790B.00/12–650: Telegram

The Ambassador in Burma (Key) to the Secretary of State


369. U Aung Than alias Bo Set Kya, prominent Socialist and member Foreign Relations Advisory Board, informed Embassy officer last evening following results emergency conference Mandalay third and fourth of policy making group of GOB comprising PriMin, U Win,1 U Kyaw Nyein [Myint?]2 and himself which concerned primarily Burma’s position current world crisis. Following summary:

GOB will resist any aggression from China.
However, because of Burma’s present internal weakness and proximity China, neutrality within framework UN will be major policy for present time.
Armed forces must be increased immediately and US and UK will probably be asked help train 300 new officers each.
All internal lines communication must be reopened as quickly as possible.
Groups soldiers must be stationed in centers all along Chinese border area as people Burma will become aware Communist threat only when Chinese Communists clash with Burmese Army.
Burmese army must be mobile and also resist Chinese Communists for at least one month.
In meantime above ground Communists and extreme left wing Socialists will have to be put in prison. Registration Chinese will be stepped up.
Negotiations with India going forward reopen Ledo road but Aung Than thinks Chinese Communists may try out this route. Despite India’s expression neutrality she also preparing for war. He cites Indian Government request Burma for perforated steel plates for air strip construction. Says they building 14 landing fields along borders with China, Tibet.

Embassy comment:

On basis above it appears GOB has decided in event showdown Burma definitely in western camp and will fight any Chinese Communist incursions as long as possible. GOB will continue show of neutrality while building up forces for armed resistance. Role in UN will continue be passive. GOB recognizes necessity making masses aware threat Chinese Communists but feels actual clash necessary muster public opinion. In this connection while does not appear Chinese Communists intend invade Burma (Embtel 353, November 303) UN demarked border north Kachin state, claimed by Chinese, would provide excellent opportunity for armed clash as suggested point five above. Danger above ground Communists and extreme leftists including some Socialists realized by GOB but Embassy feels [Page 255] arrest these individuals may be politically difficult although they have become increasingly more bold in their verbal attacks on GOB. However, strong evidence now exists these elements uniting with local Chinese Communist groups for anti-GOB agitation which may provide acceptable excuse for their arrest.

From above appears Burma will again follow and coordinate action India.

PriMin still Mandalay. FonMin has returned but is indisposed. Permanent Secretary disclaimed any knowledge of Mandalay meeting.

Pass London; sent Department 369, repeated info London 42, Delhi 18.

  1. Minister for Public Works and Labor.
  2. Minister for Industry and Mines.
  3. Not printed.