254. Telegram 4957 From the Embassy in India to the Department of State, April 20, 1972, 1426Z 1 2

[Page 1]

SUBJ:

  • DEPARTMENT’S INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED STATE 067415

Department of State

TELEGRAM

0 201426Z APR 72

FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI

TO SECSTATE WASHDC NIAC IMMEDIATE 7207

RT

NODIS

1.
I HAVE APPOINTMENT WITH FOREIGN MINISTER SWARAN SINGH AT 1100 HOURS LOCAL APRIL 21 TO CARRY OUT INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED SUBJECT TELEGRAM AND IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY FURTHER WORD FROM THE DEPARTMENT WILL CARRY OUT THOSE INSTRUCTIONS TO THE LETTER.
2.
I FEEL I OWE IT TO THE DEPARTMENT, HOWEVER, TO CALL TO YOUR ATTENTION CERTAIN ASPECTS WHICH HAVE PROBABLY BEEN CONSIDERED BUT MAY POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED. THE POINTS I WISH TO BE SURE THE DEPARTMENT HAS CONSIDERED ARE AS FOLLOWS:
A.
IMPLICIT IN INSTRUCTIONS WOULD APPEAR TO BE ASSUMPTION THAT INDIAN POSITION ON VIET-NAM IS OF CONSIDERABLE IF NOT CRITICAL IMPORTANCE TO USG. MAKING DEMARCHE AS INSTRUCTED AS I SEE IT WILL ONLY CONTRIBUTE TO INDIAN ILLUSSION THAT THIS IS THE CASE. IN FACT, I BELIEVE GOI POSITION ON VIET-NAM IS. IRRELEVANT TO THE ISSUE AND RELATIVELY MEANINGLESS IN THE REST OF ASIA. I REGRET SEEING IT DIGNIFIED.
B.
EFFECT OF INSTRUCTIONS ON GOI IN MY JUDGEMENT MAY AGAIN BE TO PUSH INDIANS FARTHER IN SOVIET DIRECTION. I QUESTION WHETHER THIS IS IN OUR SELF-INTEREST.
C.
LEST THERE BE ANY ILLUSION TO THE CONTRARY, DEPARTMENT MUST BE AWARE THAT GIVEN ITS PRESENT FRAME OF MIND GOI IS NOT ABOUT TO ALTER ITS POSITION BECAUSE WE ASK THEM TO DO SO. IF ANYTHING, IN PRESENT CLIMATE THEY ARE EXCESSIVELY AND PROUDLY INDEPENDENT AND WISH TO PROCLAIM THEIR INDEPENDENCE TO THE WORLD, GOI POSITION WILL NOT BE ALTERED THROUGH MY DEMARCHE.
D.
DEPARTMENT’S INSTRUCTIONS OBVIOUSLY NOT CONDUCIVE TO DEVELOPMENT OF A MEANINGFUL DIALOGUE DIRECTED AT IMPROVING OUR RELATIONS IF THAT IS IN FACT DEPARTMENT’S DESIRE. THERE [Page 2]MAY BE REASONS OF WHICH I AM UNAWARE WHY THAT IS NOT RPT NOT DESIRED AT THIS TIME.
3.
IF DEPARTMENT NEVERTHELESS WISHES ME TO CARRY OUT INSTRUCTIONS I SUGGEST CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO DELETING LANGUAGE RTE WE REGARD THIS STATEMENT AS A FURTHER UNFRIENDLY ACT ON PART OF GOI UNQTE. SUCH LANGUAGE IN CONTEXT PARA 2A ABOVE STRIKES ME AS BEING SOMEWHAT OVERDRAWN.
4.
I WANT TO ASSURE DEPARTMENT THAT I CAN FULLY APPRECIATE IRRITATION CAUSED WHEN A LEADING GOI OFFICIAL ENUNCIATES A POLICY WHICH IS SO MUCH AT VARIANCE WITH OURS ON A MATTER OF DIRECT AND CRITICAL IMPORTANCE TO US. MY ONLY CONCERN IS THAT OUR REACTION BE CONSUMMATE WITH OUR OWN LONG-TERM INTEREST.
5.
SHOULD DEPARTMENT WISH TO MODIFY INSTRUCTIONS IN ANY WAY, I WOULD APPRECIATE THEIR BEING SLUGGED IMMEDIATE FOR DELIVERY AT OPEN OF BUSINESS APRIL 21.

GP-1.

KEATING
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA-US. Secret; Niact; Immediate; Nodis.
  2. Ambassador Keating questioned whether the instruction to register a stiff protest with Indian Foreign Minister SWARAN SINGH over his statement about Vietnam might have the effect of attaching more importance to the incident than the U.S. intended.