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MALAYA: Final Offer

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Now that it had its independence and was free of the stigma of imperial control, the newborn Federation of Malaya decided to try its own hand at bringing an end to the costly nine-year-old jungle war against Communist guerrillas. It issued a “new and final” amnesty offer to the 1,800 terrorists (down from 8,000) still left and, just to make sure everyone gets the message, will drop no less than 12 million leaflets from R.A.F. planes. Terms: no persecution of terrorists who surrender, regardless of their past crimes; restoration of civil rights to those who forswear Communism; free repatriation to Red China of those who do not. The offer holds good until Dec. 31, and after that the war will be pursued “with increased vigor.”

To make the point of its independence, the new government quoted from congratulatory messages from all over the world, including North Viet Nam’s Communist Boss Ho Chi Minh and Red China’s Mao. But Communist Chieftain Chin Peng, who runs the guerrilla operation from the jungles of neighboring Thailand, was not likely to be deceived by such diplomatic niceties. Radio Peking made the Communist position all too clear: “The Malayan people’s struggle against imperialism has not ended.”

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