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Many were already saying how this was the first stage in a Chinese thrust

through to the Bay of Bengal. Canberra had even announced that it would
supply weapons to help peace-loving India resist the Chinese aggressors.

I decided to send up a submission to my superiors saying that Indian

claims of unprovoked aggression from China were not quite as strong as
most believed, and that Canberras rushed offer to supply weapons should
at least be conditional on a New Delhi promise to negotiate the frontier in
a more serious manner.

My two immediate superiors accepted the submission, despite their

normally rather hawkish views. But it came to a dead stop in the hands of
the then division head, David Anderson, later to be Australias ambassador
to Saigon.

In the margin he had scrawled: I fail to see that it is not in the Australian
interest to see the Chinese and the Indians at each others throats.

For me, this was the ultimate example of the ugly Cold War realpolitik
that was to lead eventually to the mess that Anderson was to confront later
in Vietnam. From then on there was little more I could do, other than
contemplate cynically Canberras puzzlement when the Chinese
aggressors failed to press on to the Bay of Bengal and in fact returned to
precisely where they had started, without even trying to seize some of the

Later, I resigned from external affairs in 1965 and became involved in the
anti-Vietnam War protest movement. At the time the myth of an
expansionist China, with heavy emphasis on the 1962 Sino-Indian
dispute, was being used constantly to justify Western, including
Australian, intervention in Indochina. The only answer, it seemed, was for
me to try to write a detailed book on China, pointing out the not
unreasonable nature of Beijings foreign policies.

A key element in rebutting the China as Asian aggressor image would

be a chapter giving full details of everything I knew about the 1962 Sino-
Indian dispute. Other chapters would discuss the Sino-Soviet dispute
(where I had already worked out the Taiwan connection), the civil war
nature of the Taiwan dispute, and Tibet role in the Sino-Indian dispute
plus the fact that Tibet has always been seen as Chinese territory.

During a 1963-5 Moscow posting I had got to know Indias top China
expert, also posted there at the time, and he had confirmed my feeling
that Tibet was indeed the key to Nehrus aggressive frontier policies.