association (Tbanb Nien Cacb
Mang Dong Chi Hoi) was founded in Canton by Ho Chi Minh to prepare
for the founding of a communist party in Vietnam, which he
established in February 1930. See Viet Nam Workers' Party, An Outline
History of the Viet Nam Workers' Party (1930-1970). (New Delhi,
India: New Age Press, 1972), 1-5.
Pham Quynh, considered to be the father of national-reformism in
Vietnam, published a review in Hanoi called Nam Phong [South Wind]
which called for a return to the old Confucian principles which had
governed the Vietnamese dynastic regimes in the past, while continuing
to collaborate with the French and to maintain colonial domination.
Nguyen Van Vinh was another nationalist-reformist leader who
published a newspaper in the North. Bui Quang Chieu was the main
leader of national-reformism in the South, which pressed for economic
and political reforms, but not social change, from the French. See
Nguyen Nghe and Nguyen Khanh (two North Vietnamese writers), "La
pensee philosophique et sociologique au Vietnam," La Nouvelle
Critique, Nuinc!ro Speciale sur Ie Vietnam, 1962.
t The Viet Nam Quoe Dan Dang, the main revolutionary nationalist
party in Vietnam, was founded in 1927 and was modelled in name,
organization, and programs after the Chinese Kuomintang. It advocated
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French colonialist mistakes, does this viewpoint not help to
justify present-day American neo-colonialism? 12
Vietnamese Anti-colonialism tries to find the source of
the strength of communism in Vietnam, and the source of the
strength of the Vietnamese people under the leadership of the
Communists, by looking at the internal process of
development of Vietnamese history, from which the present
period is the necessary and logical outcome,
rather than by examining the mistakes the colonialists might
have made. Patriotism is the moral principle of the Vietnamese
people, and it has been inherited from past generations and
enriched over the course of Vietnamese history, running like a
red thread through that history. The book states that "a
fundamental assumption is that one cannot understand
resistance efforts in more recent times without going back at
least to 1885." 13 "Without a doubt the 'continuity' [my
quotes] of Vietnamese anti-colonialism is a highly-charged,
historically self-conscious resistance to oppressive, degrading
foreign rule." 14 Patriotism is "an ethic '" that was
successfully passed on to subsequent generations providing
what I believe is one of the real keys to an understanding of
anti-colonial movements in Vietnam. "IS
This sense of continuity is not only a simple process, but
it has been inherited and developed through each historical
stage in Vietnam. Chapter I, an introduction to Vietnam's
thousands of years' old resistance to foreign aggression during
the feudal era, is headed by a verse by Nguyen Trai:
Dau cuong nhuoc co luc khac nhau
Song hao "kiet d oi nao cung co
Although we have been at times weak, at times strong,
We have never lacked heroes.
-Nguyen Trai, Binh Ngo Dai Cao
The Tayson peasant revolt to overthrow feudalism, smash the
Ching (Manchu) dynasty aggressive clique and unify the
country was the end of a process of struggle for freedom and
independence by the p e ~ p l e before the advent of French
colonialism. But "this resistance [the Tayson revolt] provided
the last historical precedent for the scholar-gentry groups
almost a century later who also attempted to foil the
foreigners." 16 After covering the first years of the anti-French
resistance in the South with Truong Dinh and Nguyen Dinh
Chieu, the author reaches the Can Vuong [Save the King]
movement. "The Can Vuong movement provided crucial moral
and spiritual continuity to the long struggle against this new
foreign invader.,,17 "And as we shall see, the next generation
armed struggle against the French, organizing the Vietnamese soldiers in
the French militia, was of an anticommunist tendency, and lacked a
well-defined social program. It also lacked a mass base but organized
the revolt of the soldiers at the Yen Bay garrison against their French
officers in February 1930 which was a terrible failure. See: A Century
of National Struggles. Vietnamese Studies, No. 24 (Hanoi: Foreign
Languages Publishing House) 84-86.
Proclamation of Victory over the Ngo [the invadersl, 1428, written
by famous Vietnamese statesman and poet Nguyen Trai. Victory
referred to is over the Chinese (Ming dynasty), whom the Vietnamese
expelled in 1427. See Traditional Vietnam, Vietnamese Studies No. 21,
92-98, for English translation of complete poem, one of the finest in
Vietnamese literature.
came to maturity amidst this turmoil. Whether later they were
sympathetic to or skeptical of Can Vuong efforts, the
positions they argued and the actions they took were in large
part conditioned by the tactical failures and the spiritual
successes of their predecessors." 18 After the Can Vuong
movement at the beginning of the twentieth century the
resistance, which had developed a national and democratic
character, took many resourceful forms such as armed
uprisings, economic, political, cultural and ideological struggle.
Marr says that "the demonstrations and violence in 1908 ...
represent both an end and a beginning. It is possible to view
them as final outbursts in the traditional mold. . .. The
beginning of a new era came in 1908 as a result of the
progressive scholar-gentry. ,,19And
the events of 1903 to 1908 ... were of overriding
importance in setting the direction of anti-colonial
movements in Vietnam, explaining in large part the abortive
putschism of the next decade, the anti-colonial position of
the generation which emerged in the 1920s and even the
ultimate forging of the Viet Minh between 1941 and
Marr has also expounded in a more general way on
Vietnamese patriotism, on the change in the character of this
patriotism in modern Vietnamese history:
The Can Vuong generation of the 1880s and 1890s to the
anti-colonial groups of the 1920s was a vast political leap,
and it was men of the turn of the century like Phan Boi
Chau and Phan Chu Trinh who provided whatever bridges
there were between. On the crucial subject of patriotism,
for example, the century had begun with the basic
imperative still being fidelity (trung)..... The term "love of
country" (yeu nuoc; Sino- Vietnamese ai-quoc) certainly
existed, but it was generally subsumed under fidelity.
However, during the period of the Dong Du movement and
the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc, love of country achieved a
new status of its own, relating to the land and people as a
whole. This concept quickly took precedence over
traditional fidelity, and by the 1920s the latter term had
been altered until it could effectively be subsumed under
the former. 21
The change in the character of Vietnamese patriotism,
from patriotism based on the scholar-gentry to patriotism
based on the proletarian class, is not a simple problem,
however. Marr has not yet given a satisfactory answer to this,
as we point out in the last part of the article. However, the
history of Vietnamese anti-colonialism presented by the writer
in the above terms leads the reader to make a number of
objective conclusions:
1. The Vietnamese tradition of patriotism, passed down
for centuries and enriched in the course of Vietnam's historical
The Dong Du [Eastern Study] movement was organized by Phan Boi
Chau and sent several hundred students to Japan to study modern
science and military training during the years 1907-1909. The Dong
Kinb Ngbia Tbuc [Hanoi Free Study Institute) was founded in 1907 by
modernist scholars in Hanoi and offered courses on literature, modern
science and math to an enrollment of several thousand. The colonial
regime forced the Institute to close in 1910 but it marked a turning
point in the intellectual evolution of the country. See Marr, 120-155,
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evolution, shows that the Vietnamese people have always
fought the invaders to save the country and that they have
never bowed down to slavery but have always been victorious
in the end. In ancient times, and for a period of over a
thousand years, Vietnam was threatened, invaded, and
ill-treated under the rule of very strong foreign feudalists. But
with a heroic and durable spirit and unbounded determination,
the Vietnamese people gloriously triumphed and remained the
masters of their own land. The principles of the just cause and
national unity were the sources of their strength and the
lasting factors which caused Vietnam to win. Western-style
colonialism came to Vietnam with modern methods of
capitalist production, modern weapons, a professional army
and an evil policy of dividing our people. The colonialists
thought there was nothing which could stand up to them and
kick them out. Vietnam truly had a formidable challenge, but
in the end the colonialists could not suppress the Vietnamese
people. The end of the French colonial regime in 1945 and the
historic Dien Bien Phu victory, which Vietnamese
Anticolonialism refers to in its conclusion, shows that in the
clash between the just cause and the unjust cause, what finally
determines victory or defeat is not technology or weapons. If a
people have the determination and unity to struggle for
liberation, then the oppressors cannot stop them from
winning. This is why the war of aggression waged by the
United States in Vietnam will unavoidably result in complete
2. The Vietnamese tradition of patriotism, passed down
for centuries and enriched in the course of Vietnam's historical
evolution, demonstrates the truth that there is nothing more
precious than independence and freedom. Independence and
freedom are the most precious things in the life of the people,
not only in Vietnam, but in all nations. The Vietnamese
Declaration of Independence of 1945 affirmed that "all
peoples of the world are created equal; every nation has the
right to life, happiness and liberty." Thus aggression,
enslavement and destruction of the right to live of a nation by
another is unjust, immoral, inhuman, and must be fiercely
resisted. During its thousands of years' old effort to protect
and win its sacred right to live independently, Vietnam
demonstrated from early on the struggle between the just
cause and the unjust cause, civilization and brutality:
Successfully we confronted barbarity with justice,
And fought brutality with humanity.22
Western colonialism was a new form of oppression, more cruel
than the old form because it relied on the most advanced
power and technology and turned the aggressors into the most
barbaric of human beings as they carried out their aggressive
war, exploited and usurped the people's right to live. The
Vietnamese history of resisting French colonialism by our just
right of self-defense is a history of glorious struggle of the just
cause and civilization. The resistance against the Americans to
save the country today again shows in the most obvious way
that Vietnam is the conscience of mankind, that the American
aggressors are savage and immoral to the point that they have
lost all human quality. President Ho Chi Minh in his appeal to
the people of July 20, 1968, said: "A decisive struggle
between the just cause and the unjust cause, between
civilization and brutality, is occurring in our country today."
3. The Vietnamese tradition of patriotism, passed down
for centuries and enriched in the course of Vietnam's historical
evolution, merging with mankind's evolution as a whole, not
only demonstrates that the spirit of independence is an ancient
principle, but expresses a will and capability to be independent
and self-reliant, and has raised the Vietnamese process of
historical development up to the level of the current stage in
world history. The Vietnamese struggle has a basically
progressive and revolutionary character because its tasks have
been winning independence for the nation and achieving
freedom for its people. Revolution means being inventive: it
demands constant improvement of programs and forms
of struggle which are appropriate to the situation, to advance
towards victory. "Later generations did study the political
positions and review the tactics of their predecessors, trying to
learn from their errors. When their objective circumstances did
improve, there was this reservoir of practical history to give
. d d d . ,,23
them both sober perspective an un aunte tenaCity....
Thus, when the new era dawned after the October Revolution,
the Vietnamese Revolution, with the activities of the leader
Nguyen Ai Quoc, the first communist in Vietnam, became a
part of the world socialist revolution. Vietnamese
Anticolonialism says that
Quite obviously, most of the world had undergone
momentous change by the early 19205. First in ripples,
then in waves, the impact would be felt in Vietnam . ...
Vietnam was possessed of a meaningful history, both in the
immediate and more distant senses, but Vietnam was at this
time part of world history as never before imagined. One
way to perceive some of the important, yet subtle,
relatIOnships between what we have studied in previous
chapters and the events of later years is to outline the early
life of the man, who more than any other, came to
dominate the modern history of his country, Nguyen Ai
Considering the fact that the Vietnamese process of
historical development has raised itself up to the current stage
in world history, one cannot avoid concluding that today's
task of opposing the United States and saving the country is
the continuation and the crystallization of the thousands of
years' old tradition of driving out invaders and protecting the
country. The present period of fighting the United States,
saving the country and building socialism in the North likewise
are the continuation and development of four thousand years
of Vietnamese history and are now a part of the world
Some Objective Observations
Vietnamese Anticolonialism has a number of objective
observations on various historical movements and concrete
historical events which illustrate the author's independent
(1) The author shows that colonialism in Vietnam was a
savage, oppressive system of exploitation from its inception.
Colonialism still has a number of ardent apologists today.
Rupert Emerson in his From Empire to Nation states that
colonialism paved the way to "democracy," that "western
concepts such as human rights and humanitarianism were
propagated by the colonial powers in the colonies, that
colonies were mere instruments to spread the intellectual,
scientific and material revolution of the West which began in
the Renaissance." 25 Philippe Devillers in his Histoire du
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Vietnam de 1940 a 1952 even boasted about the French
mission civilisatrice saying that the West had made social and
economic contributions to Vietnam and that "if the overall
benefits that France and Vietnam respectively drew from their
encounter are compared, it cannot be debated that Vietnam
gained a lot more than France where only a few thousand
individuals took a profit from Indochina." 26
Vietnamese A nticolonialism objectively states that
Vietnam was artificially partitioned for reasons "based above
all on economic advantage to the colon and political
expediency for the French administration." 27 The French
colonialists divided the people: "After 1867 it was quite
difficult for Vietnamese to circulate in and out of south
Vietnam. . .. two segments of an entire generation of
Vietnamese [were] cut off from each other. Then, between
north and central Vietnam after 1885 the same thing began to
develop...." 28 The colonialists freely robbed the Vietnamese
of their belongings: "many landowners in the south returned
to their villages after 1863 or 1867, only to find Frenchmen or
French-protected Vietnamese in irreversible custody of their
property.... In north and central Vietnam after the collapse
of the Can Vuong movement there were similar rude shocks to
many, both resister and refugee, as they filtered back to their
home villages ..." 29 The colonialists treated our people with
contempt, hardly above animals.
These are the realities about
"human rights," "equality," and la mission civilisatrice that
the colonialists brought to Vietnam.
Vietnamese A nticolonialism faithfully reflects the
Vietnamese viewpoint which regards the French invaders to
have been "savages. ,,31 Vietnamese patriotism was thus "an ethic
nurtured on a day-to-day basis by the slights and savageries of
French colonial rule .... " 32
(2) Vietnamese Anticolonialism sees the Can Vuong
movement led by feudal scholars as patriotic and progressive,
one which was inherited and developed by its successors. This
view is diametrically opposed to the opinion of some foreign
historians. For example, Philippe Devillers in his
above-mentioned work agrees with Captain Grosselin's view in
his book L 'Empire d'Annam that
Many scholars ill the end recognized tbat it was useless to
continue the struggle and that without modern weapolls
defeat was inescapable ... they were conscious of the
backwardness of their country, and of the need for
modernization and opening up the country to outside
influences, ill this instance Frallce, that great Western
power whose moral prestige was well known to them and to
which they were favorably predisposed. 33
Obviously this viewpoint is a blatant defense of colonialism.
Jean Chesneaux observes about the Can Vuollg movement that
This struggle was waged vigorously and was widely
supported by the masses. But it was hopeless and lacking ill
perspective. These Confucian scholargentry ollly fought ill
the name of honor and for a nostalgia of an unredeemable
The Confucian intellectuals who led the "revolt of the
scholar-gentry" from 1885-1895 were secluded in the
nostalgia of the past. Vietnam was desperately alone and
nothing on the horizon could offer a ray of hope. 33b
Naturally the ideology of the scholar-gentry was feudalistic
but the above mistaken views hold that our people were still
attached to a dying feudal culture. Chesneaux also considers
the sole aim of the Can Vuong movement to have been the
defense of an old outdated culture based on the Confucian
concept of loyalty to the king. The author of Vietnamese
Anticolonialism states that:
It has been easy for some observers, particularly those who
('annot sense the Vietnamese people's aggressive pride in
themselves and their history, to dismiss this loyalist
movement [the Can Vuong movement) as simply the last
stand of an outmoded, obscurantist ideal. Yet there is a
continuity, an unbroken thread tying this "antiquated"
[my quotes} resistance to more successful efforts in the
twentieth century. 34
(3) Vietnamese Anticolonialism makes a number of
objective observations on the progressive character, scope, and
significance of the various resistance movements in the early
twentieth century. The author directly takes issue with Jean
Chesneaux that the Vietnamese bourgeoisie emerged during
the first part of the twentieth century. "On the basis of the
evidence, it seems unrealistic to argue for the existence of a
conscious, self-assertive class-even a small
one-until after World War I." 5 The author disagrees with
Chesneaux that "the bourgeoisie became active in the first part
of the twentieth century, at a time when the national
movement was in decline." 36 Vietnamese Anticolonialism sees
the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc "as a vigorous but short-lived
movement [and] very much an anticolonial, antitraditionalist
phenomenon. . .. I believe that the Dong Kinh Nghia Thuc
movement served several important - perhaps essential
purposes for the young men who would constitute later
generations of anticolonialists." 37 The author considers the tax
movement of 1908 to have been "of inestimable importance
[because] for the first time, the peasants took their grievances
directly to the French residents, after having learned to their
own satisfaction that the mandarin representatives of Hue
were indeed powerless, impotent." 38 Vietnamese Anti
colonialism also devotes many pages to Phan Boi Chau, the
symbolic figure of the patriotic movement in the first part of
the twentieth century, as well as the Dong Du movement led
by him.
The Vietnamese anti-colonial movement at the first part
of the twentieth century did not "decline" but developed not
only more vigorously but more progressively. This fact
demonstrates that Vietnam had, since the very early days,
exposed the corruption and impotence of imperialism
precisely at the time when imperialism was becoming master
of the world and shackling all of Vietnam in chains. Through
its revolutionary movements -- which were not led by the
bourgeoisie-the Vietnamese people expressed their spirit of
self-reliance and their ability to catch up with the trends in
world history at the time when mankind had moved to the
doorstep of socialism.
What was the Moving Force behind
Vietnamese Anti-colonialism?
Vietnamese Anticolonialism though admirable contains
weaknesses. Vietnamese history, within the period examined
by the author, seemed to contain a number of paradoxes.
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Early national liberation movements at the end of the
nineteenth century did not escape feudalistic ideology, yet the
feudal class had lost its historical role. At the beginning of the
twentieth century bourgeois tendencies had emerged, although
a bourgeois class had not yet appeared, and when the
bourgeoisie began to enter the political arena in the 1920s the
leadership of the people was rapidly and completely
transferred to the working class. The problem is, why was the
Vietnamese patriotic tradition able to be inherited and
enriched, why was the character of the Vietnamese patriotic
movement transformed so rapidly, and why did it meet the
historical requirements of the time? The author has not yet
gone deeply enough into these questions, which deal with the
popular nature of the Vietnamese patriotic movement.
