320/2–652: Telegram

The Acting Chairman of the United States Delegation to the General Assembly (Roosevelt) to the Department of State1


Delga 1309. From Gross. Re Kashmir. I met with Sheikh Abdullah at his request. He expressed doubts that Graham cld succeed under his present terms of ref which he thought were too narrow. As “innocent victim” of dispute between India and Pak, the people of Kashmir were suffering from uncertainty as to their future, Graham shld be given broader terms of ref so that he cld consider “other sols”. Parties have dug themselves into their present positions and both sides will find it almost impossible to give in because of polit repercussions at home. Pak was insisting on substantial parity in quantum forces to remain after demilitarization. India cld not agree to this since its claim was based on instrument of accession and it had right to be in state. Pak forces shld be withdrawn and Azad forces disbanded. In connection with holding plebiscite, problem of refugees must be faced. There were four or five hundred thous refugees. Some in India wld have to be repatriated in order to have fair plebiscite and this wld take time even if it were possible at all.

I replied frankly to Abdullah along fol lines. We attached greatest importance to success of Graham mission. We considered time was of the essence. Graham had narrowed issues down and I cld not agree [Page 1186] with implication of Abdullah’s suggestion that issues shld now be broadened again, or worse, that agrmts already made shld be set aside. SC had up to present time wished to deal with problem on basis of principles, and agrmts already made shld be carried out in good faith and UN mediators had been set up as SC agency to help bring about compliance with agrmts on demilitarization. We assume parties still honored their agrmt to establish conditions in which free and fair plebiscite cld be held and we still regarded demilitarization as indispensable step. Also essential to install plebiscite administrator.

I frankly expressed concern at Abdullah’s pessimism, saying I thought sol in sight if both parties had will to find sol and full understanding of importance of reaching sol soon. Failure of Graham mission wld, I thought, be disastrous for people of Kashmir.

Abdullah asked me my views re probable SC action in event Graham mission failed. I replied we were not thinking in terms of failure of Graham mission. I expressed personal hope that SC wld not be driven inexorably to abandon efforts to mediate along lines of broad principle and be forced to prescribe specific terms of settlement. We have always wanted to avoid this course and this is another reason we attach such importance to success of Graham’s mission.

I asked Sheikh Abdullah for his frankest reactions re Sov intervention in Kashmir case. He said it was clear that USSR had “reasons of its own” and thought it significant that they shld suddenly intervene after several years of silence. His own interpretation was that Sov was disturbed by suggestions which had been made, first in Commonwealth mtg in London and then by Graham, to have Commonwealth or foreign troops in that area.

When we parted I told Abdullah that I was glad we had had chance to talk frankly and I reaffirmed strong interest of US in seeing prompt sol built upon progress which Graham has thus far made.

Substance of foregoing communicated to Fowler (UK) who said Abdullah was in with similar story yesterday to Jebb. Abdullah told Jebb he favored independence and did not mention partition. He thought independence wld mean less danger of aggression from north and declared it had always been an acknowledged possibility. If plebiscite were to be held, he said it was essential for all refugees to return before vote and also for Kashmir to be unified with all Pak forces out, Abdullah’s forces presumably taking over. If it came to pass, Kashmir wld choose India because it was secular state. However, GOI assurances on incapacity of Constituent Assembly to determine accession were only expressions of opinion from GOI. People of Kashmir were determined otherwise.

  1. This telegram was repeated by the Department to New Delhi and Karachi.