- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 4 Nov 1965, p. 43-53
- Reid, Escott, Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- Some remarks about the speaker's background, especially with regard to India and Pakistan. The speaker's affection for India and Pakistan, and for their people. Some background to the current problems between India and Pakistan. The issue of outside economic aid and the likelihood that it will be reduced, just when it is most needed. The deep and difficult issues which divide the two countries. The failure of Indian foreign policy since independence. The problem now as compared to eight years ago. The different approaches to the problem of Indo-Pakistan relations of the United States, and the Soviet Union. Progress in that regard. The role of the Security Council of the United Nations. Prospects for peace, security and prosperity in India and Pakistan and upon what that depends.
- Date of Original
- 4 Nov 1965
- Language of Item
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- Full Text
- NOVEMBER 4, 1965
India and Pakistan
AN ADDRESS BY Escott Reid, PRINCIPAL OF GLENDON COLLEGE, YORK UNIVERSITY
CHAIRMAN The President, Lt. Col. E. A. Royce, E.D.
Honourable and Reverend Sirs, Honoured guests and gentlemen:
When the great Lord Curzon was Viceroy of India, it was his view that pomp and circumstance had a very definite importance and when touring the provinces as he did from time to time, it was understood that whenever the occasion demanded, a band would be present to play "God Save the Queen" as he stepped from his car. In one remote area the only band available was an extremely inexperienced one at the Anglican mission and when, due to a change in schedule, it was announced that the viceroy would be stopping in the community, there was great consternation for the local band could not play "God Save the Queen". After lengthy discussion, a decision was made, however, and a suitable selection from the very limited repertoire-it came to pass that when the great man alighted from the train, the band swung into "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty". Curzon's reaction is not recorded but it could be that he felt the selection quite appropriate.
It is unlikely that our present speaker during his tour as High Commissioner encountered similar problems since times have changed a bit.
Mr. Reid was born in Campbellford, Ontario, graduated from Trinity College, University of Toronto, and attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. He was later a Rockefeller Fellow in the Social Sciences and from 1932 to 1938 was National Secretary to the Canadian Institute of International Affairs, in 1937 assuming his duties as Acting Professor of Government at Dalhousie University. He joined the Canadian Foreign Service in January, 1939, was Canadian High Commissioner to India from 1952 to '57 and Canadian Ambassador to Germany from 1958 to '62. He attended the first three sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations. From 1962 to 1965 Mr. Reid was Director of the South-Asia and Middle East Department of the World Bank in Washington. He is now Principal of Glendon College at York University, Toronto.
In view of my own vocation, I hesitate to comment on the direction in which our speaker was moving when he left the field of diplomacy for the field of banking. It may have been a question of missionary zeal and desire to do what he could to improve the standards in what has been described as a damnable profession. However, his latest appointment quite obviously represents a return to respectability, although even the academic life is not without its perils and I do hope that he will not emulate Socrates in whose last cocktail the olive had been replaced by a dash of hemlock.
Gentlemen--a man of quite exceptional talent whose career in three separate fields has been one of uniform success. A diplomat, a banker and now-and perhaps most important of all-the Principal of Glendon College at York University, Mr. Escott Reid.
I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the government and people of Canada for having had the privilege of serving as their representative in India for four and a half years. These were among the happiest years in my life. To the World Bank I owe the privilege of having directed the Bank's operations in Pakistan and India for three years and of having been able to make long visits to both countries on the business of the Bank.
But here I have a confession to make. My affection for the land and the peoples of India and Pakistan is such that I cannot pretend, and I will not pretend, to discuss the problems and prospects of Pakistan and India as if these countries were abstractions or pawns or counters in a game.
Because of my four and a half years in India, India is most certainly no abstraction to me. When I think of India I think of senior civil servants who have been overworking for 25 years to build their country; ambitious forceful creative businessmen; poverty-stricken, colourful, hard-working, gay Rajasthan peasants; Calcutta slum dwellers; the philosopherPresident of India; the scholarly Muslim Vice-President; the Prime Minister on whose slim shoulders rests an almost intolerable burden of responsibility; a saintly Hindu agricultural scientist who passionately believes in the justice of India's case in Kashmir; my memories of one of the greatest men of this age, Nehru; the beauties of mountains and plains, of ancient monuments and holy shrines; the hope that refreshes the heart at the sight of a peasant who has doubled his food production by using improved methods and improved seeds.
