Asia: un doubts Laos Aggression; Other Developments

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Issue Date: November 11, 1959

UN Doubts Laos Aggression; Other Developments

  • Communists vs. Hammarskjold Visit

  • Chou Asks India Buffer Zone

  • Nehru for 'Action,' vs. War

  • Khrushchev on Dispute

  • Colombo Plan Meeting

The UN Security Council Subcom. on Laos reported November 6 that it had found no clear evidence of intervention in the Laotian rebellion by North Viet Namese military forces.

The report, issued at UN Headquarters by the 4-member subcommittee, asserted that "information submitted...did not clearly establish whether there were crossings of the frontier by regular forces of the DRVN [North Viet Nam]." It said testimony presented by 40 witnesses had indicated the Laotian rebels had received North Viet Namese support in the form of "equipment, arms, ammunition,* supplies and the help of political cadres." But it asserted that the rebellion, although centrally coordinated, was local and of "guerrilla character."

* Including some grenades apparently of Chinese manufacture.

The subcommittee reported that rebel guerrilla formations apparently were centered in areas of Laos controlled by the pro-Communist Pathet Lao movement and appeared to be under Pathet Lao command. Pathet Lao forces were said to have been reinforced by Thais, Meos, Khas and other Laos border minorities.

The U.S.' UN delegation said November 6 that the subcommittee's visit to Laos had had "a tranquilizing effect on the dangerous situation" by forcing rebels to cease attacks. U.S. State Department spokesman Lincoln White said the same day that Laos' terrain and the nature of guerrilla warfare had prevented positive identification of North Viet Namese troops.

The Soviet UN delegation said November 6 that the subcommittee report had made the Laotian charges of aggression "collapse like a card castle."

(t) Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaya, Nepal, North Borneo, Pakistan, Philippines, Sarawak, Singapore, South Viet Nam, Thailand.

Laos' UN delegates refused comment on the report but asserted that their charges of North Viet Namese aggression had been "amply and several times demonstrated." [See 1959 Asia: UN vs. Tibet Repression; Other Developments; 1959 Labor: Dock Strike; Other Developments]

Communists vs. Hammarskjold Visit

UN Secretary General Hammarskjold accepted an invitation to visit Laos November 8 and left New York for Vientiane November 10 despite a strong Soviet protest against the trip.

The Soviet protest, delivered November 9 by Representative-to-UN Arkady A. Sobolev, warned that Hammarskjold's visit or "any other [UN] action" would "further complicate" the Laos situation. It stressed Soviet support for implementing the 1954 Geneva armistice agreements in Laos and warned that Hammarskjold's visit or the proposed basing of a UN representative in Laos were attempts "to use the United Nations for covering the actions of certain powers, aimed at...liquidation of the Geneva agreements." These actions, it warned, "entail dangerous consequences for peace."

The Soviet Union had warned October 30 that it would oppose any attempt to create a UN "presence" in Laos. A statement issued at UN Headquarters in New York denied reports that the USSR would accept dispatch of a permament UN mission to Laos and said that it would not "even tacitly" agree to "using the name of the United Nations to cover up such unlawful actions." [See 1959 Asia: UN vs. Tibet Repression; Other Developments; 1959 Laos: U.S. to Aid vs. Communists; Other Developments; 1959 Asia: USSR Asks Laos Conference; Other Developments; 1959 South East Asia: UN Votes Laos Inquiry; Other Developments]

(Saigon dispatches reported October 30 that South Viet Namese marines had killed 300 Communist guerrillas, captured 400 more and accepted the surrender of 700 others in a 2-week anti-terrorist drive in the Camau Peninsula of South Viet Nam.)

Chou Asks India Buffer Zone

Premier Chou En-lai proposed November 7 that Communist China and India pull back their border forces to create a 25-mile buffer zone between the 2 countries.

In a letter to Prime Minister Nehru, made public via Peiping Radio November 9, Chou suggested that "the armed forces of China and India each withdraw 20 km. [12.4 miles]...from the so-called Macmahon Line in the east [the Tibet-India border], and from the line up to which each side exercises actual control in the west [the Ladakh area adjacent to Indian Kashmir]." India and China would "refrain from again sending their armed personnel to...the zones from which they have [been] evacuated" but would "maintain "civil administration...and unarmed police" there.

Chou, who proposed meeting with Nehru to discuss Chinese-Indian problems, said the buffer zone originally had been suggested in a September 10 Indian note to China. He said the proposal would permit peaceful delineation of the Chinese (Tibetan)-Indian border and would prevent further clashes in Ladakh and other frontier areas. He rejected a November 4 note in which India refused extensive Chinese claims in Ladakh and India's North East Frontier Agency and demanded withdrawal of Chinese troops from Indian territory.

(The Indian note, made public in New Delhi November 8, stressed India's hopes for peaceful settlement of the border dispute but warned that Indians would resist further Chinese aggression "by all means available."

Nehru for 'Action,' vs. War

Nehru denied November 5 that India risked a "real war" with Communist China over Chinese border claims. But he warned that he was prepared for "strong action" if it became necessary to repel Chinese aggression. Nehru told a New Delhi press conference that he could not "conceive of any power on earth that" would "make me surrender." He expressed doubt that India's entire 2,500-mile northern frontier could be defended, but he asserted that the Indian Army could hold the Ladakh area "adequately and efficiently." He insisted, however, that there was "a difference between frontier trouble, however difficult...and war."

Addressing an agricultural meeting near Agra, south of New Delhi, Nehru declared November 10 that India "cannot allow China to keep a foot on our chest." He asserted that the Himalayan frontier was the "crown of India" and that no one would be permitted to remove it. He repeated that "China is a great country" but that Indians would "defend ourselves with full strength." [See 1959 Atomic Energy: Britain Asks Joint A-Tests; Other Developments; 1959 Asia: Chinese Attack in Kashmir; Other Developments]

(AP dispatches from Srinagar, Kashmir reported November 7 that Communist Chinese troops were entrenching themselves for the winter in the Ladakh area. Chinese forces were reported to be building bunkers 50 miles north of Chusul, an Indian base.)

Khrushchev on Dispute

The disputed Indian-Chinese border region was described by Soviet Premier Khrushchev November 7 as an area of little national importance and of no strategic significance. Meeting newsmen at a Kremlin reception honoring the 42d anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, Khrushchev said the Indian-Chinese rift was incomprehensible "since there are no people living in that area." Referring to the possible military importance of the area, Khrushchev said he did not "trust the appraisal of the generals on questions of strategic importance" and that "modern weapons" had eliminated the question for this area.

Colombo Plan Meeting

The 11th annual Colombo Plan Conference met October 26-November 6 in Jakarta, Indonesia and indorsed plans for increased economic aid to the plan's 15 non-Communist recipient countries of South East Asia.(t) A draft annual report approved November 6 noted that more than $6 billion in economic and technical aid had been made available to recipient nations by the plan's 6 donor countries--the U.S., Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. More than $1 billion of the total, $900 million of it from the U.S., was extended in the 12 months ended in June 1959. U.S. aid to Colombo Plan nations was listed as $5.66 billion (with $1.265 billion of the total actually committed).

The 9th annual report on Colombo Plan technical assistance, issued in London October 15, listed a total of $39,400,000 in technical aid supplied since the start of the plan. $8,932,000 of the amount was made available in fiscal 1959. [See 1959 Burma: News in Brief; 1958 East-West Relations: USSR Asks Berlin Withdrawal; Other Developments]

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