The Chargé in India (Steere) to the Department of State
2577. Emb believes Malik’s remarks re Kashmir before SC Jan 17 shld be read against background other developments India and elsewhere during past few months. Among these fol are considered significant:
- Since extension Amer food grain assistance to India in June, and particularly since Amb Bowles arrival in India in Oct there has been increasingly friendly tone Indo-Amer relations. Previous bitterness which characterized news articles and comment in Indian press has disappeared. Confidential conversations with high GOI officials seem show greater understanding US and Western point of view and to some extent spirit of accommodation.
- Recent conclusion TCA agreement and Amb Bowles reported remarks before US congressional groups regarding more extensive US econ assistance during next few years have recd wide Indian press coverage and have created definite impression US understanding India’s econ problems and US efforts to assist.
- Fol opening Internatl Industries Fair (with strong Commie flavor) Bombay Jan 11 Russian Amb to India Novikov made statement indicating USSR prepared supply India with industrial equipment and buy Indian products. Novikov “offer” apparently taken seriously by Indian press and widely interpreted as attempt counter Amer aid plans.
- Commie and leftist groups have achieved greater success than anticipated in Tranancore-Cochin, Madras and Hyderabad during current Indian gen elections. These increased may strengthen Commie and leftist position in other Indian states which have yet to vote such as West Bengal.
- For some time Commie propaganda in India has plugged Anglo–US interference re Kashmir alleging their desire use Kashmir as armed base in guise trusteeship. Recent statements by high Kashmir Govt officials take similar line such as RevMin Beg supporting presence Indian troops. Kashmiri rejecting possibility their replacement by foreign, UN or neutral troops and suggesting Kashmir Con Assembly shld proceed with drafting Kashmir constitution in view Graham’s failure. Kashmir Con Assembly Pres Sadiq Jan 18 welcomed Malik’s SC speech and urged India withdraw Kashmir issue from UN.
- Dr. Graham’s reports to SC indicating some progress toward solution demilitarization aspects Kashmir dispute, although important points remain to be solved.
In view foregoing factors, Emb speculates USSR believes time come it must endeavor disrupt improving pol and econ relations between Indian and US. Sov intervention Kashmir wld make dispute new item in ideological conflict and wld create impression India and Soviet views similar. Indo-US relations might be prejudiced and execution of arrangements for present and possibly future US aid to India might be hampered. Soviet support wld inject new spirit into Indian Commie ranks and possibility Commie successes in remaining Indian elections might be increased. Some Kashmir Govt officials wld view Soviet support as confirming their stand which might cause them more strongly to resist continuation Graham mediation. USSR might also hope Malik’s statement its attitude wld deflect SC from continuation Graham’s mediation activities at time when they appeared be moving forward with greater hopes success.
Emb notes some foregoing points covered Delga 1089, Jan 17 from Paris to Dept, rptd Karachi 13, Delhi 23. Emb believes USSR had all foregoing in mind and particularly possibility Malik’s statement wld prejudice continuation Graham’s further efforts. See Embtel 2575, Jan 19 for Indian reaction and Emb views.