150. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Allen) to the Secretary of State 1


  • Possible Visit by Prime Minister Nehru to the US

Lewis Douglas’ suggestion that Nehru might be invited to address the English-Speaking Union in New York on November 8 seems to me a rather good one.2 A number of people, as you know, have been urging that the President invite Nehru to visit the United States. We decided against it two months ago because Nehru was on his way to Moscow and we did not want to appear to be climbing on the bandwagon or building up Nehru too much. The Moscow visit has now been superseded in the public view by the much more important Summit Conference, and an invitation to Nehru would not have as many drawbacks now as it had previously.

I am inclined to think Nehru realizes that he has been too far on the Moscow–Peking side and is looking for a way to climb back a bit. Whether we like it or not, Nehru will probably run India for some time to come, and India’s good will is worth some effort.

I still feel hesitant about wooing Nehru too assiduously, particularly since there are no great problems between India and the United States to discuss. Hence, it seems to me that if the chief cause for [Page 291] the visit were to address the English-Speaking Union, with an invitation by President Eisenhower for Nehru to spend three days in Washington as the guest of the United States Government, the balance would be about right.

A visit by Nehru in November would be a good occasion for bringing Ambassador Cooper back for consultation.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.911/7–2955. Confidential.
  2. Douglas, who had served as Ambassador to the United Kingdom from 1947 to 1950, had contacted Sherman Adams, who in turn apprised Dulles of the idea. (Memorandum of telephone conversation by Phyllis D. Bernau, July 28; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, White House Telephone Conversations) On that same date, Pillai presented Ambassador Cooper with a copy of a letter which Mehta conveyed to President Eisenhower the next day, inviting him to visit India. (Telegram 201 from New Delhi and memorandum of conversation by the Acting Chief of Protocol, Victor Purse, July 29; Department of State, Central Files, 711.11–EI/7–2955) When Dulles showed the President a copy of telegram 201, Eisenhower remarked that India and Mexico “had a status of their own” and “he was particularly anxious that we should have wise policies and good relations” with those nations. Dulles advised that acceptance of the Indian invitation would set a bad precedent, for such good will tours would unbearably increase Presidential responsibilities. (Memorandum of conversation by Dulles, July 29; Eisenhower Library, Dulles Papers, Meetings with the President) Following Dulles’s advice, the President addressed a letter to Nehru on August 1 in which he stated that “it would not be compatible with our form of government for me to get into the practice of making state visits abroad, however personally tempting this prospect is.” He then tendered an invitation to Nehru to visit the United States possibly at the time of the November meeting of the English-Speaking Union. (Ibid., Eisenhower Diaries) Nehru replied on August 15 that he would be glad to meet the President in the United States, though he believed that a wider purpose would be served by Eisenhower coming to India. Since Parliament would still be in session in November that date was ruled out. (Ibid., DullesHerter Series)