4 December, 2023


WikiLeaks: Dudley Passed Away, JR’s Cold Analytical Brain Is Not Paired With Great Crowd Appeal: US

“Former prime minister Dudley Senanayake died at 11:30 PM April 13 after suffering series of heart attacks over past week. Senanayake had been leading vigorous come-back campaign for United National Party, of which he was president. His loss is severe blow for UNP, which counted on his nationwide appeal in any future general election. Obvious successor to party leadership is JR Jayewardene, superb political tactician and sometime rival to Dudley, but man whose cold analytical brain is not paired with great crowd appeal. There are others, too, such as former Home minister R Premadasa ( MP for colombo central) who has in recent weeks presented challenge to “old- guard” UNP leadership with demands for more democratic party organization and new and more appealing platform to offer to voters.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Dudley Senanayake and JRJ

Dudley Senanayake and JRJ

Dudley Senanayake passed away on April 13, 43 years ago. The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked US diplomatic cables from the WikiLeaks database. We publish below the cables in full;

US Heart specialist treats Senanayake

Date:1973 April 12, 11:30 (Thursday)

From:Sri Lanka Colombo
To:Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs | India New Delhi | Pakistan Karachi | Secretary of State

1. American cardiologist Dr Menard Gertler advised Emboff evening April 11 that condition of former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake was improved but still matter of great concern, and that most critical period had been first 24 hours after senanayake had gone into shock in early morning april 10. At noon april 12 attending physician attygalle confirmed to Emboff that Senanayake’s condition had not changed since last examination by gertler evening april 11.

2. During visit to Sri Lanka, Gertler examined Senanayake six times and also gave brief heart checkup to Prime Minister Bandaranaike. According to gertler, pm bandaranaike has no major current medical problems. ( Gertler reportedly had examined PM during her visit to us in 1971 at request of Sri Lanka Ambassador to UN Shirley amerasinghe, a close friend and neighbor of Gertler.)

3. Comment: visit of Gertler, during which he met people involved in HEW/ SRS projects and addressed local heart association, was very well received in all aspects. Gertler has low- key but confident manner that, in addition to his high reputation, made him welcome in highest medical cirimes here and undoubtedly contributed to pms acceptance of him as well as willingness of Ceylonese physicians to seek his advice in treating Senanayake.

4. Beging unclassified: Karchi pass Dr Menard Gertler. Dr Attygalle says condition of Senanayake unchanged from your last visit. Also, consular section received this morning letter addressed to you from Dr Hillar E Leetma of NYU medical center, inst of rehabilitation medicinoln 400 east 34 th st., NYC, and marked urgent. Will return sender unless you advise differently.

Van hollen

Death of former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake

Date:1973 April 14, 07:30 (Saturday)

From:Sri Lanka Colombo 
To:Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs | China Hong Kong | Commander in Chief US Pacific Command | India New Delhi | Nepal Kathmandu | Pakistan Islamabad | Pakistan Karachi | SECSTATE CINCPAC | Secretary of State | United Kingdom London

1. Former prime minister Dudley Senanayake died at 11:30 PM April 13 after suffering series of heart attacks over past week.

2. Plans for funeral not yet made but embassy source close to Senanayake family states it will probably be in five or six days. This is probably true as monday and tuesday are holidays ( prophets birthday and full moon poya). Funeral likely to be huge affair with Prime Minister Bandaranaike almost certain to attend.

3. Senanayake had been leading vigorous come-back campaign for United National Party ( UNP), of which he was president. His loss is severe blow for UNP, which counted on his nationwide appeal in any future general election. Obvious successor to party leadership is JR Jayewardene, superb political tactician and sometime rival to Dudley, but man whose cold analytical brain is not paired with great crowd appeal. There are others, too, such as former Home minister R Premadasa ( MP for colombo central) who has in recent weeks presented challenge to “old- guard” UNP leadership with demands for more democratic party organization and new and more appealing platform to offer to voters.

4. On national scene, death of Dudley Senanayake removes only alternative political figure to Mrs Bandaranaike with sufficient national popularity to hold country together easily. At first glance his removal would therefore appear to strengthen Prime Minister Bandaranaike. His death also, however, eliminates risk to members united front coalition who might wish try to oust Mrs Bandaranaike that dudley, and not they, might be the victor. For time being, any threat on her part to go to the country for general election has lost considerable credibility; Hence this tacit hold over her own followers is also weakened.

