The Dixon Proposals
Cease Fire eased the situation in so far as it put a stop to the actual
fighting. It also removed the fear of the fighting in Kashmir developing
into a general Indo- Pak War. But it did not bring the solution of the
problem as visualized by the UNCIP in its resolution of August 13, 1948
any nearer. Nothing had been settled about the Truce Agreement and plebiscite
which were to follow the Cease Fire in terms of that resolution before
India took the initiative to end the shooting War. This put the U.N. Commission
in a difficult position. While it appreciated India's self-abnegation in
stopping the actual fighting it could not allow the matters to rest there.
It, therefore, after waiting for a few months passed a new resolution on
January 5, 1949 which detailed the steps to be taken for the implementation
of the provisions of its earlier resolution about the Truce Agreement and
the plebiscite. To expedite the work it decided to move India and Pakistan
to carry on its mediatory efforts to that end.
Pakistan nor India was in a hurry to oblige the U.N. Commission. Pakistan
wanted to consolidate her position in the territories acquired by her and
was in no mood to take any risk by withdrawing the 30 battalions of local
troops raised from among the people of these territories and allowing the
writ of the lawful Government of Jammu & Kashmir to run, even nominally,
over the whole state on which India insisted. The divergence between the
views of the two sides regarding demilitarization and administrative control
over the territories occupied by Pakistan was so great that it took them
seven months even to finalize the Cease Fire Line.
The UNCIP therefore
began to veer round the idea of arbitration by a third
the disputed points about demilitarization which stood in the way of signing
of the Truce Agreement and induction of a plebiscite Administration for
which post the security council had nominated Admiral Chester Nimitz of
the USA. Accordingly, it presented to the Governments of India and Pakistan
on August 29, 1949 its proposal about submitting to arbitration their differences
regarding the implementation of Part II of the resolution of August 13,
1948. As if by prior arrangement, President Truman of the USA and Premier
Attlee of the U.K. wrote to the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan about
the same time to accept this suggestion about arbitration.
of Pakistan accepted the suggestion but the Government of India rejected
it on the plea that the outstanding issue of disbanding and disarming of "Azad" Kashmir forces was a matter not for arbitration but "for affirmative
and immediate decision".
arbitration proposals thus fell through, it hardened the attitude of the
USA and the UK against India.
The U.N. Commission
therefore felt that any further efforts at mediation would be useless and
decided to return to New York and report its failure to the Security Council.
This it did on December 12, 1949. The majority report was signed by four
of the five members. While admitting the Commission's failure in the task
entrusted to it, it suggested that the "Security Council should designate
as its representative, a single individual who should proceed to the subcontinent
with the broad authority from the Council to endeavour to bring the two
Governments together on all unresolved issues".
the representative of Czechoslovakia, submitted a separate minority report
in which he charged the U.N. Secretariat, the USA and the UK with interference
in the work of the UNCIP, suggested that a new mediation organ really independent
and untrammeled by outside interference should be created and asserted
that the Security Council as a whole alone could be such an organ.
of these reports and the charges levelled by Dr. Chyde about interference
by the U.S.A. and the UK in the working of the UNCIP made the division
of the Security Council between the Western and Eastern Bloc on the question
of Kashmir absolutely clear. It was now evident that the Kashmir issue
had got caught up in the cold war and that a dispassionate study and solution
of the problem on its own merits was going to become more and more difficult.
This fact began to further influence the foreign policy of the Government
of India in favor of the Communist bloc which in its turn made the attitude
of the Western bloc more and more sympathetic to Pakistan's point of view.
council, after debating these reports for many weeks, decided by a majority
vote on March 14, 1950, to send a single U.N. representative to assist
in the demilitarization Programme and subsequent steps for organizing a
plebiscite. Sir Owen Dixon, a retired Judge of the Australian High Court,
was chosen for the purpose. Earlier, the names of Admiral Chester Nimitz
and Mr. Ralph Bunche were proposed but had to be dropped because of India's
Sir Owen Dixon
arrived in India 3n May 27, 1950. He immediately undertook a comprehensive
tour of Jammu & Kashmir State on both sides of the Cease Fire Line
and held discussions with local leaders besides the Prime Ministers of
India and Pakistan. On August 22, 1950 he announced that he had come to
the conclusion that there was no immediate prospect of India and Pakistan
composing their differences and that he would shortly report to the Security
Council. This he did on September 15, 1950.
