Foreign Office Files for Southeast Asia, 1963-1980

Sources from The National Archives, UK

Explore the history of Southeast Asia from 1963-1980 through official government documents from The National Archives, UK. Discover the struggle for independence against a backdrop of conflict and a shifting political landscape.

This collection offers an insight into the significant changes that took place in Southeast Asia during 1963-1980, including the creation of Malaysia and the response to this from the wider region.

Material from The National Archives, UK covers the Cobbold Commission, the end of the Malayan Emergency and tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as rising animosity towards the perceived threat of communism at this time.

The material offers insight into the challenges faced by political leaders during this time, documenting guerrilla activity, attempted coups and financial struggles in a time of conflict. Alongside this, the region saw a movement toward industrialisation and the strengthening of political alliances, shaping the emergence of a modern Southeast Asia.

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Key Data

Sections

  • Section I: Cold War in the Pacific, Trade Relations, and the Post-Independence Period, 1963-1966
  • Section II: Foundations of Economic Growth and Industrialisation, 1967-1980

Period Covered

  •  1963-1980

Highlights

  • Documents covering the release of the Cobbold Commission, a report by the Anglo-Malayan Commission of Enquiry which determined the support for the Federation of Malaysia
  • Annual reports detailing a general overview of trade, economy, foreign relations and events across Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines
  • Papers detailing the end of the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), including celebrations and legislative measures
  • Correspondence and reports covering trade and industry, including discussions relating to industrial protection and promotion of industry in the region
  • Material documenting propaganda and censorship of the press within Indonesia
  • FO 371 content detailing confrontations, defence strategies and the attempted coup of President Sukarno in 1965
  • Reports examining diversification of sterling reserves and economic growth in Southeast Asia

Source Archive

  • The National Archives, UK

Material Classes

  • FO 371 
  • FCO 15
  • FCO 24
  • DO 169
  • DO 187

Material Types

  • Correspondence
  • Reports
  • Maps
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Memoranda
  • Telegrams
  • Press releases

Editorial Board

  • Marc Jason Gilbert, Hawai’i Pacific University
  • Matthew Jones, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Ben Kiernan, Yale University
  • Wen-Qing Ngoei, Singapore Management University
  • Norman G Owen, University of Hong Kong

Key Themes

  • Communism and the communist threat
  • Tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia
  • Formation of an independent Malaysia
  • Attempted coups and guerrilla activity
  • Foreign investment and financial aid
  • Economic plans and growth
  • Industrialisation
  • Authoritarian rule

 

Supporting Material