Kyaw Nyein
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Kyaw Nyein
Kyaw Nyein
Kyaw Nyein.jpg
Kyaw Nyein at Heho airport, Shan State
1st Home Minister of Burma

4 January 1948 - 2 April 1949
PresidentSao Shwe Thaik
Office created
Ne Win
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister

14 September 1948 - 2 April 1949
PresidentSao Shwe Thaik
U Tin Tut (Foreign Minister)
Bo Let Ya (Deputy Prime Minister)
Dr. E Maung (Foreign Minister)
Ne Win (Deputy Prime Minister, Home Minister)
Minister of Cooperatives

PresidentBa U
Office created
Tun Win
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs

PresidentBa U
Win Maung
Minister of Industry

PresidentBa U
Office created
Bo Khin Maung
Deputy Prime Minister of National Economy

PresidentWin Maung
Office created
Office eliminated
Personal details
Born(1913-01-19)19 January 1913
Pyinmana, Mandalay District, British Burma
Died29 June 1986(1986-06-29) (aged 73)
Bahan Township, Yangon, Burma
Political partyBurma Socialist Party
Other political
AFPFL, Asian Socialist Conference, Anti-Colonial Bureau, People's Revolutionary Party until 1944
Nwe Nwe Yee
(m. 1942; died 1992)
ChildrenThaung Kyaw Nyein
Aung Kyaw Nyein
Cho Cho Kyaw Nyein
Tun Kyaw Nyein
Bo Bo Kyaw Nyein
Khine Cho Kyaw Nyein
Yamin Kyaw Nyein
Alma materUniversity of Rangoon Mandalay College

Kyaw Nyein (Burmese: ; pronounced [tjo ?e]; 19 January 1913 - 29 June 1986), called honorifically U Kyaw Nyein (Burmese: ?;pronounced [?ú tjo ?e], was a leading Burmese anti-colonial nationalist and major political figure and policy strategist in the parliamentary democracy era of post-independence Burma. A proponent of import substitution, he pursued the industrialization of Burma. He was a driving force of Burma's non-alignment policy, an advocate for a Third Force position of post-colonial countries, and a main initiator of the Asian Socialist Conference.[1]

Early life and education

Kyaw Nyein was born January 19, 1913, in Pyinmana, British Burma as third child to Daw Thon and Po Toke, a lawyer and leader of the General Council of Burmese Associations. He attended the King Edward Memorial School in Pyinmana where he befriended Than Tun, who would later become chairman of the Communist Party of Burma. In 1930, he entered Mandalay College to study science and became engaged in university politics. Together with Thein Pe Myint he fought successfully against the closing down of Mandalay College. After passing the Intermediate, he and Thein Pe Myint transferred in 1933 from Mandalay College to Rangoon University, where he joined the English Honors program. Following his graduation in 1936, he entered law school and supported himself teaching English as a tutor at the Rangoon University, where he met his future wife, Daw Nwe Nwe Yee. He received his law degree in 1939 and subsequently worked as appraiser in the customs department. [2][3]

Anti-colonial activism

While a senior student at Rangoon University, he continued his student activism. In 1933, he befriended Aung San and introduced him to Thein Pe Myint and Than Tun. In the same year, he, Aung San and Thein Pe Myint decided to run for offices of the Rangoon University Student Union's executive council. He and Thein Pe Myint were elected in the first attempt, Aung San in a second. As executive council member of the RUSU, Kyaw Nyein was in charge of public relations and became editor of the RUSU Bulletin. [4]

Post-independence politics

Kyaw Nyein served as the first post-independence Minister of Home Affairs and assumed in September of 1948 additionally the offices of Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister U Nu.[5] In early April 1949, at the height of multiple insurgencies, when the U Nu government had lost control of most of Burma's territory, he and five fellow socialist ministers were pressured by the army chief Ne Win to resign. Thakin Tin, one of the ministers involved, recalled the course of events:

"One day, General Ne Win showed up at our meeting and informed us that the communists had communicated to him their desire to form a coalition government with the army if we socialists would resign from the government. We replied that in the interest of the country and peace, all socialist comrades are ready to resign. However, Prime Minister U Nu is not under our influence and therefore he, Ne Win, should cooperate with U Nu to form a government. Ne Win agreed to our suggestion. Two or three days later, General Ne Win came back informing us that the communists had agreed to our suggestion. However, the communists demanded that we resigned from our positions before they come to Rangoon to work out the details of the arrangements. So we immediately resigned and made the announcement in radio and newspapers. Moreover, General Ne Win said to U Kyaw Nyein and I, that the two of us should temporarily go into hiding when the communists entered the government."[6]

Kyaw Nyein reentered U Nu's cabinet in 1951 and held various minister positions until the split of the AFPFL into two factions in 1958. From 1946 to 1958, he was also General Secretary of both the Burma Socialist Party and the Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League. After the split, he became a leader of the Stable AFPFL faction alongside Ba Swe.[7] Detained in August 1963 after the 1962 military coup d'état of General Ne Win, he was released in February 1968 at the height of tensions between Burma and China and an escalating civil war between Ne Win's armed forces and the China-backed Burma Communist Party.[8] In the same year, he and other veteran politicians among them U Nu and U Ba Swe were invited by Ne Win to advise his Revolutionary Council on drafting a national constitution and "ways of improving the country's stability and prosperity." [9] Together with twenty-one politicians of the thirty-three members of the advisory committee, he proposed a return to democracy with a mixed economy while a minority of eleven proposed a one-party system. The chairman of the Revolutionary Council Ne Win rejected the majority advice.[10] He established in 1974 a Soviet-style one-party socialist system based on a new constitution.

Death and legacy

He died in Rangoon after a long illness on 29 June 1986, aged 73.[11][12] He has been called "the brain of Burma's drive to socialism."[13]


  1. ^ Rose, Saul. Socialism in Southern Asia. London: Oxford University Press, 1959. pp.5,7,238,244
  2. ^ Thein Pe Myint (1999). Kyaw Nyein. Yangon: Sar Oke Zey. p. 5.
  3. ^ Maung Maung, Dr. (2011). Thet Shi Yar Za Win (Living History). Yangon: Unity Publishing House, (first published by Thamma Meitta in 1956). pp. 52-69.
  4. ^ Thein Pe Myint (1999). Kyaw Nyein. Yangon: Sar Oke Zey. pp. 5, 25.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Thakin Tin (2014). Ko dwe lutlatyeh taik pwe. Yangon: Seiku Cho Cho. p. 384.
  7. ^ Becka, Jan (1995). Historical Dictionary of Myanmar. Lanham, Md.& London: The Scarecrow Press.
  8. ^ Steinberg, David I. and Hongwei Fan (2012). Modern China-Myanmar Relations Dilemmas of Mutual Dependence. NIAS Press.
  9. ^ New York Times, December 3, 1969
  10. ^ New York Time July 30, 1969
  11. ^ "FORMER DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER DIES". Associated Press News Archive. 1986-06-29.
  12. ^ Taylor, Robert (2015). General Ne Win: A Political Biography. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 500.
  13. ^ Egreteau, Renaud (2013). Soldiers and Diplomacy in Burma. NUS Press. p. 90.

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