795.00/1–654: Telegram

The Ambassador in India (Allen) to the Department of State


1051. Repeated information London 172, Tokyo 66, Seoul 37, Munsan-ni 9. Tokyo for CINCUNC; Munsan-ni for Young. Re Deptel 770, January 4.1

During meeting with R. K. Nehru yesterday I had another long discussion concerning release of POW’s. He said GOI decision would have to be reached “during next few days” since whatever decision might be, arrangements would have to be made before January 23 for carrying it out.

His personal view now is that although CFI will no longer be competent to hold prisoners as such after January 23, it nevertheless will continue to be responsible for maintaining order inside POW enclosures until February 22. Since responsibility for maintaining order in DZ but outside POW enclosures rests with military police, he personally thought arrangement could be made between CFI and each command [Page 1696] separately for releasing POW’s to military police at gates of compounds on successive days beginning January 23. However, before CFI enters into agreement with separate commands, he thought Thimayya should go through preliminary procedure of asking both sides if they would agree to resumption of status quo ante September 24, (that is, return of POW’s to respective sides). R. K. does not contemplate obtaining agreement from both sides to this procedure but feels Thimayya should make request for the record.

I succeeded in making R. K. go over with me again carefully Paragraph 11 for NNRC Terms of Reference. I emphasized once more how clear the language was that NNRC should declare POW’s civilians on January 23. He repeated GOI position that NNRC could not do so because PC had not considered question for 30 days.

I then emphasized again that unless arrangements are made before January 23 for orderly release, terrific explosion and possibly mass slaughter would occur on that date. He showed astonishment at my use of word “slaughter”. I explained that prisoners would most certainly attempt mass breakout and if CFI tried to maintain order, it could do so only with machine guns. He said, “That is why we must reach agreement before then.”

I referred to Thimayya’s statement in today’s press that POW’s would be released January 23. He said, “I can’t understand why Thimayya keeps on saying that”. I said Thimayya undoubtedly realized that statement was necessary to calm prisoners. I ended conversation with expression of entire confidence that POW’s would be released on January 23 and that GOI had no other alternative.

Conversation was pleasant throughout. It is entirely clear to me that GOI will arrange for releasing prisoners in orderly manner.

  1. Ante, p. 1691.