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

2874. In conformity with instructions contained Department telegrams 28852 and 28943 I presented President’s letters to President Mirza and Prime Minister Noon simultaneously, in Mirza’s office at 11:15 a.m. May 16. After passing each his letter I suggested that I read that to the President aloud because Noon’s nearsightedness handicap which Mirza also realizes and Mirza instantly agreed.

After reading letter I took up in detail all applicable points in talking paper,4 emphasizing those which I felt most assuring to Pakistan. Neither Mirza nor Noon raised questions as to Indian negotiation in good faith, but in discussion following my presentation I did point out my belief that chances of settlement of issues were best while Nehru still at helm of Indian Government. I also commented upon strong statements Nehru had made past week: (1) against Communism, (2) defense Urdu language, and (3) defense Muslim minorities in India.

President Mirza interrupted my presentation of working paper points to recall that when he was Secretary of Defense and US military assistance commitments were being made they were predicated upon Pakistan’s participation in mutual defense BP area against common enemy, the Communist area. He spoke of planning to this end in GOP Ministry of Defense, especially in relation to the problem of shuttling Pakistan forces into breach if Russians attempted attack through Iran. He said he had asked certain questions then as to eventualities on part of US in such event but had not received responsive answers while he was still in Defense office.

This was before I had made points in paper covered in paragraph 9.

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In subsequent discussion Mirza and Noon indicated any attempt to bilaterally limit arms would mean revelation status Pakistan forces. Noon said Pakistanis would prefer nonaggression agreement with India.

Both appeared to take letter very seriously, and at point in discussion of their reactions where Mirza and I sought to stress to Noon necessity of getting agreement first upon negotiation procedural matters, and they thought me still in doubt as to what their decision would be both exclaimed together: “We accept the President’s suggestion.”

Noon had previously started “dictating” to me an answer I should transmit to President Eisenhower. He said in substance the following, to which Mirza did not dissent:

“The President and Prime Minister welcome Mr. Eisenhower’s suggestion and are most grateful to him for it. If by negotiation, settlement of Pakistan-Indian issues can be attained, the resulting unity will be an asset to the democratic world in building up the anti-Communist bloc. There would then be no need for Pakistan or India to worry about USSR vetoes.

“We think the moment of this proposal is most fortuitous. We consider the Kashmir issue the most important, and if it can be settled the solution to the Indus waters problem will fall naturally into place.

“Because these negotiations will be secret we will still have to take the Kashmir issue back to the Security Council, or the Pakistani people will be on our necks this election year. We shall have to report the Indus waters problem to the UN too. This will put pressure upon India to proceed with negotiations.”

The Prime Minister spoke of special representative mentioned in President’s letter. Said he must not be Jew. (Few days ago in getting his approval of five-man committee including two Americans for purpose of picking Eisenhower Fellow, Noon vetoed suggestion of one American because he Catholic, saying there would be Muslim resentment.)

I spoke at some length about first problem being working out agreed procedures. Noon indicated no desire to personally go abroad, indicating he did not even wish to go to next UN meeting, to which Mirza replied: “Maybe you should go for about a week.” The President suggested that if any meetings were held in Karachi they could be conducted in library at my residence, a room with which he has long been familiar. I said that in my judgment any special representative or negotiator for the US should be someone not sufficiently well-known to have his presence in either Delhi or Karachi arouse comment. Mirza indicated meetings in either Karachi or Delhi probably all right, but Noon and Mirza seemed to think that direct consultations between Prime Ministers probably fruitless.

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(Comment: Reason for seeing both together was to prevent suspicion of playing favorites and to have Mirza’s help in keeping Noon quiet. Noon left his letter with Mirza to lock up in latter’s safe. We agreed that for now no others in Pakistan Government should know. I did not attempt to give any advice on taking Kashmir and waters issues to UN at this meeting, feeling that can better be followed up subsequently if Department thinks best. Noon thought this telegram sufficient acknowledgment to President but I suggested Mirza should formally reply, but without discussion contents, which he agreed courteous thing. Both wished to know what I reported in these circumstances, and I shall show them abbreviated copy this telegram. Noon’s reaction to going to next UN meeting indicates fight has gone out of him on Kashmir issue, possibly, and also his primary concern with domestic election year problems and too great burden, for him, of office he holds.)

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/5–1658. Secret; Priority; Presidential Handling. Repeated to New Delhi and London.
  2. In telegram 2885, May 14, also sent to New Delhi as telegram 2661, the Department instructed the two Embassies to present the President’s letter’s to Nehru and Mirza and to change the dates on the letters from May 2 to May 14. The telegram also enclosed the text of the letter from Eisenhower to Noon. (Ibid., 690D.91/5–1458)
  3. In telegram 2894, May 15, also sent to New Delhi, the Department instructed the two Embassies to: “insert word ‘help’ before word ‘bring’ in first sentence of last paragraph. Thus last phrase this sentence will read: ‘to help bring about its solution.’” (Ibid., 711.11–EI/5–1558)
  4. Reference is to Tab B to Document 26.