328. Telegram From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State0
236. Eyes Only for the Secretary. There follows report on final conversation between President Ayub and Under Secretary Ball September 5.1 Since this was the summation and the result of three days of trying to evoke a clear definition of the Pakistani position, Ball requests that it be brought to the immediate attention of the President and the Secretary.
Also participating were Foreign Minister Bhutto, Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmed, MEA Director Salman Ali, and Ambassador McConaughy, Lt. General Quinn, Richard Sneider and Turner Cameron.
Ayub began the meeting by reading from a prepared statement which he said was designed to summarize the positions of the two governments as they had emerged during the previous discussions. His manner was serious and deliberate.
FYI. We know from General Quinn’s conversation later at lunch with Brigadier Nawazish, Director of Military Intelligence, that Musa, Nawazish and probably Foreign Office officials met with Ayub early Friday2 to prepare for 10:00 am meeting. American party arrived on time but meeting was delayed ten minutes while paper was being typed for Ayub. Clear from what Nawazish said and actions of Bhutto and Ahmed at start of meeting that this paper was result of earlier conference and represented rather hasty formulation of inchoate government position which up to this time had never been explicitly stated, although strong resistance of US military aid to India was already a clearly established government policy. End FYI.
He said as he understood it the US position was as follows: (1) Arms aid to India will continue; (2) A settlement of Kashmir cannot be linked to military assistance to India; and (3) Certain measures had been suggested to increase the credibility of US assurances to Pakistan. These included (A) Restatement of US assurances against an attack including an attack from India; (B) Joint staff talks about the communist threat but not about the threat from India; (C) The possibility of stockpiling military equipment; (D) Combined joint exercises in Fiscal ’65.[Page 662]
Ayub then said the Pakistan position could be summarized as follows: (1) Any military aid to India beyond the Nassau program was unwarranted by military considerations. If it continues, judging by India’s past conduct, the threat to small neighboring countries, especially Pakistan, which has already increased, will be augmented further. (2) China has no intention of attacking India nor can India attack China because physical and climatic barriers will not permit it. If a clash occurs, it will be only of a very, very limited nature. (3) To meet that limited threat the Indian Army, even before American military assistance started, was more than enough. (4) The additional armed forces India has created and intends to expand further with the use of its own resources and those provided by friendly powers, will impose a crippling economic burden on Indian economy. There are already signs of the Indian peoples acute resentment against this diversion of resources. If this goes on, it may well be a prelude to disintegration and strife on a large scale. Such a situation can only be to the advantage of the Communists. (5) Indians are doing all this with their eyes open. If they cannot bring this force to bear against the Chinese—which they cannot—then they will have to justify its creation by showing military gains elsewhere. So from whatever angle one looks at it, expansion of Indian Armed Forces was a mistake and any further support from outside cannot be justified on military grounds. (6) Pakistan understands and appreciates US desire to protect the subcontinent from Communist aggression. (7) The only logical way of bringing this about is a rapprochement between India and Pakistan through a just and honorable settlement of Kashmir problem so that a disengagement of India and Pakistani forces can be brought about. If this occurs the two nations will then be free to face their respective second fronts. (8) In view of the unprecedented increase in Indian Armed Forces and the resultant increase of the threat to Pakistan’s security, “it has become imperative for Pakistan to bring down its political and military liabilities within its means.” This can be achieved only if we “normalize our relations with as many of our neighbors as possible.” This has been the basis of Pakistan’s approach to China, and Pakistan hopes it can bring about some form of understanding with the Soviet Union as well. In that connection the attempt to normalize relations with Afghanistan is the first step. (9) Pakistan does not see any alternative open to it except this. If there were a power prepared to underwrite part, Pakistan would not hesitate to undertake them. [sic] But in the absence of that, the course Pakistanis are adopting is the only one rationally open to Pakistan. Ayub then said that he would like to comment on the following points which Mr. Ball had raised in the previous meeting:3 (1) Kashmir mediation; (2) Joint planning [Page 663] against communist threat but not against India; (3) Stockpiling of military equipment; and (4) Combined joint exercises in Fiscal Year 1965.
