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

9955. Subject: USG Policy in Kashmir: Joint New Delhi/Islamabad Message. Ref: Islamabad 69582 (Notal).

1. This message transmits the joint recommendation of Embassies New Delhi and Islamabad regarding USG activities in the Indian and Pakistani held portions of Kashmir. It was drafted following consultations between the two Missions and has the concurrence of concerned members of the Country Teams of both.

2. We believe that in general our policy toward our activities in Kashmir should be revised to provide for an approach more consistent with present-day political realities in the subcontinent. The Kashmir issue has been largely dormant for years, and though neither country is willing to acknowledge this formally or publicly, both sides have evidently come to accept the present partition of the state on a de facto basis. This unacknowledged acceptance of the de facto division of the state has led to a reduced sensitivity on both sides to the activities of the US and other powers in Kashmir, and to the significance such acts may have for international recognition of the continuing formal claims of the parties involved. The fact that the Kashmir issue has not received serious consideration in international forums for over a decade and has been recognized by India and Pakistan in their Simla Agreement3 as a matter to be dealt with bilaterally probably furthers the more relaxed approach both sides seem to have adopted toward US and other foreign activities in the divided state. This assessment is reinforced by our awareness that both parties are apparently interested in our having certain types of programs in Kashmir, and are presumably prepared to accept our undertaking similar activities on the other side of the line of control.

3. Against this background, both Embassies agree that our overall approach should be to support in both parts of Kashmir activities of the sort carried out elsewhere in India and Pakistan provided the activities themselves are not controversial. We should not go out of our way to include Kashmir in our programs and our programs there [Page 4] should not be greater in scope than those in other parts of the two countries.

4. AID activities. We should be prepared to respond favorably to Government of Pakistan requests for the inclusion of Azad Kashmir and the northern territories in projects which operate in the provinces of Pakistan such as basic health services, primary education, and barani agriculture. Such activities can be properly viewed as natural extensions of what we are doing in the Pakistan provinces. At the same time, we would recommend that we avoid support for road-building activities. It seems to us that however innocuously “non-military” these might appear, they would have a potential for misunderstanding which it is not in our interest to risk.

5. Should we resume bilateral aid program in India, we should be prepared to respond to requests for their application to Kashmir in the same way as we recommend we do in Pakistan. We see no objection to PL 480 Title II activities by voluntary agencies in Kashmir if they elect to carry them out and the GOI agrees.

6. USIS activities. These have greater relevance to Indian Kashmir, with its university, press, and larger target audience. We recommend that we carry out a program there similar in scope to those we undertake in other Indian states in which we do not have USIS offices. We should be prepared to carry out programs with the University of Kashmir if these are reasonable and consistent with our all-India program. Our activities in Azad Kashmir and the northern territories would be more limited, perhaps roughly similar to those in the less developed districts of the Pakistan provinces.

7. Scientific and technological research. We should respond favorably to requests for USG participation in joint scientific and technological research projects in Kashmir provided these projects meet the criteria established for such activities elsewhere in India and Pakistan. On both the Indian and Pakistan side, the only potential projects we are now aware of are in the agricultural field.

8. Commercial/trade promotion. We see no reason why we should not carry out normal commercial and trade promotion activities in Kashmir.

9. Meetings. We would recommend against the scheduling of bilateral intergovernmental negotiations in Kashmir. In defining this prohibition, which in practice would be relevant only to Indian Kashmir, we would include any meeting involving a US group subsidiary to the Indo-US Joint Commission,4 and thus having a government flavor. (This would not, of course, preclude necessary negotiations between [Page 5] USG officials and officials of the local Kashmir governments on such matters as AID and USIS programs.) We believe the holding of such meetings there could possibly be misinterpreted in Pakistan, particularly if they were well publicized. There are, in any event, many other cool places in India where they could be arranged. On the other hand we would have no objection to US officials or private Americans funded by the USG attending multilateral meetings sponsored by private Indian organizations. We would consider such attendance at meetings sponsored by the GOI or by international organizations on a case-by-case basis in the framework of our overall policy.

10. High level calls. To our recollection, no American Ambassador has called on either the President of Azad Kashmir or the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. We are not certain what reaction on the other side would be to such calls in the future, but would recommend against them as possibly provocative. We have no objection to other officials of the Embassies continuing to call on these and other senior leaders in Kashmir, as they have in the past.

11. In light of the sensitive nature of these recommendations, both Embassies suggest that initial distribution of this message be restricted to action offices in the Department, and that these offices then contact other concerned Washington agencies to work out approved new policy guidelines on the basis of this joint New Delhi/Islamabad cable.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770250–1000. Confidential; Exdis; Stadis. Sent for information to Islamabad.
  2. Not found.
  3. The Simla Agreement, signed on July 2, 1972, ended hostilities between India and Pakistan after the 1971 crisis over East Pakistan. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Documents 272 and 274.
  4. See footnote 6, Document 79.