Volume #15 - 867.|
RELATIONS WITH INDIVIDUAL COUNTRIES
PAKISTAN: VISIT OF FOREIGN MINISTER
Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Acting High Commissioner in India
November 5th, 1949|
Sir Mohammed Zafrulla Khan, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations of Pakistan, arrived in Ottawa on the evening of October 13. He had indicated to the High Commissioner for Pakistan that he wished to obtain a short respite from his responsibilities at the General Assembly of the United Nations, where he is leader of his country's delegation. His visit to Canada was, therefore, brief and informal.
2. On the morning of October 14 the Foreign Minister had an hour's conversation with the Under‑Secretary of State for External Affairs. I attach a copy of a memorandum summarizing this conversation. Later in the morning he gave an interview to the press at the Press Gallery Lounge in the House of Commons.
3. At midday on October 14 he was the guest of the Canadian Government at a luncheon in his honour at the Country Club. The Honourable Brooke Claxton, Minister of National Defence and Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs, presided because of the absence from Ottawa of the Prime Minister and of the Secretary of State for External Affairs. During the late afternoon the High Conmissioner for Pakistan gave a reception in honour of the Foreign Minister and that evening Sir Zafrulla Khan addressed a meeting of the Ottawa Branch, Canadian Institute of International Affairs.
4. During his contacts with the Department Sir Zafrulla Khan made no mention of the controversies now existing between Pakistan and India but spoke in very vigorous terms on this subject at his press conference and, 1 understand, confidentially, also in his address to the Institute. According to an article in the Ottawa Evening Citizen of October 15, which was based on the press conference, he accused India of obstructing the holding of a plebiscite in Kashmir because of the Indian Government's conviction that a vote in a fair and impartial plebiscite would be favourable to Pakistan.
5. It is open to speculation as to whether these remarks had any direct connection with the outspoken criticism which was levelled ten days later by the Prime Minister of India against Pakistan in his press conference in Ottawa. This criticism produced a public rejoinder from the High Commissioner for Pakistan, who indicated that Pandit Nehru was uttering a falsehood in asserting that non‑Moslems do not occupy important posts in the Pakistan Government.
6. Sir Zafrulla Khan spoke of the pleasant recollections which he had of earlier visits to this country and, I believe, he thoroughly enjoyed renewing his contacts with Canada. He was very pleased to learn from the Under‑Secretary of the decision to appoint a Canadian High Commissioner to Pakistan in the near future.
I have, etc.
VISIT OF SIR ZAFRUI.LA KHAN TO UNDER‑SECRETARY
At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, October 14, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations of Pakistan, accompanied by the Pakistan High Commissioner to Canada and Mr. A.A. Khan, Pakistan Vice‑Consul in New York, called on Mr. Heeney. Mr. Reid, Mr. Holmes and Mr. Feaver were also present. During an hour of friendly, frank and at times humorous conversation, Sir Zafrulla Khan covered a wide range of subjects but carefully avoided any reference to matters of present controversy such as the Kashmir issue and the election of India to the Security Council. In no respect, either directly or indirectly, did he attempt to put forward the Pakistan side of any outstanding problem.
2. The only really significant statement was his categorical assertion that the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan will undoubtedly eventually decide upon creating a Republic with a status in the Commonwealth identical with that of India. He felt that Pakistan would have been very happy to continue allegiance to the King were it not for the decision taken at the Conference of Prime Ministers in London last April to permit India, by recognizing the King as the symbolic head of the Commonwealth, to remain a member of it following the adoption of a republican form of government. Incidentally, Sir Zafrulla Khan felt that a mistake had been made in indicating to India in advance of the Prime Ministers' conference that every effort would be made to work out such a formula. He believes that Pandit Nehru's own attitude has changed considerably and that Nehru would in fact not have been unhappy to have returned and told the Indian Constituent Assembly that the other members of the Commonwealth had not found it possible to accept such a formula and that, therefore, India must continue allegiance to the Crown or leave the Commonwealth. Sir Zafrulla Khan felt that the Constituent Assembly would not have chosen the second alternative, though the matter is purely academic and no one will ever know, as history never offers a second opportunity for such a decision.
3. The most striking impression left by Sir Zafrulla Khan was that, despite his use of Western clothes and his air of cosmopolitanism, he is above all a great Muslim leader. Without in any way adopting the approach of a missionary or the attitude of an apostle, he constantly referred in a most felicitous and easy manner to the life and philosophy of the prophet in support of his own ideas and the actions of the Pakistan Government. He felt that the Muslim teachings, which recognize the responsibility of the state for the provision of the necessities for all citizens, provided a strong barrier against the acceptance of Communism. He recognized, however, that the very heavily populated area of East Pakistan maintained so low a standard of living for large sections of the people that, unless economic conditions could be alleviated, the ground was fertile for the seeds of Communist philosophy. The Pakistan Government felt it was, therefore, necessary to take remedial measures because in the words of the prophet, "Destitution is the mother of infidelity."
4. Sir Zafrulla Khan spoke of his visit to China in 1942 when he went there as the first diplomatic representative of India with the title of Agent‑General. On his return to India he spoke of the great danger of the spread of Communism because of the feebleness and corruption of the Kuomintang. Indeed he had believed that the collapse of the Nationalist rdgime would take place before it actually did. Nevertheless, even though the Communists had overrun most of the thickly‑populated industrial and richer parts of China, he thought it might still be possible for the Nationalist Government to maintain itself in the south and west in an area which would be almost half of the entire country. (Sir Zafrulla was a little out in his arithmetic; according to the New York Times for October 16, the Communists now control two‑thirds of the area of China and three‑quarters of its population.) He rather indicated that he hoped that this would eventuate as it would provide a buffer state between the Communists and South East Asia. There has been no supplying of small arms to the Chiang Kai‑shek regime from the sub‑continent of India as either India nor Pakistan have any available for export, However, to date there has been no infiltration of Chinese Communists into India or Pakistan. Sir Zafrulla Khan indicated that his government had not as yet made any decision concerning the recognition of the Chinese Communist régime.
5. It is noteworthy that Sir Zafrulla Khan revealed no semblance of animosity against India. He spoke with satisfaction and obvious pleasure of the occasions when he had represented India abroad and of the responsibilities which he exercised in India prior to the establishment of Pakistan.