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

2393. Within last two months GOP representatives have urged US officials in Ankara, Karachi and Washington to expedite delivery of squadron (twenty) light bombers covered as a commitment in 1954 US-Pak military agreement. These presently “programmed” for FY 1960. Actually completion of delivery would require additional 18–24 months after firm “programming”. Pakistanis also have been trying obtain bombers from UK.

Department reluctant request Defense speed up programming at this time because: 1) it might be interpreted as yielding Noon’s blackmailing speech of March 8 though presumably this danger would be lessened if announcement of advancement bomber programming made after lapse of certain amount of time and made to Mirza rather than Noon; 2) no US reassessment in relation Soviet bloc available to justify speed-up; 3) Paks have made it too abundantly clear bombers’ speed-up directed against India, not Commie bloc; and 4) under above circumstances GOI could be expected misunderstand USG’s motivation. On other hand we believe US-Pak relations have deteriorated recently due cumulative effect several recent US actions, such as: substantial aid to India, negative reaction re bomber question itself, costing study which GOP apparently assumes implies future reductions in US military aid, our criticism of Pak agricultural efforts, our attitude on Karnafuli and Ganges Kobadah, etc. Also contributing to Pak discontent have been: sale 73 Canberras (plus tanks etc) by UK to GOI, frustration over Kashmir, and belief that India planning “death trap” for Pakistan in 1961 through diversion Indus waters.

In order reach sound decision re immediate question of bomber speed-up, Department would appreciate: 1) Delhi’s comment re effect of such speed-up, if any, on US position in India. This necessarily must preclude discussions with GOI, who should theoretically not know terms of 1954 military agreement. 2) London’s opinion re possibility of UKG’s providing bombers as gift or on very easy credit terms. 3) Karachi’s comment (without discussions GOP) on: a) GOP’s reaction (including Mirza and Pak military) if USG should attempt encourage UKG supply bombers instead of US doing so under 1954 agreement, b) GOP’s reaction under above circumstances if USG [Page 628] would in addition endeavor substitute other US assistance in lieu of US bombers.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622/3–2158. Secret. Drafted by Bartlett and approved by Rountree. Also sent to New Delhi and London.
  2. In telegram 2375 from Karachi, March 25, the Embassy replied in part as follows: “We very much fear that concession to Pakistanis re bombers would constitute palliative which would only satisfy Pakistanis temporarily, give them the impression that we are accepting Indian threat as justification for US aid and simultaneously cause adverse reaction in Delhi out of proportion to temporary benefits gained Karachi. We say temporary because we assume USG will sooner or later, and we hope sooner, take positive steps arrest Pakistan-Indian arms race.”

    The Embassy added that it believed the most desirable course of action would be to pursue the proposed “package deal” approach in an effort to lesson tensions between Pakistan and India. (Ibid., 790D.5622/3–2558) Regarding the “package deal,” see Documents 7 ff.

    In telegram 2463 from New Delhi, March 27, the Embassy pointed out that U.S. acceleration of the delivery of bombers to Pakistan would cause a “highly unfavorable” Indian reaction. (Ibid., 790D.5622/3–2758)