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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 28, No. 3. 1965.

Singapore P.M: Ideas Most To Be Feared

Singapore P.M: Ideas Most To Be Feared

Lee Kuan Yew and Prof. Brookes at recent talk.

Lee Kuan Yew and Prof. Brookes at recent talk.

"We should always remember that when the Chinese leaders speak of revolution they mean revolution, not conquest," Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, Prime Minister of Singapore, said this when addressing a recent meeting of the Political Science Society. Speaking to a capacity audience of over 700 students Mr. Lee said "If Communism means Chinese soldiers marching across national borders replacing one set of puppets with another, then the people of Asia will have nothing to do with them. It is not their soldiers who are going to march across frontiers. It is their ideas.

"It is unlikely that the Chinese Communists would seek war because they know it is not in their interests to seek war."

Mr. Lee believes the answer to the future of South-east Asia lies in whether the Chinese can get the Russians committed as leader of the revolutionary forces of the world. "If this happens," he said, "the future is hazardous indeed. I would like to believe the Russians will not allow themselves to be manouvered into that position where they are forced to come out in open support of the small nations.

"Nations, just like human beings must respond in defence of their interests," said Mr. Lee. "The tragedy in South-east Asia is that many (countries) have not been able to define their own national interests.

"The only people who will openly come to our support are white people" he said. "The Indians, Burmese, Thais and Filippinos don't seem to realise that if we go, they go."

Referring to the Commonwealth support Malaysia has been receiving. Mr. Lee said "We shall lie in very grave peril if the British, Australians and New Zealanders withdraw from Malaysia.

"A very heavy price will have to be paid if we are to hold our own" said Mr. Lee. "The lesson of South Vietnam should not be lost on any of us. Political consolidation of non-Communist groups never took place there. America had spent 11 expensive years 'buying time' there.

"No regime can survive if a majority or the people are prepared to acquiesce in revolution. The Communists don't need active support. If the mass of the people just say 'Well, it couldn't be any worse' then no government can survive."

Mr. Lee was of the opinion that the lesson learned in South Vietnam should be applied to Thailand. "Thailand is very far from lost" he said. "There has been some economic development there. While the donor nation should not tell the donnee what to do, he should ensure that a popular government is allowed to emerge. It should say 'if you stifle every political movement or thought that does not agree with the regime, then it is not in my interests to help you.'

"The tragedy of South-east Asia is not only the tragedy of its lack of recognition of South-east Asia's own natural interest, but the lack of sure responsible policies."

Mr. Lee concluded his address by saying "One must see all this in the wider perspective of world politics. We share one thing in common with you (in New Zealand). So many of the big things that affect us are beyond our influence."—J.H.