Film: 5048

War + Military | 1960 | Sound | B/W


The military and diplomatic turmoil in Malaysia caused by the President of Indonesia, Sukarno, during 1964 and 1965.

As we watch scenes of military presence in Malaysia, two soldiers are travelling down a river by boat with guns on board, an American narrator can be heard describing the current affairs of the new country of Malaysia and its constant assault by Indonesia. This additional eastern conflict also has potentially crippling effects for the United Nations – The infantry are scene alighting onto a wooden bridge or jetty in a forest location. One soldier walks, gun in hand, through dense forest or jungle. Three of the soldiers seen with guns as they trek through the undergrowth. Prisoners being unloaded from the back of a truck, they are blindfolded.
Anchor man speaks about the Islands that make up Indonesia and how through one man’s passion, wit and lust for power, it has been turned from a Dutch colony into a unified independent country, this man is President Sukarno. Still of the man. The broadcaster describes how his lust for more power is causing more problems in the country and can be compared to the events in Cuba a short time ago. Back to the studio. Tom Gould, who briefs us with more detailed information – he describes Sukarno’s international reputation as being irrational and irresponsible and ruthless in his efforts to expand his island empire. The correspondent goes on to site an example of this in 1962 when he added 160,000 square miles to Indonesian territory by bulldozing Dutch land in the western half of New Guinea and creating military and diplomatic havoc in the United Nations.
He continues to move forward to Sukarno’s current plans to bring more of Malaysia into his grasp, as he speaks, the scene fade to a map of Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia to illustrate his ‘empire’, Gould describes Australia’s concern over Sukarno’s apparent intention to take lands closer to their country and as such, they have started conscripting an army to defend their territories and Malaysia. White animated lines move across the map illustrating the Straits of Malacca, the main trade routes between Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula as Gould describes Sukarno having his eye on this main route between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific. The map changes to a slightly closer view just including Indonesia and Malaysia as Gould describes the events of a year ago when Sukarno sent gun boats and guerrilla troops against Malaysia, as well as his navy interfering with local shipping and sent troops from Borneo over the border and into the Straits of Sarawak and Sabah. The map changes again as the narrator goes on to identify Malaysia’s main defence – a British naval base in Singapore - which is then labelled on the map. He describes how new forces are being built up there and in Kuala Lumpur to repel Indonesian assaults.
Back to Gould in the studio where he goes on to describe that despite the fact most Indonesians live at a subsistence level and its lack of external enemies, Sukarno has still built up its military forces to an estimated 250,000 men under arms. Fade to location in which the Indonesian armed forces are marching with flags, Gould tells us that they are fighting with primarily Russian weapons and a growing Communist following in the country is bringing them closer to Communist China, as such the Russian relations are slowly diminishing as the relations with China are growing. Sukarno watching from under a marquee? Gould explains that President Sukarno had still persuaded Moscow to give him 100 Midge Fighters and bombers and the navy equipped him with a heavy cruiser, gun boats and submarines. As we see tanks being watched by passers-by, continued parades and general Indonesian enthusiasm Gould describes how military officials in Washington and Singapore doubt the practicalities of any Malaysian assault as Sukarno doesn’t have enough landing craft. We see Sukarno and other military officials presiding over an event.
Back in the studio, Gould describes what people are expecting most now are continued assaults by small bands of guerrilla fighters, but their success has been limited and explosions in Singapore have had little effect – the conclusion is that Sukarno has failed in his campaign.
Fade to the exterior of a derelict urban tower block as Gould describes Sukarno’s troops as terrorists, British [?] soldiers hold down a captured Indonesian fighter on the ground outside [?] or are they just investigating? Explosion damage to other parts of the building and the surrounding area as Gould describes the insurgents’ desire to create an environment of insecurity.
Statement given by a uniformed police official in Singapore, he reads from a piece of paper in his hands, occasionally looking up into the camera. It is a warning to all those who suspect Indonesian activity in the country and to warn the police of any suspicious behaviour.
British patrol boat on duty travelling the straits, views of crew on board as Gould describes the growing British military presence in the Singapore Basin and lists other locations where the British Navy has a presence in the wider area. The patrol boat inspecting an Indonesian vessel. Close ups of the faces of its crew.
Having described how Indonesian forces would be heavily outnumbered if there were a conflict, Gould moves our location to where there are most confrontations – a jungle outpost, we see a wooden tower and a nearby building, Gould describes these as locations where Indonesian guerrillas get over the border and are then hunted down by British and Malaysian armed forces. He estimates there are about 20,000 young men in the Malaysian army as we see armed forces in tanks and trucks travelling down a village road. Another elevated shot of the troops driving down a road as Gould tells us their equipment and training is provided by the British but the Australians and New Zealanders are benefiting from the training too. Armed forces travelling by boat on a jungle river and continued shots of jungle tributaries illustrates Gould’s narration about the armed forces using these narrow waterways as main routes as the country is so dense with jungle and the local infantry are experienced in jungle warfare. Closer views of Malaysian soldiers on board as Gould describes the support they have from the population. As we see a helicopter landing, Gould goes on to compare the conflict with the action in South Vietnam. Troops alight from the aircraft which they apparently need more of to get to the difficult locations. Many of the troops, Gould says, are Gurkhas. Soldiers [Gurkhas?] running through dense undergrowth. Low angle view from the ground of a helicopter. Captured Indonesian fighters alight from the aircraft with their belongings, Gould says the prisoners talk readily and are often found near starvation – he lists where most of their weapons come from.
As we see more prisoners eating, Gould describes a typical event which happened on Dec 27th in which nine armed Indonesians, armed with guns and hand grenades, landed on Singapore island, by 29th, seven of the nine had been captured. A room full of confiscated weapons, the camera pans over boxes of ammunition as Gould describes another incident on Dec 23rd in which 28 Indonesians landed on the peninsula, by the same evening 25 of them had also been captured. More views of the captured weaponry.

