357.AB/1–651: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom (Gifford) to the Secretary of State


3776. Embassy officer this a. m. discussed Kashmir with Murray1 and Lloyd,2 SEA Department, in accordance Deptel 3285 January 5. Murray noted Department’s views premised on Liaquat’s failure attend Commonwealth Prime Minister meeting and confirmed this a. m.’s press reports that Liaquat has agreed attend conference and will depart Karachi by plane this evening. We expressed pleasure at this news and hope that during course conference it would prove possible arrive some solution this problem. We went on to say, however, that we were sure His Majesty’s Government would agree that in event it were not possible reach understanding here, disappointment in Pakistan would be sharply intensified and Liaquat’s position made increasingly difficult. Under these circumstances we thought that we should still prepare urgently for SC action in event failure here in order provide quick alternative action to absorb shock in Pakistan.

Murray agreed completely with foregoing. While he was not in position give us detailed answer to point 2, Department reftel at this time, he said His Majesty’s Government would consider matter urgently and indicated reply might depend largely on way matter progressed here. [Page 1705]Meanwhile, he would keep us currently informed of developments this question when considered by Prime Ministers.

Re paragraph 3, Department reftel, he confirmed His Majesty’s Government’s objections to US–UK draft resolution had been basically those reported paragraph 2, Embtel 3509 December 18.3 While first (i.e. desire not sponsor resolution containing implied condemnation India before opening Prime Minister’s meeting) no longer applicable, nevertheless His Majesty’s Government has continued attach importance second (i.e. that it would be better separate two issues since implied condemnation India might prejudice GOI’s acceptance eminent jurist provision).4

Following additional points in response Embassy Officer’s questions made by Murray:

Prime Ministers will not consider Kashmir formally as part of agenda. Murray described procedure to be followed as one of “interested friends sitting around table to attempt solve differences pertaining between two of them.” He read us excerpt of message in which Liaquat indicated he had decided attend meeting. Message emphasized Liaquat had hoped that matter would be considered by all Commonwealth Prime Ministers and not merely those “interested” in problem in order that there might be Commonwealth judgment passed on problem. Liaquat went on to say, however, that he appreciated that even on formal agenda items (which he appeared to accept Kashmir should not be), Prime Ministers were free to attend or not as they saw fit, but he hoped as many as possible would participate.
Prime Ministers of UK, Austria, New Zealand and Canada (in addition India and Pakistan) will participate in talks. Representatives of South Africa and South Rhodesia will definitely not attend. Ceylon Prime Minister still doubtful but will probably absent himself.
UK feels best tactics are to try to pick up where Dixon left off and to obtain agreement partition plus plebiscite, going on from there to try decide on division line and plebiscite conditions. If Pakistan refuses consider partition plus plebiscite, and continues insist on overall plebiscite, tactics may be shifted to try to obtain agreement on plebiscite conditions, not, however, going as far as Dixon in replacing Abdullah5 administration. If necessary, UK has in mind suggesting arbitration of plebiscite condition question.

We found Murray and Lloyd on whole fairly optimistic re prospects of success here. Bevin6 has reported Nehru to be in eminently favorable frame of mind with respect to conference items in general and to be so preoccupied with question of world peace as to lead Bevin [Page 1706]to believe that he might be willing find way settling this question. Murray mentioned in passing that Nehru has expressed himself as feeling that he can make his best effort in attempting to promote world peace by not aligning himself either with USSR or US but by continuing to cooperate with Commonwealth.

Embassy will continue keep Department currently informed developments here on this question and meanwhile would appreciate Department’s reaction to line we took opening paragraph which went beyond our instructions.7

Repeated information Karachi 45, New Delhi 106, USUN 58.

  1. J. D. Murray, Head of the South-East Asia Department, British Foreign Office.
  2. J. O. Lloyd, Assistant, South-East Asia Department, British Foreign Office.
  3. Not printed.
  4. Reference is presumably to the suggestion which had arisen in discussions with the British in the fall of 1950 that the proposed U.K.-U.S. Security Council resolution provide for the appointment of a prominent judicial figure to report on the Kashmir dispute.
  5. Mohammad Abdullah, Prime Minister of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  6. Ernest Bevin, British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
  7. In telegram 3314, to London, January 9, not printed, the Department of State concurred in this approach by the Embassy to the British Foreign Office (357.AB/1–651).