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Voices of Europe Milton mair American author and lecturer broadcaster and professor in the Institute of Social Research from Frankfurt University has been recording the voices of people who are alive and sensitive to the tragedy and dilemma of the conditions that surround them. In December 1949 Indonesia after three and a half centuries as a Dutch colony obtained its independence following four years of negotiating bloody fighting more negotiating more fighting and finally the intervention of the United Nations known as Camille is an Indonesian school teacher who Milton Mayer interviewed in Bent Velde Holland she is on her way home after a year of study at the University of California in Los Angeles. Here is Milton Mayer to interview Miss Ameena Camille not coming home. Already Indonesians all are. Satisfied with their independence. It is my good thinkin that the al all planned to be independent.
Defected to own last us in our own home and think east of self-respect. We have still to mend is brought up to mend its problems to face. But in spite of the problems we don't want to make this situation the fault alone that many that cut and paste. How long is the condition. Our country changed since. For example whole. Holiday What is the political situation. We're still in the union with the Netherlands with the queen of the dead ends as the head of the Union. But we have two independent countries the extreme eastern part of Indonesia is still a matter of dispute. The Dutch people react fighting to get it back it back. And our president
doctors who gotta know is always dressing it in his speeches that there's a Dutch people out too early and in New Guinea. Ian as Indonesian name is do as. Cameo is the economic situation changed America much. I think that the economic growth situation after the Dutch had left us has dropped to a very low level. The cost of living is very high and certain parts of the country Astill and see that. This is all due to lack of experience of economical expats as we never had have had the experience to develop these skills.
But I trust that in the long island when we become more then we get more people trained or brought in the economical system that become an economy will improve. But we must have the time to do so. Hand what part has Indonesia made in these three years in education. When the Dutch left us we had 90 percent illiteracy during the Japanese occupation. We started to decrease it. This is a bird off the Japanese army. The Japanese army always used these effects of the hyper use that you often in the city as a propaganda against the Dutch people and the illiteracy is more and more decreasing with the help of
the units go and Dr Loblaw who has been visiting us this whole stuff off his slippers a committee a year ago. This is the hour of New York. The Methodist mission. Yes. With his program on each one teach one of his fist. Yes that's right. And what about your school situation. Language schools have changed the Dutch language has been eliminated and read you willy it is still maintained in uni first day in some subjects but the Dutch professors who are still teaching there have to promise that you will master the Indonesian language within three years. English is more and becoming popular and it has become the second language.
After the Indonesian not like cameo did the child in the nation go to school under the Dutch hand. Do they go to school now. Going to school in the dead zone that a deputation. It was very difficult. There were so few schools in the small village just the desert schools. And besides that it was for as Indonesians are very difficult to get a job if we didn't pass to the Dutch language certainly and this was the reason that education was delayed as very few of us were in the opportunity to learn Dutch. There were differences between him and the elementary school stabber the
fillets schools never did that in the nation's schools and there were the Dutch schools. And these differences among the several elementary schools was with scores of cars that education didn't and didn't need Congress very much. Education is a man's gone Balsillie now but we have only four millions of the 10 million people. I provided this education because of a leg off teacher's leg off school buildings and the lack of educational equipment many of the students have sent far abroad. I think that about two thousand or fifteen hundred
Indonesian students studying in the Netherlands a few hundreds in America and some in England. I had a change of venue in the health situation in the nation. Since the Dark One. The house had to ration is still very bad. On the F3 Dickstein thousand people there's only one doctor and one doctor for every 60 people. What is your government doing to improve this. We have asked foreign doctors to help us. If I'm not mistaken there has to be asked. Develop foreign doctors to help best among the six Dutch. About two Austrians and the SS if I'm not
mistaken Belgians not like to me oh why don't you just leave. Political position of Indonesia with reference to the east and the West. We are following closely Bennett Nero's policy. This is their policy of Independence. We don't want to be involved in either one of the two blocks. This is because we are too much concerned about the entire know this part of the nation at this organization. We need all our efforts to settle this fast and is there in your opinion any likelihood of becoming a national and only certain day. But I still believe that this is what we sell out of colonialism. A big bowl with 80 percent illiteracy is a
very ignored and we have been suffering under the Dutch government and the Japanese occupation. No it is we are still suffering. So you think that only communism can bring the solution. But I believe that people become when people become more and more educated that their eyes will be opened fire affected. Communism is not the solution. Thank you coming. That is Indonesia today after three years of independence as an Indonesian sees it and now Indonesia as a Dutchman sees it. Dr. P.J. Coots was director of the last Dutch cabinet in Indonesia. He went there in one thousand twenty nine as a school teacher with his wife a physician.
