15. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State 1

1520. Kashmir.


I saw President for forty minutes in his Karachi office this morning. FonSec Aziz Ahmed also present. Pres was in good and responsive mood, although naturally concerned about various difficult foreign policy problems before him. Principal topic was Security Council consideration of Kashmir issue which is reported herein. Other topics reported separately.2

I first delivered Mrs. Kennedy’s Jan 23 letter of appreciation for Pakistani sympathy and support after death of Pres Kennedy.3 Pres read letter in my presence and responded feelingly.

Pres turned to Kashmir debate in SC, urging that US support strong UN resolution, notwithstanding certainty of Soviet veto. He felt resolution would have strong effect regardless of Soviet opposition, meaning of which would not be lost on people of Pakistan or the world. On other hand he thought “consensus statement,” especially in watered-down version and lacking unanimous support, would not have any propulsive effect, would not be interpreted as a meaningful action by the people of Pakistan, and would not give UN SecGen needed strong encouragement to enter Kashmir scene in an intermediary role.
President expressed particular unhappiness with reports he said he was still receiving from New York indicating that US was actively working against resolution and was pushing for diluted type of consensus statement as suggested by Ivory Coast representative. He understood that Ivory Coast draft would play into Indian hands by mingling Kashmir issue with other disputes between Pakistan and India in way which would prevent UN concentration on Kashmir and would enable Indians to divert attention from Kashmir and go through form of general bilateral discussions without ever having to face up to Kashmir question.
President said if these reports were accurate he wanted to plead earnestly with us to reconsider US position. He felt that GOI could perhaps be moved by resolution but not by fuzzy consensus. He said “Hindu are naturally bullies,” but he said it was also characteristic of them to trim their sails quickly when they saw it was expedient to do so. He felt a resolute US position would be the best way of constraining the Indians to see where their best interests lay.
President hoped we would see that our broad objective of protection and security of subcontinent hinged entirely on Kashmir settlement. He argued that defense of every sector of subcontinent closely interrelated and penetration of any sector by either Soviet or Chinese Communism would pave the way for ultimate fall of entire subcontinent. As long as Kashmir remained source of fundamental discord and open wound on body of subcontinent, way was open for Communist infection of whole subcontinent by Communists. A strong cooperative defense of the subcontinent would be automatically established once the vulnerable Kashmir exposure is healed. The President professed his dismay that we could not see that our heavy expenditure on military assistance to India was wasted so long as Kashmir remained unsolved. Even from narrow standpoint our security concern would be best served by Kashmir settlement and he could not understand why we did not make such settlement the highest and most urgent objective of US policy in subcontinent.
I told President that Kashmir solution stood high on our priority list as it had for many years. I recalled our consistent support of UN resolutions and told him this position unchanged and that our differences [Page 31] at this moment over how to proceed in SC were essentially tactical rather than substantive. I urged President to look objectively at merits of strong consensus statement making essential points about (1) UN history of dispute and (2) importance of respecting will of Kashmir people, as against hunting up a resolution which would have no operative or Parliamentary validity because of inevitable Soviet veto. I said that a good consensus statement embodying the essential points and confirmed by SC President as representing views of preponderant majority of SC might well have less abrasive effect on Indians and have more potential for moving Kashmir negotiation forward than repetition of traditional resolution exercise. I thought that the significance and the hope in a good consensus statement could be explained to people of Pakistan in terms they would understand as a more realistic UN effort under present conditions than more repetition of ill-fated resolution attempt.
President said if consensus statement would in actuality carry more weight than a vetoed resolution, GOP would of course have to consider it but he doubted whether there was any real tangible potential in a consensus statement. He said if the consensus statement strongly covered the two points I had mentioned plus a third point, namely definite recommendation that UN SecGen U Thant or his nominee come into Kashmir picture in some sort of intermediary role, and if general assent to consensus statement by SC members could be obtained, then GOP possibly could go along. But not otherwise. He said he thought it was very important to find out what it would take to get U Thant actively into the Kashmir picture and he hoped our delegation would promptly explore this point in connection with its consideration of consensus versus resolution. He was worried about effect on US image among Pak people if for first time we do not promote resolution and he thought we would see the merit of putting Soviet Union rather than US in a blameworthy position in the eyes of Pak people. Also worried about effect on GOP position with Pak people of first failure to get impressive SC vote on a formal resolution. He said specifically that GOP understands certainty of Soviet veto and is prepared to live with that situation. Vetoed resolution would be better than a diluted consensus statement and better than a questionable consensus which might be rendered meaningless by non-concurrence of various members.
I mentioned Bhutto’s working dinner with Secretary in Washington Feb 10 and told him that extended exchange on this issue had taken place. I stressed our view that voluntary Indian participation in Kashmir settlement effort was essential and that coercion of India on the issue would not lead to a viable Kashmir solution and was out of the question.
President agreed that India could not be coerced but he felt that Indian inertia on the question might be overcome by discreet US push. [Page 32] As Indians gain momentum perhaps they could be brought to see that Kashmir settlement is in their own immediate vital security interest. President maintained that other Indo-Pak issues, including joint defense, evictions, communal tension, trade and transit would wither away in light of Kashmir accord.
I told President that his statement that GOP might consider strong consensus statement commanding overwhelming support of SC membership was encouraging, and that we would continue to explore the possibilities. I indicated my assumption that Bhutto would keep in close touch with USDel.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Repeated to New Delhi, USUN, and London and passed to the White House.
  2. In telegram 1529 from Karachi, February 14, McConaughy reported on that part of his conversation with Ayub in which they briefly discussed the visit to Pakistan by Chinese Premier Chou En-lai, which was scheduled to begin on February 18. (Ibid.) McConaughy reported in telegram 1530 from Karachi, February 14, on the part of the discussion relating to the military assistance program. (Ibid., DEF 19–3 US–PAK)
  3. Not found.