Numbers appearing in square brackets (ex. ) within the transcript indicate the pagination in the original, hardcopy version of the oral history interview.
Opened January, 1976
Oral History Interview with
December 18, 1972
by Richard D. McKinzie
MCKINZIE: Mr. Adams could you say something about your recollection of President Truman's coming to office at the time of the death of Franklin Roosevelt?
ADAMS: I was in the State Department, and in those years the Department was right next to the White House -- occupied what was the State, Army, Navy Building.
I was in what subsequently became the Bureau of U. N. Affairs. At the time we were working on the preparations for the U. N. San Francisco Conference, the preparatory Dumbarton Oaks Conference having been held the previous fall. Our office was at the south end of the building on the ground floor, overlooking a lovely garden. It was late
in the afternoon, probably about 5 o'clock, when Mr. [Joseph E.] Johnson, our chief, came in the room and he said, "Gentlemen, the President is dead." The news, of course, was a great shock because no one had any notion then that the President was ailing. I think the last time I'd heard President Roosevelt was in the address he gave to Congress following his return from Yalta; and then the next thing he's dead. Hearing the news, my colleagues and I closed up work for the day. I personally walked out in front of the White House and just stood there. The flag was at half mast. People began to gather but no great crowd. Soon I went on home and listened to radio news bulletins and commemorative programs which continued through the night. I was alone at that time, my wife and son being in Chicago on their way back from Ecuador. I had been stationed in Quito but had returned to Washington a year before the President's death. My wife stayed on to work for Nelson Rockefeller's Coordinator's Office. She was returning to Washington,
and was in Chicago at the time of President Roosevelt's death.
She arrived in D. C. the next morning with our three-year old son, Tommy, who at that point spoke nothing but Spanish. He and his grandmother in Duluth apparently had had a rather difficult time, being unable to converse.
But anyway, it was quite remarkable how the radio stations, with almost no notice, carried long and detailed programs about the President's life and death. So, at that point begins the Truman story.
MCKINZIE: What did this do to your work? Did you find planning for the San Francisco Conference about the same way as before, or was there some uncertainty about what course President Truman might take?
ADAMS: As I recall, there was a brief interlude where there was uncertainty as to whether the conference should be convened on schedule but I don't recall that there was any question as to a shift in the
U. S. position on any U. N. Charter issue. I doubt that there was. Also the decision to proceed as planned on opening of the Conference was quickly taken. I personally did not attend the opening of the Conference. Officers in our division divided time at the Conference. I went out in mid-May and stayed until the finish.
I flew from Washington to San Francisco in a military plane, a DC-3 which was transporting military personnel. The only other civilian on the plane was Ambassador Julius Holmes. It took us nearly 20 hours to get across the country, with stops at military bases in Des Moines and Salt Lake City (or Ogden), where we had dinner.
Taking off at nightfall, we arrived over San Francisco about two in the morning, maybe a little earlier. It was a beautiful night, but there was fog and floating clouds over the bay area. The pilot made two runs at the airstrip south of San Francisco, emerging from the overcast both times over a yacht harbor. Obviously apprehensive, the pilot decided to go for the Oakland Airport
where there was no cloud cover. Once on the ground he told Ambassador Holmes that he'd lost instrument contact an hour out of San Francisco. In short, we had come in almost blind on those two approaches. We felt lucky to be alive.
In San Francisco I roomed with Andrew Cordier, who subsequently became Trygve Lie's principal aide. At this point he was one of the regular officers in the division.
One of the interesting things to the U. S. delegation was how Scotty [James] Reston of the New York Times obtained inside information as to what was going on in closed sessions of the committees. His stories were uncannily accurate and nobody could figure out his sources. Some years later Scotty divulged his source to be a member of the Chinese delegation who had supplied him with conference documents.
MCKINZIE: What was your own work there? Was it by this time a matter of formality, or were there still substantive issues with which you had to deal at the conference?
ADAMS: The veto, of course, became the overriding issue of the Conference. I personally worked on the security aspects of the Charter, which became chapters 6 and 7 of the Charter. My chief there was Joe Johnson, and our function was to sit in on the committee meetings and make informal notes and write up summaries of main points, not a verbatim record at all. That was basically my job.
