191. Telegram From the Embassy in Ceylon to the Department of State1

52. Reference: Embtel 1101 and Embtel 1115.2 Having squeaked through throne speech, next parliamentary test to government comes on budget vote at end of month or early August. Public reception of budget speech poor, debate commencing 20th expected to be more extended, acrimonious than on throne speech.

Means used obtain throne speech victory,3 strikes now underway, government use military support,4 are increasing speculation government will fall or emergency be declared near future. Political action at high pitch.

In continuation previous estimates, Embassy believes possibility early collapse government increasing. Following appear most probable means:

Defection additional SLFP members, quite possibly on budget vote, followed by election.
Coup action.

Alternatively PM may attempt extend power by declaration emergency if strikes enlarge.

[11 paragraphs (1½ pages of source text) not declassified]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 746E.00/7–1359. Top Secret.
  2. Footnote [22 lines of text] not declassified.
  3. On July 8, the Bandaranaike government survived a vote of no confidence on an opposition amendment to the throne speech, 50–41. The government mobilized its full strength for the vote, while the opposition lost eight votes through abstentions and absences. Several of the abstentions were left-wing members. (Telegram 36 from Colombo, July 8; Department of State, Central Files, 746E.00/7–859; telegram 39 from Colombo, July 9; ibid., 746E.00/7–959)
  4. In response to a port strike in Colombo, the Government of Ceylon called out the military to preserve civil order and perform necessary duties to maintain certain essential services. (Telegram 1114 from Colombo, June 26; ibid., 746E.00/6–2659)