Letter from the Prime Minister on resolution of August 13, 1948

11 Jan 2016 16:08:12

Letter from the Prime Minister of India to the Chairman in reply to the Commission’s resolution of August 13, 1948.

(S/1100, Para78)

New Delhi

August 20, 1948

Excellency,

On August 17, my colleague , the Minister without portfolio , and I discussed with you and your colleagues of the Commission now in Delhi the resolution which you had presented to us on the 14th instant, on the 18th, I had another discussion with you, in the course of which i tried to explain to you the doubts and difficulties which members of my Government , and representatives of the Government  of Kashmir whom we consulted , had felt as the result of a preliminary but careful examination of the Commission’s proposal.

  1. During the several conferences that we had with the commission when it first came to Delhi, we placed before it what we considered the basic facts of the situation which had led to the conflict in Kashmir. This fact was the unwarranted aggression, at first indirect and subsequently direct, of the Pakistan Government on Indian Dominion territory in Kashmir. The Pakistan Government denied this although was in common knowledge. In recent months, very large forces of the Pakistan regular army have entered Indian Union territory in Kashmir and opposed the Indian Army which was sent there for the defence of the State. This, we understand now, is admitted by the Pakistan Government, and yet there has been at no time any intimation to Government of India by the Pakistan Government  of this invasion , there has been a continual denial and Pakistan Government have evaded answering repeated inquiries from the Government of India.

In accordance with the resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations adopted on January 17, 1948, the Pakistan Government should have informed the Council immediately of any material change in the situation while the matter continues to be under the consideration of the council. The invasion of the State by large forces of the regular Pakistan Army was a very material change in the situation, and yet no information of this was given so far as we know to the Security Council.

The Commission will appreciate that this conduct of the Pakistan Government is not only opposed to all moral codes as well as international law and usage, but has also created a very grave situation. It is only the earnest desire of my Government to avoid any extension of the field of conflict and to restore peace that has led us to refrain from taking any action to meet the new situation that was created by this further intrusion of Pakistan Army into Jammu and Kashmir State. The presence of the Commission in India has naturally led us to hope that any arrangement sponsored by it would deal effectively with the present situation and prevent any recurrence of aggression.

  1. Since our meeting of August 18, we have given the commission’s resolution our most earnest thought. There are many parts of it, which we should have   preferred to be otherwise and more in keeping with the fundamental facts of the situation, especially the flagrant aggression of the Pakistan Government on Indian Union territory. We recognise, however, that if a successful effort is to be made to create satisfactory conditions for a solution of the Kashmir problem without further bloodshed we should concentrate on certain essentials only at present and seek safeguards in regard to them. It was in this spirit that i placed the following considerations before Your Excellency:

(1). That paragraph A-3 of Part II of the resolution should not be interpreted, or applied in practice, so as :

(a). To bring into question the sovereignty of the Jammu and Kashmir Government over the portion of their territory evacuated by Pakistan troops;

(b). To afford any recognition of the so-called Azad Kashmir Government ; or

(c). To enable that territory to be consolidated in any way during the period of truce to the disadvantage of this State.

(2). That from our point of view the effective insurance of the security of the State against external aggression, from which Kashmir has suffered so much during the last ten months, was of the most vital significance and no less important than the observance of internal law and order and that, therefore, the withdrawal of Indian troops and the strength of Indian forces maintained Kashmir should be conditioned by this overriding factor. Thus, at any time the strength of the Indian forces maintained in Kashmir should be sufficient to ensure security against any form of external aggression as well as internal disorder.

(3). That as regards  Part III, should it be decided to seek a solution of the future of the State by means of a plebiscite , Pakistan should have no part in the organization and conduct of the plebiscite or in any other matter of internal administration in the State.

  1. If I understood you correctly, A-3 of Part-II of the resolution does not envisage the creation of any of the conditions to which we have objected in paragraph 3((1) of this letter. In fact, you made it clear that the commission was not competent to recognise the sovereignty of any authority over the evacuated areas other than that of the Jammu and Kashmir Government.

As regards paragraph 3(2), the paramount need for security is recognized by the commission, and the time when the withdrawal of Indian forces from the State is to begin, the stages in which it it to be carried out and the strength of Indian forces to be retained in the State, are matters for settlement between the commission and the Government of India.

Finally, you agreed that part III, as formulated, does not in any way recognise the right of Pakistan to have any part in a plebiscite.

  1. In view of this clarifications, my Government, animated buy a sincere desire to promote the cause of peace, and thus to uphold the principles and prestige of the United Nations, have decided to accept the resolution.

Accept, Excellency, the assurance of my highest considerations.

(sd.)  Jawahar Lal Nehru

Prime Minister of India

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