315 High Commission in New Delhi to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 221 NEW DELHI, 24 March 1949, 6.50 p.m.


India's determination to remain aloof from power blocs was repeated yesterday by Nehru in an address to the Indian Council of World Affairs. He thought that any attempt to go too far in one direction would create difficulties within India itself. India's foreign policy, which had been developing gradually, was to cultivate friendly relations with all countries. She had inherited no past hostility to any country and she desired to keep clear of any hostile backgrounds, although it was her duty to defend herself if necessary. She would contribute more towards maintenance of peace by taking an individual stand as crisis arose rather than by merging herself with hard and fast groups. He did not think, barring a 'grave accident', there would be a war in the next few years. Referring to Indonesia, he said it illustrates the different psychological approaches to various problems of the people of Asia and Europe.

This problem was important for Asians because it threatened the whole of Asia. If there was to be a passive acquiescence by great powers, this would be a partnership in guilt, although he expressed some understanding of the conflicting responsibilities facing Pact countries. The fact that the Western Powers could include the Netherlands in the Atlantic Pact showed that the people of Asia and Europe had a different system of priorities in politics. Dealt with racial equality, and referred to Indians in South Africa, maintaining that if such were allowed to continue a wider conflict not confined to South Africa was inevitable. He hoped that the United Nations would hasten a solution.

The speech contained no mention of the position in Burma, of the recent conferences or of Regional. [1] There was a friendly reference to. [2]

1 A word has presumably been omitted after 'regional'.

2 A sign here indicates mutilated text but without explanation.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/3, iv]