88. Paper Prepared by the Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs0
UNITED STATES RELATIONS WITH SOUTH ASIA: MAJOR ISSUES AND RECOMMENDED COURSES OF ACTION
I. Basic Problems and Strategy
In the wake of (a) Goa, (b) intensified Indo-Pakistani and Pak-Afghan disputation and (c) growing Chinese Communist and Soviet [Page 182]capabilities to press southward our basic interest still calls for policies that will:
- Vigorously support the growth of viable non-Communist governments;
- Reduce intra-area tensions and
- Increase participation by both India and Pakistan in causes beneficial to the Free World.
Our political and economic policies are well-charted and reasonably successful in strengthening the domestic structures of these countries. Similarly, within the bounds of current capabilities, our general posture of defense against Soviet bloc pressures in this region are not per se an immediate cause of concern. The chief proximate threat to the success of our policies in South Asia arise from the pervasive, corrosive intra-regional disputes. In the end these troublesome controversies probably cannot be greatly ameliorated either bilaterally or mainly through the influence of the United Nations or other nations such as Britain; the United States must continue to play a major role. The problem is what additional instruments we should use to influence the governments concerned.
The policy issues we face immediately include the Afghan-Pakistan trade impasse, the Pakistani intention of raising the Kashmir dispute in the United Nations, the recent Pakistani requests and suggestions to the United States that we restrict aid to India and give additional positive reaffirmations of the U.S.-Pakistan alliance, suggestions emanating from India that American arms would be welcome to increase India’s capabilities vis-a-vis the Communist Chinese, and the aftermath of the Goan invasion.
Compared with most states in Southeast and Southwest Asia, India and Pakistan enjoy a relatively high degree of political stability and sustained economic growth. India’s size and strength, plus its historic role in the vanguard of Asian nationalisms, give it the political influence with other countries that can be damaging to the United States when India and the United States are at cross purposes (as in some colonial issues) or extremely helpful when we can cooperate (as in the Congo or, hopefully, in achieving peace and security in Southeast Asia). India stands sometimes on the side of the Bloc, sometimes on our side and always on its own side (Goa, Kashmir).
Pakistan, though less than a quarter as populous as India, politically and economically behind the Indian pace and less influential with other countries, ranks as another country of major importance to the United States because of its location, size and policies. Its most important policy is its alliance with the United States. From this it expects a place at the councils of the free world, military and economic strengthening beyond the usual level of aid for an unaligned nation of its size, and assured [Page 183]American protection against India. We expect the alliance to give us Pakistan’s general support in the United Nations, a South Asian anchor position for our system of pacts around the rim of the Communist Bloc, and certain special facilities.
In general political terms India’s weight in international affairs can do more to help us or harm us than can Pakistan’s. To have to choose between the two countries would, however, be a failure of policy: we need both.
Afghanistan is a traditional buffer area between Russia and South Asia. While less important to the Free World than either India or Pakistan, for it to come under Communist domination would greatly aggravate the problems of defense for Iran as well as India and Pakistan. Its conflicts with Pakistan over “Pushtunistan” and related problems are the single greatest threat to its retention in the Free World.
The bitterest of the regional disputes in South Asia arises out of events in the late 1940s. In the 1960s South Asia will face new and profoundly different situations which can be met only if Afghanistan, Pakistan and India perceive the necessity of much closer cooperation than they have ever yet achieved. With economic development village economies are giving way to regional cash economies; these can ripen far more effectively when trade and exchange flow freely across the sub-continental borders. Economic cooperation will also be essential to successfully meeting the competition of the European Common Market. The advantages of close political cooperation are self-evident. In military defense, joint or coordinated policies in the face of the threat from the north will greatly strengthen each country, and therefore the Free World generally.
