13. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, February 16, 19561
- Questions Arising in Indian-American Relations
- Mr. Robert Murphy–G
- Mr. George V. Allen–NEA
- Mr. William J. Sebald–FE
- Mr. Livingston T. Merchant–EUR
- Ambassador John Sherman Cooper
- Mr. J. Jefferson Jones, III–SOA
Ambassador Cooper said he would like to refer to US military aid to Pakistan, which in his opinion constituted the greatest obstacle in the establishment of friendly relations between the US and India. The Indians did not fear that the Pakistanis would conquer them in a war. They strongly opposed US military aid to Pakistan, however, because they thought that arming Pakistan, as well as our policy of supporting regional military pacts, chiefly in Asia, increased the chance of war. The Indians also resented the fact that partly because of our military assistance to Pakistan they had to divert substantial funds from economic development to increasing their own defenses. Ambassador Cooper thought that the Indians were somewhat reconciled to fulfillment by the US of its original commitment to Pakistan for military aid but that there would be the strongest repercussions if the US either increased the existing and committed military program or established bases in Pakistan. The Ambassador also believed that if the US took either of the foregoing actions it was probable that the Indians might be led to obtain arms from the Soviet Union.
Mr. Murphy recalled that at the time we had entered into the military assistance agreement with Pakistan, we had informed Prime Minister Nehru that we were prepared to negotiate a military assistance program with India. Why did the Indians feel it necessary to buy arms from the Soviet Union when they could also obtain them from the US? Mr. Murphy said that it was difficult for him to understand the Indian point of view on this question; he wondered what positive action the US Government could take in order to solve the problem which resulted from the establishment of our military assistance program with Pakistan. Ambassador Cooper replied that [Page 63] one thing which we could do was to make the “Green Satin” equipment2 available to the Indians.
[Here follows discussion of other issues in United States-Indian relations.]