Secretary’s Memoranda: Lot 53D444

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

secret
Participants: The Secretary
Ambassador M. A. H. Ispahani, Pakistan
Mr. M. Ikramullah, Pakistan
Mr. D. Kennedy, SOA

After a friendly greeting Mr. Ikramullah said he had a letter for me from Liaquat Ali Khan1 which he wished to hand me since he knew that although Liaquat Ali had come to a tragic death, this message still represented the desires of his Government. In fact, Ghulam Mohammed, now Governor General, had participated in the decision to send the letter, and hence Mr. Ikramullah assumed that he was still obligated to the policy set forth. After reading the letter which requested assistance in obtaining vital requirements of Pakistan in defense equipment and stores, I expressed my great personal sorrow over the death of the late Prime Minister.

Mr. Ikramullah said he would like to know what our position was with respect to defense production; he believed I was the one person in the Government best qualified to give him the broad picture. I replied that for reasons I did not entirely understand our production was behind schedule; the targets we had wished to meet in 1952 probably would not be reached in 1953. This caused us great concern and posed difficult problems. In addition, I was subjected to great pressures from many directions. The amount of matériel we had had to consume [Page 2226]in Korea was very great. This, together with delays in production, had resulted in failure to meet the requirements of NATO countries.

Mr. Ikramullah said he understood our problem but that with the great production facilities we possessed together with the quantity of stores on hand he hoped Pakistan could obtain at least some of its needs. In connection with his request Mr. Ikramullah said he would like to make two points: Pakistan was interested in the defense of the Middle East, and in fact the interest was so natural that the concept would not require “selling” to the Pakistanis; and Pakistan was the only country in that area which had developed on its own a program for improving its own defense capabilities and was attempting to do the maximum in this regard with its own resources.

In closing the conversation, I said that I would give very sympathetic consideration to the Pakistan request, details of which I understood were to be discussed with representatives of the Department of Defense.

  1. Reference is to the letter of August 25, not printed, but see editorial note, p. 2219.