298. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, March 7, 19581
- US Commitment to Supply Light Bombers to Pakistan
- NEA—Assistant Secretary William M. Rountree
- Mohammed Ali, Ambassador of Pakistan
- Prince Aly Khan, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN
- Mr. Agha Shahi, Minister-Counselor, Pakistan Embassy
- Mr. M. S. Shaikh, Counselor, Pakistan Embassy
- SOA—Garrett H. Soulen
Pakistan’s Ambassador called at his initiative; one of the subjects he wished to discuss was Pakistan’s need for early delivery of the light bombers promised under the U.S.–Pakistan 1954 Military Aid Agreement. The Ambassador stated there had been an unfortunate delay in the delivery of those aircraft.
Mr. Rountree stated that there had been no delay, that the bombers are scheduled for 1960. He informed the Ambassador that the question of bombers for Pakistan was discussed by the Secretary with Prime Minister Noon, as well as with Selwyn Lloyd at the recent Ankara Baghdad Pact meeting.2 He told the Ambassador that as a result of Mr. Noon’s urgings for early delivery the Department was reviewing the entire problem.
Prince Aly Khan pointed out that if bombers were budgeted for 1960, delivery would not occur until a year and a half later, further time would be required for crew training, etc., and that the military balance in South Asia had already been upset by India’s acquisition of Canberra bombers. The Ambassador stated there was real anxiety in Karachi over that state of affairs. Mr. Rountree reiterated that the problem was being actively considered and he hoped to have something more definite to pass on to the Ambassador in the near future.3
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622/3–758. Secret. Drafted by Soulen on March 10.↩
- See Document 294.↩
- In telegram 1053 from USUN, March 20, Ambassador Lodge reported that Aly Khan called on him and again raised the matter of the 20 bombers for Pakistan. “It was his personal opinion,” Lodge stated, “if U.S. could make public statement U.S. will come to Pakistan’s aid if attacked, it might well eliminate present clamor for bombers which he said was brought about by fear of aggression from India because of India’s large Air Force.” (Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/3–2058)↩