286. Telegram From Secretary of State Rusk to the Department of State0

Secto 30. Eyes Only for President and Acting Secretary. Following are my first reactions to our talk with Ayub this morning,1 full report of which coming separately.

The atmosphere was entirely relaxed and friendly. Ayub sent warm personal message to the President and Mrs. Kennedy and took repeated opportunities to express appreciation for US assistance and for friendship between our two countries. He also expressed understanding of the heavy burdens carried by the US in the total world situation and said that he understood that we would have to make our own decisions in the light of such responsibilities. At no time did he make threats or express any bitterness insofar as US-Pakistan relations were concerned. Indeed, he told us he had rebuked the editor of “Dawn” for his inflammatory and unrepresentative attitude.
It is clear that he has written off any further Kashmir negotiations and expects to rest on the status quo rather than accept deep compromises on Pakistan position. This came out in response to my probing as to how he saw the course of events if negotiations completely broke down. His reference to status quo rather than to some wild initiative may be of some significance. He did say that Pakistan public opinion would blame the US, UK and the Government of Pakistan and would say that [Page 568] the government had played the fool in being drawn into the negotiations in the first place.
Entire conversation was marked by his deep fear, distrust, and hatred of India and especially the Brahmin Nehru whom he regards as an evil and dangerous man. He said that this was the first time in Indian history that this particular kind of Indian had exercised power; former Indian rulers were like the chivalrous Rajputs with a high sense of honor and responsibility. He is utterly convinced that India not only wishes to eliminate Pakistan but to absorb other neighboring states such as Nepal, Burma, and Ceylon. I told him that we ourselves did not share this view of Indian objectives and asked him, if this were not an Indian policy, what the Indians could do or say to persuade Ayub. He replied that there is nothing India could do, that Pakistan knows them too well.
He analyzed his view of the nature of the Chinese military threat to the subcontinent and said that the Chinese could not support more than seven brigades directed against India across the Himalayas. He added that the Chinese had told them that this was their own estimate both with respect to what India could push at China across the mountains and what China could do in reverse. I gave him a brief statement of our own estimates which were somewhat higher.
He spent some time on further arms aid to India though none on recrimination for aid already given. He looks upon this as strengthening India against its smaller neighbors and that Nehru is using the Chinese threat as a cloak to build up for other purposes. Thus he argues that the effect of arms aid to India would be to weaken the situation in the general area because of the stresses and strains it would produce. He said that he was almost alone in Pakistan in holding back the flood of public feeling on this subject. I outlined world-wide responsibilities within which our own decision would have to be made but this will be covered in full report.
I did raise “in the most tentative fashion” what his attitude would be if the US and the UK were to establish certain air squadrons to offer some defense to Indian cities against Chinese attack and as an alternative to a comparable build-up of the Indian Air Force. He immediately endorsed this idea saying, among other things, that it would help make the Indians behave.
Further, he did say if the Chinese again attacked India that we should provide additional emergency assistance and saw this as a full substitute for any military assistance prior to such an attack. He was not impressed with the deterrent role of strengthened Indian forces since he obviously looks upon Indian strength as aimed primarily at himself.
He raised his desire to buy some 70 German F86F’s which they are willing to sell for $7 million including a substantial number of spare parts, portion of which interchangeable with F86F’s. Having consulted [Page 569] Bundy, I told him that we would raise no policy objection but that I urged him as a military man to look at these with a glassy stare in order to be completely sure that he was getting something he wanted other than “white elephant.” I mentioned operational and maintenance problems in his country as compared to highly specialized circumstances central European front. My guess is that he will go ahead with this purchase, but he is in no position whatever to chide us if this proves to be a disappointment. He insisted that he was not intending to augment his air force, except that he wanted some night fighter capability.
Regarding Afghanistan, he seems to be in a mood to try to find some agreement on a 50-50 or even “40-60” basis, but remained skeptical about attitude of new government because he does not believe it possible that it could have taken office without full approval of Daud and Naim. I believe we should ourselves proceed on the optimistic assumption that Iranian initiative can work, but should recognize that we may be a long way from settlement.
He also made an earnest appeal on Tarbela and gave me some papers to read on which I will report later.
Finally, I do not believe we can obtain major relaxation of Pakistan views on relations with India through further reaffirmation of US commitments to Pakistan in the event of attack. Ayub said that on such matters Pakistan will prefer to “do it themselves” and that he could never be certain that in a given situation Pakistan can persuade other governments, “the Congress, the people” of Pakistan’s security needs.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Operational Immediate; No Other Distribution. Received in the Department of State on May 2 at 8:54 a.m. Relayed to the White House.
  2. Rusk visited Karachi April 29-May 2. Additional documentation on the visit is ibid.