Their six children were all born there. He entered the Indonesian government in one thousand thirty nine. During the Japanese occupation of the country Dr. Coots was a prisoner of war in Burma and Siam returning to the Netherlands in 1050 after Indonesian independence. He became editor in chief of the largest newspaper in Amsterdam had told the password a newspaper which incidentally was founded by the underground resistance in Amsterdam during the German occupation in 1940. Here is Milton Mayer to interview Dr PJ coupes Dr coots. How did the Netherlands acquire Indonesia and how did it lose it. Well I think you can say that the Dutch acquired Indonesia not like the British did their empire in a fit of absent mindedness but because they went out
there in the 16th and 17th century when they were fighting Spain for their own war of independence trying to fair trading posts and they gradually found out that if they wanted to trade that it would be necessary to have a certain amount of political power. And you can say that gradually especially during the 19th century and even the beginning of the 20th they occupied the larger part of Indonesia which was their empire to which they transferred sovereignty in nineteen hundred and forty nine. If you ask me how did they lose it. Well I think I do. However he had hit the word lose because there are still quite a number of Dutchman out there and we still have very close
very close relationship with Indonesia. But what we are trying to work out now is a new relationship not between the colonizing and the colonized but between two independent countries who are trying to work out your forms of friendship and cooperation. And how have the Dutch generally taken the independence of Indonesia. Well again I think it's pretty hard to say anything about very Dutch in general. They have been there quite a number of Dutchman especially the socialist Dutch who have recognized even a half a century ago that colonialism was doomed to go. And who thought that at a certain moment Indonesia should become an independent country
to others. The independence of Indonesia was apparent because they regarded it as a kind of rebellion of a backward country. But I think I can safely say that the vast majority of my countrymen have realized that even there some of them with difficulty that it is a good thing for both countries that Indonesia became an independent country. Although I think most Dutchman and quite a number of Indonesians rather regret that independence had to come in the way it did come after the Jap Japanese occupation and after a rather there was a revolutionary situation between the years 1945 and 1949. But Dr Cook's hasn't a consequence.
Of Indonesian independence been a very serious one to the Dutch economy. Of course one of the reasons why quite a number of Dutchman at first looked rather askance at the chance of Indonesian independence was their fear that the loss of colonial empire would at the same time mean a kind of economic disaster for the mother country. Roughly speaking about some 10 or 12 percent of the Dutch national income pre-war it depended directly or indirectly on in the museum. There were quite a number of Dutchman who worked out there. I have been in the government service or on the plantations or in business and some three to
four billion flyers that would be roughly about one to one and a half billion dollars were invested which at the time was a rather sizable sum. I'm aware that it doesn't sound very impressive perhaps to an American audience but pre-war and in Holland that was quite a lot and people were rather afraid that once the Indonesians became independent it would be impossible for the Dutch investments there to go on as they had gone for Dutch business to go on as it had gone on. And again because it's only three years since the Indonesians became independent and it's still rather early to give a definite judgment but I think on the HU that if you speak with that business people you'll find that
they have been agreeably surprised at the way things have worked out. Looking at it from the Indonesian point of view the main problem is that the country needs foreign capital investing capital and has the internal security is still well entirely unsatisfactory especially in large parts of Java. And at the same time as the political situation has not yet found its final form few Dutch capitalists use the term few Dutch investors for the movement feel inclined to invest the vast sums that really the country needs. But to answer your question more directly I think on the hill you will find that the becoming the independence of Indonesia has not made
a very great difference to Dutch economic life as you who although I'm aware that it's still too early to pass a final judgment Much will depend on how things work out say in the next five or 10 years. Putting it internally from an objective point of view I should say that independence came to Indonesia say half a century too early. But that's one point of view because I think it's only fair to add that if we hadn't had the war the Japanese occupation and what is generally known as the revival of Asia and all the rest of it. I mean if there had been no outside pressure on the Dutch they'd probably have thought things could go wrong as they had been going on for another half or a century or perhaps even a century or more.
