Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 64 D 199

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Officer in Charge of Pakistan-Afghanistan Affairs ( Thacher )1



  • Pakistan’s Role in the Free World


  • The Secretary
  • Prime Minister Mohammed Ali of Pakistan
  • Ambassador Amjad Ali of Pakistan
  • NEA—Mr. Byroade
  • SOA—Mr. Thacher

The Secretary explained that with regard to the Manila Treaty we had made it clear at the outset that we could not say, nor could we ask the U.S. Senate to accept the concept, that any dispute in the area would be considered a threat to the peace and security of the U.S. For example, a dispute between Burma and Thailand would not affect our peace and security since it would not involve communist aggression. The Prime Minister argued that such a dispute would almost certainly be a threat to the peace and security of the U.S. since Burma would undertake aggression against Thailand only if Burma came under communist control. Pakistan, however, is the one nation among the treaty signatories that must fear aggression from a non-communist country. He felt that the U.S. in its view of the Manila Treaty tended by implication to condone aggression from a non-communist country.

[Page 1869]

The Secretary replied that we, of course, realized that aggression of any type in the area would be dangerous but that unless it was communist inspired we could not say that it would certainly endanger the peace and security of the U.S. He emphasized that whatever the character of the aggression, we were committed under the terms of the treaty to consult with the other signatories.

The Prime Minister discussed the risks which he felt Pakistan by its alignment with the West had incurred in its relations with India, Afghanistan and the USSR. He felt that these and even the dangers to his own personal safety were justified by the need of preserving freedom for posterity. Pakistan had, in effect, undertaken to play a dual role in defense of the Free World, one in the Middle East and the other in Southeast Asia. With such responsibilities the Prime Minister felt he might be derided in his own country if he were able to obtain at the outset only $30 million of military assistance from the U.S. Actually this sum would merely help Pakistan to fill up the gaps in its existing military framework.

The Secretary said that some consideration was being given to the possibility of increasing the first year program of military assistance to Pakistan. However, he thought Pakistan had taken its anti-communist stand because it was the right one not just to make itself eligible for certain sums of dollar aid. Far more important than receipt of our aid was Pakistan’s achievement in winning the admiration and sympathy of the American people whom Pakistan would find reliable friends in times of trouble as proven by our prompt response to Pakistan’s need for wheat in 1953. However, our friends must become aware that the U.S. does not have limitless resources. The U.S. budgetary situation is such that when an appropriation is made for military equipment to a foreign nation a reduction in some form of our own armaments must, in all probability, be sustained.

  1. Drafted by Thacher on Oct. 25. Briefing material for Mohammed Ali’s visit is in Conference files, lot 59 D 95, CF 394.