I don't know Pakistan as well as I know India. It was not, indeed, until I joined the World Bank that I got to know much at first hand about Pakistan. In the three years I was with the Bank my wife and I travelled the length and breadth of West Pakistan and East Pakistan. We visited projects--the World Bank had financed. We visited the sites of projects which the Pakistanis hoped the Bank would finance. In Pakistan and in Washington I talked with Pakistani politicians, officials, diplomats, businessmen, about Pakistan's problems, its fears and its hopes, and I came more and more under the spell of the land of Pakistan and I came more and more to admire and to like the people of Pakistan.
My affection is now not to India alone but to the whole sub-continent composed of India and Pakistan. It is that subcontinent of 600 million people which I dare to call my second home.
Before the fighting between India and Pakistan broke out two months ago, there was no certainty that India and Pakistan would succeed in their struggles against poverty, disease and ignorance. There was at best an even chance that they would succeed. They had each made remarkable progress since independence. In the fifties India had done better than Pakistan. In the sixties Pakistan had done better than India. But in neither country had the progress been rapid enough. Both countries faced the threat of mounting populations. The population of India was increasing by a million people every month. The rate of increase was 2 1/2 % a year. The population of Pakistan was increasing at a rate of over 2 1/2 % a year. Both countries had accumulated a heavy burden of foreign debt. Both needed much more foreign aid and much more of the aid on easy terms. Both needed to take immediately politically difficult decisions in order to mobilize more of their own domestic resources for economic development and to use all their resources, domestic and foreign, more efficiently.
Before the fighting broke out there was a good chance that the friends of India and Pakistan would give more economic aid to India and Pakistan, and that they would give more of this economic aid on easier terms, provided they were satisfied, as the result of independent, expert, confidential enquiries by the World Bank, that India and Pakistan were moving at a reasonable pace to improve their economic policies, planning and performance. It looked as though the World Bank, as a result of its enquiries and of its negotiations with the two governments, might be able to give this kind of assurance to the principal aid-givers.
Then in September came the fighting over Kashmir. Now India and Pakistan and their friends throughout the world are haunted by insistent questions.
If the chances of India and Pakistan succeeding in their efforts for economic development were even before the fighting broke out, what chance has either country of succeeding if it continues to divert scarce resources of foreign exchange, of men and materials and--most important of all--brains to fighting and to armaments; if it lives at best in a state of tension with its neighbour, at worst in a state of smouldering war or actual war; if as a result the pressure from China becomes greater; if internal strains and stresses within each country strengthen the pulls of regionalism and factionalism, and stir up the latent antipathies between Hindus and Muslims within each country?
Each country has a large religious minority. Ten million East Pakistanis are Hindus. Fifty million Indians are Muslims. When India was divided in 1947 between predominantly Hindu India and predominantly Muslim Pakistan there were mass riots in both countries between Hindus and Muslims. There were mass murders, mass migrations. During the recent crisis there have not been riots between Hindus and Muslims in either country. This is to the great credit of the peoples and governments of India and Pakistan. But there is the ever-present danger that, if tension continues between India and Pakistan, some incident might lead to riots, murders and migrations on a scale much greater than in 1947.
The fighting between India and Pakistan raises, as I have said, insistent questions about whether the Indian and Pakistan programmes for economic development have any substantial hope of success as long as the deep and difficult issues between the two countries remain unresolved. These questions lead inevitably to troubled questioning in the countries which have been giving economic aid to India and Pakistan. Will not, it is asked, a continuation of economic aid merely make it easier for India and Pakistan to divert an increasing proportion of their resources from economic development to fighting and armies and armaments? If outside economic aid was reduced or eliminated, would not both countries have to curtail drastically their expenditures on fighting and on preparations for fighting in order that their economic programmes should not grind to a catastrophic stop?
I can hear the very tone of voice which Nehru would have used in commenting on questions like these. I can hear him saying: "This is an extreme simplification of a highly complicated problem."