One of the amusing aspects of the Conference was to observe Senator [Tom] Connally's performance in the committee sessions which I attended. With his stentorian voice and waving white locks he was a colorful figure. But he could never shake the habits of a life as U. S. Senator and frequently, while addressing this international committee, he would appeal to them, in flourishing gesture, as "Fellow Senators." Much to the amusement of all.
MCKINZIE: It was a huge Conference. Did you feel that things handled well? Was there more chaos than if it had not been such a large Conference?
ADAMS: No. I didn't have any sense of chaos but it was very exciting. I don't suppose there was any city in the world that could have been more exciting as a locale for the Conference. There was both the dramatic geography of the City and of the Bay area and also the fabulous restaurants. If you had the free time -- and often you didn't -- you could dine at a different restaurant every night. Then, of course, there was the political excitement that we were taking part in an epic historical event.
At the end of the Conference President Truman flew out and addressed the closing session. I remember seeing him in front of the Fairmont Hotel as he arrived in the flutter of flags and people.
MCKINZIE: Did you have any personal sense of something perhaps prosaic was going on there? What did you feel about the prospects of United Nations at that time?
ADAMS: We were all, of course, very hopeful and...
MCKINZIE: But not certain?
ADAMS: Not certain -- no. There was no certainty. But I think the overriding feeling which had permeated the preparations in the State Department both for the earlier Dumbarton Oaks Conference and the San Francisco Conference was the determination that this time, in contrast to World War I and our experience with the League of Nations, whatever was adopted must be accepted by the Senate. They didn't want a repetition of an American President or Government proposing something and then having it turned down by our own Senate. So both the House and Senate were brought into the planning process, both within U. S. Government preparatory deliberations and at Dumbarton Oaks and San Francisco. At both conferences two Senators and two Congressmen were on the U. S. delegation -- the Chairman and Deputy of the respective Foreign Affairs and Foreign Relations Committees. This included, Mr. [Arthur H.] Vandenberg, a leading Republican Senator. So, the Congress was in on it all the way. At the same time a great effort was made to inform the press
as to just what was going on so that the American public would be fully informed and support whatever was done.
MCKINZIE: The issue that you mentioned that as an overriding issue at the Conference -- namely, the veto -- was originally insisted upon by the United States as a means of making the Senate feel that the United States would not be dragooned into any kind of international action. The veto -- even though the Soviet used it most the first years -- was nonetheless a necessary thing for the United States.
ADAMS: I was never personally involved in discussions within the American Government on this particular point and obviously it was decided at the Presidential level. But I always assumed that the United States would itself have insisted upon the veto, and of course agreement on the veto was reached at the Yalta Conference. The feeling, I think, at the San Francisco Conference was
that this system was not going to work unless the big powers agreed. The war in Europe, which ended during the Conference, and the war in the Far East which was still going on, had produced a feeling of cooperation among the allies. There was a hope -- I suppose it wasn't any more than that -- that at least some of this would be extended into the future. By virtue of the pure physical size of the United States and the Soviet Union no sanctions could be imposed successfully against either. That is, there could be no military sanction, because if either the U.S.S.R. or the United States is opposed to contributing forces to a U. N. action or actively opposes such an action, it is bound to fail. So, the veto was built on this assumption that the two powers must agree. Three other countries also had the veto but militarily they were very weak, had been practically prostrated by the war (the British, and the French, and China). What we are really talking about was the United States and Soviet Union.
MCKINZIE: The Department at that time operated somewhat differently, I guess, than it did later when Mr. Acheson became Secretary and George Marshall was Secretary. You had a feeling in the Department at that time that the shots were being called by Edward Stettinius? Or was it more of a committee operation? Did you think Stettinius was strong?
ADAMS: No. I had the feeling that Mr. Stettinius was taking his directions from the White House, and relying heavily on bureaucratic advice. Mr. Stettinius, of course, came into this picture very late in the game. Cordell Hull had been Secretary right up to about the time of the Conference. Hull had been at Dumbarton Oaks the fall before. I would say that below the President it was a committee operation. Yes. Because there were very strong advisers to the U. S. delegation, as I mentioned, the Senators and the Congressmen, the top people in the State Department, Defense Department, Treasury, and Mr.
Stettinius. I think they worked as a team.
I remember one amusing incident in a morning meeting of the American delegation. Some issues was up and Hamilton Fish Armstrong, the U.S. representative on one of the committees, was trying to pin down the position he was to take, was very irate when the meeting arrived at no conclusion. Mr. Armstrong said, "How can I go into this meeting without a decision? I want a decision."
