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Mixed up in power politics and the Cold War: The Americans, the ICFTU and Singapore's labour movement, 1955–1960

  • S.R. Joey Long

Abstract

The United States had a hand in shaping Singapore's labour developments between the period 1955 and 1960. Utilising materials from archives in Britain, the Netherlands and the United States, this study details the impetus for, the nature of, and the outcome of the US attempt to strengthen non-communist labour institutions in Singapore.

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1 Weiler, Peter, ‘The United States, international labor, and the Cold War: The breakup of the World Federation of Trade Unions’, Diplomatic History, 5, 1 (1981): 122.

2 Refer to Taborsky, Edward, ‘The class struggle, the proletariat, and the developing nations’, Review of Politics, 29, 3 (1967): 370–86; and Cox, Robert W., ‘Labor and transnational relations’, International Organization, 25, 3 (1971): 554–84.

3 Fong, Leong Yee, ‘The impact of the Cold War on the development of trade unionism in Malaya (1948–57)’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 23, 1 (1992): 6073.

4 Wah, Yeo Kim, Political development in Singapore, 1945–55 (Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1973), pp. 232–3. The quotation is from p. 232.

5 Baker, Jim, The eagle in the Lion City: America, Americans and Singapore (Singapore: Landmark Books, 2005), p. 200.

6 For example, refer to the treatment of Singapore's labour unions in Drysdale, John, Singapore: Struggle for success (Singapore: Times Books International, 1984), pp. 175–6, 182–5; and Hui, Lee Ting, The open united front: The Communist struggle in Singapore, 1954–1966 (Singapore: South Seas Society, 1996), pp. 62–3, 79–92, 126–32, 135–7, 206–9. See also Yew, Lee Kuan, The Singapore Story: Memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew (Singapore: Times Editions, 1998).

7 Refer to Harper, T.N., ‘Lim Chin Siong and the “Singapore Story”’, in Comet in the sky: Lim Chin Siong in history, ed. Quee, Tan Jing and Jomo, K. S. (Kuala Lumpur: INSAN, 2001), pp. 355; Wee, C.J. W.-L., ‘The vanquished: Lim Chin Siong and a progressivist national narrative’, in Lee's lieutenants: Singapore's old guard, ed. Er, Lam Peng and Tan, Kevin Y.L. (St Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 1999), pp. 169–90; Khiun, Liew Kai, ‘The anchor and the voice of 10,000 waterfront workers: Jamit Singh in the Singapore Story (1954–63)’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 35, 3 (2004): 459–78; and Khiun, Liew Kai, ‘Labour formation, identity, and resistance in HM dockyard, Singapore (1921–1971)’, International Review of Social History, 51, 3 (2006): 415–39.

8 For Burma, refer to Cady, John, The United States and Burma (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976). For Cambodia, refer to Clymer, Kenton, The United States and Cambodia, 1870–1969: From curiosity to confrontation (London: Routledge, 2004). For Indonesia, refer to George, and Kahin, Audrey, Subversion as foreign policy: The secret Eisenhower and Dulles debacle in Indonesia (New York: The New Press, 1995). For Laos, refer to Castle, Timothy, At war in the shadow of Vietnam: U.S. military aid to the Royal Lao Government, 1955–1975 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993). For Malaya/ Malaysia, refer to Sodhy, Pamela, The US–Malaysian nexus: Themes in superpower-small state relations (Kuala Lumpur: Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia, 1991). For the Philippines, refer to Cullather, Nick, Illusions of influence: The political economy of United States–Philippines relations, 1942–1960 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994). For Thailand, refer to Fineman, Daniel, A special relationship: The United States and military government in Thailand, 1947–1958 (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1997). For Vietnam, refer to Anderson, David, Trapped by success: The Eisenhower administration and Vietnam, 1953–1961 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991).

9 The century-long American presence in Singapore has been examined by Baker, Eagle in the Lion City.

10 Refer to Harper, T.N., ‘Globalism and the politics of authenticity: The creation of a diasporic public sphere in Singapore’, Sojourn, 12, 2 (1997): 261–92; Harper, ‘Lim Chin Siong and the “Singapore Story”’, in Comet in the sky: Lim Chin Siong in history, pp. 6–13; and Amrith, Sunil, ‘Asian internationalism: Bandung's echo in a colonial metropolis’, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 6, 4 (2005): 557–69.

