200. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State1

519. Recent political developments portend situation of increasingly uneasy equilibrium between Pakistan’s leaders and potential leaders. Embassy believes Ghulam Mohammed can never hold office again; Mirza logical successor, his appointment imminent without fanfare and without crisis.2

Embassy doubts that Mirza will prove capable of filling Ghulam Mohammed’s position as leader Punjabi group at least in immediate future. Expect basic differences temperament ideologies of individuals within group will be sharpened.

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PM Ali and Mirza as two principal leaders ruling group have fundamentally different approaches to basic political problems confronting nation. Mirza thinks in simple political terms; PM in complex. Mirza believes Pakistan requires strong hand (even mailed fist) indefinitely, and with Ayub concurring has used at least tacitly threat of force obtain own position and reportedly used it again to coerce PM Ali into accepting Prime Ministership. PM recognizes need for strong government but believes in constitutional procedures and need for government to be founded ultimately upon consent. Though he acquiesced to recent pressure in accepting his position and swallowing second rate Cabinet colleagues, he has convictions of his own and determination effect them. Opposition elements as well as some Muslim Leaguers (Gurmani, et al) cognizant inherent potential conflict Mirza and Ali; political maneuvering can be expected for some time to come as individuals attempt decide how align selves in furthering their ambitions.

Current government coalition tenuous will be severely strained coming weeks. Suhrawardy and Awami leaguers are pledged defeat coalition; will endeavor discredit United Front in Bengal, will not be squeamish in tactics. Further, all United Fronters are not pleased with their own situation.

Crisis conceivable if as seems likely various legislative projects, constitution and electoral procedures fail materialize short term. Impatience with legislative procedures, inability compromise in coalition, opposition needling or ill-conceived rabblerousing (especially East Bengal) could occasion another threat by Mirza which, though meant only to cow might have to be implemented. Alternatively, if PM’s leadership, with possible assistance from Suhrawardy, seems promise constitution which might threaten domination Punjabi clique, Mirza will be strongly tempted forestall this development.

PM statements have reflected anxiety present situation; his remarks calling for enlightened, vocal public opinion, his faith common man, his assurance Constituent Assembly will not be dissolved, his flat statement Pakistan firmly on democratic road “and no power here which will be able destroy democracy” should be assessed not as platitudes but as placing himself on open record against Mirza’s basic premises and endeavoring create moral situation wherein sole dictatorship or junta rule impossible.

If above assessment correct Embassy thinks US should give PM full backing and attempt moral suasion Mirza to hold his impatient authoritarian impulses in check. Believe initial opportunity provided occasion Mirza’s imminent appointment as permanent GG. President’s usual message felicitation might unobtrusively serve notice US interest early achievement Pakistan constitutional system which establishes responsible government, confirms supremacy law and safeguards [Page 441] individual rights. Latter two these principles are part Pakistan heritage from British rule and have in large measure been maintained to date, though not without difficulty. Embassy believes that they plus principle accountability are maximum possible attain present circumstances and minimum required orderly development country on basis and in direction which will keep it useful ally US. Country not prepared western-type democracy and believe US policy should recognize this fact. Embassy therefore recommends that any US official statements should avoid invocation “democratic principles”. Possible that use this term might in fact prove counterproductive by encouraging intransigence of doctrinaire left which might in turn prove further incitement Mirza and his authoritarian-minded friends.

Taking account these factors Embassy suggest President’s message might characterize international and internal situation as Mirza takes over and state hopes for developments both fields as follows:

International: Pakistan has entered MSA with US, joined SEATO, common objectives sought. Progress already made, expectation further progress.

Internal: Pakistan making renewed effort develop constitution which will provide government under rule of law and give adequate expression its peoples’ aspirations and ideals.

Americans understand from their own history difficult problems which beset new nation in process of developing new constitutional forms. They also know from own history that solid progress best assured by nation building on basis of rule of law. US heartened by fact Pakistan in brief history has demonstrated holds firmly this conviction. Mirza’s predecessor showed devotion to goal and now new Constituent Assembly begins a fresh task giving enduring form this basic political principle. May Mirza see its successful achievement during his tenure.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.00/9–1955. Secret; Priority. Repeated to, London, New Delhi, Lahore, and Dacca.
  2. Mirza was appointed permanent Governor-General on September 19; he was officially sworn in on October 6.
  3. In telegram 728 to Karachi, September 30, the Department of State pointed out that the President did not make a practice of sending congratulatory messages to Heads of State upon assumption of power. It suggested instead that Gardiner send a note to Mirza over his own signature along the lines that he had originally suggested. (Department of State, Central Files, 790.00/9–1955)