5. Three-time Prime Minister of Ceylon and son of nations founding father, D. S. Seanayake, Dudley senanayake played in and out role in politics. Devout Buddhist, at various times he seemed ready to retire to monastery for meditation but always returned to poltical field. We recommend message of condolence from Washington.

6. For Karachi and London: please inform Dr Menard Gertler of death. In London he will be at Westbury Hotel, Bond Street.

Van hollen

Death of former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake

From:Department of State
To:Bangladesh Dhaka | COLOMBO CINCPAC | Commander in Chief US Pacific Command | Sri Lanka Colombo

1973 April 17, 17:43 (Tuesday)

1. Please transmit following message of condolence to President Gopallawa from the President. Qte: I was deeply grieved to learn of the untimely death of former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake. He was a great leader who carried on the democratic tradition fostered by his illustrious father. All friends of Sri Lanka mourn his passing. Please extend my deep sympathies to his family. Sincerely, Richard Nixon. Unqte.

2. Department does not plan to release text of message. But has no objection if gsl wishes to do so.

Decontrol upon delivery of message. Rogers

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Latest comments

  • 5

    All are racist dogs regardless of what the education they got and who are their fathers.

    • 10

      Shamil, you should control your expressions. Dudley Senanayake was no racist. he never acted in a manner he could be accused of racism.

    • 7


      You are out of order, and do us all a disservice with your comment.

      Dudley was probably the last of the decent politicians to grace our political leadership, and his goal of a united and fairer Sri Lanka died with him that inauspicious Friday night.

      Fair-minded people in every community in the land shed a tear when he passed away.

    • 1

      He was a regular in my grandfather’s estate along with other Thomians like Leslie Goonewardena.

      LSSPers informed grand-dad that the estates would be taken over when they come to power with the SLFP, however Dudly reassured that it was unlikely that they would be elected.
      The rest is history.

  • 9

    Sri Lankan embassies should also prepare detailed dossiers on foreign VIPs. They will become useful in various dealings of govt and business.

    This is how the game is played. Instead of howling and complaining Sri Lanka should also learn to be experts in espionage.

    We saw the quality of intelligence gathering when Rajapaske banned various Tamil organisations. Most were out of date, irrelevant and useless.

    The country need useful intelligence gathering in order to nip things before things flare up.

    • 7

      With…what? Look at the attitude of the yokels this country calls it’s citizens. These people honestly believe the only way to preserve peace in this country is to never provide a political solution to the ethnic issue and permanently keep the north and east under armed military rule. These people seem to think that some random soldier with a gun is what stops any possible terror plots. How do you convince a nation that is this ignorant that a coherent national and international intelligence service is important? More important than maintaining a uselessly oversized standing army?

      Add to that the prevailing foreign ministry policy of appointing random idiots as our representatives abroad, and one can see why we will never really have any intelligent response to any allegation thrown our way.

  • 3

    There is no fresh insight in this Wikileaks story, except that the well known secret about JRJ’s public appeal has been disclosed to the US establishment.

    JRJ’s credibility within the UNP was at a low after his abortive plan to capture Siri Kotha (the UNP HQ, then located off Galle Road, Kollupitiya) in his bid to take over the leadership after the disastrous 1970 election defeat of the UNP as well as his failed attempt to join the UF government in 1972. The Left in the UF vehemently successfully resisted his entry.

    Dudley Senanayake liked Premadasa who was close to him when he had trouble from JRJ. Besides the caste handicap, Premadasa had quarrelled with Dudley only some weeks before Dudley passed away, and was in India I think at the time.

    JRJ took over and that was the time of rice shortage owing o crop failure and reminded the people about how Dudley gave them free rice. There were massive crowds and the funeral was delayed by several days to let people pay their respects.

    Then came bread queues and the split in the UF; and it was cake walk for JRJ in 1977.

  • 5

    JR made overtures to join Sirima after he lost the putsch within the UNP. JR represented the Colombo Western class more than Dudley Haamu whose background was more like the Sinhala leaders. JR of course was rational and did not believe in the horoscope, auspicious time, multi limbed deity mumbo jumbo. But he was very cunning and ambitious. He wanted to join Sirima via Anura B and Attygalle the Army man was the go-between. Sadly for Sirima the people opposed to JR won the day and this was not going to happen. He even offered a national government after the 1971 marxist revolution by class envious under privileged Sinhalese.

