- Bhutanese PermRep’s Meeting With Under Secretary Sisco
Summary: In August 15 meeting with Under Secretary Sisco, Bhutanese UN PermRep Tshering called overthrow of Sheikh Mujib “unfortunate”, described relations with India and China as “good” and “correct, respectively, and agreed with Sisco’s view that UN should strive for cooperative and constructive approach to international issues. Sisco explained U.S. policy in South Asia and desire for stability in region and stressed need to avoid confrontation and rhetoric in UN. End summary.
1. Bhutan’s Permanent Representative to UN, Dago Tshering, accompanied by Second Secretary Gurung, called on Under Secretary Sisco August 15. NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary Dubs and Country Officer Lorton sat in.
2. Sisco asked Tshering for Bhutan’s views on subcontinent, relations with India and China, and reaction to Bangladesh coup. Tshering called Mujib’s overthrow unfortunate and expressed his belief Mujib had worked hard and had people’s respect. He thought shape of things to come remained to be seen. Sisco expressed surprise Mujib’s life had not been spared given his role in independence movement but noted Bangladesh plagued by enormous economic problems and Mujib not noted for administrative ability.
3. Noting Bhutan was a small, landlocked state, Tshering described relationship with India as good. He added that this relationship has advantages for Bhutan, including Indian economic assistance. Relationship with China is “correct.” Bhutanese presently happy with their situation and GOB did not want to do anything to interfere with Bhutanese people’s basic simplicity and love of religion.
4. Tshering observed Bhutan had only a limited capacity to absorb capital investment and large doses of aid, but concentration was on development of small scale, agriculturally oriented industries through assistance from India and UNDP. He added that people have tremendous confidence in the King and his ability to lead the country and its development.
5. Sisco assured Tshering there would be a continuing manifestation of American interest in South Asia. We support the Simla process, do not want to see anyone’s independence extinguished nor any one power dominate the region. We have stayed out, both publicly and privately, of internal developments in India. Our interest in Bangladesh, where we have been the principal supporter of economic development, is primarily humanitarian. We see our interests best served by development of stability in area. Sisco also invited Tshering to let us know if we could be helpful to Bhutan in any way.
6. Sisco also asked for Tshering’s views on the UN, the Special Session, the producer-consumer dialogue, and political issues such as Korea and the suspension of Israel. Tshering said Bhutan as a small, least developed country, could not expect to benefit very directly even if spectacular developments occured at the Special Session. However, as a developing country, and recognizing the interests of other developing countries, Bhutan saw such meetings as an opportunity to get together and establish basic principles out of a consensus.
7. Sisco said it was our objective at the Special Session to see whether a producer-consumer dialogue of a serious nature on concrete problems could take place. Nothing practical could come from grandiose rigid or ideological positions. What is needed is an approach based on the proven principle of interdependence. We recognize, for example, developing countries want assurances on stabilizing earnings from commodity exports and are prepared to address that sort of specific problem. We will put forward a number of constructive ideas which we believe will be of interest to developing countries, and we hope that everyone will act with restraint to avoid confrontation and rhetoric. Tshering agreed with this view.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential. It was drafted by Lorton, NEA/INS; cleared by NEA and IO/UNP; and approved by McAdams DeFord, P. It was repeated to USUN, Katmandu, Islamabad, Calcutta, and Beijing.↩
- Undersecretary Sisco and the Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations Dago Tshering met on August 15. They discussed Bhutan’s votes on Korean and Middle Eastern questions.↩