Fade back to Riley in the studio – he moves the subject on to President Sukarno threatening to pull out of the U.N, United Nations, when his “arch enemy” was given a place on the security council for two years. He goes on to say there is still some confusion as to whether this will actually happen, but if it does, his will be the first country to leave in its 20 year history. He goes on to describe the recent political complexities surrounding negotiations in the General Assembly as a result of this move to place Malaysia on the security council – the members of the General Assembly have been too afraid to put anything to the vote because of a financial dispute involving Russia, France among several other countries in which the United States has threated to challenge the Soviet Union right to vote, so the election of members of the security has been done by gentleman’s agreement until now. This is how the Malaysia was voted into the security council on 29th Dec 1964. The footage fades to Dec 29th when the Indonesian delegate, Mr Palar, speaking at the General Assembly, apparently going along with the decision even though he’s not in favour of it.

Back in the studio, Riley follows this up with the fact that only days later President Sukarno exclaimed that Indonesia was leaving the U.N. Comments by Mr Palar who is reverse his previous consolatory statements and now says some countries feel compelled to leave the United Nations and Indonesia is leaving because Malaysia have been voted onto the security council.
Back in the studio Riley sums up the negativity surrounding the United Nations at the time. He introduces the “regretful” sentiments felt by U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson - fade to Stevenson speaking.
Riley in the studios moves onto state that both the Secretary General of the United Nations and the President of the General Assembly contacted Sukarno in the hope he would change his mind. He goes on to say that Ewan Staffords has pointed out that there is still hope as nothing has been written down. Also that America’s position has been “anomalous”, he introduces the CBC’s Washington correspondent, Nolten Nass, to talk more on that subject.

Bespectacled Nass addresses the camera, he summarises that the Americans think the Indonesians are bluffing, they don’t think they will formerly withdraw from the United Nations. However, there aren’t really any formal provisions in the U.N Charter to withdraw anyway, it’s such an unusual circumstance, Sukarno could however write a letter to the Secretary General citing a 1945 clause which says that no country actually has to co-operated with the United Nations if it did not wish to do so. Nass moves on to describe Sukarno’s general anti-American sentiments which have resulted in American providing very little aid to Indonesia, and America’s own diminishing like of Sukarno and his growing relationship with the Chinese. This has resulted in Washington not doing too much to encourage Indonesia to stay in the United Nations.

Back to Riley in the studio – he talks about Canada stepping in to try and get Indonesia to change their minds, says the ambassador Paul Thombly spoke with Mr Palar yesterday. He introduces correspondent Norman Defoe reporting from Ottawa – he reports that the atmosphere in Ottawa isn’t so much tense (as it had been during the Cuban crisis, for example) but more gloomy as Indonesia’s withdrawal is yet another blow to the United Nation’s already troubled situation between the West and the situation in the Congo and financial problems.
Interview between Defoe and the Canadian Minister of External Affairs, Mr Martin – He voices his opinion that he hopes Indonesia will reconsider its decision, and his thoughts about the fears that this might lead to the breaking up of the already fragile United Nations. He is asked whether or not the assaults on Malaysia should be considered a threat to world peace. Also asked if Canada will lend military assistance to Malaysia as Britain has done, questions he answers at length.

The ambassador of Malaysia, My Romani, who is in the studio with them. He is asked about the crippling consequences if large nations continued to leave the U.N as Indonesia is proposing to do. He replies that the problems that have developed between Indonesia and Malaysia would be much easier to deal with if Indonesia stayed in, and as such, it is a real concern if they want to leave. He is then asked why he thinks My Sukarno wants to crush Malaysia. He replies at length that he wishes he knew. He is then asked what kind of man he thinks Sukarno is. He replies that he has the impression that he is a man of supreme confidence, inclined to be stubborn and likes throwing his weight about. He is then asked if he anticipates a full scale invasion from Indonesia. He replies yes and no, it’s more a fear than anticipation as they have been watching troops growing on the borders with Borneo. He believes that even Sukarno can’t believe he could really succeed. In answer to the reporter’s final question – “will Indonesia leave the United Nations?” Romani answers that he thinks she wants to give the impression of firm resolve but in time she will come back.

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