At that moment Secretary Stettinius walked out of the meeting, saying he had to telephone the President. Armstrong was left in a livid state. Perhaps Mr. Stettinius got a decision on the particular point in his conversation with the President -- this is just speculation; I don't know.
MCKINZIE: When you came back to Washington after the San Francisco Conference, did you immediately start work then on other international conferences?
ADAMS: Yes. The whole inter-departmental staff then got to work on preparing the actual U. S. participation in the United Nations itself.
In the following winter the first meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations met in London. Our Bureau then became the Office of United Nations Affairs, our job being to backstop the U. S. delegation to various U. N. bodies and help prepare the U. S. position on various issues.
One of them, of course, was the organization of the Military Staff Committee. This was to be a committee representative of the five countries with the veto, whose military forces were under the Charter to be contributed to the U. N. for an effective military action. The Military Staff Committee was to be kind of "high command" of the U. N. enforcement body.
After the U. N. was set up, this Military Staff Committee met repeatedly regarding contributions of forces but in the end there was no agreement. This aspect of the U. N. Charter became a dead letter. There is no Military Staff Committee and there never -- the idea of using the U. N. as having military sanction was never put into effect in
MCKINZIE: At any point in that did you ever have the feeling that it might be? And when was there a high point in all this?
ADAMS: Well, again you're hopeful, but it soon became apparent that, because of developing differences between the U.S. and the USSR -- some .in the U.N. and some outside -- there would be no agreement on the Military Staff Committee and the use of a U.N. armed force.
To change the subject, I would mention the prominence or notoriety subsequently achieved by members of the Office of International Security Affairs in which I worked at that time. It was quite remarkable. In charge of the whole U.N. office in State was Alger Hiss, who had been the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference and was subsequently to be a key figure in the McCarthy era, the pumpkin papers and Whittaker Chambers. Our immediate chief was Joseph Johnson who was later to become head of the Carnegie Endowment
for International Peace.
As I mentioned before Andy Cordier was to become chief aide to Trygve Lie. Another officer was Dean Rusk who had been Deputy Chief of Staff in the CBI theater and joined us after San Francisco, first as a part of the Pentagon delegation working out the military staff part of the Charter and later as a civilian member of our staff. So, at that time, within our own office we had Joe Johnson, Dean Rusk, Andy Cordier, and Harding Bancroft who is now executive secretary of the New York Times.
One of the things that I became involved in was the preparations for and the actual meeting of the Rio Conference, which was to draw up a regional defense pact.
By this time the cold war had started, beginning, I suppose, with the Soviet reluctance to get out of Azerbaijan in Northern Iran, and the confrontation in the Security Council over that particular issue. Right here you had a perfect illustration of the impossibility of using
military sanctions should the U. N. have taken an action against the Soviet Union. Had it come to expelling Soviet from northern Iran you would have had a confrontation, not a collective security action. You would have had the Soviets against the Security Council. Well, as it became apparent that the Soviets could prevent military action, or other decisions against them in the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. began making preparation for regional pacts which, without Soviet membership, could take effective defensive action under Article 51 of the U.N. Charter. The Rio Pact was the first of these regional pacts, and involved all of the Western Hemisphere countries, except for Canada. Argentina at the time was a very reluctant partner, completely at odds with the United States on this and other issues.
The U.S. delegation to the Rio Conference flew down in a chartered plane. Norman Armour I remember was on the U.S. delegation. George Marshall, by this time, was Secretary of State, and he came down on another plane. It was a
delightful trip. We left Washington late one evening and arrived next morning at Puerto Rico, went on to Trinidad, and flew on late that afternoon to Belem on the Amazon. These planes were slow in our modern time terms, but absolutely delightful. It was a DC4, and being a chartered plane, you could go up on the flight deck and talk with the captain. We went from the glittering Caribbean, to the north coast of South America, over Georgetown, British Guiana. Night fell and we were over the Brazilian jungle. Passing through a thunderstorm with lightning, we put down at Belem for gasoline; took off and flew through the night to Rio. Having had a back operation not too many months before, I persuaded the stewardess to let me sleep on a blanket in front of the back door. Months later I read that on a similar flight that back door had opened, and one or two passengers sucked out of the plane and dropped over the Amazon.
