The Ambassador in Pakistan (Hildreth) to the Department of State

No. 33


  • Conversation with General Ayub Khan, Commander-in-Chief, Pakistan Army on July 15, 1954

General Ayub called on me at my residence yesterday afternoon at his request. Despite rumbles I had heard that he was nettled and irritated [Page 1856] with the United States for our failure to answer the question he has been asking ever since General Meyers was here, namely, “What do you expect of us; how do we fit in your over-all military planning?”, I found General Ayub in a very pleasant mood. He seemed quite cognizant of the great difficulties our Defense Department faced on account of its world-wide problems and seemed to understand the reason for the delay in answering his questions. He said he was glad that General Mirza had not gone to the United States at the end of May and in fact claimed some credit for his not going. He claimed that he realized Mirza could get no satisfactory answers from our Department of Defense as of the end of last May and the best thing now was for Pakistan not to fret but let the United States make its decisions and then if the decisions were not satisfactory that would be the proper time for Pakistan to send a military man to Washington to present its arguments for different decisions.

General Ayub is pleased that we now have definite word that General Sexton will be here August 4. Ayub was booked to attend United Kingdom Commonwealth staff meetings in London about the middle of August and he felt it very important that he be among the first to see General Sexton and preferably before he went to the staff conferences in London.

I told General Ayub that when the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister presented their urgent economic plea the other day I had said at the end of the conference, “Well, it is a cinch, Mr. Finance Minister, that we are not going to be able to make both you and General Ayub happy”. General Ayub laughed heartily at this and admitted that the economic problems were very great and pressing.

General Ayub voiced the thought that the U.K. was trying to isolate the influence of the United States in the whole area and that Pakistan was being chastised for its lining up with the United States. From a military point of view he put importance on Iran, saying it was the key to the Middle East area and felt that Iran would be influenced in its decision whether to join the so-called northern tier in direct proportion to the extent it saw Pakistan become strong because of its alliance with Turkey and the United States. I make no attempt to appraise this feeling he attributes to officials in Iran. He did not see how Iran would be bold enough to stand up to Russia unless it had a strong ally on its East as well as its West in order to help defend it against Russia in case real trouble came. General Ayub prophesied that it would be necessary to keep military rule in effect in East Pakistan for a considerable length of time. He is apparently pleased with what he hears about General Sexton and is looking forward to working with him.

H. A. Hildreth