Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs ( Byroade )



  • Meeting with Sir Zafrulla Khan


  • Sir Zafrulla Khan, Pakistan Foreign Minister
  • The Secretary Syed Amjad Ali, Ambassador of Pakistan
  • Mr. Henry A. ByroadeNEA

Sir Zafrulla Khan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, called upon the Secretary Thursday, June 17th, for a general discussion.

There was an opening general discussion as to the status of the Indian and Pakistani discussions with the World Bank for a settlement of the Indus water dispute. The Secretary expressed his great desire that this matter be settled and Sir Zafrulla expressed some optimism that a solution might be found.

Turning to the Indochina problem, Sir Zafrulla expressed the interest of Pakistan in assuring that the right of self-determination of peoples be safeguarded, that any guarantee of peace must of course be by the Big Powers, and that there should be some specific time period in connection with any supervisory role the South Asian powers might take on. He expressed his support of the Thailand Resolution.

There was a short discussion upon Middle East defense matters. Sir Zafrulla stated he felt the objectives of Turkey and Pakistan were the same but that the Turks were somewhat suspicious of Pakistani intentions [Page 1848] as regarding Moslem religious identification with the endeavor. He concurred fully on the desirability of participation of Iraq and Iran at some later date.

Sir Zafrulla spoke briefly of difficulties in Pakistan due to the scarcity of high price consumer goods, particularly cloth. He felt they would be in a critical period for the next eighteen months and stated they would explore on a lower level whether the United States could be of further assistance in this matter.

The Secretary gave Sir Zafrulla a rather detailed explanation of our current thinking with regard to Indochina and the Geneva Conference. He dwelt upon the complexities of the problem and as to what the effect might be if the French Government decides to pull out and quit the fighting. The Secretary said in the viewpoint of some this would not be an unmixed evil because it is impossible to convince the local people on the question of self-determination as long as the French are there. The important thing would be for such a transition to be orderly and not catastrophic. It would have to be done in a manner so that the remaining area could be held and there be no automatic sweep of the Communists down through South East Asia. It should be possible to work out some means of collective security (which would include Laos and Cambodia and a part of Vietnam) that could be guaranteed by sufficient strength to allow a build-up of stronger governments behind the line. The role of France of course is very much in doubt at the moment.

The Secretary pointed out to Sir Zafrulla that the French had never asked us to actively enter the Indochina war on an international basis. They used the possibility of our entry for bargaining purposes only. He felt that the French saw merit in going it alone in that they could stop the war at any time they wanted. If it had become internationalized they would be in a position of negotiating with us and others on such matters. The Secretary pointed out there had never been a really clean-cut attitude of the French upon which to work. The independence issue had been kept fuzzy and the Communists therefore had hold of a real issue. The Secretary pointed out this type of issue did not exist, except to a certain extent in Malaya, elsewhere in South East Asia.

The Secretary expressed his personal view that there would be a cease-fire to let the French get out.

Sir Zafrulla was most appreciative of this outline by the Secretary. The Secretary indicated he might wish to talk further with Sir Zafrulla and the Ambassador after the Eden–Churchill visit.