11. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State0

1622. Reference immediately preceding telegram,1 following report of Ambassador Harriman’s conversations with President Ayub:

At outset meeting and in accordance understanding with Ambassador Harriman, I delivered original of President Kennedy’s letter March 112 and text message March 18.3 These were read by Ayub and provided excellent background for discussions. Harriman explained purposes visit, emphasizing U.S. interest in Pakistan and our appreciation of Pakistan as ally. He said President Kennedy desired share with Ayub views on matters of common interest, and was looking forward to Ayub’s visit in November. Harriman spoke at some length on general aspects U.S. policy and atmosphere in Washington.

Ayub expressed sincere appreciation for letters and warmly welcomed Harriman. He said he had been tremendously impressed by President Kennedy and by energy of present administration, which he thought would take initiative in world affairs consistent with U.S. leadership role. He said that, speaking frankly, “people” had felt that speeches made in course U.S. election campaign had indicated there would be change in American attitudes toward Pakistan and other allies [Page 27]to their detriment, but he had never felt so himself. He knew U.S. needed Pakistan as Pakistan needed U.S. He had felt for some time that U.S. was losing its leadership; that previous administration lacked power of quick decision. He thought this situation would be greatly improved under new leadership. He said his government was trying to improve relations with other countries and had taken some steps to “normalize” Pakistan’s relations with China and USSR. Nevertheless, focal point of Pakistan’s policy continued to be friendship with U.S. and we could count on Pakistan as true friend and ally. He had no doubt as to intentions of Communist bloc to achieve world domination, and only way of preventing this was for free world to stand together.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to South Asia.]

Afghanistan: Harriman told Ayub of his talk in Rome with Daud, and Pak-Afghan relations discussed generally. Ayub reiterated his desire have good relations with Afghanistan, but expressed great annoyance with Afghan activities and fact country seemed becoming more under influence Soviet Union. He reviewed his talks with Naim January 1960 along lines previously reported, and described Bajaur operations of last September. He said this had resulted in trouble between Afghan tribes and RGA and said RGA had employed force, including Soviet supplied aircraft, against dissident tribal elements. He had hoped Afghans had learned lesson as result crushing defeat inflicted by Pakistan tribes upon intruders. However, current intelligence reports indicated substantial military build-up in Afghan territory across from Bajaur. He thought between five and eight brigades were in position. Afghan agents extremely active in Pakistan tribal area endeavoring foment revolt. Harriman mentioned Afghan complaint that Pakistanis using US military equipment, including planes for bombing in tribal region. He said while we recognized GOP right to maintain internal security, he concerned that use of US equipment had become issue in Afghanistan.

We were making efforts to avoid having Afghan turn more to Soviets and it was our hope that current troubles would be handled with restraint. Ayub responded that he sure Pakistan had enough equipment of its own to deal with Afghanistan intrusions into Pakistan. Although he did not say that American aircraft would not be used in future, he described reconnaissance operation and small-scale bombing of two houses and said those had been grossly exaggerated by Afghanistan. He said we could be certain Pakistan would behave in responsible manner.

In course this talk President said he understood why US extending aid to Afghan and stated our common hope was that Afghanistan would be saved from Soviet takeover. He was not optimistic as to prospects of success so long as Daud in control. Foreign Minister commented he thought US should continue its aid programs in Afghanistan and continue try talk sense into Afghan heads.

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India and Nehru: Ayub told Harriman of his talks with Nehru in London. He had told Nehru of his earnest wish to come to agreement on water problems between India and East Pakistan arising from desire each country build dams on Ganges River which might affect the other. He had suggested that commission headed by Pakistani Minister go to India to negotiate with similar Indian commission. Nehru had been receptive to this idea and had asked Ayub write him letter setting forth his plan. Ayub encouraged to believe this problem might be worked out satisfactorily and had told Nehru so. He had gone on to say he wanted to work out all problems with India, particularly Kashmir. He had told Nehru solution to Kashmir problem would bring Indo-Pakistan relations to point where both governments could effect substantial savings in their defense budgets, and could concentrate upon defense matters affecting them both. Ayub said, however, that while he was talking about Kashmir Nehru assumed his “far away attitude” and did not respond.

Ayub set forth at length his views on importance of solution to Kashmir problem and his belief that US should do more to bring Nehru around to negotiation. He was concerned that if problem not settled while Nehru alive it would be extremely difficult to settle it later. This issue poisoned relations between two countries and made it impossible for them to make progress as otherwise would be the case.

In course discussion of India, Ayub again expressed fear that India would disintegrate in years to come and that portions at least would become Communist. Nehru and Congress Party were now cohesive force, but with departure of present leadership stresses and strains within country would greatly intensify under Communist pressure. He understood concept of US aid to India and recognized this in interest not only of US but of Pakistan and rest of free world. He felt objective of American aid would be greatly advanced and that future prospect of India would be improved if Kashmir problem worked out so that India and Pakistan could cooperate rather than live as enemies.

