John F. Kennedy photo

Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Nehru.

November 09, 1961

THE PRESIDENT and the Prime Minister have .had four days of especially pleasant and rewarding conversations. These began in Newport, Rhode Island, on Monday, were continued for several hours Tuesday morning with senior Indian and U.S. officials present, with further private discussions Wednesday, and a brief final meeting today. Subjects covered amount almost to a map of the troubled areas of the world. The problems of getting a peaceful settlement in Berlin, of securing the peace and liberties of the people of Southeast Asia, the problems of control of nuclear testing and disarmament, of the Congo, on how to strengthen the United Nations, and of United States and Indo-Pakistan relations were among the topics. Prime Minister Nehru used the occasion to go deeply into the philosophic and historical background of Indian foreign policy. The President similarly went into the goals and objectives of American foreign policy as they have been molded and shaped over the years.

The President and the Prime Minister examined in particular those areas where peace is threatened. They discussed the dangers inherent in recent developments in Berlin and in Southeast Asia. Concerning Berlin, President Kennedy reaffirmed the United States commitment to support the freedom and economic viability of the two and one-quarter million people of West Berlin and the President and the Prime Minister concurred in the legitimate and necessary right of access to Berlin. The President also assured the Prime Minister that every effort would be made to seek a solution of the Berlin problem by peaceful means, and underlined the importance of the choices of the people directly concerned.

With respect to Southeast Asia, the President and the Prime Minister confirmed that it is the common objective of the United States and India that Laos be a genuinely neutral state, free of domination by any foreign power, and that each nation in the area have the opportunity to make its own choice of the course it will take in seeking to solve pressing economic and social problems under conditions of peace.

The President and the Prime Minister discussed India's efforts for the improved well-being of her people. The President reaffirmed the United States interest in the success of this great effort.

They exchanged views on the desirability of a cessation of nuclear testing. The President referred in this connection to the recent resumption of tests by the Soviet Union which broke the previous moratorium and reaffirmed the United States unwillingness to accept a further uncontrolled nuclear test moratorium. The Prime Minister and the President agreed on the urgent need for a treaty banning nuclear tests with necessary provision for inspection and control.

The President and Prime Minister stressed the high importance of measures to avoid the risk of war and of negotiations in this connection to achieve agreement on a program of general and complete disarmament.

India and the United States share in the fullest measure their common objective to develop the United Nations as the most effective instrument of world peace. The President and the Prime Minister reviewed the United States and Indian contributions to United Nations operations in the Congo, which they regard as an illustration of how that body, even under extremely difficult conditions, can help bring about conditions for the peaceful resolution of conflict. Both the Prime Minister and the President strongly share the hope that as the result of the efforts of the people of the Congo and the United Nations a peaceful and united Congo will be achieved. The President expressed his special appreciation of the role played by the Indian soldiers in the Congo, who comprise more than one-third of the United Nations force there.

The Prime Minister and the President noted the cooperation and exchange of information between United States and Indian scientists in space science research. They agreed that this activity, which has the aim of peaceful exploitation of outer space for the benefit of mankind, could be usefully developed.

The Prime Minister and the President consider that their talks have been highly useful in the pursuit of their common objectives of an enduring world peace and enhanced understanding between the Governments of India and the United States. They intend to keep closely in touch with each other in the months and years ahead.

John F. Kennedy, Joint Statement Following Discussions With Prime Minister Nehru. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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