And as I personally am quite convinced that independence had to come and colonialism had to do well on the Hill. I'd say it's a fortunate thing that it did come after all. As a Dutchman I am very glad that we backed action time and that we are not having anything on our hands at present as the French have for instance it into China or as they are going to have I'm quite sure in Morocco and Tunis and a couple of years from now on. I think on the whom the missions are certainly going to prove to be able to run their country on the attic lines. And after all we must always Europeans and perhaps make throw in the Americans as well. Be aware that if we think that our standards
are the only ones and the only ones that counts we may be making a very grave mistake. Would you say a doctor could say that the Dutch treatment of Indonesia was any different from that of the treatment by other European colonial empires of their colonies in Asia. Are does what you say apply to the colonial system in general. Well of course there were differences between the way in which the British acted in their colonies and the French in their cells but generally speaking I do think the vision applies to it. A colonial system. As a hill not only to Dutch colonial rule but to British and French colonial rule as well as colonial empire in your view been good for the colonists are bad for the good for the
Imperialists or bad for them. On the who. I think the disadvantages the spiritual digit mileage of a used term to a colonizing people are obvious. There is the feeding of racial superiority which goes to the extreme for instance in South Africa at the present moment. The policy of apartheid hate the Dutch in South Africa is a case in point. On the other hand that's not the only the only way. Side of the question there are others as well. I do think that for instance quite a number of the colonizing Dutch civil servants in Indonesia had a very real and genuine
and sincere love for the country and for the people. And again I think if you talk it over but of course as a Dutchman I'm not the person to give a judgment passed judgment when Indonesians should do that. That you'll find that quite a number of Indonesians are willing to admit that. But on the Hill I think that there is a certain Memmott in history when colonialism has run its course there. Looking back I think that on the Hill. Well colonial status in a certain phase of history was inevitable and as such probably. But of course one may be mistaken there. The pro-Russian force. But there comes a moment when the colonized people
become aware of the colonization and as soon as they become aware of that it will be well they actually set the groups of colonial rule. And it's better to goo and the sooner one sees that it's bad to go the better for all concerned that for instance one of the things that I admire of the British who insists along where the transfer of sovereignty did they become the coming of Independence has gone practically without any pain from one side all the other. I suppose it's fair to say isn't it Dr. coots that from the standpoint of the colonizing country independence and self government invariably come too soon and that we might say that the independence. Of the Netherlands and of the United States probably came before they were quite fit for it. I rather agree there. You know I think that proper to King George the Third thought
that the 13 colonies were not yet ripe for independence and certainly the king of Spain didn't when the Netherlands declared themselves they wanted to be independent. I believe there's something Rican sat in a square about the development of history. Looking back one always has the feeling that well things have developed after all. All human suffering notwithstanding as perhaps they should be and as was best and any I think as a Dutchman and speaking for a number of Dutchman I can say that we are sincerely glad of Indonesian independence and we wish the country the Best All the best that we can wish it. I'll ask a question. Dark coats. Do you take the independence of Indonesia which means the end of the Netherlands colonial empire as an
indication of the liquidation of colonial imperialism throughout the world. Yes I think that it's obvious to everybody that since World War 2 Southeast Asia has become an independent area from the political point of view. To my mind it's obvious that North Africa for that matter Central and South Africa are going to be next in line. But I do think that perhaps we will excuse my saying that the number of Americans while it oversimplify matters when they lose sight of the fact that political independence in itself does not necessarily mean the end of what one might call a semi colonial status. And that's why I do think that perhaps. The number of Americans are our prayer and to be proud of the fact that
there is no such thing as American imperialism or American colonialism. Whereas if you look at it through the eyes of shall we say a number of Central American or even South American republics. There might be a certain difference of opinion as the as to the existence of forms of American colonialism. But I do not think that perhaps I as a Dutchman should pass a judgement here. The only thing I would like to say anything I've always said to my American friends is that the end of colonialism the liquidation of colonialism is not a simple matter by any means although one can say that it's a good thing in itself when a country becomes independent and colonialism in a colonial domination ends. As an
ideal in a certain practical situation a concrete situation that may not always be the case and one where when one over simplifies matters by always thinking that well we should take the side of the underdog. When one approaches as it were these questions entirely from a moralistic or a kind of shall we say a preachy fine attitude of mind. One does more harm than good. Which again doesn't mean that I'm not in entire agreement with those Americans who say that liberty and freedom and independence rightly should be the heritage of every country and every people as soon as they become aware that they are not independent. Well they're out there and then is the end to try and liquidate
colonialism and one can only. I deeply regret that very few colonizing peoples seem to recognize that fact as a right movement. Look at it later now 10 years or even 25 years later people will probably be inclined to say well what a pity that we didn't see it at the time. But again there is the history of mankind to prove that very few people avail themselves of what the experience of other people teaches them. Thank you Dr toots. The program you have just heard was made possible under a grant from the fund for adult education an independent organization established by the Ford Foundation. These programs prepared and distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters in the interests of better international understanding are introduced by Norman McKee.
Voices of Europe
Nona Suminah Kamil and Dr. P. J. Koets
Producing Organization
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
Interviews with Nona Suminah Kamil and Dr. P. J. Koets about Indonesia and its then-recent independence.
Other Description
Interviews with noted Europeans on a variety of subjects, conducted by Milton Mayer, American author and broadcaster, lecturer and professor in the Institute of Social Research at Frankfurt University.
Broadcast Date
Global Affairs
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Interviewee: Kamil, Nona Suminah
Interviewee: Koets, Peter John, 1901-
Interviewer: Mayer, Milton, 1908-1986
Producing Organization: National Association of Educational Broadcasters
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 52-37-35 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:03
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Chicago: “Voices of Europe; Nona Suminah Kamil and Dr. P. J. Koets,” 1953-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 21, 2021,
MLA: “Voices of Europe; Nona Suminah Kamil and Dr. P. J. Koets.” 1953-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 21, 2021. <>.
APA: Voices of Europe; Nona Suminah Kamil and Dr. P. J. Koets. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from