The Rio Conference was held at the Hotel Quitandinha in the mountains about fifty miles
north of Rio. We were closeted there the whole time practically, except for a Saturday or Sunday trip down to Rio. There was, as I recall, no great difficulty arriving at a consensus on treaty provisions. The treaty, of course, is not very binding in the sense that it requires almost mandatory military sanctions in the way that the NATO Treaty does.
MCKINZIE: Might I ask you what you recall about the motivation for having the treaty in the first place? When George Marshall was before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, as I recall, he was asked why it was necessary? Certainly Congress didn't think that in the event there was war that there were going to be Soviet troops in the jungles of Brazil or on the beaches of Latin America, and Marshall admitted that he didn't think there would be. Someone pushed him a little further and asked if it was not really of a political nature even though it was a military alliance -- if the advantage of such a treaty wouldn't be primarily
political. There he hedged a bit but seemed to indicate that it was. I wonder if in the department there was some talk about this issue? The use of this kind of treaty as an instrument for obtaining a little better cooperation.
ADAMS: Well, I think that's basically true, although I have no direct knowledge of what the talk in higher levels of the Department was. I, for one, was never persuaded that any military threat to the United States was going to come through Latin America. And later on, we started sending military missions and selling military equipment. From the beginning I thought this was a bad idea because it wasn't going to be used for repelling any Communist military invasion. What it was actually going to be used for was the suppression of people in opposition to governments. I think in retrospect this is about what it was. All these arms had been spread around Latin America. And to the extent they had been paid for by the people of the country they detracted from their ability
to do other things which were more important. Now you always get the argument against that: "If we don't sell it to them, somebody else will." And to an extent this is true. But I think those early military missions served to build up the military strength of what in effect were -- with some exceptions -- dictatorial governments. They were used to keep the local populace under control rather than repel Communist invasions.
MCKINZIE: But some parts of the Rio Treaty became a kind of a model for the NATO Treaty later on.
I think basically they are all similar until you get down to the crunch, which is the provision as to whether, where, and under what conditions these military forces are going to be used. Of course, the same thing can be said about the economic sanctions which were much talked about in the years leading up to World War II in Manchuria, Ethiopia and Czechoslovakia.
As I indicated before, the military sanction
clause of the Rio Treaty is very weak. In NATO the obligation is much stronger but even then the Senate has insisted that no military action be taken except in accord with the constitutional process of the United States. Here, of course, you get into the Presidential authority to use armed forces. And from there you get into the question of whether you can go to war without authorization of the Congress. So the Senate, when these treaties came up for examination before they were approved, always kept a very close watch to be sure that authorization of the use of major force was reserved for the Senate or the Congress. But I repeat that while in the Rio Treaty the possibility of military sanctions was there, the requirement on the states was very weak.
MCKINZIE: There is some indication that the United States had postponed the Rio Conference a time or two fearing that they wouldn't be able to handle economic demands of the Latin Americans. Latin Americans had expected some considerable
economic assistance from the United States at the end of the war. Of course, this eventually resulted in the Bogotá Conference in 1948, which was supposed to deal with economic matters. But they wanted the original conference, as I understand it, to deal with both military and economic matters. And the State Department at the time did not want to get into that thing. After all, economics was a problem in Europe, and resources of the country were limited. Do you remember anything at all in the preparations for the Conference about positions to be taken should economic matters come up, or was the agenda so tightly controlled that it was an impossibility?
ADAMS: Well, I think it's the latter. I think the agenda was so controlled that this didn't even come up. It was undoubtedly talked about in the corridors and between many of the represented delegations, but it never came up in the formal meetings. The meetings were entirely devoted to drawing up this political-military treaty.
Now again some of the interesting sidelights; one of the persons who came to the Conference was Eva Peron. She had been on her tour to Europe where she was received by the Pope. And she stopped by Rio and came to Quitandinha while this conference was in progress. The question was what to do with Eva,, because it was thought that her presence in the gallery might cause disruption, if nothing more than to distract the attention of delegates! But the Brazilian hosts handled it very nicely. Eva was invited to come as a distinguished guest. She sat there pleasantly for about fifteen minutes at which point the Brazilian chairman of the Conference announced: "Gentlemen, we have a very distinguished visitor, and in honor of the occasion I suggest we temporarily adjourn to the banquet hall and drink a toast of champagne to her presence. After that, we'll reconvene." After an appropriate time the delegates reconvened and Eva left. A diplomatic handling of an awkward situation.
