191. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State 0
820. Re Department telegram 715,1 Embassy telegrams 804, 805.2 I met with President Ayub for almost two hours this morning in Rawalpindi. Sneider accompanied me. Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali and Foreign Secretary Dehlavi also present.
Ayub had just completed long consultation with his advisers and said he was putting finishing touches on his reply to President Kennedy’s October 28 letter.3 Ambassador Aziz Ahmed would deliver reply. He opened conversation by giving me gist of letter and reasoning behind GOP position. He said GOP was sad that Sino-Indian border dispute had erupted into open war, but GOP unable on basis of incomplete information available to it assess who initiated attack. Implied some responsibility rested with India. In any event GOP considers conflict limited war. Conflict limited in terms ChiCom immediate tactical objectives, equipment employed and number of men involved. Furthermore, if ChiComs had more than limited objectives, offensive would have been launched in May rather than in October when weather bad and frost already in area throughout day. ChiCom attack also made in mountainous area where large number troops cannot be employed; if ChiComs wished seriously invade India now they would have come through easier traditional route via Burma, which about ripe anyway for communist takeover. Consequently, defense preparations in India and arms aid to it in his judgment far exceed limited current requirements of actual military situation in areas where fighting now taking place. At later point, Ayub reverted to above theme and said as military man he unable understand Indian defeats except as tactical misjudgment of incompetent leadership, since he knew from personal experience good fighting quality Indian forces and satisfactory arms available to them.
Ayub then blamed Nehru for development of crisis saying that Nehru’s policies had always been mistaken. Four pillars of Indian foreign policy—neutralism, isolation Pakistan, opposition western objectives, and anti-Americanism—now demonstrated to be complete mistake. Nevertheless, India still maintains 80 percent of its armed forces on Pakistan borders with remainder 10 days away; almost all Indian Navy in [Page 370] Bombay in threatening posture to Pakistan. Furthermore, Ayub said while one Indian infantry division and one brigade withdrawn from Pakistan border, Pakistan intelligence has reported that one armored division and one armored brigade moving to points close to Pakistan borders.
Ayub said under these circumstances Pakistanis had right to maintain own self-respect in own self-defense. Objective of GOP foreign policy he stressed several times was to free both India and Pakistan from anxiety about each other through settlement of differences including Kashmir. While Pakistan was not going to take advantage of Indian situation, only common sense for it to take precautions necessary for self- defense.
Ayub then discussed recent US actions in response Sino-Indian border situation. He said we have of course right to provide India with arms. However, he feels he has right to complain on the failure to consult with him in advance as promised by President Kennedy. Situation which has arisen is exactly that envisaged in understanding as calling for advance consultation before arms provided. He said he was grateful for assurances of the President on use of US arms only against ChiComs but he would not have asked for such assurances since India not to be trusted. Ayub then complained with obvious personal hurt regarding our pressures on him to make gesture to India. He said patience of Pakistani people who friends of US not beyond limit and they interpreted request for gesture as demonstration US not sympathetic with, nor understanding of Pakistan position and essential interests. This clear in Pakistani press. Although GOP trying quiet hostile press reaction, it difficult resist people’s just feelings. Pakistan has free press, learned from US example, and cannot be controlled. Instead of pressuring Pakistan, Ayub urged that we encourage India establish friendly relations with its neighbors and by conciliatory moves which are long overdue court peace with Pakistan. Pakistan was prepared at any time to establish friendly relations with India. Later in discussion, when I pressed him, Ayub was more specific and said that he was prepared to more than reciprocate any change of heart on India’s part but that was as far as Pakistan would go since it the aggressed one, oppressed, aggrieved party and since India was a bigger nation. Said GOP was replying at once to Nehru’s circular appeal to heads of other governments for sympathy. He cited non-personal nature of this appeal as another example of Nehru’s ineptitude and unwillingness to take initiative on specific overtures designed to meet India’s problem here. Ayub said GOP would also release official statement [Page 371] on Pakistan position to press this afternoon (Embtel 819).4 Ayub concluded his presentation by reiterating Pakistan’s right of self-defense, which he felt it would not be helpful for us to deny. (Comment: While Ayub did not make it explicit during conversation, I believe his emphasis on right of self-defense reaction to request for withdrawal Pakistan forces from Indian border.)
