845.00/10–547: Telegram

The Ambassador in India ( Grady ) to the Secretary of State


922. For the Secretary. Bajpai told me last night that a non-Muslim caravan of 500 moving on October 3 under guard from NWFP toward [Page 167] East Punjab was attacked by Muslims and that about 400 killed and remainder including women and children wounded. These 500 were part of the concentration of about 50,000 non-Muslims who have during recent weeks fled from West Punjab into NWFP for safety.

Prime Minister through Bajpai makes formal request that US make available ten army transport planes to fly these 50,000 refugees from a concentration point, say at Peshawar, to Armtisar [Amritsar]. These refugees are in bad shape, are starving, and in immediate peril. They cannot be sent by caravan because of the physical weakness of so many and certainty of attack. GOI will pay full cost of operation and believes removal can be effected one week. GOI has available sixteen BOAC Dakotas only a few of which in condition to fly.

Attack on caravan has not been reported Delhi. When news gets out a new outburst against Muslims in Delhi is almost certain and if the 50,000 perish from hunger and/or attack communal war will reach proportions beyond anything yet seen. GOI is now under attack for not evacuating non-Muslims from NWFP and present government may fall if it cannot evacuate them. Could not MacArthur quickly send ten transport planes? It means much not only from humane standpoint but from standpoint of the whole future of India.

I ask that this appeal be taken up directly with Secretary of War and if necessary with the President.

Sent Department 922, repeated Calcutta 101; Karachi informed.