1953: US Diplomat in India Cables Washington

“Eyes only for the Secretary of State from Paul Hoffman. After consultation with Mills and Counselor Wilkins, I concluded that (the) best way to approach Nehru regarding Kashmir was as follows:

·         1. To suggest, without prejudice to (the) present negotiations through (the) UN, (the) possibility (of) considering alternative approaches which Graham referred (to) in (his) latest reports;

·         2. To raise question as to whether all outstanding questions including Kashmir might be settled by direct negotiations;

·         3. To persuade Nehru, if direct negotiations were to take place, (that) it was imperative for him to take (the) initiative.

During lengthy discussion at dinner last night, it became clear (that) Nehru had little hope for (a) successful outcome (of the) UN negotiations, largely because he believes that even if agreement were reached on troop disposition, too many issues would be left unresolved.

Nehru (was) not only willing to meet with (the) Pakistan Prime Minister in (an) effort (to) settle all outstanding questions but is confident (that) they can be resolved by direct negotiation. As Nehru explained to me, senior Indian and Pakistan officials will meet in Delhi soon to thrash out current questions including Kashmir, canal waters, evacuee property and all other issues. Differences of opinion will undoubtedly arise. In early June while Nehru is in London for (the) coronation he will have informal talks with (the) Pakistan Prime Minister there during which groundwork can be laid for (a) formal conference at (a) later date.

Nehru discussed (the) Kashmir situation freely, including (the) possibility (of a) full plebiscite, limited plebiscite for (the) Vale and (the) possibility (of) joint control of (the) Vale. While he would not commit himself to any particular solution, he seemed confident that (a) satisfactory answer could be found.

I believe, as (a) result (of) our discussion,(that) Nehru is convinced (that the) primary responsibility for bringing about (the) closest cooperation between India and Pakistan, which of course includes (the) settlement (of) outstanding issues, rests squarely upon him. Furthermore, I believe he is convinced (that) success in these negotiations will enhance his effectiveness as (a) leader in (the) movement for world peace. He also agreed that success would give his friends in America (the) opportunity to promote both understanding and friendship between our two countries.

Nehru has given me permission to advise (the) Pakistan Prime Minister of his eagerness to effect (a) settlement (of) all differences through direct negotiation and has requested me to report (the) results of my conversation to him on my return to Delhi next Wednesday.

I started my discussion with Nehru by giving assurances (of the) deep interest (the US) President and (the) Secretary (of State have) in both India and Nehru as (a) leader in (the) movement for world peace. I then read excerpts from (the) President’s speech which were deeply gratifying to Nehru.