215. Letter From King Birendra of Nepal to President Carter1

Your Excellency,

Here in Nepal, we have been following with great interest your success in the Presidential elections and your recent inauguration.

I believe that this interest reflects the close bonds of friendship between our two peoples and I am confident that relations between Nepal and the United States of America will be further strengthened and will encompass other areas of mutual interest during Your Excellency’s Presidential tenure.

I wish to take this opportunity to write to you frankly some of my country’s problems and share with you my thoughts on how best we feel the United States can extend cooperation. Nepal is a small country situated between two of the world’s most highly populated countries. Our endeavour has been, and will always continue to be, to have relations of peace, friendship and cooperation with all countries of the world, but particularly with our two main neighbours, India and China. Our geographical location is in an area which has been the scene of armed conflict on several occasions in the last thirty years. Nepal has not been involved in any of these hostilities, and we would like this state of affairs to be perpetuated. It is in this context that I have proposed that Nepal be declared a Zone of Peace.2 Any right-thinking person realises that the energies and resources of a small, underdeveloped country like ours has to be channeled fully to the task of raising the living standard of our people. Acceptance of Nepal as a Zone of Peace, with reciprocal obligations on the part of other countries not to engage in hostile activity against Nepal and on the part of Nepal not to allow [Page 539] its soil to be used for hostile activity against other countries, would make it possible to devote ourselves fully to the task of economic development and would in its own way contribute to peace in the region and peace in the world. American understanding and support of Nepal as a Zone of Peace would be deeply appreciated by the people of Nepal.

I might mention here that, responding to the Nepalese people’s deeply-cherished desire for peace, of the governments in this region, my government alone has signed and ratified the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. Your Excellency’s initiatives to stop the spread of nuclear arms and the possible means of their manufacture will meet the full support of the Nepalese people, located, as our country is between two of the world’s six countries possessing nuclear technology.

Nepal’s problems as a landlocked country are, I believe, well appreciated by the American Government and people.

Your Excellency may not find it so easy with all your onerous duties to visit other countries in the early period of your Administration. May I, however, extend on behalf of the Government and people of Nepal an invitation for you and Mrs. Carter to visit Nepal at any time convenient to you. We have the highest respects for the ideals which the American people uphold and you can rest assured a warm welcome awaits you, however your visit may be organised, officially or unofficially.

Please convey warm good wishes from my wife and myself to Mrs. Carter.

Please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Birendra R.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P770071–0401. No classification marking. Borg forwarded the letter to Brzezinski, as well as a draft reply from Carter to King Birenda, under a March 11 covering memorandum. (Ibid.)
  2. In his March 11 memorandum to Brzezinski (see footnote 1 above), Borg explained that the “purpose of the Zone of Peace proposal is to secure a pledge from India of non-interference in Nepal’s internal affairs, a key preoccupation for a country which is not just land-locked, but India-locked. However, India, which considers Nepal to lie within its strategic sphere, has reacted coolly to the proposal. Other countries, including the United States, have refrained from taking a position. The Ford Administration told the Nepalese privately that the U.S. would not comment until Nepal had worked out a specific understanding with its neighbors. We believe that this remains the best stance. U.S. endorsement of the Zone of Peace proposal at this stage would be viewed by India as gratuitous involvement in a bilateral matter of considerable importance to Delhi.”