348. Memorandum From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Taylor) to Secretary of Defense McNamara 0

CM-1089 – 63


  • Next Steps on Military Aid to India and Pakistan


Memorandum for the President, “Next Steps on Military Aid to Pakistan and India”1
Embassy New Delhi cable 1943 to State dated 20 December 632
Embassy New Delhi cable 1929 to State dated 19 December 633
Embassy New Delhi cable 1942 to State dated 20 December 634
Memorandum of Conversation, 1000 hours, 20 December 1963, Karachi5
Memorandum of Conversation, 1200 hours, 20 December 1963, Karachi6
Memorandum for Record, “Private Conversation with President Ayub Khan, 20 December 1963”7

As a result of my recent visits to India and Pakistan and the conferences reported in the referenced documents above, I have reached the following conclusions and have formulated certain recommendations relating to the next steps for military aid to these two countries. In effect, they represent suggested modifications and extensions of reference a.


1. I am in agreement with Ambassador Bowles that it is time to develop a five-year military assistance plan with India provided the Indians will (a) limit their force goals, (b) hold down procurement from the Soviet Bloc, (c) hold to a minimum diversion of foreign exchange from economic development, (d) exercise restraint in relations with Pakistan, and (e) cooperate with us in the containment of Communist China. I would go about assuring the attainment of these five conditions not by negotiating them with the GOI but through encouraging the development of a five-year plan by the Indians which if put into effect would assure meeting the first three provisos. Conditions (c) and (d) would remain a continuing background requirement for cooperation with India in both the economic and the military fields.

2. If my information is correct, there is at the present time no interdepartmental plan in the Indian government which establishes a balanced relationship between the economic and military programs of the GOI. In the case of the military program, there are as yet no agreed time-phased levels of force goals, no plan for the allocation of available or anticipated resources to the needs of the three services, and no determination of the kind and extent of foreign aid needed to augment domestic resources.

3. It would be a service to the Indian government as well as in our own interest to press for governmental planning to remedy these deficiencies [Page 724] as a precondition to a discussion of long-term aid in the specific terms of dollar levels, numbers and types of MAP supported units, the provision of advanced equipment, and similar matters. A five-year plan would have the advantage of obliging the GOI to face the economic facts of life and of reinforcing the hand of the civilian leaders who appear genuinely interested in preserving the economic program from excesses in the field of rearmament.

4. The kind of five-year military program which we should seek would include the following features:

Statement of the Indian resources available in the period for military purposes, expressed in terms of internal expenditures and foreign exchange outlays.
Assumption for the preparation of the program that US would contribute from 50 to 60 million dollars per year.
Indication of third country aid anticipated or to be sought.
Force levels supportable by the application of the foregoing resources.
Impact of this military program on economic development.

5. If the Indians are capable of producing such a plan with or without our help, it would allow us to verify their intentions as to force goals, Soviet procurement and the diversion of foreign exchange from economic developments (conditions (a), (b), and (c) of paragraph 1 above). By this device, we could hope to avoid arguments with them over force goals, always a source of irritation, and would force the Indians to decide for themselves between the competing needs of their economy and of their own services. The US position would be strengthened vis-a-vis our own Congress by putting us in a position to explain our aid in terms of a coherent Indian program.

6. To make such a plan a precondition for long-term aid injects an undesirable time factor. Even if the Indians accept our help in developing such a plan, it will take time to draft one. To bridge the time gap, we would be justified in offering an interim one-year program of about $50 million providing for the Army continued support of the mountain division program, of improved logistics for the forces along the Chinese border, and of better intelligence efforts oriented toward China north of the frontier. For the Air Force, in the interim program we should continue to support radar, communications and air transport.


7. It is recommended that the US indicate to the GOI a willingness to embark on parallel military planning provided that the GOI first produce a satisfactory five-year plan for its military forces along the lines of paragraph 4 above. Pending the completion of such a plan, the US would make the interim offer suggested in paragraph 6 above. However, it should be clearly intimated that we are not willing to go forward indefinitely [Page 725] with military or economic aid without a firm five-year military plan.


