194. Telegram From the Embassy in Ceylon to the Department of State 1

375. Prime Minister received chiefs diplomatic missions today alone at five minute intervals. In short time we together he said following:

He feels that foreign aid has not been well handled on Ceylonese side and proposes set up special office under commissioner or permanent secretary in External Affairs to handle all aid matters under Prime Minister’s personal supervision. (Suggestion along these lines was made to Ceylonese months ago by Canadian HICOM Cavell but never acted upon.)
With preface that his true feelings could not be stated publicly, Prime Minister said did not like conditions (presumably attached to aid) laid down by Soviet bloc and things that bloc does, [1 line of source text not declassified] and wanted work closely with Anglo-American grouping. He described U.S.A. as “elder sister of Ceylon”.
He thinks it was great mistake to have required closing British bases Ceylon and hopes find some arrangement that can undo effects this mistake without too abrupt public reversal previous action.

Although Prime Minister began conversation with remarks regarding greatness and genius of predecessor and expression his admiration predecessor’s policies, he obviously intends govern according his own ideas. In one his recent public statements, after saying that he would follow lines laid down by predecessor he characterized period predecessor’s government as “revolution” and said his own period would be time realization gains which would require changes in methods and policies though basic aims would remain same.

I cannot say yet to what extent Prime Minister’s characterization Soviets represents real conviction2 but believe he really irked with them, possibly over some dissatisfaction about aid to schools as he grumbled about Soviet aid and activities when I made courtesy call on him as Minister Education on September 15. He might also be influenced by occurrences at time expulsion Philip Gunawardena from cabinet.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 746E.00/10–659. Confidential.
  2. In a conversation with Governor General Goonetilleke on October 8, Gufler reported that Goonetilleke assured him of Dahanayake’s anti-Communist and pro-Western orientation. [2 lines of text not declassified] (Telegram 386 from Colombo, October 8; ibid., 746E.00/10–859)