Communist China and border negotiations: Ayub and Harriman in course private talk discussed China and Chinese representation issue, in connection with which I understand Harriman will personally report. Harriman told me that during this talk question Pakistani willingness to negotiate with Chinese on border arose, and Ayub had followed line generally set forth Embtel 1483.4 He had emphasized that negotiations based upon GOP desire to avoid trouble with China and not any desire to embarrass India. He had also recognized possibility of arrangement [Page 29]between Moscow and Peking in which Moscow giving impression of being sympathetic to India vis-a-vis China and Chinese giving impression sympathy with Pakistan vis-a-vis India. He had said he would not fall in that trap. This matter discussed further in presence of Foreign Minister and myself. In aside to me Foreign Minister commented that while original intention had been to confine negotiations to Hunza border, more recently it had been decided it would not be practical to do this. Thus GOP thinking of discussing with Chinese arrangement covering entire Sinkiang border from Afghanistan to a projection of cease-fire line. Arrangements would be entirely on de facto basis and would provide an understanding as to point beyond which Chinese military would not go in direction of Pakistani territory, and point beyond which Pakistani military would not go in direction Sinkiang, leaving aside legal question as to where border in fact exists. I asked whether he thought placing discussion on this basis would render Indians any less opposed and he replied that he did not know. He commented that at time of Nehru’s visit last September GOP intention negotiate with China was discussed and each side showed other its maps. At that time Nehru had not seemed unduly disturbed over prospect of talks between China and Pakistan. (I might comment that this discussion left me confused as to what GOP now has in mind. I hope to obtain some clarification in near future.)

Collective security and neutrals: Harriman explained to Ayub intention of US to continue strongly to support collective security. Secretary Rusk’s plan attend CENTO and SEATO meetings was evidence of this. We valued our allies and intend continue work with them in spirit of alliances. Nevertheless, we considered it important to US and to free world generally that neutral nations be supported and helped, and it was intention of administration to do this. He pointed out that most so-called neutral countries were not in fact neutral in terms of their determination to preserve independence and to avoid being taken over by Communists. In order to do this they required assistance and we felt US, along with other western countries, must earnestly support them. President Ayub did not dissent from this philosophy and indeed seemed to understand and agree with it. His main point was that while helping neutrals US should maintain distinction between them and allies and pursue policies which would make it possible for nations to remain committed, undertaking risks which alliances entail. He spoke of importance of US having strong and effective atomic deterrent and mobile power, and also of having throughout world and particularly in Europe and Asia friendly armies equipped to undertake military action which might become necessary under concept of collective security. Without these friendly forces US could never hope to have enough military resources to [Page 30]prevent Communist expansion. He reviewed in this connection substance of his letter contained in Embassy despatch 700, March 6.5

[Here follows discussion on collective security and developments in Africa, Europe, and the Near East.]

Internal: Discussion embraced Pakistan development program and Ayub expressed appreciation of US assistance without which Pakistan could do little. He identified major long-term problems as being rate of population growth and loss of agricultural land due to water logging and salinization. Flight to Rawalpindi provided opportunity observe at first-hand vastness of problem. Ayub said he had not yet seen Shoaib following latter’s return Washington, but he knew generally of Shoaib’s optimism as result talks with American officials. Harriman assured Ayub continued interest economic development and expressed particular interest in problem of lost cultivatable land.

Ayub mentioned briefly his desire hold down military expenditures and fact studies being made as to how this can be done without reducing fighting strength.

In discussing recent demonstrations in Pakistan cities, Ayub said trouble was caused largely by Communist elements on campuses. He said government determined to take appropriate measures against agitators. Nevertheless, Pakistani public had been shocked by anti-Muslim riots in India and murder of Muslims which had caused great resentment. He personally had felt that Indian Government had not taken appropriate measures to prevent riots or to bring them under control when started.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.90D/3-2261. Secret; Limit Distribution. Harriman visited Pakistan March 19-22 as part of a fact-finding trip for President Kennedy, which included stops in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.
  2. In telegram 1621 from Karachi, March 22, Rountree summarized Harriman’s “highly successful” visit to Pakistan. Harriman met with Ayub for a total of 5-1/2 hours on March 20, beginning with a meeting at 11:30 a.m. and concluding in the evening in Rawalpindi, following a trip together from Karachi on Ayub’s plane. (Ibid.) Telegram 1622 begins with a report on the 11:30 meeting, but is apparently a composite report of the discussions throughout the day.
  3. See Document 10.
  4. Telegram 1567 to Karachi, March 18, transmitted a message from Kennedy to Ayub to be delivered by Harriman when he arrived. The message explained Harriman’s fact-finding mission. The telegram also transmitted a similar message to Nehru, to be delivered by Harriman in New Delhi. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.90D/3-1861)
  5. In telegram 1483 from Karachi, March 3, Rountree reported on a conversation with Ayub on March 1 in which Ayub outlined what he said was the increasing threat to Pakistan’s security posed by China. The best prospect for avoiding difficulties with China lay, he felt, in reaching agreement with the Chinese on the demarcation of the disputed border between Pakistan and China. (Ibid., 396.01-VI/3-361)
  6. Despatch 700 from Karachi transmitted copies of an exchange of letters between Ayub and Leiutenant Colonel Heath Bottomly of the War College at the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. The correspondence dealt with the subject “Maxims for Limited War,” and was initiated by a letter from Bottomly to Ayub dated December 20, 1960. Ayub replied on March 3, 1961. (Ibid., 711.551/3-661)