Volume #15 - 862.|
RELATIONS WITH INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES
INDIA: VISIT OF PRIME MINISTER
Memorandum from Deputy Under‑Secretary of State for External Affairs
to Office of Prime Minister
October 20th, 1949|
1. General Principles of India's Foreign Policy58
1. The objectives of Indian foreign policy, as enunciated by Pandit Nehru and apparently accepted by most Indians, are briefly the following:
(a) The ultimate aim is to find out what is most advantageous to India. "The foreign minister of a country, whether it is imperialist, socialist or communist, thinks primarily of the interests of his country". This is taken as axiomatic.
(b) India will follow an "independent foreign policy" avoiding any alignment with "rival power blocs." (This position is somewhat analogous to that of George Washington vis‑A‑vis the struggle between the United Kingdom and revolutionary France). "We very strictly follow the policy of not getting entangled in any kind of commitments .... This does not involve any lack of close relationship with any other country." Again, "this is not merely a policy of neutrality but is a positive approach to the problems of the world." Nehru deprecates talk about Indian leadership in Asia but recognizes that as a matter of inevitable historical development India has become "a pivot of Asia" owing to its position, size, resources and potentiality. Nehru has defended this independent line on four main grounds:
(i) India ought not to function with any Commonwealth bloc at international conferences as a kind of camp follower of the British;
(ii) India should not prejudice its iDEA/s regarding oppressed nations;
(iii) India could risk alienating the sympathy of major powers, unlike smaller countries;
(iv) By avoiding alignments India can play an effective part in a world torn by cleavages. In commending to the Constituent Assembly the understanding reached in April 1949 regarding India's membership in the Commonwealth as a republic, Nehru illustrated his point that this independence need not mean isolation; indeed the stress of circumstances obliged India to incline in some direction or other.
(c) the individuality of Asia and the need for its re‑emergence must be recognized. This objective has two implications for Nehru:
(i) "No foreign power should rule over any Asian country", a principle resembling the Monroe Doctrine. Nehru attached the greatest importance to this objective and regards it as necessary to stability in Asia. "India will uphold the principle of freedom for dependent peoples."
(ii) The aid being granted for the economic recovery of Western Europe should be extended to the countries of Asia; a colonial and poverty‑stricken Asia is sure to operate as a factor disturbing world peace.
(d) Nehru has taken a strong attitude against racial discrimination.
(e) While opposed to any military alliance directed against Communism, Nehru would favour regional arrangements for economic cooperation.
II. United Nations
2. With regard to the United Nations, Nehru has declared: "Anything else we may do will naturally have to be something that does not go against the association with the United Nations."
3. While it was Nehru who sent to the Security Council the resolution of the Delhi conference on Indonesia of January, 1949, he avowed that if the conference led to a permanent organization of Asian countries it would be a regional system working in conjunction with the United Nations and resembling the Pan‑American union. He repudiated any notion that an Asian bloc against European countries or the United States was being formed.
4. India was elected a member of the Security Council on October 20. Canada supported the candidature of India. The choice for what some countries regard as "the Commonwealth seat" on the Security Council had lain between New Zealand and India. New Zealand stood down when as a result of consultation more support for India than for New Zealand became apparent. Pakistan has voiced its opposition to India's election on the ground that a dispute involving India is before the Security Council.
III. Situation in Asia
5. India, with Pakistan and Ceylon, has considerable influence to exert on the forces of genuine nationalism in South‑east Asia. In common with the United States and the United Kingdom and with other new nation states in South and South‑east Asia, India is concerned with the maintenance of a balance of power over the whole European‑Asian land mass which would prevent its domination by any one Power. Stalin has made it clear that Soviet Russia sees an excellent opportunity for Communist exploitation in the colonial territories of eastern and southern Asia, "the weakest link in the capitalist chain." Russia caused a decisive turn in the Chinese civil war by allowing the Chinese Communist regime to take over the industries and supplies of arms in Manchuria. The success of the Chinese Communists not only covers the eastern flank of Russia and brings the Communist rdgime into the Russian sphere of influence: it also urges on Communists elsewhere in Asia.
6. Nearest to home, in Burma, India sees what can happen to a newly independent Asian nation. Farther afield, India sees the revolutionary movements in Asia changing the face of the political and strategic map of the world and takes note of the Communist movements both in South‑east Asia and within its own borders. The Indian Communists are strongest in the areas nearest Burma. Their ambitious and detailed plans for India were recently exposed by the Indian government.
