191. Memorandum of a Conversation, Karachi, March 30, 19551


  • Prime Minister Mohammed Ali
  • Foreign Secretary J.A. Rahim
  • Ambassador Hildreth


  • Military Aid

In conference with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary yesterday, Wednesday, March 30, among several subjects covered, the Prime Minister raised the question of military aid, saying apparently his people and mine were at loggerheads over the number of men the United States would support and the size of divisions. I replied, “yes” that was so, and quickly reviewed with complete frankness the talks General Sexton, General Brown and I had with Ayub and his staff in Rawalpindi recently, and also the conversation [Page 426] I had had with Mirza and Ayub, covered in despatch no. 6082 being pouched in the same pouch as this despatch.

In summary, I told them that there was disagreement and I expected there would be more of them, but I had told Ayub and I was telling them that I thought it was time we stopped chasing our tails and somebody made some firm decisions as to a limit on both manpower and dollars and how much of the dollars would be diverted from economic aid through using counterpart funds to achieve the military goal. Admittedly, Ayub would probably be disappointed but in order to stop Ayub and the Finance Minister scrapping and in order to stop ourselves scrapping I was advising our Defense Department to set a definite limitation in answer to these questions. I told the Prime Minister that all that had been promised him while he was in the States would be forthcoming, but it might not achieve what Ayub wanted, and, as the money was not available to achieve what Ayub wanted, I thought it was in the interests of both our countries to get on with what could be accomplished instead of constantly holding up getting the program started in the hopes that it could be expanded.

The Prime Minister, harassed with many other problems, seemed almost to find relief in my decisiveness and indicated that he was no more interested than I was in arguing with his military people about the size of the division. He seemed resigned to the fact that if our military people could not agree on the size of the divisions that Pakistan would still get what was promised in the way of dollars, but would not come up with as many divisions as Ayub wanted if the size of the divisions were going to be as large as Ayub wanted.

I then went on and commented that some of our people could not make sense out of the Pakistan military requests for some things from the U.S., such as uniforms, which our people, particularly General Sexton and General Brown, thought they could make right here in Pakistan, thus saving the dollar exchange for things that they could not make here. Furthermore, this policy, in addition to saving dollar exchange, would give employment and better economic conditions in Pakistan. The Prime Minister seemed to wholeheartedly concur in this line of reasoning and I went on and commented that [Page 427] we are not without some suspicions that there was an inclination in some Pakistan military circles to favor procurement of some stuff outside rather than making it here because there was more chance for a rake-off. I was careful to say we were not certain of this but, on the other hand, we were not free from suspicions. I, furthermore, told him that our military people both in Pakistan and in the U.S., from what I had seen in papers going over my desk, felt that the Master General of Ordnance was very poorly equipped to deal with his job.

All the above was reported to General Sexton and General Brown a few minutes ago and they expressed great pleasure and satisfaction that I had spoken as frankly as I had and on the subjects I covered with the Prime Minister and emphatically stated their belief that if the Master General of Ordnance was gotten out of the picture it would save tremendous sums of money for both Pakistan and the United States.

Horace A. Hildreth
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5–MSP/3–3155. Secret. Drafted by Hildreth. Transmitted to the Department as despatch 612, March 31.
  2. In despatch 608, March 31, Ambassador Hildreth reported that Mirza and Ayub had informed him that they did not want any support for military aid to come out of economic funds or counterpart funds because that only made the rest of Pakistan angry at the proportion of funds the military was receiving. The Ambassador countered that there was no money to accomplish what had already been agreed upon as desirable objectives unless the United States used counterpart funds. Hildreth told Ayub that the Department believed he was “trying to squeeze too hard” and that if he did not settle on a program at the present time, he would be risking the cooperation that he had received up to date. (Ibid., 790D.5–MSP/3–3155)