162. Summary of a Meeting With the President1

Mr. Hoover, accompanied by Mr. Rountree, met with the President to review the latter’s briefing for the Nehru visit. Also present were Colonel Goodpaster, Mr. Hagerty and, for a brief period, Governor Adams. The following principal points emerged:

The President said that he had read several of the briefing papers which had been sent over to him, and had talked with a number of people who wished to give him their views as to how to deal with Nehru. He had been particularly impressed with New Delhi’s recent telegram reporting the conversation of Frank Moraes [Page 328] with Nehru.2 He agreed to Mr. Hoover’s suggestion that he receive Senator Cooper for a debriefing on the Senator’s recent visit to India.

Referring to the briefing paper on a possible communiqué, the President suggested that arrangements be made for a discussion of this matter by the Secretary with Nehru on Tuesday following the President’s and Nehru’s return from Gettysburg. In this connection, he commented that he might fly back from Gettysburg, thus arriving in Washington about 10 a.m.

The President read the paper on the objectives of the Nehru visit which had been expanded to include the Secretary’s views. He commented that he did not consider Goa and Kashmir in the same category as United States aid to Pakistan, insofar as his discussions with Nehru were concerned. He thought he would take the position that the United States assumes an impartial attitude concerning the former two questions, and not that we should “agree to disagree”. The United States will deal with Pakistan quite separately from its policies toward India, just as India has decided to remain neutral as between the United States and the Soviet Union. He thought that the main objective Nehru would have in his visit would be as indicated in the last item in the briefing paper, i.e., to obtain a Presidential attitude favorable to the extension to India of a large scale United States loan in the near future, plus the objective of demonstrating that Nehru is the outstanding figure of Asia to whom the United States looks for wisdom and counsel.

Referring to the briefing on the attitude which he might assume concerning the prospects of American aid, the President thought that he should not be too cool, although he would avoid any commitment. He commented that a rebuff might result in Nehru turning more sharply toward the Soviet Union. A great problem in the question of aid to India would be Congress’ attitude in the light of Indian policies.

Referring to the briefing on Hungary, the President questioned the wording “The United States is prepared to give careful consideration to proposals for guaranteeing the neutrality of a new Hungary”. After some discussion to clarify the meaning of this sentence, the President suggested that the word “guaranteeing” be deleted.

Mr. Hoover suggested that the President seek an opportunity during his talks with Nehru to build up the prestige of Ambassador Bunker. The President agreed to do so.

Mr. Rountree mentioned that Mr. Stassen had suggested that the President seek particularly to impress upon Nehru the sincerity and soundness of our disarmament policy.

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Commenting in more general terms about the meeting with Nehru, the President said that its main utility would be to provide for a general discussion of matters of common interest. With respect to particular propositions which might be put up by Nehru, he imagined that he could do little more than listen. Any detailed discussions and negotiations should be carried out at another level. He thought that he was adequately briefed for his talks.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 62 D 181, CF 830, Record of Nehru Visit—Dec. 16–20, 1956. Secret. Drafted by Rountree. The source text bears a marginal notation that it was seen by the Secretary of State. It was sent to him on December 15 at Hoover’s request.
  2. See footnote 3, supra.