Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 156

No. 47
Memorandum of Conversation, by the Counselor in Pakistan (MacArthur) 1

ST D–9/5


  • Pakistan
[Page 135]


  • United States
    • Secretary Dulles
    • Ambassador Hildreth
    • Mr. Byroade
    • Mr. MacArthur
    • Lt. Col. Meade
  • Pakistan
    • Mr. Mohammed Ali, Prime Minister of Pakistan
    • Mr. Aziz Ahmed, Cabinet Secretary

The Secretary opened the conversation by outlining to the Prime Minister the present views of the U.S. Administration with respect to the recent Soviet shift of tactics. He said that we could see no evidence that there was any change in basic Soviet policy. The tactical shift of the Soviets to a peace offensive seemed designed to divide the free world and was in line with Stalin’s article in Bolshevik published at the Communist Congress last October. If the Soviets could succeed in dividing the free powers and get them to quarrel and fight among themselves, they doubtless believed that they could realize their dream of world revolution without resorting to overt aggression. In connection with their attempts to divide the Free World, it was important to bear in mind chapter eight of Stalin’s book on Leninism dealing with the exploitation of nationalism in dependent areas. The Prime Minister expressed agreement with the analysis set forth by Secretary Dulles.

The conversation next turned to the desirability of establishing some form of regional defense system in the Middle East. The Secretary stated that we had no preconceived or frozen ideas as to the form such a regional defense set-up might take. From his conversations in different countries visited on this trip, however, one thing seemed clear. This was that such an organization must have its roots in the area itself. No outside countries, no matter how friendly and well-disposed, could present a blue print and expect the countries of the region to accept it automatically. To succeed it must have the solid support of countries in the area and they must believe that their interests are best served by getting together and creating greater strength through collective action than they could have by each acting independently of the other. No country had sufficient strength to defend itself if it stood alone. Europe had recognized this and created western union through the Brussels Pact. This had been followed by NATO which greatly increased the scope and strength European defense. What was needed in the Middle East was someone to take the initiative with other members of this community.

The Prime Minister agreed He felt that if Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Pakistan could develop some kind of a grouping to create a barrier [Page 136] across the Soviets’ push towards the Arabian Gulf. Iran was a great obstacle because of the situation existing there. The other Arab states could back up such a grouping as that mentioned above but because of the Egyptian situation and their preoccupations over Israel, they were not disposed to any such initiative. In the creation of a regional grouping, the moral support of the U.S. and such material assistance as it might supply would be of great importance.

There was some discussion of the Suez Canal base following which the Prime Minister asked if the U.S. would, in the event some regional defense system could be established, plan to establish bases elsewhere as in Pakistan, for example. The Secretary made it clear that there were no U.S. Governmental positions on this and that what we could or could not do would depend on factors such as what the countries in the area did and what their desires were with respect to U.S. moral or material support.

In response to a question from Mr. Byroade, the Prime Minister next talked briefly about Afghanistan. He said he believed that the atmosphere was somewhat better between the two countries. There had been some general exchanges of views regarding the possibility of economic cooperation which might develop into something useful. If the Afghans would stop agitation on the question of Pushtoonistan,2 there was no reason why good relations could not be established between the two countries. The Prime Minister said that the present Afghan regime felt a great sense of insecurity. The regime did not have strong internal backing and was faced with serious economic and political problems. He believed that one of the reasons the Afghans had been pushing the Pushtoonistan question was to divert the attention of the Afghan people from internal difficulties to external matters. For example, at the present time, there is a great disparity between the wage scales in Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan wages being considerably higher. If the Afghan regime would devote itself to internal economic improvement which would be assisted by economic cooperation with Pakistan, its internal position would be stronger and it would probably feel less inclined to wrangle with Pakistan.

In conclusion, the Prime Minister said that he had one other matter which he wished to mention to the Secretary. This was the question of sending two Pakistan Naval Officers to the United States for submarine training. He hoped that the Secretary could look into this matter. The Secretary said he would be glad to do so but suggested that the Pakistan Government take this up with the U.S. Embassy through the Naval Attaché.

  1. This conversation took place at the office of the Prime Minister.
  2. For documentation, see vol. xi, Part 2, pp. 1365 ff.