1. President Ayub and his Chiefs of Staff view West Pakistan as exposed to attack from Afghanistan, China, and India; but of these potential enemies, in their opinion India is the prime threat toward which the major defensive effort must be directed. This view of the primacy of the Indian threat is reinforced by consideration of the isolated situation of East Pakistan which, encircled by India, is virtually indefensible by direct means.

2. Finding itself in such a disadvantageous strategic posture, Pakistan is deeply and genuinely afraid of Indian aggression. Our US pledge to help the GOP to resist such aggression is politely noted but Ayub and those around him openly express their fear that US aid in a crisis would be delayed by the possible ambiguities of the situation, by the delays or hesitations inherent in the decision-making process of a democracy, or by the distances to be traversed by our reinforcements. Ayub would say that these factors plus the inexplicable action of the US in giving aid to India have caused an acute uneasiness which obsesses his people.

3. With this view of the military situation of Pakistan, Ayub appears to have set for himself certain defense goals for his armed forces. The latter should have the capability in themselves of deterring or checking an Indian attack against West Pakistan. They should also be capable of deterring India from attacking East Pakistan; but if deterrence fails, there is little likelihood of checking an attack against this exclave. To effect deterrence, Pakistan needs supersonic aircraft as a threat against Indian targets. With the foregoing capabilities, the armed forces would have the visible strength necessary to deter India, reassure the people and allay the current fears.

4. It then becomes a question of how to obtain such forces. For this purpose Ayub must have the US as an ally willing to provide the essential military equipment. But our military aid to India and our reluctance to meet his equipment needs to the extent desired have led him to embark on a campaign of sharp criticism of US behavior coupled with moves to “normalize” relations with Red China. Such moves appear useful to him both in neutralizing an unfriendly neighbor and in goading the US to pay greater attention to his needs. While the campaign is in progress to get greater and more expeditious help out of the US, Ayub can hardly be expected to drop the quarrel with India or become enthusiastic over military exercises which will demonstrate that the US forces are not as far away as he says. But in spite of his strong objections to US help to India, I have the feeling that while he is swallowing hard, it is going down.

[Page 726]

5. In these circumstances, it is to the interest of the US to give due recognition to the Pak case and strengthen Pak confidence and good will without appearing to succumb to querulous complaining. This purpose could best be served by offering the Paks US support through a five-year military plan under essentially the same conditions as the Indians. The goal of 5-1/2 modernized divisions for West Pakistan remains valid. The provision of two more squadrons of supersonic aircraft would add to Ayub’s weapons of deterrence against India and to the arsenal of CENTO and SEATO. If, as it appears, the Indians have made a deal with the Soviets for the purchase of surface-to-air missiles, this decision on supersonic aircraft for Pakistan becomes much easier. The foregoing offer should be conditioned on a wholehearted change of attitude by the GOP toward CENTO, SEATO, and the U.S.


6. It is recommended that, concurrently with the action toward India, the US indicate to Pakistan its willingness to engage on parallel terms in five-year military planning under similar assumptions of continued US aid. This offer should include the provision of two additional squadrons of supersonic aircraft. It should be contingent on continued fulfillment by Pakistan of its obligations to CENTO, to SEATO, and to the US. To demonstrate to the Pak public the availability of US military support, we should seek GOP concurrence in a joint mobility exercise involving the proposed Indian Ocean Task Force.

Maxwell D. Taylor
Joint Chiefs of Staff
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Taylor, Gen., Trip to India and Pakistan, December 1963. Secret. Sent to the President under cover of a December 23 memorandum from Deputy Secretary of Defense Gilpatric.
  2. Printed as an attachment to Document 342.
  3. Telegram 1943, dated December 19 rather than December 20, transmitted Bowles’ assessment of the memorandum for the President cited in footnote 1 above. (Department of State, Central Files, ORG 7 JCS)
  4. Document 347.
  5. See footnote 1, Document 347.
  6. This memorandum recorded a conversation among Taylor; Secretary of Defense Nazir Ahmed; General Mohammed Musa, Commander in Chief of the Army; Air Marshal Mohammed Asghar Khan, Commander in Chief of the Air Force; and Vice Admiral Rahman Khan, Commander in Chief of the Navy. (Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel File, Taylor, Gen., Trip to India and Pakistan, December 1963)
  7. Document 345.
  8. Document 346.