119. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


I hope we won’t panic at MIG-21s for India. One can see Galbraith leading up to plea for F-104s on highly favorable terms.

In time I can see strong case for subsidized arms “sales” to Delhi, but question wisdom at this time:

It would raise hob with Paks who will see in it final confirmation of their suspicions we are shifting to a pro-Indian stance—true, we are but now is not the time to push Paks to wall;
At present Paks have air superiority so Indians are just catching up—we can resist Pak pleas for more 104s on these grounds; we can also tell Paks that if we give them more, Indians will just get more from Sovs;
MIGs for India will encourage Delhi to take strong line against Chinese, even more than 104s would;
I don’t think we’re in danger of setting a precedent whereby Indians will turn to Sovs for all arms supplies—Indians are too smart for this;
Indeed, I doubt that this transaction will lead to any shift in India’s increasingly pro-Western orientation; on the contrary it will make Indians more anxious to show us that it has not;
While it is true that Pak-Indian arms race siphons off benefits from US economic aid, this will be fact of life until Pak-Indian differences resolved.

In sum, while protesting vigorously for effect, I don’t think we should break our backs to forestall MIG purchase.

Bob K.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Meetings and Memoranda Series, Staff Memoranda, Robert Komer, 5/62. Secret.