George Marshall, of course, was there as Secretary,
and then President Truman came down on board the battleship Missouri. During the Conference all the delegations were invited on board for tea, my only visit to the deck of a battleship. It was fantastic -- the size of this thing, and the upward sweep of the prow.
The Conference itself ended in agreement; very weak agreement but as much as most of the signatories, including the United States, wanted out of the Conference. As you suggest it was doubtless the show of political solidarity rather than effective military security, which was wanted by all parties. In that sense it was a success.
MCKINZIE: How then did you happen to get involved with the India and Pakistan U. N. Commission?
ADAMS: This was just one of those happenings. You mentioned the Bogotá Conference which followed the Rio Conference the next spring. There was some thought that I would attend, but I didn't. As you recall it was interrupted by an outbreak of civil war in Bogotá. General [Matthew B.]
Ridgway, then military representative of the U. S. delegation, was actually caught in street shooting and forced to hide behind street barricades. I was sorry to miss the Conference but I was already involved in another case which proved more interesting and which eventually shifted much of my career to South Asia: the Kashmir case.
You may recall that in the Christmas week of 1947 the incidents which became the Kashmir case broke into the international arena, that is, the Indians brought the case to the Security Council. As an officer in the division I was assigned to meet with the people who were considering this case. That meant the Bureau of Near East and South Asian Affairs, and, because the matter was being brought in the U. N., the Bureau of International Organization Affairs. I came in as a representative of the latter.
The case arose because of the partition of British India into India and Pakistan.
MCKINZIE: The Kashmir case was introduced to the
Security Council on January the 1st, 1948.
ADAMS: About, yes.
The brief history there is that the case was debated and Sir Zafrullah Khan came to represent Pakistan. He was an international lawyer and is now serving on the International Court of Justice. He's been there for many years. The Indians were represented by various people, but one of them was Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai. These debates set the record for lengthy speeches. I think Zafrullah Khan spoke for seven hours one time. The upshot of the discussion was to appoint a U. N. commission.
MCKINZIE: On January 20th.
ADAMS: A three-country commission was established in the first instance. Czechoslovakia, Belgium and Argentina. Eventually it became a five country commission, with the U. S. and Colombia added.
The Czech Government of Jan Masaryk immediately appointed their representative: Josef Korbel, their ambassador in Yugoslavia. Then
came the Communist takeover of the government. Korbel later told me that he was out of the country when the Communists took over and that he never returned to his country. But for some peculiar reason -- and it had to do with internal Czech politics -- the Communists did not replace Korbel on the commission during all of 1948. Mr. Klahr Huddle, our Ambassador in Burma, was named as the U. S. representative. In those days we used to appoint large delegations to such commissions. In this case we had a political adviser, Hawley Oakes, a retired Foreign Service officer. The military adviser was Frank Smith, a major from the Pentagon. I was the U. N. Affairs adviser. Then we had two young male secretaries. The Commission first assembled in Geneva on about June 13th, where we conducted initial organizational meetings. We stayed in Geneva for about three weeks while resolving by cable with Prime Minister [Jawaharlal] Nehru some point he wanted clarified as to the Commission's competence and
extent of its authority.
MCKINZIE: Were all these people fairly knowledgeable about the Indian-Pakistan dispute or did they acquire that competence after they were in Geneva?
ADAMS: I would say it was all acquired. Ambassador Huddle had a knowledge of the region as a result of his being Ambassador to Burma, but no detailed knowledge of the Indian situation itself. No, they were all newcomers to the thing, but they quickly acquired competence as to the immediate issue.
Departing Geneva on a Swiss airplane, we overnighted in Cairo and then flew on to Karachi. The interesting thing about the Cairo stop is that we arrived there July 6, right in the middle of an armistice in the Arab-Jewish fights over Palestine. It was very touchy and sensitive situation. Count [folke Af Wisborg] Bernadotte, the U. N. mediator, was in town and so was Ralph Bunche. Subsequently Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem and Bunche took over. But there was
all. this coming and going of people -- of top U. N. people trying to carry out the cease-fire and carry it into some sort of an agreement. But that's another story.
The fascinating thing to me personally about the Cairo stop is that I found myself in something of a crossfire. I was carrying a U. S. diplomatic pouch containing background documents. Nothing very confidential in them, but nevertheless they were in a pouch. Upon our arrival at the Cairo airport the authorities would not let me take the pouch into town. Faced with the prospect of overnighting in the airport, I called our Embassy to ask, "What do I do now?" Informed of the nature of the documents, and the fact that they were sealed, the Embassy officer advised that it would do no damage to leave them in bond. Which I did, and then went into Cairo.
