Negotiating with the Malayan Communist Party, 1948-89

Hack, Karl (2011). Negotiating with the Malayan Communist Party, 1948-89. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 39(4) pp. 607–632.



This article looks at one of the best documented examples of negotiations with insurgents in a British colonial territory: the Baling Talks of 28-29 December 1955. At these the Malayan Communist Party Secretary-General, Chin Peng, attempted to negotiate an end to the Malayan Emergency. It examines how the communist leadership came to desire negotiations over the period 1954-56, how it viewed them, and on what terms they might have succeeded. It also seeks to understand the British perspective. It shows how, for the British, these one-off negotiations have to be understood in relation to a wider British ‘persuasive’ strategy. Finally, the paper shows why the attitudes and interests of the British and host nation politicians meant that the 1955 talks were doomed to fail.

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