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

1993. Department pass USUN. From Lodge.2 Reference: Kashmir. On February 10 Ambassador Langley and I had an hour’s conversation with Prime Minister Noon. We discussed other subjects on which I will report by memo but the most significant thing Noon said involved the Pakistanis’ attitude towards a Kashmir-waters settlement. The Prime Minister said emphatically that Pakistan was tired of the Kashmir dispute and ready for a settlement. Agreement between India and Pakistan on Kashmir would inevitably lead to a solution of the water distribution problem. On the latter subject, he reviewed the International Bank’s first scheme for a distribution plan which he said would have involved $1 billion, which neither India nor Pakistan could find. An alternative scheme that had been suggested for an independent supranational water authority would never be accepted [Page 59] by either side. (On this he seemed deliberately to be speaking vaguely and it was not clear whether he referred to the later Bank proposals.) The solution to the waters problem therefore lay in a settlement of the Kashmir problem. This could automatically take care of the allotment of rivers and their output.

Noon went on to say that Pakistan understood that the US could not attach strings to its loans to India. This was our policy and Pakistan appreciated the reasons for it. At the same time, the Pakistan Government hoped that while we were giving assistance to India we would encourage a settlement on Kashmir.

Noon made no mention of a plebiscite and it seemed to me that he was clearly thinking of a compromise which would provide for a territorial division between India and Pakistan. His reference to the rivers strengthened this impression. I inquired if he was thinking of an overall package settlement. He said that this was the case. I said that I thought this was a statesmanlike approach and one which I personally applauded. Responding to his suggestion for US pressure on India for a settlement, I said that if the opportunity arose while I was in New Delhi, I would be ready to lend any support that I could for a settlement.

Noon said that Graham had come back from Delhi to Karachi with a memo which contained a number of points, the most significant of which to his mind was the suggestion that the Prime Ministers of the two countries should meet directly in a neutral place to discuss the Kashmir question. Noon said he felt that including this point in his memorandum indicated some possibility that Graham had reason to believe it would be agreeable to Nehru. He thought that the sooner the better and mentioned the possibility of a meeting in April. Noon also said that he believed Graham had Ceylon in mind as a neutral place.

Amjad Ali, the Finance Minister, in a separate conversation evening February 10, said that Pakistan Government was ready and anxious for a compromise settlement if a similar attitude toward compromise existed in the Indian Government. He believed that if the two countries approached the question in the same spirit, an agreement was entirely possible. He hoped that we could help.

Everything that I have heard here and in New York before departing leads me to believe that the Pakistan Government is in a better mood for compromise than I have ever observed at any time in the past in our dealings with Noon and the Pakistan delegation in New York. If the Department has any further suggestions as to how I might [Page 60] encourage a similar attitude in New Delhi, I would appreciate early advice.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/2–1258. Secret; Priority. Repeated to New Delhi.
  2. Henry Cabot Lodge, Representative at the United Nations, was in Pakistan February 9–12 during a trip which also took him to Iran and India. Documentation on the Lodge trip is ibid., 310.311.
  3. In telegram 2014 to New Delhi, February 14, the Department informed Lodge as follows: “Any general exchange of views with Nehru or other GOI officials along same lines will be most helpful. You may wish open broad discussion Indo-Pak problems with Nehru by inquiring possibility Indian acceptance Iliff proposals Indus Waters on which Ambassador Bunker can give you latest information. We believe no reference our proposed package solution desirable because we feel our first approach this matter should be made only after Graham returns New York.” (Ibid., 690D.91/2–1258) In telegram 2041 from Karachi, February 18, the Embassy noted that “the official Pakistani state of mind” was probably more favorable to a Kashmir settlement than ever before, as indicated by Noon in his conversation with Lodge. “However, we would like put Department on guard against over-optimism and recommend gratifying declarations of Pakistanis be taken with grain of salt.” (Ibid., 690.90/2–1858)