But it is necessary to say immediately that the author
does not share Philippe Devillers' historical viewpoint that:
"History has shown that it is made by a few." 39 Marr does go
into the role of the popular masses participating in the
anti-colonialist movement. For example, in the end of Chapter
I, "The Nature of Vietnamese Identity," Marr comes to the
conclusion that: "one of the most important messages of
Vietnamese history seems to be that enough of the elite had
enough in common with the mass of the peasantry to pool
their talents at appropriate times in ultimately victorious
struggle against a foreign invader." 40 When the French
colonialists conquered Cochinchina and the feudalist court
showed its impotence and cowardice, "a fair proportion of the
population in the Mekong delta had taken matters into its own
hands. ,,41 At the beginning of the twentieth century, "the
mass of [the) Vietnamese ... retained their emotional hatred
of foreign domination and understood the call for armed
But the author has not delved deeply enough into this
basic problem, the fact that the popular masses were the main
moving force behind the Vietnamese patriotic movement.
Consequently the author has not properly explained the
course and continuity of Vietnamese history and the
transformation of the Vietnamese patriotic and revolutionary
1. Concerning the origins and character of the Call Vuong
In discussing the situation in Hue in 1884, preceding the
Ham-nghi uprising (July 1885), the author observes: "Ton
That Thuyet dallied for another year and a half before doing
what might have been obvious decades before-namely,
withdrawal of the king from Hue into the mountains and
proclamation of a countrywide movement of resistance." 43 In
other words, why was the Can Vuong movement capable of
breaking out in 1885, and not "decades before"? More
importantly, why was the movement able to develop in such
lively fashion? Of course, there was the immediate factor that
the situation in Hue in the middle of 1885 simply forced Ton
That Thuyet to the decision to rise up. There was also a
longer-standing cause: a number of scholar-gentry of patriotic
spirit, who previously had waited patiently for the Hue court
to take a position of resistance, finally had their iingering
hopes shattered by the defeatist treaties of 1883 and 1884.
But these factors were not adequate in themselves. It is
necessary to speak of a deeper, more fundamental source: the
role and activities of the masses-at that time essentially the
peasantry-in the resistance struggle in general, and in
particular their role in the outbreak, patterns and essential
character of the Can Vuong movment. During the initial
period in south Vietnam, it was they, those people "first and
foremost familiar with the work of digging, plowing,
harrowing and transplanting, who have not yet been trained to
use shields, muskets, swords and banners,,,44 who
courageously rose up and killed the French bandits. It was
those people who, with "only a snatch of cloth around the
waist, a bamboo spear in hand,,,45 refused to give way before
the enemy, "even though they were up against metal ships
with belching smokestacks, iron cannon with lead
projectiles.,,46 It was they who jumped and "seized the horse's
head" when Truong Dinh still hesitated in the face of a royal
order to assume new duties in An-giang. In short, they
represented the strength, the vitality of the Vietnamese
people, at a time when the feudal class had terminated its
historical role.
That strength and vitality was transmitted to the hearts
of those scholar-gentry who still retained the millenial cultural
spirit of the people, of which patriotism was the very essence.
The masses both rose up of their own accord and responded to
scholar-gentry calls, both attacked the French directly and
protested surrender edicts from the royal court. When the
French colonialists invaded north Vietnam in 1873, and then
1882, popular feelings boiled over. As Vietnamese
Anticolonialism explains, "Royal court records of this period
were filled with messages from district mandarins to the effect
that the people were asking to fight, wanting to fight. ,,47
Wherever the enemy went, the people jumped forth in
resistance, while the court showed itself to be extremely feeble
and cowardly. And then, when the court signed the defeatist
treaty of 1883, the attitude of the people was quite clear-cut:
Crowds move to and fro, beating drums, waving flags
In this battle we 'Il strike botb tbe court a/Jd the
One unsettling comparison which progressively etched
itself into the minds of those scholar-gentry retaining a
patriotic spirit was the total powerlessness and surrender
mentality of the court, versus the refusal of the people in
general ever to accept submission. The people's ardent
patriotism, their unyielding will, their firm yet supple capacity
for struggle, and their illuminating sense of just cause-all these
served as a conceptual foundation for the patriotic
scholar-gentry, a solid post for getting up again, as well as a
source of talertt and material assistance in building a broad,
numerous literati movement. By simultaneously opposing the
foreign bandit aggressors and the court clique that would
surrender and sell out the country, the Call Vuong movement
became patriotic and progressive in nature, even though the
scholar-gentry leaders of that time still held on to their old
feudal ideology. Subsequently, the essence of the movement
was passed on and expanded in a new environment, that is to
say, the popular, democratic campaigns of the early twentieth
2. Concerning the character of the early twentieth century
Vietnamese Anticolonialism states that, "if one believes
that it is possible to have a stri(,tly intellectual revolution, that
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
is, a changing of minds that sets certain men or certain classes
marching in substantially new political and economic
directions, then there was a revolution of sorts in Vietnam
between 1900 and 1910.,,49 The author has already affirmed
the. patriotic and "anti-traditional," in short, the revolutionary
character of these movements. But does it follow that this
revolutionary character was only expressed in the intellectual
arena and, more importantly, why was the movement
revolutionary? Ideology always has an international aspect. At
the beginning of the twentieth century, Asia was seething with
bourgeois democratic currents of thought, and this influenced
Vietnam. But Vietnam was receptive only to these currents
because there was a real base for them. In their efforts at
colonial exploitation, the French imperialists combined tightly
the piratical manner of contemporary capitalism with the
barbaric, oppressive, thieving nature of feudalism. And they
did this on the economic, political, cultural and ideological
fronts. The feudal class became a mere appendage of the
colonial ruling system.
Meanwhile, capitalism in Vietnam began to sprout
and seek means of expansion. Thus it was that the
movements at the opening of the twentieth century, besides
having a national character, also had a democratic character.
Naturally democracy at this time had not yet struck at the
roots of feudalism. Yet it was expressed on political,
economic, cultural and ideological fronts (education according
to the new concepts; campaigns to study the romanized script
[quoc-ngu); opposing rote memorization of the classics;
promoting new culture versus outmoded customs; opposing
corrupt, bullying mandarins and village officials; emphasizing
industrialization and purchase of local products). Of course,
each of these revolutionary actions had its own ideological
content, but it is not possible to argue that it was a revolution
purely of intellectual, ideological nature. To do this draws one
easily into the trap of regarding the origins of revolution as
merely a foreign import or as simply an ideological exercise of
a few leading scholar-gentry. This ignores the role of the
people, the masses -the root cause of the widespread,
revolutionary character of the movement.
Contradictions between the people and the colonialists
and feudalists, as well as the people's drive for independence
and freedom that stemmed from earlier periods, were all
sharpened progressively by French exploitative activities
(witness the continuous uprisings and the obvious discontent
with harsh, greedy colonial, feudal policies). That situation
continued to influence the patriotic scholar-gentry, so that
when they did make contact with "Asian winds and European
rains,"* whether favoring reformistt programs or hoping for
I.e. receptive to modern thinking, either from China and Japan
or from Europe.
t Referring to the distinction Marr makes between "reformist"
scholar-gentry and "activist" scholar-gentry. Both groups were against
French rule. Some of Phan Hoi Chau's (who founded the Reformation
Society, Duy Tan Hoi) associates and eventually Phan himself
represented the activist side of the scholar-gentry movement since "the
basic priorities of this group were always activist, violent, even putschist
in character." (Marr, 121) Reformist or "modernist" scholar-gentry
(note that this was not the same type of reformism usually associated
with the bourgeoisie), like Phan Chu Trinh, stressed the non-violent,
political attack on colonialism and the need for republican institutions.
See Marr, 135-6. 156-7.
external aid, they still retained an independent,
nation-oriented position. (The objective of the Reformation
Society was to "first and foremost regain national
independence" and, for scholar-gentry of the Dong Kinh Nghia
Thuc, to "chant independence prayers at the reformation
Then, too, the postures of reformism or activism of the
scholar-gentry, when spread among the masses thirsting for
independence and freedom, tended to be assimilated with
discretion, according to mass needs and aspirations. They
merged reformist and activist tendencies and, as a result,
created broader, larger movements of revolutionary, mass
character. Both the Eastern Study movement and the Dong
Kinh Nghia Tbuc were like this. And, in particular, the
reformist movement in central Vietnam, when it penetrated
the masses, became an activist movement of tens of thousands
of peasants refusing tax payments, opposing corvee duty,
punishing overweening landlords serving as enemy lackies, and
generally causing the colonial-feudal regime in many districts
to suffer paralysis.
The revolutionary, mass character of the early twentieth
century movements raised up higher the spirit of independence
and self-determination of the Vietnamese people, at the same
time reflecting their self-strengthening, self-sufficient attitudes
and their ability to surge forth together with the advancing
waves of human history.
3. Also, because the author of Vietnamese Anticolonialism has
yet to go deep into the mass character of Vietnam's patriotic
movements, he cannot thoroughly analyze and explain the
"Changing the Guard" matter contained in the final chapter,
which serves to conclude the historical period and thus his
The years following the First World War were the golden
era of French imperialism in Vietnam, as they proceeded to
invest in and to pillage the colony with unprecedented
intensity and scale. More than ever before the Vietnamese
nation was heavily shackled and enslaved, the working masses
were forced into misery and deprivation. The Vietnamese
bourgeoisie was small and feeble, talking about reformism, in
short, lacking the capacity to assert .national leadership. But
the vitality of the nation, coming again from the strength of
the masses struggling for independence and freedom, asserted
itself after the war in various national democratic movements.
That was also the opening of a new era for humanity. At
the same time as an independence movement was developing
among the working class, as a patriotic movement was
spreading within the urban petit bourgeois class, and as the
peasants were about to explode in wrath, Marxism-Leninism was
brought by leader Nguyen Ai Quoc, his comrades and disciples
in the Viet-Nam Thanh Nien Cach Mang Dong Cl.>i Hoi
[Vietnam Revolutionary Youh Association) to the people of
Vietnam thirsting for true independence and freedom.
Marxism-Leninism came to the Vietnamese people like fresh
water to a thirsty traveler, like food to the famished. Nguyen
Ai Quoc had moved from simple patriotism to
Marxism-Leninism. Now he proceeded to guide the people
along the path he had already trod. The' people of Vietnam
found in Marxism-Leninism the final, systematic road to
national liberation, and the job of national liberation became
both the objective condition for, and the result of, progress in
liberating the proletarian and other laboring classes.
47 BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
After the establishment of the Viet-Nam Thanh Nien
Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi a strong wave of national democratic
feeling swept the entire country, during which the working
classes emerged as an independent political force and the other
patriotic elements were swept along the revolutionary path of
the proletariat. A historical phenomenon unique to Vietnam
had occurred: only five years after the Viet-Nam Thanh Nien
Cach Mang Dong Chi Hoi had been born, the banner of
national salvation of the party and the proletariat had become
the banner unifying all patriotic Vietnamese.
While there are thus some shortcomings, Vietnamese
Anticolonialism is still an accomplishment for the author. In
his introduction, the author advances some important
questions that tend to permeate his research topic:
What are the nature and causes of man's terrible
inhumanity toward his fellow men? How do the strong
treat the weak? More significantly, how do the weak react?
Who, in the last analysis, are really the weak ones; who, the
strong? 50
The author does not presume to answer directly each of these
questions, yet the history of Vietnamese anticolonialism,
presented in a spirit of objectivity and with a wealth of
documentation, becomes concrete proof in itself, directing the
reader towards certain unavoidable conclusions:
1) The source of insensitive activity in the sphere of
interpersonal relations lay with the enslaving, pillaging nature
of colonialism. Indeed, Governor general Albert Sarraut made
this point forty years ago, when he stated:
The colonial task from the beginning is not that of civilized
behavior or of any desire to civilize. It is forceful, violent
behavior, violence for profit. 51
2) Colonialism employs advanced techniques with the
object of subduing, of enslaving colonial peoples. Colonialists
turn themselves into barbarians, sowing barbarism everywhere
and blocking the progress of colonial peoples. The history of
Vietnam in the past hundred years is a vivid judgment on
colonial systems:
Never before in any country, in any period, have human
rights been so barbarously and wickedly violated. 52
3) Thus, in order to regain independence and freedom,
that which is most precious in the life of the people, and in
order to build a spirit of friendship among peoples, there is no
other path but to stand up and defeat colonialism. And the
history of Vietnamese anticolonialism has proven that a
people, even though small in numbers, if they know how to
unify and are determined to rise up and be masters of their
own destiny, can fight and win against any foreign invader.
4) Finally, the process of struggling to regain
independence and freedom also serves as a means to unmask
the true nature of colonialism and imperialism, condemning
them as a prime obstacle on the people's road to progress. For
that reason, in today's conditions the task of struggling for
independence and freedom is also the task of defeating the
increasingly weak imperialist forces. It is the just cause
triumphing over the unjust cause, civilization triumphing over
tyranny, oppressed peoples advancing their revolutions in step
with current world history and contributing positively to
world revolution.
In truth, today's Vietnam provides further clear and
penetrating answers for the above questions. Instigating a cruel
war of genocidal proportions, America's neo-colonialism has
revealed the most concentrated, intense aspects of colonial
barbarity, wickedness and reaction. But the repeated strategic
defeats of this neo-colonialism have exposed more clearly than
ever the serious deficiencies of American imperialism in this
period of world imperialism's decline and fall. In the glorious
anti-U.S., national salvation, armed resistance struggle-the
greatest struggle in our people's history of opposing foreign
intervention and a momentous clash for the contemporary
world - Vietnam has been able to mobilize the strength of
4,000 years of national history, and has had the enthusiastic
sympathy and support of the socialist countries and that of
progressive humanity in general, including the progressive
people of America. Thus Vietnam, without broad territory,
without a big population, and with a still-backward economy,
has yet been able to win great successes and is determined to
achieve complete victory. This victory will not only have
decisive meaning for the destiny of the peoples of Vietnam; it
will also actively advance the world revolutionary movement.
1. David G. Marr, Vietnamese Anticolonialism (Berkeley and
Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1971), xv.
2. Marr, xvi.
3. Marr., xvi.
4. Martin Bernal, "North Vietnam and China," The New York
Review of Books, August 12, 1971.
5. Bernal.
6. In August 1970 Father Truong Ba Can wrote Twenty-[ive
Years of Building Socialism in the North which was published in the
review Doi Dien. Father Chan Tin, editor of review, was taken to court
over the matter which led Huynh Van Vi, chairman of the south
Vietnamese press association to comment, "Intellectuals must respect
the truth and Father Chan Tin is such a person whose sole motivation
in publishing an article on historical research is to respect the truth. No
one can suspect that he had any political motivation in doing so."
Nonetheless, Chan Tin was sentenced to six months in jail by the
regime, and Truong Ba Can was savagely beaten by the authorities for
frivolous reasons.
7. Nguyen Van Trung, Chu nghia [hue dan Phap, [huc chat va
Huyen thoai [French Colonialism-Substance and Words] (Saigon:
Nam son, 1963),201.
8. Joseph Buttinger, Vietnam, A Political History (New York:
Frederick Praeger, 1966), 177.
9. Marr, xv.
10. Jean Chesneaux, Le Vietnam (Paris: Francois Maspero,
11. Marr, 276.
12. Buttinger says the following about old-style colonialism: "It
was a primitive, exploitative system that brought all the evils of eariy,
and none of the blessings of later, capitalism." Op. cit . 177.
13. Marr, op. cit., xv.
14. Marr, 4.
15. Marr, 45.
16. Marr, 16.
17. Marr, 76.
18. Marr, 76.
19. Marr, 185.
20. Marr, 195.
21. Marr, 211.
22. Nguyen Trai, Binh Ngo Vai Cao.
23. Marr, 211.
24. Marr, 253.
25. Rupert Emerson, From Empire to Nation (Cambridge, Mass.:
Harvard University Press, 1960). Quoted in V. Li, "Le mouvement de
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Comments on 'Vietnamese
Anticolonialism '
by Jayne Werner
The review by Nguyen Cong Binh of Vietnamese
Anticolonialism deals with the larger historical perspective of
the anti-colonial movement from 1885 to 1925, questions of
methodology, and theoretical concepts about Vietnamese
history. Some aspects of the book are particularly interesting
and germane to American readers, even if they have only a
casual familiarity with contemporary Vietnamese history.
The Marr study is not a dry historical account of the
early national movement, but rather a vibrant and alive story
which transmits to Americans the cultural content, the ways
of thinking, the spirit, and the debates of that period. This is a
liberation nationale contemporain et la place qu'il occupe dans la lutte
antiimperialiste," La Vie Internationale, December, 1971.
26. Philippe Devillers, Histoire du Vietnam de 1940 a 1952
(Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1952), 53.
27. Marr, 79.
28. Marr, 79.
29. Marr, 81.
30. Marr, 96.
31. Marr, 45.
32. Marr, 45.
33. Devillers, 28.
33a. Chesneaux, Le Vietnam" 30.
33b. Chesneaux, 79.
34.Marr, 48-49.
35. Marr, 202-203.
36. Chesneaux.
37. Marr, 182.
38. Marr, 185.
39. Devillers, 54.
40. Marr, 21.
41. Marr, 30.
42. Marr, 204.
43. Marr, 43.
44. Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Van te nghia si Can-giuoc [Poem
commemorating the heroes of Can-giuoc) .
45. Ibid.
46. Anonymous, Hich danh Phap [Proclamation to attack the
47. Marr, 45, 46.
48. Folksong of Nghe An and Ha Tinh provinces.
49. Marr, 204.
50. Marr, 4.
51. Albert Sarraut, Grandeur et SenJitude Coloniales (Paris,
52. Nguyen Ai Quoc, Le Proces de la Colonisation Fran,aise.
[French Colonization on Triall
noteworthy achievement. The people who led the anti-French
movement emerge as full human beings, predecessors in spirit
to leaders such as Ho Chi Minh, Vo Nguyen Giap, and Le Duc
Tho. Note, for example, some of the biographies of early
resistance leaders (who lived from about 1860 to 1930 and
who are not mentioned in most French "histories" of
Vietnam) on pages 83-94, and follow throughout the book the
footsteps of the two great patriotic scholar-gentry figures,
Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh, whose stories are in many
ways the central focus of this book.