Ayub said that he would first comment on the military problem. As he understood it Mr. Ball had suggested joint planning against the communist threat. As Pakistan sees it that threat can only come from the Soviets because physical barriers prevent a threat from the Chinese. If that is the case the Soviet threat will not be just against Pakistan. The Soviets will move for bigger aims, the least being the domination of the Middle East and Persian Gulf ports from Karachi west. This would mean that not only Pakistan but Iran, Iraq and Turkey would be affected. In fact this would amount to a state of global war. There is already, said Ayub, a forum, i.e. CENTO, for such planning. In these circumstances bilateral planning would not be meaningful. In any case Pakistan is immediately threatened by India. Things like stockpiling and joint exercises have to flow from a precise military plan to have meaning. Since the composition of a stockpile and the development of a plan must be directed towards a particular threat from India, the things suggested by Mr. Ball seemed to be useless.
Ayub then turned to the Kashmir mediation problem. He said he respected the good intentions of the US and realized that we have limitations and were working within them. He also recognized the fact that the acceptance of mediation would have a good effect on Pakistan’s image in the Congress. He said that he and his advisors had given the matter much thought. They had concluded that if Pakistan accepted mediation on current terms this action would lead to disturbances in Kashmir and disruption in Pakistan itself. In a democratic form of government you could expect the people to indicate strongly their feelings. The opposition would bitterly attack the government as they had fourteen times before.
Ayub then read from a recent Nehru statement in the Raja Sabha in which Nehru said that any alteration in the status of Kashmir would be disastrous for the people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan. In face of this, Ayub says, Pakistan sees no future in mediation at this stage. Although he did not believe that Nehru would change he thought the US should attempt in Delhi to see what possibility there was of movement towards a Kashmir settlement. Ayub recalled that during President Eisenhower’s visit to Pakistan he had said that he hoped to see whether he could get countries together. Eisenhower didn’t succeed. Later President Kennedy worked on Nehru with no success. Most recently Secretary Rusk tried but didn’t get very far. Duncan Sandys was more aggressive but he had no more success with Nehru than the others.
These were all in effect mediators—none of them got very far. It is illogical to think that Nehru, who is now assured of continued military aid from the United States, even in the absence of a Chinese threat, has [Page 664] any compulsion to move on Kashmir. Ayub said the time for this is past, and opportunity had been lost. He added, “our relations with India are already bad. Don’t let them get worse.” He said that it was necessary to wait for a more propitious moment but frankly he didn’t see this in the future. He realized that the US was perhaps doing its best but he believed that there was no possibility of movement towards a Kashmir solution at present.
Mr. Ball said he was grateful for the clear and comprehensive presentation by Ayub after two days of useful discussions in which there had been a full exploration of the views of both governments. He told Ayub that he would report these conversations fully to President Kennedy probably next Monday. Mr. Ball then commented on Ayub’s remarks. Ayub’s presentation and Mr. Ball’s other talks in Pakistan had shown that, while there is fundamental agreement on the type of world US and Pakistan would like to see and on the broad objectives of their policies, there remain significant differences between them based on different analyses of world US and Pakistan would like to see and the effects of specific policies and the tactics appropriate to achieve the common objectives. He was struck and concerned by Ayub’s statement yesterday and again today that Pakistan saw no alternative but to proceed toward normalization of relations with Communist China and ultimately with the Soviet Union.
He asked what normalization might mean in specific terms. The work might be interpreted to mean that Pakistan intended to move away from being an effective ally against the common threat of Communism in the discussion of neutralism. If this were Pakistan’s objective, Mr. Ball asserted, it was neither a viable nor a necessary policy alternative for Pakistan for three reasons.
- First, the US is providing military aid to India on the basis of only a limited program tailored in conformity with its appraisal of Chicom capabilities and intentions and surrounded by—hedged in by—a number of safeguards. In explaining the safeguards, Mr. Ball pointed out that, by being the main HQ of supply of arms to India, the US was in a position, where in the event of an Indian attack on Pakistan, could terminate its assistance abruptly in a manner severely reducing Indian military capabilities. Furthermore military aid to India was being furnished under specific conditions that took account of such a contingency. Our arrangements explicitly limited the use of the materiel we supplied to defense against Communist aggression.
- Secondly, the US has given Pakistan straightforward assurances on coming to its aid if it should be attacked from any source. The US does not make such promises lightly and the whole of our national history shows that we keep our promises. The suggestions that he made yesterday, Mr. Ball continued, for joint planning, stockpiling, and joint exercises were [Page 665] intended to give an additional quantum or material reality to this assurance. Mr. Ball said that President Ayub had pointed out that in his judgment these suggestions did not meet Pakistani requirements if planning were limited to the Communist menace and did not encompass an attack from India. However, we had a different view. We felt that the military staffs of both countries could get together for joint planning, a joint appraisal of the Communist threat, and the appropriate response. The determination of the response against a Communist threat would assure Pakistan of our capabilities to move quickly to defend it against any aggression since it would involve a full discussion of our ability to move men and supplies quickly into Pakistan. This should provide a basis for greater confidence and assurance on the part of Pakistan. Furthermore the stockpiling of equipment in advance would provide further security that necessary materiel would be available. Mr. Ball urged that President Ayub continue to give consideration to these proposals.
