Courtesy Reuters

Self-Government in the South Pacific

What area of the world has given the Western nations the least trouble since World War II? What is the only large geographic area of the world without significant Communist penetration? What is the only underdeveloped area of the world in which the Western nations have the active sympathetic support of the native populations? What large area of the world having great strategic value for the weapons systems on which the Western nations now rely is under Western control and wants to remain so? What area of the world receives the least monetary aid from the United States in relation to size or American interest?

The answer to all these questions is the Pacific Ocean islands and surrounding waters which are represented internationally in the South Pacific Commission. Embracing 20 percent of the earth's surface and about one-ninth of 1 percent of its population, the area ranges from Norfolk Island just north of New Zealand to the Marianas, which extend to within 1,000 miles of Japan; and from Palau, about 500 miles from the Philippines, eastward across the international date line nearly 7,000 miles to the little island of Ducie, which has approximately the same longitude as San Francisco. These islands are in varying stages of economic and cultural development, from completely primitive life in the interior of Australian New Guinea to the sophisticated resort economy of Tahiti and the space-age military bases in Guam. The inhabitants include illiterate tribesmen who have not learned how to use the wheel and graduates of the best universities of France, England, the United States, Australia and New Zealand. They are intelligent, sincere and sensible. The majority of them have a lively appreciation of the complexities of the world in which they live, and perhaps because they dwell in an area accustomed to air and ocean travel of all types, they are generally alert to world developments.

The present auspicious political climate in Pacific Oceania is the more surprising because most of the mistakes that were made in Africa and

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