AGAINST THE BRITISH
The next chapter in Seni Pramoj's life, and in Thailand's saga of survival, is more like a suspenseful spy novel than a recital of postwar realities.
It stretches across three continents at the dawn of a new era in the history of mankind. It starts with a long and lonely journey in a small plane. It embraces British and Thai royal figures, including that paragon of self-esteem, Lord Louis Mountbatten. It involves duplicity, heroism, and secret, unexpected messages. It proves America's commitment to democracy in Asia. For that reason alone, the astonishing events of late 1945 and the beginning of 1946 deserve to be more widely chronicled and understood than they have been for five decades.
These events mark both an end and a beginning. They ended the only foreign occupation the Thai people have ever endured, no matter what some of them call an imperial Japanese military presence lasting nearly four years. They ensured that Thailand did not then begin the era of universal hope after World War II under another open-ended military occupation, this time by the British, more foreign in important ways than the Rising Sun's and reflecting British determination to reestablish a colonial empire on which the sun was never supposed to set. But it did set in the heart of Southeast Asia. As a consequence Thailand salvaged the independent foundation on which it could and eventually did build its own democratic society. And this turn of events is due to Seni more than to anyone else.
A few days after Japan accepted on August 15, 1945, Allied terms of surrender following on the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Seni received a cable in Washington from Pridi as regent. It said the minister in charge of the Thai Legation had done