- Third, a policy of neutrality or neutralism was not a viable policy option for a country such as Pakistan which is surrounded, as it is, by real danger on two sides from vast communist powers and that finds itself next door to the vast Indian nation. Given Pakistan’s relative scale of resources, any attempt to find security by moving toward neutralism or even non-commitment against the Communist bloc would be illusory. It would result in the inevitable erosion of Pakistan’s independence and a loss of the values Pakistan cherishes.
Mr. Ball said that, in all seriousness, the US feels that the future of Pakistan lies in a closer working relationship with the US. However any movement by Pakistan in a contrary direction would result in a new situation. It would inevitably require an adjustment of policies on both sides and a very close re-examination of current US-Pak relations.
Mr. Ball could not believe this is what Pakistan desired. He hoped, instead, that the US and Pakistan would continue to explore ways and means to develop a course of action that would give Pakistan the sense of security it desires within the framework of present policy.
Mr. Ball assured Ayub that he would report fully and objectively on his visit and that President Kennedy and the US Government would take these reports into full account. However, he could not, in all honesty, say that there would be, as a result, a major shift in a US policy that was very fully considered before we took steps to assist India militarily. He hoped that US and Pakistan could agree to focus their efforts on an exploration of actions within the framework of continued but limited military aid to India. We felt that within this policy it was possible to provide an adequate measure of security for Pakistan.
The US continues to feel it important to work closely with Pakistan and maintain an honest friendship since the two countries have strong common interests. If, on the other hand this is not possible, we both face [Page 666] serious problems. Mr. Ball again stressed that he could not tell Ayub how US policy could be adjusted to meet such a new situation. Up to now we have proceeded on the assumption that the close alliance to US would persist and we would far prefer to continue on this assumption.
In concluding, Mr. Ball said that at this point he frankly felt the next step was for him to make a full report to the President since Foreign Minister Bhutto would be coming over to Washington soon and frank and comprehensive conversations could be continued. He assured President Ayub again that the US very highly valued its relations with Pakistan.
Mr. Ball then again said that he was puzzled by the word “normalization” and asked that Pakistan intentions be elucidated. He said that “normalization” suggested to him a move toward neutrality or neutralism.
Ayub replied that it was natural for any country to want normal relations with its neighbors. Pakistan has problems with these neighbors and he could not see how Pakistan could exist without normalizing relations with Communist China, Russia, and even with India. He pointed out that Pakistan, as an ideological state, had major differences in its philosophy of life from the Communists and the Hindus. It has no intention of permitting these neighbors to overwhelm Pakistan. It just wants to “keep them on their side of the line.”
Ayub then castigated neutralism as a gross form of opportunism which he looked upon with contempt. He assured Mr. Ball that Pakistan had no intention of turning to neutralism unless “absolutely compelled.” He said compelling circumstances had not yet arisen. On the contrary the basis of Pakistan foreign policy is friendship with the US. He said that we feel we need each other.
Ayub felt Pakistan did, however, have cause for complaint against its friend. It did not complain about Soviet action since it expected no better from the Russians. It expected much more from its best friend. Pakistan’s interests have been hurt and its security jeopardized against all reason and logic. But Pakistan still places high value on its friendship with the US. Ayub urged that the US should not further aggravate an already difficult situation.
Ayub then challenged Mr. Ball’s statement that we would cut off aid to India in event of aggression. He pointed out that over years the United States had taken no steps to diminish aid to India in spite of Nehru’s constant criticism of US policy and support of Communist China. He doubted whether circumstances would ever arise that would lead us to cut off aid. We would be compelled to continue aid and play into the Indian hands. As he had mentioned yesterday the Indian game is to get what she can from the US and then slowly, not very suddenly, eliminate US influence. He thought it would not be easy to shut off the tap and that there were grave limitations in our ability to squeeze India.[Page 667]
Summing up, Ayub again urged that we not aggravate Pakistan’s problems. He asked that we review our appraisal of the military threat to India and the justification for its military buildup. He urged that we save India from moving to the point of disintegration. Don’t jeopardize our interests, Ayub said, and we do feel that the United States is jeopardizing them. Finally, Ayub reiterated that normalization of relations with the Communist Bloc did not mean neutralism, which is not the solution to Pakistan’s problems, but keeping them on their side of the line.
