Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963, Volume XIX, South Asia
343. Memorandum From the Department of State Executive Secretary (Read) to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0
- Indo-Pakistan Relations
In view of the major decisions presently pending concerning military assistance to India, we thought you would be interested in an assessment of current Indo-Pakistan relations. The paper, which is enclosed, concentrates on the developments since October.
We have concluded that in the future Indo-Pakistan relations will be tense but, at this stage, serious hostilities appear unlikely. We have also [Page 702] concluded that the most that the United States can do in the present atmosphere is to try to exercise a moderating influence and that no initiative on Kashmir is possible at this time.
A. The Situation
Over the last year the external pressures upon India and Pakistan, at a time when both governments are in a relatively weaker internal position, have resulted in a hardening of the position of each country toward the other and a consequent exacerbation of tensions, exemplified in the following:
1. Recent Pakistan Actions
Pakistan has used all media and available opportunities (bilateral discussions, CENTO and SEATO meetings, U.N., etc.) to emphasize its fear of India and conviction that a militarily strengthened India will be aggressive. In October the Pakistan Government mounted a sustained propaganda and diplomatic campaign charging India with misusing western arms assistance and taking actions in Kashmir which are contrary to U.N. resolutions. On the diplomatic level Pakistan delivered a series of aide-memoire to us and the U.K., exchanged bitterly worded notes with India and lodged letters of protest with the U.N. A virulent anti-Indian press campaign and vitriolic statements by Pakistan leaders supported the diplomatic moves. The principal thesis of these efforts was that India’s actions had proven Pakistan’s contention about Indian aggressive intentions. Also, we have received intelligence reports which indicated that Pakistan was considering causing trouble of some sort along the Kashmir border or within Kashmir. In the last few weeks there has been a decrease of overt indicators of immediate trouble in Kashmir, although the Pakistan press has periodically returned to the attack. Also, we continue to receive reports of the distribution of arms to civilians in the cease-fire line area. Foreign Minister Bhutto, who was out of the country in October, has informed us that he is strongly opposed to the current tactics of the GOP and would exercise his influence to prevent extreme reaction to inconsequential Indian “provocations.”[Page 703]
More recently Pakistan has requested India to close a branch office of the Indian Deputy High Commission in East Pakistan charging it was used for subversive activities. This policy toward India has been accompanied by a continuing series of steps to normalize Pakistan’s relations with Communist China, India’s enemy. Most recently, Pakistan has agreed to a state visit by Chou En-lai and Chen Yi in February 1964.
2. Indian Actions
Nehru’s Lok Sabha speech on Kashmir in August withdrew the “concessions” offered during the earlier bilateral talks and virtually slammed the door on third party mediation.
On October 4, 1963 the outgoing Prime Minister of India-held Kashmir, Ghulam Bakshi, made certain proposals which, if adopted, would constitute further steps toward the integration of Kashmir into the Indian Union. While the Bakshi proposals thus far have not been implemented, an action of this nature is a red flag to Pakistanis and was the immediate stimulant for the Pakistani campaign. Later in the month the GOI replied to a Pakistan note of protest in a particularly insulting manner and a letter to the U.N. Security Council was provocative. The Indian press did not reach the high pitch of the Pakistan press but it did add to the over-all tense atmosphere.
On November 27, Home Minister Nanda told Parliament that Kashmir was “fully integrated” into India and, that while there was no present GOI intention to repeal Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which accords a special status to Kashmir, Nanda indicated that Article 370 undoubtedly would be further diluted by additional changes in consultation with the Kashmir government. He indicated that the GOI approved the nomenclature changes proposed by Bakshi on October 4. Supplementing Nanda’s remarks, Nehru told Parliament November 27 that the “process of gradual erosion of Article 370 is going on” and should be allowed to continue.
India has continued to expel sizeable numbers of Muslims from Assam and Tripura into East Pakistan and has taken a hard line on negotiations with Pakistan on this problem. However, on November 13 Home Minister Nanda announced that special judicial tribunals were being formed to review expulsion cases to assure that no errors were made. Moreover, agreement reportedly has been reached with Pakistan for diplomatic and ministerial talks on the Muslim evacuee problem. This may be jeopardized by Pakistan’s action to close India’s branch office in East Pakistan.
During recent conversations with Ambassador Bowles, Indian leaders have stated that India will follow a policy of restraint in its relations with Pakistan. Prime Minister Nehru has reiterated this assurance in his [Page 704] recent letter to the President.3 In addition, Indian officials both in New Delhi and Washington have informed us that the GOI would be pleased if the United States repeated its security assurances to Pakistan regarding aggression by India. The Indians state that they hope and assume that this would have a quieting effect on the Pakistanis.
