49. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State1

Secto 11. Personal for President and Acting Secretary from Secretary. It is quite clear as seen from here that it was indeed important for me to come to represent the President at Nehru’s funeral.2 Rank of dignitaries here from other countries and obvious appreciation of Indian leadership are both indicative. I have been invited to speak briefly at [garble] open-air meeting here in commemoration of Nehru presided over by President Radhakrishnan.

In brief private call which Bowles and I made on Radhakrishnan last evening, he showed great strength and determination as India faces the future. He believes that the new India will be “more pro-West than ever.” He believes new government will be constituted very quickly, no later than Saturday, and that Congress Party Parliamentary Group will probably cast about three hundred votes for Shastri and about one hundred for Morarji Desai. Curious combinations between far right (Morarji Desai) and far left (Krishna Menon) are complicating factor. Despite Shastri’s apparent large lead, it could develop that Congress Party will attempt to find unanimity and turn to someone like Nanda, temporary Prime Minister.

I am seeing Kosygin this afternoon and will do my best to underline the importance of Soviet Union and US working together for peace in Southeast Asia, especially in Laos.

I am also calling on Japanese Foreign Minister this afternoon and will emphasize need for caution on Japan’s part in building up its relations with Peiping at time when latter’s militancy is threatening war in the Pacific.

During my brief stop in Tehran, I learned that Shah is prepared to make contribution to South Vietnam.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 INDIA. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. Prime Minister Nehru died on May 27. Minister of Home Affairs Gulzarilal Nanda became Acting Prime Minister on Nehru’s death. Secretary of State Rusk headed the U.S. delegation that attended Nehru’s funeral. Nehru’s death interrupted the talks Defense Minister Chavan was having in Washington, and Chavan and his party returned to India in Rusk’s plane. Chavan sent a message from the plane to President Johnson regretting the fact that tragic circumstances precluded the meeting he was scheduled to have with the President. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, India, Vol. II, Cables, 4/64–6/64)