221. Letter From King Birendra of Nepal to President Carter1

Your Excellency,

I have received your letter of the 30th of January 1978 rendering your advice to me in the spirit of mutual goodwill and friendship for which I would like to thank you.2

The Nepalese people share with you and the people of the United States the great ideals of freedom and human dignity. We also share your belief in the Rule of Law which can be guaranteed only when there exists an independent judiciary. I hope Your Excellency is aware that the Constitution of Nepal guarantees not only fundamental rights, but also requires that no discrimination be made between one man and another before law and none can be punished without trial before [Page 551] courts of law. All this has been done in the belief that an individual must find justice before courts of law and enjoy his freedom as an individual. Although I have heard of some cases of offence against the State in my country, it is only appropriate that I should not interfere into the cases sub judice. Any person convicted by the last court of appeal even enjoys the privilege of sending an appeal for clemency.

For some weeks past I was on a regional tour of my country. The more I travel, the more the people I meet and talk to, the more I feel convinced that the demands of the vast majority of our people are for basic economic development. Only some weeks ago, I was travelling through those areas where people have specially been hit hard by the prohibition on the traditional cultivation of narcotic plants. It is not fair that hundreds of thousands of people should suffer by a stroke of a decision where their livelihood has been affected most deeply. I wonder if it was really what we wanted. This is where I believe our obligation comes in strongly.

Excellency, as a friend of the American people and as a Nepali who enjoyed the privilege of spending a year at Harvard, I wish you to be assured that the partyless Panchayat democratic system, which we profess, is developing in accordance with the wishes of the Nepalese people. An attempt to subvert it from outside will lead, I am sure, toward instability. As I believe in the ideals of democracy so I believe that the need for an all-round economic development requires serious attention. But neither economic development nor democracy will have any meaningful impact on our people unless they get a fair share in the distribution of the fruits of development. These are the subjects where my thoughts are being directed. I am happy to note that Your Excellency is giving sincere thoughts on offering assistance to Nepal and I much appreciate your offer to help us develop our water resources.

Excellency, I wish you to be assured that I have championed the cause of Nepalese democratic policy to flourish in Nepal. Also, as I have been seriously concerned about the need for economic development in Nepal, I have been pleading to friends across the world to accept Nepal as a Zone of Peace.3 As I write in all frankness, I also wish to mention categorically that the people of Nepal shall never accept imposition from any one from outside. Proud of their heritage of independence, they guard their freedom and dignity, equity and the Rule of Law, the absence of which can only lead to a rule of force, violence and terrorism. In the name of a new order and change, people have been saddened in the past to witness freedom being replaced by despot [Page 552] ism, and democracy having been trampled upon by dictatorship of one kind or another in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America. This is where I believe our maturity and sober understanding are called for. As one who has stood for individual rights and freedom, it was natural that my government and people missed Your Excellency during your tour of Asia. May I once again invite Your Excellency and Madame Carter to pay a friendly visit to Nepal at a date convenient to you.

Your country’s Ambassador, Mr. Douglas Heck, has no doubt communicated to you the essence of much of what I have written. My government appreciates his contribution to Nepal-United States friendship and we wish him well in this endeavour.

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

Birendra R.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P780079–1172. No classification marking.
  2. See Document 220.
  3. See Document 215.