Sir Owen Dixon's
report was the first judicial report on the state of Affairs in Jammu &
Kashmir as it had developed since the beginning of Pakistani invasion in
October, 1947. He made some practical suggestions about the solution of
the problem in the light of the actual realities of the situation on both
sides of the cease-fire Line.
He was the
first U.N. representative to state in unequivocal terms that the crossing
of the frontier of Jammu & Kashmir State by Pakistani invaders on October
22, 1947, and the entry of regular Pakistan Army into Kashmir in May, 1948
were contrary to international law.
He was again
the first U.N. representative to clearly grasp the fact that Jammu &
Kashmir State is just a heterogeneous conglomeration of territories under
the political power of one Maharaja and that it was not really a unit geographically,
demographically or economically. He, therefore, concluded that "if as a
result of one overall plebiscite the state in its entirety passed to India,
there would be a large movement of Muslims and another refugee problem
would arise for Pakistan. If the result favored Pakistan a refugee problem,
although not of such dimensions, would arise for India. Almost all this
would be avoided by partition. Great areas of the State are unequivocally
Muslims. Other areas are predominantly Hindu. There is a further area which
is Buddhist. No one doubts the sentiments of the great majority of the
inhabitants of these areas. The interests of the people, the justice as
well as avoiding another refugee problem, all point to the wisdom of adopting
partition as the principle of settlement and of abandoning that of an overall
In the light
of above conclusions he suggested the following two alternatives to an
(1) A plebiscite
be taken "by sections or areas" and the allocation of each section or area
be made according to the result of the vote.
holding a plebiscite, areas certain to vote for India and those certain
to vote for Pakistan "be allotted accordingly and the plebiscite be confined
only to the uncertain area". The "uncertain area" according to Sir. Dixon
appeared to be the "Vale of Kashmir and perhaps some adjacent country."
This plan of
holding a partial plebiscite in a limited area consisting of United Nations
officers headed by the Plebiscite Administrator with powers to "exclude
troops of any description. If however, they decided that for any purpose
troops were necessary, they could request the parties to provide them."
suggested that the Security Council should pull itself out of the dispute
and let the initiative pass to the parties concerned. He, however, stressed
the necessity for the reduction in armed forces holding the cease-fire
Line to the normal needs of a peace time frontier.
view the actual state of affairs on both sides of cease-fire Line and the
Indian commitment about plebiscite to determine the will of the people
about accession, Dixon's proposals appeared to be eminently reasonable
and practical even though they militated against the legal and constitutional
right of India over the whole of the State. They left the gains of aggression
which included three out of the four Muslim majority regions of the State
in the hands of Pakistan and gave her a fair opportunity to secure control
over the fourth- the Valley of Kashmir - if the people of that region really
wanted to put their lot with her. They gave India an un-disputed control
over Jammu and Laddakh and provided her an opportunity to put the loyalty
of Sheikh Abdullah and Kashmiri Muslims for whom she had done so much,
to a fair test. To confine the plebiscite to the Valley with its small
and compact area was definitely to be preferred to an overall-plebiscite
in the whole of the State from every point of view.
But there was
one snag in these proposals. The suggestion to replace the lawfully constituted
authority in the Valley by the U.N. administrators with the right to invite
troops of both India and Pakistan if necessary for the purpose of maintenance
of law and offer could not be justified on any ground. It amounted to absolute
repudiation of India's special position emanating from the lawful accession
of the State to her and bestowal upon Pakistan, the aggressor who had already
obtained rich spoils, an equal status and right over Kashmir.
Government rejected the Dixon proposals on the plea that they "meant a
breach on India's part of the agreement that the destinies of Jammu &
Kashmir State as a whole should be decided by a plebiscite taken over the
entire state". But this rejection was more tactical than genuine because
there could not have been a better proposal from the Pakistan point of
But it was
not so easy for India to accept these proposals. It would have amounted
to an implicit acceptance by her that the accession of the State to India
had no legal and constitutional validity and that the State should be partitioned
on the same basis on which British India had been partitioned earlier.