Very irritated at this long delay, I remember remarking that, "If I never return to Cairo it will be too soon." That was in July of 1948 and in April of '50, less than two years later, I was
back there in the Embassy and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
I might record some of my own thoughts. Just a little bit of what transpired because in human interest it was absolutely fascinating. It was really a great privilege. As a matter of fact, I would say that I think my whole Foreign Service career has been a great privilege, because it puts you in touch and right on the inside, or as a very close observer of some of the great events of our period.
MCKINZIE: Will you speak in some detail about what transpired after you were in Cairo?
ADAMS: We stopped over night in Karachi having flown from Cairo, and the next morning boarded an Indian domestic airline for Delhi. I had awakened that morning violently ill and literally forced myself to get on the airplane. We bounced for the next few hours over the deserts of India, putting down at Jaipur and Jodhpur. I was repeatedly ill; it was a horrible thing. On our arrival in
New Delhi we were met by some American Embassy people who took me to a hotel, where I spent two or three days in bed, recovering from this violent wrenching. From that time on I was fine; no more trouble.
The first sessions of the Commission in New Delhi lasted two weeks. Then went back down to Karachi for three weeks. Returning to New Delhi for more meetings, the Commission decided it ought to have some direct knowledge of Kashmir itself. The principal members felt they could not themselves take time off for a visit to Kashmir; so they sent their deputies. Except for the Czech, Josef Korbel, every representative had a deputy. Our deputy, however, had become ill and spent most of the rest of our time in the sub-continent in bed. So I was sent in his place.
Our subcommittee spent more than a week in Kashmir interviewing political leaders such as Sheikh Abdullah, the Prime Minister, and collecting political and economic information.
The Commission had itself visited the Pakistani
side of the border and subsequently came to the valley, the Vale of Kashmir. While there, Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem. This killing of the U. N. representative in the Middle East cast something of a gloom over this U. N. Commission in Kashmir. Also while we were in Kashmir the Indians took over the princely state of Hyderabad by what they called a police action. This, of course, was nothing but a military action to remove the Nizam, who was a Moslem ruler of what basically was a Hindu population and who had refused to accede to India. The Indians took over the state. Shortly thereafter we returned to Delhi where the Commission, concluding that agreement on a settlement was not to be forthcoming, decided to return to Geneva.
The fascinating thing about this sojourn in the sub-continent was the opportunity it had provided to meet leaders of those two countries. We met for hours with Prime Minister Nehru, Bajpai and others on the Indian side and with Sir Liaquat
Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, and Sir Zafrullah Khan, his Foreign Minister. We also saw many of them at diplomatic receptions and dinners. This was very early in the independence of India and Pakistan and there were relatively few diplomatic representatives in either capital. As a result Nehru, for example, would attend every diplomatic reception. So we'd see him at such parties as well as in the Commission meetings. But he also gave us a large state dinner in the Governor's house and then invited each delegation individually to his residence. At his dinner for the U. S. delegation, Nehru avoided "talking business" but discoursed at length on India's history and culture. Naturally, the conversation got around eventually to the Taj Mahal. Nehru, however, said he preferred another smaller tomb in Agra to the Taj; this was the tomb of Intimad-ud-daulah, whose name I had to write down. Subsequently I visited the tomb of Itimad-ud-daulah quite often. It was a delightful -- a real gem.
MCKINZIE: The U.N. at this point had still very cordial relations with him even though he, in the end, rejected the recommendations of the U.N.
ADAMS: That's right. He appeared to give every cooperation, although some had reservations about the Indian position. At this point you have to get into the detail. The partition of India, you see, only divided British India. Now quite apart from the territory which the British ruled you had 450 or more princely states, which were autonomous or semi-sovereign. In effect, the British had said to their rulers, the maharajahs and rajahs, "You run your state internally and keep it quiet. We'll take care of your defense and foreign relations but otherwise we'll leave you alone." When partition came, the rulers of these princely states -- the rajahs and maharajahs -- were not bound by the decision of the British to divide India. Each had to make up his own mind whether they be independent or to join India or Pakistan. Presumably, the decision would be made in accordance
with the constitution of their particular state, but almost without exception the decision was taken by the ruler himself.
