267. Record of Meeting1


The President initially addressed his remarks to Mr. Arthur Dean. He said he wanted Mr. Dean to “go out there”, and to see what has to be done. He should realize that Ayub felt himself threatened by India and was deeply afraid that Pakistan would be “gobbled up”.

In discussing his afternoon’s conversation with President Ayub, the President said that Ayub had told him that Pakistan’s first obligation was to the United States. Ayub had no agreements of any kind with the ChiComs but what if the Indians were to try to gobble up Pakistan. The President replied that we would do what we did in Viet-Nam. We were not going to let anybody overrun them. Ayub said that was all he wanted to know. He did not want any economic or military aid at this point. Only the reassurance “you have given me.”

The President philosophized about the spot in which Ayub seemed to find himself. Ayub felt hemmed in by powerful neighbors on all sides—China, Russia and India. At home he had his domestic problems with the Bhutto group and others. Ayub seemed almost to have a psychosis about India.

On Kashmir the President said he had told Ayub to do his best at Tashkent and that if Tashkent failed we would try something else as Goldberg indicated last night. But he should not be under any illusions that we can force a settlement. If we were able to we would have done so already.

The President told Ayub that we were not going to let Pakistan tell us how to handle India. We will give India food or anything else we want. Our Indian policy is our business. Ayub said he fully understood this but what if the Indians tried to knock us off? The President said we would not let them.

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The President indicated that if Pakistan wanted close relations with us there could be no serious relationship with the ChiComs. We could not live with that. At the same time we understood certain relationships just as a wife could understand a Saturday night fling by her husband so long as she was the wife. Ayub got the point.

On aid, when the President started to talk about the possibility of providing some starters for Pakistani planes to deliver food to remote mountain areas and about the release of $40 million in 1965 loans for the Mangla transmission line, Ayub stopped him by saying he didn’t want to talk about aid just now. Ayub said, “I don’t want to ask for any aid, that’s up to you.”

The President said that Ayub had spoken at length about Pakistani public opinion which thought that the United States had stabbed Pakistan in the back and that the Americans favored India. The Paks thought this began when the United States gave military aid to India in 1962. Ayub mentioned that this had begun under President Kennedy and that he was reluctant to say anything bad about a decision made by a man who was now tragically dead.

The President told Ayub that Pakistan ought to give some of its rice surplus to India and open its ports to help relieve famine in India. If Pakistan would ship rice, we would replace it with wheat. Ayub said that the rice export was a possibility and that Pakistan had some of the world’s finest rice. He also said that the two big Pakistan ports were already clogged with a backlog of ships, but thought that Chalna could be used although it would require lighters. Chalna was near Calcutta. If the Indians came to the Pakistanis and said that the United States wanted to use this port to help relieve famine in India, Ayub would approve, but the Indians would have to ask.

Ayub had said, “I know you won’t believe it but those Indians are going to gobble us up.” President Johnson had replied that if they tried this we would stop them and that he believed we could do this simply by telling India we would not allow it. We cannot believe that India would attack Pakistan if the United States were opposed.

The President said that we would like to have Pakistan troops in Viet-Nam under their SEATO Treaty but that we would not ask for them.

The President thought that Ayub was much chastened. He had gone on an adventure and been licked. He felt very uncomfortable now, so much so that the President commented that he hated to see a proud man humble himself so. Ayub was subdued, troubled, pathetic and sad. So much so that even Mrs. Johnson had commented on it.

The President told Ayub he would never try to upset him. Did Ayub believe it. Ayub said, yes, he did. The President said that Ayub had better be more concerned about his own people and not about us. Ayub defended Bhutto and said that Bhutto had wanted him to come [Page 513] much sooner to the United States. The President commented that anything Ayub had said about Bhutto would not offend Bhutto if he read it.

Ayub had complained that our Government officials were always more sympatico toward India. We always sent our best people to India, especially those who were closest to the White House e.g. Galbraith. The President recalled that in 1961 Ayub had begged him to ask President Kennedy to send one of the Bundy boys. The President commented that it would help a lot if we could send a good new Ambassador to Pakistan.

The President then emphasized how close he felt to Ayub. He understood him, his fears, his problems. He was impressed that Ayub had asked him for nothing specific and felt that good groundwork for the visit had been laid by Prime Minister Wilson and by our people in the field. Recognizing President Ayub’s need for reassurance the President had told him that he would no more think about injuring Lady Bird than he would Ayub.

There ensued some discussion about the timing of the Dean mission, i.e. whether it should be before or after the Shastri visit. The general sense was that it should be after Shastri had visited Washington and that it should be to both India and Pakistan.

  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 contains handwritten revisions. The meeting took place in the Oval Office of the White House. The time and place of the meeting are taken from the President’s Daily Diary; the memorandum itself indicates that Ayub and Johnson met between 4:30 and 5:30. (Johnson Library) The Daily Diary also indicates that the advisers present included Ball, McGeorge Bundy, Hare, McConaughy, Komer, Handley, Arthur Dean, Chief of Protocol Lloyd Hand, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs David Popper.