Moreover, it is essential to our interests that these countries find ways of compromising their bitter disputes. Hundreds of millions of dollars of our aid to India and Pakistan are in effect dissipated by their feud over Kashmir. The stability and strength that we need in South Asia as a condition of our global defenses against Communist pressures is also jeopardized. To overcome these difficulties and to settle these disputes it may be necessary for the United States to undertake further new initiatives. It is also essential to United States global security interests that we maintain in these countries an image of strength, and of determination to support their efforts to maintain independence in the face of Soviet and Communist Chinese pressures.
In our dealings with South Asian governments we must bear in mind the fact that individual leaders and oligarchies can exert tremendous influence on millions of constituents. The importance of personal diplomacy cannot be overestimated. In our discussions with South Asian leaders it is important that we keep them aware of United States interests in the area; that we impress them with our disapproval of their self-destructive squabbles; and that we constantly remind them of the [Page 184]grave consequences of their failure to cooperate in the face of the growing danger of Sino-Soviet expansionism.
II. Our Stake in South Asian Intra-Area Disputes
The intra-area disputes confront us, with several direct, immediate policy issues. These are discussed in the following paragraphs:
A. Pakistan-Afghanistan Disputes
The “Pushtunistan” question continues to affect directly every aspect of Afghanistan-Pakistan relations and United States relations with both countries. Pakistan flatly rejects the Afghan claim that for historical, ethnic, cultural and linguistic reasons Afghanistan has a special interest in the four to five million Pushtu-speaking peoples in Pakistan and that these people should be given the right of self-determination. In the last two years the Government of Pakistan has dealt increasingly firmly with Pushtun tribal unrest and relations between the two countries have correspondingly worsened. There is little likelihood of a solution of the “Pushtunistan” question in the foreseeable future. Pakistan has a strong legal position. Most nations, including the United States, recognize the Durand Line as the international boundary.
Policy Issue: Whether the United States should seek to establish conditions of mediation for this dispute.
We recommend that we not do so, but continue to work toward the obsolescence of this problem through resolution of the associated transit trade issue, on which we may have more leverage.
2. The Afghan Transit Trade Issue
The complex of actions and counter actions which led to the disruption of the traditional transit trade route through Pakistan into Afghanistan in September has opened the door for rapidly and sharply increased Soviet influence in Afghanistan. Because a substantial part of the transit trade consists of United States aid supplies and equipment (which we ship to Afghanistan with ample political as well as economic justification) we believe we have some leverage with Afghanistan, though very little with Pakistan except at the possible cost of a degeneration in our relations with Pakistan.
Policy Issues: (a) Whether we should make efforts to keep the aid pipeline open to Afghanistan if it can be done at moderate extra costs for shipments by a temporary alternative routing through Iran.
We believe this should be done and that it is desirable to add the necessary amount to the Afghan aid bill to continue the movement of selected aid goods to Afghanistan. This will indicate to the Afghans our intention of continuing a portion of our aid programs while the Pakistan route is closed. At the same time we recommend that after the Afghans and Pakistanis have had an opportunity to realize the dangerous consequences of their stubborn positions, we make a new diplomatic approach.[Page 185]
(b) Whether the United States should be prepared to support the development at substantial cost of a permanent alternative transit route through Iran for Afghanistan.
This issue will become acute if the trade impasse shows no significant prospects of improvement over the next one or two years. We recommend no immediate action in support of the development of a permanent alternative route for the reason that it would release Afghanistan from pressures for seeking a resolution of its issue with Pakistan.
B. India-Pakistan Disputes
If Pakistan, as it now intends, raises the Kashmir issue in the Security Council in January we can expect a deterioration in the relations between the two countries and a setback in prospects of progress toward the resolution of this overriding issue between Pakistan and India. Possibly even more important, the United Nations debate and the position the United States takes with respect to the issue in that forum probably could lead to a noticeable deterioration of United States relations with one or the other of the two countries.
