SHEIKH ABDULLAH’S INTERVIEW WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE ON 7TH FEBURARY 1948.
[This telegram is of particular secrecy and should be retained by the authorized recipient and not passed on]
FROM NEW YORK TO FOREIGN OFFICE
(From United Kingdom Delegation to United Nations)
No. 390 D. 2.25 p.m. 9th February, 1948
9th February, 1948 P. 8.18 p.m. 9th February, 1948
Repeated to High Commissioner New Delhi,
; High Commissioner Karachi
Addressed to For eign Office telegram No. 390 of 9th February repeated for information to High Commissioner New Delhi and High Commissioner Karachi and Saving to Washington.
Following for C.R.O. from Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
My immediately preceding telegram. Following is account of interview. [Begins]
At the request of Gopalaswami Ayyengar the Secretary of State interviewed Sheikh Abdullah on February 7th.
2. Secretary of State started by making it clear that Kashmir situation was one in which he was quite impartial and that his only concern was to stop the fighting and to introduce measures whereby the people would be given opportunity to express their views as to their future in a free and fair manner. Secretary of State pointed out that the importance of a settlement was matter of world interest since war on sub-continent of India would involve some 400 million people and would not only be disastrous for the people of India and Pakistan but to the world in general and to Asia in particular. World interest in the matter was therefore very considerable and opinions were being formed as a result of debates in the Security Council.
3. Sheikh Abdullah by producing all the arguments he had used in his speech of 5th February to the Security Council. He laid particular stress on his own position in Kashmir as the chosen leader of the people in their fight for freedom and said that local insurgents and his party were all fighting with the same object. He denied hotly that there had been any killings in Kashmir before October and laid whole blame for events on action of Pakistan Government. He invited neutral observers to go to Kashmir and to report whether his contentions regarding Pakistan Government were correct or not. His only solution to the problem was that Pakistan Government should be called upon to remove tribesmen. Thereafter Indian forces in Kashmir would suppress the local insurgents (he actually used the word ‘suppress’) and would organize elections for a new representative Government which would then organize and run a plebiscite. He ridiculed and suggestion that an impartial administration might be necessary to carry out a plebiscite.
4. In course of further discussion it was pointed out to Sheikh Abdullah that his solution to the problem involved further fighting in Kashmir to “suppress” the revolt of the local insurgents and that it would probably provoke war with the tribes of the North West Frontier and perhaps between India and Pakistan. His retort was “let there be war”. He evaded answering the direct question “against whom are the local insurgents fighting”?
5. On returning again to the question of how fighting could be stopped Sheikh Abdullah gave the unconstructive answer “give Kashmir to Pakistan now”. The Secretary of State replied “even that would be better for India and more advantageous for her than that she should enter on a war the consequences and result of which are unforeseeable”. Sheikh Abdullah quickly twisted his own answer as being the answer of the Secretary of State to the problem and said “you think this would be a nice solution”. The Secretary of State corrected him and pointed out exactly what he said in reply to Sheikh Abdullah’s statement. Sheikh Abdullah however again returned to this allegation in further conversation.
6. Since further discussion was producing nothing constructive the interview was ended by the Secretary of State restating his position as given paragraph 2 above. Sheikh Abdullah’s attitude throughout was completely uncomprising and his parting words, announced in a somewhat hostile manner were “we shall hold a plebiscite under conditions laid down by ourselves”. [Ends]
Foreign Office please repeats to United Kingdom High Commissioner New Delhi and Pakistan as my telegrams Nos. 58 and 42 respectively.
[Advance copies sent to Duty Officer C.R.O. and Cypher Section C.R.O. for repetition to United Kingdom High Commissioners New Delhi and Pakistan].
&n bsp; COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS:
* Date of initiation of this message is February 1948, i.e. initial stages of war in the former disputed State, consisting areas of Gilgit, Baltistan, Laddakh, Muzaffarabad, Vale of Kashmir, Riyasi, Poonch, Jammu, Kathua. Sheikh is stressing rightly on removal of tribesmen but has given confused statements on suppression and purpose of “Local Insurgents”. Local insurgents are most probably the freedom fighters in Gilgit-Baltistan Laddakh and so called Azad Jammu Kashmir. The Shiekh has displayed a confused mind in 1947-48, lacking originality. * The flatterers of the group of Sardar Qayyum say, “Kashmir will become (Banaiga) Pakistan”. But, they do not explain as to how? Similarly, the Nationalists say, former State of BJK will become independent. But, they do not adequately explain as to how, short of militancy? Can they give out the basics of the dispute in terms of political geographical boundaries, political administrative units at the time of dispute and in future, the ongoing South Asian / international status of the disputed regions, interim administrations responsible to work till final resolution of the dispute and what all is relevant and discarded in the UN concerned documents?
* UNCIP and UN Resolutions, connected correspondence and treaties on the former disputed State concluded under UN charter, ought to be wholesomely read and understood thoroughly by the intellectual and nationalists of BJK to turn the tables against the occupational, enslaving and criminal presence of the Govts of Pakistan and India. India, Pakistan and the World agreed once upon a time on it in 1948 and now both the Govts are running away from it, especially Govt of Pakistan on Gilgit-Baltistan issue. Only few additions are required in UNCIP Resolutions for the freedom and dignity of the oppressed people of BJK.
* Mr Javed Inayat’s demand of restoration of BJK Army is a very heartening and welcome sign. Offcourse, this is given out in UNCIP correspondence. It should be BJK Army, because J&K Army in Bolor should not be an occupational army. It will take time to arrive at a mutually agreed single identity. In the meantime BJK identity should work for the people of divided and disputed former State.
* It is being authentically heard that the Prime Minister of Pakistan is in the very near future going to Gilgit-Baltistan to announce a political package there. It is said to be envisaging upgrading so called Northern Area Legislative Council (not a single legislation carried so far) to Northern Area Legislative Assembly. Besides, it is said that the advisors of the non-local Chief Executive will be enjoying the status of provincial ministers. This is all fraud, another lollypop and an anesthesia. The Govt of Pakistan should know that it is high time that they must setup a complete and genuine local Authority Govt in Gilgit, as accepted by themselves and the UN. The Chief Executive should be a local elected member and army rule must finish from there. Everybody concerned should minutely monitor the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s forthcoming visit to Gilgit-Baltistan.
LOOK AT THE SUBSTANDARD.