133. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom0
6560. There follows for your information text of Prime Minister Macmillan’s message to President of June 7:
We have now had a very thorough examination of the practical possibilities for making a counter offer of fighters for India.
In our view there are two aspects of this matter. One is the question of what fighters the Indians will operate for the next two or three years, and the other is what engines they will use for their own future fighters—H.F. 24. We believe that the most important point for the Free World as a whole is to ensure that the Russians do not secure a position in the industrial and technological field in India by persuading the Indians to accept Russian engines for the H.F. 24. As you probably know, the alternative to this is to develop the Orpheus 12 engine. The cost of this development is expected to be about three million pounds and development of the engine could be kept in phase with development of the H.F. 24 itself. We believe that an agreement for the supply of the Orpheus 12 for the H.F. 24 could be quickly reached with the Indians and we would be prepared to press this on them if your government could renew the agreement to contribute three-quarters of the cost of this development of the engine. In this way I would hope that a joint Anglo-American offer could prevent the main danger from materializing.
The immediate problem of providing modern fighters to offset the acquisition by Pakistan of F-104’s is, I fear, more difficult. At the moment the English Electric Company’s production of Lightnings is planned on the basis of Royal Air Force needs for which indeed production is at present barely adequate. We have made every effort with the company but it is dear that they could not appreciably expand their production in time to help India, as well as to meet our own requirements. Now that countries in the Middle East and Far East have modern Soviet aircraft in service with their own forces, the Royal Air Force cannot afford to be behind and so we must have the Mark II Lightnings as soon as they come off the production line. As I understand it the only practical alternative to the Lightnings are F-104’s. I know that the Indians have said that they will not take these aircraft, but I would suggest that you could now put very strong pressure on the Indians to accept F-104’s pending the arrival of [Page 265] their own aircraft. After all, they are getting very large sums of money from you which they could not get from anyone else. Could you not represent to them that if they accept Russian offers Congress might resist your proposals for economic aid to India? I would have thought that this would be a very powerful argument.
I am sorry that we cannot do better about the Lightnings but I do seriously believe that the question of the engines is more important and that it should be possible to persuade the Indians to accept your F-104’s. I would hope that Duncan Sandys, who arrives in India about June 16, might be able to deploy the arguments with good effect. End Verbatim Text.
Copies other messages this series have been pouched.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 791.5622/6-962. Top Secret. Drafted by Cameron, cleared by Rewinkel and Bromley Smith, and approved by Grant.↩