Lost Footsteps
Lost Footsteps

The 1950s at Home and Abroad

The First Myanmar Actress on Hollywood

Win Min Than achieves Hollywood fame as the co-star with Gregory Peck of the 1954 film "Purple Plain". She was married to Bo Setkya of the "Thirty Comrades". "Purple Plain" was her first acting experience, and though offered many subsequent roles, she chose never to appear in a film again.

18 August 1954
U Nu on the Cover of Time Magazine

The cover of Time Magazine published on 18 August 1954. U Nu's warning (at the bottom of the cover) - "Beware of Pied Pipers" is perhaps as apt today as in 1954.

Burma Translation Society

The Burma Translation Society governing council in 1954 including many of the leading writers of the time. Standing (from l to r): U San Htwa, U Ba, U Khin Zaw, U Myo Min, U Thein Han, U Kaung, U Wun, U Thant Sitting (from l to r): Dr Htin Aung, Education Minister U Than Aung, retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Sir Mya Bu, Prime Minister U Nu, Finanace Minister U Tin, Supreme Court Justice U E Maung, U Cho. The...

June 1955 - July 1955
Prime Minister U Nu’s visit to the United States in 1955

In 1955, U Nu became the first Burmese prime minister to visit the United States. This is a photograph of him with President Dwight Eisenhower in the White House. U Thant (his advisor and a permanent secretary in his office) and John Foster Dulles (US Secretary of State) are also in the photograph. U Nu is presenting Eisenhower with a check for $5,000 to help American children whose fathers died fighting the Japanese in Burma. 

July 1955
U Nu in Hollywood

A very special photograph - U Nu with Alfred Hitchcock in Hollywood July 1955, with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day on the set of "The Man Who Knew Too Much". Daw Mya Yee and U Thant on the right. With thanks to U Kyan Dyne Aung for sharing this photograph, which I saw for the first time only recently.

U Nu at New York Yankees Game

Prime Minister U Nu at a New York Yankees baseball game in 1955. From left to right: U Thant (then Secretary to the PM), Mrs. Eileen Barrington (wife of Mr. James Barrington, Burma Foreign Secretary), Daw Mya Yee and U Nu. (photo courtesy Ko Kyan Dyne Aung)

April 1955
On the Way to the 1955 Bandung Conference

The April 1955 Bandung meetings were a testament to Burma's then dynamic international diplomacy. They were also a testament to Mingaladon airport's position as an international aviation hub - everyone had to stop in Rangoon anyway to travel to Indonesia. The photo was taken at Government House, from left to right: North Vietnamese Foreign Minister, later Prime Minister Pham Van Dong; Afghan Foreign Minister HH Sardar Muhammad Naim; Chinese Premier Chou En-lai; President Dr Ba U; Indian Prime Minister Nehru;...

13 April 1955
Government Leaders enjoying Thingyan in 1955

From left to right: President Nasser of Egypt, Prime Minister U Nu of Burma, and Prime Minister Nehru of India. President Nasser and Pandit Nehru were on their way to what would be the historic founding of the Non-Aligned Movement at Bandung in Indonesia, stopping over for a day in Rangoon. U Nu would travel with them to Bandung (together with U Thant who was a secretary of the conference). U Nu thought it would be fun for his visitors...

Nehru and Nasser in Rangoon

In 1955, Non-Aligned leaders Prime Minister Pandit Nehru of India and President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt (with U Nu in the background) walk down Merchant Street in Rangoon (Yangon). They were stopping over in Rangoon on their way to Bandung for the first Asian-African Summit.

June 1955
U Nu at the UN

This is a photograph of U Nu at the UN in June 1956. To his left are James Barrington (Permanent Secretary, Foreign Office), U Thant (Permanent Secretary, PM's Office) and Dr. Htin Aung (Rector, Rangoon University).

The First US Secretary of State to Visit Myanmar

The first US Secretary of State to visit Myanmar was John Foster Dulles, the archetypal Cold Warrior, who came in 1955 at the height of US Cold War interest in Burma, just after the defeat of the French in Indochina. He came with the hope to persuading the U Nu government to join the newly formed SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization). Relations with the US were not particularly close at the time. The two countries were not very familiar...