In response I sought convince Ayub of seriousness ChiCom threat to all subcontinent including Pakistan, necessity for US action support resistance ChiCom aggression, and reality of Indian resolve to repel Chinese aggression and to improve relationship with Pakistan. Drawing on material provided in Deptel 715 and Delhi’s 1595,5 and using specially prepared map, I reviewed exact nature ChiCom attacks. I pointed out serious dangers involved if ChiComs used NEFA footholds as springboard for eventual broader attack on Assam plain, isolating it from rest of India. I also drew Ayub into discussion ChiCom and Soviet objectives, based on material supplied reference telegram, and pointed to possibility of Chinese demand for territorial concessions in Ladakh in return for withdrawal from points taken in NEFA. I pointed to indications that Soviets seem to be hesitantly coming down on ChiCom side against India, and that signs pointed to United Communist Front against subcontinent. Ayub commented that ChiComs particularly interested in Ladakh area to protect road from Sinkiang to Tibet whose construction, he said, Nehru had tacitly agreed to and then two years later had changed his mind.
Following this, I urged Ayub to forego reproaching Nehru for his past mistakes which he now recognizes and to take advantage of Nehru’s awakening to realities Sino-Soviet threat. I stressed Pakistan and India should now work together to put out larger fire which threatens them both before getting down to settle own regional differences which not small, but not of same order of urgency as a conflagration. I expressed hope GOP would show under these circumstances sympathetic attitude towards India’s difficulties which certain to evoke warm Indian response. I implied it would be sportsmanlike to extend hand of friendship to neighbor who was in trouble, letting by-gones be by-gones for a testing period. I said last thought which would occur to us would be a compromise of Pak security interests, and nothing in our policy even remotely suggested this.[Page 372]
Ayub responded by agreeing ChiCom threat matter of great concern of Pakistan and US. He expressed doubt Nehru yet convinced since he still maintained bulk of armed forces on Pak borders and did not seem disposed make any real move to settle Pak-Indian differences.
I then discussed with Ayub our military aid program to India. I disclaimed any US intention withhold particulars and mentioned that I had hoped to consult with him sooner at Hunza on this program. I said we intended to maintain strong controls to assure use US arms against ChiComs and to supply only material demonstrably needed in those combat theaters. When Ayub asked why Aziz Ahmed had been unable obtain details of these procedures, I said that I would provide them [to] Dehlavi. I also briefed Ayub on details of military equipment supplied to India and said we would keep GOP currently informed in future. Ayub commented that he did not think Indians wanted any but defensive arms to maintain present mountain positions, and then later remarked he did not understand urgent need since Indians had most of weapons supplied them as well as manufacturing facilities for automatic weapons. Next, I formally reiterated to Ayub our past assurances of our assistance in event aggression against Pakistan from India as set forth reference telegram and handed him aide-memoire to that effect.6 After some discussion, participated in by Dehlavi, of distinctions between first person diplomatic note, note verbale, and aide-memoire, which I dismissed as technical, Ayub expressed appreciation for these assurances and said that if made public by us they would have very healthy and settling effect in Pakistan. I agreed to transmit this request to Department.7
Ayub and I then engaged in further conversation during which I particularly stressed changing Indian attitudes as evidenced by Ghosh paper, Menon demotion from Defense Minister, Times of India editorial, etc, and desirability of GOP not pressuring India now on Kashmir but waiting for more appropriate negotiating climate after emergency. I [Page 373] pointed out we felt GOI would be more forthcoming in future if GOP now sympathetic. Ayub and Mohammad Ali expressed continued suspicion Indian motives, stating conviction that Menon position and influence with Nehru not actually weakened and that his change of portfolios was a mere tactical maneuver engineered by Nehru and Menon so that Menon could escape some of blame for current reverses. I took issue with this interpretation. Ayub