266. Memorandum of Conversation1

President Johnson said that he and President Ayub had rehearsed and reviewed problems of both countries. He was very happy that President Ayub had been able to visit him and he wished that this visit had taken place earlier, a year or two before. He hoped that there would be another visit in the months ahead. He said that there was no leader with whom he had more rapport, understanding, or friendship. President Johnson said he and President Ayub had discussed in a completely frank way a number of serious matters which were of deep concern to both countries. For its part, the United States would do what it can do. He was praying that the upcoming Tashkent Conference would be successful. [Page 510] He was sure that there is nothing that Pakistan wants to do that is inimical to the United States. He had made it clear to President Ayub that if the Pakistani people are in danger of being “gobbled up” the United States would be there just as they are in Viet-Nam.

The President said that President Ayub had come asking for nothing but was going away with everything—with our friendship, our confidence, and our trust. “Indeed, everything we have got”.

President Johnson said that he would like Mr. Arthur Dean to go to Pakistan, “as I did,” to visit heads of government, and to make recommendations on how to improve the machinery.

He repeated that he believed and would say so to our people, that Pakistan would not do anything that is inimical to the United States.

He said that although nothing specific had been discussed or decided, he had told President Ayub that we are not going to let Pakistan say that we cannot feed India, adding that Pakistan had not asked any such thing. Nor were we going to let India think that we cannot protect Pakistan.

He did not know how two heads of State could leave each other with more feeling of brotherly love. He recalled his visit to Pakistan and said that he had never visited any country where he was treated better or that he loved more. Speaking directly to President Ayub, he said that “If your life (Pakistan) is threatened, ours will be also threatened”.

President Ayub replied that he wished the United States had felt the same way a few months ago when Pakistan’s life was being threatened. He went on to say that the conversation had done his soul a lot of good and that in spite of what he had read in the press, he and President Johnson had been able to have frank and friendly talks. He knew that Pakistan had no right to dictate United States policy to India or to other countries but that he hoped we would understand Pakistan’s position. All Pakistan expects is an understanding of its position. Pakistan would never have any intention of doing any damage to the real interest of the United States. Pakistan is very deeply concerned about Viet-Nam because Viet-Nam is in Asia. He hoped that the Viet-Nam problem will come to a satisfactory end. Pakistan would be a force for moderation. He had stated in “sensitive places” (Peking) that the United States has a legitimate stake in that part of the world. At the same time Viet-Nam was of deep concern to Pakistan because it did affect its own security. He said that because of Viet-Nam and Chinese actions in Asia there seemed to be at the moment a strange coalition between India, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

In reiterating his deep satisfaction about his meeting with President Johnson he stressed the hope that the President could visit Pakistan sometime in the future.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Conference Files: Lot 66 D 347, CF 2569. Secret. Drafted by Handley. The memorandum is marked “Draft” and includes handwritten additions and corrections. The meeting took place in the Cabinet Room at the White House. According to the President’s Daily Dairy, the U.S. advisers present included Ball, Hare, Handley, McConaughy, and Hand. The Pakistani advisers were Bhutto, Faruque, Aziz Ahmed, Ghulam Ahmed, Gauhar, Salman Ali, and Iftikhar Ali. The time of the meeting is also taken from the President’s Daily Diary. (Johnson Library)