18. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan 1

2331. Department has considered Mueenuddin suggestion (Karachi’s telegram 21762 repeated New Delhi 272, London 120) that USG “guarantee” any Indus waters agreement. It noted (a) Mueenuddin speaking for himself not GOP and (b) he failed explain type “guarantee” desired.

FYI. Although Department’s traditional position nonintervention in Indus dispute while Bank negotiations under way remains unchanged and Department feels solution problem can best be achieved as part “package” proposal, perceive no harm in trying help Bank negotiations (last para Deptel to New Delhi 2166,3 Karachi 2253, London 6300).

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Embassy in its discretion and without reference substantive merits any proposal for partition Indus waters, authorized convey informally following information to Mueenuddin or other Pak officials if question raised again by them. Embassy may wish coordinate with UK Hicom in view London telegram 53694 repeated New Delhi 109, Karachi 96. End FYI.

Basic USG position noninvolvement Indus waters controversy while IBRD negotiations under way remains unchanged. With respect “guarantee” of agreement which might result from such negotiations, however, USG at all times prepared use its influence achieve settlement by peaceful means disagreements arising from alleged breach such agreement. This policy would apply equally to Pakistan and India. Aggrieved country would be in stronger position utilize such US support if clearly defined water treaty in existence. Both Pakistan and India would be well advised seek additional protection by incorporating in treaty self-executing provisions to minimize area of possible disagreement and provide machinery to settle differences. This possible by creation Joint Indo-Pak Water Commission similar that created by US-Mexico treaty.5 Such commission could perhaps include IBRD or other neutral member who could be designated by UN Secretary General if desirable. Treaty might also provide for arbitration by some neutral body and/or adjudication by International Court Justice. These merely suggestions for possible negotiation between GOP and GOI, not USG proposals. However USG willing place at disposal both governments full information its experience on organization and operation joint water commissions whenever negotiations reached point where such information useful.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91322/3–458. Secret. Drafted by Louis B. Poullada and approved by Bartlett. Repeated to New Delhi and London.
  2. In telegram 2176, March 4, the Embassy reported that during a call on Ambassador Langley the previous day G. Mueenuddin said that Pakistan had decided to turn down the latest IBRD proposal on the canal waters. (Ibid., 690D.91322/3–458)
  3. Telegram 2166 to New Delhi, March 7, summarized a conversation between Department of State officials and Iliff on March 4. The last paragraph contained Iliff’s suggestion that “it might be possible for USG, drawing from its own experience of international rivers and knowledge UN procedures, to help Paks better understand techniques and problems involved in securing compliance with treaty arrangements. Department studying position it should take re this suggestion.” (Ibid., 690D.91322/3–758)
  4. In telegram 5369 from London, March 11, the Embassy indicated that British officials were “understandably reluctant” to get involved in the Indus Waters dispute since it had become a serious issue between Commonwealth partners. (Ibid., 690D.91322/3–1158)
  5. Reference is to the Convention providing for the equitable distribution of the waters of the Rio Grande for irrigation purposes, which was signed in Washington on May 21, 1906, and entered into force on January 16, 1907. (48 Stat. 1621)
  6. Telegram 2341 from Karachi, March 21, reported Mueenuddin’s disappointment when the Ambassador conveyed the contents of telegram 2331. Mueenuddin felt that the treaty needed to be guaranteed by an “outside power or powers,” specifically the United States. (Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91322/3–2158)