22 June, 2017

WikiLeaks: JR Jayewardene Elected UNP Chairman – US Analysis Of JR’s Leadership

“JR Jayewardene unanimously elected UNP party president at special meeting of working committee April 26. Conference was managed by Dudley Senanayake appointees, with Dudleys shadow all but eclipsing J. R. as part of reported deal with working committee” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

JR Jayewardene“As UNP chieftain, Jayewardenes principal weakness is lack of national following relative to popular affection and charisma which Dudley enjoyed and which evidenced at his funeral.” US Embassy Colombo said in a confidential cable.

“Political history of Ceylon since independence in 1948 has basically been struggle between two families, Bandaranaikes and Seyanayakes, to control country. Efforts now reportedly being made by Senanayake family, headed by dudley’ s brother Robert, to maintain UNP control and possibly groom one of Robert’ s three sone for future role in politics, much as PM Bandaranaike has apparzntly sought to groom her son Anura. Selection of J. R. to head party for moment appears likely but ‘old guard’ means to keep string on him and check any tendency to slide back into previous thoughts of coalition with Mrs B.” the Embassy further noted.

Colombo Telegraph found two related leaked US diplomatic cables from the WikiLeaks database regarding JR Jayewardene‘s appointment as the UNP leader 43 years ago. We publish below the cables in full;

UNP to choose new party president 

Date:1973 April 15, 10:01 (Sunday)

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

  1. UNP working committee scheduled meet 26 april to select new party president following death of Dudley Senanayake. Widely expected that opposition leader knd UNP Gen Sec J. R. Jayewardene will be unanimous choice. His selection represents compromise for what remains badly divided party. Jayewardene still bears legacy of INP resentment at his efforts last year to negotiate coalition of party with united front in framework of ” national government” as solution to country’ s problems. Other possible rivals to J. R. Include former agriculture Min M. D. Banda, an active ” old guard” backstage maneuverer but with burden of defeat in 70, and “young turk” M. P., R. Premadasa, who totally unacceptable to party establishment.
  1. J. R. anxious to obtain new post after three decades in Dudley’s shadow, and Dudley Senanayake – nominated working committee reportedly has demanded as its price public pledge from jayewardene to continue adherence to dudley line and to lead unp as genuine opposition party. In any event, J. R.’s post technically will be interim until confirmed by party congress. Latter has been long delayed and can be called at short notice, with threat of possible repudiation seen by party regulars as keeping J. R. in line.
  1. Political history of Ceylon since independence in 1948 has basically been struggle between two families, Bandaranaikes and Seyanayakes, to control country. Efforts now reportedly being made by Senanayake family, headed by dudley’ s brother Robert, to maintain UNP control and possibly groom one of Robert’ s three sone for future role in politics, much as PM Bandaranaike has apparzntly sought to groom her son Anura. Selection of J. R. to head party for moment appears likely but “old guard” means to keep string on him and check any tendency to slide back into previous thoughts of coalition with Mrs B.
  1. Unprecedented scale of popular mourning for Dudley has enormously buoyed up UNP confidence. Outpouring of sentiment, presence of large crowds of mourners streaming past Dudley’ s bier and at funeral, including many hundreds of thousands of villagers, are interpreted by pro and anti- UFG opinion alike as reflecting deep dissatisfaction with gsl’ s economic policies. UNP is immediate beneficiary of this mood.
  1. UNP has now cancelled previous plans for its may day celebrations, nominally out of respect for Dudley, but reportedly to underline contrast between whatever turnout UF parties can muster on galle face green on May 1 and Dudley Senanayake funeral.

Byrne

Confidential

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JR. Jayewardene elected UNP party president

Date:1973 April 27, 10:30 (Friday)

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

  1. Leader of opposition in NSA J. R. Jayewardene unanimously elected UNP party president at special meeting of working committee April 26. Conference was managed by Dudley Senanayake appointees, with Dudleys shadow all but eclipsing J. R. as part of reported deal with working committee, J R immediately issued statement to press noting his ” full awareness of ideals that (Dudley) wished party … should adopt and follow”. These listed by Jayewardene as protection of Buddhism, belief in democratic constitution and freedoms, judicial autonomy, agricultural self- sufficiency. J R pledged personal effort to oppose “any attempt by any organization or individuals to destroy them”.
  1. In spite of short leash party old guard many believe is firmly attached to J R, latter cannot be expected to let it rest unchallenged. Jayewardene renowned in Sri Lanka for intelligence, skill, and ruthlessness in party infighting, one reason why he and not Dudley was opposition leader and UNP general secretary. Almost certainly JR will launch effort to make party machinery his own, thereby broadening options open to him, and he may well succeed. He has not rpt not formally repudiated attempted overtures for coalition with united front, ploy which could still surface at later date. One immediate issue to face will be shaping party attitude toward maverick M. P., R. Premadasa, who has spearheaded drive in recent months for internal reform of party to broaden mass support. Jayewardene reportedly prepared to expel premadasa from party if latter continues opposition to leadership. Premadasa resigned several months ago from working committee.
  1. As UNP chieftain, Jayewardenes principal weakness is lack of national following relative to popular affection and charisma which Dudley enjoyed and which evidenced at his funeral. This could be handicap to party if it aspires to challenge UFG in vigorous and meaningful terms. Reservations which many ceylonese observers have toward J R stem from their belief that latter more inclined to seek advantages for party by maneuver and negotiation with UFG, in particular with SLFP and Prime Minister, than through hard hitting opposition tactics in parliament and in hustings.

