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Historical documents

223 Kevin to McIntyre

Letter (extract) NEW DELHI, 15 July 1949


Principal features of the situation have been:-

(1) The poor calibre of the Burmese Government, including their
worthy enough but weak Premier (Thakin Nu)-an Oxford Group type,
which will intrigue you.

(2) An incurable optimism peculiar to the Burmese. This frequently
verges on the unreal, e.g. trips abroad by leaders during crises.

(3) The disinclination of the British to throw money down the
drain. They are prepared to give a certain amount of financial aid
but they want to see security for it. Neither the Indians nor the
Pakistanis are in a position to assist substantially. There is
likewise reluctance in all these quarters to push in any more than
token military assistance, this being confined to a relatively
small quantity of lighter arms.

(4) The lack of any real purpose or design about the Indo-Anglo-
Pakistan-Ceylon approach to the problem. This is only partly due
to the touchiness of the Burmese who tend to overdo the prestige
angle. The countries in question have in my opinion been in a
position to speak to the Burmese Government much more plainly than
they have done, and a more positive and robust attempt to bring
them together with the Karens might have shown results.

(5) It is not always easy to get a clear picture of the opposition
elements, but it does seem true that the Karens are integrated,
purposeful and capably led.

Your letter mentions British Commonwealth talks. Apart from the
Delhi Conference [1] there have been no talks as such, although an
Ambassadors' Committee has been set up at Rangoon to deal with the
question of financial and military aid. The Committee has made one
or two lukewarm attempts at mediation but they have been extremely

1 See Document 216.

[AA: A1838/2, 443/9/1/2, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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