11 Parenthetically, the public record can also be misleading. A column in The Straits Times (‘Jaganathan says “no” to U.S. aid’, 7 Apr. 1956) reported a local unionist emphatically stating he would accept no financial aid from anti-communist labour organisations in the United States. But as the declassified documents reveal and this article shows, money did change hands.

12 Robert Black to Alan Lennox-Boyd, 20 June 1955, CO 1030/366, The National Archives, London, UK (hereafter TNA).

13 Low, James, ‘Kept in position: The Labour Front–alliance government of Chief Minister David Marshall in Singapore, April 1955–June 1956’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 35, 1 (2004): 4650. Marshall was elected into office in Apr. 1955.

14 Frank Wisner to Nelson Rockefeller, 1 June 1955, Foreign relations of the United States, 1955–1957, vol. 22 (Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office, 1989), p. 736 (hereafter FRUS with year and volume number); and William Anderson to US Department of State (hereafter DOS), 21 June 1955, Record Group 59 (hereafter RG 59), 746F.00/6-2155, National Archives, College Park, Maryland, USA (hereafter NACP).

15 Anderson to DOS, 19 Aug. 1955, RG 59, 746F.00/8-1955, NACP.

16 Eric Kocher to DOS, 14 Oct. 1955, RG 59, 746F.00/10-1455, NACP.

17 Refer to 方壮璧 [Fang Zhuangbi], 马共全权代表: 方壮璧回忆录 [The plenipotentiary from the Malayan Communist Party: Memoirs of Fang Zhuangbi] (Selangor: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre, 2006), who notes, nonetheless, that the underground had been critically enfeebled by local security forces.

18 Harper, ‘Lim Chin Siong’, p. 13.

19 See General Secretary's Report, ICFTU, Asian Regional Conference, 28–31 May 1951, ICFTU Papers, Folder 1236, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, Netherlands (hereafter IISH); and William Langdon to DOS, 14 June 1950, RG 59, 846F.06/6-1450, NACP.

20 Langdon to DOS, 6 Sept. 1950 and 5 Oct. 1950, RG 59, 846F.062/9-650 and 846F.00/10-550 respectively, NACP.

21 D. Mungat Memoranda, 4 and 28 Feb. 1951, ICFTU Papers, Folder 1236, IISH.

22 A. Bland Calder to DOS, 13 Nov. 1950, RG 59, 846F.06/11-1350, NACP.

23 Langdon to DOS, 15 Jan. 1951, RG 59, 846F.06/1-1551, NACP.

24 See Langdon to DOS, 21 Sept. 1950 and 15 Jan. 1951, RG 59, 846F.06/9-2150 and 846F.06/1-1551 respectively, NACP; John Goodyear to DOS, 2 Oct. 1951, RG 59, 846F.06/10-251, NACP; and Yeo, Political development, p. 232.

25 Operations Coordinating Board Outline Plan, 27 Feb. 1957, FRUS, 1955–1957, 22: 792–3.

26 George Thomson to J.J. Halsema, 5 Feb. 1951, attachment to Langdon to DOS, 27 Feb. 1951, RG 59, 846F.062/2-2751, NACP.

27 Langdon to DOS, 27 Feb. 1951, RG 59, 846F.062/2-2751, NACP.

28 Goodyear to DOS, 2 Oct. 1951, RG 59, 846F.06/10-251, NACP.

29 Ralph McGuire to DOS, 17 Nov. 1953, RG 59, 846F.06/11-1753, NACP.

30 See ibid.; Philip Clock to DOS, 11 Dec. 1953, RG 59, 846F.06/12-1153, NACP; and H.A. Bulpitt to W.H. Braine, 2 Sept. 1955, LAB 13/1121, TNA.

