751G.00/6–1154: Telegram

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


1804. Repeated information Geneva 27, London 340. Acting UK HICOM Middleton gave me following strictly confidential report on NehruCasey meetings yesterday June 10. Casey reportedly told Nehru that Australia had a special relationship with US through ANZUS which was very important to his country because of geographic situation but in no sense made Australia a satellite of US. Nehru indicated understanding. Casey then said Hanoi could only hold out for few weeks, fate of Vietnam as a whole in jeopardy, and essential that Laos and Cambodia be treated separately from Vietnam. Nehru indicated no objection to this proposition. Casey then brought up proposal that Colombo conference countries serve on supervisory commission. Nehru became evasive and stated he could not comment on this because no invitation had been extended. Casey reportedly gained impression current Nehru policy unclear but apparently intent on “dis-aligning” India from any halfway agreement to take responsibility in Indochina. Sudden departure of Krishna Menon from Geneva may mean Indians [Page 1121] realize Geneva about to fold up and Menon and India wish to avoid any connection with this development.

Pillai, as well as Nehru, appears to Middleton to be rapidly backtracking. On arrival of Casey at airport June 10, Pillai told Middleton he hoped latter had not reported to London on his purely personal and preliminary views re Colombo countries as cease-fire supervisors. He had indicated many days ago that idea was an interesting one, although in subsequent discussion he had questioned having Pakistan on such a commission since its neutrality could be considered doubtful. Apparently this attitude towards Pakistan had also been raised by Menon in Geneva. Later yesterday, June 10, Middleton found Pillai had clammed up completely.

Comment: Middleton asked me to use his comments with care since it is embarrassing when he receives cables telling him he has talked too freely with American Embassy.

I saw Middleton today after he had met with Casey and Canadian and Australian HICOM’s, and his comments probably represent consensus their views. Nehru’s evasive comment on Colombo countries as supervisors obviously was begging the question as special correspondents at Geneva in stories published in New Delhi press yesterday and today have shifted abruptly from eulogies of Eden to attacking him as having given way to US pressures. Middleton considers this abrupt change probably result of “guidance” by Krishna Menon. If Indochina discussions at Geneva now end in failure, it more than likely that blame will be attributed to West by Indian press.