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

857. In talk Deputy UK High Commissioner James and I had with President Mirza Saturday eve prior his departure north this morning for week’s vacation following points, other than Suez issue which was covered in Embtel 8412 Saturday night, developed:

Whereas middle last week when I confronted Mirza with statement it was coffee shop gossip that he had pressured Suhrawardy by phone to East Pakistan on Sunday September 16 to allow Foreign Minister to accept invitation to users conference in London Mirza denied it, in Saturday night’s conversation Mirza had obviously forgotten the previous conversation and said bluntly he had put pressure on Suhrawardy in said telephone conversation saying to Prime Minister “When Nasser invitation comes you accept the invitation within half an hour despite fact that only acceptances were from Communist countries, and yet when invitation comes from West for conference in London you hesitate and are inclined not go. What goes on as far as foreign policy is concerned anyway?”
I told Mirza that within few hours after being sworn in as Prime Minister Suhrawardy in private conversation with … me, had said he “felt previous governments had been very inept, negligent and stupid in not explaining the foreign policy to the people and pointing out the reasons and advantages for it and that he intended correct this”. I told Mirza I had seized upon this hopefully and Mirza said “Well when is he going commence?” Mirza then stated he had drafted a letter to Prime Minister on foreign policy which he had not yet sent but was waiting for proper provocation and proper time send it to him. I seized opening he gave us and said we would be very much interested in seeing his views. He left room and came back with four page memo and let James and me each read a copy. It was a stinging reaffirmation of a very strong pro-West, pro-Free World, anti-Communist foreign policy. It emphasized that GOP in recent months by weaseling is losing stature and friends in both camps. He expressed annoyance at finding Russian gift of wheat which was puny amount compared with what US giving being played up more in press than US gift. Said government countenanced constant criticism of US and previous government had [Page 471] not displayed any guts in explaining foreign policy and so far Suhrawardy not doing any better. Stated if GOP takes military aid from US to make it strong it has the moral obligation and should have the guts to support the friends who gave the aid. Stated because government not showing any guts Communists getting more active and more influential. President exhorted us keep foregoing to ourselves as he was showing it to us in greatest confidence and of course it had not yet been sent hence this cable top secret.
He expressed irritation Rosenthal New York Times article3 alleging Mirza opposed making Suhrawardy Prime Minister for fear Prime Minister would not back Mirza for President in any future elections. He waxed firm and eloquent as usual on the theme he did not care whether or not he was President but what he would not stand for was a change in GOP foreign policy. Said he had told Suhrawardy that he would back him to the hilt except if he washed out on form foreign policy or meddled with military and if Suhrawardy doublecrossed him in these respects he, Mirza, too could play dirty and Suhrawardy would have a revolution on his hands. President showed every indication that he intended to be in control of country but would back Suhrawardy so long as Suhrawardy did not cross him on foreign policy. Said people long had been accusing him of wanting to be a dictator but he had already shown time and again that if he could avoid military government he would go to great ends to do so. James interrupted to comment he had advised his government that Mirza in seeking to find constitutional way out had taken greatest risk in his career in making Suhrawardy Prime Minister. Mirza again emphasized that he hoped our governments would understand if he had take drastic action. I commented that I felt that his record since he had been in office showed his desire avoid dictatorship and that I had advised my government that in taking Suhrawardy as Prime Minister he had taken only and last resort he had to get constitutional majority.

Foregoing message in draft form compared with James and is consistent with James recollection and report to be made.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 974.7301/9–2456. Top Secret; Niact. Repeated priority to London.
  2. In telegram 841, September 22, the Embassy reported on a U.S. and British effort to persuade Pakistan to join the Suez Canal Users’ Association. (Ibid., 974.7301/9–2256)
  3. Correspondent A.M. Rosenthal’s article appeared on September 10.