304. Memorandum of a Conversation, Department of State, Washington, March 27, 19581


  • The Light Bomber Squadron and US Military Aid to Pakistan


  • Mr. Mohammed Ali, Ambassador of Pakistan
  • Mr. M. S. Shaikh, Counselor, Pakistan Embassy
  • NEA—William M. Rountree
  • SOAGarrett H. Soulen
[Page 632]

The Pakistan Ambassador called at his initiative. Future US Military Aid to Pakistan and the question of a light bomber squadron were among several subjects discussed.

The Ambassador, under instructions, asked for clarification of US intentions regarding the supply of a light bomber squadron to Pakistan under the 1954 agreement and of military aid to Pakistan after 1959. In this connection, he drew Mr. Rountree’s attention to a report in the press (“Times of India”) of an alleged statement by Secretary Dulles to India’s Vice President Radhakrishnan: “The US has supplied no bombers to Pakistan under its Military Aid Pact and there is no intention to supply any”.2 The Ambassador stated that General Truman (Chief of MAAG in Pakistan) in a discussion with Prime Minister Noon had intimated that the Military Aid program was to end in 1959; therefore, the bomber squadron was not likely to be delivered. From that discussion the Prime Minister had inferred that the Military Aid program would come to an abrupt halt in 1959 and he wished to ascertain US intentions.

In response, Mr. Rountree stated that the alleged statement published in the “Times of India” had been brought to the Department’s attention by Reuters’ Washington office and that Reuters had been told: “The substance of future US programs to other countries, or US intentions in that regard, were not discussed by the Secretary”. Mr. Rountree pointed out that we did not discuss bilateral military aid agreements with third countries. In regard to General Truman’s remarks, Mr. Rountree said that he could not comment because he did not know what actually had been said. However, he wished to reiterate the intent of the USG to program the light bomber squadron for Pakistan which, as understood by both the GOP and the USG, was not to occur prior to fiscal year 1960. In answer to a query, Mr. Rountree stated that the anticipated completion of deliveries of military hardware in 1959, fulfilling our 1954 commitment with the exception of the light bomber squadron, would not mean a cessation of US military aid to Pakistan. In answer to further queries, Mr. Rountree informed the Ambassador that our 1954 military aid agreement with Pakistan had no parallel in any other NEA country. Not even in Turkey had we made a long range commitment such as had been granted the Government of Pakistan in our 1954 commitment.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.00/3–2758. Confidential. Drafted by Soulen on March 28. See also infra
  2. Radhakrishnan was in the United States for an unofficial visit, March 18–19. Regarding his visit and Dulles’ alleged statement, see Documents 22 and 207.
  3. On April 11, Mohammed Ali again met with Rountree to discuss, among other matters, Pakistan’s interest in acquiring light bombers from the United States. (Memorandum of conversation by Soulen, April 14; Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5–MSP/4–1158)