690D.91/8–2850: Telegram

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


491. Point one. We are venturing set forth below in response Deptel 292, August 231 certain comments and suggestions re possible solution Kashmir problem in light of results Dixon’s mission. In so doing we realize it is difficult for us while in Delhi retain completely balanced view. For purposes convenience our comments and suggestions are divided into two categories, (a) substantive and (b) procedural.

Point two, substantive—In our opinion partition plus plebiscite in Vale is best solution so far advanced. This solution would mean that India and Pakistan with certain adjustments should retain areas which they already hold with exception that future Kashmir Valley should be determined by plebiscite conducted by representatives UN. By term “best solution” we mean solution which would leave behind least amount bitterness and would result in least number of minority groups being brought under government distasteful to them. We also believe such solution would afford less practical difficulties than attempt to hold plebiscite for whole country.

Although in general it is preferable to leave in hands plebiscite administrator all details connected with holding plebiscite, deep suspicion of both India and Pakistan of each other and lack of trust particularly on part of India in judgment administrator would render it, we believe, extremely difficult for either to agree to plebiscite, even in Vale, unless certain formulas were worked out in advance and incorporated in instructions to administrator. Undoubtedly much thought has already been given to this matter. Nevertheless we are listing several types of formulas which, if adopted in advance, might lessen suspicion and distrust at least of India:

Formula excluding from Vale so far as possible during period of plebiscite propagandists and propaganda from either India or Pakistan.
Formula admitting into Vale all refugees and other natives, to extent their identity can be determined, who had left during, say [Page 1428]last five years and permitting person who had settled in Valley during, say last five years, to remain there but not to participate in plebiscite.
Formula insuring that all propaganda to be circulated by spoken or written word during plebiscite so far as possible be approved by administrator. Although he should allow each side to stress advantages of adherence to country supported by it, he would not permit any one during period of plebiscite to engage in propaganda or other activities calculated to stimulate hatred against country or against any religious, national, racial or economic group in Kashmir or in India or Pakistan.
Formula to effect present government Kashmir could remain in office during period plebiscite so long as in opinion administrator it was loyally cooperating in facilitating fair plebiscite. Administrator would have authority, however, to appoint UN officials to arrange for and conduct plebiscite. He would also be empowered to appoint observers to local military units and to civilian institutions, including juridical and police, in order to make sure there was no direct or indirect intimidation of population. Kashmir Government would be required accept administrator’s recommendation for removal any of its officials who in opinion administrator were not loyally cooperating in order bring about fair plebiscite and to revoke any administrative or judicial order which in opinion administrator was likely interfere with fairness of plebiscite. Such Indian military establishment as might remain in Kashmir would also be required to remove or replace any of its personnel who in opinion administrator were not giving proper cooperation. Administrator should also be provided with sufficient UN civilian and military personnel to replace local personnel in case in his opinion such replacements would be advisable.

Point three, procedural—In view of growing resentment in India which has been quietly stimulated by Nehru himself at allegedly pro-Pakistan attitude of US re Kashmir, it would be desirable in our opinion for US in future to expect that UK and other members of Commonwealth rather than US take lead in working out solution Kashmir problem. It will be noted that although Dixon’s final suggestions were not agreeable to Nehru no insinuations have appeared thus far in press against Australia. If Dixon had been US citizen, there would have certainly been press campaign charging US with great power politics. Nehru still is hoping that his Commonwealth associations will ultimately be of value in carrying out certain of his foreign policies and is therefore much more solicitous of feelings members Commonwealth than those of US. There is no doubt that Nehru and his immediate circle are at present unhappy that American is to be plebiscite administrator. If plebiscite is decided upon they will not, in our opinion, give American citizen degree of confidence and support which they would give to citizen of Commonwealth. If therefore Dixon’s report could give opportunity for Nimitz graciously to resign and to give place to Canadian or Australian we believe it would be to US advantage and also facilitate solution Kashmir problem.

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It will not be easy to obtain agreement of both India and Pakistan to solution along lines suggested herein or to any other solution. It seems to us that Dixon is in best position to place solution this kind on table. He could do so either by incorporating plan in his original report to SC or by merely touching upon it in that report and then at request SC submitting subsequent report outlining plan in detail. Australian acting high commissioner tells us Dixon expected at time his departure from Delhi to talk with both British and American officials before preparing his report in order that his report might be of maximum value. In any event, Dixon’s views as to best solution of problem should be made available to SC.

After recent statements made by Nehru it would be useless to propose plan completely abolishing Abdullah government during plebiscite. Nevertheless, Dixon might be able work out plan which while leaving facade Abdullah government intact, would render it powerless to prevent fair plebiscite.

Point four—If Dixon unwilling incorporate in his report suggestions for solution Kashmir problem, we should, it seems to us, place burden on UK for decision re next move. Next move might perhaps be appeal India and Pakistan in light Dixon’s conversations to carry on direct negotiations in presence SYG or his representatives and to report progress conference to SC within, say, two months.

Sent Department 491; repeated info Karachi unnumbered.

  1. Telegram 292, repeated as 114 to Karachi and 179 to USUN, not printed, requested the views of Henderson and Warren on possible solutions of the Kashmir issue in light of Dixon’s experiences, including their preferences on future approaches (357.AB/8–2350).