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Nation: Mosaic Pattern

2 minute read

In his nasty campaign of harassment against Americans, Indonesia’s President Sukarno has stopped their mail, scared off their servants, sacked their libraries and threatened to seize some $417 million worth of their property—all with scarcely more than a whimper from Washington. But Sukarno finally went too far: he began messing with New York World’s Fair President Robert Moses, the Phurious Pharaoh of Flushing Meadow.

The Bung (Brother) made his initial blunder when he decided not to reopen Indonesia’s $3,000,000 pavilion at the fair because of “the open support given by the U.S. to the neocolonialist project of Malaysia.” Moses immediately threatened to confiscate the place—particularly since the Indonesians still owe him some $250,000 to cover demolition costs when the fair ends. Cagily, the Indonesians stalled Moses by hinting that they were trying to get a New York entrepreneur to run the pavilion for them until the demolition money was raised. Meanwhile, they began hauling out of the pavilion everything that wasn’t bolted down, chiefly art works that they had brought from Indonesia.

Last week fair officials learned that Sukarno has absolutely no intention of reopening the pavilion—but by then the Indonesians had made off with $20,000 worth of art objects. Moses and his aides retaliated at once. A squad of blue-uniformed Pinkertons, loaded pistols at their sides, sealed off the pavilion. When a crew of Indonesians breezed up to cart off more looty-booty, the Pinks barred the way. At the same time, fair officials fired off a cable advising Djakarta that the pavilion had been seized and that Indonesia’s rights of entry “are hereby terminated, effective immediately.”

The Indonesians seemed hurt by the whole thing, pointed out that Moses’ wrathful action came just when Special Presidential Envoy Ellsworth Bunker was in Djakarta to see about tempering Sukarno’s anti-American binge. The fact is that nobody really expects Bunker to budge the Bung with his diplomatic chitchat. Maybe there’s something to be said for the Mosaic method.

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