32. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State1

271. Embassy wishes comment on Kashmir in general and Deptel 689, June 8 to USUN,2 Karachi’s despatch 920, June 29,3 Karachi’s telegram 12, July 16 to Delhi4 and Deptels 148,5 149,6 1537 in particular.

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Basic points we see in situation are: (1) GOP and GOI agreed in SC on “fair” plebiscite under UN auspices and later showed receptivity to alternative procedure of bilateral settlement through mediation Owen Dixon8 and others.

(2) Pleading rebus sic stantibus (i.e. US military aid to GOP), GOI now clearly opposed on security grounds to any relaxation of grip on Kashmir such as an attempted plebiscite might involve.

(3) UNSC, only UN body which has discussed Kashmir case, refused from outset to consider merits of parties conflicting contentions as well as solution by other than Chapter 6 means. Attitude of GOP has always been one of confidence that Kashmiris would freely opt for accession to Pakistan. Attitude of GOI has always appeared to be that plebiscite or any other solution is acceptable so long as conditions ensure vale remaining in GOI possession. Practically everyone but Bulganin, Khrushchev and Menderes9 has refrained from taking sides.

(4) GOI posture on Kashmir case may be summed up roughly as follows: Initial tribal aggression from Pakistan occurred against Jammu-Kashmir in 1947 and GOI will at next UN airing have to “insist” on UN finding to that effect; communal violence affecting forty-odd million Moslems in India and number non-Moslems in Pakistan and Kashmiris always latent and might well burst out if stimulated by events connected with Kashmir; Pakistan’s increased military strength would now make GOP “intransigent” toward any reasonable compromise (“reasonable” meaning award of vale to GOI); GOI has poured capital into Kashmir and must safeguard investment; Pakistan has not carried out her obligation under UN resolution to remove troops from Azad Kashmir; Kashmir has already and legally acceded to India; and as matter national prestige GOI must be stiff on Kashmir issue, especially in election year.

(5) This Embassy aware of depth of Pakistan feeling on Kashmir irredenta and Pakistan frustration at inability over 7 years to obtain plebiscite. But we are unable in light of paragraphs number 2–4 above to see that anything constructive will be achieved by another debate now on subject, which is more than usually unpromising of concrete results and likely to produce acrimony. Highly unlikely GOI would make any concessions during forthcoming general election campaign and likely it would feel impelled to take strong nationalistic line. UN prestige would further suffer by failure resolve problem. US would probably bear brunt of Pakistanis’ further frustration, particularly if GOP should expect US to support, not merely UN resolution on plebiscite, but general GOP thesis as well.

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(6) Under present circumstances Embassy believes most feasible position for US is general one outlined by Secretary in Deptel 689 June 8 to USUN. In Delhi it appears that in long run any workable solution Kashmir issue must come through agreement between India and Pakistan and entail GOI not relinquishing what it now holds. If GOP can find way to live politically with this disappointment (we do not know that it can) it may obtain thereby highly beneficial GOI concessions in return. Fact that currently series conferences being held in Karachi and New Delhi between officials two governments to work out several problems, including financial matters and use of waters, gives some hope that eventually two countries may be able reach agreement even on Kashmir. In such event basic US interests would be served without US having take position merits, which we have so far avoided. Nehru is still receptive to making “deal” on basis cease-fire line proposal. A deal on Kashmir and other Indo-Pakistan issues would make good ammunition for Congress Party for upcoming elections. Among the bargaining counters which could be developed to benefit of both sides are: guarantee to Pakistan for uninterrupted and adequate water supplies originating in India and Kashmir; India undertaking along lines already developed to assist Pakistan in financing development of “belt canals”; and formula for insulating border areas in Kashmir between armed forces of India and Pakistan with provisions for progressive reduction of troops.

(7) Embassy realizes that US must support holding another UN discussion of Kashmir if proposed by Pakistan or any other member. But in view negative prospects, we would hope it could be done with as little fanfare as possible. Although existing UN resolutions on subject should in our opinion be reaffirmed, as representing gain obtained by UN on behalf peaceful settlement such disputes, door should of course be left open for continued bilateral negotiations without giving impression we are retreating from UN position.

To sum up: no pressure we can see short of war will force GOI relinquish vale; GOP may have its periodical UN discussions to satisfy internal political stresses; GOP might by concession of vale to India obtain important advantages from GOI concessions on other problems of great importance to GOP; GOP is only source competent to judge whether it can justify such deal to Pakistan public. In long run perhaps circumstances will wear down resistance both India and Pakistan to point where they will agree directly. In meanwhile we hope US will be able avoid becoming more involved in issue which can only earn us further criticism from all sides.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/8–156. Secret. Repeated to Karachi, Lahore, Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras.
  2. Document 27.
  3. Document 29.
  4. In telegram 12, sent to the Department as telegram 153, Gardiner reported that in a recent conversation I.I. Chundrigar, Pakistani Minister for Law, had discussed with him Pakistan’s planned tactics for presenting the Kashmir case to the Security Council. Chundrigar indicated that Pakistan would appreciate any suggestions which the United States might make with regard to those tactics. (Department of State, Central Files, 330.153/7–1656)
  5. In telegram 148, July 18, the Department informed the Embassy that it desired to avoid making “suggestions” with regard to Pakistani tactics in presenting its case to the Security Council. (Ibid., 690D.91/7–1856)
  6. In telegram 149, July 18, the Department informed the Embassy that the British position on Kashmir had not changed. The United Kingdom continued to believe that a solution to the Kashmir dispute could only be found through “the free expression of the people’s will and in some such way as the United Nations originally suggested seven years ago.” (Ibid., 690D.91/7–1356)
  7. Telegram 153 repeated telegram 244 from London, July 13, which set forth the British position regarding the Kashmir dispute. (Ibid.)
  8. Former U.N. Representative for India and Pakistan.
  9. Adnan Menderes, Turkish Prime Minister.