restated Pak view that Indians remain hostile to Pakistan and must demonstrate changed attitude first before Paks make reciprocal gesture. Ayub also reverted to complaints that US pressuring Pakistan rather than India. In this connection he asked why Paks as friends of US always expected to make practically all the concessions to unfriendly neighbors who are not allies of US; he referred to the difficult concessions to Afghanistan which the US Government was pressuring him to make, and now again he is asked to make unilateral concessions to India involving, in his view, a certain indifference to essential Pakistani national and security interests. He thought US should instead be pressuring India to make tangible conciliatory gesture to Pakistan if effective effort against ChiComs and disengagement Pak-Indian forces (which he agreed to be desirable) were sought. GOP could not be expected allow its security be jeopardized or to bow to Nehru, who was enemy of India’s real interests, as well as Pakistan’s. In conclusion Ayub agreed again to reciprocate more equally any change of heart on India’s part, stating he would fail in his duty to country if he did not reciprocate since Pakistan’s basic aim is to establish conditions where both countries are free from anxiety and fear of the other.
Comment: My fuller comments will follow on further reflection. I had impression throughout our discussion, Ayub was restrained and calm although inwardly angered and upset. I had no chance to change his fundamental position, since decision already made and letter written. However, I believe his view of our action, motivations and attitude was somewhat better at end of session than at beginning. At no point did he threaten change of policy towards US or towards alliances but clearly he felt that Pakistan, and he personally, as friends of US had been let down by US, particularly through failure to consult with him in advance on military aid to India and through our pressures on Pakistan alone to make first gesture towards India.
Although he carefully refrained from explicitly reiterating his October 26 assurance to me about not creating trouble for India at this time, he clearly stated that it would not be common sense for Pakistan to precipitate military action against India, and of course Pakistan did not have any intention of doing so.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 691.93/11-562. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Repeated to New Delhi.↩
- Telegram 715 to Karachi, November 3, provided general guidelines for McConaughy’s November 5 meeting with Ayub. (Ibid., 790D.11/11-162)↩
- In telegrams 804 and 805, both dated November 2, McConaughy requested guidance for his impending meeting with Ayub. (Ibid., 690D.91/11-262 and 791.56/11-262, respectively)↩
- See Document 186.↩
- Telegram 819 from Karachi, November 5, transmitted the text of the statement issued by Ayub expressing hope that India and China would resolve their differences and confidence that the scope of the conflict would be limited. (Department of State, Central Files, 691.93/11-562)↩
- In telegram 1595 from New Delhi, November 4, Galbraith volunteered lines of argument to be used by McConaughy in his meeting with Ayub. (Ibid., 691.93/11-462)↩
- The assurance provided in the aide-memoire reads as follows: “The Government of the United States of America reaffirms its previous assurances to the Government of Pakistan that it will come to Pakistan’s assistance in the event of aggression from India against Pakistan.” The text of the aide-memoire was transmitted to the Department as enclosure to airgram A-883 from Karachi, February 23, 1963; Washington National Records Center, RG 84, Karachi Embassy Files: FRC 67 F 74, 320 Pak/US Assurances.↩
- On November 17, the Department of State issued a press release that noted the United States had assured Pakistan that if U.S. assistance to India were “misused and directed against another in aggression, the United States would undertake immediately, in accordance with constitutional authority, appropriate action both within and without the United Nations to thwart such aggression.” (Department of State Bulletin, December 3, 1962, pp. 837-838) On November 19, McConaughy wrote to Ayub and enclosed a copy of the November 17 press release. A copy of McConaughy’s letter was transmitted to the Department as enclosure 1 to airgram A-613 from Karachi, December 5. (Washington National Records Center, RG 84, Karachi Embassy Files: FRC 67 F 74, 320 Pak/US Assurances)↩