Courtesy Reuters

Indo-China in the Path of Japanese Expansion

THE irrepressible conflict between ideologies is not confined to Europe. The present Sino-Japanese war is as much a part of this world-wide struggle as is the Spanish civil war. Under the guise of a mystic "anti-Communism" the totalitarian Powers are pursuing a policy of ruthless expansion to which only the energetic and concerted action of all of the democratically-inclined nations can put a stop. But before these Powers can make any such determined stand against aggression, certain of them -- particularly England and France -- must give up the obsolete and dangerous idea that all the nations of Europe are bound together by close ties of family solidarity and that they must therefore stand unitedly against the rest of the world. None of the great nations is any longer exclusively European, Asiatic or American. Great Britain, France, the Netherlands, Russia, the United States -- and even Portugal -- are Far Eastern Powers by virtue of their territorial possessions in that part of the world. Each of these must, therefore, ponder the eventualities of the Sino-Japanese conflict, determine its own position towards the issues at stake and decide what it can contribute to the common task of pacification and reconstruction.

II

France has a number of specific interests in the Pacific: Indo-China (including the leased territory of Kwangchowan); large investments throughout China; and numerous island possessions in the South Pacific. Of these the most valuable is Indo-China, with its vast resources and its key strategic position -- commercial, political and military. Its population of twenty-four million, larger than that of any other French colony, comprises many diverse peoples. Some of them -- the Annamites, the Cambodians and the Laotians -- are of ancient civilization; others represent more primitive races, attracted into the peninsula in relatively recent times by its ready accessibility from both the Asiatic mainland and the Malaysian Archipelagoes.

French penetration into Indo-China began with the occupation of Cochinchina seventy-five years ago. During the ensuing two decades French control was progressively

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