So the Indian position was that the Maharajah of Kashmir, a Hindu ruling over a state the majority of whose population was Moslem, had legally bound Kashmir by signing an instrument of accession. Now he did that because raiders from what was Pakistan had entered the state from the west, were despoiling towns and villages and were obviously headed for Srinagar, the capital. The maharajah appealed to the Indians for military help to resist the invaders but was told such help could be provided only should Kashmir become part of India. Immediately the ruler signed on the dotted line. Indian troops were dispatched by air and captured the Srinagar airport just as the raiders approached. The fight for Kashmir then ensued, the Indians insisting that the raiders were operating on behalf of Pakistan and the Pakistanians claiming an Indian armed takeover of the State.
MCKINZIE: But those raiders so far as you could tell had no official connection with Pakistan?
ADAMS: They were obviously not Pakistani troops and the Pakistanis always denied that they had any influence over those people. They did, however, proceed to Kashmir by Pakistani buses and trains. Also, there was some history of raiding into Kashmir because it was something of a breadbasket. To an extent these raiders were following a pattern. Later on Zafrullah Khan privately admitted to the Commission that some Pakistani troops had joined the fighting in Kashmir. The Indians made a great point of this. In any case Nehru insisted that the Majarajah's accession had determined the status of Kashmir. He had, nonetheless, at the time of accepting the accession, said that as soon as things were quiet within the state its future would be finally decided in accordance with the will of the people. In other words, they would have a say as to whether they wanted to join India or Pakistan. It is said that Nehru promised
a subsequent expression of popular desire largely at the urging of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last British Governor General of India, and it is probably true.
Whatever his initial reluctance, Nehru probably agreed because he was a believer in democracy and the will of the people. Increasingly over the months, however, he became more and more reluctant to hold a plebiscite. Some say he was afraid of the results. He himself expressed apprehension that the campaigning incident to a plebiscite in Kashmir would simply rekindle Moslem-Hindu animosities, which led to the partition and resulting bloodshed. The partition, you recall, had resulted in the butchering of tens if not hundreds of thousands of people. There were twelve million refugees fleeing from one side to the other. This probably was a matter of legitimate concern on his part. The butchery, especially in north India, had been horrible, some of it occurring right within Delhi. U. S. newspaper correspondents who had been there at
the time told us of nightly killings in the old city. They had personally toured the streets; had gone down one street with nobody in sight and had returned a few minutes later to find it littered with butchered bodies. They were always knife fights; never guns.
We were told that bloodshed in the village could be even more ghastly. It was a golden opportunity to take out old vengeances, settle old scores. My point is that Nehru probably had good reason to fear risking a reopening of old wounds through a plebiscite bound to be fought on communal, or religious, grounds.
MCKINZIE: Your major concern was to take care of the Kashmir end of the dispute. Did you have any instructions to deal with this question?
ADAMS: No. The injunction to the Commission was simply to go out and try to arrange for the settlement of the dispute between two countries over Kashmir. The first thing that the Commission did was to arrange a cease-fire. This was in mid-August.
It went into effect immediately, although it was not confirmed by the Security Council until early January of 1949. So the fighting stopped; I don't know whether you can attribute this to the work of the Commission and its pressures on the two governments, or whether the fighting had progressed to a stage where both sides were willing to call it a halt for the time being. The cease-fire line was subsequently demarcated along the line dividing the fighting forces. Because subsequently, after the fighting really got underway, the Pakistani troops came into the state. So it was really divided -- drawing a line between the Indians and the Pakistani army.
MCKINZIE: When you had a cease-fire, you did not get mutual troop withdrawal?
ADAMS: No, no, no. That was to come in the plebiscite. We tried to get agreement on this plebiscite. That was really the main purpose. Since Nehru was committed to a plebiscite and the Pakistani wanted it, this was the obvious thing to work on.
And we worked on it, but we couldn't get any agreement while we were there. In mid-September the Commission reasoned, "Well, there's no point in shuttling between these two sides anymore. Let's go back to report to the Security Council," which was then meeting with the General Assembly in Paris. Those were the years when the U.N. didn't have permanent headquarters. They were out at Lake Success and occasionally the Assembly and Security Council would meet in Europe. This was the fall of 1948.
MCKINZIE: How did you feel when you left? Had it done some good?
ADAMS: Well, I think we felt we'd done all w