Tension between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has risen markedly in recent weeks. India’s seizure of Goa by force, and the inability of the UN to prevent this, has raised Pakistan fears that India may have in mind the eventual forceful seizure of Pakistan-occupied portions of Kashmir. The Goa action has also served to embarrass India internationally with Western nations. The initial Pakistan reaction to Goa was to advance the prospective date for presentation of Kashmir in the Security Council to mid-January. At the same time, Indian leaders, in the normal course of their election campaign, have been calling for the return to India of the portion of the state of Kashmir which Pakistan now occupies.
Meanwhile, following Ambassador Galbraith’s initiative, he and Ambassador Rountree have been quietly attempting to stimulate ministerial-level talks between India and Pakistan which would hopefully lead to Nehru-Ayub talks after the Indian elections in February. (If Pakistan adopts a constitution this winter, the top-level talks would probably have to follow Pakistan elections in the spring.) At the same time we have been making representations in both Karachi and New York with the Pakistan representative in New York and giving the reasons why we believe submission to the Security Council would be of no value to Pakistan.
No progress toward a solution of the Kashmir problem is seen possible through Security Council action. Any resolution putting pressure on India would receive a Soviet veto. This the Pakistanis know, but they seem to feel that drawing UN attention again to the problem would at least draw world attention to India’s intransigence and might serve as a form of pressure on India towards concessions in eventual bilateral talks.
Clearly no final political solution of the Kashmir dispute is presently possible or in view in the near future. At the same time, other aspects of the Kashmir problem—hydrological, economic, humanitarian, military—appear as possible subjects of bilateral talks in the present context when it seems impossible totally to avoid consideration of the Kashmir issue.[Page 186]
Policy Issue: Whether the United States should continue its active efforts to reduce Indian-Pakistan tensions over Kashmir and, if so, how far we should go. We do not believe that the size and pace of the economic assistance program should be used directly as instruments. It is possible our efforts may result in some impairment of the alliance relationship with Pakistan in view of Ayub’s original expectation of full United States support in the Security Council.
We should continue intensive diplomatic efforts with the objective of leading to bilateral negotiations and of discouraging Pakistan from raising the issue in the Security Council.
We should impress upon both parties that their failure to settle traditional problems is not only diverting their attention from problems of greater importance to their future security and that of the Free World, but also jeopardizing the interests of countries outside the area desiring to assist them.
2. Recent Requests and Suggestions Made by the Pakistanis
Pakistan professes to fear that India’s success in Goa will lead to aggression in Kashmir. Against this background the Pakistanis presented an aide-memoire to the Secretary on January 3, 19621 which took the following positions:
- That the 1951 U.S. military sales agreement with India should be terminated and that India should not receive military equipment until it renounces “aggressive intentions and needs the equipment only to fight the Chinese”;
- That U.S. economic aid to India should be limited to a level that would prevent India from diverting an “unduly large part of its own resources to build up its military machine”;
- That the U.S. take action to “deter India from committing aggression against Pakistan” by a public statement to the effect that the United States would come to Pakistan’s assistance if attacked—an undertaking similar to that contained in a confidential assurance given to the Pakistanis in 1959; and
- That the United States increase military aid to Pakistan.
Policy Issue: Whether we should restrict aid to India and give addition reaffirmations of the US-Pakistan alliance in both a material and public form.
We do not recommend acceding to the Pakistani suggestions except with respect to providing official reassurances that the United States guarantees to Pakistan are still in force. With respect to each point:
On point (a), we should observe to the Pakistanis that the President promised Ayub during his visit here that the United States had not changed its policy with regard to military assistance to India and that Ayub would be consulted prior to any contemplated change.[Page 187]
On point (b), we should point out that the United States provides no hard currency support to India which she could directly apply to military purchases and that all of our economic assistance is involved in specified projects or commodity purchases. In our opinion India would spend approximately the same amount of its own resources on its armed forces, in the light of its security interests as it sees them, regardless of the level of United States and other aid. The sacrifice would fall in the economic sector.
