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


. . . . . . .

… in my conversation with Mirza May 12 …. Mirza referred GOI acquisition Canberra bombers, expected deliveries complete in year’s time, and emphasized only way maintain peace was if GOI realized GOP had retaliating power through bomber squadrons, thus re-enforcing Prime Minister’s request reported Embtel 2386.2 Mirza asked me discuss in Washington and see if delivery could be speeded up.

I commented seemed as if GOI GOP were starting arms race with unpredictable results, but most likely unfortunate ones and [Page 78] asked if it might not be well for US and UK exchange information on programs to GOP and GOI respectively so that US and UK could pass on information to lessen each country’s worries. Mirza replied “no details should be given because we have always known that UK information goes promptly to India. Of course with McDonald in command Pakistan air force UK and therefore India knows all about Pakistan air force, but we think some army information not known to UK. We would not want any detailed information passed to UK.”

Embassy thoroughly in accord that measures must be found to prevent arms race on subcontinent, while equally convinced that both India and Pakistan require sound modern defense establishments. Thinking here, however, conditioned by following considerations.

Pakistan has genuine reason fear India; India has pronounced military superiority, could dominate Punjab, take over East Pakistan at will, controls up river Indus waters.
India’s fears of Pakistan have less genuine basis, and press build-up in India, including GOI incitement of recent border incidents, appear to be deliberate manipulation of GOI to denigrate Pakistan and discredit BP and SEATO. Indian HICOM3 has told … that India’s interests demand three to one superiority in fire power over Pakistanis. Possibility losing this margin may be one cause present concern GOI.

If this analysis correct believe attempt of UK “allay Indian fears” doomed to frustration even if GOP agreed to it. May I take following line with President and Prime Minister with Department’s support:

US and UK have exchanged views on rising tensions potential arms race on subcontinent which all concerned must deprecate.
US thinks it in interest both India and Pakistan for internal stability and legitimate defense have up to date equipment for reasonable armed forces.
UK prepared program bomber squadron for PAF on reasonable schedule but is concerned at attitude expressed by President and Prime Minister over Pakistan requirement retaliatory power against India. Purpose MDA to counter Communist aggressions and we regret talk of possibility perversion original purpose which talk would disturb American opinion.
US has indicated to GOI general nature Pakistan build-up— Deptel 2577 to Delhi4—which was described as re-equipment rather than expansion.
US considers that GOI engaged in war of nerves against GOP and Pacts, which can best be countered by reiteration in public, whenever opportunity serves, of what we understand to be GOP position. [Page 79]
GOP has no intention seek other than peaceful solutions its problems with India, notably Kashmir and Canal waters.
GOP seeks suitable no war guarantees with India, coupled with agreement settle present and future disputes through arbitration.
GOP equally concerned with GOI in defense subcontinent and prepared following satisfactory settlement of (b) to exchange full military information with GOI.
If foregoing attractive to Pakistanis US prepared encourage GOI meet GOP halfway on this program and persuade UK do likewise.

Embassy believes best interests of all served by carrying out psychological offensive to get both countries to talk about no resort to force.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5–MSP/5–1556. Secret; Priority. Repeated to London and New Delhi.
  2. In telegram 2386, May 10, Ambassador Hildreth reported that the Prime Minister had informed him the previous day that Pakistan considered it important to acquire from the United States two squadrons of light bombers in addition to the current military assistance schedules. The planes would help ensure peace with India, he emphasized, by assuring the Indians that Pakistan was capable of retaliation. (Ibid., 790D.5622/5–1056)
  3. Chandulal Chunilal Desai.
  4. Not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/4–1456)
  5. In telegram 2551 from New Delhi, May 19, Bartlett commented that in most respects he agreed with Ambassador Hildreth’s analysis. “While Embassy would not question Karachi’s estimate GOP viewpoint,” he pointed out, “we believe India’s fears of Pakistan are genuine, regardless of whether US and GOP consider fears justified. In fact, impending loss of fire-power superiority over Pakistan contributes to GOI concern. On other hand, it seems here that GOP’s ‘genuine reason to fear India’ should be heavily discounted. Present GOI leadership and policies rule out any military-territorial adventures, even against Goa. As practical matter Indian efforts being devoted overwhelmingly to internal problems, such as drive for economic development and states reorganization. Embassy does perceive some validity, however, to Pakistan fear of GOI control of up-river Indus water.” (Ibid., 690D.91/5–1956)

    In telegram 2800 to Karachi, May 24, the Department indicated that the Embassy’s suggestions for allaying Pakistani-Indian tension were being given careful consideration. (Ibid., 790D.5–MSP/5–1556)