348. Telegram From the Embassy Office in Pakistan to the Department of State1
Rawalpindi, June 9, 1966, 1329Z.
753. Ref: Deptel 610 to Rawalpindi.2
- My presentation of credentials followed by private meeting between President Ayub and myself took place in satisfying atmosphere.
- DCM Cargo, General Rafi, and Chief of Protocol were present during credentials presentation phase. President Ayub spoke in warmest terms of his relationship with President Johnson and expressed his strong desire to maintain best possible relationship with United States. He stated his conviction that the long range interests of United States and Pakistan coincided. He stressed difficulties of Pakistan’s strategic and geographic position—with three great powers “breathing down our necks”. It was necessary for Pakistan to strive for friendly relations with these powers, although India was not yet prepared for this. Indian hostile intentions, Ayub added, were not imaginary; they had been demonstrated in fact last September. Nevertheless, he hoped that friendship would be attained with India and asserted his desire for peace on the subcontinent. He said that Pakistan and India both needed 15 years of peace and that, for Pakistan, this would mean an opportunity to carry forward economic development that had already made great strides. Reverting to his comments on Pakistan’s relations with great powers, Ayub said that the United States was the only great power that had no designs on Pakistan and friendship with the United States was highly valued. Ayub expressed hope for our understanding of the difficult problems faced by Pakistan in its relations with its neighbors. He said he understood the compulsions of US global policies and that Pakistan was a small element in this large picture. But he hoped the United States did not consider Pakistan expendable. (I interjected that we indeed did not consider Pakistan expendable but, on the contrary, an important friend.) President Ayub concluded his remarks by very graciously welcoming me to Pakistan in my capacity as President Johnson’s representative here.
- Credentials presentation was followed by 45 minutes private meeting between President Ayub and me in which I covered ground of reftel.
- President Ayub expanded on his statements reported in para 2. above with particular reference to his friendship for United States, his desire for peace on the subcontinent, his desire to reduce military expenditures, and his hopes for discussions with Indian leaders. On latter point, he thought that GOP representatives could be helpful in encouraging Indians to suggest meeting, but indicated that GOI should take initiative in moving toward further Indo-Pak meetings.
- I said we hoped that Pakistan could reduce its military expenditures, that figures were not going down as much as we would like them to, although they were being reduced to some extent. Ayub replied that military expenditures were being reduced to a considerable extent, and indicated that Pakistan would be prepared for further reductions, linking this, however, to parallel action by India. I told him that we were likewise encouraging Indians to reduce their military outlays.
- I told Ayub that we were encouraging Indian leaders to resume discussions on all problems they faced with Pakistan, including Kashmir. We spoke of other matters to be considered such as the Ganges/Bramhaputra control and development, and levels of military expenditures.
- Ayub made no particular comment, although he did not dissent, when I expressed the desirability of a reduction of forces along both sides of the Indo-Pak border and the cease-fire line. I said I thought the ultimate objective should be a U.S.-Mexican type of border arrangement and that this could involve para-military forces which should be under strict operational control of the central government authorities.
- During our private discussion Ayub reaffirmed promises he had made to President Johnson during his visit to Washington that he would do nothing to hurt the interests of United States. He said President Johnson had told him that we would do nothing to hurt the interests of Pakistan. Ayub followed this by commenting that he had told his Ministers on his return from Washington to stay away from Vietnam questions in their speeches and that he had passed advice to the press to stay away from anti-U.S. statements about Vietnam and other topics. Ayub said he thought this had been followed up reasonably well. (I believe that this comment by President Ayub gives me a good basis to take up press problems with him if the situation should warrant.)
- In describing problems that he faced Ayub adverted to the question of spare parts. He indicated he did not take position that United States was wrong in cutting off military supplies. However, he observed that since all his equipment was of U.S. origin, he could not obtain parts except at exorbitant prices (noting parenthetically that we were urging him to lower his military budget) and that this put Pakistan at a disadvantage in comparison with India. India, he said, does not [Page 676] have such a problem, because it could and did procure its military supplies and equipment from other sources. Ayub made no specific request to me on subject of spares but he clearly wanted me to understand that he had a problem.
- I told Ayub what we were prepared to do on the matter of economic aid. I let him know that this was not an easy matter for us and that we had taken this decision on the basis of statements by himself and Shoaib to President Johnson and of our understanding and expectation that Pakistan would follow through with efforts to maintain peace on the subcontinent, resolve its differences with India, improve its bilateral relations with the United States and continue its emphasis on economic development. I mentioned also the importance we attach to import liberalization and to release of seized cargoes and compensation for those that could not be returned. On matter of compensation, Ayub agreed in principle and said GOP would be prepared to negotiate that matter with us, presumably on amounts involved. Ayub was obviously pleased at this word and the indication it conveyed of U.S. readiness to take affirmative steps to build strong U.S.-Pak ties.
- I am reporting separately my discussion with Ayub on the reopening of the small technical facilities.3
- I am seeing Finance Minister Shoaib at 6:30 this evening and will go over some of these points in greater detail with him.
- Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 PAK. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to New Delhi and Karachi.↩
- Document 344.↩
- Locke reported on this part of his discussion with Ayub in telegram 754 from Rawalpindi, June 9. In light of the importance the United States attached to the reopening of the facilities, Ayub indicated that he was prepared to negotiate an agreement to reopen them if they could be made less conspicuous by moving them into the Peshawar complex. If that was not acceptable to the United States, Ayub said that he would consider reopening them where they were if they were manned by Pakistani personnel. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 PAK) The Department replied, in telegram 640, June 13, that it could accept the bases for negotiation put forward by Ayub. (Ibid., DEF 18–8 US)↩