It is an extreme simplification and the problem is highly complicated. One reason why the problem is highly complicated is that it raises the whole difficult question of how outsiders can help to strengthen the hands of sensible people in another country. The danger always is that the outsider will be accused of attempting to coerce a sovereign government and people, and this may strengthen the hands not of the sensible people in the country but of the extremists.
All I want to say at the moment is that recent events in the Indian sub-continent have clearly made it less likely that India and Pakistan will get more economic aid from the outside world and have made it more likely that they will get less economic aid just when they need much more.
This is serious enough. What makes the situation even more serious is that the weakening of support for generous economic aid to India and Pakistan is resulting in a weakening of support for generous economic aid to the whole of the economically underdeveloped poor two thirds of the world.
The tragic state of relations between India and Pakistan presents the world with one of its greatest crises since the war. A continuance of the smouldering war between India and Pakistan constitutes a clear and present danger to the peace and security and welfare of the 600 million men, women and children who live in the Indian sub-continent. It endangers the peace, security and welfare of the world.
When I left India in 1957 I was worried by what seemed to me to be Nehru's failure to realize sufficiently that "his most important task in international policy was to get a settlement with Pakistan on all the deep and difficult issues which divide the two countries, and, that to get this settlement, he should be prepared to use all his powers of leadership to persuade India to accept the necessarily unpalatable compromises."*
I emphasize the words, "the deep and difficult issues which divide the two countries." The issues which divide India and Pakistan are not simple issues capable of easy solutions. They are extremely difficult issues, issues which are rooted deep in the long history of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is separated from Islam by a wide gulf. There are proud memories of imperial Moghul grandeur. There is the resentment on the Indian side that India had to be partitioned 20 years ago on the basis of religion. There is the suspicion on the other side that India has never really accepted the existence of Pakistan as a separate nation. India has been governed by men who made the revolution against the British. These men have tended to look down on the former army officers and civil servants who have been governing Pakistan.
My Pakistani and Indian friends know that my assessment in 1957 after four and a half years as Canadian High Commissioner to India was that: "Indian foreign policy since independence must be judged to be a failure since India has failed to achieve the most important goal of any realistic Indian foreign policy, the establishment of good relations with Pakistan . . . The responsibility for failure must, of course, be shared by Pakistan, but it is reasonable to place the greater share of the responsibility for failure on India . . . The stumbling block to the achievement of good relations between India and Pakistan is Kashmir. In order to hold Kashmir, India has sacrificed an immensely greater national interest. **
*"Nehru: an assessment in 1957," by Escott Reid. Letter written in May, 1957. International Journal, Quarterly of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs: Summer, 1964.
**"Nehru's India," by Escott Reid. Letter written in May, 1957. India Quarterly. April-June, 1965. Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.
I did not then suggest, and I do not now suggest, that the way to settle the Kashmir problem is for India to accept all the demands of Pakistan, such as the demand for a plebiscite in Kashmir. What I do believe is what every sensible responsible government leader in India and Pakistan, I am confident, believes in his heart of hearts: India and Pakistan must reach quickly an honourable, equitable and lasting settlement of the Kashmir problem.
In one way the problem is easier than it was eight years ago when the great difficulties in the way of the two countries reaching a settlement were exacerbated by the very different approaches to the problem of Indo-Pakistan relations of the two greatest powers in the world-the United States and the Soviet Union. During the last two months the differences between the approaches of the United States and the Soviet Union to the problem have been much less than they were eight years ago. The approaches have certainly not been identical. There have been disquieting differences. Nevertheless it has been most encouraging that both countries have indicated during the present crisis that they consider that their national interests lie not in supporting one South Asian country against the other but in the stability of the whole area of South Asia. Each has indicated that it realizes that, if the present situation continues, the only country to benefit will be China.
The result of this has been that the United States and the Soviet Union have so far not followed opposing courses in the Security Council of the United Nations and in their approaches to the Indian and Pakistan governments. This, plus the fact that the Chinese seat on the Security Council is not held by a representative of Peking, has resulted in the Security Council being able to adopt resolutions supported by all the permanent members.
