811.20245/15: Airgram

The Secretary of State to the Officer in Charge at New Delhi (Merrell)

A–42. The Mission may be aware that when in Washington last, General Cawthorn, Chief Intelligence Officer of the Government of India, expressed the desire of the British to see created in India a “joint intelligence board” on which would sit representatives of the United States Army, Navy, OWI, OSS, BEW, and any other appropriate American organization, together with their British and Indian counterparts. This board appears to have been intended not only to facilitate the exchange of information of interest to all concerned, but also to allow the British to supervise American efforts in regard to psychological (including political) warfare. It is understood further that it was also expected that the Board would scrutinize the reports regarding internal conditions in India and Ceylon emanating from both the British and American organizations represented on the board. While the Department does not question the need and desirability of close liaison between the American and British or Indian organizations, especially in so far as matters pertaining to military intelligence are concerned, it does not consider that reports from American organizations should be made subject to scrutiny by an Anglo-American board, and furthermore it views with disapproval any arrangement which would indicate to the public mind in India that American and British activities are identical, except in so far as prosecution of the common enemy is concerned. Accordingly the Department has not viewed with favor the proposal understood to have been made by General Cawthorn and would strongly disapprove of any such arrangement being put into operation.

It is the Department’s understanding that the other American agencies concerned have seen the dangers involved and hence were not receptive to the suggestion. You should promptly inform the Department, however, should there be any indication that efforts are being continued which would tend to identify American organizations in India with their British or Indian counterparts.

For your confidential information it may be added that the Department has been informally advised that the War Department first rejected in toto General Cawthorn’s recommendations, but upon further recommendations by the British suggested that there be established at New Delhi a special liaison committee between the American and British military headquarters in India which would not only facilitate the interchange of military intelligence but also at which either side might discuss problems or matters affecting any governmental agency. In so far as the Department is aware the British have not yet indicated whether this suggestion is satisfactory to them. The Department’s [Page 241]interest is of course limited to arrangements concerning civilian agencies and arrangements in that regard in connection with the proposed liaison committee are still too nebulous to permit an expression of opinion from the Department.

As previously intimated, any developments with regard to this matter which come to your notice should be promptly reported to the Department.