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Traveling in Style

November 02, 1986

I couldn't wait to read James Michener's article on the South Pacific in your Traveling in Style magazine of Oct. 19. I was especially interested to read about Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides) since I had just returned from there.

My pleasure turned to astonishment and dismay when I came to the end of the article where he gives the impression that this beautiful little country is a seething hotbed of black power and anti-Americanism. True, some French and Australian businesses have been closed recently, but this was more due to nonpayment of certain government taxes than to anti-white feelings. But in one case an Australian business owner who was given the green letter telling him to leave the country was such an S.O.B. of long standing that even his fellow countrymen were glad to see him go.

As for the rise of vicious anti-Americanism, on the contrary, one of the most frequent questions asked there is, "When are the Americans coming?" A great deal of money is being invested in some international-standard hotels and facilities, and everyone is looking forward to an expanded air service which will make these islands more accessible.

The people of Vanuatu are warm, friendly and as unspoiled as their beautiful islands. When a Pulitzer Prize-winning author says something, we tend to accept it without question. Michener does these people a great disservice in those last few paragraphs. MONICA CONRADY San Francisco

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