790D.5 MSP/10–1553

No. 155
Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Byroade) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Nash)1

top secret


  • Military Assistance to Pakistan

I refer to my conversation with you on October 12th on this subject.2 I have since that time discussed the matter again with the Secretary and General Smith. As a result of these conversations General Smith made the following points to General Ayub in his meeting with Smith and myself this morning:

It had been impossible for the US Government to fully work out a position on this subject prior to Ayub’s return to Washington. While this was the case, Ayub should nevertheless know that high officials in Washington were at the moment attempting to work out a line of procedure that would be mutually satisfactory to the US and Pakistan.
The US does consider Pakistan as a true friend and we are approaching the problem with a desire to work out a program of military assistance to Pakistan which can start during this fiscal year.
We here are considering as a part of the package the equipping of Pakistan troops which might be sent to Korea although we have not made a governmental decision to approach the Government of Pakistan on this subject. We see certain possible advantages to such an initial step as it would (a) provide hardware and training quickly for some Pakistan troops, (b) assist us in our political difficulties involving assistance to Pakistan, and (c) be a popular [Page 422] move in this country which would better insure continued Congressional approval for assistance to Pakistan.
A survey mission would probably go to Pakistan to determine what direct aid might be provided this year and lay the basis for continued direct aid in the next fiscal year.
We cannot enter into direct negotiations with Ayub while in Washington as these are matters which must be negotiated between governments. Ayub’s mission here has served in stimulating interest and providing ideas on which to form a governmental decision. The next step would be communication to the Government of Pakistan, which would be done as soon as the US position was firm.
Ayub should utilize his stay with further conversations with Defense and State officials to more completely explore procedures for arriving at eventual US–Pakistan agreement. It was suggested that a combined State–Defense meeting with Ayub might be desirable.
In the meantime it was essential to us, and probably to the Pakistan Government as well, that there be complete secrecy that explorations were underway here regarding US military assistance to Pakistan. The US would be greatly embarrassed if such leakage occurred prior to certain diplomatic moves it considers essential.

I consider it important for all United States officials concerned to bear in mind the extreme delicacy of our relations with India at the present moment and the necessity for maintaining complete secrecy until we are ready to give the Indians appropriate explanations regarding our plans for Pakistan. It is also important to consider that General Ayub is not officially commissioned by his Government to discuss military assistance. Although he is high in the Councils of the Pakistani Government, he cannot make decisions or commitments affecting political matters such as the participation of Pakistan in the Korean operation, nor does he have the authority to pass on matters affecting Pakistan’s relations with India. Any negotiations or commitments regarding military assistance will have to be undertaken through normal channels in Karachi.

We have talked to the British about US assistance to Pakistan. We feel it essential to be in step with the British if possible because of their Commonwealth responsibilities and the more practical aspects of fitting US equipment into what is now essentially a British equipped army. They have promised us their answer tomorrow, October 16th, here in Washington, but it is almost a certainty that Eden will raise the question with Dulles in London. If for no other reason this point alone should delay our hand in making a completely firm commitment to Ayub at this time.

I understand that Ayub will see Mr. Kyes and yourself, General Ridgway and possibly others in the Department of Defense. It would be appreciated if you would undertake to brief all those concerned in your Department. In view of the time element I would [Page 423] appreciate as well being informed immediately if the substance of our remarks to Ayub this morning conflicts in any way with Department of Defense thinking. I should be glad to come to see you this afternoon if such is the case.

Henry A. Byroade

P.S. For your information, Zafrullah Kahn and General Ayub have not responded favorably to explorations made to them regarding Pakistan troops for Korea.

  1. A handwritten note on the memorandum indicates that the original was hand-carried to the Pentagon.
  2. Presumably this is the meeting referred to in the last paragraph of the Oct. 2 letter from Nolting to Nash, supra. No memorandum of the conversation has been found in Department of State files.