    Dudley was honorable but not cunning. JR deliberately allowed ethnic attacks. All the anti tamil attacks happened during his regime except with 1958 which was under Bandaranaike. Why did he allow the racial pogrom of 1983? He also rigged referendums and extended the life of parliament. He started this nonesense of car permits. He destroyed the SLFP which became rudderless. He was at one time known as “Yankee Dickie” and like him his nephew Ranil who made it to Parliament and became a minister only and only due to his family relationship in 1977 also was known to be very pro US. That is good. That is the reason we are being wooed and saved now by the USA.

    • 3

      “”only due to his family relationship in 1977 also was known to be very pro US. That is good. That is the reason we are being wooed and saved now by the USA. “”

      Fascist JR played the known card Anti Communist like predecessors Portugal’s fascist António de Oliveira Salazar, Spains Fascist Francisco Franco the Frog.
      See how Gass Gembos think alike. Therefore The US let them do what they want.

      Meanwhile when Fonseka was contesting the first time as President the Indian government said we don’t need Fonny but we know Ranil.

      Now Ranil is on a tight China India and broke. the dollar is getting stronger and all nations are feeling it. Xi gave Ranil nothing because china has lost 120 million when he stopped the colombo port. Xi is driving out corruption off China.

      Even god won’t help you- So president says keep the tamils happy or the sinhalese will never be happy. Will the Sinhalese hoodwink the Tamils again because they are stupid??

    • 2

      “That is the reason we are being wooed and saved now by the USA. “


      Saddam purchased goods from US/UK during Iran/Iraq – is it called Woe??
      Does a very rich man and powerful man woo you or Coup you??

      You know who created UN and who made Russia and China??

      Konde bandepu vaduro.

  • 2

    Dudley Senanayakes death in 1973,de to Heart problems,was as result of Premadasas antics! PREMADASA,who owed his political entry due to the Senanayakes,betrayed Dudley,by forming the Colombo Citizens Front in 1972/1973!
    History was repeated when Sajith challenged Ranil,a few years ago!
    The Premadasas,are Lumpen elements,in Srilankas Political Landscape!

    • 2

      Thanks for the clarification of details.
      You are factual. I only differ in interpretation.

      You may not know that Dudley had very bad food habits.
      Stress does not lead to heart problems in a short time.
      His trouble with Premadasa developed in his last months, but he was always kind to Premadasa.
      He was first harassed by Sir John. Then JR was a thorn in his side for all his political life.
      (Talking of loyalty, will you say hat SJVC betrayed GGP who took him into parliament? In politics, political issues can override personal relations.)

      Ask any engineer in the Buildings Department, Housing etc. about how efficient and meticulous Premadsa was as a minister. He was a good Prime Minister too. Although I do not endorse his politics, I admit hat he cared for the poor more than any other UNP leader.
      He had some bad traits, but was a cut above his “upper caste” rivals Lalith and Gamini.

      Sajit was ambitious and allowed to be used by a media empire to settle scores with Ranil. But Premadasa always made clear who was boss.

      • 3

        “”You may not know that Dudley had very bad food habits.””
        He learnt from Jinnha to like pakistani women – citizenship.

        “Ask any engineer in the Buildings Department, Housing etc. about how efficient and meticulous Premadsa was as a minister. “

        he needed 3 lingams because he was seated on his brains. Above all he made TB patients of his engineers by calling over at building site at 2am.

        India got the prick as they promised Neville Samerekoon at ND- in 1 year. Bradman weerakoon had it on his web site but as soon has his daughter was posted to Japan he withdrew.

        he was a Goonda and wanted every contractor to give a total breakdown material labour and left them with 2-3%. The man who made money was mohamed of Hultsdorf.Sirisena, Aloyasius etc.

  • 0

    Secretary Kerry issued a New Year message to Lankawe. It was not meant to be his personal, but American Government’s’ wishes. It is so short, so it is going to be open for too many type of interpretation.
    Indian News agencies wrote to make it looks like that he was wishing for the “Aluth Avurudu”. Then they went further and said it resembles the Tamils’ and Bengalis, New Year. By the “Tamils”, the news agency meant TN Tamils. I do not whether the News agency did not know it is known as Sinhala -Tamil New Year in Sri Lanka, or I do not know if news agency was believing that the American Secretary wished only for the “Aluth Avurudu”.

    This is how it appeared originally, before it got the interpretations.

    Sinhala and Tamil New Year
    Press Statement
    John Kerry
    Secretary of State
    Washington, DC
    April 10, 2015

    On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I offer our warmest greetings to the people of Sri Lanka and the vibrant global Sri Lankan diaspora.

    This New Year is marked by the extraordinary positive change that has occurred in Sri Lanka over the past several months and represents a renewed opportunity for the people of Sri Lanka to join together in the spirit of reconciliation, tolerance, and peace.

