Memorandum of Conversation, by the Secretary of State

top secret
eyes only

At a meeting today held with the President1 by Secretary Wilson, Governor Stassen and myself, the President agreed in principle to proceeding with military aid to Pakistan, subject, however, to our capacity to present this in a reasonable way, which would allay the apprehensions of reasonable people that we were trying to help Pakistan against India. The idea was that we would emphasize (1) that [Page 1839] this was part of a regional security project being initiated by Turkey and Pakistan with other countries in the area for potential additions, and (2) that we would indicate to India that we would be prepared to extend military aid to India under the same type of agreement as was offered Pakistan.2

I presume that this statement would be one that would be issued publicly and embodied in a note that would be delivered to India.

After this is drafted, the matter will be taken up again with the President for his final decision.

It was felt unnecessary to take this back to the NSC in view of its decision in 155/1.3

  1. Department of State files contain two different background memoranda for the President on military aid to Pakistan, both dated Jan. 4. There is no indication as to which one was sent to him before the Jan. 5 meeting. (790D.5/1–454 and 790D.5 MSP/1–454)
  2. A memorandum by Byroade to the Secretary of State, dated Jan. 8, informed him that officers of the Department of State had been giving further thought to the problem of how to begin the proposed arms program to Pakistan. Attached to the memorandum were two papers dealing with the subject: a summary of the steps to be taken in putting the program into effect and a draft statement for the President to issue when Pakistan was informed that military aid would be extended. In addition, NEA was preparing a letter for the President to send to Indian Prime Minister Nehru immediately prior to the public announcement of arms aid to Pakistan. (790D.5 MSP/1–854)

    A memorandum for the President on military aid to Pakistan, dated Feb. 16, by Deputy Under Secretary of State Robert Murphy, informed him that Pakistan would formally request grant military aid from the United States in the near future, and it had been agreed that the United States would immediately give a favorable response. Attached were drafts of a statement for the President to make regarding military aid to Pakistan and a personal message from the President to send to the Indian Prime Minister. A memorandum by Ann Whitman, Personal Secretary to the President, dated Feb. 16, stated that she was returning the documents, which had been approved by the President. (790D.5 MSP/2–1654) Regarding the President’s letter to Indian Prime Minister Nehru, see telegrams 992 and 1005 to New Delhi, Feb. 18 and 20, and telegram 1342 from New Delhi, Feb. 24, pp. 1735 ff.

  3. For text, see the compilation on U.S. security policy in the Near and Middle East in volume ix .