31 See ‘Obituaries’, The Washington Post, 18 July 1995.

32 The quotation is from Walter Robertson to Robert Murphy, 29 July 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/7-2955, NACP. See also Mungat Memorandum, Aug. 1955, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3772, IISH; Robert Murphy to James Carey, 2 Aug. 1955, RG 59, 511.46F3/8-255, NACP; George Weaver to W.B. Campbell, 16 Aug. 1955, George L.-P. Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 23, Walter P. Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA [hereafter WPRL]; and C. Thayer White to DOS, 10 Oct. 1955, RG 59, 846F.06/10-1055, NACP.

33 Mungat Memorandum, Aug. 1955, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3772, IISH.

34 George Weaver, ‘Report’, Oct. 1955, attachment to Philip Sullivan to Kenneth Young, 19 Oct. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/10-1955, NACP; and ‘Report on the Singapore Labor Movement’, undated, attachment to George Weaver to J.H. Oldenbroek, 27 Oct. 1955, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3772, IISH.

35 Weaver, ‘Report’, Oct. 1955, attachment to Sullivan to Young, 19 Oct. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/10-1955, NACP.

36 Ibid.

37 Memorandum of conversation involving Weaver, Young, Sullivan, Rockwood Foster and Rufus Smith, 24 Oct. 1955, RG 59, 846F.06/10-2455, NACP.

38 See Irvin Lippe to DOS, 28 Nov. 1955 RG 59, 846F.06/11-2855, NACP; and John Foster Dulles to United States Consulate-General in Singapore (hereafter USCGS), 1 Dec. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/12-155, NACP.

39 Lippe to DOS, 28 Nov. 1955, RG 59, 846F.06/11-2855, NACP.

40 O.H. Morris to A.M. Mackintosh and H. Bourdillon, 16 Nov. 1955, CO 1030/367, TNA. See also, A.M. Mackintosh to Robert Black, 17 Nov. 1955, CO 1030/367, TNA.

41 J.D. Higham to A.M. Mackintosh, 2 Dec. 1955, CO 1030/367, TNA.

42 Elbridge Durbrow to John Foster Dulles, 6 Dec. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/12-655, NACP.

43 Durbrow to DOS, 23 Dec. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/12-2355, NACP.

44 Nicholas Feld to John Foster Dulles, 3 Mar. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/3-356, NACP.

45 Lippe to DOS, 24 Apr. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/4-2456, NACP.

46 See Lippe to DOS, 28 June 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/6-2856, NACP; and John Holdridge to DOS, 26 Sept. 1957, RG 59, 846F.052/9-2657, NACP.

47 Refer to Memorandum of conversation involving Weaver, Young, Sullivan, Foster and Smith, 24 Oct. 1955, RG 59, 846F.06/10-2455, NACP; Thomas Bavin, ‘Singapore – Present situation’, 24 Jan. 1956, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3772, IISH; and White to DOS, 14 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/9-1456, NACP.

48 See Lippe to DOS, 7 Feb. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/2-757, NACP.

49 The quotation is from White to DOS, 14 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/9-1456, NACP; see also Lippe to DOS, 3 Nov. 1955, 28 Nov. 1955, and 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/11-355, 846F.06/11-2855, and 846F.06/3-857 respectively, NACP.

50 Lippe to DOS, 28 June 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/6-2856, NACP.

51 Lippe to DOS, 3 Nov. 1955 and 28 June 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/11-355 and 846F.062/6-2856 respectively, NACP.

52 Lippe to DOS, 28 June 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/6-2856, NACP; and George Weaver, ‘Report on the Singapore Trade Union Congress’, 19 July 1956, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 26, WPRL.

53 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/3-857, NACP.

54 Lippe to DOS, 24 May 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/5-2457, NACP.

55 Lippe to DOS, 28 June 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/6-2856, NACP; and Weaver, ‘Report on the Singapore Trade Union Congress’, 19 July 1956, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 26, WPRL.

56 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/3-857, NACP.

57 White to DOS, 14 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/9-1456, NACP.

58 See ‘Report on the Singapore labor movement’, no date, attachment to Weaver to Oldenbroek, 27 Oct. 1955, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3772, IISH.

59 ‘Labour situation and possible future developments’, no date, attachment to Black to Mackintosh, 28 Feb. 1956, CO 1030/367, TNA.

60 See Feld to Dulles, 3 Mar. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/3-356, NACP; and White to DOS, 14 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/9-1456, NACP.

