691.00/5–2652: Telegram

The Chargé in India (Taylor) to the Department of State

top secret

4427. Following from Bowles prepared just prior his departure:1

“In line with promise made me two weeks ago Bajpai came my house for long extremely confidential talk Saturday night May 24 about attitude of Nehru, his associates and GOI relationship with USSR and Communist China. Bajpai made point he willing talk with me frankly on confidential basis because he gave up his portfolio Saturday afternoon and because he felt by speaking with complete frankness to me he could best serve not only his own country, but prospects for peace. Bajpai made following points:

Death of Patel, departure of Rajagopalachari and by implication departure of Bajpai, eliminated all strong influences around Prime Minister and has increased even further his complete dominance GOI Government.
There only three people with whom Nehru now consults on intimate basis:
Deshmukh, who has great influence with him on financial matters, budget, et cetera and who willing argue with Prime Minister vigorously this field, but who is rarely consulted on political matters.
Katju, Home Minister, whom Bajpai described as confused opportunist, weak, too anxious please.
N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, Defense Minister, whom Bajpai described as vain, intelligent, but easily dominated.

Nehru completely dominant and no one has status or courage stand up against him when he determines on course of action. President stands aside. Vice President described as theoretical intellectual. However, Bajpai stressed Nehru had complete personal integrity, brilliant mind, unlimited courage and profound dislike for totalitarian methods. He stated Nehru considered himself quite far to left and somewhat of revolutionary, but his inherently conservative background and education would strongly influence him towards middle road policies. He pointed out Nehru had vigorously supported Deshmukh budget which is most conservative approach to India’s economic problems.

He stressed fact Nehru vain and extremely sensitive. For instance, he said Nehru most upset about recent New York Times editorial which drew what we consider rather unwarranted criticism from Nehru’s remark POW issue Korea2 seemed be only thing holding up truce and he hoped both parties would cooperate, find answer. Bajpai stated Nehru actually supports our position this issue.

Bajpai said there no Cabinet member remotely sympathetic Communists. Said we should stop worrying about India’s attitude toward USSR. Stated on China Nehru convinced government Communist and totalitarian and this view shared by all Indian Cabinet. Stated, however, India would continue talk softly on subject Communist China because common long boundary and fear Chinese aggression southeast Asia. I pointed out if Communist China decided move south it would not be deterred by India’s efforts maintain superficially friendly relations. Bajpai said agreed, but he describing not own views, but those of colleagues. Bajpai emphasized there no sympathy whatsoever for totalitarianism in Cabinet, but there oversupply fuzzy mindedness and some wishful thinking.
Specifically in case Russia Bajpai stated Nehru had lost whatever illusions he might have had previously and he definitely anti-Soviet. However, Nehru convinced under no circumstances would Russia declare war or commit act which would conceivably lead to war. Bajpai said this personal opinion Soviet Union did not want war, but it his conviction Soviets would attack if they felt odds over-whelmingly with them.
I asked Bajpai compare Prime Minister’s views with those of Bevan. He stated Nehru not unsophisticated as Bevan on subject Soviet Union, but he still influenced considerably by correspondence from group of extremely confused Quakers in London whom he had known years ago, among them elderly lady named Agatha Harrison. Bajpai added Nehru feels US right in arming against Soviet Union, but wrong in carrying armament to extremes, and that some our statements tend be provocative and disturbing to people who inclined be on our side.
Bajpai stated when I arrived October Nehru on guard because his sister and others had written overly enthusiastically stating we certain become good friends. However, Bajpai stressed his reserved attitude disappeared quickly and relationships now excellent. He stated Nehru said he trusted me and what I said about my Government’s policies completely, et cetera. (I hesitate include this, but Department entitled full report.)

Bajpai suggested I continue see good deal Deshmukh with whom I on close terms and I also make it point see Ayyangar reasonably frequent intervals. He said I could count on these two men, exception some issues on which Nehru felt vigorously.

He emphasized, however, on any major issue our relationships here going depend completely on our personal relations with Nehru and we should not underestimate this. He suggested I not bother Nehru routine matters, but should see him regular intervals two or three weeks or whenever anything of real importance came up.

I asked if I had pushed too hard in trying get faster action from [Page 1646] Indian Government on Point IV program. Bajpai replied he had worried a bit about this possibility, but there no repercussions whatsoever and Cabinet appreciated our attitude and had come trust us more fully and more thoroughly than he had dared hope. I said I concerned over fact Indian Government moving too slowly on tube wells and village worker training. Bajpai said I on safe ground pushing this sort of question vigorously with Prime Minister. He said Prime Minister made great many promises and history may record it was Americans who made it possible for him keep them.

All in all I do not believe we have learned too much from this conversation although it generally most helpful to us here confirming our own impressions.

Leak on this conversation would be disastrous and I urge Department restrict this information to maximum practical extent.”

  1. Ambassador Bowles had returned to the United States for consultations regarding U.S. policy toward India.
  2. For documentation regarding Korea, see volume xv.