5. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State0

1374. Presidential Handling. President Ayub, who was in Karachi briefly en route to Dacca, telephoned last evening and asked me come to his house. Finance Minister Shoaib and Minister Fuel, Power and Water Resources Bhutto were with him (Bhutto is accompanying President to East Pakistan).

Ayub said he was thinking about asking Shoaib during his forthcoming visit in Washington to deliver personal letter to President Kennedy, and he wished talk about it informally with me and obtain my reaction. Letter would offer have Shoaib outline some of Ayub’s thinking on US-Pakistan relations and his ideas concerning certain aspects of US policy. His purpose was to be helpful. He was convinced that if President [Page 9]Kennedy understood attitudes Pakistan and other Asian countries, particularly members of security alliances, he would be able to act appropriately to reverse present trend by which number of America’s friends had begun to lose heart. President Ayub showed me text of letter which he proposed send and asked whether I thought President Kennedy would like to receive it and to have Shoaib elaborate his views. I responded I am confident President Kennedy would be happy to have President Ayub’s views and, although I could not of course know whether it would be possible for him to do so, I had no doubt he would be willing to see Shoaib if his schedule permitted. Ayub asked me to seek appointment and our conversation then turned to substance of Ayub’s concern re US-Pakistani relations.

Ayub reiterated that basic policy of GOP is predicated on belief that Pakistan’s destiny lies in friendship with US. He had no doubt that US would continue to attach importance to this relationship on basis of alliance, and that there would be no shift in US policy inimical to Pakistan’s interest. Nevertheless, he was frankly concerned that in pre-election speeches as well as in statements following assumption of office, administration leaders had on several occasions made warm statements concerning India and other neutrals and had not made such statements about Pakistan and other allies, except NATO. He said this had had disturbing effect not only in Pakistan but also in Iran, Thailand, Philippines and other countries. Also disturbing to United States Allies had been statements by President Eisenhower (to African representatives) as well as by new administration officials which gave impression that US welcomed neutralism. This connection, in responding to my comments context in which statements [made,] Ayub said he could well understand that US must say in effect that it did not insist upon countries joining security pacts against their wishes and that it desired them remain neutral if that was what they wanted, but impression unfortunately had been given that US actually encouraged neutralism and looked with greater favor upon neutralists than upon allies.

Ayub also made a point that he felt US friends, particularly in Asia, had been greatly weakened by extremely soft and almost frightened reaction of US Government to Khrushchev’s bellicose threats at time of summit breakdown. When I explained again reasons for great restraint on part of US in responding to Soviet threats and bellicosity, President said while he understood this many Asians had not, and that this had weakened not only US but United States friends in Asia. “You cannot imagine how much this hurt us.” He said US position in Asia should require firmness and courage, if US expected firmness and courage on part of anti Communist leaders.

In the course of this lengthy discussion it was recognized that present public speculation in Pakistan on course of Pakistani policies was [Page 10]due in part to concatenation of several circumstances, particularly (A) fear which President felt was unfounded, that attitude of newly installed US administration toward Pakistan would represent change and that Pakistan might be left in exposed position vis-a-vis Communist bloc, and (B) erroneous assumption that Soviet oil negotiations had implications going beyond actual purposes of GOP. President felt that as facts became clear and doubts removed, Pakistan public would be reassured. He reiterated several times what he has told me from the outset of negotiations with Soviets, i.e. that US had nothing to fear from this matter which he said was “relatively unimportant” and largely an effort on part of GOP to soften Soviets in their hostile attitude toward Pakistan particularly in connection with such questions as Kashmir and “Pushtunistan.”

I sensed that President was somewhat in doubt as to whether he should give me a copy of the letter, since he assumed I would telegraph it in advance of Shoaib’s visit. It was obvious that he attached great importance to the original being delivered to President Kennedy by Shoaib, so that latter would have opportunity to elaborate.

I strongly recommend that arrangements be made for Shoaib to call on the President as soon as convenient after his arrival in Washington February 24. I cannot exaggerate importance which I attach to President Ayub’s being reassured at this time of our intention to continue to work with Pakistan as an ally, and encourage him to maintain his very strong pro-western and pro-American policies in context of collective security.

Text of letter copy in immediately following message.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.90/2-1661. Secret.
  2. Document 6.