228. Letter From President Ayub to President Kennedy0

Dear Mr. President, Thank you for your message dated December 5, 1962,1 which was delivered to me by Ambassador McConaughy.

I appreciate very much that you and your Government have taken a firm and positive decision to take appropriate steps to support and assist towards a satisfactory settlement of the Kashmir dispute. As Governor Harriman must have told you, I for my part, found no difficulty in taking the decision which led to the issue of the Joint Communique. We are now getting ready to meet the Indian delegation on the 26th instant in Rawalpindi and sincerely hope that realistic discussions for the honourable and equitable settlement of the Kashmir question will take place. All this will depend on how sincere Mr. Nehru is for reaching such a settlement.

It is most unfortunate that he should have thought it fit to make his statement in the Lok Sabha, on the day following the publication of the Joint Communique, which came as a surprise to everybody and raised doubts in our minds. Governor Harriman must have been as surprised as Duncan Sandys was to read this statement by Mr. Nehru.

Governor Harriman must have conveyed to you my view that a just and equitable settlement of Kashmir is the key to disengagement between India and Pakistan. I told him that U.S. Government should put all possible pressure on India either by refusing to give aid until a settlement on Kashmir is reached, or deciding to give it in small and negligible quantities until India is obliged to see reason in this regard. I am saying this as otherwise the effectiveness of the American aid to India would be lost.

You must be aware, Mr. President, that there is considerable alarm in this country in regard to the arms aid that has been sent to India. Should the volume of aid to India increase without settlement with us, it would result in serious disadvantages to us and is bound to cause greater alarm and criticism in Pakistan.

In the course of my talk with Governor Harriman, Ambassador McConaughy, General Adams and other members of the Harriman Mission, I pointed out to General Adams that it seemed that what India was after was to build up two Armies, one of which would be concentrated [Page 442] against Pakistan and the other could also be deployed against us when they should want to do so. Surely this can’t be the objective of the American policy. In this connection, I arranged briefing by our General Staff to Governor Harriman’s team. It comes out very clearly that the present strength of the Indian Army is enough to contain the Chinese and contain us should they insist on pursuing this negative course.

I also told him that in the face of India’s performance during their engagement with the Chinese, Indian leadership in the field gave a very poor account of itself. I, therefore, advised that the Indians should be encouraged to reach a negotiated and a peaceful settlement with the Chinese and discouraged from launching on a military adventure to ‘evict’ the Chinese. Such an attempt might lead to a major conflict which it should be the duty of all of us to avert. It might easily spark off a conflagration, not only on this sub-continent but engulf the whole of Asia and even pose a threat to world peace. The Indians have shown that they have become trigger-happy and they should be firmly discouraged from any ideas they might have to launch an attack for the eviction of the Chinese. I believe the British share this view to some extent.

I also pointed out to General Adams that their target of equipping 15 or 16 divisions for action against the Chinese in those mountainous regions did not make any military sense, as more than a very small number of divisions cannot be deployed in those regions. It would, therefore, appear as if what the Indians were interested in was to continue to maintain the bulk of their forces, equipped with modern arms and in greater strength, against Pakistan. That is why I have been urging that until the Kashmir question is satisfactorily resolved, there can be no disengagement between India and Pakistan in order that we may both live free from anxiety from each other. It is, therefore, most important that your efforts should be directed to the early settlement of the Kashmir question and I would strongly urge that any further supply of arms to India is made contingent on this settlement. I am fully convinced that the Indian in his present circumstances is in a mood to listen, provided a forceful and a positive effort is made in the direction to persuade him.

I am grateful to you, Mr. President, for kindly saying that you will keep in touch with us about any further developments in your military aid to India.

I entirely agree with you that this is a great opportunity which circumstances have brought about for a satisfactory solution of Kashmir and that, if resolutely tackled, there is every hope of success. In this I look forward to your personal and your Government’s fullest cooperation and help.

With my kindest regards,

Yours very sincerely,

M.A. Kahn
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 690D.91/12-2262. No classification marking. Forwarded from the Department of State to McGeorge Bundy at the White House on December 22 under cover of a memorandum from Brubeck. The covering memorandum indicated that this letter, and an accompanying December 17 letter dealing with the Tarbela Dam project were delivered to Rusk on December 20 by Amjad Ali, a special emissary of Ayub. Both letters are ibid.
  2. See Document 217.