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

1832. In meeting last evening President Ayub said he wished discuss Afghanistan. His evaluation was that, following abortive Laskar intrusion last September, Daud had been under increasing pressure in Afghanistan including members of Royal Family who were becoming more concerned by his pro-Soviet policies. USSR saw in Daud willing tool for their purposes and were endeavoring support him. Thus they were willing to make public statements on Pushtunistan even though this set back their objectives to create better position for themselves in Pakistan. It could be expected that Soviets would continue give strong support to Daud, including economic and military assistance. Daud’s tactics seemed focused in two primary directions. First, to obtain Soviet support to him personally and to his efforts to create a situation in tribal regions of Pakistan which would permit Afghans to take matter to UN in hope of building up sympathy for their position. Secondly, to work on the Americans in order to achieve continuation of American assistance to Afghanistan, but more importantly to bring Americans to press Pakistanis not to employ force in maintenance of internal security on Pakistan side of Durand Line.

President said he had had several reports of conversations which RGA had had with American officials in which they complained about use of American arms by GOP in tribal region. He had been surprised that there had been little indication that response to Afghan officials had included strong reaffirmation of US position on Durand Line, and that we had not pointed out to Afghans that Pakistanis had perfect right to take whatever measures were appropriate to preserve their internal security. Afghan demarches seem to have been based on assumption that Afghans had some right to intrude in Pakistani territory. It seemed to him that American officials had at times equated Afghan intrusions into Pakistan with Pakistani use of American arms for internal security purposes.

He said his concern had grown as result demarches which I had made to Bhutto (Embtel 1533)1 and others and comments which Ambassador Harriman had made to him concerning use of American equipment in tribal regions. He said he was keeping these representations secret since if Pakistan press and public should come to know that US [Page 35]had reservations about employment by GOP for internal security purposes of military equipment supplied under MAP, resentment would be tremendous and it would have an extremely adverse effect on Pakistani-American relations. He said American arms were provided to Pakistan for several specific reasons set forth in the agreement, principal one being for use in maintaining internal security. Pakistan forces were equipped with American arms and arms could not be changed depending upon purpose for, or area in, which they were to be employed. It so happened that forces most likely to come in contact with Laskar intrusion were not equipped by MAP but from GOP resources. Also, limited air bombings that had been carried out included only one American plane which had been used along with several old British planes. However, the region in question was extremely remote and it would be difficult and he thought unwise for Pakistanis to deploy forces in these remote regions in Pakistan when need for this now obviated by air reconnaissance and, if need be, action from the air.

President emphasized he felt US should be more frank with Afghans in citing right of Pakistan self-defense in connection with any intrusions across border. He said Afghans were pouring money and weapons into tribal area. Notorious Afghan agent Bacha Gul had been moving about widely in Bajaur region distributing largesse and arms, and endeavoring to foment revolt. Afghans should not be led to believe that US considered this to be normal and proper.

I told President that we of course recognized Durand Line as border and we also recognized that Pakistan had a right to defend itself and to preserve internal security. One of purposes of our military aid program was to permit GOP to preserve its integrity and stability. Nevertheless, we had been concerned about employment of American arms in this sensitive region and I had, under instructions from the Department, asked Pakistanis to endeavor to carry out their responsibilities without employing American aid weapons, and to act in this sensitive region with restraint. I had expressed this hope particularly in connection with air operations. President said Pakistanis did not want to start any trouble that could be avoided. Pakistan would have to defend itself, however, if attacked, and it could defend itself only with weapons in hands of its military personnel. We could be certain that they would only be employed for purposes specified in our agreement, and he hoped that situation would not arise.

Rountree
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/4-2061. Secret. Repeated to Kabul and Peshawar.
  2. See footnote 4, Document 9.