116 High Commission in New Delhi to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 77 NEW DELHI, Lo February 1948, 11.50 p.m.

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In conversation with the High Commissioner today Bajpai asked that enquiries regarding the following matters be made of the Australian Government.

2. Indian political representative in Japan had reported that two Indian officers sent to Tokyo to procure warlike stores from the Disposals Commission had been informed that no military stores would be available to India or Pakistan. They were told further that this decision (from Melbourne) was influenced by the Kashmir episode.

3. Bajpai recalled that B.C.O.F. [1] had been constituted by British, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian troops and that each country had contributed a considerable quantity of warlike stores.

As the forces were gradually reduced a surplus of such stores was accumulated and a disposals commission had been appointed to disperse such surplus. Indian forces had now been withdrawn.

4. Indian Government considered they were entitled to a share of the stores and that the two Indian officers sent to Tokyo should be given an opportunity to bid for what was wanted. On November 20th, 1947, a communication from the Australian Defence Department had been sent to London, whence it was sent to the Defence Department in India, pointing out that a distribution of surplus stores would be taking place and inviting India to take part in this. It was in response to this that the two Indian officers had been sent to Tokyo.

5. Bajpai said that the Indian Government takes strong exception to instructions received from the High Commissioner which ruled India out of the bidding for the surplus stores. The Indian Government considered that this decision represented an intrusion of politics which was not justified and that such extraneous consideration should not enter into the matter.

1 British Commonwealth Occupation Force.

[AA:A1838/276, TS169/20/2]