Marr also communicates the feeling of most Vietnamese
after the French conquest of mat nuoc, of having lost their
country and of being threatened with the loss of their identity
as a people. Marr presents the early anti-colonial leaders
through writings and poetry, translated into tnglish for the
first time, which attest to their intense patriotism, spirit of
self-sacrifice, dignity, and eloquence. For example, one can
read parts of a celebrated poem by Phan .Boi Chau, Hai Ngoai
Huyet Tbu [Overseas Book Inscribed in Bloodl :1
Wby was our cou1ltry lost?
I submit tbe followillg:
First tbe monarch hew nothing of popular affairs;
Seco/ld the mandarins cared nothing for the people.
A nd third the people knew only of themselves.
State matters to the Killg, other affairs to the
mandarins, the people said.
Hundreds of thousands, millions together worked
To build the foundations of our country.
Tbe bodies, the resources are from the people;
Tbe people are in fact the country, the country is
the people's.
On the throne the King had complete license
And had a long time to drowse.
Within the borders his word was law,
Ten thousand people bowed low at his command.
Search back and forth over history,
Who will restore benefits and wipe out the people's
Blood is boiling in your heart,
Countrymen! Draw forth your swords,
There is Heaven, Earth, and Us.
That is what we call true unity!
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Marr makes a distinction between the "activist" and
"reformist" scholar-gentry, which is symbolized by the
differences between Phan Boi Chau and Phan Chu Trinh,
between those more concerned with immediate expulsion of
the French (regardless of what type of Vietnamese regime was
reinstated) and those primarily interested in reform,
elimination of oppressive feudal institutions such as the
monarchy and the mandarinate, and the achievement of
modern forms of government. After the initial royalist
movement against the French (from about 1885 to 1890),
Marr sees in much of the early anti-colonial struggle an
interplay between these two trends, neither of which reached
ultimate fruition. The French were not forced out of Vietnam
until 1954 by the communist movement, nor did they
undertake reforms of the feudal institutions.
The book delves into the debates, the philosophical
differences, and the various organizational programs that
animated the anti-French struggle during the early years. One
chapter is devoted to Phan Boi Chau's DOllg Du [Eastern
StudyJ movement, a part of the activist trend, which sent to
Japan in secret several hundred young students who were to
study modern science and military arts in preparation for an
eventual uprising against the French after they returned home.
Another chapter deals with the DOllg Killb Ngbia Tbuc, the
Hanoi Free Study Institute, a school founded by some
reformist scholar-gentry which sought to give young
Vietnamese a more modern and appropriate education than
they were receiving under the French or Confucian systems.
The poems of Ph an Boi Chau and the writings of Phan Chu
Trinh were distributed and recited in the DOllg Killb Ngbia
Ti.>uc (see pages 175-79 for some of these poems).
Marr describes the impact of the anti-colonial movement
on the men who would become the leaders of the communist
movement, in particular Ho Chi Minh; this can give American
readers a sense of the continuity and rich heritage supporting
communism in Vietnam. Marr writes of Ho Chi Minh's
boyhood in north Vietnam in the atmosphere of the royalist
movement and resistance against the French. His maternal
great-uncle had been a close friend of the son of the
scholar-gentry leader who had led the uprising of 1885 in his
native Nghe An province. This uncle, after being incarcerated
for many years, later lived with Ph an Boi Chau. Ph an Boi Chau
remembers in his memoirs the young nine-year-old boy,
Nguyen Ai Quoc (Nguyen the Patriot, one of Ho Chi Minh's
early names), who sat at his knee listening to him recite lines
of poetry which the boy never forgot. Marr notes that Ho Chi
Minh acknowledged on several occasions the spiritual debt he
owed to Phan Boi Chau. (See pages 209,253-257).
The early communist leaders were also heirs of the
anti-Confucianist and anti-feudal "reformism" of the
modernist scholars; it was only with the merging of the two
dominant trerids in the early anti-colonial movement,
reformism and activism, anti-feudalism and anti-imperialism,
that the right formula was found for both expelling the
foreigner and reorganizing the society for a better life for its
people. But present-day Vietnamese have felt a greater debt
and deeper link with the "activist" trend in the early national
movement, as Vietnam has found it extraordinarily difficult to
free itself of foreign interference and domination:
Pball Bui Cbau's ubjectives ill life were simpler a/ld more
ubviuus tball thuse uf Pball Cbu Trinb, yet, paraduxically,
they bave pruved to be mure difficult tu accomplisb. Phall
Boi Cbau wanted an end to foreign exploitation, an end to
slavisb bowing and scraping before alien doors. While many
of Phan Cbu Trinb's visions of modernization bave come to
fruition alld even been surpassed - Pban Boi Cbau's
vision of a Viet/lam witbout foreign overlords bas remained
just beYD11d grasp, a spur to further agollizing effort
whicb may be the secret of why today the memory of Phan
Boi Cbau remains more intimate, more meaningful, to the
mass of tbe Vietnamese peuple
Marr does not use the term "nationalist" to describe the
anti-colonial movement because he feels that the meaning of
the Vietnamese terms quuc-gia and quoc-dan, which would
normally be translated as "nationalist," carry controversial
political and emotional connotations in Vietnamese. He feels
that the Vietnamese term dall-tuc conveys more the sense of
the Vietnamese conception of their "peoplehood" or
"nationhood" but that this term cannot be translated as
nationalist, but rather as national. However, to use national in
this context would confuse it with nationalist, so he prefers to
stick with anti-colonial. Nguyen Cong Binh uses mainly the
term national movement, pbollg trao dan tuc, although he also
uses the term anti-colonial to describe the struggle against the
French from 1885 to 1925, before communism directed the
national movement. He does not use the term nationalist
because Marxist concepts associate this term with the politics
of the bourgeoisie, seeing nationalism occurring with the
growth of this class as it seeks to expand capitalist markets
throughout a national territory, which mayor may not
comprise different ethnic categories, and to establish
democratic or republican forms of government, usually in
opposition to a monarchy or feudal institutions. In the
process, the bourgeoisie develops an appropriate ideology
emphasizing political independence and free markets within its
Although much of American scholarship on Asia has
tended to define anti-colonial movements as "nationalist," on
the model of countries such as India and Indonesia where the
independence movements were led not by communists but by
the bourgeoisie, the Vietnamese case illustrates another model
in which the bourgeoisie as a class essentially had no role in
the independence movement. The leadership of the national
movement passed directly from the patriotic Confucian
educated scholar-gentry to the working class and the
Communist party without an intervening stage of capitalism
and republican institutions. Some Vietnamese Marxists have
argued that one reason this stage may have been avoided in
Vietnam was because of certain affinities between
Confucianism and Marxism; the intense patriotism and
of the anti-French non-collaborationist
scholar-gentry directed them, or their sons, to the best
solution to Vietnam's plight, that is, the theory and
application of Marxism-Leninism.
Marr's Vietnamese
J\ Ilticuiulliaiism, by using the term anti-colonial to describe
the independence movement in Vietam, can help challenge the
use of "nationalism" to describe all anti-colonial movements in
Asia and help focus attention on the leadership of various
independence movements to determine which ones have in
fact moved the furthest toward achieving true independence
for their peoples.
Finally, one thing that emerges from the Marr book with
particular relevance for us as Americans is the lesson, repeated
over and over again, that although the patriotic scholar-gentry
50 BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
realized the tremendous odds against them, saw the brutality
of modern French weaponry, and witnessed their mandarin
colleagues bow before the aggressors without a protest and
help them maintain the colonial regime, they would not and
did not give up fighting. The odds were even more
overwhelming for the common people,
who with "ollly a match of cloth around the waist, a
bamboo spear ill hand," refused to give way before the
enemy, "even though they were up against metal ships with
belching smokestacks, iro;l canllOllS with lead projectiles, "
as described in a nineteenth century poem and proclamation
quoted above by Nguyen Cong Binh. This was the same spirit
of resistance that had enabled the Vietnamese people to defeat
the Mongol, Ming, and Ch'ing invaders; in the case of Kublai
Khan's Mongols, the Vietnamese were the only people south
of China who were able to check the advance of their armies
and navy on their southern campaigns in the 13th century.
Whereas the 19th century Vietnamese court troops were
awed by the weapons of the French the common people had
the tradition of guerrilla warfare to fall back on, then as now.
Even at the height of the Pentagon's war against the
Vietnamese, when the technology and airpower seemed so
massively destructive, D.R.V. was not forced to abandon its
ties with the south, nor was the N.L.F. "eliminated." The
nature of resistance in the south under the P.R.G. as heirs to
this anti-colonial tradition, national spirit, and resistance
against foreign invaders, thus should help put the future of the
Thieu regime in perspective. The fight today of the guerrilla
movement under communist leadership in the south against all
the vindictive might of the war-machine of the Pentagon is not
the first time the Vietnamese have triumphed over an
ostensibly superior enemy, as Marr shows. And their victory
once again reaffirms the primacy of man over technology,
which is a victory for us all.
1. Marr, Vietnamese Anticolonialism, 129.
2. Marr, 275-6.
3. For a development of this approach with relation to Southeast
Asian countries, see Le Thanh Khoi, "Quelques caracteristiques
historiques des mouvements nationaux en Asie du Sud-est
(1900-1945)," in Jean-Paul Charnay, ed., De l'lmperialisme a la
Decolonisation (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1965), 35-62.
4. Nguyen Khac Vien, Experiences Vietnamiennes (Paris:
Editions Sociales, 1970), 201-233; this chapter entitled "Confucianisme
et marxisme au Vietnam" will soon be published in English with other
selections by the Indochina Resource Center.
The China Quarterly
January-March 1974
Communications Within the Bureaucracy
Some Observations on Current Fertility Control in China
The 1972 Shipping Regulations
The Sino-japanese Rapprochement: A Relationship of Ambivalence
Research Note
Political Profiles: Wang Hung-wen and Li 'feh-sheng
Report from China:
"Revolution in Education" Committees
c'ditorial 0 [[ice: School of Oriental and African Studies
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London WC 1E 7HP
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Micbel Oksenberg
Carl Djerassi
Antbony Dicks
Gene Hsiao
Pariss Chang
Robert McCormick
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The American-Japanese
fCo-Prosperity Sphere'
by T. A. Bisson
Japanese Imperialism Today, by Jon Halliday and Gavan McCormack.
London: Penguin (New York: Monthly Review). pp. xviii, 279, maps,
charts, appendices. .50 (Penguin paperback), $7.95 (Monthly Review
Once upon a time Washington could boldly proclaim its
much-used slogan: the United States, defender of freedom and
democracy. Today the words ring less clearly in American ears.
what with the barbarities of the Indochina war, climaxed by
the Hanoi and Cambodian bombings. But Americans are still
largely unaware of a much broader Asian canvas in which
American actions destroy freedom and suppress democracy.
Few would believe that the United States (with Japan's help)
controls a ring of satellites circling the eastern rim of Asia not
unlike those of the Soviet Union in eastern Europe, though
with one difference-our satellites are governed by men far less
able and far more brutal. No overall picture of these Asian
satellites exists in the American mind. How could it? The
American news reports, with their scattered and fragmentary
coverage of Asian events, are uniquely constituted not to
deliver a full view of the full Asian picture.
Halliday and McCormack are in effect seeking to break
through this wall of ignorance. Their view is a comprehensive
one. It relates events in Djakarta, Saigon, and Seoul. It ranges,
in other words, over the entire region, drawing into sharp
interpretive focus the policies being applied throughout the
area during the postwar years, but especially since 1965. It is
massively documented with 30 statistical tables and a
postscript that carries the data well into 1972. A review can
take note of some of its findings but much is necessarily
The East Asian imperium
Its most significant pages are those which detail the
rapid growth of an American-J apanese partnership in the
control and exploitation of the Third World countries that
border eastern Asia. Operating freely over the whole area since
1945, the United States had a long head-start, but since 1965
the Japanese stake has greatly increased. In this shift the
protracted Vietnam war abetted Japan's growing economic
prowess by inducing Washington to solicit greater assumption
of imperial responsibilities by its Japanese partner.
Competition for relative shares in exploiting the condominium
is strong, with the partners constantly hammering out a
compromise division of the spoils.
This reviewer is left with a wistful feeling if only the
United States could have also been named in the book's title.
Many of its most telling passages deal quite as much with
American as with Japanese imperialism. For two decades the
United States acted as the pioneer architect of the new
imperium, most of whose operations it must be
emphasized lie wholly outside of Vietnam. In 1965
Washington found it necessary to admit Japan as a full, even if
a junior, partner. What characterizes the situation as it exists
today, ignored by too many of our academic scholars, is
simply this: the swift emergence since the mid-'60s of an
American-J apanese condominium, of a new co-prosperity
sphere, in the "free world" arc from Seuul to Djakarta.
The alliance is not without its internal sljuabbles.
Customary in any such relationship, and more noticeable
recently, such troubles must be and are worked ou t, mostly in
the senior partner's favor. The two powers, after all. are linked
together by the strongest of imperialist ties- the absolute
necessity to coordinate the military-economic underwriting of
their satellites on the East Asian periphery. It is a task that
requires constant attention. These local regimes, normally
military dictatorships, are often unstable, always greedy for
handouts, all corrupt, and all soundly anti-communist. Run
over the list of these "free world" defenders: Suharto of
Indonesia, Marcos of the Philippines, Thieu of Vietnam, Lon
Nol of Cambodia, Chiang Kai-shek of Taiwan, Pak Chung-hi of
South Korea, and the Field Marshals Praphas and
Kittikachorn, late of Thailand.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
This latter pair were merely the latest in a long line of
incredibly corrupt officers from the Thai military, always
handsomely supported by Washington. Their overthrow on
October 15, 1973, cost the lives of at least 300 students, with
thousands more wounded. The protest demonstration, led by
200,000 well organized students and involving many Bangkok
residents, was a huge one; all were unarmed civilians. The
machine-guns turned on the crowd, and even more the use of
"tanks and helicopter gunships," indicates how much the
military overshadowed the police in the actions of this day.1
So strong was the feeling roused against the two Marshals that,
having done their tragic work, they fled into exile, Praphas to
Taipei and Kittikachorn to Boston. The lengthy presence of
thousands of GIs has had disastrous effects on Thai ways, and
much anti-Americanism exists. A touchstone for the new
cabinet even the students are liberal not leftist- may well be
the continuance of the six American air bases. Thailand, it is
worth noting, could prove symptomatic: some of the other
dictators, Pak in South Korea and Marcos in the Philippines,
sit uneasily in their seats.
One must wonder how far this episode, and its
implications, registered with Americans. For quite a while
there was such a business as the Vietnam war. Under the
Nixon-Kissinger "settlement" it still continues, with the "free
world" side led by that staunch democrat Thieu, still with
thousands of political prisoners being tortured in his jails.
During this tragic decade no prime minister of Japan once
questioned the Amerian role there, despite the opposition
voiced so strongly by the Japanese people as to make it
necessary for the American ambassador to denounce the
reflection of this sentiment in Japanese newspapers. How
could a Liberal-Democratic prime minister, a Kishi, an Ikeda,
or a Sato, take up the plaint of his people when the United
States was holding down a valuable segment of the
condominium and paying liberally for the materials so
lavishly supplied by Japan in support of the war? It could be
no more expected than for an LBJ or a Nixon to listen to the
plaint of the American people. The two imperialist partners
had joined hands to do a job, the people could be ignored.
Let us be clear, then, on the esence of this new
co-prosperity sphere ala deux. Fundamentally what exists
among rulers and ruled in this East Asian region is a symbiotic
relationship: the satellites need arms and money from their
neo-colonial masters, while the imperial partners need raw
materials, investment areas, and markets. In its form of
control, with apparent local autonomy, and with its diversc
and widely scattered constituents, one is dealing with a new
type of empire. Taken as a whole, it is by no means
insignificant, either territorially or in its wealth of natural
resources. Its island chains run from the Ryukyus through
Taiwan and the Philippines to Indonesia. On the mainland it
takes in South Korea, Thailand, and what is left of Indochina,
chiefly the Saigon-controlled areas of Vietnam. Its influence
grows steadily in Singapore and Malaysia; Singapore especially
is becoming more dependent. Exploitation of this rich
imperium is a bonanza for the master powers and highly
profitable to the officials heading the local regimes. Ilow the
people fare under this arrangement is another matter, one that
goes far to explain the drastic repression that exists in country
after country.
Dividing the imperium between its dual masters has been
an interesting exercise in imperialist statesmanship. Japan
might be said to have bought its way in, by providing loans to
Suharto, Thieu, Chiang and Pak, at a time when the mounting
costs of the Vietnam war had reduced Washington's ability to
finance the entire galaxy of satellite dictators. But given the
U.S. headstart throughout the condominium, Japan's
contribution could purchase no more than a Junior
Investment opportunities were the main prize. Even
today, from Indonesia to South Korea, the American
corporations are the dominant investors, though the giant
Japanese concerns have gained a sizeable second-rank stake.
Trade control was the lesser prize, and here Japan was simply
the superior competitor. Its exports to the satellites have
skyrocketed, until their large deficit balances have for most
become a critical problem. Japan's imports, on the other hand,
have been much smaller, but still considerable; in this trade
equation it is the local countries that are the dependents.
The authors' data and analyses cover a dozen or more of
the local East Asian countries, often in great detail. For a
summary look at some of this rich material, Indonesia may be
chosen to illustrate the picture in the south, Taiwan and South
Korea for the north.
Indonesia is by far the richest and most valuable segment
of the condominium. It is also a prime example of how the
partners work to prop up an undemocratic regime through
which the economy can be profitably milked. A set of
Japanese-trained generals control the Indonesian army, with
General Suharto heading the dictatorship established in 1965.
It should have given Japan the edge, but in fact the United
States has fared better. When the coup occurred, a group of
Indonesian technocrats, carefully trained for years mainly by
University of California professors, took over the key
economic agencies of Suharto's new government.
I n the scramble that still con tinues, U.S. capital has
gained control of the larger and more productive oil and
rubber areas, and also of the tin, copper, nickel, and bauxite
mines. Alcoa, for example, controls the "bauxite rights on
every island," except for the gm'ernment-worked deposits on
Bintan established under Sukarno. By mid-1971 U.S.
companies held 78.6 percent of total foreign mining
investment in Indonesia, and roughly the same proportion of
oil investment. For Japan there were some lesser oil rights and
a promising nickel concession in the Halmahera area. Though
it is Amcrican concerns that reap the profits, they do not
depri\'C their partner of these critical raw materials; the bulk of
Indonesia's oil and mineral exports go to Japan. As a result,
and quite against the normal pattern, Japan's imports from
Indonesia in 1970 were twice its exports.
