220. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Nepal1

25964. Subject: Letter to the King of Nepal from President Carter.

Please deliver following message. Original being pouched.2

Begin quote:

Your Majesty:

I regret that I did not have sufficient time during my recent trip to visit other countries in South Asia.3 However, I am well aware of Your Majesty’s hopes for regional peace, and I can assure you that I had them in mind during my discussions in New Delhi. My visit, on which Ambassador Heck has briefed you, was intended not only as an indication of the importance which the United States attaches to good relations with India, but also as a reaffirmation of our interest in the whole area.

In visiting one country in South Asia, I have been struck by the efforts of all of the countries in the area to solve problems peacefully, increase stability in the region, and promote development. I have noted Nepal’s continuing efforts to improve its relations with its neighbors and appreciate the contribution Your Majesty’s government is making to regional peace and stability.

I believe that one of the most promising steps toward regional cooperation is the attention countries are giving to mobilizing water resources. I was particularly interested in the initiatives you proposed on this subject in your inaugural address at the Colombo Plan Consulta [Page 549] tive Committee, especially your pledge to participate in joint ventures which would emphasize, as you stated, independence through interdependence. As you know, both Prime Minister Callaghan and I restated this theme during our visits.4

My administration is committed to provide development assistance, especially to the most needy countries such as Nepal, and I look forward to continuing and expanding our collaboration through AID and the Peace Corps.

The United States is concerned about strengthening international efforts to control narcotics. We have welcomed your assurances that Nepal will take effective action against the production of and illicit trafficking in all narcotic substances. I especially welcome the assurance that Nepal will not produce opium.5

As Ambassador Heck told you in his recent audience,6 a number of Americans have expressed concern to me over the condition of Mr. B.P. Koirala.7 Your decision to release Mr. Koirala for medical attention in the United States last summer was certainly an act of great humanity. I understand that the American doctor who was present at that operation believes that Mr. Koirala should receive further tests within the next few months, though I am sure that Mr. Koirala will continue to receive excellent medical attention from his Nepalese physicians. I have no intention of interfering in the political or legal processes of your country, and I appreciate the courtesy with which you discussed this matter with Ambassador Heck. I mention the matter of Mr. Koirala once again in the spirit of avoiding any possible complication in our [Page 550] good relations, and in consideration of the compassion and statesmanship that you have shown in the past.8

I want to reiterate my assurances of the continuing commitment of the United States to world peace and cooperation and our continuing interest in strengthening friendship between the peoples of our two countries. Sincerely, Jimmy Carter. End quote.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780047–0236. Confidential; Immediate. Drafted by Percival; cleared in S/S–S and by Dubs and Thornton; approved by Lande.
  2. No copy of the original was found.
  3. Carter visited India January 1–3. See Documents 9092.
  4. The Colombo Plan Consultative Committee met in Kathmandu November 29–December 9. Delegations from 23 Colombo Plan member nations, including the United States, attended. Telegram 5344 from Kathmandu, December 7, reported the King’s December 5 speech to the opening of the Ministerial session, during which he proposed regional cooperation in the development of water resources. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770454–1379) For more information on regional efforts to mobilize water resources, see Documents 1, 3, and footnote 9, Document 14.
  5. During a September 20, 1977, meeting with Heck, Prime Minister Bista declared that Nepal would not produce opium, saying that it was “out of the question.” (Telegram 4100 from Kathmandu, September 21, 1977; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770343–0034)
  6. Telegram 169 from Kathmandu, January 10, reported Heck’s January 5 discussion with Birendra. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780016–0256)
  7. In connection with Carter’s letter to Birendra, Tarnoff informed Brzezinski in a January 12 memorandum: “The only sensitive point in the letter is the reference to B.P. Koirala. The Government of Nepal resents foreign, particularly Indian, support for B.P. Koirala, Nepal’s former Prime Minister and primary opposition figure. J.P. Naryan, the Indian political and moral leader, has asked the President to intervene to secure the release from prison of Koirala, who faces criminal charges in Nepal. Koirala, despite a recent operation in New York, may require further medical attention.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P780037–0272)
  8. On February 22, Bista informed Heck that “in response to President’s recent friendly letter,” the “King had decided quote to consider matter sympathetically on humanitarian grounds unquote. In response to my request for clarification of what this meant exactly, Prime Minister said that Koirala would be released ‛very soon’ and would be free to leave country for further medical treatment.” (Telegram 926 from Kathmandu, February 22; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780079–0948) Telegram 943 from Kathmandu, February 23, reported that Koirala was released from detention on February 23. According to the Embassy: “Koirala told our source he had been released on ‛some kind of parole’, terms of which will presumably be clearer after his appearance before special tribunal later this morning.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780083–0422)