15. Editorial Note

On March 6, at the second session of the SEATO Council meeting, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hamidul Haq Chowdhury brought up the Kashmir dispute. Claiming that the recent statements of Soviet leaders during their visit to Kashmir had brought Pakistan into the East-West cold war, he reasoned that since the Soviet Union had publicly supported India’s claim to Kashmir it was now time for Pakistan’s friends to come out into the open. Secretary Dulles summarized the gist of the Foreign Minister’s remarks: [Page 66]

“All Pakistan wanted was for people of Kashmir to be allowed to exercise self-determination and through plebiscite decide whether they wish to join India or Pakistan. This he said has been proposed by Security Council and India is committed to it. If Western democracy were reluctant support Pakistan for fear of annoying India, friends of West would be dismayed and demoralized. Failure to support Pakistan would have serious domestic repercussions in Pakistan, strengthening those opposed to government’s policy of alliance with West and strengthening pro-neutralists.”

Citing Article IV, Paragraph II of the Treaty, Chowdhury declared that a serious danger to the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and political independence of Pakistan had arisen and should be considered by the SEATO members. He recommended that SEATO help Pakistan solve the Kashmir issue by reaffirming the Security Council’s resolutions favoring a fair and impartial plebiscite. (Secto 12, March 7; Department of State, Central Files, 396.1—KA/3—756)

At the third session of the Council the following day, Dulles declared that the United States position toward the Kashmir dispute remained that spelled out by Ambassador Hildreth in his press release of December 14, 1955. (Secto 18, March 8; ibid., 396.1—KA/3—856) In a final communiqué dated March 8, the members of the SEATO Council also noted that the United Nations resolutions regarding Kashmir remained in force and affirmed the need for an early settlement of the Kashmir question through the United Nations or by direct negotiations. (Department of State Bulletin, March 19, 1956, pages 447—449)