Further, doubts had begun to assail the mind of Pt. Nehru as well about
the advisability of putting the Kashmiri Muslims into the ordeal of a plebiscite
in which, whenever held, religious and communal considerations would outweigh
all other considerations. Taya Zinkin, the representative of "Manchester
Guardian" of London, reported Pt. Nehru as having told her on June 30,
1950, in answer to her question whether he would accept the "status quo"
with plebiscite confined to the Valley of Kashmir, that he would not agree
to a plebiscite so long as Pakistan held a part of the State because the
people of Kashmir were "timorous." Pakistan had agreed that it would not canvass
in Kashmir on religious grounds but he could not run the risk of
their breaking this understanding. Compared with the risk of communal conflagration
he did not care about world opinion, but added that "of course if the Kashmiris
want a plebiscite to be fought on economic and not mind you, religious
grounds they can have it. But I shall never allow so long as I live a plebiscite
over cow's urine and all that. It would undo the whole of communal harmony."
to Sir Owen Dixon, the Prime Minister of India was in agreement with the
general principles underlying his proposals, viz., area where there was
no doubt as to the wishes of the people going to India or Pakistan and
plebiscite being confined to the areas where there was doubt about the
result of voting
demarcation line was drawn with due regard to geographical features and
requirements of an international boundary. But Nehru was strongly opposed
to Dixon's proposal about supersession of the existing Kashmir Government
and bringing in of Pakistani troops in the Valley if the plebiscite Administration
felt keeping of such troops there necessary.
There are reasons
to believe that had Sir Dixon and afterward the Security Council adopted
a flexible approach in regard to the suggestion about suppression of lawful
Kashmir Government and admission of Pakistan's troops into the valley if
the Plebiscite Administrator so desired, his proposals might have proved
a workable basis for a final settlement in spite of the immediate adverse
reactions of India and Pakistan to it.
But the Security
Council which met on February 21, 1951 to consider the report of Sir Owen
Dixon instead of finding out ways and means of making the Dixon proposals
acceptable to the two parties, decided by a resolution sponsored jointly
by the UK and the USA to send another U.N. representative to India and
Pakistan in succession to Sir Owen Dixon "to effect the demilitarization
of the State of Jammu and Kashmir on the basis of the demilitarization
proposals made by Sir Dixon in his report with any modifications which
the U.N. representative deems advisable, and to present to the Government
of India and Pakistan detailed plans for carrying out plebiscite in the
State of Jammu and Kashmir". This resolution was passed with slight modification
in spite of the opposition of India by a majority vote on March 30, 1951.
None voted against it but the USSR and Yugoslavia abstained.
with this resolution the Security Council appointed Dr. Frank Graham of
the USA as its new representative for India and Pakistan. Dr. Graham who
first came to India and Pakistan in June, 1951 carried on endless discussions
with the Prime Ministers of both countries about the quantum of armed forces
to be retained by the two sides in Kashmir after a demilitarization in
terms of the resolution of August 13, 1948 had been brought about. Having
failed to make any headway, he suggested direct negotiations between the
two governments. They began at a joint conference of the two countries
at ministerial level at Geneva in August, 1952, and were later, after a
change of Government in Pakistan following the assassination of Prime Minister
Liaqat Ali Khan, continued at Karachi and New Delhi at the Prime Minister's
The joint communiqué issued on August 20, 1953, after the conclusion of the talks
between the two Prime Ministers at New Delhi gave the impression that some
headway had been made toward a negotiated settlement. According to the communiqué
the Prime Ministers agreed to consider directly the preliminary
issues like the quantum of forces to be kept by both sides in Kashmir and
to that end decided to appoint military and other experts to advise them
in regard to these issues. A provisional time-table for implementation
of their decisions was also drawn up according to which the Plebiscite
Administrator was to be inducted into office by April, 1954.
any concrete steps could be taken to implement the decisions announced
in the joint communiqué, a new turn was given to the whole problem by the
military pact between Pakistan and USA under which Pakistan began to receive
massive military aid from the USA and the internal developments in Kashmir
which culminated in the overthrow of Sh. Abdullah and installation of a
new Government headed by Bakshi Gulam Mohammed and ratification of accession
by the Kashmir Constituent Assembly.
India" by Taya Zinkin, Pg. 206.