61 White to DOS, 14 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/9-1456, NACP.

62 Lippe to DOS, 24 Apr. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/4-2456, NACP.

63 The quotations are from Lippe to DOS, 9 Aug. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/8-956, NACP. See also, Weaver to Thomas Posey, 7 Aug. 1956, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 15, WPRL.

64 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/3-857, NACP.

65 Refer to Memorandum of conversation between Mapara and Lippe, 7 Dec. 1955, attachment to Lippe to DOS, 13 Dec. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/12-1355, NACP; and Durbrow to DOS, 23 Dec. 1955, RG 59, 846F.062/12-2355, NACP.

66 Refer to Memorandum of conversation involving K.C. Thomas and Lippe, 15 May 1957, attachment to Lippe to DOS, 16 May 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/5-1657, NACP.

67 Lippe to DOS, 24 Apr. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/4-2456, NACP.

68 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/3-856, NACP.

69 Lippe to DOS, 4 May 1956, RG 59, 746F.MAY DAY/5-456, NACP.

70 Ibid.

71 Memorandum of conversation involving Lim Yew Hock and Holdridge, 16 Oct. 1956, attachment to Durbrow to DOS, 22 Oct. 1956, RG 59, 746F.00/10-2256, NACP. Lim Yew Hock had assumed the chief ministry after David Marshall resigned in June 1956.

72 White to DOS, 14 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.06/9-1456, NACP.

73 Ibid.

74 See Durbrow to Dulles, 6 Sept. 1956 and 22 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-656 and 846F.062/9-956 respectively, NACP; and Weaver to Walter Reuther, 6 Sept. 1956, attachment to Lippe to DOS, 12 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-1256, NACP.

75 Weaver to Reuther, 6 Sept. 1956, attachment to Lippe to DOS, 12 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-1256, NACP.

76 Durbrow to Dulles, 6 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-656, NACP.

77 Durbrow to Dulles, 9 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-956, NACP. See also, Lippe to DOS, 12 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-1256, NACP.

78 Lippe to DOS, 12 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-1256, NACP.

79 See Victor Reuther, Assistant to UAW President Walter Reuther, to J.H. Oldenbroek, ICFTU General Secretary, 2 Oct. 1956, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 13, WPRL.

80 Memorandum of conversation, 26 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-2656, NACP. See also, Dulles to USCGS, 28 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/9-2856, NACP.

81 Eric Kocher Memorandum, 1 Oct. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/10-156, NACP. See also, Dulles to USCGS, 1 Oct. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/10-156, NACP.

82 Durbrow to Dulles, 7 Nov. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/11-756, NACP.

83 Herbert Hoover to USCGS, 15 Nov. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/11-1556, NACP; and Weaver to Bavin, 30 Nov. 1956, attachment to Oliver Peterson to DOS, 31 Dec. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/12-3156, NACP.

84 See Bavin to Oldenbroek, 10 Dec. 1956, attachment to Peterson to DOS, 31 Dec. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/12-3156, NACP; Durbrow to Dulles, 12 Dec. 1956; and 20 Dec. 1956; RG 59, 846F.062/12-1256 and 846F.062/12-2056 respectively, NACP.

85 See Durbrow to Dulles, 20 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/12-2056, NACP; and Peterson to DOS, 31 Dec. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/12-3156, NACP.

86 See Durbrow to Dulles, 2 Jan. 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/1-257, NACP; White to DOS, 3 Jan. 1957, RG 59, 746.00(W)/1-357, NACP; and Sterling Cottrell to Dulles, 28 Jan. 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/1-2857, NACP.

87 Lippe to DOS, 7 Feb. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/2-757, NACP.

88 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/3-857, NACP.

89 For disparaging remarks articulated by the PAP unions, see White to DOS, 10 Sept. 1956, RG 59, 746F.00(W)/9-1056, NACP.

90 T.M. Cowan to A. Greenhough, 15 Mar. 1957, CO 859/1146, TNA.

91 N. Lewis to K.H. Simpson, 31 May 1957, CO 859/1146, TNA.

92 K.H. Simpson to E.M. Hyde-Clarke, London, 3 July 1957, CO 859/1146, TNA.

93 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/3-857, NACP.

