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Conflict and Confrontation in South East Asia, 1961–1965


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 (ISBN-13: 9780511056994 | ISBN-10: 0511056990)

In the early 1960s, Britain and the United States were still trying to come to terms with the powerful forces of indigenous nationalism unleashed by the Second World War. The Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation - a crisis which was, as Macmillan remarked to Kennedy, 'as dangerous a situation in Southeast Asia as we have seen since the war' - was a complex test of Anglo-American relations. As American commitment to Vietnam accelerated under the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Britain was involving herself in an 'end-of-empire' exercise in state-building which had important military and political implications for both nations. In this book Matthew Jones provides a detailed insight into the origins, outbreak and development of this important episode in international history; using a large range of previously unavailable archival sources, he illuminates the formation of the Malaysian federation, Indonesia's violent opposition to the state and the Western Powers' attempts to deal with the resulting conflict.

• Covers the previously neglected ground of British and American politics in Southeast Asia in the 1960s, going beyond the typical focus on the Vietnam War • Uses a large range of archival sources to illuminate previously uncovered areas of international history and the diplomacy of Southeast Asia • Devotes attention to British colonial policy as well as to Anglo-American relations


List of maps; Preface and acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Introduction: Britain, the United States and the South East Asia setting; Part I. Build-up: 1. The Kennedy Administration, Indonesia and the resolution of the West Irian crisis, 1961–2; 2. The Greater Malaysia scheme I: the move toward merger; 3. The Greater Malaysia scheme II: the Cobbold Commission and the Borneo territories; 4. Britain, Indonesia and Malaya: from West Irian to the Brunei revolt; Part II. Outbreak: 5. The emergence of confrontation, January–May 1963; 6. The path to the Manila Summit, May–July 1963; 7. From the Manila Summit to the creation of Malaysia, August–September 1963; 8. Avoiding escalation, September–December 1963; Part III. Denouement: 9. The diplomacy of confrontation, Anglo-American relations and the Vietnam War, January–June 1964; 10. Escalation, upheaval and reappraisal, July 1964–October 1965; Conclusion: the Western presence in South East Asia by the 1960s; Bibliography; Index.


Review of the hardback: '… this book is a highly commendable and competent piece of original research. It is an important record of the contemporary events which have shaped modern Southeast Asia, throwing light on a period of flux and conflict that the present can relate to given recent events in Indonesia.' International Affairs

Review of the hardback: 'Seldom, I believe, can a reviewer by accident have the opportunity to confirm that the quotations and other details are accurate, and that the analysis is sound. Readers will find a fresh and revealing account of the conflict between Malaysia and Singapore as well as the uneasy relations between the leaders of the two countries, the Tunku Abdul Rahman and Lee Kuan Yew. … As a study in international history, Conflict and Confrontation is worthy of Thorne's own Allies of a Kind.' The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History

Review of the hardback: '… it is hard to see any treatment of British and American strategies surpassing this excellent study.' Diplomacy and Statecraft

Review of the hardback: 'Jones has written a readable, well-researched piece of work, with an intelligent and convincing line of analysis and a good eye for detail.' The International History Review

Review of the hardback: 'This is a massive and important work of scholarship.' Near Eastern Studies

Review of the hardback: '… makes exemplary and lucid use of a large range of primary sources, among them British government records opened during the 1990s … even transcripts of telephone conversations.' English Historical Review

Review of the hardback: 'Meticulously researched, clearly written and cogently argued, this book is a major contribution to the international history of maritime Southeast Asia. Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde

Review of the hardback: 'Jones's book is essential reading for those who wish to understand the realities behind the rhetoric that masked the motives and actions of the politicians in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, London, and Washington as they maneuvered to shape island Southeast Asia into a form that accorded with their individual priorities. Scattered too within his account are flashes of clarifying honesty and insight by the actors themselves into the actual situation that are usually concealed by policy needs and ideological imperatives. … Jones's meticulous analysis of so many of the relevant documents provides a firm bas from which to view the Southeast Asia that emerged from this period of turbulence into a form that basically endured for the rest of the twentieth century.' Indonesia

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