Skip to main content

Historical documents

209 Massey to Burton

Dispatch 16/49 (extract) SINGAPORE, 10 May 1949



There is evidence that the troubles in Malaya are entering a new
phase. Whether or not this phase will prove to be final is still
very much a matter for conjecture; most probably the changing
situation outside Malaya itself as much as the progress of
military and political measures within the territory will
influence the final outcome.

2. On the assumption that it is faced with an all-out attack by
Communist-directed terrorist forces, the Administration is seized
with the fact that the restoration of law and order is basically a
police task, and not a military campaign, although all its
military forces will admittedly be required to act in aid of the
civil power. The Administration also stresses that the nature,
both of the operations and the country, precludes any spectacular
successes or rapid or sudden conclusion. The main difficulties
facing it now are these:-

(a) lack of support from the Chinese population as a whole;

(b) the anarchic conditions in Southern Siam, which enable Chinese
Communists to appear without molestation and infiltrate to Malaya;

(c) theatre requirements outside the Federation for the military
forces at present employed there.

[AA: A1838/278, 413/2/6/2, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top