94 Memorandum of conversation, 17 Apr. 1957, attachment to Lippe to DOS, 10 May 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/5-1057, NACP.

95 Memorandum of conversation, 25 Oct. 1957, attachment to Holdridge to DOS, 29 Oct. 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/10-2957, NACP.

96 See Durbrow to Dulles, 20 Dec. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/12-2056, NACP; Dulles to USCGS, 28 Dec. 1956, RG 59, 846F.062/12-2056, NACP; and Durbrow to Dulles, 2 Jan. 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/1-257, NACP.

97 See Robert Murphy to George Meany, 19 Feb. 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/2-1957, NACP; Lim Yew Hock to Weaver, 19 Mar. 1957, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 27, WPRL; and Action taken on OCB Plan, 31 July 1957, RG 59, 611.46F/7-3157, NACP.

98 For a critical assessment of Jaganathan's personality and impact on the labour movement, see ‘Labour situation and possible future developments’, no date, attachment to Black to Mackintosh, 28 Feb. 1956, CO 1030/367, TNA.

99 Lippe to DOS, 8 Mar. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/3-857, NACP.

100 K.H. Simpson to E.M. Hyde-Clarke, 3 July 1957, CO 859/1146, TNA.

101 Cottrell to DOS, 26 June 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/6-2657, NACP.

102 Holdridge to DOS, 20 Aug. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/8-2057, NACP.

103 Memorandum of conversation, 15 May 1957, attachment to Lippe to DOS, 16 May 1957, RG 59, 846F.062/5-1657, NACP. See also Lippe to DOS, 7 Feb. 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/2-757, NACP.

104 Memorandum of conversation involving Weaver, Cottrell, Holdridge and R. Katrosh, 23 Sept. 1957, attachment to Holdridge to DOS, 26 Sept. 1957, RG 59, 846F.052/9-2657, NACP.

105 Holdridge to DOS, 27 Feb. 1958, RG 59, 846F.062/2-2758, NACP.

106 Holdridge to DOS, 27 Feb. 1958, RG 59, 846F.062/2-2758, NACP.

107 Lippe to DOS, 21 Jan. 1958, RG 59, 846F.062/1-2158, NACP.

108 Weaver to Lim Yew Hock, 5 Nov. 1957, attachment to Weaver to Charles Millard, 26 Nov. 1957, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH.

109 See Weaver to Jay Krane, 4 Mar. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH. The US consulate-general's positive sentiments toward Weaver were expressed in Lippe to DOS, 21 Jan. 1958, RG 59, 846F.062/1-2158, NACP. For the views of the British, see A.M. Mackintosh to Selwyn Lloyd, 30 Aug. 1958, LAB 13/1204, TNA.

110 Cowan to Greenhough, 22 Feb. 1958, CO 859/1146, TNA.

111 Holdridge to DOS, 27 Feb. 1958, RG 59, 846F.062/2-2758, NACP.

112 See Weaver to Lim Yew Hock, 5 Nov. 1957, attachment to Weaver to C.H. Millard, 26 Nov. 1957, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH.

113 G. Kandasamy to Weaver, 30 Nov. 1957, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 2, WPRL.

114 See Weaver to Lim Yew Hock, 5 Nov. 1957, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 27, WPRL; Kandasamy to Weaver, 4 Feb. 1958, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 2, WPRL; Jay Krane to Weaver, 4 Feb. 1958, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 3, WPRL; and Mapara to Millard, 18 Apr. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH.

115 John Holdridge to DOS, 18 Mar. 1958, RG 59, 846F.06/3-1858, NACP. See also, Joseph Soares to Mapara, 11 Mar. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

116 Millard to Kandasamy, 28 Mar. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

117 See Kandasamy to Millard, 12 Apr. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH. For the ICFTU's scepticism toward Kandasamy, see Mapara to Millard, 18 Apr. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH.

118 See Lippe to DOS, 7 Feb. 1957; and 16 May 1957, RG 59, 846F.06/2-757 and 846F.062/5-1657 respectively, NACP.

119 See Millard to Kandasamy, 18 Nov. 1958; and Kandasamy to Millard, 1 Dec. 1958, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

120 See J.E. Galsworthy to S.A. Priddle, Singapore, 6 Feb. 1959, LAB 13/1266, TNA; and Graham McKelvey to DOS, 3 Apr. 1959, RG 59, 846F.062/4-359, NACP.

