188. Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Hensel)1
Karachi, February 17, 1955.
CONFERENCE IN KARACHI WITH GENERAL SEXTON AND AMBASSADOR HILDRETH
- General Sexton felt that equipment was coming into Pakistan just about as rapidly as Pakistan could absorb it and, therefore, did not feel that there was any real resentment on the part of the Pakistani over our slowness in carrying out our promised programs.
- The major problem being encountered by the Country Team was the division of money between economic aid on the one hand and direct forces support and defense support on the other hand. General Sexton felt that the Pakistani needed increased pay to its officers and men, better subsistence and better housing and he was constantly struggling for such aid against suggestions the money should be spent for additional irrigation which the country obviously needs badly. The members of the Country Team felt that the conflict between these types of expenditures had not been adequately resolved at the Washington level and that they had no real [Page 419] guidelines as to the relative importance of increased military strength and increased economic capability to decide the priority of such claims on our aid.
- There is no doubt that Pakistan needs direct forces support. I have seen military encampments where the men are living in tattered and torn tents which compare very unfavorably with some of the ramshackle huts built, particularly in the Middle East, by the various Arab and Pakistani refugees. Furthermore, I am advised that practically the entire Pakistan Army is under canvas of that type. On the other hand, the country needs irrigation very badly. Most of the land is barren desert with a few green spots very conspicuous because of their infrequency. This was very noticeable in the flight from Iran to Karachi and from Karachi to Peshawar.
- It was perfectly obvious that no member of the Country Team had any clear idea of the part Pakistan was expected to play in the defense of the Middle East or whether that role would be developed into an important one. There was continual reference to the fact that Admiral Radford favored increased military strength in Pakistan, but no one seemed to know precisely why except that Pakistani obviously make reliable fighting soldiers. At the same time, it seems quite clear that Pakistan regards the Indian threat as much more serious to Pakistan than the Russian or Communist China threats. The Pakistani Army is now deployed along the Indian border and all tactical and strategic planning by the Pakistani center on Indian problems as having first priority. If Pakistan is to be expected to supply forces for fighting outside its borders, it seems probable that Pakistan will not regard itself as having any excess until it has at least four, and more probably five, fully equipped and well trained divisions. Furthermore, if Pakistan is expected to supply troops outside its borders, someone will have to provide the necessary transportation and logistical support. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that such transportation and support could be provided within time to permit the Pakistani to participate in the defense of the Zagros mountain passes. If it is thought that Pakistan can contribute to the defense of Southeast Asia, it should be remembered that practically all of the military strength of Pakistan is concentrated in West Pakistan and that the transportation of forces from West Pakistan into Southeast Asia would require a trip around the entire country of India and back up into the Southeast Asia territory.
- It, therefore, seems to me most important that some plan be developed which will outline the military role expected of Pakistan and permit us all to move in that direction.
- I saw in Ambassador Hildreth’s office for the first time a copy of the aide-mémoire which was given to the Prime Minister of [Page 420] Pakistan at the time that the proposed $29 million program was increased to $50 million.2 Such aide-mémoire mentions (and commits the U.S. to) a program of $171 million over three years and promises to use the United States’ best efforts to accelerate that program. This is one of the rare—if not the only—instance in which we have disclosed to a recipient country the precise amount in dollars of our programmed aid. While I think this disclosure was a mistake and I have not yet been able to discover the theory in aid of which the disclosure was made. I am afraid the commitment to Pakistan is rather firm and cannot be modified in time or amount without causing dissatisfaction. Nevertheless, in view of such commitments, we must face rather squarely the amount of money we intend to provide for Pakistani aid during fiscal year 1956 and make such amount known to Congress.
H. Struve Hensel3
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5–MSP/2–1755. Secret. Hensel was in Pakistan as part of a tour of several Asian and Middle Eastern nations. The trip, which lasted from February 6 to March 10, was undertaken in order to assess the defense needs of the countries visited and evaluate U.S. military aid programs. A handwritten notation on the source text indicates that it was seen by the Secretary of State.↩
- See footnote 3, Document 185.↩
- Printed from a copy which bears this typed signature.↩