690D.91/3–2550: Telegram

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

top secret

407. Karachi telegram to Department 213, March 24. I find some difficulty in recommending action to be taken re Pakistan request for approach to GOI on troop movements. In my opinion it would be mistake for us to make formal representations. On other hand, there are disadvantages adopting entirely negative attitude to Pakistan request. It is likely UK and perhaps other members Commonwealth may make approaches of some kind. I do not believe we should associate ourselves with anyone in approaching GOI. My present thinking somewhat as follows, if approved by Department and if no other developments cause change in my ideas:

I address letter to Bajpai enclosing copy of Pakistan note to US. In letter I say my government has expressed to me deep concern at situation which seems to be developing—a situation in which Pakistan and India might find themselves making moves and countermoves of military forces in manner which might indicate that each considers there is possibility of war with other. My government’s concern rises partly from fact that so frequently in past war psychology and even wars have developed as result series of military movements which [Page 1398] began primarily for defensive purposes. My government has left it to my discretion whether or not I should bring Pakistan’s note to attention GOI and I have decided that it might be useful for GOI to understand manner in which Pakistan is viewing these troop movements.

Since you were good enough during our talk on March 23 to explain in considerable detail the reasons and background for this reallocation of forces, there is no reason for me to ask you for comments. Nevertheless, if you care to make any further comments I shall be glad to pass them on to my government.

If I write letter this kind Bajpai I could if agreeable to Department inform Karachi reaction and Warren could confidentially tell Liaquat. I do not think it would be advisable particularly at this stage for US take responsibility informing Pakistan either formally or informally that GOI feels invasion East Bengal is inevitable, in case large-scale killing again breaks out in East Bengal.1

Sent Department 407, repeated Karachi 39.

  1. Telegram 278 to New Delhi of March 25, not printed, concurred in these recommendations and instructed Henderson to handle the matter at his discretion and send to Warren the GOI reaction for him to inform Liaquat Ali Khan confidentially as he felt advisable (690D.91/3–2550).