337. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy 0

Chet Bowles is very anxious to get some flavor of your current thinking about India-Pakistan tomorrow. He’s putting up a brave front but actually feeling a bit low, and wondering whether we’re still signed on to moving ahead with India.

We’ve explained to Chet that it isn’t our policy but circumstances that have changed. Neither we nor the Indians could keep up the accelerated pace stimulated by the Chicom attack last October. The Hill revolt against foreign aid in general was another blow. So Ken skimmed off the cream, while Chet got out there just in time for the VOA fiasco and then Bokaro. Finally, the Paks have pre-empted center stage in their major campaign to spike our India program; by being so difficult they have in fact partly achieved their objective.

The important thing to do with Bowles is to reassure him that we intend to go forward with India, while getting him to set his sights a little lower and more realistically:

(1)
He argues for a five-year $314 million MAP commitment to India in return for tacit Indian agreement to stay within a reasonable force ceiling (thus mollifying the Paks) and to limit their take from the Soviets (see his memo attached).1 This is not much more than the $50 million a year the Pentagon has been thinking about. Chet feels he can sell such a package to Delhi. Query—are we able to make a five-year commitment just now?
(2)
Chet thinks it foolhardy and counterproductive for us to keep beating the Kashmir drum at this point. We had a good try at settlement under the Chicom gun last winter, but no further movement is likely until another such break comes along. The trouble is the Paks are now whomping up the Kashmir issue as a means of highlighting Pak/Indian differences and thus proving their point that India is really out to get Pakistan, not fight China.
(3)
Bokaro and US economic aid. Chet fears the Soviets will come in and get credit for Bokaro by offering much less than the $500 million we couldn’t swallow. He’d dearly love to forestall the Soviets here, but it’s hard to see what we can do at this moment without annoying the Congress.

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While giving Bowles a friendly hearing, I’d urge holding off on any responses just yet till we can talk further with him. However, it would help greatly if you’d tell him you’d see him again before he goes (he’ll be here through Thanksgiving).

Bob Komer
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, India, Security, 1963. Secret.
  2. The attached 5-page memorandum, dated November 12, entitled “Toward a Balance of Political and Military Forces in South Asia,” is not printed.