Memorandum of Conversation, by Mr. Lee E. Metcalf of the Office of South Asian Affairs

Participants: Mr. Ikramullah, ex-Foreign Secretary, Pakistan Government
SOA—Mr. Kennedy
SOA—Mr. Metcalf

Mr. Ikramullah called at his request concerning his arms procurement mission. He said that in pursuance of an earlier promise the Pakistan Embassy would submit to the Department, probably on the following Monday (Nov. 19), a list of the matériel which the Pakistan Government wishes to purchase in the United States. He added that the Embassy would appreciate having from the Department reports on availability of individual items as information becomes known rather than holding up the report until data on all items is available.

In answer to a question, he said that the results of his efforts in Canada were “both good and bad.” Whereas, for example, it seems that he will be able to get much of his radar equipment there, availability of some other items cannot yet be determined. On the whole, Mr. Ikramullah seemed satisfied with the over-all results of his past three months’ work, including that in the United States. He specifically expressed appreciation of the cooperation that the Foreign Liaison Branch of the Department of the Air was accorded Wing Commander Alahdad, who is desirous of learning as much as possible about American jet air craft.

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When asked about the attitude of the Pakistan Government toward the defense of the Middle East, Mr. Ikramullah countered by saying that the French and British had also asked him that question and that he did not know his Government’s mind in this matter nor did he personally know enough about the question to express an opinion. He asked for all the published material that the Department could give him for background use in his discussions with his Government upon his return to Karachi about November 24.

Mr. Ikramullah pointed out, in a rather discursive conversation that ensued, that it has been his Government’s policy (a policy, he added, which he has helped to promote) to refrain from attempting to assume a position of leadership in the Middle East, but to be of service to countries in that area as a counselor or moderator. He implied that Pakistan’s membership in the British Commonwealth is one of the considerations militating against Pakistan’s close association with, and leadership of, Muslim causes. It is because of that policy, Ikramullah opined, that the present political leadership of Pakistan may not be willing to step into an active and open role in Middle East problems and programs which might preclude it from maintaining its present role vis-à-vis other Muslim countries in that region. Our policy thus far, Mr. Ikramullah summed up, has been to do everything we can, with regard to Middle East politics, “to keep from being called names.”