391. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State1
25. Following from Murree July 4, 11 am. For Hart. Reference: Department telegram 12,2 which delayed in relay to Murree. As reported in my recent messages, GOP leaders and public feel Pakistan exposed to new dangers as result U–2 incident, and attach even greater importance than heretofore to US recognition security problems of its ally. While President and other officials highly appreciative US decision provide limited number F–104’s and are not pressing for immediate delivery additional aircraft, they nevertheless extremely anxious obtain assurance total of 30 F–104’s will be delivered as soon as they can be absorbed. I have no doubt that at this critical juncture US decisions with respect military aid Pakistan, and particularly decision re F–104’s will have material effect on attitude GOP leaders toward effective and close cooperation with US in mutual security matters. I cannot say with certainty that our failure provide additional F–104’s would result in prompt alteration GOP policy to detriment cooperation with US. However, I can say decision to provide additional planes would do much to strengthen their determination not to weaken as result recent developments. It would enhance their confidence in determination of US to stand behind Pakistan, a confidence badly in need of strengthening.
On the other hand, if additional 18 F–104’s not to be additive to MAP balance our program would be seriously upset and important items for Pakistani Army would be displaced. I believe GOP would agree that would not be desirable, as army remains priority one in aid program. You will recall when original Asghar Khan study re F–104’s received last August, MAAG Chief asked Secretary Ministry Defense importance satisfaction this requirement in relation other demands. Secretary Defense said F–104’s should not alter program balance. I believe attitude GOP leaders remains fundamentally same.[Page 818]
I earnestly hope it will be possible earmark additional 18 planes for Pakistan. Present general situation in Asia, which emphasizes extreme importance to US of maintaining firm attitude toward Pakistan, renders it vital to our security interest that we do everything possible retain GOP confidence in or determination to meet their security needs. In my judgment it would be a mistake, however, to provide these planes if it meant substantial disruption of our other program in military fields. I therefore strongly recommend that planes be earmarked for Pakistan and that means be found for financing them at least for most part over and above carefully balanced program now scheduled by MAAG.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622/7–560. Secret; Niact.↩
- Telegram 12, July 2, captioned “for Ambassador from Hart,” informed the Ambassador that the Department of Defense might not be able to earmark 18 additional F–104s for Pakistan. The telegram requested Rountree’s assessment whether earmarking and delivering the additional aircraft was vital to maintaining good relations with Pakistan. (Ibid., 790D.5622/7–260)↩