18. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State1

2204. Deptel 2361 repeated Karachi 2147.2 Embassy agrees Department’s assessment first sentence paragraph one but disagrees GOI objective is larger defense appropriations.

Embassy assumes that USG (a) neutral re final disposition Kashmir as long as it is settled peacefully and (b) wishes tension and fears between Pakistan and India reduced. On these assumptions and without attempting evaluate effects implementation of recommendations might have on SEATO and Baghdad Pacts, as suggested by Karachi 19473 repeated Delhi 256, Embassy considers Department’s suggestions important as effort remove tension and strengthen understanding of US objective.

Embassy agrees with reference telegram that Kashmir, etc. are basic issues dividing Pakistan and India and importance arms issue would be reduced if they settled. Nevertheless US alone cannot resolve these issues. US does have power to take helpful measures about military aid which, justifiably or not, is affecting these issues. [Page 69] Embassy has reported (to Karachi 1624 and 165,5 Washington 1911 and 1917) some reasons for GOI fear. Further, India’s fear of Pakistan seems atavistic insofar as it is rooted in long history of Muslim invasions and domination of India, the deep antipathy between Muslims and Hindus and recollection of partition incidents. It is now compounded by India’s fear that Muslim Pakistanis receiving modern weapons with which India unable to cope. Embassy has no facts to justify GOI fear of Pakistan aggression but the fear is a reality which US influencing GOI policy and action to detriment settlement basic issues GOI—Pakistan and US—GOI relations, and to advantage USSR objectives.

Embassy sees adverse effects as follows:


Diversion of thin resources from productive to military investment.

This would lead GOI into larger acceptance Russian economic assistance because of compulsion to industrialize.

Increased pressure to purchase Russian arms.

Defense and Home Ministers6 and Vice President7 have told Ambassador during last week that GOI being compelled by US to make new defense expenditures. Home Minister said further expenditures under discussion. While some GOI officials oppose purchase arms from Russia, there are anti-Western elements in GOI who urge Nehru it is unsafe to rely on West as source of arms. Embassy informed and UK High Commissioner McDonald thinks true that Cabinet had made decision to purchase Russian planes week prior Secretary’s visit. Deal stopped and purchase made from UK due Mountbatten efforts and McDonald believes influenced by Secretary’s statements to Nehru. Yet McDonald says it is only first round and pressure to purchase Russian arms will continue long as US aid to Pakistanis feared.

If Soviet arms are purchased, GOI will assert US responsible while US opinion will be inflamed against India, with consequent danger of real breach between US and GOI as well as affecting military supply GOIUK. Pakistan would ask for more arms from US and sentiment both GOI—Pakistan engendered for arms race comparable smaller scale to that US attempting to stop in Middle East.

[Page 70]

As between alternatives suggested Embassy favors second since this approach concentrates on field in which US has direct influence and since first alternative would appear have little chance adoption and in any event would presumably take long time to negotiate.

If Pakistan desires initiate first alternative Embassy believes it would be more effective after execution by US of second alternative. Nehru has said he gives full credit to US statement. It is doubtful that same credit be given to Pakistan.

Embassy aware neither course of action intended settle basic issues between India and Pakistan nor is it certain that either course would prevent GOI or Pakistanis spreading accusations of others aggressive intentions, but second alternative:

Should tend impress GOI with USG’s good faith in giving arms Pakistan only for defense against international communism.
Should similarly impress GOI with Pakistan’s good faith acceptance US military aid.
Indicate US willing try accommodate on issues wherein it has direct interest, unlike such issues Kashmir settlement and Goa where not directly concerned.
Would indicate concrete results possible from such talks as that with Secretary and therefore promoting background for forthcoming talks with President.
Should weaken anti-Western elements GOI who press for purchase arms Communist sources.
Insofar as GOI’s immediate fears of Pakistani intentions based incorrect Indian intelligence estimates, should reduce fear. This point stressed by Pillai prior Secretary’s visit.

Embassy does not know volume and types arms to be supplied Pakistan. It emphasizes that despite value Department suggestions if arms supply is large or modern, the consequences and dangers pointed out herein will continue. Because consequences are urgent and dangerous, Embassy believes it necessary that to largest extent possible, in context of US security and commitments to Pakistan, the problem of military aid to Pakistan be studied at highest level to see if amounts, programming, etc. can be arranged to avoid consequences, and to coincide with US long-term political interests this area.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/4—856. Top Secret. Repeated to Karachi.
  2. Supra.
  3. See footnote 3, supra.
  4. Document 14.
  5. In telegram 165 from New Delhi to Karachi, March 13 (for Secretary Dulles), Ambassador Cooper emphasized that India feared Pakistan might get increased military and economic aid from the United States as a result of talks between Mirza and the Secretary. (Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5—MSP/3—656)
  6. Kailas Nath Katju, Indian Minister of Defense.
  7. Dr. Servepalli Radhakrishnan.