28. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State0

3122. As President Ayub bound to raise Kashmir issue in Washington, Embassy believes it timely to assess the prevailing climate and situation here in order to assist Department in reaching conclusions as to what lies within realm of the possible and therefore what course of action to pursue.

We perceive no flexibility in GOI rationalization of its position on Kashmir which has probably been reinforced by similar situation in respect of Chinese in Ladakh, i.e.: It is held there can be no disputing India’s claims which rest on sound legal and political basis; if other party does not accept India’s claim and desires peaceful political settlement, this can only be achieved when military occupation vacated and ties of friendship have begun to reknit; in any case, initiative and proposals for settlement must come from those who seek to repair damage done by infringement on India’s territory. Thus, those Indians who have hoped for Indo-Pakistan rapprochement have concentrated on soluble problems with view to strengthening the climate and habit of cooperation on the theory that accommodation of positions on Kashmir, involving give and take, can more easily be justified to Indian electorate if it is among friends.

From this standpoint, Indo-Pak relations have to be considerably transformed before Kashmir problem can be tackled. Well informed non-Indian observers, with whom this matter has been discussed recently, do not consider any profitable step on Kashmir can be taken at this time, not only because of current state of Indo-Pak relations but also because it is an election year in India.

It is extremely doubtful Prime Minister Nehru, in the unlikely event he desired to, could gain parliamentary approval under present circumstances of any solution of Kashmir issue that would be acceptable to Pakistan. It must be remembered he is regarded by orthodox Hindus as too pro-Muslim.

These considerations, together with fact that what Nehru says even in confidence to Pakistan leaders seems to leak to press are probably why Prime Minister has greeted President Ayub’s conversational overtures on Kashmir with “wall of silence.”

Given present state of Indo-US relations, however, and obvious justification for new administration to have current reading of Indian views [Page 60]from authoritative source, Ambassador plans at a propitious and hopefully early date to discuss Indo-Pak relations with Prime Minister including Kashmir. Obviously no point should be made of this in advance.

If, as is generally believed, Prime Minister is found to consider that Kashmir is more a result than the cause of Indo-Pak troubles, which are basically due to the communalism that produced partition, then current period of renewed communal tension is likely to find Nehru, concerned as he is about communalism, unable to envisage any satisfactory solution and consequently unyielding in his public posture. But at least we shall perhaps be in a better position to gauge what course of action, if any, is open at this time to well wishers of both Pakistan and India.

Galbraith
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/6-2861. Confidential. Repeated to Karachi.