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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States, 1951. Asia and the Pacific (in two parts)

Ceylon,   pp. 2013-2084 PDF (27.4 MB)

Page 2023

  Re UK's own negotiations, CRO confirmed that fundamental prob-
lem is over bases, which UK wants GOC purchase and turn over to
UK for use without charge. In return, GOC is asking for what UK
considers exorbitant amout naval equipment (as well as supplies for
land and air forces, which James, civil head Defense Department
CRO, says are in more reasonable amounts). GOC wants three frigates
(destroyer type), twelve coastal minesweepers, and six seaward de-
fense boats as "ultimate requirement" which UK should agree supply.
CRO estimates cost would be about pounds 5 million. UK's offer to
GOC was that it would supply equipment equivalent in cost to pur-
chase price for bases, which UK places at about pounds 800,000. This
would include one frigate, antiaircraft radar equipment, small arms
for one rifle company, four Harvards and eight Spitfires, and UK
would also write off cost of heavy ack-ack equipment already supplied.
  There has been no progress in negotiations since time Common-
wealth Prime Ministers' meeting and CRO officials presently studying
next move. They may recommend take-or-leave-it offer, but would
want UK Ministers first decide whether UK willing accept stalemate
over bases should GOC reject offer. Heretofore, negotiations have been
based on assumption that agreement would eventually be reached. Re
Ceylon's commitment furnish bases, one CRO official has explained
there is clear general undertaking to this effect pursuant to terms
1947 agreement, but that difficulty arises from broad wording agree-
ment which has made it difficult pin GOC to specifics. Ceylon Prime
Minister argued in London that British bases made Island enemy
target which it would not otherwise be and that he had to give proof
to his public that Ceylon's own security adequately provided for.
  Com~ment: Embassy believes UK desire help is sincere and that
support our request will be willingly     given if British   advice
sought by GOC, as we should try ensure. There does appear, however,
be validity to UK contention it must know more about USAF inten-
tions to-be really helpful.,
  Sent Department 4900, repeated information Colombo 38.
  A memorandum of April 4 by Mr. Frederic G. Ranney of the Office of British
Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs, addressed to the Director of
that Office, Mr. G. Hayden Raynor, and to Mr. Robert D. Coe, also of that
read in part as follows:
  "I have discussed the attached telegram [telegram 4900 from London,
13] with Miss [Mildred M.] Yenchius of SOA, who tells me that the whole ques-
tion of military communication facilities in the Indian Ocean area is undergoing
reconsideration in the Defense Department. It is now felt that further efforts
to persuade the Ceylonese to grant us these facilities would be fruitless,
in view
of the fact that our negotiations have already dragged on for two years,
though the British have given us support throughout. Present thinking is
increase the establishment which the British have agreed to grant us at Aden."

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