40. Telegram 175434 From the Department of State to the Embassy in India, October 16, 1969, 1713Z1 2

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  • Indian FonSec’s Call on Secretary, Oct. 14
At outset of call on Secretary, Oct. 14, FonSec Kaul said Indian FonMin wished him to find out about U.S. policy in South and Southeast Asia. Secretary replied he thought our bilateral relations were off to good start. Both President and he felt good about their visit to Delhi and there was every prospect for much better relations ahead. We have thus far refrained from providing arms to Pakistan, although this under review.
Secretary then reviewed Asian policy, mentioning reduction of U.S. military and civilian presence. [Page 2]Referred to importance of regional cooperative arrangements, explaining that U.S. not thinking of new security arrangements although we intend maintain existing commitments. Stated we do not necessarily expect alignment with US but also do not want alignment against us. U.S. does not intend tie AID to policies of our friends.
Secretary continued that prospects for U.S.-Indian relations quite good except for matter he had discussed with FonMin, i.e. Indian proposal establish Embassy in Hanoi. Indian recognition of Hanoi without similar action in South would pollute atmosphere with regard t Executive Branch, Congress and American people. Every program USG engages in abroad depends upon support of the Congress which would construe Indian recognition as anti-American move. It would be difficult to assign any [Page 3]other motive to Indian action. Secretary noted India already has representative in Hanoi with personal rank of Ambassador who is available for any desired communications. Indian recognition would be inconsistent with its neutral role in ICC. Secretary pointed to fact that India has, as a matter of policy, avoided diplomatic relations with divided countries. If it recognized Hanoi at time U.S. engaged in military operations, American people could draw only one conclusion: India would be deliberately taking sides at time of war. U.S. reaction would not be temporary. It would have serious and lasting effect. This could not be stressed too strongly. Speaking for President, Secretary said he could report we were just beginning to see way toward very good and close relations with India. Requested Kaul convey his views to PriMin and FonMin.
Kaul expressed satisfaction no decision made on arms policy. Stated if policy changed it would have grave repercussions in Indian Parliament. Kaul then stated Indians were worrying about future of Asia, given new U.S. policy of detente with China. Said people were asking if U.S. working up some kind of understanding with Soviet Union and China. Asked what would become of other nations. Secretary replied that U.S. moves were modest attempts improve relationship with Mainland China and had not been reciprocated. Expressed surprise that India would be concerned over our desire improve relations, in view traditional Indian policy. Suggested India might improve its relations with China. Kaul recalled Indian experience in 1962, referred to Mrs. Ghandi’s recent conciliatory statements and said there had been no Chinese response.
Reverting to issue of relations with Hanoi, Kaul said decision not yet made, It would be based upon Indian interests, interests of region, and interests of world peace. Initiative was taken by North Vietnamese who wanted Indian friendship td help meet difficulties which would come with peace. Kaul explained Indian impression was Hanoi wanted to limit influence of Soviets and Chinese.GOI wanted representative who could present Indian views and, indeed, U.S. views at highest level. Kaul repeated usual explanation for not elevating representation in South. Expressed hope U.S. Congress would understand Indian recognition of Hanoi would be carried out not to hurt U.S. but to improve prospects for peace and orderly evolution following peace.
Secretary questioned that Indians required Embassy in order to communicate with Hanoi. Stated Indian [Page 6]action would destroy all possibility of India’s playing role of peacemaker, since India would have publicly taken sides. Secretary asked that Indians weigh their own interests carefully. Said Chat Indian recognition would cause tremendous difficulty with American public and Congress. Latter would find no reason for it except that India a wished take position in favor of country with which we were at war. This would make improved U.S.-Indian relations, which we hoped for, quite impossible.
In reply, Kaul expressed hope U.S.-Indian relations depended upon deeper factors than this. Said Indian effectiveness in Asia depended upon its playing independent role, Secretary agreed but said action with regard to Hanoi would not be "independent" but would be lining up with other side.
Also present at the meeting were Mr. Sisco, Mr, Van Hollers and Mr. Schneider on the American side, With FonSec Kaul were Indian Ambassador Jung and Mr. S. K. Lambah.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 596, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. II, Oct 69–Aug 70. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Schneider on October 14, cleared by VAN HOLLEN, Sisco, and James D. Rosenthal (EA/VN), and approved by Rogers. Sent also to Saigon, Rawalpindi, and Paris. The telegram sent to Paris was also numbered Todel 3367. Kaul was in Washington as head of the Indian delegation to the Indo-US Bilateral Talks; see Document 42. The Secretary’s meeting at the United Nations with Foreign Minister SINGH on September 29, during which he raised similar objections to the proposed Indian recognition of the North Vietnamese Government, was reported to the Department on October 1 by USUN in telegram 3325. (Ibid,. Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 596, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. II, Oct 69–Aug 70)
  2. Secretary Rogers reviewed Indo-U.S. relations with Indian Foreign Secretary Kaul and warned that Indian recognition of North Vietnam would have a "serious and lasting" negative effect on relations with the United States.