Mr. Ball pressed Ayub further to indicate the areas where normalization would take place. Ayub replied that Pakistan wished to reduce its military and political liabilities. Pakistan doesn’t want war with its neighbors but if aggression comes it is prepared to fight. Mr. Ball asked whether Pakistan intended formal withdrawal from its alliance relations since normalization and a defensive alliance were not necessarily compatible. Ayub retorted “are we so mad to withdraw from defensive alliances since they give us peace?” Ayub then argued that by normalizing its relations with the Communist Bloc Pakistan would be reducing US commitments since it would be reducing the risk of a conflict. He mentioned, for example, the normalization of the Pak-Chinese border.
Mr. Ball thought it difficult for a nation to reduce its military vulnerability by “normalizing” relations with an enemy without making a basic change in its attitude or its conduct, which would put into question its basic fidelity to its own institutions and traditions. He said that normalization of relations was a loose term. It could mean, for example, merely increased commercial ties or greater cultural exchanges. These in themselves increased rather than reduced the influence of other states. Ayub agreed.
Ayub then said that Pakistan had nothing to surrender to Communist China once its boundary was demarcated. On trade, Ayub said, Pakistan was entering into a manufacturing stage, producing primary and even some advanced products. However, it anticipated that the common market would raise its external tariffs while reducing internal tariff barriers, and that while the United Kingdom was not now in the common market, the common market would ultimately be extended over the advanced countries. Ayub pointed out that Pakistan cannot sell its textiles in any quantity to the US and UK or Western Europe due to high tariff barriers and quota arrangements. Pakistan must find other places to sell its goods in order to be in a position to pay back the US for its economic assistance—which it intended to do. In searching for other markets it has made small barter deals with Communist China and Russia. These do not put Pakistan under any obligation to the Communist states. Ayub pointed out, in this connection, that the US is also trading with the Soviet Union, which Mr. Ball acknowledged but said this trade was limited.[Page 668]
Mr. Ball commented that the US had never asked its allies to restrain their trade with Communist states except with respect to strategic items, although we did urge them to avoid building up trade to a point of great dependence on the Communist Bloc.
Ayub assured Mr. Ball that the Communists cannot get an economic hold on Pakistan given the very small amount of trade between them and Pakistan. Ayub said that the Russians have also been pressing them for cultural exchanges pointing out that even the US has such cultural exchange with Russia. Ayub said that he told the Russians if they want to assist them they should come up with something concrete.
Ayub concluded that Pakistan wants to remain friendly with the US unless the US drives it away. He ventured that India was not a country that the US should rely on to act as its agent in Asia. He asked Mr. Ball to thank the President for his great concern for Pakistan’s problems. He had opened his heart to Mr. Ball and had spoken in all frankness. Pakistan wants to retain its friendship with the US and wants American influence to remain in Asia. Ayub urged that US not compromise the position of its friends. He assured Mr. Ball that what he had said did not mean that Pakistan intended to do anything “stupid.” However he warned that should US policy change, and should we seek to squeeze Pakistan, there would be difficulties. Pakistan, he said, “may be poor but it is proud.” Pakistan is not stupid, however, and not in a hurry to lose its best friend. Ayub urged that we reconsider our policies and look at both India’s and Pakistan’s records over the years.
Mr. Ball commented that relations with India and Pakistan have represented two different orders of American policy, since one country was an ally and the other a neutral. In India we had sought mainly to maintain an influence useful for everyone.
Ayub concluded by requesting that President Kennedy look at Pakistan’s arguments. Pakistan doesn’t urge a radical change in US policy but putting a “safety limitation on our assistance to India.” Mr. Ball assured him that the President personally would give consideration to Pakistan’s position. Ayub said he wished to keep the dialogue going through further talks in Washington and in Pakistan.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 US/BALL. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Received in the Department of State at 7:23 p.m. Repeated to Karachi. Passed to the White House.↩
- The conversation took place in Rawalpindi. Ball reported on his conversations there on September 3-4 with Ayub, Bhutto, and other senior Pakistani officials in telegram 10 from Rawalpindi, September 4, and in telegrams 16, 17, and 18 from Rawalpindi, all dated September 5. (Ibid.)↩
- The text is in error. September 5 fell on Thursday rather than Friday.↩
- Reported in telegram 17 from Rawalpindi.↩