435. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State1

3788. Ref: State 1665392 and 168709.3

Conveyed contents reftels (omitting USG internal and New Delhi instructions) orally to President Ayub in forty-five minute conversation April 7.
President Ayub reaffirmed statements passed to me by Foreign Secretary Yousuf November 6 (Rawalpindi 1751).4 Particularly he said tanks and other equipment are to “fill gaps” and replace worn out obsolete equipment, not to increase force levels.
President stated GOP has replied to Chagla note about arms limitation meeting, and Foreign Office instructed to furnish us copy. Ayub said meetings should be secret and at diplomatic level at present, [Page 841] since any Ministerial meetings which got in press would only increase Indo-Pak tensions.
Ayub was optimistic about meetings. He said senior Pak officer (most probably G. Mueenuddin) recently went to India for wedding and saw B.K. Nehru, an old friend of his, and subsequently Indira Gandhi. Nehru said politically impossible seriously discuss Kashmir. Mrs. Gandhi said she prepared to listen to Pak officer but would make no comment. Ayub said conciliatory public statements by Indians on arms limitation and other subjects are purely for US consumption. Ayub noted that while Pak military budget reduced this year, India budget increased to about 969 crore. He said much hidden in EA budget because of India’s ordnance production. Pakistan estimates real Indian defense expenditures 15 to 20 per cent greater than above figure. Ayub reiterated that way to obtain arms limitation is for US to talk independently to each country as British did in Rann of Kutch dispute. He reiterated Pakistan wants arms limitation, Pakistan can never have anywhere near as large army as India, which is sapping India’s economic strength; Pakistan merely wants to be able to defend itself adequately.
I noted our need for list of Pak spare part requirements and requirements for purchases from third countries, including information prerequisite for consideration German tank purchase. My impression is Ayub prepared to make requested information available, at least against specific possibility obtain desired tanks.
We discussed possibility of Defense Minister Khan travelling to US soon to talk with Defense and State Departments.
Comment: Review of public and private statements by Ayub and senior responsible officials over past several months demonstrates consistency in GOP position reflected anew in Ayub’s remarks today. Principal elements are GOP: (a) willingness in principle to reduce defense expenditures and limit arms; (b) requirement for some degree of motion on political issues; (c) scepticism about Indian sincerity and concern at possible GOI press leaks and public exploitation of talks; (d) preference for secrecy exploratory talks via diplomatic channels and for US bilateral approaches with each side. Emphasis varies but all elements remain central to Pak position.
It now most important to develop GOP confidence in political and military feasibility of new US policy. Immediate requirement this regard is expeditious US response to Pak lethel spare parts request.
Absolute discretion all parties essential with respect to existence and content Indo-Pak talks and regarding any military strength figures supplied to US. Would appreciate opportunity review any proposed press release re US military support policy.
Please advise your reactions to Khan visit. We recommend he come and that opportunity be used to begin rebuilding relationship between US and Pak armed forces.5
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 INDIA. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to New Delhi, London, Tehran, and CINCMEAFSA.
  2. Document 431.
  3. Document 433.
  4. Document 384.
  5. Locke reported on April 11 that he had followed up his discussion with Ayub on April 7 by covering the same ground with Defense Minister Admiral Khan, Foreign Minister Pirzada, Foreign Secretary Yusuf, and Air Marshal Nur Khan. (Telegram 3788 from Rawalpindi; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 INDIA) At Admiral Khan’s request, the Embassy prepared and sent to him on April 12 a memorandum outlining the new military supply policy for India and Pakistan. (Telegram 3862 from Rawalpindi, April 12; ibid.) Locke’s judgment was that the Ayub government found the new U.S. military supply policy to be moderately satisfactory and, under the circumstances, an understandable modification of U.S. policy. (Telegram 5007 from Karachi, April 14; ibid., DEF 12–5 PAK)