Colombo Telegraph

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 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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