845.00/1–2147: Telegram

The Chargé in India (Merrell) to the Secretary of State


47. Following is official text of statement issued yesterday by Nehru with reference to Reuter report dated January 18 from New York stating John Foster Dulles addressing National Publishers Association dinner January 17 had declared: “India Soviet Communism exercises a strong influence through interim govt.”

“I have read with surprise and regret a report of a speech made by Mr. John Foster Dulles in New York in which he criticizes policy of interim govt. I can hardly believe that report is a correct one. Mr. Dulles was one of representatives of US Govt in UN General Assembly and his words therefore carry weight. His reported description of interim govt and its policy shows lack of knowledge of facts and want of appreciation of policy we are pursuing. I do not wish to say more at this stage except to repeat that our policy is to cultivate friendly and cooperative relations with all countries, notably USA, and not to align [Page 139] ourselves with any particular power grouping. Our policy is going to be an independent one based on furtherance of peace and freedom everywhere on lines laid down by UN Charter.

Mrs. Pandit2 in press interview yesterday said she found it difficult to believe Dulles had made such a statement; suggested he might have based conclusion on cooperation of India and USSR at UN in efforts “to liberalize trusteeship agreements.” “India”, said Mrs. Pandit, “far from blindly following alien influences … will evolve her policy in accordance with her own interests and her own conception of right and wrong.”

Embassy has observed no indication of Soviet influence on interim govt. Most individuals in govt which is primarily representative of propertied and conservative classes seem rather to fear Communist infiltration. As Dept is aware Congress has been making strenuous efforts during past year to counteract Communist activities in organizing labor and peasants and recent wide spread raids on Communist offices indicate anything but friendly attitude on part of Congress and Muslim League provincial authorities.

Please repeat London.

  1. Mrs. Vijayalakshmi Pandit, sister of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was appointed in June 1947 to be the first Indian Ambassador to the Soviet Union.