217. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan0

866. Ambassador requested deliver following letter to Ayub from the President at earliest opportunity:

“Dear Mr. President:

“Governor Harriman has told me in great detail of his talks with you and some of your Ministers. I want to thank you for the cordiality with which you received him and the members of his mission to Pakistan and India last week and for the personal message you asked him to give me.

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“I am gratified that a start will be made on Kashmir, and I want to congratulate you on the statesmanlike approach you have taken. There is understanding here, of course, that a quick and easy solution to the problem is not possible. As you indicated to Governor Harriman, a settlement of the Kashmir issue will cause dissatisfaction among many in India and Pakistan. Yet you have shown yourself prepared to go ahead with determination to reach a settlement. The coming months will be a test of the patience, perseverance and good will of both countries. I welcome your decision most warmly. We stand prepared to give appropriate support and assistance in the search for a solution.

“Governor Harriman has told me of your appreciation of the threat that Chinese Communist aggression against India poses to Pakistan and, with the settlement of Kashmir, of the long term need of a combined plan for the defense of the subcontinent. Your discernment in this matter, going beyond the passions of the moment, is of the highest importance for your country and the whole free world. Governor Harriman has also told me that you understand the need for the United States and the United Kingdom to give military assistance to India to the extent necessary to make it possible for India to contain and defeat a renewed Chinese attack. This is the purpose for which we have been giving emergency military aid to India, and will guide us in consideration of longer-term programs. We shall keep in touch with you about further developments in our military aid to India.1

“This is a time not only of challenge but also of hope.

“With warm personal regards,

“Sincerely, John F. Kennedy

In accordance with usual practice, this letter is not for publication.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.11/12-562. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Cameron; cleared by Talbot, Harriman, Rusk, and with the White House; and approved by Cameron. Repeated to New Delhi.
  2. McConaughy delivered Kennedy’s letter to Ayub on December 8. At the same time, he informed Ayub that the United States had provided some 5,000 tons of emergency military aid to India. Ayub indicated that this shipment could be taken in stride, but he expressed strong concern about the implications of a major build-up of India’s military capability. McConaughy described Ayub as “open-minded and compromising” in his approach to the impending negotiations for a settlement to the Kashmir dispute, but concerned about the potential impact if the negotiations failed. (Telegram 1026 from Karachi, December 9; ibid., 791.56/12-962)