314. Letter From the Ambassador in Pakistan (Langley) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern, South Asian, and African Affairs (Rountree)1

Dear Bill: Your letter of June 21 with its word of caution greatly interests me.2 As a one-shot ambassador, I realize there is a lot I still don’t know about this business, though nearly a year in Karachi has taught me much.

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The expression you use is that some of you in the Department “are a bit nervous lest I may be becoming so closely involved as an intermediary in some of the internal political manouvering in Pakistan that I might be exposing myself to danger of attack.”

[1 paragraph (6½ lines of source text) not declassified]

I have been very careful not to become an intermediary between Pak leaders. I have respected the confidences of each of the leaders. It is true that some of them have on occasion urged me to take certain positions with others, and even in this I have chosen to cleave to United States policy positions or to follow specific instructions from the Department, as the case may be. Actually, perhaps because of my newspaper training, I seek and get a lot of information, but I very, very seldom give advice or make suggestions except in accord with general policy or specific instructions.

Recently, just before I left for Nathiagali I informed the Department in a hastily written last minute telegram that Suhrawardy [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] wished me to indicate to Mirza that he, Suhrawardy, would support Mirza for the Presidency.3 On thinking this over I decided not to make such an approach, and have not done so.

One precaution I have taken is to ask the President not to include my visits to his office in the daily list of callers which are conventionally printed in the Pakistan papers each day. Mirza has been complying with this request for some time now. It helps to avoid speculation.

Access to leaders in this country is so easy compared to the situation in many other capitals that formality is difficult to maintain. However, I have avoided carrying my associations with Pakistan leaders to the point of personal intimacy, purposely, partly because of knowledge of the difficulties into which this has got some Americans here in the past, including some personnel here since I came to Karachi.

I assure you I shall be doubly careful as a result of your letter.4

Sincerely yours,

James M. Langley
  1. Source: Department of State, SOA Files: Lot 62 D 43, Pakistan—1958. Secret; Official–Informal.
  2. Not found.
  3. Reference is to telegram 3033 from Karachi, May 31. (Department of State, Central Files, 790D.00/5–3158)
  4. Rountree replied in a letter of July 17, thanking Langley for his letter and concluding: “Your present letter makes it clear that you have been well aware of the proclivity of Pakistani politicians to attempt to involve our representatives, and have been fending them off with skill.” (Ibid., SOA Files: Lot 62 D 43, Pakistan—1958)