Memorandum by Mr. Howard Meyers 1 to the Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs (Bancroft)


Subject: Kashmir Dispute: Possible UK–US Courses of Action.

I discussed the present status of the Kashmir question at some length with Frank Collins, SOA, with particular attention to what we might do if Prime Minister Liaquat of Pakistan does not attend the Commonwealth [Page 1702]Prime Ministers Conference in London. We agreed tentatively on the following points:

We should do nothing for the next few days, while awaiting a final decision by Liaquat whether to attend the Commonwealth Conference. We should not urge the UK to place the Kashmir issue on the formal agenda of the Conference, since it is obvious from the most recent telegrams that the British are doing everything in their power to have an informal round-table discussion of the dispute by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, without placing the Kashmir issue on the formal agenda. London’s 3701, January 2, said the Foreign Office believes the Prime Ministers of Australia, New Zealand and Canada2 will agree to this procedure; that Canada’s answer is still unknown; that it remains to be seen whether Nehru will concur. The Foreign Office believes this informal round-table meeting will satisfy Liaquat.
If Liaquat does not attend the Conference and the GOP presses the US for an early SC meeting, we should suggest to the GOP that it is highly advisable to have UK support for any SC action; that the UK has indicated its desire to await the end of the Commonwealth Conference; that the US is willing to have an SC meeting at any time. Therefore, we should suggest that it is advisable that Pakistan settle this particular problem with the UK, indicating that we will reiterate to the British our interest in an early SC meeting.
Both Frank Collins and I believe that to do more than this will involve the US taking the initiative in the Kashmir dispute, contrary to our agreement that the British should assume and maintain this initiative. We do not believe that our assumption of initiative is indicated by the present situation. Liaquat’s intransigence appears initially, at least, to have strengthened his position at home and that of his government. If the present Western-oriented government of Pakistan should be threatened with dismissal from power because of SC failure to consider the Kashmir question and to advance somewhat toward a reasonable solution, then we think the Department should review the situation to decide whether the US should assume the initiative from the UK in attempting to aid the parties to reach a solution. The Pakistan desk in SOA has recommended that the US in fact assume this initiative, but I do not believe that Bert Mathews3 favors this proposal.
As soon as possible, most probably when we know the outcome of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference in regard to Kashmir, we should try to obtain UK agreement on the draft UKDel-US resolution4 which Robert Fowler5 telegraphed London on [Page 1703]December 9. We still do not know the specific British objections to this draft but believe the only important one was that there should be two resolutions, one dealing with the action of the Kashmir National Conference,6 and that the UK did not wish to sponsor this resolution for fear of Indian ire. If the UK still refuses to sponsor or co-sponsor a resolution of this nature, we should attempt to secure other co-sponsorship in the SC with the US as one of the sponsors. The UK, presumably, will still co-sponsor a resolution appointing a special representative to interpret the parties commitments and report what has been done in implementation of these commitments. Both Frank and I believe that it is important that the SC go on record as refusing to accept any blatant unilateral attempt to settle the Kashmir dispute, such as the action of the Indian-controlled Kashmir National Conference. We have had some indication recently from New Delhi that the Indians might back down somewhat in regard to this action, if a strong stand is taken by the UN.

The above conclusions represent our working-level ideas only, and are being submitted to you and to Bert Mathews for your comments.

  1. Specialist on International Security Affairs, Office of U.N. Political and Security Affairs.
  2. Louis Stephen St. Laurent, Canadian Prime Minister.
  3. Elbert G. Mathews, Director of the Office of South Asian Affairs.
  4. A copy of this draft U.K.-U.S. Security Council resolution on Kashmir was contained in telegram 573 to the U.S. Mission at the United Nations, December 8, 1950, not printed (357.AB/12–850). A later version of the draft resolution (Security Council document S/2017) was submitted by U.K. and U.S. representatives at the 532nd meeting of the Council on February 21 and was discussed through March 9 (S/PV. 532–536). On March 21, a revised joint draft resolution (S/2017/Rev. 1; see text, p. 1758) was introduced and adopted on March 30 (S/PV. 537–539).
  5. Robert Fowler, member of the U.K. Delegation at the United Nations.
  6. On October 27, 1950 the General Council of the All-Jammu and Kashmir National Conference adopted a resolution recommending that a Constituent Assembly be convened to determine the “future shape and affiliations of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” The area from which this Constituent Assembly was to be elected was only a part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In a letter of December 14, 1950 (S/1942) addressed to the President of the U.N. Security Council, Sir Mohammed Zafrulla Khan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations of Pakistan called attention to Indian press reports that Prime Minister Nehru had welcomed the proposed Constituent Assembly and had declared that it would “ratify the formal accession of the State to India.” Further press reports indicated that a formal proclamation to hold elections was about to be promulgated by the government of Maharaja Hari Singh. Zafrulla charged that this move sought to nullify the international agreement between India and Pakistan embodied in the UNCIP Resolutions of August 13, 1948 and January 5, 1949. He called for urgent consideration of the Kashmir question by the Security Council and requested the Council to call upon India to refrain from proceeding with the proposed Constituent Assembly and from taking any other action which might prejudice the holding of a free and impartial plebiscite.