Britain, the Tunku and West New Guinea 1957-1963
- Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society
- Volume 83, Part 1, June 2010, No. 298
- pp. 77-90
- Additional Information
The Netherlands had not transferred West New Guinea (West Irian/West Papua) when it recognized Indonesia's independence in 1949 and Indonesia subsequently campaigned to secure it. When it armed itself to deal with domestic opposition in the late 1950s, it shifted the military balance with the Netherlands in its favour. Britain was apprehensive that war would result, which would threaten its interests in Southeast Asia. The Federation of Malaya, which became independent in 1957, was also anxious over its future security, given Indonesia's geographical position and growing power. The Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, sought to mediate between the Netherlands and Indonesia. The crisis also prompted him to advance the concept of Malaysia.