893.01/11–449: Telegram

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

1366. Sardar Patel, Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, telephoned me this morning and asked me to lunch with him today. At lunch were present only Patel, his private secretary, his daughter and myself. While Patel has aged in past few months, he was alert and expressed himself in his usual blunt and concise fashion.

He said he wished to discuss problem of India’s recognition of Communist Government in China which must inevitably come up soon. Following is summary our conversation:

Foreign affairs were usually left to Nehru,81 but in matter of such importance as recognition Communist Government [of] China, Patel felt that he must participate. I remarked that recognition of Communist Government China by India raised internal as well as external problems, with which Patel agreed. He expressed great concern over [Page 166]state of affairs in Burma and said that Communist Government in China, with Burma collapsing, presented grave problem to India. He also expressed concern over situation Tibet, but did not elaborate. I remarked that while the position of Great Britain, the US, and India varied insofar as their interests might be affected by the recognition or nonrecognition of China, certain basic factors were common to all countries and then stressed points outlined Deptel 693, October 7. I particularly emphasized that there was no need for haste in recognizing Communist China Government and that any power which counted on obtaining genuine good will or friendship by prompt recognition would be disappointed as Communist regimes did not operate in that fashion. Patel agreed with my views.

His secretary said that Chinese colony in Calcutta had always been a problem and that it would serve as convenient link with Communist China for activities in India. Overt acts by China not feared, but Patel admitted that police left Chinese to themselves in Calcutta’s Chinatown and interfered only when absolutely necessary. Chinese in other parts India no problem.

Patel remarked his attitude towards Communism was well-known both at home and abroad. Recent Russian attacks on Prime Minister have been due to Russian idea that he is veering to the right. Patel took this opportunity to say that there was [were] no differences between Prime Minister and himself and that it was his job to keep order in the country.

Concluding conversation, Patel said he felt there was no need for hurry in recognizing Communist Government China and asked me to keep in touch with him re problem recognition. Other than that, he made no commitments re Indian policy, but I am sure he will weigh very carefully effect recognition would have on Communist problem in India and on question Indo-Burmese relations. Patel can be powerful factor in opposing the faction which desires prompt recognition China and, in my comments, I therefore emphasized internal aspects of problem as they might affect India, should it recognize Communist regime China.

In view extreme sensitivity Nehru and Minister External Affairs re discussion foreign affairs by other members government, fact that [Page 167]Patel had this talk with me should not be revealed to British or. French.

Sent Department 1366; pouched Calcutta.

Department pass London, Paris from Delhi.

  1. Indian Prime Minister.