29. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs (Buffum) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs (Gardner)1


  • Kashmir Debate in UN Security Council

In response to your inquiry, the following is a digest of recent Security Council consideration of the Kashmir problem.

At the request of the Indian Representative (which was moved to a vote by the Czech Representative), the Security Council on March 20 agreed to adjourn debate on the Kashmir question until May 5. The non-communist “nine” of the Security Council subscribed to a statement made to the Council by Brazil’s Ambassador Bernardes which inter alia reserved the right of the Security Council President or any Member to reconvene the Council before May 5 should new developments of a military or political nature alter or worsen the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir. Bernardes also appealed to the parties to “refrain from any action or threat of action capable of endan [Page 65] gering international peace and security or likely to make this already complex and delicate problem still more intractable.”

As you know, Pakistan first requested the Security Council to deal with what it termed in January a worsening situation in Kashmir. The Council met between February 3 and 17 to hear Pakistani Foreign Minister Bhutto and Indian Minister for Education Chagla exchange views on this problem.

During these sessions in February, the United States did not assume its previous overtly-active role in the negotiations and tried to avoid the introduction of a resolution which we believed would be vetoed by the USSR. We wished instead to quietly arrange a consensus statement by the Council to the effect that communal harmony in the sub-continent should be restored, that the parties should resume negotiations to settle their outstanding differences, including Kashmir, and the possibility of third-party mediation, with some sort of assistance from the UN Secretary-General, should be considered. Although the “nine” favored this approach, the Indians rejected any mention of “past actions” or “past proceedings” (referring to past UN resolutions) in the operative paragraphs of the consensus and subsequently the Pakistanis withdrew their earlier agreement to a consensus, stating that a resolution, even if vetoed, would be preferable. At this point, Bhutto abruptly moved an adjournment, ostensibly to enable him to return home for further consultations, but apparently to play host to Chou En Lai.

After Chou left, Pakistan requested the Security Council to resume its consideration of the Kashmir issue, but India, in its turn, found it desirable to oppose this move, arguing that its ministerial-level personnel were occupied in budget matters before the Indian Parliament and could not travel to New York before late April.

Eventually, however, the Council met again on March 17, with Pakistan represented by Bhutto and India by its Permanent Representative, Chakravarty. After a moderate statement by Bhutto outlining his government’s views on the situation in Kashmir, Chakravarty asked for an adjournment of the Council to late April or early May to enable India to be properly represented before the Council. The Czech Representative supported this call for adjournment and requested a vote under Rule 33 (3) for adjournment to May 5. Ambassador Bernardes, however, persuaded the Czech to withdraw his motion and suggested instead that the Council suspend discussion for several days in order to permit consultations among the Members on the question of adjournment for the longer period.

Between March 17 and 20, there was considerable activity in New York among the “nine” to see in what ways India’s request for adjournment could be “conditioned” to show the Council’s continuing interest in progress on the Kashmir question as well as to meet, at least in part, [Page 66] the desire of Mr. Bhutto to hold the line against further Indian moves (which were also contrary to the spirit of the UN’s previous resolutions) to integrate Kashmir into the Indian Union.

Although the US tended to favor adjournment at this time in order to relieve the Indian domestic scene of as much pressure as possible during a difficult transition period, we were also reluctant to have Mr. Bhutto leave New York after such a short and inconclusive Security Council session. It was apparent that the non-permanent members of the Security Council were hopeful of achieving some progress on the Kashmir issue and somewhat irked at the manner in which India’s Chakravarty was demonstrating a lack of cooperation in this regard. We further believed it desirable from the standpoint of Indo-Pak relations to leave as little “vacuum” as possible between the two SC meetings (March and May) on the Kashmir problem.

We thus encouraged and supported Ambassador Bernardes in his efforts to draft and obtain agreement for another consensus statement which would have been read by the SC President on March 20 when the Czech motion to adjourn was considered. However, the Soviets and Czechs, presumably at the behest of India, did not agree to placing “conditions” on the adjournment, arguing that no such conditions had been imposed on the earlier Pakistani request for adjournment. It was finally arranged for Ambassador Bernardes to read his own statement during discussion of the motion, and that like-minded members of the “nine” would subscribe to it in short statements of their own.

In an interesting exchange on March 20 after the SC Members had spoken, Foreign Minister Bhutto took the floor and praised Bernardes’ efforts while at the same time noting that if events required a new Security Council meeting before May 5, it was his understanding and the understanding of a majority of Security Council Members that such a meeting could be called at any time. Bhutto pledged that no political, military, administrative, or judicial steps would be taken by Pakistan to alter the existing situation in the area, and asked for similar assurances from the Indian Representative. Chakravarty surprised the Council Members by responding that Jammu-Kashmir is an integral part of India, regardless of the opinion of the Pakistani Foreign Minister or SC Members, and that India would continue its integration moves, notwithstanding the feelings of the Pakistanis, Council Members, or anyone else.2

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This last exchange, reports USUN, dismayed members of the “nine” and led Benhima (Morocco) to tell Ambassador Yost after the SC Session that, should India persist in its integration moves in Jammu and Kashmir, he (Benhima) would call for a new Council meeting before the May 5 date.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDIA–PAK. Limited Official Use. Drafted by John W. Kimball of UNP.
  2. The Embassy in New Delhi reported on March 26 that Lal Bahadur Shastri told the Lok Sabha that the Security Council had not placed any restrictions on India regarding the full integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. He doubted that it would be possible to take action regarding Article 370 during the current session of the Kashmir state assembly, since the assembly was about to adjourn. But he added: “The Foreign Minister of Pakistan can say what he likes. We will do what we want.” (Telegram 2841 from New Delhi; ibid., POL 10 INDIA)