This does not mean that Japan has been left out in the
cold. In forests and fisheries Japanese investment is dominant,
and lumber is second only to oil in the list of Japan's critical
When otht:r factors are added, it. becomes much clearer
that Japan is a substantial partner in the Indonesian scene. In
manufacturing, transport, communications, and electric
power, it is Japan that holds the lead. From the outset,
financial help was badly needed and Japan has played a major
role in underwriting Suharto. In July 1966 the United States
and Japan carried through a rescue operation on his shaky
foreign debt position, with Japan alone pledging the large loan
advance of $300 million. Many separate loans have followed.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
including a recent one in May 1972 when Sato paid a week's
visit to Suharto, seeking oil concessions from the Djakarta
junta. Success was registered in a $207 million loan contract
extending Japan's rights in oil exploration and development.
All told, then, Japan has paid its way in the Indonesian
operation and acquired its share of the rewards.
Looking to the effects of this process, one is struck by
the fact that Indonesian "development" has been turned over
virtually ill toto to foreign capital, with no restrictions on
repatriation of profits. Seldom, even in colonial days, has the
abdication been more complete. Under Sukarno an effort was
made to retain independent control, under Suharto any such
attempt has been shelved. A rueful comment best expresses
the situation: "japan and the United States already control
the Indonesian economy. The U.S. has seized the natural
resources and japan the manufacturing industry." 3 The
speaker was Sadhi, Chairman of the Indonesian Government
Investment Committee.
Indonesia represents one particular facet of japan's
general economic breakthrough into Southeast Asia, from
which memories of its wartime acts had long excluded it.
Reparations and economic aid, tied to the purchase of
japanese goods, opened the way; with the gates down, japan's
trade with the area has reached ever-higher totals. The
untoward aspect of this growing trade is its heavy imbalance.
Indonesia, as noted, is the exception, but even with Indonesia
included, japan's export surplus to Southeast Asia as a whole
more than tripled in the 1960s, from $550 million in 1960 to
$1.888 billion in 1970. And the imbalance continues to grow
at an even faster rate. By 1975, in a japan Economic Research
Center projection, japan will supply 40 percent of Southeast
Asian imports with a surplus balance of $5.800 billion.
Interest payments on foreign loans already bulk large for many
Southeast Asian countries; the prospect of still further loans of
a size sufficient to cover the trade imbalance here envisaged is
Japan's insatiable demand for lumber gives the authors
another reason for concern over Southeast Asia. Its forests
already supply the major part of japan's mushrooming
demand and recently supplanted the United States as the chief
provider. Along with Canada the United States is growing
more restrictive, and Japan has now turned to Southeast Asia,
particularly the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia. During
the colonial era Mitsui and other zaibatsu concerns had
devastated the forests of Taiwan and Korea, in the process
touching off a large uprising on Taiwan; today, neither
country is among the leading suppliers. japan has won the big
forest concessions in Indonesia, where full exploitation is just
beginning; a worried Philippines has recently barred further
export of Mindanao mangrove. More is at stake here than
Rocky Mountain scenery. These tropical forests are often the
necessary adjunct of a closely associated agriculture, if only in
their conservation of moisture. "The pillaging of Southeast
Asia's forests," the authors note,' "has a devastating effect on
the lives of poor peasants throughout the area, and utterly
negative, and often irreversible effects on the whole ecology."
From Indonesia, where tens of thousands are
unemployed and an impoverished squatter populace is forcibly
driven from the cities, where the peasantry has never been in
worse straits, and where thousands of political prisoners are
still held in brutal detention, we hear little of the bracing
social effects of "development" by Alcoa, Mitsubishi, et al.
But to the north, for Taiwan and South Korea, the reports are
quite different-in many cases little less than a litany of
accomplishment. Against this "success story" the authors,
digging below surface appearances, set some grave questions.
In this northern sphere the focus of attention is on the
growing activities of japan during recent years. A little-noted
shift in the imperium's arrangements, occuring in the mid-'60s,
has vastly increased the weight of the Japanese partner.
Through the early postwar years Taiwan and South Korea
were little more than American vassal states, as was Japan
itself. Even after 1952 bitter memories of colonial oppression,
especially intense in South Korea, held back Japan's economic
entry. With a strong assist from Washington, handled by Dean
Rusk, Japan's breakthrough was achieved in the key year
It was a typical coup for the partners, with both
benefitting. On one side, the cost of LBJ's escalating Vietnam
war put an end to the customary U.S. fiscal aid to Taiwan; on
the other, Japan came through with a yen loan of $150 million
to Chiang Kai-shek. His regime had never limited japan's trade
activity, but the investment concessions had gone to American
firms. Now, as quid pro quo, the bars were let down and the
big japanese concerns, already dominant in Taiwan's foreign
trade, were free to challenge the big American lead in capital
investment. It was all very pleasant and gentlemanly: Ja,pan
made its input and, as in Indonesia, received the appropriate
junior partner's share of the proceeds of the enterprise.
Conditions might have seemed less propitious in South
Korea, but here too the partners secured a breakthrough for
japan, and one that was far more significant. The Koreans,
apart from forty years of colonial oppression, had some very
recent memories. During World War II Japan had brutally
impressed Korean slave-labor forces by the hundreds of
thousands. Two decades later there were still no diplomatic
relations and still no peace treaty. Hostility to Japan existed as
much under Syngman Rhee, who had his own memories, as
under the succeeding more democratic governments.
But Pak had taken over in 1961, and by 1965 was
anxious to enlist Japan's help in shoring up his regime. In this
he had strong backing from Washington, equally eager to tie
japan up with the Seoul regime through the loans and
investments that would follow. So in 1965 Pak overrode the
deep-seated opposition in Parliament and the country, crushed
the massive protest demonstrations by military force, and
proceeded to negotiate and sign a formal treaty agreement
with japan reestablishing and "normalizing" relations, i.e., full
japanese trade and investment rights. To Pak went the
japanese loans.
If we take Taiwan as an example of investment
procedures in the imperium, it becomes easy to see why the
biggest corporations of the United States and japan scramble
to enter the field. Always the magic word "development" is
employed. Where independent local industries have emerged,
normally in textiles, one can speak of development. Taiwan is
the star case most often cited, but even here the
foreign-controlled industries have become overwhelmingly
dominant. And under what conditions, one may ask. Like
Suharto or Pak, Chiang Kai-shek is more inclined to shower
favors on the foreign investor than to discipline him. These
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
include a five-year tax-free period, with only a low company
tax thereafter, freedom to remit all profits to the country of
capital origin, plus a special boon due to the "war
situation"-no strikes permitted. Tariff-free export zones, as at
Kaohsiung, offer even greater privileges. Finally, wages are low
in Taiwan, about half those in Hongkong, and this for a skilled
labor force.
Benefits to the local economy from these investments
are minimal. The real beneficiaries are the big foreign
concerns. In Taiwan, as elsewhere, the large profits of the
foreign investor are drained from the country with negligible
contributions to local budgets. In many 'cases the foreign
capital is provided through loan contracts, on which the local
country has interest charges to meet. The foreign investor
earns profits on his product and interest on the loans.
Taiwan is not in South Korea's dire straits, owing to an
early effort at land reform, a wider trade outreach, and a more
diversified economy. Its 1970 per-capita income was $258,
relatively high for a Third World country, though North
Korea's figure of $210 in 1969 was comparable. In recent
years, nevertheless, the situation has grown difficult,
particularly on the trade side. In 1970 Taiwan's trade deficit
with Japan came to just under $600 million. The cumulative
deficit of $1.600 billion since 1965 pointed to a startling rate
of increase. These trade deficits must somehow be covered.
Since 1965, as well, Japanese loans and investments have
greatly increased, and their interest charges have become a
burden. Changing the trade situation to lessen the deficit
would not be easy. Japan supplies nearly 40 percent of
Taiwan's imports, and Japanese trading firms handle up to half
of Taiwan's total trade.
On the political side, also, some untoward phenomena
have appeared in Chiang's firmly ruled domain. Dissatisfaction
and unrest are being expressed in unexpected ways. One
reason might be that, with all the foreign investment, an
estimated 25 percent of the labor force was unemployed in
1971. Another reason, no doubt, would be the unsettling
effects of the Nixon-Kissinger diplomacy, felt most of all in
Taiwan. Significantly, the unrest centered on the American
Japanese presence. A spate of violent attacks was directed
against various military bases, several foreign-owned banks,
and some petrochemical plants. The last target might seem
hard to explain, if one were not aware that industrial pollution
has become a live topic in the northern satellites, with full
knowledge that the threat comes from Japan.
Chiang's most serious problem, of course, has arisen
from China's full diplomatic entry on the world scene under
terms in which both the United States and Japan declared
Taiwan to be part of China. One response, already evident,
could be to establish Taiwan as an independent state. For
Chiang himself this ploy is close to impossible; after his passing
a negotiated reunion with China is the likely outcome.
South Korea
When Washington engineered Japan's reentrance into
South Korea in a tie-up with Pak's dictatorship, it struck a
damaging blow to the Korean people and to their country's
national independence. For Pak has been a willing tool of his
masters- -so much so, indeed, that his actions have verged on
abdication. By far his greatest assist to the United States,
footed by the American taxpayer, was the dispatch of 40,000
South Korean mercenary troops to Vietnam. With Japan his
relations have been economic, filling the coffers of his regime
at the expense of his country's welfare. The more closely one
examines them, the more harmful they appear to true Korean
As everywhere in the imperium, the two partners
completely dominate the South Korean economy. Japan
started from near zero in 1964 with its typical "reparations"
and "aid" breakthrough, in an operation benefiting not the
Korean peorle but the big Japanese concerns and Pak's
officialdom. By 1969 it had replaced the United States as
South Korea's major trade partner. In that year the Korean
trade deficit of some $600 million was already very large; in
1970, at $1,200 billion, it had doubled.
It should come as no surprise, then, that foreign
investment, mostly Japanese of late, has boomed during Pak's
years. By the end of 1970 foreign funds totaling $3 billion had
been poured into the economy. American firms held much the
largest portion, but the Japanese were rapidly increasing their
share. Profits on these investments, and interest on the loans
that often cover them, must be remitted; then the trade
deficits must be covered. Japan has been Pak's savior. A first
$200 million loan dates from 1965; many others have
followed, both from the Japanese government and the private
Japanese concerns.
At this point the clearest view of South Korea's financial
predicament emerges. Loan repayments already totaled $241
million in 1971. These payments have a built-in growth factor;
the estimate is that by 1976 they will reach $648 million. A
pessimistic observer might be inclined to say that the country
is going bankrupt. Pak must now contract new loans in order
to cover the old ones. He is reduced to begging Japan, the only
source, for more and more. They are forthcoming, but the
terms grow more onerous. In return for a Japanese government
loan of $170 million, during negotiations at Seoul in
September 1972, Pak signed an "ownership of industry"
agreement that markedly tightened Japan's stranglehold on the
And meanwhile what has happened to the country's
living standards? The book's half-dozen pages on this topic
(158-163) are a much-needed antidote to reports of the
"prosperity" attending South Korea's "boom." An upper crust
certainly benefits. Martin T. Cobin notes that corruption and
unequal taxation have led to "an ever-widening gap between
the wealthy and impoverished." A "conservative estimate," he
states, shows 5 percent of the population owning 70 percent
of the wealth.
The country's independence is being
mortgaged, the gains are going to officials, landlords, and
'compradors." This word rings a bell that echoed through
China's treaty ports in the 19th century; in South Korea today
it refers to the well-heeled Koreans working for the Aqlerican
and Japanese corporations. A brave young poet struck fire in
May 1970 with his poem on "The Five Bandits," depicted as
selling out the country to Japan. His bandits were "the
plutocrats, bureaucrats, parliamentarians, generals, and high
officials." (p. 160) Kim Chi-h:t was jailed under the catch-all
anti-communist law.
There is a new and somewhat broader middle class but
its share of the so-called prosperity, minimal at best, is growing
smaller. Steep price rises, accentuated by the successive won
devaluations, have accompanied Pak's tie-up with Japan.
Inflation took over in South Korea well before its recent
ss BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
appearance in the United States. One sufferer is the urban
middle class consumer; without a matching rise in income, his
living standard drops steadily. In 1971 a price increase of 20
percent was decreed for rice, with corresponding price rises in
such items as cotton yarn, sugar, and utilities. During the
1967-69 period, well before these increases, consumer
spending had showed a 12 percent decline. By 1971 many
bankruptcies among smaller urban and provincial businesses
were widely reported. Affluent middle-class members may still
send their sons to the university, where fees ranged from $380
to $440 by 1971. South Korea's per-capita income of $120 in
1969, roughly half that of Taiwan and North Korea, further
verifies the limited middle-class spread of the new prosperity.
So Iowan average figure, which takes in the "new rich,"
also suggests that most South Koreans are in economic
difficulty; in fact, the conditions of both farmers and workers
are often desperate. Late in 1971, with thousands of workers
being laid off, Seoul's unemployment rate was 23 percent of
the labor force. It is the normal figure for the imperium's
But this is not all. South Korean wages, even for
organized workers, fall below subsistence levels. Hours and
working conditions recall the worst abuses of 19th century
England pictured by Karl Marx in Das Kapital. In November
1970 a Seoul worker burned himself to death after armed
police had broken up a demonstration he was organizing. His
demands, apart from better factory working conditions, were
these: a 9-hour instead of a 16-hour working day, extra
payment for night work, and four days off a month instead of

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Korean farmers still make up the largest segment of the
population. Their plight is not only the most general but also
the most serious. Korea was once a grain exporter, of rice
especially, from the fertile and well-watered plains of the
south. Under postwar Seoul regimes, a sadly neglected
agriculture has steadily run down. Pak opted even more
heavily for industrial development.
With no land reform, the
landlords still fleece their tenants. In the five years preceding
1968, farm household income dropped by 19.1 percent, and
no doubt the decline has continued.
In colonial days Japan extorted large amounts of rice
from Korea. The populace was left with inferior grains or, as
during the periodic "spring famine," with nothing at all. The
"reparations" rice imports reversed the picture except that
thereafter Seoul has had to purchase the rice, which has now
become a major item in Japan's commodity exports. So, in the
two years 1969-70, South Korea's imports of Japanese rice
came to $245 million, a sizeable factor in the trade deficit.
By the late '60s South Korea had taken on all the
attributes of a one-man dictatorship. Pak's power was
exercised through the police and military, a lavishly endowed
secret police, and a parliamentary majority of Pak's docile
supporters. In the '70s political crisis became endemic and
more direct measures were necessary. Deteriorating economic
conditions, with the Japanese presence giving them a sharper
edge, were one cause of Pak's growing political difficulties.
South Koreans still resent his brutal imposition of Japan's
return and even more what they see today: the growing reality
of their country's economic dependence on the old colonial
master. The results of a poll reported by the Koryu J/bo
[Korean Daily] on March 5,1970, were staggering: 97 percent
of those interviewed opposed the tie-up with Japan, 1 percent
favored it. Pak's regime, more even than Nixon's, would seem
to have forfeited any semblance of public confidence.
In some regions of South Korea Japanese industrial
activities have sparked violent protests.
In others, despite
police crackdowns, labor demonstrations and strikes have
defied the authorities. Only a fraction of the workers are
unionized, however, and the labor movement as a whole is
weak. It is left to the students, more idealistic than practical,
to head up a national opposition and take it into action. To
their credit they have one heroic achievement: in 1960 their
nationwide demonstrations and their martyrs in Seoul led to
the overthrow of Syngman Rhee's dictatorship. It is against
them that Pak has leveled the most brutal of his repressive
measures. But these South Korean students, unlike their Thai
brethren, lack a firmly knit national organization, and Pak has
outlawed any such organizational ties or efforts to form them.
Student protest demonstrations are sporadic and disconnected,
usually developing in Seoul with the hope that they will spread
to the provinces.
Still, student protests have continued, and they are
troublesome. By 1970 the beating and jailing of students in
critical periods had already become common. In 1971 the
demonstrations spread outside Seoul and drew other support,
including that of Catholic clergymen and church members.
The slogans were sharp: "confiscate comprador capital" and
"guarantee the right to livelihood." The army moved in on
October 15. Eight universities in Seoul alone were closed down
and garrisoned by troops, 170 student leaders arrested and
jailed, and hundreds more slated for conscription into the
army. Kyo Ki-chon, respected Dean of Seoul University's Law
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
School, was charged with complicity in the demonstrations
and sent to jail.
Now the dictatorship was tightened up. Pak's "state of
national emergency" proclaimed in December 1971 had a set
of twelve articles that, under a maximum jail term of ten
years, banned assemblies and demonstrations, restricted
strikes, and prohibited publication of articles "affecting
national security" or "promoting confusion of social order."
Since the Constitution gave the President no such authority, a
law had to be passed; despite minority protests that the
measure violated constitutional government, Pak's dutiful
National Assembly majority passed it.
Nevertheless, further "disorders," with students in the
forefront, occurred a year later, in October 1972. This time
Pak's response was to declare martial law, a right vested in him
by the Constitution. The plea of "national security" (shades of
Nixon!) was a sham; everyone knew that Pak feared not an
invasion by North Korea but his own people. Universities were
again closed, and more demonstrators sent to jail. His climactic
act, in the spring of 1973, came in the form of a second
amendment to the Constitution. Approved once again by the
National Assembly, it empowered him "to govern with
unchallenged authority for as long as he liked." 11
The mere listing of Pak's dictatorial powers gives no real
feel of South Korean political realities. It is necessary to detail
the ways in which they are applied. The National Assembly,
once the scene of vigorous debate, is reduced today to a
rubber stamp. The Cabinet has no more than an administrative
role, Pak makes the decisions. The parties are so restricted as
to have become meaningless. The secret vote no longer exists;
officials in the towns watch the voters as they mark their
choices. Courts and judges dare not defend civil rights; they
serve at Pak's mercy and in his interest. The press is
completely muzzled.
