396.1 GE/5–1154: Telegram

The United States Delegation to the Department of State1


Secto 169. Repeated information priority London 149, New Delhi 13, Karachi 1, Colombo 1, Paris 257, Tokyo 44. Tokyo for CINCFE. Department pass Defense. Following information given informally to delegation by James Cable, British Indochina Desk Officer (we [Page 769] shall contact more senior UK representatives to ascertain whether these views represent top-level UK thinking).

British policy on Indochina now concentrating on involving nations represented at Colombo conference in supervision and guarantee of Geneva Indochina settlement. India, Pakistan, and Ceylon have been kept completely informed all aspects conference and have been encouraged to submit policy recommendations. Nehru has indicated India would favorably consider contribution of troops for supervision and guaranteeing of peace in Indochina. UK has envisaged major troop contributions by India and Pakistan with Indonesia, Burma, and Ceylon providing only token troops.

Nehru appears to be thinking of guarantee for Indochina along lines of Asian Locarno: Colombo countries would join countries participating in Indochina phase Geneva conference in pledge to use force against any country violating agreement.

UK delegation hopes to introduce proposal along these lines as soon as Commonwealth approval received, feels early introduction would pay important propaganda dividends and might strengthen French determination to maintain strong position. As far as UK delegation knows Nehru has not indicated Communist China admission to UN would be quid pro quo Indian participation.

UK delegation is very tentatively exploring possibilities one of Commonwealth Prime Ministers would call Southeast Asia defense conference. UK prefers to avoid participation in Southeast Asia defense pact in which Colombo countries not represented, and feels these countries must be present at earliest stages negotiations which could follow Geneva conference. Nehru, worried about losing initiative for “Indian leadership in Asia,” feels he must go along with some such proposal. He has raised possibility that Asian Locarno for Indochina might be extended into similar guarantee for all Southeast Asia. UK now has strong indications from all Colombo countries except Indonesia that they are concerned about possibility Communist expansion in Southeast Asia.

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  1. For a complete text of the memorandum of this conversation, see Department of State file 396.1 GE/5–1154.