181 High Commission in New Delhi to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 95 NEW DELHI, 2 February 1949, 7.55 p.m.

SECRET

The following is a report of an interview yesterday with Bajpai following the receipt of the aide-memoire mentioned in my telegram No. 94. [1]

1. Bajpai claimed that the meeting [2] on January 24th was held entirely on Nehru's initiative and that there had been no pressure for it from outside. Asked again who attended he said 'Practically all' of the representatives still in Delhi on that date attended.

2. Asked why our copy of the aide-memoire mentioned only Australia, Burma, Ceylon, China, New Zealand, Philippines and Siam notwithstanding that his Ministry stated a similar document went to other countries represented at the Asian conference, he indicated that he felt that Australia and China would not wish to be associated in the same document with the Arabic countries. [3]

3. He understands the Australian view to be that a regional organization should not stretch in an unwieldy fashion from the Philippines right across to Egypt. But India, he said, is in a peculiar position having a direct interest both to the West and the East herself. Provision for Australian conception [of] limited regionalism was contained in the aide-memoire (see paragraph 5 (1) [4] of our telegram No. 94). Bajpai appears to envisage two regional groupings probably with India as the focus of each. He was rather more confident and yet in some respects rather less frank than usual. An American journalist (Harold Isaacs) had charged him over the table with creating an Asian bloc to which he said he had replied 'So what'.

4. Bajpai skated around a published report by Isaacs that [Rom]ulo had returned [to] [5] Manila with a project for a Philippines- sponsored south east Asian conference at a later date. When prepared, he claimed that there was nothing in it suggesting the Philippines foreign policy is under the United States influence anyway.

5. Qualifying the remark by saying he had not yet received the final accounts from Lake Success, Bajpai said that the Security Council resolution [6] fell short in certain respects including no lifting of the Dutch economic blockade. He intends to circularise the Government of India's views to countries represented at the Asian conference after which he envisages a meeting of their diplomatic representatives here in Delhi. We asked whether India would then make any proposals for further action. This he denied and spoke about an exchange of views. He hinted at the possibility of an eventual reference to the General Assembly.

6. Bajpai said that Maramis, now acting as a sort of de facto Indonesian Foreign Minister abroad, has been permitted the use of Indian code channels to New York. Maramis, he added, has informed the Indonesian representative [7] at Lake Success not to favour or reject the Security Council resolution but for the present to leave the onus on the Dutch of complying with it as far as it goes.

1 See note 1 to Document 176.

2 Nehru had invited the representative attending the New Delhi Conference of Afghanistan, Ceylon, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Siam, Syria and Yemen to an informal discussion on 24 January. The representatives of Australia, Burma, the Philippines and New Zealand had left India before 24 January.

3 The copy of the aide-memoire sent to Australia had also been sent to China, New Zealand, the Philippines and Siam. A similar but not identical document had been addressed to the other Governments represented at the New Delhi Conference.

4 The aide memoire had invited the views of participating Governments, inter alia, on '[t]he geographical region, and the countries situate[d] within it, which should be included in the scope of the proposed consultation on matters of common interest'.

5 Text in square brackets inserted from a copy on file AA :

A5009/2, A7/3/13, ii.

6 Document 168.

7 L.N. Palar.

[AA : A1838, 402/4/1/1, ii]