Memorandum by the Secretary of State to the President


Subject: Consequences of the Assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan.

This analysis of the situation in Pakistan following the assassination of the late Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan is submitted for your information.

The Pakistan Government has been able to maintain order in the country during the six days following the assassination of its Prime Minister. There has been no rioting so far as we know, and everything points to a smooth assumption of responsibility by Liaquat Ali’s successor.

The appointment of Ghulam Mohammed, former Finance Minister, as Governor General of Pakistan, and the appointment of Khwaja Nazimuddin, former Governor General, as Prime Minister, are—at the moment—reassuring factors. Both are men of moderation and are known to be friendly to the United States and Great Britain. There is no reason to believe they will not endeavor to continue Liaquat Ali’s policy of preventing war with India. It remains to be seen, however, whether Nazimuddin will have the strength to resist growing popular pressure to abandon hope of a United Nations settlement and to take direct action in Kashmir which would lead to hostilities with India. Unless the Security Council or Dr. Graham takes action in the very near future which will lead the people of Pakistan to believe that a plebiscite will be held at an early date in Kashmir, the Pakistan Government may feel compelled to jettison the policy of relative moderation which it has pursued to date. In addition, failure by the UN in this matter will likely result in a relatively sharp decline in Pakistan’s regard for and support of the United Kingdom and the United States.

Reports indicate that Mr. Nehru1 and other Indian leaders have been shaken by the assassination of Liaquat Ali. The next few weeks, [Page 2225]therefore, may afford an unprecedented opportunity for reaching agreement on Kashmir. A determined effort will be made to have another Security Council meeting on Kashmir at the earliest possible date following the arrival of the members in Paris.2

Dean Acheson
  1. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indian Prime Minister and Minister for External Affairs and Commonwealth Relations.
  2. In another memorandum to President Truman dated October 24, the Secretary of State called the President’s attention to a memorial service in honor of Liaquat Ali Khan to be held in Washington on October 26 and concluded with the following suggestion: “While I realize that there are many demands upon your time, it would be helpful from a foreign policy point of view if you attended this service should you find it convenient. You will recall that the Prime Minister and the Begum Liaquat Ali were your guests when they visited the United States in the spring of 1950. Your attendance at the memorial service would receive very favorable notice in Pakistan and would, therefore, help offset a growing feeling that we are not really interested in Pakistan and its problems.” (790D.13/10–2251)