330. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Handley) to Secretary of State Rusk 1


  • President’s Talk with Pakistan Finance Minister Shoaib

Bill Gaud and I went to the White House this afternoon for the President’s meeting with Finance Minister Shoaib who was accompanied by Ambassador Ahmed. The President first saw Shoaib with only Walt Rostow in attendance. This session lasted about one-half hour. Ambassador Ahmed, Bill Gaud and I joined the President, Shoaib and Walt Rostow for a brief round-up session in which the President made the following points:

He continued to have the greatest respect and regard for President Ayub and had asked Minister Shoaib to convey this message to him.
He understood Pakistan’s difficulties but even with this understanding we too have our problems. He spoke particularly about problems caused by Pakistan’s relations with China and India. He emphasized the problems of Pakistan/Chinese relations at a time when American boys were dying in VIET Nam and said that it would be very hard for Americans to understand the kind of relationship that seemed to be developing between the Pakistanis and Chinese when Pakistan [Page 633] is supposed to be an ally of the United States. We too might someday like to give the Chinese leaders a “parade” but we were a very long way from that at the moment. On India/Pak relations, he said we simply cannot finance a war between these two countries and he hoped that men in India and Pakistan would find some way to bring about a lasting peace. There might be joint economic projects, there might be a river to be dammed and shared, for example.
He said that Ayub knows how he feels about Kashmir and he doubted that he would be as restrained as Ayub has been about this matter. But settlement of these problems takes time and understanding.
He said that Secretary Rusk would be meeting with Mr. Shoaib tomorrow and would be discussing the conditions under which we would be prepared to help Pakistan to join with the World Bank in helping Pakistan in its economic programs. He looked with sympathy on the steel mill and felt that we should help Pakistan in this project.
The President spoke with some emotion about the closing down of the facilities. He said he didn’t understand this because it seemed to him Ayub would have reopened them after their talks in December and he did not know why this problem had not been straightened out.
The President emphasized the importance of limiting military expenditures. He said that he talked with India’s Prime Minister Gandhi and Food Minister Subramaniam about this problem. India cannot expect to continue to build MIGs and steel plants and at the same time continue to get help from us for food and economic programs. India has got to be able to feed itself and has to see this as its major priority.

The President concluded his summary by emphasizing his great admiration for President Ayub. He recalled that President Kennedy had told him that Ayub was a truly great statesman and he wanted Minister Shoaib to know that he has never met a head of state for whom he has greater respect and admiration than he has for Ayub. He knew Ayub’s problems and he knows Pakistan’s problems. Pakistan happened to choose some “lulus” for neighbors including Russia, China and Afghanistan, but that was not Pakistan’s fault.

At the end of our meeting with the President Walt Rostow asked all of us to join him for a few minutes in his office where he emphasized to Minister Shoaib and Ambassador Ahmed the President’s great concern about the facilities and the need to have them reopened. He said the President saw this as a possible breakdown between him and Ayub and he was troubled by it.2 Minister Shoaib got the point but Ambassador Ahmed considerably less so.

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Walt Rostow has told me that the President, in his initial talk with Minister Shoaib, followed the attached memorandum3 he had prepared for the visit. You will see from this that the President has made it very clear to Shoaib what general understandings we must have before we can resume assistance to Pakistan. The President did not, however, get into the specifics of aid figures and military levels. It would seem, therefore, in your meeting with Shoaib that this is the subject on which you might wish to concentrate.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PAK. Secret; Exdis.
  2. The Department emphasized this concern in telegram 499 to Rawalpindi, April 30. The telegram summarized the portion of Johnson’s conversation with Shoaib that dealt with the closed installations. (Ibid., DEF 15 PAK-US)
  3. Not attached. The April 28 briefing memorandum from Rostow to the President listed a number of suggested points the President might want to make in his meeting with Shoaib. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt Rostow, Aides Files, Vol 1, April 1–30, 1966)