Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Frank D. Collins of the Office of South Asian Affairs



Unavailability of Admiral Nimitz for Kashmir Negotiations: US suggestion for Dr. Ralph Bunche1
India’s Request for Wheat

Participants: Mr. C. E. Steel, Minister, British Embassy
Mr. Michael Walker, First Secretary, British Embassy
NEA—Mr. George C. McGhee, Assistant Secretary
UNA—Mr. John Hickerson, Assistant Secretary2
SOA—Mr. Frank D. Collins
UNP—Mr. Howard Meyers

After welcoming the opportunity to confer with the UK representatives, Mr. McGhee stated he wished to discuss two matters: (1) Kashmir and (2) India’s request for wheat.


The appointment by the President of Admiral Nimitz as Chairman of the President’s Commission on Internal Security and Individual Rights3 was of such importance that we would be unable to make his services available for the duties proposed in the UK draft resolution. There was a great deal of feeling in this country with respect to the need for such a Presidential Commission and as the UK was aware Admiral Nimitz had held himself in readiness for almost two years to depart for the sub-continent and take up his Kashmir duties.

We have always regarded the Kashmir problem as a matter of primary Commonwealth concern and were appreciative of the efforts made at the recent Comonwealth Prime Minister’s Conference at London as well as the previous efforts of Commonwealth representatives such as General McNaughton of Canada and Sir Owen Dixon of Australia in attempting to solve the Kashmir issue. We wish to stress, however, that we are not withdrawing our great interest in the settlement of this issue and we wish to continue to be of as much help as possible. If the UK is agreeable we would be glad to approach another distinguished American, Dr. Ralph Bunche and press him to take on the proposed Kashmir negotiations. We would appreciate it if the UK would keep in confidence this information pending their reply to our suggestion at which time we will inform the Pakistan Ambassador of this development. Mr. Hickerson stated we would have [Page 1719]to ask for the release of Dr. Bundle’s services from Secretary General Trygve Lie who would probably be reluctant to give him up but would, we think, agree if a time limit were set in the proposed resolution.

Mr. Steel remarked that the UK would regret the loss of Admiral Nimitz’s services but that his government appreciated the continued willingness of the US to be of help. He personally believed Bunche might be very effective. He would, however, have to refer the matter to London. He wondered whether Bunche would agree to take on such a task. Mr. Hickerson indicated that he believed, if pressed by the UK and the US, Bunche would reluctantly agree to serve. Mr. Collins remarked that in the event Bunche might not be available we believed there were a number of Commonwealth candidates who might be considered, including Dixon.

Mr. Walker was of the opinion that Dixon would be very much disliked by Pakistan and Mr. Steel concurred. Mr. Hickerson indicated that he believed from conversations he had with Dixon that the latter would be extremely reluctant to serve. Mr. Steel stated that he would inform the Department of London’s reaction to our suggestion with respect to Dr. Bunche as soon as possible. It was agreed in the meantime that the UK and the US would move ahead to work out the existing minor differences in the UK draft resolution. (At this point Messrs. Hickerson and Meyers left the meeting.)

[Here follows a brief discussion of India’s request for foodgrains from the United States; for documentation, see pages 2085 ff.]

  1. Ralph J. Bunche, Top-Ranking Director, Department of Trusteeship and Information for Non-Self-Governing Territories, U.N. Secretariat.
  2. Mr. Hickerson was Assistant Secretary of State for U.N. Affairs.
  3. President Truman had appointed Admiral Nimitz to this post on January 23.