Chief oppressor is the Central Intelligence Agency. The
name derives from the American partner's early influence, but
since the agency itself is Pak's Gestapo, it confers little honor
on the United States. Its director, Lee Hu-rak, close to Pak
since 1963, is the touted power behind the scenes. A
combined CIA and FBI, the agency is engaged far more in
political repression than in foreign intelligence gathering. Its
numbers are a closely guarded secret, bat estimates on the high
side reach to 300,000.
These CIA agents tell the press what and what not to
print. Their spies are everywhere, from hotel lobbies or
government offices to places that might be thought private.
Persons talking unguardedly in a taxi find themselves delivered
to a police station. "No telephone," writes Halloran, "is
considered safe from tapping and no office, hotel or even
home is free from electronic bugging." 12 Plainclothesmen
watch private homes and interrogate visitors. Arbitrary arrests
are everyday occurrences, with respected citizens held from
two to twelve days for questioning; the courts work
hand-in-glove with the secret police. Foreign visitors are
especially suspect. During Halloran's five days in Seoul an
agent was outside his hotel door reporting his every movement
by phone. Nor is foreign territory immune from the operations
of Seoul's secret agents. Thieu jailed his defeated presidential
candidate; Pak had his defeated 1971 rival, Kim Dae-jung,
abducted from a Tokyo hotel in August 1973 and secretly
brought back to Seoul. In November, after a bitter row during
which Japan withdrew economic support, Pak's Prime
Minister, on the promise of renewed Japanese aid, had to go to
Tokyo to make abject apologies to Tanaka. Martin Cobin
summarizes the atmosphere in which Koreans live: "The
general feeling being engendered is that of a reign of terror in
which there is some brutality and a great deal of threat,
suspicion, and fear." 13
That the students should continue their resistance after
martial law was imposed in December 1972 might seem
unlikely. For a year, indeed, there were no further outbreaks.
The quiet was deceptive. On October 2, 1973, about 400
students from Seoul National University, demanding
restoration of civil rights and dismantling of the CIA, gathered
at the monument to the students shot down by Syngman
Rhee. Clubbed and beaten by the police, some 150 students
were arrested, and SO others "were dragged from classrooms,
library study rooms, and laboratories to which they had
fled." 14 And then, two days later, a group of the University's
law students gathered on their campus; the police forcibly
dispersed them, this time making 31 arrests. "We resist
dictatorship," their mimeographed flyer read; also, in a pledge
recalling 1960, "we are rising up again on a long and thorny
road to the revival of the nation." For Pak's officialdom, also
with 1960 in mind, the question always is will it spread, and
deepen, and become nationwide?
This time indeed the resistance did become threatening,
even if Pak did not suffer the fate of Syngman Rhee. With the
student demonstrations spreading to major provincial cities,
and with Korean scholars, journalists, and clergymen boldly
denouncing "dictatorship and rule by terror," the Seoul
regime beat a strategic retreat. A set of significant Cabinet
changes on December 3 saw the hated Lee Hu-rak ousted as
CIA chief; on December 4 the premier (himself unchanged)
pledged reforms in an effort "to wipe out any mistrust of the
Government among the people."I4a The dismissal of Lee
Hu-rak, responsible for the Tokyo hotel kidnapping, also
served the purpose of conciliating Japan. In the economic
conference with Japan, scheduled for Tokyo in mid-December,
Pak was once again seeking favors. Some mitigation of the
dictatorship's harshest features may be occurring, but there are
no signs of a change in Pak's basic economic policy of
dependence on Japn. His people are as much at odds with him
on this as on his police-state system.
Despite the overwhelming force at its disposal, the Seoul
regime has good reason to be concerned. According to a
government-sponsored poll late in 1969, 90.61 percent of
those questioned favored unification with North Korea. Most
of his people, it would seem to Pak, were subversives. And
what of the feeling five years later, in 1974? Not only must
Kim II-sung now seem a less fearsome dictator than Pak. It is
also known that the average living standard is far higher in the
north, that there the abject farm poverty of the south no
longer exists. One might well say that a South Korean
sentiment grown too strong to resist has driven Seoul into
negotiations with the north. Pak will, of course, have many
devices to bring the unification parleys to naught, but
meanwhile the problems on his home front are likely to
become more critical.
The Partners
Is Japan a scary economic giant, mustering an export
prowess that is irrestible? For the countries of the East Asian
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imperium, weak in themselves and even weaker in their
leaders, this is certainly the case. The view is also common in
the West, and not least in the United States, where the trade
deficit with Japan has been largest of all. IS It is not one shared
by the ruling circles of U.S. finance capital. Instead, though
they too may have had some tremors, they know their own
strength, think of Japan as their ally, and still feel sure of their
master status in the alliance.
Though the United States has been passing through a
severe economic crisis, tracing to the heavy costs of its Pax
Americana, American capital is still strong. Trade deficits in
the East Asian neo-colonies operate to increase economic
inferiority and political subservience; in the United States they
lead to strong counter-measures which had already restored a
surplus trade balance with Japan in 1973. If Japan will not
revalue its undervalued yen, the U.S. will devalue the dollar; if
barriers to American goods exist in Japan, the U.S. will impose
higher levies on Japanese goods. An omen of Connally's
actions in 1972 had appeared earlier in Nixon's first
protectionist measures. Paying off a political debt to Strom
Thurmond, they hurt the American consumer and other East
Asian textile producers as well as Japan.
Capital investment is a better criterion than trade if one
is to assess Japan's true economic strength. And here the far
greater capital resource!F of the United States come into play.
Throughout the East Asian condominium, Thailand alone
excepted, more American capital is invested than Japanese.
Outside East Asia the disparity is even greater. The occupation
had severely limited japan's activities outside the home
islands; also, it was not until the early '50s that Japan's
economic recovery was far enough advanced to permit much
in the way of overseas business operations.
On one front only - that of Japan istelf - a stubborn
tug-of-war exists that bids fair to go on for some time to come.
American capital is most anxious to better its position in the
fast-growing and highly profitable Japanese home market.
Such a foothold has the further advantage of enabling the
American firms to produce more cheaply for the international
market outside Japan. Japan, on the other hand, is equally
determined to hold this pressure back, if only to safeguard its
economic independence.
Japan's success in this endeavor is modified by a limited,
but growing, American breakthrough. On the average, foreign
investors account for only 5 percent of sales in the Japanese
market. But averages never tell the whole story; in this case,
several American investors have far exceeded them.
foreign participation has been through joint ventures, with
Japanese capital predominant. But IBM, in a field where
technology is decisi\'e, controls two-thirds of Japan's computer
market, apd this through a wholly-owned subsidiary. United
Fruit, in late 1971, was taking over three-quarters of the shares
in a joint venture. The number of such exceptions is growing.
Toyota and Nissan, as might be expected, control upwards of
70 percent of the domestic car market and 90 percent of
export sales, though Chrysler and General Motors have now
started joint ventures with two lesser Japanese automotive
In petroleum today American dominance is virtually
complete. Standard Oil affiliates controlled 58.3 percent of
JapalJese crude oil refining in 1970, while a Caltex joint
venture was the largest marketer of petroleum products.
Abroad, at the main world sources of crude oil output, Japan's
dependence is critical. An October 1971 White Paper
estimated that American capital controlled 80 percent of
Japanese imports, mostly from the Middle East but also from
Today's oil crisis hits both partners but it is far
more dangerous for Japan, as the "temporary" Arab oil
blockade this past fall ominously demonstrated.
The large Japanese foreign reserves should be an element
of strength contributing to economic independence. They can
and do find investment abroad, mostly in Latin America and
Southeast Asia, and now in the Middle East. Nevertheless
Japan conducts its business operations in dollars and, more
tlran any other great power, its 20-odd billions of dollar
reserves are just that, kept almost en,tirely in dollars and in the
United States. Thus the two dollar devaluations were truly
"nasty shocks," reducing the value of both the reserves and
the business contracts entered into by the big Japanese
concerns. Japan's hesitancy to convert its reserves into gold or
non-dollar currencies argues a striking weakness and
subordination. Since Japan "does not have complete control
over its reserves," Professor Inoue Kiyoshi has emphasized,
"their main function is to prop up the dollar." (p. 219, n. 3) A
determined effort to escape from this predicament would be
Japan's fullest sign of independence, but such a move is a
sharper challenge to the United States than it has been
prepared to mount.
The return of Okinawa to Japan's jurisdiction
accomplished by Sato might be thought to contradict the
greater U.S. weight in alliance decisions, but the book's
trenchant pages on this matter (195-208) offer little support
to such an interpretation. American corporations enjoy a
virtually complete domination of the Okinawan economy, one
that will yield even more benefit from withi.n Japan's
protectionist walls. The political aspects of the "reversion"
deal were not particularly favorable to Japan and still less so to
the people of this tragic island, where thousands of helpless
civilians were killed in the war's last engagements. First
misruled by Japan and then by the United States, Okinawa has
had 44 percent of its arable land turned into American
military bases since 1945.
The reversion effected on May 15, 1972, left most of the
bases under U.S. control, though some were transferred to the
Japanese military. Flouting popular sentiment, the Sato-Nixon
agreement failed to include a specific guarantee that the island
would be "nuclear-free," as was the case on the home islands.
Japanese forces could now be brought in, and with an obvious
function that of holding in check the frightening Okinawan
opposition to the American presence, which, on one occasion
at the Kadena Airbase in 1970, had seen an estimated 10,000
Okinawans storming the gates and burning 80 American cars.
It will be less embarrassing to have the Japanese police
and military riding herd on the strong leftist popular
movement that has developed on the island. For the Japanese
military, it is true, this first dispatch of troops outside the
home islands was a morale booster - played up as an end to
the period of defeat and, hopefully, as a boost to the "new
nationalism." All told a good deal for both partners, well in
the spirit of the alliance.
Of all the "Nixon shocks" there can be no doubt that
Washington's secret Operation Peking cut most deeply into
Japanese sensitivities. In a move so closely affecting Japan, the
partner was not even accorded the courtesy of advance notice.
From the early '50s, with the Dulles dictate, Japan had meekly
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followed the U.S. requirement - Jom with us in support of
Taiwan and have no truck with China. As traders, investors,
and lenders, Japanese businessmen flocked to Taiwan, and
even more after Dean Rusk's go-ahead in 1965. But now, in a
trice, Washington's unilateral action had turned things upside
The new adjustment forced on Japan was accomplished,
though not without some embarrassment. Sato was driven from
office, to be succeeded by Tanaka, who went hat in hand to
Peking, made an apology of sorts for Japan's 1931-35
barbarities in China, and established a modus vivendi :i la
Nixon-Kissinger. It was what the opposition parties had long
advocated, with considerable support from the more
enlightened business elements. A strange thought comes to
mind. Had the Liberal-Democrats heeded these voices, it
would have been Japan that first touched base in Peking.
Perish the thought! Run counter to the United States? On
such a settled policy? What an act for a good partner! Business
support had in fact weighed in heavily on the wrong side. Most
of the big Japanese concerns, thoroughly committed to the
profitable exploitation of Taiwan, had constituted the most
powerful lobby in favor of things as they were.
Taken all in all, the costs of the forced readjustment
may not prove too burdensome for Japan. The real blow, as
Peking knew well enough, was struck at Chiang and Pak, the
two northern proteges of the imperium. Both regimes were
perceptibly weakened, yet both will continue for a time, and
so will their ties to Japan. Chiang had to sever formal
diplomatic relations with Tokyo, but there is no sign that he
intends to get tough; trade continues as usual, though
investment may be less brisk.
The blow fell harder on the
weaker Pak, forced already to make gestures to Pyongyang,
faced with continuing student-led disaffection, and made even
more dependent on Japan. For Japan itself the disabilities
suffered were far less. And above all, on the positive side, the
perennial mirage of a big China trade now beckons, for which
indeed it is better fitted than the United States.
Japan could hardly do more than take the new situation
in stride and make the necessary adjustments. The partnership
hardly seems threatened under Tanaka who represents, even
more than Sato, the most reactionary circles of the
Liberal-Democratic party. A "turnaway" to Moscow, bruited
at times, would mean a break with the United States, besides
risking the exchange of one dependence for another. As much
as ever, maintenance of the condominium is essential. At most
Tanaka is maneuvering within the new diplomatic equation,
but so far without much success.
His October 1973 parleys in Moscow failed to secure the
long-sought return of the Soviet-occupied islands off
Hokkaido, though talks were arranged that may assure
Japanese fishing rights around the islands. Also, the ambitious
options with respect to large Japanese investment in
development of the Yakutsk natural gas and the Tyumen oil
fields were left open. But now it was explicitly agreed that
third parties, meaning the United States, could also
participate. The projects have in fact become too big for Japan
to swing alone, while American capital seems determined to
enter the game. The outcome seems to hinge on the course
taken by Soviet-American relations. And now a new element
sounded out some of the West European countries, urging that
they too should enter the big deal.
Far from being a juggernaut on the world economy,
Japan might be more realistically described as a major
industrial power beset with serious problems. By far the
greatest of these is the satisfaction of its raw material needs,
made no easier by today's growing shortages, above all in oil.
More than any of the other industrial nations Japan is
critically dependent on overseas supplies not under its control.
The richest sources are in Latin America and the Middle East
but here its rivals, the United States most of all, are strongly
entrenched - a situation existing even in the East Asian
condominium. A notable exception is Australia, which sells
much of its foodstuffs and basic raw materials to Japan, a
situation that the new treaty envisaged for 1974 will further
Quite apart from the matter of oil, it is the United States
that possesses the advantage in its economic relations with
Japan. Trade with the United States accounts for roughly
one-third of both Japan's exports and imports. On the
American side, in 1970, these figures were 14.7 percent for
exports and 10.8 percent for imports. This alone might seem
enough to guarantee Japan's good behavior. Its extreme
weakness in technology has helped many American concerns
break into the Japanese home markets. In 1970 Japan was still
paying out more than half a billion dollars for imported
techniques, after a 1950-70 expenditure of nearly $3 billion
for them. Its large dollar reserves are a source of strength, but
in dollars kept in the United States they are also a help to the
American partner.
Japan's Economy
Japanese imperialism, as described in this book, is the
outcome of a long postwar development that began with the
occupation. Measures taken by General MacArthur, such as
revising the early liberal Election Law or pulling the. teeth of
an already weak antitrust program that left the banks virtually
untouched, enabled the old-line politicians, bureaucrats, and
business interests to establish firm control of government as
early as 1948. Through the Liberal-Democratic Party (what a
misnomer!) they have now held an unbroken grip for a
quarter-century .
The able managers of the zaibatsu combines, freed of the
old family heads' control, now joined hands with the
bureaucrats in the Finance Ministry, the Ministry of
International Trade and Industry (MITO, and the Bank of
Japan on a new and more efficient program of unrestricted
capitalist development. Western countries were given a lesson
in how to manage a modern industrial economy. Japan's
"interlocking system of government supervision and private
exploitation," the authors note, "has no equal in the other
advanced capitalist countries.,,22
Emphasis was not primarily on consumer industry, as
the big textile and other light goods exports might suggest, but
far more largely on heavy industry. As early as 1965 "the
share of heavy industry in Japan's industrial output was higher
than in any other industrial country." In 1967 Japan's
per-capita output of steel already equalled that of the United
States. In 1971 Nippon Steel exceeded the output of U.S.
Emergence of this giant steel concern starkly illustrated
a third face of Japan's postwar economy the sweeping away
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of vestigial remnants of the occupation's antitrust program.
Nippon Steel came into being on March 31, 1970, as the result
of a merger of Fuji Steel and Yawata Steel, both members of
the old Yawata zaibatsu. Leading Japanese economists headed
the broad public opposition mobilized to fight the merger.
When the Fair Trade Commission bowed to the combined
government-industry pressure, it signalled the final collapse of
the continuous postwar struggle waged against economic
concentration. The battle, indeed, had already been lost.
During 1951-55 there had been an annual average of 345
mergers of firms capitalized at more than 4 billion yen. In
1969 there were 1,163 mergers of firms capitalized at more
than 36 billion yen. Holding companies had been prohibited;
today they are appearing with little challenge. There had been
ten major zaibatsu combines; today the majors are reduced to
six, and more firmly knit together through their many joint
ventures than were the old combines. Mitsubishi, Mitsui, and
Sumitomo were the greatest of the prewar zaibatsu, the same
three are the greatest of the six major combinations of today.
There are other shadows on the picture, many being the
inseparable accompaniments of advanced industrial
development. In Japan they tend to be more ominous than
usual. Note has been made of its grave dependence on overseas
sources for supplies of oil and timber especially, but many
other metals and even foodstuffs could be added.
vulnerable on this front, Japan is being more directly penalized
on another - the inevitable costs of a careless mushroom
industrialization too largely concentrated in the narrow coastal
a r ~ from Tokyo-Yokohama to Osaka-Kobe. Pollution and
environmental damage, already graver than in most Western
countries, are increasing on an ever-greater scale?4 Public
feeling has in some cases erupted in violent incidents, as
residents of outlying communities refuse to accept the
location of "dirty industries" in their areas, and so they must
be transferred to Taiwan or South Korea. Actions taken thus
far by the Liberal-Democratic cabinets, always tardy and
inadequate, show little promise of reversing the disastrous
trend - this to a land whose beauty has been the pride of
every Japanese.
The new structure was reared not only by its Japanese
architects; it was also the work of the American partner. In
considerable part Japan became the third-ranking industrial
power through its unbroken alliance with the United States.
The greatest help came from the two wars in which Japan
acted as the commissariat for the American military. The
Korean war gave the first big boost to its economic recovery,
the Vietnam war took it over the top. Japanese sources
estimate that, from the mid-60s to the early 70s, something
like $2 billion a year accrued to Japanese business, directly
and indirectly, from the American wars against the
Indochinese countries. It is unnecessary to add that the
American naval and supply bases in Japan, if not fully
involved, were most useful in many ways and the clearest
reflection of the close collaboration of the two imperialisms.
Japanese Militarism
Cooperation has indeed been closest of all in the military
sphere, with American officials pressing greater rearmament on
Japan, in season and out, since the occupation formally ended
on April 29, 1952. Steady progress to this end has actually
been made for twenty years, and today Washington is well
satisfied with the result.
