430. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India1

166136. Personal for Ambassador from the Secretary.

You and Gene Locke should shortly be receiving a statement on our new policy regarding military supplies to India and Pakistan as well as instructions on how this policy should be implemented. On the instructions of the President, Secretary McNamara, AID Administrator Gaud and I, as well as other key officials have given long, serious and careful consideration to all aspects of this new policy. Your views have been taken into account by all concerned.
This has not been an easy decision but I am confident that what we are proposing is the right course for the United States to follow in the months ahead. We do not seek a military buildup in the subcontinent. There is too much of that already and India is far from being without blame. In fact our new policy has just the opposite objective. We believe that, together with our diplomatic, economic and food efforts, it is an essential element in our endeavor to divert Indian and Pakistani energies and substance from the arms race and channel them instead towards economic programs which could within a few years substantially improve prospects for economic and food self-sufficiency. We realize we cannot by our own actions bring this about. We will therefore enlist the help of the Bank, our allies, and, if at all possible, even the Soviet Bloc.
We fully agree with you that our objective in all this is an arms agreement between these two countries. Our efforts should be in that direction and we think we will be more influential in this process if our policy is broad enough to give us a wide range of inducements and incentives especially with the GOP.

We all recognize that our new policy could cause us immediate problems in India, but I urge you not to be defensive with the Indians. There is much in the new policy that should appeal to them. For example:

We will be terminating grant military assistance to Pakistan and ending a basic military relationship we have had with that country since 1954.
The withdrawal of MAAG from Pakistan (and USMSMI from India) will be publicly announced at an appropriate moment.
The package will include funds for completion of Star Sapphire on terms far more concessional than we are offering elsewhere at present as well as a substantial credit sales program for non-lethal equipment.
We are in fact reverting to a military relationship with both countries similar to the one we had in the fifties with India (when it was on friendly terms with Communist China and the Soviet Union).
By being in a position to sell military spares to Pakistan, we will have an opportunity of slowing down the re-equipping of Pakistani military forces. Were we to continue to prevent Pakistan from maintaining for the time being its American supplied military establishment, we would surely be running the risk of a major, sudden expensive change-over and modernization process which would almost certainly be detrimental to Indian interests.

The fact is that by this new policy we will be doing no more and indeed less than other suppliers of military equipment to India and Pakistan, i.e. Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Communist China and the Soviet Union. Moreover, we know we will be less forthcoming than other military suppliers because we intend to scrutinize requests more carefully than they do.

It seems to me that the GOI should see our new policy in the perspective of our total relationship with India, a relationship in terms of economic, food, political and other support that is clearly based on USG conviction that India is central to our interests in South Asia. Since World War II four US administrations have steadfastly supported the independence of India as well as massive American assistance to India’s economic development. In the days immediately ahead we will be moving forward on a number of fronts and these should not be ignored or discounted. They include:
$25 million total package for voluntary agencies.
A non-project loan of $132 million.
Project GROMET.2
AID level discussions at the Consortium meeting in early April.
Another tranche of PL–480 Title I shortly after the Consortium meeting.
Continued diplomatic efforts to mobilize an international food program for India.
In the light of our changed relationship with Pakistan and considering the totality of our relations with India, I am confident that you can explain our new policy in such a way that the Indians will appreciate our objectives and will not forget the advantages that accrue to them through their overall relationships with the United States.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 25, April 1–15, 1967. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Handley on March 30; cleared by Battle, Heck, and Spain; and approved by Rusk.
  2. Project GROMET was the code name for an Indian rain augmentation project initiated with U.S. support at the end of 1966.