47. Telegram From the United States Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State 1

554. Re: Kashmir. Menon (India) talked to me again this morning about Kashmir, maintaining, as he has previously, India’s weak position in UN was due to poor handling of case by his predecessors and that his long speech in SC necessary to restate India’s case on proper basis.2 He said Indians had become involved in talk about secondary details instead of concentrating on issue of aggression and fact that once having acceded there was no provision for secession of Kashmir from India.

Menon said there was danger of some type of “fedayeen” attacks by Pakistanis along Kashmir border. India could not safely allow these attacks to penetrate sufficiently deep to demonstrate their aggressive character before launching military resistance. They would have to resist immediately any military moves by Pakistanis. This might result in Pakistani claims of Indian attacks against Pakistan, and he hoped we would not be fooled. Menon said that if there were any aggression against India by Pakistan and he had anything to do with it, India would take over Pakistan. They would do this in spite of American planes in Pakistan. He said Indian ground forces could easily defeat Pakistani troops, who, he thought, lacked will to fight.

He said India should take both East Bengal and West Pakistan. He stressed most of Pakistan’s foreign exchange earnings came from East Bengal and implied that their loss would prevent Pakistan from acquiring outside military supplies. He also noted that East Bengal economic situation was very difficult and that India had had to donate relief supplies for East Bengal on two or three occasions.

He reiterated that he did not mean that we had supplied arms to Pakistan for use against India, but added that when you give a child a knife it is not for purpose of sticking someone, but it might be hard to prevent him from doing so. He added that even if US opposed Pakistani military aggression and was willing to go to war, any action US might take would probably be too late to help India.

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Menon also referred again to strategic importance Kashmir in relation to Russian and Chinese borders and to Indian doubts Pakistan would be strong enough hold Kashmir.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/1–2257. Secret; Priority.
  2. See U.N. docs. S/PV. 762–764, January 23–24, 1957.
  3. In telegram 557 from USUN, Ambassador Lodge informed the Department that the British Delegation was seriously concerned about the possibility of hostilities between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. “Both Indian and Pakistani officials at top level here have been bellicose in their private statements to us,” Lodge wrote. “While much of this can be discounted,” he pointed out, “such statements have been made on several occasions by both sides.” He requested the Department’s estimate of this problem. (Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/1–3057)

    At a meeting of the National Security Council on January 31, Director of Central Intelligence Allen W. Dulles discussed recent developments regarding Kashmir:

    “With respect to the situation in Kashmir, Mr. Dulles said that while last week we were concerned over possible impetuous action by the Pakistanis, we were now worried about the Indians, who were talking in very belligerent terms. Mr. Dulles doubted, however, that the Indians would actually move to take over Pakistan, despite Krishna Menon’s threatening remarks on this subject to Ambassador Lodge at the UN. It is possible that Nehru’s assumption of the Indian Defense portfolio was the result of his anxiety to keep this situation under control.” (Memorandum of discussion at the 311th meeting of the National Security Council, by Gleason, February 1; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)