285. Memorandum for the Record0


  • The President’s Views on India as expressed at 25 April Meeting1
In general, we should prepare to go ahead on military support for India. Given the declining prospects for a Kashmir settlement, we should not hold off so long on aid, in order to get leverage on Kashmir, that we jeopardize the developing relationship between the US and India. It is hard to see how we can stop the Chinese Communists without India.
As to the magnitude of further military aid, we should try to get the Indians down to a realistic program, but should regard $300 million (including defense production aid) over three years from the US and UK as a floor rather than a ceiling. It will be difficult to bridge the political gap between India’s exaggerated hopes for $1.6 billion in aid over this period and our preliminary judgment that no more than $300 million is militarily realistic.
While we should make every effort to bring the UK along on further aid, we should not limit ourselves to their preferred pace. It is unrealistic to expect that the British will go fifty-fifty even on a $300 million program. Therefore, our policy should be not to let the UK restrain us from moving to the extent we think desirable.
We and the British should engage in intensive talks with the Indians at the DOD and military level to bring more realism into their thinking and to counter any impression that we are stalling on aid. The State Department should avoid participating in these talks so they won’t appear to be tied to political conditions, i.e. Kashmir.
We ought to go ahead shortly on the air defense commitment, but will reserve final judgment until Secretary Rusk’s return from the subcontinent. This commitment seems the least expensive way to reassure India of our continued interest in its defense, while being the move least offensive to the Pakistani. We should try hard to get the UK to join us, but be prepared to do most of the job ourselves if necessary.
We must make clear to Ayub that we can’t hold off indefinitely on aid to India because of Kashmir. Let’s tell Ayub that we’ve got to go ahead soon, while telling Nehru that if we give him major aid without a [Page 567] Kashmir settlement, it will cause all sorts of trouble with Pakistan and the US Congress.
McGeorge Bundy2
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, India, General, 4/24/63-4/27/63. Top Secret. Drafted by McGeorge Bundy.
  2. See Document 283.
  3. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.