7. Western European countries are also gravely concerned. A southward Communist advance means for the United Kingdom (a) insecurity along the line of communication across the Indian Ocean to the East Indies and Australia; (b) danger to the rich supplies of raw materials that are sorely needed by the United Kingdom along with France and Holland; and (c) a threat to the valuable dollar‑earnings from Malayan rubber and tin and from the rice, minerals and timber of Burma. The future of Holland as a power depends very largely on the outcome in Indonesia. Eastern Asia as a whole is a main base of Western Europe.
8. United States policy regarding the Far East has been undergoing a drastic revision owing to the success of the Chinese Communists. Of the three Asian countries that are determining the modern history of Asia‑China, Japan and India‑it is frequently urged that efforts should be concentrated on seeking a strong and stable India. Many Indians feel that the United States has compromised its moral position as a champion of freedom by joining with and aiding Western Europe. There is even a fear that the North Atlantic Treaty might lead to the supporting of "reactionary elements". We learn from our Embassy in Washington that Nehru's questions during official conversations this week mainly concerned Europe. Broader questions of political and economic cooperation in the Far East were not discussed. In his speeches before Congress this week Nehru avoided any mention of Soviet Russia or Communism and gave no implied promise of armed intervention. While he did not know whether Gandhi's technique of peaceful resistance could be applied to "wider spheres of action", he was sure that the basic approach was the right one in human affairs. He nevertheless continued: "We are neither blind to reality, nor do we propose to acquiesce in any challenge to man's freedom, from whatever quarter it may come. Where freedom is menaced, or justice threatened, or where aggression takes place, we cannot and shall not be neutral."
9. While India has the attributes of a potentially Great Power, there will be a lapse of time before that position is reached. At present India has a great need for stable and peaceful conditions in order to develop its resources. As regards defence, India still lacks the necessary technological skills, even though its industrial development has been rapid. Meanwhile Communist China may use the present power vacuum in order to consolidate its position in South‑east Asia. This would be to the serious disadvantage of the Indian sub‑continent, which seems to hold the key to stability and defence in that region.
10. The Indian government is anxious to recognize the Communist regime in China as soon as possible. It is rumoured that Nehru has already been in correspondence with the Communist "premier" and other leaders in Peiping. He is said to be urging the United Kingdom to act quickly. The United Kingdom is pledged to consult the countries of the Commonwealth and the Atlantic Pact countries. The United States government is seeking to restrain any hasty or unilateral recognition. Our own policy is at present being carefully considered.
IV. India in the Commonwealth
11. India's future status as a republican member of the Commonwealth was settled in the declaration made at London in April, 1949. Mr Pearson said at that time, "We have, I think, strengthened our Commonwealth association, and above all we have maintained a firm bridge, through that association, between the East and the West." 12. During his visit last week, the Pakistan Foreign Minister, Sir Mohammad Zafrulla Khan, thought that Nehru might personally have liked to be able to report back to the Constituent Assembly a rather firmer attitude regarding India's status on the part of other Commonwealth countries and to urge its acceptance. However left‑wing Congress opinion was critical even of the solution that was reached. (Zafrulla Khan did not mention in the conversation or at the official luncheon any of the Indo‑Pakistan disputes. He did so to the press).
13. India's dislike of a Commonwealth bloc has been touched upon in paragraph I (b) above.
14. "We join the Commonwealth", Nehru said, "obviously because we think it is beneficial to us and to other causes in the world that we wish to advance." This approach quite evidently seeks to rise above the rancorous and even dangerous disputes now existing between India and Pakistan and between India and South Africa and to give greater weight to the advantages of the Commonwealth association for a new nation and to the situation in Asia.
15. Many Indians feel that at present the Commonwealth association means chiefly the relationship between India and the United Kingdom and that other Commonwealth countries have so far meant little to them. They look to some concrete benefit to India from the association as much as to common purposes and institutions. They believe that the Commonwealth, containing as it now does both white and coloured peoples, can become an instrument of peace and progress only if equality and fraternity are secured among its members.
16. Indians appear to have no desire for the formal Commonwealth machinery proposed by some Australians but might welcome machinery designed to aid the economically less‑favoured members.
58Envoyé à Jules Uger du Bureau du premier ministre, le 21 octobre 1949.ent to Jules Leger of the Prime Minister's Office on October 21, 1949.