The United States Representative at the United Nations ( Austin ) to the Secretary of State
37. In absence Ambassador Austin, Sir Girja Bajpai called upon Ambassador Gross at 9:30 a. m., January 16 re Kashmir case. Bajpai handed Gross message from Prime Minister of India, dated 14, January 1950. Text follows:
“Your telegram dated 13th January:
- “1. I have read with considerable surprise the message from the Secretary of State of the US which has been conveyed to you through Mr. Ambassador Austin. This message is not only unfriendly in tone and substance but appears to us to be seeking to bring pressure on our government under threat of consequences. It will be appreciated that the government of India cannot accept this form of intervention nor do they think that it can lead to any beneficial results. The USA Government are apparently proceeding on some assumptions which are not based on facts. The Government of India, in their extreme desire to find a settlement, have repeatedly shown their earnestness by agreeing to many proposals which normally they would not have agreed to. Instead of appreciating this reasonableness under repeated and grave provocation, the present approach seems to be a further attempt to put us in the wrong. It appears to be totally forgotten that we are not the aggressors, but that we are the victims of aggression. This will not only fail to solve this problem, but will lead to further deterioration of Indo-Pakistan relations and to eventual prolongation of the conflict in Kashmir. I cannot help pointing out that present and similar proposals show disregard of the security and safety of the homes and persons of the people of Kashmir who have suffered so much already at the hands of invaders. The Government of India would be false to their trust and to both moral and legal obligations resting on a civilized government if they were to leave these people exposed to a repetition of the violence and danger from which (these people) were rescued.
- “2. The Government of India have declared that they wish to rule out war as an instrument of settlement of any dispute with Pakistan, and they made a formal offer in these terms to the Pakistan Government. [Page 1370] They are always prepared for detailed negotiations or to accept mediation, but they cannot submit to such mediation being on the basis of a determination beforehand of vital issues.
- “3. In view of all the circumstances, the Government of India do not consider that further negotiations at Lake Success at this stage are likely to lead to any fruitful result.
- “4. I would like to add that it is a matter of great personal regret to me that Mr. Secretary Acheson should have sent us a message of this kind.”
After reading note, Gross said he was certain Secretary would wish him to say emphatically and at once that Secretary’s message was not Intended to be “unfriendly.” On the contrary, said Gross, US Government throughout course of Kashmir dispute, as sincere friend of both parties, has been motivated solely by hope of a prompt and just solution of a dispute, continuance of which threatens to do irreparable harm to two countries whose friendship we prize. We had hoped parties would reach agreement by their own efforts or with the friendly advice and assistance of members of the Commonwealth family. Far from seeking course of unilateral intervention, Gross pointed out, our course has been and remains to do our duty as loyal members of the SC. For this reason, we have steadfastly sought to support Gen. McNaughton’s efforts to guide the parties to a settlement. In his message the Secretary had again stressed the importance we attached to this orderly process. Gross reminded Bajpai that GOI had not suggested a more practical or desirable alternative method of procedure. In this connection, Gross referred to paragraph 3 of Prime Minister’s message, and said that statement that GOI did not consider that further negotiations at Lake Success at this stage would be fruitful appeared to be a flat rejection on the part of GOI of any further efforts on part of Gen. McNaughton. Gross asked if this interpretation were correct. Bajpai replied he had not received any explanatory comments from his government, but that his reading of this paragraph led him to the same conclusion. Gross said that this was indeed disappointing to US Government, which had understood from earlier discussions with both parties that they both desired McNaughton to continue to lend his assistance. Bajpai repeated that he could not read the paragraph in any way other than as indicating GOI’s unwillingness to continue discussions at Lake Success.
Gross asked whether Bajpai had any personal or official suggestion concerning next move. After some thought, Bajpai said he could only speak personally and did not wish to be misunderstood. He said that B. N. Rau was the Indian representative to UN and had complete confidence of GOI. However, Bajpai continued, he perceived advantages in US Government’s taking up matter in New Delhi through our ambassador, who would be able to speak personally with Prime [Page 1371] Minister. Bajpai said that he had assumed that the message from the Secretary, which had been delivered by Austin on January 13 to Bajpai, had been handed him as chief of the FO of his government. He said that he had thought it would be desirable to have the Indian Ambassador present at the interview on January 13 because she was about to leave for India. He said that he, of course, kept Rau closely informed, but had not considered it necessary to bring him along for the purpose of delivering the Prime Minister’s note.
Gross said US Mission would, of course, report at once to Department, and Department would decide how it wished to proceed from this point forward. Nevertheless, Gross added, that since SC was seized of Kashmir case, it might prove necessary to proceed in the Council at an early date. Therefore, it was not a question of transferring locus of discussion from Lake Success to New Delhi.
Gross said it was still our hope that discussion between the parties with the friendly help of McNaughton would obviate the necessity for statements and counter-statements in the SC which would be of satisfaction only to members of the Council, who felt their own interests were served by trouble.
Referring again to paragraph No. 3 in the Prime Minister’s message, Gross said he was struck by the word “negotiations.” Inasmuch as the SC obviously is bound to proceed until a solution of the case has been reached, it appeared from this paragraph that GOI preferred some course other than negotiations. Gross said he also felt sure the Secretary would be anxious to learn of any SC procedures GOI might deem preferable to negotiations between the parties. Gross repeated in this connection that US Government’s support McNaughton’s efforts had been based upon our feeling that the process of negotiation between disputants was the best road to lasting solution.
Bajpai said he was returning to India in a day or two and did not expect to return. He said he had been here for a month, but now saw no useful purpose in remaining. When Gross expressed regret that we would be deprived of his company, he said that Eau would handle the matter in the SC and, of course, had his instructions. As he left, Bajpai said he would send a message to his Prime Minister as soon as he returned to his hotel: He said he would report that he had delivered the message and that he had been assured by Gross that the Secretary’s message had not been intended to be unfriendly or threatening, that the US was not attempting unilateral intervention, but was acting as a loyal member of the SC, motivated by friendly desire to see a just solution. Bajpai said he would report to the Prime Minister that Gross had asked concerning the interpretation of paragraph 3, and Bajpai had agreed with Gross’ interpretation that this constituted [Page 1372] notice by GOI that it did not desire Gen. McNaughton to continue and that Gross expressed great disappointment. Finally, Bajpai said he would report that in response to request by Gross for Bajpai suggestion for future steps Bajpai had expressed personal view of desirability next US GOI discussion take place New Delhi.1
Views and recommendations of USUN will follow.
- Answering telegram 22 to USUN, New York, not printed, stated that the Department was in complete accord with the position taken by Gross in this conversation by Bajpai (357.AB/1–1650).↩