34. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India 0

457. Eyes Only for Ambassador from Acting Secretary. Bombay’s 33.1 Fully understand your deep concern re Indian reaction to F-104 deliveries and regret that easier answer could not be found to this problem. GOP’s turndown of our request to inform GOI in confidence inevitably means even greater GOP aversion to public announcement. Under circumstances believe only course is to seek to allay GOI reactions if and when news of F-104 deliveries breaks.

If subject F-104’s comes up in conversations with Nehru or in Nehru-Bowles talks, you should emphasize: a) we informed GOI year ago that we would supply F-104’s to Pakistan (Embtel 3441, April 13, 1960);2 b) number being supplied is such as not to be serious threat to India; c) there are no present plans for increasing this number. If it is useful, you might note that one factor in decision to supply F-104’s was to counter incursion of advanced-type aircraft over Pakistan from north. [Page 80] You may also wish to re-emphasize that it is threat from north which has from beginning been and continues to be basic motivation for US military aid program in Pakistan.

Secretary’s response to Indian concern re F-104’s and Sidewinders reported in Deptel 378.3 His views re broad question our relationships to neutrals and allies contained in his personal letter to you dated July 31.4

Trust there will be lively and fruitful discussion these and kindred subjects at forthcoming Delhi conference.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Meyer (NEA), cleared by Kitchen and U. Alexis Johnson, William Bundy (DOD), and Rostow (White House), and approved by Acting Secretary Ball. Rostow sent a copy of this telegram to the President, under cover of a handwritten note that reads: “This is how the Department is handling Ken Galbraith’s great blast on the F-104’s.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, India, General, 8/1/61-8/31/61)
  2. In telegram 33 from Bombay, August 2, Galbraith protested the arrival of F-104 aircraft in Karachi without prior notification to the Indian Government. He argued that no issue caused such deep concern in India or called for more sensitive handling than the supply of advanced weapons to Pakistan. He suggested that the policy of doing so be reassessed. The costs, in his view, far outweighed the gains. (Department of State, Central Files, 790D.5622/8-261)
  3. Not printed. (Ibid., 790D.5612/4-1360)
  4. Telegram 378 to New Delhi, July 28, summarized a conversation that day between Rusk and Indian Charge D. N. Chatterjee. Rusk responded to the concerns Chatterjee expressed about the provision of sophisticated military equipment to Pakistan by noting that military aid to Pakistan was balanced by sizable economic aid to India, which freed Indian resources to meet military needs. He added, however, that the United States did not want to encourage an arms race on the subcontinent. (Ibid., 762.00/7-2861)
  5. Document 33.