That Japan is a weak military power has been a widely
accepted myth, but the facts are otherwise. Its rearmament
program has centered on the air and naval branches far more
than on land forces. Taking all categories into account, Japan's
armed forces are already "the seventh largest in the world. ,,25
This rating, for size alone, takes no account of qualitative
factors. In military technology Japan ranks among the leading
world powers. Fourth to launch a space satellite, its scientific
research on nuclear energy is far more advanced.
Its scientists
rank among the world's best. The number of its nuclear plants
is exceeded only by the United States and Britain. In degree of
technological preparedness, only the nuclear military powers
surpass Japan. Reliable estimates indicate that nuclear
weapons could be attached to Japan's missiles within a year.
The energetic officer training program in Japan's
Self-Defense Forces is another significant emphasis. A large
officer backlog was left from World War II. Veteran officers
and NCOs still appear to be in surplus, but lately training and
recruitment of university students has been pushed. All three
branches -- land, air, and naval --- are heavily over-officered; all
could be swiftly expanded by up to four or five times.
By the early 70s these forces were "approaching a point
of maximum effectiveness" (p. 83). They were highly
mechanized, with the latest types of tanks, heavy artillery,
helicopters, jet fighters, anti-aircraft missiles, and destroyers
equipped for anti-submarine warfare. The land forces had one
vehicle for every five men.
A five-year expansion program covering the first half of
the 70s, held up for a time by wide public opposition, is now
going forward. Numbering 230,000 in 1970, the forces are
scheduled to reach 336,000 by 1975. Even then the per-capita
defense expenditure of $30 will be relatively low, but if the
force increases continue, total spending will compare with that
of Britain, France, or West Germany by the end of the decade.
Over the five-year expansion period, spending on the air force
will increase 2.8 times, on the navy 2.3 times, and on the army
1.9 times. Tanaka's 1973 budget called for a 22 percent
increase over the 1972 budget, the highest ever made. "By
1975," the authors conclude, "Japan will be the mightiest
non-nuclear power in the world" (p. 89).
Considerably piqued in recent years by Japan's
unwillingness to depend on purchases of American weaponry,
Washington has nevertheless been continuing to share its
advanced arms techniques in the furthering of Japanese
rearmament. Under one 1973 contract with the Pentagon,
McDonnell-Douglas is building a Thor-Delta rocket prototype
for Japan, under another it has licensed Mitsubishi to produce
its Phantom F4 fighter bomber.27 In both cases Japan acquires
the technology and production is in Japanese plants. For the
rocket only a prototype is supplied, and this for the first stage
only; Japanese concerns will produce the other stages and then
the entire rocket. On this issue, clearly, the Connolly and
Laird trips to Japan two years ago were fruitless. They had
pressed strongly for larger Japanese purchases of American
products, planes especially. The Sato Cabinet and the arms
industry, with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in the lead, opted
for independence and self-sufficiency. Even so, or in addition,
Japan's arms purchases from the United States are running at
an annual level of something over half a billion dollars.
Japan has in fact achieved a self-sufficiency in arms
output matched only by the United States among the Western
powers. By 1969 the big Japanese concerns, headed by
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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, were already supplying 97
percent of Japan's ammunition and 84 percent of its aircraft,
tanks, naval craft, guns, and other military equipment. In this
field, as in foreign investment, Japan has fought doggedly to
secure its independence.
Perhaps even more significant, Japan has developed its
own military-industrial complex, one that year by year grows
more powerful, in government as well as in business.
generals and admirals hold posts on the big defense firms; for
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries alone, in 1969, fifteen such
positions were held by former military officers. This giant
concern then held 38 percent of defense contracts; with
Mitsubishi Electric added, the figure came to 45 percent, or
ten times the share taken by even the largest American defense
firms such as Lockheed. An early favorite of the Pentagon,
Mitsubishi has produced 500 jet fighters since 1956 under
licences from North American and Lockheed. Its recent
contracts with McDonnell-Douglas continue its close tie-up
with American arms manufacturers. A contract with Chrysler
also gives Mitsubishi an inside track on the latest aerospace
technology. Keidanren is the biggest federation of Japanese
business firms; along with other big business organs it is tied to
government in joint defense planning agencies; Mitsubishi
executives hold many of the top positions.
The Japanese people have steadily opposed a revival of
Japanese militarism. Article 9 of the postwar Constitution,
imposed by General MacArthur, declares inter alia that "land,
sea, and air forces will never be maintained." In 1950 the same
General MacArthur, appealing to the Korean war emergency,
authorized formation of a Self-Defense Force with 70,000
infantry. Originally thought of as a reinforcing police force, it
soon had 1,000 tanks, as many planes, and eight Hawk missle
battalions. At this point it might seem to have already
outgrown the limits suggested by its name and to be in
violation of the Constitution. So Japan's lower courts have
decided, more than once, only to have the Supreme Court
overrule their decisions.
But the issue will not stay down and is today being
contested again. On September 17, 1973, Judge Shigeo
Fukushima of Sapporo's three-man District Court rendered the
strongest verdict yet. "Ground, maritime, and air Self-Defense
Forces," he declared, "in [the] light of their size, equipment,
and capabilities, come under [the] 'land, sea, and air forces'
mentioned in the second provision of Article 9 and are
unconstitutional.,,29 This decision will quite possibly go into
limbo, joining the others handed down by courageous
Japanese judges. The Supreme Court may overrule them, but
they bear witness to the strength of a public sentiment that
has been, and still is, the chief obstacle to the big
alliance that determines the military
policy of the Liberal-Democratic cabinets.
The persistence of this feeling, continuing to embolden
the lower court judges, has proved most embarrassing to the
apologists of postwar Japanese imperialism. If they do not
ignore it, they go to great pains to explain it away, perhaps
because they recognize that the Japanese people are now
defending a principle that Americans had first embodied in the
Constitution. But the fact remains, and an important fact it is.
The Japanese people, ranging from a majority to a very large
minority on individual issues, stand in direct opposition to the
major Liberal-Democratic policies, and most of all to its
"defense" policy. Mindful of the last war, public opinion is
overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear weapons.
The strength
of this feeling, above all, has given pause to a prime cabinet
decision - the of nuclear weapons and the
equipment of the Self-Defense Force with them. The
preparations are made, but fear of public reaction has worked
to postpone the fateful step.
To a lesser extent public opinion has opposed the
transformation of the Self-Defense Force into a large, modern
and well-equipped army. It has not been able to halt the
government's determined efforts. Yet the Constitution has
continued to be an irksome annoyance, one that it has proved
impossible to remove. An amendment that would lift the bar
on "land, sea, and air forces," fervently desired by the Liberal
Democrats, requires approval by referendum. But, since they
dare not risk a rejection, the action cannot be taken. The
government and business leaders have simply gone ahead with
the military build-up, relying on the Supreme Court to sustain
their unconstitutional procedure.
On other issues that approach these in importance many
Japanese also oppose the extreme oligopolistic, if not
monopolistic, economic concentration represented by
Mitsubishi, Mitsui, Sumitomo, and the other giant trusts. Here,
too, the occupation had supposedly established certain legal if
not constitutional bars, but the business-government coalition
has simply overridden them. The order of the day has become
mergers, holding companies, banking alliances with the new
combines, and the relegation of the Fair Trade Commission,
intended to enforce the antitrust laws, to a position of
On foreign policy, the Security Treaty constitutes the
very linchpin of the American-Japanese alliance. From the
beginning large numbers of the Japanese people opposed it. At
every decennial renewal demonstrators by the thousands
stretch the Japanese police to the limit in the effort to control
them. In 1960 they not only forced Eisenhower to give up his
scheduled visit to Japan, but brought down the Cabinet as
If not the Security Treaty, what then? An alternative
exists. It represents the deepest contradiction of all
between the militarist official policy and the pacifist
sentiments of the people. It would, in fact, require a
180-degree shift in existing policy, establishing Japan as a
neutral state like Sweden. If the Social Democrats allied with
the Communists achieved power, and recent election results
begin to make this a possibility, the shift might well be
accomplished. The imperium we have been examining would
be dissolved.
This is not a result that Japan's current rulers can accept.
It presents a central problem. How does one transform the
people's "un-Japanese" pacifist sentiment into a soundly
Japanese militarist sentiment? Despite its name the
Self-Defense Force has become a strong modern army; the
people must be taught to accept it as SUCh.
And so vigorous
measures are taken to heal this split in the body politic. It is a
matter of proper education and here efforts have been
concentrated with considerable success. Occupation reforms
reduced the Ministry of Education's autocratic powers and
established local Boards of Education locally elected. Today
the Ministry's centralized authority has been restored, and the
locally electe<;l Boards have been abolished.
The old controlling powers were restored for a purpose,
and they have been used. Textbooks have provided the focal
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issue. Books by liberal Japanese scholars that entered the
schools in the late '40s have been censored or entirely
scrapped and more suitable texts prepared. Since 1966 the
process has been regularized: all textbooks must undergo
official scrutiny before they are given official certification.
Japanese papers have gone into detail on the sort of changes
made by the examiners, as the authors have noted (187-88).
"The argument about rights to self-defense is over.
Write that war potential for s<!lf-defense is not
unconstitutional. "
"That 'sovereignty rests In the people' may cause
misunderstanding. Change it."
"Avoid any mention of the Emperor's declaration
that he is a mere human [and not divinel."
"From the latter Meiji period the Government strove
to expand into Taiwan and Korea, and soon afterwards into
the continent. Delete completely."
"Do not write that there were differences of opinion
over foreign policy within the country."
"In treatment of the causes of the Sino-Japanese War
it reads as if Japan did something wrong. Mention the
wrongs on the other side."
In this field, too, the Constitution has become a
nuisance. lenaga Saburo, Professor of Japanese History at the
Tokyo University of Education, took legal action against
official textbook censorship, basing his case on the
Constitution's Bill of Rights. The Tokyo District Court judge
held in July 1970 that the government's textbook scrutiny
should be limited to an indication of "typographical errors,
misprints, and clear errors of historical fact." (p. 189) Is it the
judges' assurance of public support that leads them, time and
again, to rebuff the autocratic and illegal acts of the powers
that be?
One might raise a last question as to Japanese militarism.
Where is Japan expected to use its ever-larger and ever more
heavily equipped military forces? Certainly not against China
or the Soviet Union, with whom relations, if not cordial, are at
least normalized. The answer is not in doubt. Japan's military
strength is centered, along with that of the United States, on
defense of the joint imperium. The local dictatorships which
they keep in power are unstable if not shaky, with
revolutionary overthrow always a possibility. Moderate
changes in the satellites are permissible, but drastic changes
threatening the economic grip of the two partners must be
resisted by every means not excluding military force.
Japan's strategic concern, therefore, as well as that of
Washington, extends from end to end of the East Asian coasts:
the Straits of Malacca in the south are as vital as South Korea
to the north. A postwar first occurred in 1969 when Japanese
destroyers passed through the Straits (unthinkable only a few
years ago) on joint maneuvers with Malaysia and Australia. At
home the business concerns call for naval protection and repair
facilities in the Southeast Asian ports. Some local opposition
might have been expected, but not from Suharto's
Japanese-trained generals or from Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew,
who worked with the Japanese during the wartime occupation
of Malaya. Still, their strategic position is advantageous, and
they are not above using it in their bargainings with the
Japanese. As against Japan's demand for "international
ization" of the Straits, in which Washington joins, they speak
of extending their territorial waters to embrace them.
Meanwhile Japan also works actively to have a pipeline, if not
a canal, built across Thailand's Kra Isthmus, and develop a
lengthy bypass for its supertankers through the Lombok Strait
near Bali.
To the north the special status of South Korea, and the
need to safeguard it, has been expressed in words that are far
more blunt. The Sato-Nixon communique of November 21,
1969, termed South Korea "essential to the security of
Japan." Soon after, Nakasone Yasuhiro, Director-General of
the Self-Defense Force, went somewhat further, characterizing
South Korea as "Japan's advance stronghold." Since then
things have undergone a change. Tokyo's new relationship
with Peking, established in the Chou-Tanaka talks, makes it
more difficult, if not unlikely, for Japan to give military
support to Pak were his regime threatened with overthrow. It
is the earlier statements, nevertheless, that show the true
concern of the imperialist partners.
The great value of Japanese Imperia/ism Today lies in its
wealth of organized data, very largely on unpleasant subjects,
hitherto most often ignored or brushed aside by our academic
scholars: first, on American-Japanese activities in their East
Asian imperium, and second, on the relationship (more
cooperative than antagonistic) that the partners have formed.
The two allies, the authors make clear, treat the satellites of
their realm not with solicitude for the development as
independent countries, either politically or economically, but
as objects of exploitation by the biggest Japanese and
American corporations. Surely they are correct when they
define such actions as imperialist.
The partners pose as democracies, defenders of the "free
world," but from end to end of the imperium they furnish
arms and money to military dictators that betray local
national interests, suppress the rights of free press and
assembly, and shoot down students who seek to defend the
true interests of country and people. When, as here, the survey
becomes comprehensive, we see that this is not a matter only
of Vietnam or Laos or Cambodia (it is just that in these cases
imperialist force is directly applied), but also of Thailand,
Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and South Korea, where
the ends desired can be achieved indirectly through the local
military dictators. To the shame of all decent-minded
Americans, it is the United States that is the organizer and
leader of this outrage, not only in its own right but also in
carefully nursing Japan along so as to have a proper aide in
handling the new co-prosperity sphere.
One cannot escape the feeling that with all its outward
show this East Asian condominium is a jerry-built structure.
Propped up by their imperialist masters, Thieu, Lon Nol,
Suharto, Marcos, Chiang, and Pak do their best to stride
masterfully on the world stage. The appearance is delusive;
they will all be overthrown, and with no glory in their exits.
The struggle goes on in Indochina, and now Thailand
demonstrates the costs to be paid. But free peoples will again
rule in these countries, and they will rule in the interests of all
instead of the privileged few.
It might well be left at this, except that some comment
seems needed on the responsible operators in these events
the United States and Japan. Halliday and McCormack have
written an honest book. When the reader sets it down, his
reflections move beyond its restricted field to a wider horizon.
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In Japan we seem to see the replay of an earlier scenario.
The same old groups - big businessmen, politicos and
bureaucrats, and now once more the military - are doing the
same old things. But any such deja vu is a delusion. History
does not repeat itself, despite the hoary myth. Conditions are
different both within Japan, where the opposition is far
stronger, and on the Asian scene, most of all in the
neighboring mainland areas. Unlike 1941, Japan's motions
"today are circumscribed. Above all, Japan is not acting
independently but has come to listen to Big Brother, though
with an increasing querulousness. Not that this result was
accidental, when we consider Japan's postwar evolution. The
Liberal-Democrats, with vital American assists from the
occupation period on, had fashioned a regime that would
inevitably clasp hands with U.S. imperialism. That Japan
should be thus led astray was an altogether natural outcome.
Assuming, as we must for the immediate future, that not
Japan but the United States is calling the shots, can we then
breathe easier? Hardly, after Vietnam. Hardly, as we look at
Washington under today's glaring spotlight. Are a country's
foreign and domestic policies, as some would have it, two faces
of the same coin? The imperialist face of the United States
shows up not only in East Asia; it shows up as much or more
in its Latin American satellites or in Greece, or Portugal, or
Spain. In its overseas operations Washington arms and finances
a group of dictators that sweep aside all democratic rights of
their citizenries. Could it happen that American officials,
having become too acrustomed to such a face, might be willing
to act in similar ways at home? Might a country that supplies
arms to dictators that shoot down protesting students turn the
guns on its own protesting students? Somehow there seems to
be a connection here. Such a country might even find itself
and here the American people themselves enter the equation - ~
with a Nixon for its president.
Watergate, it is said, has led to. an awakening, and
decisive change will come. Perhaps. Are the American people
sufficiently aroused to put an end to these crowding evils? an
end not only to illegality and corruption at home, but to an
indefensible policy abroad? They are not superficial evils; they
are deeply rooted in the corporate structure of American
society. The struggle here may prove as long and as painful as
that being waged in the American empire's satellites; quite
possibly, success for both will come only when both are linked
together in joint struggle.
Postscript, January 1974
The January events in Jakarta come as striking
confirmation of the Halliday-McCormack thesis that the
nature of the East Asian military regimes leads to a threatening
increase of mass discontent. They reflect a political crisis that
develops with a kind of inevitability. The tremors spread from
country to country, but the same challenge is always presented
to impoverishment resulting from the military satraps'
corrupt tie-ups with the American and Japanese concerns. The
coterie around the generals grows rich from the pay-offs, the
people sink into abject and unrelieved poverty.
News reports that conditions such as these existed in
Indonesia have been sparse. Had the true facts been known,
the scale and bitterness of the Jakarta outbreak on January 15
and 16, leaving 11 dead and scores injured, would not have
proved so surprising. Indonesia is in fact another South Korea,
only more so. The country earned some $4 billion on its 1973
oil exports, but its ruling clique pocketed the gains. Its
teeming people in village and city show a per capita income of
25 cents or less, while the Indonesian oil czar throws a
million-dollar wedding for his daughter on his multi-villaed
estate. Adam Malik, the Foreign Minister, blandly admits that
corruption is "everywhere." 33
The students throughout the imperium lead the rising
protests, but behind them lies a mass sentiment of growing
desperation. Grievances are not merely student grievances,
they are mass grievances. With the "ugly Japanese" replacing
the "ugly American" as the symbolic target, the mass response
grows intensely emotional. Yet one should not be misled: the
essential attack is directed to a domestic target - the misrulers
of the several countries. Its basic thrust demands that the local
dictators mend their ways; if not, they will be unseated.
The social revolutions maturing throughout the region
are still in their initial stages, more potential than actual. Some
gains, it is true, may already be tallied. In Thailand severe
blows have been dealt the military and a new constitution
promising speedy elections is being drafted. South Korea's
broadening opposition has forced Pak into some concessions;
much stronger pressure is expected when the universities
reopen in the spring. The thousands of demonstrators (far
larger than a mere group of students) that kept Prime Minister
Tanaka in strict seclusion during his Jakarta visit represented a
new phenomenon: the Indonesian populace was mounting the
first serious opposition to Suharto's seven-year dictatorship.