121 J.F. Soares to Weaver, 3 Apr. 1959, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 12, WPRL.

122 See Galsworthy to Priddle, 6 Feb. 1959, LAB 13/1266, TNA; and T.M. Cowan, ‘Labour Review, 1951-1958’, 18 Aug. 1958, LAB 13/1204. TNA.

123 W.H. Marsh to A.G. Wallis, 17 Nov. 1958, LAB 13/1266, TNA. For Krane's attempt to bring Weaver back to Singapore, see Krane to Weaver, 14 Nov. 1958, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 3, WPRL.

124 See Weaver to Krane, 21 Nov. 1958, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 3, WPRL; and Marsh to C. Marshall, 29 Jan. 1959, CO 859/1146, TNA.

125 See G. Foggon to Walter Hood, 14 Feb. 1959, CO 859/1146, TNA; and S.A. Priddle, ‘Labour Review, September, 1958 – June, 1959’, 22 July 1959, LAB 13/1204, TNA.

126 In the 1959 polls organised to elect Singapore's self-governing administration, the PAP won 43 of the 51 seats it contested and entered office.

127 J.F. Soares to O. Becu and J.H. Oldenbroek, 30 June 1959, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3778, IISH.

128 Priddle, ‘Labour Review’, 22 July 1959, LAB 13/1204, TNA.

129 Soares to Becu and Oldenbroek, 7 Oct. 1959, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

130 Soares to Oldenbroek, 4 May 1960, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

131 Soares to Becu and Oldenbroek, 4 and 18 May 1960, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

132 Soares to Becu and Oldenbroek, 17 May 1960, ICFTU Papers, Folder 3780, IISH.

133 For local expressions of Afro-Asianism during the 1950s, refer to Amrith, ‘Asian internationalism’, pp. 557–69.

134 Refer to the recent treatment of the issue by Westad, Odd Arne, The global Cold War: Third World interventions and the making of our times (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005), and the debates it has provoked: ‘Global Cold War roundtable’, ed. Thomas Maddux, H-Diplo Roundtable Review, 8, 12 (2007): http://www.h-net.org/~diplo/roundtables/PDF/GlobalColdWar-Roundtable.pdf (last accessed on 12 Jan. 2009).

135 On the notion of the ‘Black Atlantic’, refer to Gilroy, Paul, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and double consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993). For the African American engagement with Asia, refer to Lipsitz, George, ‘“Frantic to join … the Japanese army”: The Asia Pacific war in the lives of African American soldiers and civilians’, in The politics of culture in the shadow of capital, ed. Lowe, Lisa and Lloyd, David (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), pp. 324–53.

136 For Weaver's impact on locals, see also Nellie Hoang to Weaver, 14 Dec. 1960, Weaver Papers, Box 4, Folder 6, WPRL. For Asia's impact on Weaver, see Weaver to Loke Wan Tho, 18 Aug. 1958, Weaver Papers, Box 3, Folder 31, WPRL; and Frank Flori, ‘Eyes of world on U.S. civil rights, says official in labor department’, Portland Reporter, 12 Mar. 1964, attachment to Memorandum for Weaver, 18 Mar. 1964, Weaver Papers, Box 8, Folder 1, WPRL.

137 Refer to Yew, Lee Kuan, From Third World to First: The Singapore story: 1965–2000 (Singapore: Times Media, 2000), pp. 149–50, 500–2, 543–4; and ‘Speech by Senior Minister at the Tanjong Pagar GRC National Day Dinner’, 12 Aug. 1995, National Archives of Singapore.

138 Harper, ‘Lim Chin Siong’, pp. 25–48.

S.R. Joey Long is Assistant Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. Correspondence in connection with this paper should be addressed to: . The author would like to thank Tim Harper and this journal's anonymous reviewers for their comments on earlier drafts of this study.

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Mixed up in power politics and the Cold War: The Americans, the ICFTU and Singapore's labour movement, 1955–1960

  • S.R. Joey Long

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