248. Memorandum of a Conversation Between President Eisenhower and Prime Minister Nehru, New Delhi, December 13, 1959, 8:30 p.m.1



  • Pakistan; Collective Security Arrangements; Law of the Sea; Mahe; Algeria; Indian Atomic Development
[Page 525]

At about 11:00 P.M. on December 13, just after Prime Minister Nehru had left the President following a discussion at dinner and afterwards, the President reviewed the major points that had come up in their discussion.2

The outstanding one is that Nehru is anxious for either a joint declaration, or separate simultaneous statements, by India and Pakistan to the effect that all questions, forever, between them will be settled by peaceful negotiations, i.e., without resort to force or to war. The President asked whether this should apply to all questions in the future, after existing outstanding issues are settled. Nehru said it should apply to all questions including those now existing. If this were done, Nehru indicated—without being precise about it—that he would then be less opposed to our modernizing the Pakistan army. He said he would talk to his people, but he expected that, if we were to go forward with the modernization in those circumstances, they would simply not take note of it or make an issue of it.

Nehru made quite a point that the Pakistanis themselves have no stable roots. Pakistan is a nation created out of opposition to things—chiefly Indian independence—and would have remained under Britain if India itself had not forced through its own independence.

The next point discussed had to do with the problem of collective security. The President told Nehru that he favored such arrangements—in fact thinks them essential to the security of freedom in the world, but that we are not asking Nehru to join with us. The President simply hopes that he will not openly oppose us on this. Mr. Nehru indicated some understanding of our point of view and said he would discuss the matter with his Cabinet.

Regarding the question of the Law of the Sea, the President told Nehru he hoped Nehru could support our “Six and six” formula. Mr. Nehru said he would talk to Mr. Sen about this. He indicated he saw no objection but could not commit himself until he had talked with Mr. Sen.

Mr. Nehru spoke with the President about a French colony on the west coast of India. He said the Indians had made a treaty with the French a number of years ago. The French were very decent about agreeing to turn it over. However, Indian law cannot be applied in the area until the Treaty has been confirmed by both Parliaments. The French have still not done so, after six years.

Mr. Nehru and the President also talked about the course General de Gaulle is following with regard to Algeria. Mr. Nehru indicated great sympathy with de Gaulle and what he is doing there. He thinks [Page 526] the French greatly underestimate the number of Algerians that want independence. Also he thinks General de Gaulle is being “stiff necked” in refusing to talk with the rebel chiefs. How can a rebellion which six hundred thousand French troops have been unable to suppress be ended except through such talks?

Nehru next raised the topic of atomic development. India is a very promising place for atomic power development because of the cost of fuel, and the fact that the cheaper sources of water power have already been exploited. He is anxious to carry out a major program in this field and said he would like to get at least one plant of 50,000 to 100,000 kw capacity to start the program. The President told him that he would call in Mr. McCone, who is quite well informed on this matter, and that if Mr. McCone thinks that the plan has worthy possibilities, he will have him come out to India and talk to Mr. Nehru.

Further on the topic of Pakistan, Mr. Nehru said he would like very much to see Pakistan deeply committed to a program of economic development—since this would make their resort to war more unlikely.

Mr. Nehru also discussed India’s current troubles with Communist China with the President. He said he had sent a note to Chou En-lai three weeks ago proposing a basis and procedures for negotiations, but had thus far had no reply.

  1. Source: Department of State, Conference Files: Lot 64 D 560. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Goodpaster. The source text indicates that the conversation took place at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  2. Earlier that day, Robert Murphy and Winthrop Brown held a discussion with V. K. Krishna Menon on Sino-Indian relations, Indo-Pakistani relations, and various other matters. A memorandum of that conversation, drafted by Brown, is ibid.