So far, none of these protests has had more than
tentative results. In Thailand the generals lurk warily behind
the scenes, and nearly 40,000 Americans man their air bases
with B-S2 bombers. The dictatorships of Pak and Suharto are
still firmly entrenched. But in these countries, as elsewhere in
the imperium, the underlying situation is explosive and the
fuses splutter. The causes of revolt are persuasive, quite
possibly strong snough to bring thoroughgoing rather than
superficial change sooner than one might expect.
1. Some estimates of the death toll ran as high as 600; for days
after, the Thai radio was calling for blood donors. American news
reports first minimized the casualties and then omitted further mention
of them. I use the conservative estimate given by Charles Taylor, The
Globe and Mail (Toronto), October 26, 1973.
2. With its wooden houses and huge paper consumption, Japan
is the world's largest consumer of lumber, and the need grows with
every year. Its lumber imports cost $1.572 billion in 1970; the 42
million cubic meters represented a 16 percent increase over 1969.
3. Halliday and McCormack, 38. Quoted from Chuo Koron,
No.6 (1970).
4. Inaba Shuzo, President of Japan's National Economic
Research Society, stated recently that "in order to deal with pollution,
Japan must seek new areas for its steel, electric power, oil-refining, and
petrochemical industries." (p. 142) The "new areas" are most dearly
Taiwan and South Korea, though Indonesia is also a possibility.
5. The Japanese taxpayer foots the bill; the big concerns
dispose of domestic surpluses or obsolete equipment, often at excessive
prices. Seoul officials handle the transactions; normally, in the case of
industrial investment, by selling the required licenses to the highest
bidder among the Japanese concerns. Or take rice. In the late 1960s
government storehouses bulged with six million tons of unsold rice
bought by the Liberal-Democrats to bribe the insatiable farm lobby.
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These stocks were unloaded on South Korea at high prices charged
against the reparations or aid accounts. Pak's officials then fixed
still-higher prices when the rice was sold to the Korean consumer. Rice,
it might be noted, should not have to be a Korean import, that is, if
Seoul had not neglected Korean agriculture in postwar years.
6. Halliday and McCormack, 252.
7. See "The Republic of Korea," International Affairs Reports,
18:8 (October 1971). Philadelphia, American Friends Service
8. In Taiwan the rate is 25 percent; in Indonesia, if the
semi-employed are included, it is 35 percent. Thus, in the imperium's
three classic examples of "developing" countries, significantly increased
employment, a contribution often claimed for foreign investment, has
not been achieved.
9. The 1971 budget devoted 45 percent to administration, 30
percent to the military, and 25 percent to investment and services. An
adequate emphasis on agriculture could make South Korea
self-sufficient in food.
10. One of the largest and most threatening took place during
the summer months of 1970 in an area west of Pusan, where deep social
unrest gripped several of the provinces. The area includes the Masan
tariff-free zone, with its special privileges for the foreign investor. A
concentration of Japanese investment, with arbitrary and oppressive
labor practices, had aroused correspondingly vigorous Korean
antagonism. The protracted outbreak was crushed in July 1970; more
than 10,000 local Koreans were jailed for shorter or longer periods. In
1971 other regions were also the scene of serious disputes, social or
economic in origin.
11. Richard Halloran, "President Park's South Korea; There is
Only One Path, and It Is His," New York Times, August 28, 1973.
Halloran wrote that the repression under Pak's regime "puts in question
whether the national interest of the United States is being served by a
continued alliance. Stated another way. is that the sort of government
the American people paid for after expending 33,625 lives in combat
war and then sending $8.4 billion in economic and military aid?"
12. "Seoul's Vast Intelligence Agency Stirs Wide Fear." New
York Times, August 20. 1973.
13. "Martial Law in Korea." International Affairs Reports, cited.
December 1972.
14. New York Times, October 3 and 5, 1973, with editorial on
October 7.
14a. New York Times. November 6, December 4 and 5. 1973.
15. On the relations and relative status of the partners, Chs.
and 7. Japan's capitalist rivals carefully ignore a salient fact of the world
trade picture: standing only sixty-second in the ratio of its exports to
its GNP in 1971. Japan is relatively less of an exporter than France,
Britain. the Netherlands, and many other countries.
16. Two different regions felt the blow. Late in 1970 harsh
restrictions were first imposed on textile goods exported by Hongkong,
Taiwan. and South Korea. Our East Asian wards learned that it was
dangerous for "developing" countries to become efficient producers of
export manufactures. Japan fought harder but finally knuckled under.
signing a "voluntary" three-year agreement, effective July 1. 1971, that
sharply limited further growth of its textile exports to the United
States. Sato had to give sizeable financial help to the politically
influential textile magnates. but some 300.000 Japanese workers in the
small-scale establishments were thrown out of work.
17. As of June 30, 1970. out of 776 foreign companies operating
in Japan. 477 were American, holding two-thirds of total invested
foreign capital. This group included 83 of the 200 top industrial
corporations of the United States. They were financed largely by a
srrong cluster of U.S_ banks, the largest such foreign group in Japan.
18. Japan has been making vigorous efforts to acquire
independent sources of supply. In recent years it has secured its own
conrracts with Nigeria, Saudi Arabia. and Kuwait, and with Iran for
development rights in the large untapped Laurestan oil fields. New
concession rights in Sumatra and Brunei may somewhat lessen the
American near-monopoly in the Indonesian area. Three claimants
China, Taiwan, and Japan - have been contending for the Tiaoyu island
group's offshore oil deposits. Japan has simply occupied the islands by
military force. with Washington's blessing, but the issue may raise its
head again. A $150 million Japanese loan to Thieu in 1970, urged by
Washington, has sparked a Japanese investment drive in Vietnam similar
to that in South Korea, and a Japanese consortium is working with Gulf
Oil to develop Vietnam's offshore oil fields. Japanese oil investment is
growing in. Australia; the trade exchange here is large and a new treaty
"to formalize. stabilize, and broaden" their relations will be concluded
in 1974. (New York Times, October 31, 193)
19. Connally called on Japan to make up $5 billion of the $13
billion "turnaround" needed to balance U.S. international accounts.
Apart from desired trade concessions (letting down bars to American
investment in Japan, incidentally, would detract from the balance).
U.S. officials have offered some interesting suggestions to achieve this
end. One is that Japan should put its dollars to use by purchasing more
American bonds and U.S. Treasury bills than it has been, i.e., it should
prop up the American economy directly. For another, why should the
Liberal-Democratic cabinet support Mitsubishi's effort to produce
Japan's own weaponry? American planes cost less, and the half billion
dollars being spent by Japan on arms purchases from the United States
were not nearly enough.
20. G.!. incidents of rape. murder, and injury were running at
three a day in 1971, that is, 1.000 or more per year; in such cases only
1 or 2 percent of the culprits received punishment.
21. See "Taipei 'Practical' on Japan Trade,'" New York Times.
October 8, 1972.
22. See p. 165. and more fully, 165-195.
23. For oil. pp. 59-69; for timber, pp. 69-71.
24. Even in the mid-'60s complaints of the deteriorating quality
of life had filled the newspaper columns. Automobile traffic has
multiplied, with the usual results. Tokyo vies with Los Angeles as the
smog capital of the world. Years ago the Welfare Ministry declared the
polluted beaches in the Tokyo-Yokohama area off-limits. Dozens of
cherry-blossom "flower-viewing" sites existed in Tokyo not so long ago;
today they have been reduced to five and even these are not safe.
Poisoned waters from factory emissions have caused many deaths, but
officials shielded the corporations, and the issues had to become public
scandals before the family survivors obtained compensation payments.
25. See p. 83; for full dicussion, 77-107.
26. For its advanced status see the technical article "The Many
Uses of Nuclear Energy," Nippon Steel News, No. 41. September 1973.
27. Strongly opposed by the AFL-(;IO. as exporting the jobs of
American workers to Japan. On the floor of the Senate. Ribicoff
opposed "the sale of our military technology to foreign nations." The
rocket is to be used "for peaceful purposes" only, but it needs slight
modification to carry a nuclear warhead in distances up to 5,000 miles.
See New York Times, March 7, 1973.
28. For the military-industrial complex, pp. 107-118.
29. New York Times, September 18, 1973.
30. Tens of thousands rallied in Tokyo on October 6 and 7,
protesting arrival of the American aircraft carrier Midway at the U.S.
Yokosuka naval base - for a three-year stay. Japanese officials claimed
the Midway carried no nuclear bombs, but the American Navy
spokesman at Yokosuka "would neither confirm nor deny that there
were nuclear weapons aboard." New York Times, October 7,1973.
31. The name symbolizes the constitutional qualms evident in
1950; its continuance witnesses to the strength of existing public
opinion. Not "War" but "Self-Defense;" not a "Ministry" but an
"Agency." headed not by a "Minister" but by a "Director-General."
This, when today it disposes greater military might than the War
Ministry of 1941.
32. James P. Sterba notes that "Indonesians have been mumbling
about claims on the straits," but stresses their dependence on Japan.
New York Times, August 28, 1972.
33. New York Times, January 16 and 18. 1974. For the
students' grievances, see NYT, January 22. 1974.
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Katz & Milton,
'Fragment from a Lost Diary'
by Connie Young Yu
Fragment From a Lost Diary a11d Other Stories: Women ofAsia, Africa,
and Latin America, edited by Naomi Katz and Nancy Milton. New
York: Pantheon Books, 1974. pp. xviii, 318. $10.
The appearance of this collection of twenty stories is a
significant event. It is a rare chronicle of the difficult, often
heart-breaking lives of women in Africa, Asia and Latin
America today.
Generally, the non-Western experience has been
neglected by American publishers, who have mainly put out
romanticized tales of exotic lands told by English-speaking
writers for the entertainment of Western readers. The muffled
voices of women in the Third World have been heard least of
all. Cenainly nothing comparable to Fragmellt From a Lost
Diary has ever been published in America.
Each story speaks with authority and knowledge about
the feelings, despairs and hopes of these women. The dilemmas
confronting them are not the concerns or themes of the
women's liberation movement of Western societies; but they
shed light on the lives of non-white women, who, lest we
forget, comprise the larger segment of the world's population.
The stories are divided into three sections. The first
(with the exception of one story) involves Asian peasant
women helplessly trapped in the rigid, harsh customs of their
traditional societies. This part is fittingly prefaced by a
Chinese poem: "How sad it is to be a woman!/Nothing on
earth is held so cheap."
A 14-year-old Korean girl and an 8-year-old Indonesian
girl are forced by the poverty ~ f their families to become child
brides. A woman of the Philippines must be abandoned by her
husband for another because she has not borne any children. A
Chinese teenager is cruelly banished from her village because a
young man seduced her.
"The Green Chrysanthemum" begins with a voice
exclaiming, "An airplane! An airplane! Just like a dragonfly,
isn't it?" As you read on, you find you that a Korean peasant
girl is speaking. You also discover that her impoverished father
had to sell her at the age of 12 to become the betrothed
"bride" of a nine-year-old eunuch. In this and other stories
you experience a shock upon seeing a modern image in a
traditional setting and realizing that the story is about people
living today.
Following the disturbing yet captivating tales of the first
section is a group of stories about married women who are
oppressed by their status and the faults of their husbands. Two
powerful poems by Okot p'Bitek of Uganda are included.
"Song of Lawino" is the voice of a woman who decries
the corruption of her husband by white man's culture. Her
husband reads white man's books and, "In the ways of his
people/He has become a stump." She is left alone, the
caretaker of family, culture and village, saying: "I do not
know/How to keep/The white man's time ... Time has
become/My husband's master/It is my husband's husband."
In Tokuda Shiisei's story, "Order of the White
Paulownia," Kanako, a young working-class wife of Tokyo,
agonizes over whether or not to leave her husband who
gambles away their meager savings. Her sister advises her,
"After all, marriage is a very different thing from what you
find in movies and novels." Replies Kanako, who had readily
accepted the arranged marriage, "But I can't believe it's meant
to be like ours."
The women in the final section are beginning to take on
new roles in changing societies. They are no longer subjected
to child marriages or totally trapped by tradition, but they
face conflicts and struggles just as intense.
"A Woman's Life" describes the paradoxical situation of
a woman who has become a teacher in Tanzania. She is
respected by her entire village, yet is beaten regularly by her
husband. Her daughter asks, "You are a teacher, not a piece of
junk for Baba to kick around. Why do you let him do it?" The
mother answers resignedly, "A woman without a husband is
nobody or worse. You have to explain why you are without a
man in the house."
"The Ivory Comb" by Nguyen Sang is the only story in
the book about a woman who is liberated in the modern sense.
She is an able, courageous Vietnamese resistance fighter whose
father was killed by Americans. She is free from the age-old
fears about marriage, rigid village customs and social pressures,
but her life is in constant danger as she leads her people
through defoliated jungles under threat of ambush from the
The oppression of racism becomes a dominant theme in
this last part of the volume. Of the five stories, three come out
of South Africa. I felt these were the most powerful narratives
in the whole collection. The experiences described of women
of color living under Apartheid are seldom presented to
American audiences, yet in these skillful stories these women
are not difficult to identify with.
A tired, middle-class Indian woman is driving all night
with her two children to meet her husband in Capetown. They
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can only sleep on the road because the hotels are reserved tur
whites. The children are tired, thirsty and irritable.
She stops at a cafe, decorated with Coca Cola signs, to
have her thermos filled with coffee for her children. She is
refused service and harshly insulted by a slovenly white
woman, and in a rage she throws the thermos at the woman.
She continues on her tedious journey until she is stopped by a
roadblock and taken into custody by the police as "one of
those agitators making trouble here."
Alex La Guma's "Coffee for the Road" so brilliantly
describes the troubled journey of the woman that )Iou feel you
are riding in the car with her and her children as they pass
through the dusty countryside. These passages of description
are an integral part of the statement of the story: "Three black
men trudged in single file along the roadside, looking ahead
into some unknown future, wrapped in tattered, dusty
blankets, oblivious of the heat, their heads shaded by the ruins
of felt hats."
The women of Fragment From a Lost Diary do not
suffer from the identity problems of many modern American
women. They behave in the context of their societies and have
no desire to break away from them. The stories involve largely
peasant and working-class women of cultures and customs far
removed from the Western experience. Yet there is a
universality about all the stories, as the emotions experienced
by the women are common to all people.
The editors, Naomi Katz and Nancy Milton, have made
an important contribution to understanding the lives of Third
World women by assembling this volume as a means of
introduction. Ms. Katz is an African specialist and Ms. Milton is
knowledgeable about Asia, particularly China, having taught in
Peking from 1964 to 1969.
Their own knowledge of the background of these short
stories and their sympathies for the women of Third World
countries is evident in their choice of stories, their perceptive
introduction, the ordering of the writings, and the biographical
sketches of the writers at the end of the volume.
Several of the book's authors studied in Europe and the
United States, and their writings show Western influences.
Other writers never left their native land. With the exception
of Lu Hsun, the famous revolutionary Chinese author, and
Santha Rama Rau and a few others, they are all virtually
unknown in the Western world.
Although presented as an anthology of stories of Asia,
Africa and Latin America, the volume clearly stands only as a
collection of stories about women on the first two continents.
The Cuban writer Dora Alonso is the sole Latin American
author used. Her two unsatisfying stories reflect no substantial
representation of a third continent. The anthology would have
been a much more definitive and richer collection had the
editors added several African and Asian stories instead.
For many readers a new appreciation of the vision of
African and Asian writers will be inspired by this book, as well
as a discovery of new literary dimensions in other cultures.
After reading these dramatic stories with diverse styles and
dynamic techniques of narrative. many will seek further works
of particular writers in this volume.
More significantly, these stories pose many haunting
questions about the effects of poverty, colonialism and racism
on non-Western women today and what is to be done.
Women of color in the United States will hear familiar
voices in these stories. as I did, and realize that we have lost
diaries of our own cultures and struggles, yet to emerge.
Fragment From a Lost Diary comes as a strong encouragement
in this respect, and generally, the experience of reading the
book should not be missed.
[Pacific News Service, Janaury 1974)
CODI .. ibalo...
EqbaJ Ahmad isa Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies in
Washington and has written for France-Asie and many other
periodicals. He was one of the "Harrisburg Seven" defendants.
ceJso Banaag is a Filipino intellectual working underground in
the Philippines.
Nguyen Cong Binh: see introductory comments by Jayne
Werner before his article.
Ruben Diario is an American citizen and a political scientist
who recently traveled in the Philippines.
Rick Doner is a graduate student in education at Stanford
University and is currently teaching in a Palo Alto, California,
high school.
John Dower teaches history at the University of Wisconsin,
Madison; his "The Nixon Doctrine: Ten Points of Note" has
been reprinted in The Kissinger-Nixon Doctrine in Asia
(Harper and Row). He is working on a biography of Yoshida
Janet Salaaf teaches sociology at the University of Toronto
and is writing a book on factory life in Hong Kong.
Jayne Werner is preparing translations from the French of'
Vietnamese historical studies scheduled for publication by the
Indochina Resource center in 1974; she is a graduate student
at Cornell.
Connie Yu has written on the Chinese in American courts and
other Asian-American issues. She is a director of the Peace
Union of Palo Alto and works for the San Francisco Chinese
Media Committee.
Jim Seymour teaches at the University Without Walls of New
York University.
T. A. Bisson is the author of a number of books on Japan:
Japan in China, just reprinted by Octagon, and Zaibatsu
Dissolution il1 Japan. He served in Tokyo as Special Assistant
to the Chief, Government Section, GHQ. SCAP, in 1946-47.
He is retired now and lives in Waterloo, Canada.
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Sovereignty in the South China Sea
by Jim Seymour
In january 1974, when fighting broke out between
Saigon forces and Chinese in the oil-promising South 'China
Sea, the American establishment news media tended to assume
that the Chinese, being communists, must have been the
aggressors. Those reporters who were quickly able to attune
themselves to the official State Department line, however,
refrained from making any judgment regarding the merits of
the controversy! And well they might have, for the assertions
of America's client regime regarding the various archipelagoes
are at best dubious. Official U.S. Government maps designate
the islets by their Chinese (not Vietnamese) names, and
neither Hanoi nor the Provisional Revolutionary Government
has stated any claims in the region.