The absence of Peking from the Security Council is on the whole most regrettable but it has had the advantage in this crisis of making great power unanimity in the Security Council possible.
If the permanent members of the Security Council could remain in agreement, the Security Council would be legally and constitutionally capable of doing what the founders of the United Nations intended it should do on an issue such as Kashmir which endangers the peace of the world. The founders of the U.N. intended that the Security Council, while it could not keep the peace between its permanent members, would be able to keep the peace between any other nations which endangered the peace of the world as long as so these nations were not being protected by the veto of a permanent member.
The Security Council has the legal power to act on the Kashmir issue if its permanent members remain united, for so long as they remain united their views would undoubtedly be supported by the necessary number of nonpermanent members of the Council.
The Security Council has, under the Charter of the United Nations, an obligation to act on issues such as Kashmir which endanger the peace of the world. How the Security Council should carry out that obligation is, of course, another matter. It could take action formally or informally; act as a body or through some of its members; act through the Secretary General or through a special emissary.
When I left the World Bank three months ago I did an essay on the future of the World Bank in which I said: "An underdeveloped country cannot be saved by outsiders. It must save itself. To save itself it must be proud. It must retain its self-respect. In order that its government may govern effectively, its government must retain the respect of the governed." "That," I wrote, "is why the giving of advice to underdeveloped countries on their economic development is such a difficult art." I went on to say that when the World Bank intervenes with advice, the "intervention should be in the least abrasive, the least corrosive way possible."*
*"The Future of the World Bank," International
The giving of advice by the Security Council to India and Pakistan on how to solve the Kashmir problem is an even more difficult art than the giving of advice by the World Bank on economic development. It is therefore of paramount importance that the Security Council's intervention in the Kashmir issue should be in the least abrasive, the least corrosive way possible, the way most likely to ease the task of the leaders of India and Pakistan.
The prospects of peace, stability and prosperity in India and Pakistan depend on the leaders and peoples of India and Pakistan displaying the high qualities demanded by the present tragic situation of the two countries. If the leaders and peoples fail to display those qualities, India and Pakistan may become the sick men of Asia. If the leaders and peoples can reach an honourable, lasting and equitable settlement, they will set an example to the whole world of how neighbours can deal with deep and difficult issues which divide them. India and Pakistan can save themselves by their exertions. They can save the world by their example.
The prospects of peace, stability and prosperity in India and Pakistan depend also on the Soviet Union and the United States not working at cross purposes in South Asia. If the Soviet Union and the United States could only work together quietly and effectively in South Asia, they would be making substantial progress towards the ultimate goal of the creation of a sense of community between them.
The prospects of peace, security and prosperity in India and Pakistan depend on the Soviet world and the western world increasing greatly the volume of economic aid which they give to India and Pakistan. I am confident that they would give more aid if they have good reason to believe that India and Pakistan are moving with determination to resolve their differences, and to improve their economic policies, programmes and performances.
The prospects of peace, security and prosperity in India and Pakistan depend on the gradual, patient working-out over the next 20 years of a modus vivendi between China and its neighbours, particularly India, Japan and the Soviet Union, and between China and the western world, particularly the United States.
Thus, South Asia can become the major front on which the world can advance towards the three principal objectives of world policy during the next 20 years: the building up of a sense of community between the Soviet world and the western world; the working out of a modus vivendi with China; the raising of the standards of living of the hungry two-thirds of the world.
South Asia thus presents today not only a threat to the peace of the whole world but a challenge and an opportunity to the whole world.
The great Indian poet and philosopher, Rabindranath Tagore, wrote in 1933, "Man has to win his manhood every day of his life, and the history of every nation is the history of the campaigns it has undertaken to win victory over itself. Man comes into this world to penetrate the impenetrable, and attain the unattainable, and he grows strong and prosperous by removing obstacles from his path . . . Each nation has a special problem given to it by God, and it finds its salvation by solving it rightly."*
If Tagore were alive today this is what he would say to India and Pakistan.
Thanks of the meeting were expressed by Lt. Col. Donald H. Jupp, O.B.E.
*"Rammuhan Roy, a Pilgrim of India" by Rabindranath Tagore. Pamphlet, 1933.