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

1890. Further to Embtel 1886.2 I have carefully avoided offering any advice to President Mirza on domestic affairs in Pakistan, even on a personal basis, though he gives every indication of willingness to talk with me freely about anything and has once or twice hinted that he would welcome personal advice.

Since forced resignation Suhrawardy3 signs have increased that Mirza is trying establish control government with combination of ML, republicans who believe in separate electorates, and enough others among smaller splinter parties who also believe in separate electorates to provide majority in National Assembly.

It is doubtful if such separate electorate majority actually exists, but a phoney one might be created by political intrigue, even to the purchase of a few votes for varying consideration.

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I believe there some danger Mirza’s efforts might bring down present coalition. In that event formation new coalition would be most difficult as most of possible combinations have been tried. Possibility of imposition of Presidential rule under emergency powers in constitution would be increased. Holding of elections might be postponed. President’s own political stock would fall rather than rise.

As wobbly as the present coalition is and as weak as the present Prime Minister is, I believe that if the present government can be preserved until elections have been held it is in the national interests of Pakistan and very much in the interests of international stability. Actually, the stronger leaders in this country are all participating in formulation of policies of the government through the present ruling combination. Even though Mirza and Suhrawardy may not be on speaking terms, they are at least providing desirable checks upon each other.

I would like the Department’s reaction to the possibility of my talking a little more freely with Mirza about this situation with a view to indicating discreetly and on a personal basis my fears of the complications for sake of yet another political crisis at this time and my view that the sooner elections can be held on a joint electorates basis the better. Mirza has not publicly, or even privately to me, said he is for separate electorates. I believe his personal political stock would benefit most if he does not get boxed in by such advocacy and if he refrains from actions which could justify charges that he had torpedoed present coalition.

Will also discuss with Rountree.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.00/1–3158. Secret; Limit Distribution.
  2. In telegram 1886, January 31, the Embassy reported that it had been receiving increasing indications of an effort to undermine the present Pakistani coalition government. It reiterated its belief that the coalition would somehow manage to surmount its ‘Inherent inconsistencies,” but suggested that another government crisis could occur within the next few weeks. (Ibid., 790D.00/1–3158)
  3. Former Prime Minister H. S. Suhrawardy resigned on October 11, 1957.
  4. Assistant Secretary Rountree was scheduled to visit Pakistan, February 4–7, as part of a trip to Greece, India, and Ceylon following the Baghdad Pact conference. Documentation on Rountree’s trip is in Department of State, Central File 110.15–RO.