690D.91/3–2450: Telegram

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


401. Reference Embtels 396 and 397 March 24.

[Here follows Henderson’s summary of his conversation with Sir Archibald Nye, United Kingdom High Commissioner to India, on the afternoon of March 24.]

6. I then called on Bajpai to discuss matters re China. At conclusion our talk I said I had just had visit from Ambassador Warren who had obtained some interesting impressions while in East Pakistan. One of his impressions was that many Hindus were leaving East Pakistan because they were being advised by relatives in West Pakistan that war was likely and that they should get out before it started. I added that Warren also had told me in confidence that there was much talk in Pakistan regarding Indian troop movements near Punjab frontier and that many Pakistanis seemed to feel that concentration Indian forces in that vicinity might compel them for reasons national security shift some of their forces.

7. Bajpai said he was glad I had mentioned this matter. He then described in detail conversations of last two days which he had with Nye. His description same as that Nye. He said that following first conversation he had immediately gone to Prime Minister and that he had based his second conversation on statements made by Prime Minister to him. Prime Minister had emphasized that he was opposed to making war on Pakistan but that he or no other [neither he nor any other] Indian leader could prevent Indian military forces from moving into East Bengal in case killings on large scale of Hindus should be resumed. He showed me in confidence secret memo distributed by Nehru to his Cabinet today emphasizing how stupid it [Page 1396] would be for India to become involved in war with Pakistan over East Bengal and emphasizing that if India took initiative in such a war it would have whole world against it. Prime Minister nevertheless insisted that troop movement should be completed regardless of protest from any foreign sources whatsoever. He went on to say that if Pakistan on its part desired to shift its forces in order to meet any situation created by increased Indian military strength in East Punjab, India would have no complaint.

8. I said that it was depressing to hear India considered danger of war with Pakistan sufficiently great to warrant strengthening its military force near Pakistan borders. I was afraid that when it became general knowledge that this was being done the war hysteria would grow and that migration of minorities would increase rather than diminish. It seemed to me it would be difficult to convince Pakistanis India did not have aggressive intentions.

9. Bajpai said that there would be no objection his part if Ambassador Warren in talks with GOP leader would privately explain what he understood from reliable sources was reasons these troop movements. If Warren should have such conversations he should not, however, state that this information had been given by representative GOI to American Embassy. I intimated it might be more effective for GOI frankly to explain what it was doing and why to Pakistan. He made no reply.

Sent Department 401, repeated Karachi 37.