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

1966. This message is result consultation between Embassies Karachi and Delhi and is joint recommendation by Ambassador Langley and myself for US government secretly to attempt negotiations seeking settlement major outstanding issues between Pakistan and India. It supplements views previously submitted by both Embassies.

On procedural matters we believe: (1) US should undertake operation alone but should inform UK in advance; (2) initial approach should be made by US Ambassador Karachi and Delhi by presenting identical letters from President Eisenhower to Nehru and Noon respectively, with additional informal approach to Mirza along same line.

We suggest letters from President could be along following lines. We believe national interests of Pakistan and India make mutually acceptable solution of major outstanding issues on subcontinent highly desirable, perhaps essential to continued peace and prosperity of area. US interests also would benefit from such settlement. We believe there is common agreement on necessity for reducing international tensions while assuring safeguards for human rights and future development of democratic government in which we all believe. In past United States has endeavored assist India and Pakistan in programs which have been considered mutually beneficial for each country and United States. But experience has shown that certain basic issues involved in Indo-Pakistan relations remain unresolved and, in fact, are deterrent to the peaceful, progressive, democratic economic development which each nation desires and which foreign assistance program of US is designed to promote.

The US public and Congress obviously will be more willing approve continuance such aid if demonstrable and solid progress is made towards achievement of goals for which funds are appropriated.

I believe that the degree of progress which we all hope for can not be made in either Pakistan or India while those issues remain unresolved and while a major part of each nation’s attention is concentrated on the military strength and posture of the other country. In order to utilize available resources of our three countries most effectively for common good I herewith offer good offices of my [Page 55] government to assist in settling those major issues which are crucial to good relations between India and Pakistan and to peaceful, cooperative development of the area.

My personal representative, Ambassador Bunker (Langley), has been authorized to discuss this matter with you and to arrange for further negotiations if you desire. A similar approach is being made by Ambassador Langley (Bunker) in Karachi (Delhi). If negotiations are undertaken and successfully concluded, government will take measures assist, if necessary, in implementation of such settlements designed to contribute to economic development of India and Pakistan. End substance of letter from President.

If it is agreed that such letters be sent by President, it is important to have clear oral statement ready for each Ambassador to make when letter is presented. This oral statement might include following points:

Suggestion of issues to be covered in negotiations which would include at least Kashmir, canal and river waters,2 partition finance settlement, possibly refugees. The Ambassador would presumably ask what other subjects should be included in package settlement. (However, we should attempt to limit discussion to essential subjects.)
We believe that negotiations should be divided into two distinct phases:
Preliminary approach. We believe this should be made by US Ambassadors at Karachi and Delhi dealing directly with Mirza/Noon and Nehru. We believe this method essential if secrecy to be maintained so that PM’s will have opportunity to work out procedure for second or formal stage of negotiations.
Formal negotiations. This stage would begin when PM’s have agreed on desirability of negotiations. Place and method would have to be settled on basis convenience, maintenance of security, identity of negotiators and, of course, would be in accordance wishes PM’s concerned. Negotiations could be held in Karachi and Delhi or any other mutually agreeable place such as New York, Geneva, Tokyo, and there should be agreement on method, e.g., should US representative deal only with one government initially, then go to other government and back and forth as negotiations progress, or should representatives of GOI, GOP and US sit down together from beginning?
Point out, in case of India, that this year executive branch of US Government did not feel it could ask Congress for big loan for India; that, as Dillon told Dayal in December, 1957,3 India’s continuing needs two and three years from now will have to be approached in [Page 56] light situation at that time; and therefore, it would be highly desirable show real progress in settling basic problems of subcontinent before US Congress meets in 1959.
Point out, in case of Pakistan, heavy drain on nation of continuing military expenditures and need to switch to greater economic development; imply US may have to cut down on military aid to Pakistan, but hopes greater economic aid could be extended if favorable conditions generated; and this in turn depends on settling basic issues with India which now impede economic progress on which life of country ultimately depends.
Generally emphasize this is most serious offer which US making for sake peace, progress and democracy in South Asia. We recognize difficulties in reaching settlement on issues in question but believe no time should be lost in seeking ways toward improvement of situation on subcontinent, particularly if progress is to be demonstrated before US Congress meets in 1959.
If Nehru asks immediately, as can be expected, what assurance there is that GOP will either negotiate in good faith or be able to carry through on any commitments, an answer might be: (A) We think Mirza trustworthy and strong enough to fill bill; (B) GOP similarly questions good faith of GOI and fears growth of Communism in India; (C) basic self-interest of both countries is overwhelming motivation; (D) in final analysis it takes certain amount of faith which can be justified only if it is tried.
If Prime Minister/President asks what assurance there is that GOI will either negotiate in good faith or be able to carry through on any commitments, answer might include inter alia: (A) With the second 5-year plan hanging in balance, Nehru and the Congress have particularly strong reasons now for wanting to cut defense expenditures, which they will do only when Indo-Pakistan differences are settled; (B) it is worth keeping in mind that Nehru is not a young man and that he is likely to give the Pakistanis a fairer deal than any successor; (C) not only would Nehru’s successor or successors in all likelihood be far more intransigent stick once it was negotiated; [sic] (D) we believe both countries have strong enough motivation and sufficiently trustworthy leaders, so that they justified in acting partially on faith that the other side will negotiate in good faith.

We understand that consideration is being given to a good-will visit to this area by Milton Eisenhower. We think this is excellent idea on its own merits. If such visit could take place shortly after initial soundings by Ambassadors it could, if considered desirable in the light of the reactions received, provide opportunity for Milton Eisenhower to give useful impetus to negotiations by personally stressing to Mirza [Page 57] and Nehru the importance which our President attaches to their success.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/1–2958. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Karachi.
  2. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) had been mediating the dispute between India and Pakistan over the division of the waters of the Indus River since 1952.
  3. For a memorandum of a conversation between Dillon and the Indian Ambassador, held in Washington on December 14, 1957, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. VIII, p. 407.
  4. In a letter to Ambassador Bunker of February 26, Frederic P. Bartlett noted that the Department appreciated receiving the draft letter contained in telegram 1966. He enclosed current working drafts of the proposed letter from President Eisenhower to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan as well as a talking paper to be used by Ambassadors Bunker and Langley upon presentation of the letter. (Department of State, SOA Files: Lot 62 D 43, Package) On February 28, Bartlett forwarded these papers to Rountree for his comments and suggestions. (Ibid.)