Van hollen

Confidential

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Latest comments

  • 3
    2

    Even the corpse of an evil human engulfed in the flames of hell will be fun to watch………………….

  • 4
    0

    The history of the country and the UNP would have been happily different had JRJ sufficient support within the UNP to despatch the Sinhalese hardliner and anti-Tamil Premadasa to the political wilderness. But by that time the communal genie had gained adulthood – with able support from the political Mahanayakas and racial-religious activist Buddhist priests. It is an open secret the relationship between the latter two factions and JRJ, who refused to unduly bow down to the Mahanayakas, was based on mutual recrimination. The resignation of the mild, honest and honourable Minister Gamani Jayasuriya on matters of principle in the wake of the Indo-Lanka Accord (1987) brought Premadasa, Cyril Mathew, Lalith A on one side with JRJ’s men on the other. Gamini D remained on the fence. ACS Hameed, Devanayagam and Thondaman were firmly on JRJ’s side. These divisions were later to be dubbed by the media as “several Govts within the JRJ regime” – a moniker certainly not entirely irrelevant. Premadasa realised his dream of making Colombo District his base from which the family made its vast fortunes.

    As later events were to reveal Premadasa used, with Maru Sira by his side, JVP support to eventually force JRP out and took over. The rest is far too well known to be repeated here. The country continued to go in different ways to its self-destruction.

    Kettikaran

  • 6
    1

    Although Dudley may have drawn large crowds to his funeral, JR romped home with 5/6th majority under his leadership. True he may have had his short comings, but never robbed the State as CBK and MR did. Thanks to JR the Youth of this country was taken to the world outside or in short the whole world was brought to the door step of every Sri Lankan, irrespective of Political hue to benefit. Such was the magnanimity of JR some of whom who benefited with the Open Economy to educate their offspring with Foreign degrees which was the preserve of the Elite earlier to find plum overseas jobs. They had no gratitude but to defame JR in the most disparaging terms. If JR dd not open the economy, possibly today we will be still illiterate of IT or the present day development.

    • 2
      0

      “Although Dudley may have drawn large crowds to his funeral, JR romped home with 5/6 majority under his leadership.”

      Inappropriate explanation: The UNPs’ great victory in 1977 had nothing to do with JR’s leadership.
      The suffering mass under previous UF rule had no choice but voting anybody from the UNP vying for power.

      Had A.Amithalingam been made their (UNPs’) PM candidate people would have made him the next PM of Sri Lanka.

      JR was overestimated by both local and foreign media.

      “True he may have had his short comings.”

      They were not short comings, they were serious offences that caused havoc in our country, letting his racial gang to attack innocent Tamils; see our country is still bleeding.

  • 2
    0

    The WikiLeaks story has little that was not virtually common knowledge about JR. But the Colombo Embassy has been remarkably accurate.
    The report avoids saying why Premadasa was unacceptable to the UNP establishment.

    JR used Dudley’s funeral both to his and the UNP’s advantage. Premadasa lost out because he had briefly fallen out with Dudley. Dudley died before they patched up fully and Premadasa was out of the country at the time.
    JR after his unsuccessful bid to capture Siri Kotha was a bitter man who tried to join the UF, but the left group stopped it. JR’s credibility was low in the UNP since, and Dudley died at the right time for him.

    JR’s march to Kandy to oppose the B-C pact has been mostly forgotten by the FP/TULF/TNA since they warmed up to the UNP.
    So is his battle cry in 1977 “If you want war…” etc.

    Prmadasa pleaded with him not to transport the bodies of the 13 soldiers from Jaffna to Colombo in July 1993.
    JR did, and knew what exactly he was doing.
    He will be remembered most for that crime than for any of his other misdeeds.

    • 2
      0

      “He will be remembered most for that crime than for any of his other misdeeds” notes reader Sekara. Our friend the Bard saw it all half a
      millennium ago, as he sang :-

      —– The evil that men do lives after them. The good is often
      interred with their bones ——

      As to JRJ, it almost sounds like did he do any good, at all? Have you heard of a public memorial meeting of significance on his birth or death day.

      Kettikaran

  • 7
    2

    JR was another dirty racist rascal of my time in SL. We Tamils will never forget what this scoundrel said after black July about the Tamils.

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