Sovereignty is a legal concept, and questions about
ownership must be answered in legalistic terms. Where there
have been no formal agreements, international law relies upon
such factors as discovery and the maintenance of a physical or
administrative \1resence. Regarding the first criterion, the
historical record concerning the South China Sea is clear:
Chinese explorers discovered these islands two thousand years
ago. (The Vietnamese did not take to the seas until modern
times.) But being essentially uninhabitable, the islands have
not supported communities of Chinese, nor of anyone else,
and so there is little evidence of the kind of "presence" which
would impress, say, the International Court of justice. Chinese
sailors did keep touching down there, however, and in the
fifteenth century the famous voyager and statesman Cheng Ho
visited even the southernmost Spratly group, reiterating the
Chinese claim. Many years later the Ch'ing dynasty explorer Li
Chun passed through the area and reported the presence of
Chinese fishermen. (Contemporary maps show the islands as
belonging to China.)
Oil Under Troubled Waters
According to the Saigon government, in 1802 the
Vietnamese Emperor Gia Long formed a company for the
purpose of developing the islands economically.
Before long,
however, Vietnam lost its sovereignty to France. Eventually,
the islands fell under japanese control.
Neither japan nor
France now has any serious claims in the South China Sea, and
since World War II the islands presumably have belonged to
their original owners, although the San Francisco treaty was
less than explicit on the matter. Various parties, including the
and even a few individual pretenders, have made
some efforts to assert themselves in the area, but there can be
little doubt that the People's Republic of China has an
excellent legal case.
Whether they can sustain their claim to
two hundred miles of territorial waters is more doubtful.' The
seabed belonging to them might well extend far, however, and
it is in this peripheral region (rather than directly beneath
the islands) that any petroleum probably lies.
1. According to a State Department press release, this exchange
between Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and an unnamed reporter
took place on January 22, 1974:
Q. Mr. Secretary, the United States has stated its opposition to
anyone country dominating the affairs in Asia .... How do you
look upon the Paracel Islands question ... ?
A. I don't think [the issue raises] the question of dominating
the area.... There has been a dispute between various countries
as to the ownership of these islands."
Kissinger did not go beyond this noncommittal statement.
The State Department generally discourages American oil
companies from seeking petroleum in the area. The activities of the
government itself, however, have tended to support Saigon. American
materiel and personnel have been placed at the disposal of South
Vietnamese forces in the archipelagoes.
2. The four main archipelagoes are, from north to south: the
Pratas (Tung-sha), the Paracels (Hsi-sha), Macclesfield Bank (Chung
sha), and the Spratlies (Nan-sha).
3. Until recently, when hopes for oil arose, the largely barren
islets, few larger than a city block, were hardly of economic
significance. They were known as a source of "guano" (a delicate term
for fertilizer manufactured by birds).
4. The Japanese maintained a submarine base and air strip on
the Spratlies during the war. The islands were administered as part of
the Japanese colony of Formosa. In December 1946 the Republic of
China dispatched a naval contingent to reassert control, and ROC
troops have been stationed on Itu Aba much of the time since then. If
the Republic of China is still a legal entity, it could claim the South
China Sea islands both on the basis of the historic Chinese claim or,
alternatively, on the basis of their former incorporations into the
Japanese colony. This gives rise to the possibility that Taipei may have
the best legal claim of all (again assuming that the ROC is itself legal).
The two rationales are somewhat incompatible, however, and the ROC
rejects the notion that it is solely insular.
Regarding Taipei's position, see Free China Weekly, February
10, 1974, p. 1, and dispatches in U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information
Service Daily Report, IV, February 1, 1974, page B-1, and February 8,
1974, page B-1.
5. For the Chinese reaction to Filipino intrusions among the
Spratlies in 1971, see Peking Review, July 23,1971,19.
6. For the official statement of the Chinese position, see Peking
Review, January 25, 1974,3 f.
The British government also considers the archipelagoes to be
7. In the unlikely event that the U.S. honored the 20()-mile
claim, it would have to restrict itself to "innocent passage" in the area
(i.e. no warships), which would have sisnificant implications regarding
the conduct of any warfare in Indochina.
8. Far Eastern Eccmomic Review, December 31, 1973,40.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
by John Comer
Quang Tri has fallen - a new
culture exists in the making of rubble.
It is not there but it has fallen.
The citadel which cannot fall has fallen again.
Then along comes ARVN on the ground floor trying to stick it
together again,
but the best they can ever manage is a frontispiece
made out of tyres and washing machines
tin sheets and corroding paper.
And when the way is made clear
they won't wait for a wind
they won't listen to the weather forecast
all the people will blow at once in the same direction
which is in accord with Heaven,
the gunners will lay down a tremendous barrage.
(The presumption of the city fizzles out with whatever
pickings there are in the grandiosity wards at Monaco or the
South of France, or is filed away in the Institute for analysis,
generating a few more programmes on the dynamics of
I can't see a revolution without a decent obstetric
service, or how anyone can expect to contain it if there aren't
even provisions for a gynaecological examination - if the
Delta abounds with malaria and tuberculosis and the villagers
are packed into encampments as if they were surplus stock for
the warehouse - or if as soon as you turn the cadres leap out
in their pyjamas brandishing hypodermic needles and everyone
has to go to school again studying domestic hygiene.
And by giving away some carpentry sets
Uncle Sam was expecting the peasants to develop
And whether these people now
can suffer forced-draft urbanization
and still come out of it with virtue
is something we might see in the reasonable future.
Thus the Pirc defence:
'fluid & slippery ... closing the game and slowly equalizing,
whether white opens P-K4 or P-Q4'
Ho Chi Minh because he is pointed, like fire,
because he has set out to accomplish himself
and has respect for the topography,
whereas the others are like water
rotting everything they touch,
chicane and profiteering.
I am consumed in my work. I buy the liquor that is required
of me. I look straight ahead at the horizon as if there was
nothing else in the world but my steps.
Still my manners and complexion invoke law according to
unspoken rules-of-thumb, which is the law. In the moment of
love I hear vulgar diminutives in my affectionate name.
Their god has come to our house by ordinance. The women
weep that they have been assaulted by diseased men. I whisper
resistant symbols to the drumskin - which is my neighbour's
ear - and my augmented voice is hailed in every part of the
He who was blowing tea in a dream leaves it to cool under a
saucer, his wife brandishes her irons and puts her feet up on
the tabletop which defines her virtue. That night they are
carrying grain into the illicit mouths of the hill.
And women also, they fell on them with cries that had never
been heard: women who embroidered our days, who had sewn
knick-knacks in the shadow of our erections.
''Alcth;''9 i!.

.p,.qgj0lrl. Q:7/d.
. . ,
- CJJi trJinn
fYIoA( Iq, 13'lO
- Father 0+ his

This is the story of Viet Nam's struggle for Indepen
dence and freedom be91nn1nq over 2, ODO years ago.
60 minutes long with detailed script; 160 sUdes, In
cluding uncommon Vletnameae graphics and rare
photographs; 4 part format Ideal for serial presenta
tion; very useful for college, hl9h school, """cn-ms,:.
Invaluable for putting present situation In Viet Nam
aOO Indochina in historical perspective.
Prepared by Cornell Concerned Asian Scholars and
Ithaca Anti_ar Movement.
Purchase Is S20, rental Is $5, plus shlpplnq costs.
Indochina Peace Campaign of Syracuse Peace
924 Burnet Ave. Syracuse, NY 13203 (315)
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Souls wander the open scrub by Gia Dinh, that we have lost
our sanctuaries to a foreign charisma.
Now we are not asking for anything which is not ours, but
which is ours already, and we demalld it. For there can be no
correct burials until every one of them has gone back to
-Souls without provenance: an underworld dense with
reptiles, and hogs abandoned against their kind.
I will give you seven plates of rice and three of aubergines if
you will give me a good harvest. At one time giants smote
earth in a fit of irritableness; these ravines and pinnacles sprang
up between their fingers. I was told by my grandmother. The
valley is where one of them stretched out to sleep in the
impression left by his palm.
There arc many but I am in love with two of them, the god
of domestic cheer and of the last meal in the day. And for age,
to havc tobacco in a sunny promontory.
Who lives in the tree?
I who am a puff of feathers hanging from the musket
Who hangs him who hangs by his feet?
I who destroyed the barn-owl with my instrument.
Who marches on the company storehouse?
We march. An army of bragging voles, we march with
impunity on the storehouse, bearing cough-pellets which are
the tokens of our dead.
China Books
literature from China & Vietnam
Poems of
Mao 1$1 lung & Ho Chi Minh
SUbscription to Chinese Literature
Monthly Magazine $3.
Request Fr.. catalogue.
Open: 9-6 MS
2929 24th St 'SF 94110 282-6945
".-:'&ebook "... meticulous
. ~ factual
Facti & analysis on U.S . ~
& ~ n lCOf!O!IIic imperialism on the
in the Jlsia-I'acitic Ngion.
international capital in the Pacific region ....
very perceptive analyses of the primary Cact
ors that will determine the behavior of the
imperial powers ... a uniquely valuable re
source for those concerned to understand
world affairs."
- Noam Chomsky
" ... by Car the best militant economic and
political research publication in the
world . .. lucidly and punchily written .. .
excellent indexing and cross-referencing .. .
a veritable goldmine of information on the
entire Pacific area .. richly deserves wide
support and diffusion."
- Jon Halliday, Editor, New Left Review
A Monthly Report - $7.50 yearly
(Institutions $15;
airmail anywhere $8 extra)
Typical subjects:
International runaway shop: US"
Japan export auto" electronics
Overproduction crisis" risi", US
Japan contradictions.
Japan's zaibatsu" rebirth ofthe
Greater East Asia Coprosperity
Minerals" oil investment ... Extent
of foreign control, against a back
ground ofstruSlles for national
(Sample on Request) "," wltll
IUb: Speclll
Write to: Report on
Box 16415 -1
for 011
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BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
1322-18th Street, N.W.
Was/; illgtoII , D. C. 20036
Please Note New Address:
P.O. Box 4000D
Berkeley, CA. 94704
(Add 20% for shippinll unless otherwise specified.)
Viet-Nam: What Kind of Peace?
Indochina Resource Center. Full texts of 1973 Paris Agree
ment, 1954 Geneva Accords, etc., with extensive, informed
analysis. "Absolutely indispensable study" - AFSC. 96 pages.
$1.25 each; 2-10 copies @ $1.00; 11+ copies @ $.75. Add
Hostages of War: Saigon's Political Prisoners
By Holmes Brown and Don Luce. Discussion and documenta
tion on civilians imprisoned, without trials, in the jails of
South Vietnam. 109 pages. $1.80 includes postage.
Children of Viet-Nam
Compiled by Tran Khanh Tuyet. Educational stories and big
pictures to color. For ages 7 through 10. 28 pages. $.75 in
cludes postage.
ONERS. NARMICNietnam Resource Center. 50 pages.
$1.80 includes postage.
THE TORTOISE AND THE SWORD. Vietnamese folk tale
retold and illustrated by Beatrice Tanaka. Lothrop, 1972.
48 pages. $4.00 includes postage.
"Highly recommended" by Library Journal. 1971. 322
pages. $4.00 includes postage.
Branfman. 1972. 160 pages. $2.15 includes postage.
TERROR FROM THE SKY. By John Gliedman. Vietnam Re
source Center, 1972. 172 pages. $1.20 includes postage.
EDUCATION IN VIETNAM. Ed. by John Spragens. 1972. 50
pages. $1.00 includes postage.
Minh. 31 pages. $.50 inc. postage.
IRC, 1973.4 pages. $.15.
CAMBODIA: 1973. Indochina Resource Center. 4 pages. $.15.
(Rental rates are for three days.)
Laos: Land of Liberty
Pathet Lao. General documentary on life in liberated areas.
1971. 25 min., 16mm, b/w. Narration in Lao, with Lao folk
music. $10 rental.
Children's Marionette Shows in the Jungle
NLF. A highly visual film with Vietnamese voices and music.
Teenagers learn to make and use marionettes for a play that
travels from village to village in South Vietnam. 1971. 25 min.,
16mm, b/w. $25 rental.
U.S. Technique and Genocide
DRV. English soundtrack re-recorded by Indochina Resource
Center. Shows evolution of deadly U.S. anti-personnel
weapons and effects on civilians. i971. 25 min., 16mm, b/w.
$30 rental, $80 purchase.
76-A Pleasant Street
Cambridge, Mass. 02139
(617) 491-0498
1322 18th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 223-0527
112 South 16th Street
Philadelphia, Pa. 19102
(215) 563-9372
The Center has qualified personnel ready to talk or lead discus
sions on these and other subjects:
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
The Peoples of Indochina
Postcard set. Six poignant photos selected by Indochina
Mobile Education Project (see examples). $.10 each; 50 or
more@ $.06.
Spirit of the Land
poetry. People's Press, 1972.64 pages. $1.20 includes postage.
Indochina 1973
Five-color, 18x22-in., 24-page calendar on the history and cul
tures of the Indochinese peoples. $3.60 includes postage. All
proceeds benefit Medical Aid for Indochina.
Only We Can Prevent Forests
Exhibit on ecological effects of the Indochina War. Color
photos, captions, documentation on four large panels. $15
The Rising Cry for Justice
Exhibit of color photos, original art and quotations on the
meaning of U.S. involvement to the Indochinese people. 28
panels of silk-screened posters; ceiling suspension design. $ 3 5
One Year Two Years
Regular $ 6 $11
Outside of North America $ 7 $12
Full-time Students $ 4 $ 7
Libraries/Institutions $10 $20
Sustaining Subscriptions $10-25
City, State, & Zip
For changes, please include old address with zip code. Send to:
Bulletin, 604 Mission St., room 1001, San Francisco, 94105
Why thc War Is Not Over
Comprehensive slide presentation on the history of Vietnam,
U.S. intervention, and contemporary events. 160 slides, with
detailed script. Prepared by Cornell CCAS and Syracuse Peace
Council. $5.00 rental, $20.00 purchase.
Tell Them We Are People
Colorful, musical filmstrip on Indochinese culture, effects of
the war, and chances for reconciliation. Narrated by Don Luce
and Tran Khanh Tuyet. 126 frames, 20 min. with record.
$5.00 for 3-day rental; $17.95 purchase.
Tapes and Videotapes
The Indochina Resource Center has a wide variety of tape
recorded music of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. We also have
a collection of unedited videotapes of conferences and meet
ings attended by representatives from Vietnam and Laos. Feel
free to inquire further about content and rental rates.
To Buy
A Country
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) Prime Contract Awards
by Region and State for Fiscal Years 1970-72
U.S. DOD Grants for Basic Scientific Research and Transfer
of Title to Government Equipment and U.S. DOD Grants
to Educational and Non-Profit Institutions Receiving
Military Prime Contracts of $10,000 or More For Research,
Developmental, Test, and Evaluation Work.
Listings for all countries.
$2 FROM:
Project Anti-War
c/o Victor Levant
John Abbott College
Department of Humanities
P.O. Box 2000
Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Quebec
Project Anti-War
Montreal Quebec
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
Committee of Concerned Asian Scholars
Chapters (designated CCAS & starred * ) and Contact persons
Steve MacKinnon
2026 Campo Allegre
Tempe, AZ 82581
Center for Chinese Studies
Univ. of California
Berkeley, CA 94720
* CCAS, c/o Linda Womack Shaffer
History Dept.
Tufts University
Medford, MA 02155
* CCAS, clo Marc Blecher
5110 So. Kenwood
Chicago, IL 60615
William Gibson
219 Brooks
Claremont, CA 91711
* CCAS, clo Pat Stanford
601 North St.
Boulder, CO 80302
Doug Allen
Philosophy Dept.
Central Conn. St. College
New Britain, CT 06050
* CCAS, clo Robert Taylor
102 West Ave.
Ithaca, NY 14850
Jonathan Mirsky
East Asia Center
Hanover, NH 03755
DUKE Univ.
Eduard Lavalle
Center for International Studies
Durham, NC 27706
DRURY College
John and Katsu Young
635 E. Calhoun, no. 104
Springfield, MO 65802
Marianne Bastid-Brugiere
90, Blvd. de Port-Royal
75005 Paris, France
Univ. of HAWAII
* CCAS, clo Jim Anthony
1890 East West Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96822
* CCAS, clo Universities Service
155 Argyle St.
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Philip West
History Dept.
Bloomington, IN 47401
Univ. of IOWA
Robert Wang
Political Science Dept.
Iowa City, IA 50240
Tiziano Terzani
1st. di Storia Contempore
Via San Gallo 10
Firenze, Italy
Raymond Lieu
P.O. Box 2000
Ste. Anne de Bellevue,
Ric Pfeffer
Political Science Dept.
Baltimore, MD 21218
Stephen Feuchtwang
* clo AREAS
6 Endsleigh St.
London W. 11, England
* CCAS, clo Tony Garavente
11844 Washington Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
* CCAS, clo Jerry Fisher
History Dept.
St. Paul, MN 55105
* CCAS, 104 Lane Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
* CCAS, 400 Ford Hall
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Chuck Hayford
History Dept.
Oberlin, OH 44074
* CCAS, clo Leo Cawley
501 Lewisohn Hall
Columbia Univ.
New York, NY 10027
Peter Bertocci
Sociology-Anthropology Dept.
Rochester, MI 48063
Univ. of OREGON
Joe Esherick
2043 Onyx St.
Eugene, OR 97403
* CCAS clo Chris Gilmartin
4515 Osage
Philadelphia, PA 19143
James T.C. Liu
110 Prospect Ave., no. l-W
Princeton, NJ 08540
CCAS, clo Judy PerroUe
116 E. Manning
Providence RI 02906
Gail Omvedt
Sociology Dept., U.C.
La Jolla, CA 92037
Pei-c:bih Hsieh
History Dept.
Regina, Sask.
CCAS, Building<600T
Stanford, CA 94305
Gordon Bennett
Government Dept.
Austin, TX 78712
CCAS1 clo Selden
Sakai, 3-24-1
Tokyo, Japan
Univ. of TORONTO
Janet Salaff
563 Spadina Ave.
Sociology Dept.
Toronto 179 Ont.
Univ. of VERMONT
History Dept.
Burlington, VT OS401
CCAS, clo Dave Wilson
History Dept.
St. Louis, MO 63130
CCAS, 433 Thomson Hall,
Seatde, WA 98195
CCAS, clo Tom Bush
103 Sunnymeade Ln., no. 1
Madison, WI 53713
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.
BCAS. All rights reserved. For non-commercial use only.