21. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Burma1

642. Department studying means countering Soviet penetration Burma. On basis Embassy reports and other accounts our tentative evaluation BulganinKhrushchev visit2 as follows: Would appear strongest proponent of visit was Prime Minister but he probably had support many governmental leaders who felt visit would embarrass Burma’s indigenous Communists, encourage their defection and win left wing support in coming elections. However, demeanor and indiscreet utterances Bulganin and Khrushchev appear to have shocked some Burmese officials who now wonder whether some back tracking by GUB will be necessary to clarify Burma’s neutralist position internationally and convince Burmese masses AFPFL is superior to Communist organizations in Burma and substantial differences exist between International Communism and Burmese Socialism.

If this analysis substantially correct, may offer opening for frank and useful talks with Burmese Government. Approach could be made to Kyaw Nyein and other leaders to test this analysis and if it proves accurate, discuss ways by which US could help Burmese leaders counteract effects recent Soviet tactics. It would be made clear we have no desire compete with Communists in aid programs. However we desirous help prevent Burma from falling under greater Communist influence internationally or domestically. We believe Burma’s leaders share this view and that we can help in preservation Burma’s independence and freedom of action. With this in mind we would hope Burmese leaders would feel free and unembarrassed discuss [Page 30] with us any assistance which they believe we might help provide in forestalling further involvement with Communist bloc.

In light your knowledge likely recommendations IBRD Mission,3 repercussions BulganinKhrushchev visit and Burmese views on “aid”, request your comments and suggestions you may have ways US could assist Burma counter Commie tactics.

Do not approach GUB this connection without prior Department clearance.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 661.90B/12–2755. Secret; Priority.
  2. Soviet Premier Bulganin and Communist Party First Secretary Khrushchev visited Burma December 1–7. A joint statement issued on December 6 called for Burmese-Soviet cooperation in the economic, cultural, scientific, and technical fields. A statement issued by the Burmese Government on December 7 announced that the Soviet Union would provide economic and technical aid to Burma in exchange for rice. (Despatch 254 from Rangoon, December 8; Ibid., 461.90b41/12–855) In telegram 650, December 7, Satterthwaite commented that although Khrushchev had probably underestimated Burmese intelligence in making “blatant attacks” on the West, the Soviet Union’s willingness to accept Burma’s rice on a barter basis without limitation might constitute a “real threat” to Burma’s neutrality. (Ibid., 033.6190b/12–755)
  3. Reference is to an IBRD mission, headed by Dr. Antonin Basch, which visited Burma in November and December. Telegram 705 from Rangoon, December 19, reported that Basch had told U Nu that the Bank could not undertake an agricultural project in Burma because U Nu had already agreed to accept a Soviet agricultural mission. (Ibid., 398.14/12–2955)