24. Editorial Note

In a letter of March 21 to J.R.A. Bottomley, First Secretary of the British Embassy, Bartlett stated that the Department appreciated the British memorandum of March 18 (see supra) and agreed that talks between U.S. and British representatives regarding India and Pakistan would be helpful. He added that the Department would like to leave the date for the talks open a while longer “until we can assess more clearly the possible effects of the current Graham and Iliff negotiations.” (Department of State, SOA Files: Lot 62 D 43, Package)

In telegram 5649 from London, March 25, the Embassy summarized the “preliminary thinking” of British officials with regard to the upcoming talks on relations between India and Pakistan. It was evident, the Embassy commented, that the British Government was “searching for positive steps arrest deteriorating Indo-Pakistan relations and Embassy believes it will be glad consider any US proposals this nature which are put forward in forthcoming talks. British have apparently realized that while policy impartial sale of arms to both [Page 74] India and Pakistan may preserve UK’s neutrality in bitter fraternal quarrel within Commonwealth and keep Russian influence out of India’s armed forces, it does nothing prevent exacerbation of Indo-Pak quarrel which may ultimately rend Commonwealth apart and throw one or both antagonists into arms of Russians. However, UK Government wants before abandoning its neutral perch on bank to make sure it will take plunge into raging stream on controversy hand-in-hand with us.” (Ibid., Central Files, 690D.91/3–2658)

In telegram 2359 from Karachi, March 24, the Embassy suggested that once U.S. officials began discussing the arms race between India and Pakistan with British officials they would inevitably be led into discussing aspects of the package deal, “especially if talks are to be meaningful.” Accordingly, the Embassy recommended that the United States should reveal the package deal early in the discussions and seek British cooperation in the solution of the immediately pressing problem of supply of arms to India and Pakistan. (Ibid., 690D.91/3–2458) The Embassy in India offered a different opinion in telegram 2444 from New Delhi, March 26. It suggested that the U.S.–U.K. talks would be useful if they did not prematurely raise the issue of the United Kingdom joining the United States in the proposed package approach to India and Pakistan. “We still think US should do these alone,” the Embassy stated, “mainly because of GOI distrust of UKG resulting from Suez situation in 1956.” (Ibid., 690D.91/3–2658)