ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Washington and After.

Editorial from Volume IX, No 1, January 5, 1957.

Developments immediately after the talks between President Eisenhower and Pandit Nehru would seem to confirm the pessimists. That would be a hasty conclusion. Optimists who hoped for American endorsement of Panch Shila were foredoomed to disappointment. But it would be wrong to infer that nothing has been achieved as a result of discussions between the American President and the Indian Prime Minister. There was, and is, no issue in dispute between India and America. But in each country there was misunderstanding about the foreign policy of the other. New Delhi was suspect in Washington as a fellow-traveller. There is reason to believe that, as a sequel to full and frank discussions between President Eisenhower and Pandit Nehru, Washington has now a clearer understanding of New Delhi’s foreign policy. Neither India nor America could be expected to pursue a different foreign policy as a result of talks between the two leaders. But it is evident that Washington now accepts neutralism as a possible foreign policy. It is equa l ly to be pr e sumed tha t Pr e s ident Eisenhower has informed Pandit Nehru that America’s reliance on military alliances is no obstacle to more friendly relations and contacts between India and the United States. If understanding has been reached to agree to disagree, some thing tangible has been achieved.

Pandit Nehru’s address before the United Nations was a clear indication that no basic change in either America’s or India’s attitude to world affairs was to be expected as a result of talks between him and President Eisenhower. In his speech before the United Nations, he was emphatic that negotiation was a better means than collective or regional security for maintaining world peace. In stressing this, he was only echoing the principles of the Charter. Many member-States, wedded to collective or regional security, must have realised the significance of Pandit Nehru’s deliberate emphasis on world opinion as a means to ensure peace. No less significant was his condemnation of colonialism and of attempts by Big Powers to intervene in the internal affairs of small powers in the quest of friends and protectors. This was meant as an expression of India’s disapproval of recent tragic events in both Egypt and Hungary. Pandit Nehru was equally significant in his emphasis that the United Nations could best attain the declared objectives only when all the countries were independent and as all such free countries were allowed proper representation in the world organisation.

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