92. Telegram 176436 From the Department of State to the Embassy in India and the Mission to the United Nations1 2

[Page 1]
Secretary and Foreign Minister Singh had hour-and-fifteen minute talk Saturday, October 24, with only Ambasaador Jha and Sisco present as follow up to briefer meeting held previously with Prime Minister Gandhi. Meeting revealed very deep suspicion which GOI has re US policy, primarily emanating from what they consider to be past difficulties. Meeting provided opportunity for frank exchange of concerns which both sides have with respect to each other’s policy. Secretary stressed that our approach to assistance has not been to create indebtedness but to create friendship between US in fact and in tone. Meeting concluded with both Secretary and Singh agreeing to try to approach future problems with a USUN [Page 2] clean slate.
In what appeared to be a defensive tone, Singh started conversation by saying that PM Gandhi’s remarks on previous evening should be taken in spirit of candor and friendship. Secretary accepted this but reiterated that if India has any complaints regarding what we are doing then it is necessary for them to state them clearly and specifically rather than to base any charges on vague suspicions, past and present. After long exchange in which Singh time and again reflected Indian suspicion of US policy going back to 1954, Foreign Minister complaints boiled down to following: That we have too many AID personnel in India; that there are examples of US officials trying to affect the direction of Indian economic policy on basis of our own favored ideology; that Embassy has more contacts with opposition groups, and in particular one party, than with Indian governmental officials; and that all US invitations to Indian state officials and political leaders should be checked out with Foreiqn Ministry [Page 3] or at least Ministry should be kept informed.
Exchange became direct and sharp at times. Secretary stressed strongly the following points: We want friendly relations with India and will continue to work to this end though we believe that India’s policy of non-alignment has been much more critical of US than of other side. We feel in this regard India has been unbalanced in its approach; we are speaking primarily of what this administration has but done though we are prepared to justify the past, but not on vague and unsubstantiated charges going back 10 or 15 years. We feel that India has been unfair in its public criticism of the US. (We agreed to give them a catalogue of such Indian statements.) We have substantially reduced our AID personnel since the new Administration has taken over and we are prepared to look at this again in concert with Ambassador Keating; Our Embassy in Delhi, like all our embassies all over the world, is under instructions to have broad contacts with all strata of society, just as the Indian [Page 4] Embassy has such broad and diverse contacts in US to which we offer absolutely no objection; that inevitably in two big democracies bankers see bankers, industrial leaders see industrial leaders, etc. There is no US policy of working against present government. We continue to be prepared to examine anything specific which the Government of India brings to us indicating we are interfering in its affairs. Secretary said we are not interested in in being where we are not wanted. Our problem is this: to convince the Congress that the amount of money we provide India is worth it in light of the unfair criticism of US by India; that in the UN, for example, India has time and again taken positions that in our judgment do not reflect impartiality between the two sides.
Secretary said he glad conversation had taken place since he detected great deal of narrow-minded suspicion based on things that may have happened in past. He stressed that our [Page 5] purpose is not to create indebtedness but to develop friendly relations, both in content and in tone. He elaborated in considerable detail the unwarranted behavior of India in closing the cultural centers saying this was politically motivated, that it was done because some politicians thought it was politically advantageous to be critical of US. Secretary did not accept Singh’s contention that such actions were not politically motivated. Secretary several times repeated we will consider any charges made that are specific and would take appropriate action if any charges made were found to have content.
Singh then turned to importance which India attaches to US not closing options for India. He maintained that India wants to treat USSR and US on par. We indicated this would be satisfactory but we do not have impression that we are being so treated. Singh said India does not want to put all of its to eggs into one basket. He contended that India turned to Soviets for arms only after it was unable to get them from US and UK. [Page 6] He insisted that their public statements were based on their own assessments as to what is realistic, not to curry favor with Soviets. Equally, Secretary insisted that a number of these statements were made by Indian officials because they felt it was politically beneficial to attack the US. As for our decision on PAK arms, we made it principally for reason mentioned by Singh: we do not want to leave PAKS to mercy of only ChiComs and Soviets. Secretary also made clear that he not only objected to content of public Indian statements but also fact that they were voiced in an unfriendly manner. He said we feel that India tends to brush off our assistance. He stressed that public utterances should be directed at creating friendship with US not suspicion. We are not trying to create a situation where Indians feel indebted to us.
Conversation then focussed briefly on discussion of Vietnam and Middle East. Talk concluded on positive note that US and India could approach future difficulties from a clean slate.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA–US. Secret; Nodis. Drafted on October 26 by Sisco and approved by Eliot. Sent to New Delhi eyes only for Keating and to USUN eyes only for Ambassador Charles W. Yost.
  2. In the wake of his conversation with Indian Prime Minister Gandhi, Secretary of State Rogers had a conversation with Indian Foreign Minister Singh in which the irritants affecting relations between the U.S. and India were aired at greater length. Both agreed to try to approach future problems with a clean slate.