357.AB/1–1650: Telegram

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


68. Deeply appreciative information contained Deptel 38 January 13.1 We desire do all possible here promote end Kashmir deadlock. Undoubtedly during next ten days number Indian officials will discuss matter with us. If, during talks with responsible leaders such as Nehru, Patel or Bajpai, we say US understands GOI position but “understanding” not necessarily entails agreement, we shall undoubtedly be questioned as to points of disagreement. More specific information from Department this respect would be helpful. For instance:

Does Department disagree India’s contention Pakistan committed aggressive act in entering Kashmir?
Does Department disagree that Pakistan should not be permitted to profit from its forceful entry into Kashmir by remaining in control various regions during plebiscite?
Does Department take view that Pakistan control these regions would not be advantageous to Pakistan during plebiscite?
Does Department disagree with GOI’s informal position that various regions Jammu-Kashmir so different that over-all plebiscite, particularly so long as any areas occupied by Pakistan, not best method finding solution or that in any event all of Jammu-Kashmir should not go to either party?
Does Department continue support idea over-all plebiscite with Pakistan in control of certain regions, on substantive or procedural grounds? That is, because it convinced fairest way decide future [Page 1373] Jammu-Kashmir is over-all plebiscite even though during period certain areas under Pakistan control, or because it believes it would be too difficult at this stage to shift over to solution partial partition plus plebiscite for valley. If reason is procedural, does Department consider procedural considerations more important in present situation than those relating to fate peoples concerned?

I am asking this further information, not with intention of arguing for GOI position, but in order make sure in our talks here we accurately reflect views of Department. If we are to do anything effective here, it seems to me we should get away from generalities and from what Nehru calls “pious declarations” of interest in settlement of problem and get down to frank expressions of our views. I still feel that it would be inadvisable for me to take initiative in endeavoring to persuade GOI change its position. Nevertheless, I would like to be able, not only to defend our position if and when subject is broached to me, but to assume offensive in pointing out where India’s position in our opinion, is wrong.

Following Nehru’s return Patel no longer in effect acting Prime Minister. It would therefore be resented by Nehru if I should approach Patel now on matters of foreign relations. I may have opportunity, however, during casual talk to continue our conversation of January 11.2

I do not believe that arguments for change of GOI position based on necessity for “realistic approach” would be helpful in Delhi since GOI spokesmen on various occasions have already intimated that pleas for “realism” indicate a desire avoid approach to problem on basis merit or principles involved.

GOI certain take view that if trend in NY has been away from settlement, this trend not due to GOI change, but because McNaughton’s proposals were more favorable towards Pakistan than several sets proposals already rejected by GOI.

Therefore, Pakistan acceptance and GOI rejection should not be surprising. For instance, McNaughton’s proposals for first time, as pointed out by Nehru, attempted balance Kashmir state forces and militia against Azad forces and went further than UNCIP in placing India and Pakistan on equal footing in Kashmir.

Sent Department 68, pouched Karachi, Department pass London, USUN New York.

  1. Telegram 38 to New Delhi, not printed, referred to the subject matter of Acheson’s conversation with Bajpai on January 9 and left to Henderson the initiative in approaching Nehru or other GOI officials regarding the U.S. position on Kashmir as set forth in Deptel 9 to New York, 34 to New Delhi (p. 1367) (357.AB/1–1250).
  2. Henderson reported on this conversation in his telegram 52, January 12, not printed (357.AB/1–1250).