June 1955
Vice President Richard Nixon Welcoming Prime Minister U NU in Washington D.C 1955

U Nu was the first Burmese head of government to visit the United States. Mrs Nixon and Daw Mya Yee are in the back to the left. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and U Thant (then Prime Minister's Secretary) are to the right. U Nu and party would spend the next two weeks traveling around America, watching a baseball game at Yankee Stadium, meeting Hopi Native Americans in New Mexico, examining a Ford car factory in Detroit, seeing New...

18 April 1955 - 24 April 1955
During the Heyday of Burmese Diplomacy

Prime Minister U Nu at the Bandung Conference with Justice U Myint Thein (left) and U Thant (back). Burma was one of the organizers of the Bandung Conference of newly independent Asian and African states, together with India, Indonesia, Pakistan, and Ceylon. The conference was a big step towards the creation of the Non-Aligned Movement. Video here: http://www.gettyimages.no/detail/video/representatives-of-thirty-nations-from-african-and-asia-news-footage/116591383

18 April 1955 - 24 April 1955
Anniversary of 1955 Asian-African Bandung Conference

The third week of April is the anniversary of the 1955 Asian-Africa Summit at Bandung that gave birth to the Non-Aligned Movement. Burma (Myanmar) was one of the organizers of the landmark conference, together with India, Pakistan, Ceylon, and Indonesia. U Nu headed the Burma delegation. U Thant was a secretary of the conference. The photos show the leaders of the newly decolonized world at the time, including Pandit Nehru and Krishna Menon of India, U Nu, Sukarno of Indonesia,...

6 February 1956
Dag Hammarskjold’s Visit to Rangoon

On 6 February 1956 Dag Hammarskjold visited Rangoon and enjoyed evening cocktails with President Dr. Ba U and Commerce and Industry Minister U Raschid at Government House. Dag Hammarskjold was the 2nd Secretary-General of UN Secretary-General. He was arguably the organisation's best chief ever, providing tremendous intellectual leadership, courage, and managerial talent. His top aides were the greatest international civil servants in history - Dr. Ralph Bunche and Sir Brian Urquhart. He was on a round-the-world tour and later wrote...

November 1956 - December 1956
Ethiopia Emperor in Rangoon

The Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia at Government House in Rangoon. 

Emperor Haile Selassie I (ቀዳማዊ ኃይለ ሥላሴ), "the Conquering Lion of Judah", the descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, "Elect of God", who reigned from 1930-1974 and who was of course revered by many Rastafarians as the Messiah.

Haile Selassie is perhaps best known around the world for leading Ethiopia's resistance to the Italian invasion of 1935-6 and his impassioned appeal to the League of Nations. 


1 January 1956
Getting Ready for Independence Day Celebrations 1956

Getting ready for Independence Day celebrations on 4 January 1956. This picture was taken when Rangoon was cool. Early 20th-century government publications described Rangoon's climate in December-January as being 'cool and pleasant' with morning lows around 60 degrees (15 Celsius). With climate change, I fear that even the few weeks of cooler weather in December-January may soon (if not already) be a thing of the past.

January 1956
President U Ba U in His Series 62 Cadillac Convertible

President U Ba U waves from his Series 62 Cadillac Convertible whilst driving down Dalhousie Street, Rangoon in January 1956. U Ba U was born in Bassein in 1887 and educated at (Rangoon) Government High School and Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was a lawyer and judge and was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court at independence in 1948. He served one term as President (1952-1957). He died in 1963.

San Francisco Ballet Performing Swan Lake

The San Francisco Ballet performing Swan Lake outdoors near the Shwedagon Pagoda in 1957. At the centre is the renowned ballerina Jocelyn Vollmar, now 88 years old. The San Francisco Ballet was the first American ballet company to tour the Far East.

When Rangoon Had Proper Taxi Companies - 1957

(Photo credit: Renaud Egretau)