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

1941. I called on Prime Minister Noon at his request ostensibly to discuss another matter February 6, but for 30 minutes was importuned to fulfill US agreement in aide-mémoire of late 19542 to provide GOP with 20 bombers “promised within three and one-half years, and which are nearly up”.3

Present with Noon were Air Vice Marshal Khan and Defense Secretary All Asghar. Noon did the talking.

He stressed several times our failure to keep our promise in this respect, but admitted we had done so in most other aspects of the aide-mémoire commitments.

Noon asked if the US would sell GOP bombers. I replied I did not know, but did not think so. He replied that if I had answered otherwise I would be as bad as the British, whom he berated for their sale of bombers to India and their putting of mercenary considerations foremost. He added GOP was considering withdrawing from Commonwealth because of unequal treatment of members. Noon, backed by Khan, said GOP wanted American bombers, not British, because if [Page 623] they had latter they would never get spare parts anyway, and logistics, etc., would be simpler with all American equipment in their armed services.

I reminded Noon that General Truman, Chief MAAG, had recommended scheduling bombers according to aide-mémoire but that decision otherwise had been made in Washington. Noon said US in this had thought more of India than of Pakistan. I said I believed a major consideration may have been the actual lack of sufficient bombers beyond our own great needs to supply other nations, and pointed out Dulles’ promise of assistance in event Pakistan was attacked as one reason we had to maintain large and flexible Air Force.4

I promised to report his demands (they were virtually that).

Vice Marshal Khan said some transport planes had also been promised in the aide-mémoire, but that the Pakistan Air Force could make the old ones it possessed do for some time. His only contribution to the Noon barrage on bombers was to point out to the Prime Minister that it would take probably 18 months between approval of supply of bombers before their delivery, with training of crews necessary in the interim.

I reminded Noon of Macmillan’s remark that the Indians were more afraid of Pakistan than the Pakistanis were of India and said I did not believe India would attack Pakistan. I said I believed India, which may at one time have had thoughts of annexing all or part of Pakistan, had decided it had troubles enough of its own without adding the problems of Pakistan to them.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622/2–658. Secret. Repeated to New Delhi.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 292.
  3. Army Chief of Staff General Maxwell D. Taylor, who was in Pakistan, January 17–19, as part of a trip to Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia, discussed the light bomber squadron with Pakistani officials. In MAAG PAK 9–24 from Karachi, January 20, he informed General Nathan F. Twining as follows: “During my calls in Karachi on Pres Mirza, P M Noon, and Gen Ayub, all urged an early delivery to Pakistan of squadron of light bombers presently included in JCS force goals. Based on USAF advice as to availability, MAAG is deterred from programming these bombers before 1960. Understand you are aware of problem. In my view, it would be very helpful if delivery could be advanced. Even a partial shipment if made quickly would be to our advantage.” (Washington National Records Center, JCS Records, CCS.092 Pakistan (8–23–46))
  4. Dulles made this promise during a meeting in Washington with then Foreign Minister Noon; for a summary of that conversation, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. VIII, p. 157.
  5. On February 10, Prime Minister Noon again raised the question of the U.S. agreement to supply bombers to Pakistan during a meeting with Ambassador Langley and Henry Cabot Lodge, U.S. Representative at the United Nations. A memorandum of this conversation was transmitted to the Department as an enclosure to despatch 703, February 13. (Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622/2–1358) In a memorandum to President Eisenhower, dated February 20, Lodge recommended that the United States fulfill its promise to provide Pakistan with 20 bombers. (Ibid., 310.311/2–2158) Regarding Lodge’s trip to Pakistan, see Document 13.