291. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State 0

2179. 1. British High Commissioner James, Pickard of UK Commonwealth Relations Office London and I saw President Ayub in Rawalpindi late this afternoon to present Kashmir mediator suggestion. Shahi and Shafqat of GOP Foreign Office present. Results were inconclusive but not [Page 578] wholly discouraging. James presented letter from Sandys urging acceptance of proposal (Delhi’s 4290 to Department).1 President read Sandys’ letter in our presence and said he wished to consider proposal further with his colleagues. He seemed disappointed that Sandys had not pursued in Delhi Ayub’s proposal for special status for Vale.

2. President’s immediate reaction was that mediator would be ineffectual without authority to make authoritative recommendations to US and UK about military aid to India. He was deeply concerned about recent reports in Delhi on military aid and pressed very hard argument that mediator’s efforts would be foredoomed to failure unless US and UK decisions on further military aid to India were made dependent on Indian acceptance his Kashmir settlement recommendations.

3. He argued appointment of one man as mediator would be dangerous and a panel might be needed. He felt that most of mediator’s work would need be done in Delhi and that he would not want any GOP action to detract from validity of UNCIP resolutions. He asked whether mediator could not work within framework these resolutions.

4. Ayub deprecated present ministerial negotiations as futile and thought there was no possible utility in scheduled sixth round, which should at least be postponed. He felt sure that no progress would be possible without the exertion of pressure on India.

5. James and I stressed importance of new approach as only promising alternative to sterile current series of ministerial level talks. President admitted situation would be somber if talks collapsed with no new procedure adopted.

6. James quoted from Macmillan’s statement in Commons on May 3 and Sandys’ statement in Delhi on May 4 in effort to reassure Ayub and I quoted from US official sources as to logic of discussing Kashmir settlement and arms aid to India together. President still seemed to feel deeply that only threat of withholding aid would induce India to negotiate.

7. President said he recognized some good features in our proposal, and he did not refute our observation that Pakistan traditionally has favored interposition of third party into negotiations. He said he of course would not make a final decision on a matter of such moment without reflection and consultation with his advisors. He said he would see Foreign Minister Bhutto in Dacca beginning May 7 and suggested that James and I meet him again in Dacca evening May 8, just before his departure for Kathmandu. He expected to have a reply by that time. In the meanwhile he thought we might wish to talk with Bhutto who is arriving Karachi from Larkana midday May 6.

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8. Talbot and I plan to see Bhutto in Karachi shortly after his arrival here. James is seeking separate appointment with Bhutto for Sandys after he arrives from Bombay midday May 6.

9. President’s first reaction with us not encouraging; but there seemed to be an element of poker in his attitude toward us and it is possible that after his and our discussions with Bhutto and after further consideration by him our rebuttal of his arguments for putting our military aid program in hands of mediator as a pressure instrument, he may take a more favorable view. The crucial problem remains his concern about military aid to India.

10. In view of Ayub’s reluctant attitude which seemed to imply that he would be doing us a favor if he accepted, I said on departure that he should not act on assumption that proposal was advanced primarily in our own interest. Suggestion was put forward because we thought it offered best chance of reaching a settlement by two countries directly concerned. We expected him to consider matter on basis of GOP interest and not US interest.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Repeated to London and New Delhi.
  2. Dated May 5. (Ibid.)