205. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India0

2170. Eyes Only Ambassador. Following first Nehru November 19 communication,1 your messages to President2 and assessment of military events last several days, following decisions taken highest levels:

Agreed US-UK program no longer sufficient in changed circumstances. Program approved in principle with recognition that much more must be done.
We acutely feel lack of information regarding GOI plans and capacity to meet this new situation. Accordingly, we are sending a small high-level team to arrive New Delhi approximately Friday to assess whole situation along with Indian plans and capability for meeting it and return with action recommendations as soon as possible. They may wish [Page 399]to visit scene of action on frontier. Team will include high ranking military officers both Army and Air with appropriate representation from State and CIA. Arranging best coordination we can with UK directly, but not waiting on them.
Immediate reinforcement Kelly team to full strength required carry out expanded program. Request your and his urgent recommendations team level required and job specifications.
We are prepared to dispatch twelve or more C-130’s at once to assist in any necessary movement of forces and equipment to Assam area or to Ladakh. This would be US operation with planes, crews support. Request your urgent advice whether Indians prepared to use this transport immediately.3 Also earliest estimates men and tonnage involved. Special airlift team being dispatched at once. This provides another opportunity for you to remind Indians about importance of moving troops from Pakistan border. Urgency of situation underlines anomaly of Indian reluctance in this respect.
For continuing build-up Indian airlift capacity we also prepared urgently airlift at least critically needed spare parts C-119’s. Best procedure appears send maintenance team already named at once to assess need and determine effective measures.
This as far as we can see to go on basis of facts now available here. However, supply actions urgently needed and assessed as valid need not be delayed despite lack of clear picture Indian capabilities. View possibility India now ready use tactical air, one airlift requirement may be bombs request of UK. London should raise this and ascertain availability and British air shipment capabilities.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 791.5/11-1962. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Kaysen and approved by Talbot and Rusk. Repeated to London and Karachi.
  2. See Document 203.
  3. Not further identified.
  4. The Embassy confirmed the need for the C-130s on November 20, and the Department responded on the same day that the Department of Defense was dispatching 12 C-130 aircraft to India. (Telegrams 1914 from New Delhi and 2191 to New Delhi, both November 20; Department of State, Central Files, 791.5/11-2062)