711.56346E/3–251: Telegram

The Ambassador in Ceylon (Satterthwaite) to the Secretary of State

top secret

398. Question of communications facilities for USAF in Ceylon was discussed by group mentioned Embtel 368, February 19, plus Eller1 and Palmer2 representing Defense Department and London Embassy respectively at SOA conference. Conclusion reached that in view importance these facilities to USAF, GOC should be requested furnish them in spite uproar such request should it become known would undoubtedly cause in some SOA countries, especially India.

It was general feeling, however, that before elaborating proposals approach to GOC should be made most informally and secretly with view sounding out GOC on its views toward obtaining such facilities. McGhee and Kennedy both share this view.

On assumption Department agrees with foregoing, I am prepared take up matter with Vaithianathan3 as soon as further guidance requested Embtel 361, February 16,4 is received.

Possible conflict between this request and Department’s plan explore possibility establishing million-watt VOA broadcasting station in Ceylon is apparently postponed by recommendation made by Kerrigan that we limit present approach to GOC to proposal he has already made that we furnish Radio Ceylon with three 35 KW shortwave transmitters in return for use desirable time on Radio Ceylon.

  1. Capt. Ernest M. Eller, U.S.N., Commander Middle East Force.
  2. Joseph Palmer 2d, First Secretary of Embassy in the United Kingdom.
  3. Sir Kanthiah Vaithianathan, Permanent Secretary of the Ceylon Ministry of External Affairs.
  4. Telegram 361 from Colombo, February 16, not printed, requested confirmation of several additional points concerning the proposed facilities (711.56346E/2–1651).