    As you continue your work to build a prosperous, democratic, and united Sri Lanka, I offer my best wishes for a happy New Year and a peaceful year ahead.

    It is not just Lankans and Tamils wonders if the American diplomats understands Lankawe’s politics, even the third parties seems to be trying to make guesses. That is why the Indian agency wrote like that when Official American website has titled it as “Sinhala and Tamil New Year”.

    1.”Overall, we would judge that a gradual trend in Sri Lanka’s relation with China will develop which will lead to a less close relationship.”

    2.”The new rulers of China may be less willing to provide large amounts of assistance to what they may consider an inefficient and bourgeois government”These are some of the diplomatic miss-assessment, I pointed out somewhere else, of Lankawe by American officials.

    I do not know if the Ambassador who sent this message quit his job when he saw JR established a history in 1977 election by his appeal to Sinhalese.

    There is a question in Tamil “Arupathai , irupathu, Vellumaa ulagile” (Can the 20 beat the 60 in Chess- or similar strategies)”. With the feeling of a bitter taste in the tongue, the answer seems to be “NO “in the Chinese- Lankawe- American” diplomatic games.

    We have seen in the recent past that the 5000 years old “Chinese Scallion Pancake” diplomacy has beaten the 2500 years old “Aappa Diplomacy”. And the 2500 years old “Aappa Diplomacy” has beaten the 500 years old “Pizza Diplomacy”. Pizza seems to be on the bottom of the pyramid of diplomatic food chain.

    The Tamil word “Pay”- is ghost in English; and once upon time there was village called “Puthu Payoor”- (New Ghost village- as that meaning has no bearing on this “once upon a time” kids’ story we will call it Lankawe). In a nearby village, China to this village Lankawe, a ghost has been bothering the village people. When once it did to a farmer, who did know wizardry and that day he was late to return because of the sesame seed harvesting at his field, he said “Abracadabra” and the ghost fell on his feet tied with ropes. The Old King begged him to let it go then it would deliver him the same amount of the seeds he harvests so he would not be late any more. The farmer’s quantity doubled after that as the Old King ghost has been stealing from other farmers and delivering to him the same amount he harvests. A ghost from famous village Puthu Payoor, or Lnakawe visited the bad luck stricken one and took courage to help it by killing the farmer. Time it went to his house it had not yet become dark and the farmer was branding his animals with a red hot iron. As the Puthu Payoor Ghost, Ranil Mahatha did not like those two, it was hiding behind his house waitng to it becomes dark and the fire and the iron be removed. But on that day, the farmer who had brought a bull from the Pothu Payoor, shouted loud to his assistants, “Please bring the one came from the Puthu Payoor, I have to brand it too and have to finish all these before it get dark.” The Puthu Payoor ghost got out of the hiding place and came running to farmer and begged him let it go, because it was having a good message from the other one, that is the other Ghost wanted to send Oil hereafter as the farmer has been putting lot of effort churn the seed for oil. Farmer guessed a little bit of what had happened and ordered to deliver oil after that.

    Our Puthu Payoor Ghost, the PM of Lankawe, Ranil Mahata, who manifested to modayas to abolish the Port City Project and won the election, went to China and donated with Port City, the Hambantota harbor, the airport and an additional 1000 acres land to China. So far the 2500 years old Aaapa diplomacy could not wag its tail with the 5000 years old scallion Pan Cake diplomacy. Aappa has become the Rabbit compared to the Scallion Pancake, tortoise.
    American diplomats’ wrong assessments have been a pain on the Tamil and it always get translated as a damage to the entire country. They stood with the wrong man on the war with false assessments. They still telexing, faxing and emailing wrong things to America. They completely rejected and refused to listen to Tamils’ experiences. They keep insisting that there is a lot of changes has taken in place in Lankawe. We jet to see anyone of them. Ambassador Blake, right after Obama took office, said the American policy towards Lankawe will not change. It is pretty disappointing. It sounds like an adamant suicidal action.

  • 2


    Thanks for the clarification.

    Dudley Senanayakes problem with his food habits goes back to his college days.
    In a contest about who can gobble the most amount of string hoppers with Beef curry and Pol Kuddu sambol Dudley won the day.But,this had bothered him later on in Life.His withdrawal from active Politics for several months,and then back to centre stage was ,I was told by my Pater[ Both were chums],was due to that condition brought about by that Iddiyappa contest.
    Dudley,was a Prince among men.

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