This was the first of two letters Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru sent to President Kennedy on November 19, 1962, on the situation in the Sino-Indian War.
Date: November 19, 1962
Author: Jawaharlal Nehru
Title: Letter to President Kennedy
Archival Source: "India: Subjects: Ambassador Galbraith: Special file: Miscellaneous messages, 1962: October-December" folder, Box 111, National Security Files, John F. Kennedy Library
The letter was hand-delivered to the President at 4 P.M. by Braj Kumar Nehru, the Indian Ambassador to the United States and a nephew of Prime Minister Nehru.
For more on the background to these letters, see Nehru Appeals for JFK's Help in Fighting China.
19th November 1962
Dear Mr. President,
It is now a month since the Chinese massive attack on India started on 20th October. I think I must write to you again to acquaint you with further developments that have occurred since my letter of 29th October. Before I deal with these further developments I would like to say that we are extremely grateful to you and the Government and people of the United States of America for the practical support given to us. We particularly appreciate the speed with which the urgently needed small arms and ammunition were rushed to India.
There was a deceptive lull after the first Chinese offensive during which the Chinese mounted a serious propaganda offensive in the name of peace to get us to accept their so-called three point proposals which, shorn of their wrappings, actually constituted a demand for surrender on their terms. The Chinese tried, despite our rejection of these proposals to get various Afro-Asian countries to intercede with varying offers of mediation.
After my clear and categorical statement in Parliament on 14th November rejecting the three point proposal of Chou En-Lai, the Chinese who had made full preparations to put further military pressure on us restarted their military offensive. I am asking our Ambassador to give you a copy of a statement on the developments in the military situation during the last few days which I made in the Parliament this morning. Bomdila which was the Headquarters of our North East Frontier Agency Command, has been surrounded and the equivalent of two divisions engaged in the operations in the N.E.F.A. area are fighting difficult rearguard actions. It is not quite certain how many of them will be able to extricate themselves and Join the Corps Headquarters at Tezpur further south.
The Chinese are by and large in possession of the greater portion of the North East Frontier Agency and are poised to overrun Chushul in Ladakh. There is nothing to stop them after Chushul till they reach Leh, the Headquarters of the Ladakh province of Kashmir.
Events have moved very fast and we are facing a grim situation in our struggle for survival and in defending all that India stands for against an unscrupulous and powerful aggressor.
Our Defence experts have been discussing our detailed requirements with the technical experts in your Embassy here and have given them a full picture of the magnitude of the operations and the need for air transport and jet fighters. These are absolutely necessary to stem the Chinese tide of aggression. A lot more effort, both from us and from our friends, will be required to roll back this aggressive tide.I hope we will continue to have the support and assistance of your great country in the gigantic efforts that have to be made and sustained to deal with the unscrupulous and powerful enemy we are facing.
I am also writing to Prime Minister MacMillan to keep him informed of these developments.
With kind regards,