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

3000. Reference: Madras telegram to Department 1652 repeated information Bombay 92, Calcutta 66. Kerala. Embassy and Consulate General Madras met Delhi May 25 discuss implications impending agitations re school closure and petition requesting President enter scene in Kerala if and when agitations accompanied by breakdown law and order.

Agitation supposedly beginning June 1 over education matters based on communalism likely be joined with agitation scheduled begin second week June when opposition political parties formulate charge-sheet as basis demanding ouster CPK from control GOK. KPCC and two other non-Communist parties Kerala, PSP and Muslim League, while unprepared associate with agitation re education matters wish capitalize such agitation and intensify opposition to CPK. Both Congress High Command and KPCC seem have now adopted greater realism and agree that CPK is dangerous to India and should be ousted from power in Kerala.

AICC met in Delhi with Kerala Congress Party May 10–13. At this conference KPCC obtained, after some argument, green light from AICC to proceed with “charge-sheet” agitation.

Unity re objective between High Command and KPCC does not mean two agreed re tactics or timetable. KPCC, being on spot, understandably maintains “throw the rascals out” attitude without too much concern for “how” or “what”, although there is some indication that they are perhaps increasingly aware that their return to power will [Page 495] depend on their ability retain on continuing basis cooperation other non-Communist parties and to hold out promise of constructive and positive programs.

Although Congress at center was already beginning to show signs of functioning as party distinct from GOI, and Mrs. Gandhi3 has been repeatedly and outspokenly critical of Communist regime, All-India Congress Party leadership is perhaps more conscious than KPCC that overthrow of CPK must be coupled with Congress ability to provide alternative acceptable to voters if Communist threat is to be effectively challenged and contained. High Command also acutely aware that Congress when in the opposition cannot support or condone methods which would undermine its position if practiced by opposition in states where Congress has majority. Consequently, while not foregoing any opportunity presented by impending Kerala developments, probable that Center timetable for removal of CPK is not so immediate as more impatient, agitation-minded KPCC. In fact, one body of opinion at Center wonders if Communism would not be more thoroughly discredited locally and nationally if CPK remained in office until 1962 and was constantly subjected to criticism and dramatic exposure of failures.

At present KPCC has initiative and opposition forces appear ready follow its leadership during June–July when CPK faces most serious challenge its 25 month control GOK. Impending agitations may easily lead violence that GOK unable control and leave way open GOI, if it desires, impose President’s rule. Thus agitation designed become vehicle which KPCC leaders can use for ousting CPK from control. New zeal now appearing IPCC, infused with new blood, greater determination and confidence derived from tacit High Command support, suggests opposition taking longer view, and young KPCC leaders, though making determined effort to capitalize on impending agitations, will not, if they fail to achieve their objective this time, be discouraged from continuing struggle against CPK until it loses control GOK. These leaders fully aware that ultimately GOI assistance needed if CPK is to be successfully ousted summer 1959. Hence present KPCC leaders planning court action restrained enough to encourage GOI intervention. It is their belief High Command and GOI leaders will support KPCC efforts if latter prove capable of staying within bounds. There seem be some prospects that opposition forces under new KPCC leadership may succeed ousting CPK’s ministry this summer.

Meeting with Simons4 examined US policy re Kerala in light above views and arrived following conclusions thereon: Present policy [Page 496] (based on CA–1082, August 1, 1957)5 requires no changes now; examination should be undertaken immediately ascertain feasible actions if and when CPK falls within coming months. Exercise concerned with possible US assistance to non-Communist GOK re supply food grains via PL 480; increased trade in such products as corn, cashew, pepper in order strengthen indigenous industries; increased participation US private investment medium-size industries such as rayon and paper, rubber manufacture, sugar and tapioca plants; and US financial assistance for “impact projects” in area.

In order place ourselves in position of readiness to act should circumstances develop favorably, Mission and ConGen Madras will work out recommended projects and actions. At that time, if opportunity presents itself, we shall explore discreetly, with selected GOI and diplomatic personnel especially from NATO countries, possibilities of effective and immediate cooperation with new non-Communist GOK to resolve some Kerala’s basic economic problems.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 791.00/5–2859. Secret. Repeated to Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.
  2. Telegram 165 from Madras, May 19, predicted unrest and possible violence in Kerala in June. (Ibid., 791.00/5–1959)
  3. Indira Gandhi, President of the Congress Party.
  4. Thomas W. Simons, Consul General in Madras.
  5. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. VIII, p. 363.