B. U.S. and U.K. Response
In Washington and in Karachi and New Delhi, we have urged both India and Pakistan to act with restraint, to avoid provocative actions, and to make full use of the U.N. Observers in Kashmir if trouble ensued. We also informed the governments that our position on the Bakshi integration proposals is governed by the U.N. Security Council resolutions. With respect to the Pakistani charges of Indian misuse of western military aid, we have intentionally refrained from making any formal reply to Pakistan so as not to encourage spurious charges, but we have quietly urged the GOI to take great care that equipment is not misdirected to units facing Pakistan. We have closely coordinated the substance of our response with the U.K. which in London and in Karachi and New Delhi has followed a parallel line. The British have emphasized to Pakistan that provocative acts on its part could undermine Pakistan’s legal position on Kashmir.
C. U.N. Observer Group Action
General Nimmo, the head of the U.N. Military Observer Group in Kashmir, has reported that there has been a substantial increase in incidents in the last eighteen months and he has requested six additional military officers to bolster his current force of 34 people. Although the U.N. Secretariat has for several months been attempting to find a replacement for the DC-3 transport aircraft previously furnished the Group by the Italian Government, General Nimmo has recently expressed interest in obtaining instead smaller aircraft or helicopters to increase the observation capability of the Group. We have asked our Mission in New York to consult informally with the Secretariat to obtain the latter’s clarification of its requirements so that we may explore ways we and others might assist to resolve this question.
D. Analysis of Current Maneuvers
- In an exchange of views a few weeks ago in London, CRO considered that the GOP’s genuine concern about the Indian threat and its exaggeration for tactical purposes are so intertwined, even in the minds of Pakistan’s leaders, that it is difficult to determine the relative weight of each factor. We agree with this assessment.
- Pakistan’s strong reaction to the Bakshi proposals and subsequent Indian statements signalling further integration of Kashmir into India was automatic; for domestic reasons alone the Government had to put up a strong front. It is also possible that India’s actions gave an opening to the “hardliners” within the GOP, such as Foreign Secretary Ahmed, to press their viewpoint.
- The actions taken by Pakistan in the last few months have been directed as much against us as India. They are a reminder that Pakistan is not reconciled to United States military assistance to India, that the Kashmir issue is not dormant, and that Pakistan has the capacity to exacerbate tensions any time it wishes.
- Pakistan’s actions are also indicative of its basic attitude, or modus operandi toward its neighbors, namely, that the only way to get results is to apply strong pressure. This approach was used against Afghanistan during 1961-1963 and has always been applied in cycles to India. As Ayub puts it, Pakistan’s policy is to “lean against India.” At the same time Pakistan is seeking to enlist on its side the power of other nations, particularly the United States, but also including Communist China, to bring pressure to bear on India to resolve the dispute on terms favorable to Pakistan.
The Indian Government is determined to avoid an appearance of weakness vis-a-vis Pakistan. Many influential Indians suspect that Pakistan has secret agreements with Communist China and are fearful of coordinated pressure against India. Consequently, India is not disposed to negotiate or to be forthcoming with Pakistan. The Indian assessment of the October tension was mixed. Moreover, as is the case in Pakistan, the GOI for domestic reasons must periodically demonstrate its ability to be firm with Pakistan. The official Indian position has been that the Pakistanis were playing to the gallery in preparation for General Taylor’s visit and that India’s best course was to ignore or play down Pakistani protests and act with restraint. A second viewpoint within the GOI was that the Pakistanis might well cross the ceasefire line in order to dramatize the Kashmir issue with a possible serious escalation of the conflict.
The GOI has told us that they favor a strengthening of the U.N. Observer group and a broadening of their terms of reference to include police as well as military action on the cease-fire line.
- Indo-Pakistani relations will involve a fairly constant stream of insults in both directions, disposition to play up the border incidents that have been increasing in numbers over the years, and a heating up of other disputes; but at this stage serious hostilities appear unlikely.
- The policy the United States should follow should be based on our
recognition that geography, history, and our limited capability rule
out the possibility of early solutions to any of the problems that
underlie the Indo-Pak discord,
desirable as this development may be. Therefore, our most
constructive contribution is to play a consistent moderating role.
This entails the following courses:
- Refrain from getting drawn into the dispute or taking sides;
- Make known to both countries that we expect restraint and as necessary point out what the requirements of restraint are in specific situations;
- Support an effective U.N. observer operation;
- Undergird our selective and limited military assistance given to both countries for defensive purposes with sufficient political safeguards to avoid an arms race;
- Continue to maintain that Kashmir is not an obsolescent issue but refrain from United States initiatives on the Kashmir issue in the present climate; seek to get the Pakistanis to realize the adverse effect of their current posture toward the Chicoms on the resolution of this issue and to persuade the Indians of the unwisdom of treating the Paks as though they are allied with the Chicoms;
- Conduct quiet explorations through nongovernmental groups to determine whether it is possible to develop noncontroversial areas of cooperation within Indian and Pakistan society and attitudes receptive to finding rational solutions to the whole range of Indo-Pak problems.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 INDIA-PAK. Confidential. Drafted by Naas on December 11 and cleared by Talbot.↩
- Baldwin signed for Read above Read’s typed signature.↩
- Confidential. Drafted in SOA December 11 by Naas, Laise, and Lakeland and cleared with INR and UNP.↩
- See Document 336.↩