Land Reform in Asia

February 7, 1951

Report Outline
Asiatic Land Tenure and Need of Reforms
Communist Pattern of Land Reform in Asia
Land Reform in Non-Communist Countries

Asiatic Land Tenure and Need of Reforms

Relation of Land Reform to Point Four Objectives

Reliance by Communist leaders on promises of land seizure and redistribution to enlist peasant support in their drive for political power throughout Asia has turned official attention at Washington to formidable problems of land tenure in the Orient and the Middle East. Reform of prevailing systems of land ownership and utilization is now recognized as a prime essential to the success of American efforts to counter the attractions of Communism by raising the living standards of depressed peoples.

Under the Point Four program, the United States is moving to help non-Communist countries expand their food production. But the issue of land tenure stands directly between Point Four and the attainment of its basic objective—“sound agricultural production on a democratic basis for the benefit of the people.” Point Four Administrator Bennett is urging governments in underdeveloped areas to carry out a “capitalistic type” of land reform. Other officials suggest that American aid be made contingent upon undertaking specific reforms, as has been done in the new E.C.A. agreement with the Philippine Republic.

A prospect of some direct material gain is necessary to induce those who till the soil to improve present methods of land use. When the peasants are given such an incentive and “freed from their deep-rooted conviction that, whatever they do, they cannot prosper by their own efforts, they may show initiative in far greater abundance than we suspect they possess.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Humanitarian Assistance
Regional Political Affairs: East Asia and the Pacific