790D.5 MSP/8–954: Telegram

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


147. MAAG Chief Sexton returned Karachi August 5 after several days discussions General Ayub, Rawalpindi. Ayub position as follows:

Pakistan army at present reduced force level has adequate equipment all units regimental (United States battalion) level and lower. (About 40,000 troops discharged in economy move last year). Because entire Pakistan force deployed Indian, Afghan frontiers and East Pakistan performing essential patrol and internal security functions, for which present numbers inadequate, not possible deactivate any existing units in order create spaces for personnel who would handle [Page 1861] new equipment. Absorption this equipment possible only by raising existing force level, but since this would involve additional expenditures, impossible under frozen budget. Ayub claimed he had made this point emphatically to military survey team. With General Sexton he sought appointment with Heinz mission, Karachi, presumably to press his case for aid for direct forces support, but desisted after receipt not overly encouraging reply from Heinz.

General Sexton reports that Ayub convinced him validity of strictly military judgments included his position, i.e., that present units could not absorb programmed equipment and that assuming necessity for present deployment of forces, impossible create spaces by deactivating units. No similar problem navy and air.

Accompanied by General Sexton, laid problem before Finance Minister August 6, emphasizing United States had made no provision direct support Pakistan forces and in general does not sanction such policy. However, fact that Turkey exception rule well known here and since they consider themselves “another Turkey” citation of general principle subject to this exception not particularly telling argument.

With respect immediate problem of utilizing programmed equipment Finance Minister showed some skepticism of Ayub position of which he made careful notes on basis Sexton’s presentation. He said first thing would be determine exactly and officially what position is, and this he undertook to do, making clear that final formulation would probably have to wait Prime Minister’s return from Haj. Agreed this formulation would include number and size of units (if any) which would have to be activated, local currency and foreign exchange costs first year and subsequent years involved in absorption of equipment.

(Since this conversation Pakistan army has furnished General Sexton with preliminary estimate additional forces required and expense involved. Chief units to be activated would be two divisional reconnaissance regiments, three field battalions artillery, one headquarters for divisional artillery. Miscellaneous small units bring total additional manpower requirements to about 1900. Initial cost, including POL, personal clothing and rations estimated about $1,200,000; annual recurring costs, including pay, allowances, transportation, rations, et cetera estimated about $4,500,000. These figures exclude any additional equipment and stores which would be required along with United States programmed items, as well as recurring costs maintaining these items after depletion spares and reserve stocks initially provided by United States.)

Foreign Minister showed clear grasp of budgetary problems United States aid will create for Pakistan regardless whether additional forces to be raised. He inquired as to possibility that portion of existing GOP [Page 1862] military equipment import program now involving annual expenditures $75 million in foreign exchange might be appropriately included in United States program. Finance Minister undertook supply list these purchases and General Sexton agreed study question. Not discussed was possibility that rupee costs of activation might be met from counterpart generated by any additional commodity assistance which might be supplied by United States.

Passing from specific problem to general principles, Finance Minister emphasized following points: (1) Current military expenditures running 800 million rupees per annum, including $75 million foreign exchange component, was absolute maximum which Pakistan economy could support; (2) so long as current tension with India and Afghan continued, was impossible effect reduction in existing forces which were fully deployed and actively occupied in patrolling and internal security activities; (3) on basis general United States policy confining military assistance to equipment and training, such assistance would inevitably involve steadily mounting expenditures by GOP, and that greater the aid, greater the costs to Pakistan; (4) unless United States prepared treat Pakistan like Turkey, with liberal defense support and direct contribution to support of forces, doubtful that Pakistan could afford accept United States military assistance at all, and certainly not above very low level; (5) would be impossible make Pakistan public understand these facts and if United States aid held to mere trickle effect on position of present regime which had committed Pakistan to western camp would be very adverse.

Minister went on to say that Pakistan had thought what United States really had in mind was filling gap between Turkey and Pakistan with Pakistanis making significant contribution. Said recent developments suggested United States seeking in every way possible strengthen defense potential SEA. Pakistanis thought they definitely had contribution make ME and he implied they might also contribute SEA but these contributions could only be made if Pakistan strengthened. He felt Government entitled to clarification United States intentions, if they had been basing plans on false assumptions, sooner these assumptions corrected better.

Embassy officer pointed out there were real problems on United States side as well: there had been only moderate enthusiasm for program in some quarters in Washington and those who had agreed to “military assistance” as term commonly understood United States might have real doubts as to wisdom or ability of United States undertaking ambitious program of character which Finance Minister suggested. Finance Minister said he quite understood that Washington might have such doubts but this underlined necessity for general clarification of situation and determination of agreed goals and mutual [Page 1863] responsibilities before matter allowed drift further on basis divergent assumptions certain to increase difficulties as time passes.

Informed by General Sexton and service attachés that Pakistan military officials very emphatically making same point in somewhat different terms. They state impossible for them continue from year to year on completely ad hoc basis without any indication of what role Pakistan to be assigned in eventual plans for areas defense, and consequently measures which should be set in train in order permit forces eventually perform this role.

So far as immediate problem this year’s program concerned, appears to be of manageable proportions and possible solution might be provided by (a) including part of present $75 million Pakistan military import program in military aid program, thereby freeing resources for forces support or (b) earmarking counterpart from any additional economic aid provided for present emergency or even (c) by Pakistan action military budget ceiling. View relatively limited funds involved this last should be possible without adding appreciably inflationary pressures. However, Pakistanis certain to resist, as firm maintenance proposition they unable add in any way to present military expenditures seems essential element their bargaining position.

Question of whether United States will take additional measures including defense support and direct forces support needed permit realization of four-division objective Sexton reports has JCS approval fundamental issue, which in Embassy view cannot be indefinitely deferred. Embassy convinced general validity Pakistan position as outlined above: i.e., they unable significantly increase military expenditures, whereas United States military aid in quantity sufficient meet what Embassy considers minimum requirements from political point view certain to involve such expenditures. Possibly some savings may be excepted by deactivating certain existing units, though assuming continuation present internal political situation and strained relation with India and Afghan this not promising. See no escape from conclusion that if military aid to be effective United States will have supply Pakistanis same general type supporting assistance Turkey has received.

Embassy hopes Heinz mission report will facilitate consideration qualitative aspects this problem and that long-range policy can be sufficiently clarified permit provision in executive budget for fiscal year 1956. Pakistanis can wait while longer but Embassy believes sooner clarification forthcoming better for United States–Pakistan relations and for success whatever long-range program it is decided support.