206. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Gray) to the Under Secretary of State (Hoover)1
Dear Mr. Hoover: Reference is made to your letter of 5 November 19552 with regard to our matériel program in Pakistan. It appears that the present dissatisfaction with our MDA program in that country stems from the adoption by the Pakistan Government of an interpretation of the October 1954 aide-mémoire which differs from the interpretation held by the Department of Defense.[Page 451]
The aide-mémoire is subject to various interpretations, as the wording is ambiguous. In one paragraph it states that the U.S. proposes a program estimated at $171 million to be delivered over a three-to-four year period and in another paragraph states “the present program is designed to meet deficiencies in the Pakistan Army, Navy and Air Force as follows,” then the force bases are listed.
The Pakistan Government interprets this aide-mémoire as committing the U.S. Government to filling, in 3½ to 4 years, all of the equipment deficiencies in the 5½ division Army portion of the Pakistan force bases without regard to the $171 million figure mentioned in the aide-mémoire. The Department of Defense interprets the aide-mémoire as committing the U.S. Government to program and deliver $171 million worth of military end items over a three-to-four year period and within funds made available by the Congress and, consistent with the priority of requirements upon the U.S., to continue to meet U.S. screened deficiencies in the 5½ division force bases. The Department of Defense now recognizes that the figure of $171 million was based on an initial estimate and will not meet screened deficiencies in the Pakistan force bases. The provision of additional equipment may be required in the future to meet these screened deficiencies.
In connection with the problem of arriving at an accurate estimate of the U.S. screened deficiencies for the Pakistan Army, there is presently underway in the Department of the Army a study to determine the feasibility of adopting tables of equipment for the Pakistan Army commensurate with the probable mission and employment of these forces. This problem is illustrated by the fact that only on 14 November was the Chief of MAAG Pakistan able to convince the Pakistanis to reduce the size of their infantry division from about 25,000 to about 17,500, and the size of their armored division from about 19,500 to 15,000. Until such a table of equipment is adopted for Pakistani units, the dollar cost of supplying the remaining equipment deficiencies cannot be determined.
Approximately $25 million of the initial $171 million remains to be programmed in FY 1957. As you are aware, the Department of Defense presented on 18 November a proposed program for FY 1957, in a joint session with State, ICA, and the Bureau of the Budget, which provided a total of approximately $108 million for Pakistan. This program consisted of $65.4 million for equipment, $40.6 million for Direct Forces Support and $1.9 million for training, and is in the context of a world-wide FY 1957 MDA program.
It would appear that final determination of actual programming for delivery should await completion of action and review of the “Interdepartmental Coordinated Survey of Pakistan” directed by the [Page 452] OCB on 20 July 1955, in order that a realistic estimate of Pakistan capabilities to support their forces in the long run can be made. Otherwise, by providing assistance in excess of the amount that is programmed in FY 1957 under the $171 million program, we may be increasing in 1957 the investment we will have to protect, through maintenance, in FY 1958 and thereafter.
Future programs, and it is assumed that there will be a continuing program after the completion of the current program of $171 million, will further address themselves to the problem of equipping the approved force bases in accordance with the tables of equipment now being developed for the Pakistan Army.
Ayub Khan has accused us of not keeping our word as implied in the 1954 aide-mémoire. It is unfortunate that the initial estimate fell short of actual Pakistani needs, and that there were two interpretations of this aide-mémoire. However, the development of firm tables of equipment upon which to judge actual Pakistani requirements for equipment and the additional assistance planned for FY 1957 will combine to give us a clear concept of what the deficiencies are and what remains to be done to assure that our commitment to Pakistan will be met. Thus, we will be in a position to assure Ayub Khan that Americans can, in fact, be trusted. I agree with you that no reply to Karachi’s 4993 and 6304 should be made until the situation is clarified.