58. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

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  • Closure of Five U.S. Cultural Centers in India

I reported in a May 6 memorandum to you that the Indians had taken several initiatives which might have permitted the five affected U.S. cultural centers to function in some alternate form but to continue their operations much as before.

Despite these signs, the Government of India has insisted upon conditions which we would not wish to meet. For example, we have been told that there could be no resident American Director of cultural centers, that foreign cultural centers might be subject in the future to the directives of an all-Indian board. These conditions would clearly be incompatible with the concept of an American cultural center.

We have instructed Ambassador Keating to inform Foreign Secretary T.N. Kaul that we are closing the five affected centers in accordance with the request of the Government of India. The closure will take place on Saturday, May 16, the end of the work week. This is two days prior to the Indian deadline of May 18. In order to keep the record straight, the Ambassador will leave with Kaul an aide memoire which demonstrates clearly that the Indians have been responsible for the closure of the centers and that we have been entirely reasonable in our response to their action.

We will report further on this matter next week after the centers have closed.

Theodore L. Eliot, Jr.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 596, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. II, 10/69–8/70. Confidential. The May 6 memorandum cited by Eliot is ibid.
  2. Eliot reported that the five cultural centers at issue in India would be closed on May 16.