Sri Lanka: Coup against Bandaranaike Is Possible — CIA

UNP­dominated government would probably be more effective and more sympathetic toward the West than the Bandaranaike government, declassified papers reveal


( February 9, 2017, Boston — Hong Kong SAR, Sri Lanka Guardian) “There is a constant possibility of an extra-legal attempt to seize power by one or more of the conservative groups which have been plotting against the Bandaranaike government,” a declassified CIA document has revealed.

“However, it is doubtful that they would be able to establish a stable and lasting government unless they were able to secure the cooperation of one of the main political parties or of a popular political leaders,” the paper submitted on July 14, 1959, noted.

Meanwhile, assessing the political viewpoint of the United National Party, the CIA noted that the UNP­dominated government would probably be more effective and more sympathetic toward the West than the Bandaranaike government has been.

POLITICAL PROSPECTS IN CEYLON

Excerpts;

We believe that an early change of government in Ceylon is likely, and that the 6utlook for the next two or three years at least is for continued basic instability.    It is probable that this period will be characterized by coalition governments. The trend toward polarization of the political scene to the right and left is likely to continue.

Important differences will remain among moderates and communists and there will continue to be basic cleavages between the Sinhalese Buddhists and the various minorities.     Political instability will continue to impede badly-needed measures to promote economic progress.(Paras. 6-7, 9-12, 14)

The relatively conservative UNP appears to have profited more than any other party from Bandaranaike’s loss of popularity. While it probably could not win a majority of seats, it might emerge from new elections with sufficient strength’ to have a strong, if not decisive voice in the formation of a coalition government, possibly through some. Kind of accommodation with the moderates of Bandaranaike’s SLFP Except in the unlikely event of a communist takeover, we do not believe that Ceylon’s generally popular neutralist foreign policy will undergo any major change. However, a UNP­dominated government would probably be more effective and more sympathetic toward the West than the Bandaranaike government has been. (Paras. 11-12)

There is a constant possibility of an extra-legal attempt to seize power by one or more of the conservative groups which have been plotting against the Bandaranaike government. Under certain condition, they could take control of the government. However, it is doubtful that they would be able to establish a stable and lasting government unless they were able to secure the cooperation of one of the main political parties or of a popular political leaders (Para. 17)

 

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