Memorandum by the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs ( Berry ) to the Secretary of State 1
- Status of Kashmir Dispute; Significance of USSR Intervention
On January 17, 1952 Dr. Frank Graham presented to the Security Council his views on his report of December 18, 1951, at which time he made a strong appeal to India and Pakistan for a settlement of the [Page 1178] Kashmir dispute. Following Dr. Graham’s presentation, Mr. Malik accused him of being a “secret agent of the Pentagon” and said that Anglo-American “annexationist, imperialistic” policies had prevented a settlement. The US and the UK, he said, “had denied the people’s attempt to express their will by the constituent assembly”, and “intended to transform Kashmir and Pakistan into military springboards against the USSR and new China”. Although it was at variance with India’s official position, based on a commitment to settle the dispute through a UN plebiscite, the Malik statement has encouraged elements which claim that the Kashmir constituent assembly can and should settle the question of accession. Immediately after the Security Council meeting Mr. Vishinsky assured Sir Zafrullah Khan that Malik had not meant that the present Kashmir constituent assembly should decide the future of the state, but that this might be done by a really representative assembly yet to be elected. Bajpai, Secretary General of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, was at pains to assure our Embassy that India was in no way responsible for the Soviet intervention, and indicated surprise. This Soviet move, however, may provide India with an excuse for insisting on a maximum number of troops being kept in Kashmir. Bajpai also stated that India would welcome a continuance of Dr. Graham’s efforts.
Probable Soviet aims are:
- to support Communists in India who advocate independence for Kashmir, and possibly influence the current elections;
- to promote friction between India and Pakistan which will delay a settlement;
- to dissipate Indian good will toward the US resulting from American food grain assistance and other economic aid, and the cordial reception accorded Ambassador Bowles;
- to lay the ground work for an eventual Communist coup in Kashmir.
Concurrently with Malik’s statement in the Security Council on Kashmir, reports have been received that an irredentist campaign in Kashgar is being developed with a view to “recovering” Gilgit and Ladakh—territories in Kashmir bordering Tibet and Sinkiang—on the ground that these were once part of China. Thus active Communist pressure in the form of infiltration, military activity or propaganda has been extended in an almost unbroken line from Indochina to the borders of Afghanistan.
For some time we have been aware of the presence of a number of Communists or pro-Communists in the Indian-supported Kashmir government of Sheikh Abdullah. In his address before the Security Council Mr. Malik quoted the President of the Kashmir constituent assembly, G. M. Sadiq, reputed to be the leader of the Communist Party in Kashmir. Two days later, on January 19, Mr. Sadiq issued a statement fully supporting the Soviet views as expressed in the [Page 1179] Security Council and urging that India withdraw the Kashmir issue from the UN. In addition, the leader of the Socialist Party in India, Jayprakash Narain, has issued a statement calling for similar action.
The Pakistan Prime Minister has informed Ambassador Warren that “the Russians have served notice we must take them into consideration and I intend to do it”, and added that he would review his Government’s hitherto negative attitude toward Russia. While it is difficult to believe Pakistan would seriously consider allying itself with the USSR, it must be remembered that fear of India, disappointment over failure to settle the Kashmir dispute, and a feeling that the US may be partial to India, may lead Pakistan leaders to reappraise their policy vis-à-vis the US. In this connection the recent allocation of 50 million dollars of MSP aid to India, plus the pleas made by Ambassador Bowles in the US for large-scale economic assistance, have caused a certain amount of dissatisfaction in Pakistan.
UK officials are at present conferring with the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Sir Zafrullah Khan, in London and have agreed to present informally to him the US proposal that Dr. Graham go to the subcontinent to make a final effort at mediation during a period of not more than 60 days. Since any Security Council Resolution on Kashmir may now be vetoed by the USSR, we propose that Dr. Graham proceed with the approval of the various members of the Security Council but without a resolution. Assuming that Pakistan agreement to a final effort by Dr. Graham is obtained, we consider it of the greatest importance that Dr. Graham continue in the Kashmir case. Mr. Bowles mentioned this to the President on January 22. Failure to settle the dispute during the next few months may well lead to hostilities in the subcontinent which would ultimately benefit no one but the Communist bloc.
That you indicate to the President the absolute necessity of keeping Dr. Graham on the Kashmir case, and express our hope that this will not jeopardize any other plans which the President might have for him.2
- Secretary Acheson requested in his staff meeting of Jan. 22 “to be brought up to date on the Kashmir issue,” in response to which the Director of the Executive Secretariat, William J. McWilliams, asked the Bureau of Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs to prepare a memorandum on the subject. (Memorandum of conversation by McWilliams, Jan. 22, 1952, Secretary’s Daily Meetings, lot 58 D 609, box 22)↩
- A marginal notation on the source text indicates that the Secretary discussed the subject of the memorandum with the President on Feb. 4. See the Secretary’s memorandum of conversation of Feb. 4, p. 1185.↩