On point (c), we recommend that Ambassador Rountree be authorized to assure President Ayub that United States guarantees to Pakistan are still in force, including the undertaking contained in our note of April 15, 1959,2 to which the Pakistanis specifically referred. Apart from the request for this assurance contained in the Pakistani aide-memoire of January 3, President Ayub very recently separately asked Ambassador Roundtree for such an assurance, though not necessarily to be publicly given. The Department is opposed to publicly reaffirming at this time the assurances we have given to Pakistan.
On point (d), we believe the Pakistanis should be informed that the level of the United States commitment for military aid for the next five years has been settled upon between the two governments and that we intend to fulfill the commitment. The prospects of our increasing the level of military aid in the forseeable future is not favorable.
C. Country Problems
In our effort to help India achieve economic and social development as a basis for a viable political structure and defense against Bloc pressures, we utilize massive economic aid programs and technical assistance.
Our economic aid programs serve, inter alia, to prevent India from depending on Bloc countries for a major portion of its foreign aid.
As a result of India’s forcible occupation of Goa, we have postponed the signing of certain agreements pertaining to our aid program, but have proceeded with normal program planning within the United States Government.
Policy Issue: Whether to show our displeasure over Goa by cutting our future economic aid, a recommendation which may emanate from Congress.
We recommend, in view of our important security interests in South Asia, that we continue the announced policy of continuing aid at intended levels; and that at some time in the near future—taking into consideration the climate of opinion in the United States, and the behavior [Page 188]of the Indian Government—we resume signing agreements without undue publicity.
Since 1951 we have sold to India relatively small quantities of military equipment—mainly consumable or replacement items. The Indians have recently shown an interest in the purchase of aircraft, missiles and electronic devices, the sale of which would generate protests from Pakistan, and at the same time help to prevent the Indians from turning to the Bloc for similar items.
Since Goa we have informally suspended active consideration of possible sales of major military items to India. This question, of course, involves agreement among a number of Departments and agencies.[Page 189]
Policy Issue: Whether to sell major military items to India.
We recommend that in the near future we resume consideration of such sales on a case-by-case basis—taking into account all political and military factors such as the military situation on the Tibetan border.
In addition to far-reaching questions discussed elsewhere in this paper, the only immediate issue requiring decision is the extent of United States participation in the Pakistan Consortium for 1962-63. This is set out below. Because of their sensitive nature, problems relating to our special facilities and installations in Pakistan are dealt with in a separate paper.
Extent of U.S. Participation in the Pakistan Consortium
At the IBRD Consortium on Pakistan in June 1961, $320 million in aid was committed toward Pakistan’s development requirements for FY 1962. Out of this total the United States committed $150 million. President Ayub has protested this result as entirely inadequate to meet Pakistan’s needs. A further meeting of the Consortium is scheduled for January 24-26 in Washington where commitments to meet Pakistan’s requirements for the two years, 1962-63, estimated at $945 million, will be sought.
Policy Issue: Since this is a multi-year commitment, a Presidential commitment will be required. This recommendation is being forwarded through normal channels.
We recommend that the United States offer to commit up to $500 million of this total of $945 million—the exact amount to depend on the commitments of other members of the Consortium and availability of U.S. funds.
In the face of intensive Bloc efforts to detach Nepal from India’s sphere of influence, the United States extends economic aid and technical assistance, and endeavors to persuade the King to reestablish a representative government, dissolved in December 1959. Recent press reports of disturbances in Nepal have not been confirmed.
Policy Issue: Whether to continue our efforts to influence the King to reach an accommodation with the Nepali Congress Party, or to support a rebellion intended to destroy the King’s power and to establish a new government.
In view of the inevitable chaos which would be exploited by the Communists, and in view of the Nepali Congress’ presumed inability to establish a viable government, we continue to favor efforts to bring about an accommodation between the King and the Nepali Congress.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.90/1-1062. Secret. The paper was transmitted to the White House under cover of a memorandum from Battle to Bundy dated January 10. The Secretary approved the paper for discussion with the President on January 11 at 5 p.m.↩
- Attached to Document 84; not printed.↩
Foreign Relations, 1958-1960, vol. XV, pp. 708– 709.↩