470. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State 1

2019. Govto 12. 1. By appointment at 1100 hours Friday morning November 24, our delegation2 with Ambassador Oehlert presented to Ayub the map case as the President’s gift. He received it with appreciation.

2. Immediately thereafter the Ambassador and I met with Ayub alone for well over an hour. Foreign Secretary Yusuf was also present and took voluminous notes.

3. I presented Ayub with the original of President Johnson’s letter3 which I had read at the dedication services the previous day. He expressed warm appreciation of the President’s message and referred to his long friendship beginning with the visit as Vice President. The letter had scooped in the press the messages from all other countries and the handwritten postscript was featured.

4. We first discussed Vietnam, which I will report in septel.4

5. Raising the Middle East problem, I expressed our encouragement by the unanimous approval [of] the British resolution by the Security Council, including Soviet support. Although Ayub said he had received the British draft from New York, he read carefully paragraph by paragraph a copy I handed him. I suggested that it would be useful for him now to encourage King Hussein who had made a good impression in the US. Unfortunately, Nasser had repudiated Hussein’s position. Ayub agreed to support the efforts of the UN representative Gunnar Jensen, although he suggested that we not press the Arabs too hard. He pointed to the wide interpretation that could be [Page 919] given the phrasing of the resolution. I replied that all we wanted was the basis for peace along the lines of the President’s five points. He agreed that a basis for a permanent peace was essential and recognized that the resolution was an important step forward, underlining the value of Soviet support. He made no bones about Soviet long-term intentions in the area, but thought that they did not want renewed hostilities. Jerusalem came up later in my talk with him at luncheon. He stated that his people would demand independent status for the Moslem holy places, which were revered second only to Mecca. He agreed, however, the subject should be kept apart from the other Arab-Israel problems.

6. As Ayub had mentioned the need for cooperation by the advanced countries to the developing countries, I gave him a copy of the President’s Science Advisory Committee’s report on hunger, which included detailed analyses of Pakistan’s problems. I said I thought that approach of increased food production within an over-all expanding economy as proposed by this report was receiving increased attention in the US and elsewhere.

7. Ayub then brought up the question of tanks in the following manner: (A) he propounded the view that India had lost its ideology; since the death of Gandhi India had abandoned its principle of non-violence; since the death of Nehru, it had abandoned its policy of non-alignment; bigotry was now becoming more and more rampant in India; the elections were showing this type of candidate was winning; the present government was weak and could not last. Yet, India was developing vast military strength as a result of our past help and present Soviet assistance. This was obviously directed at Pakistan. He genuinely feared the possibility of another attack from India, and Pakistan must be prepared to meet it. (B) He said Pakistan badly needed 500 tanks to replace obsolete Shermans, but was presently requesting only 200. This is in line with prior statements made by him and the Minister of Defense to Ambassador Oehlert. (C) He reaffirmed previous statements made to Amb. Oehlert that he would scrap obsolete tanks on a one-for-one basis if he could receive tanks from or through US. (D) He expressed an understanding of our inability to make direct sales of tanks but expressed the hope that our government would take the initiative with countries where M–47 tanks under our control were known to exist in surplus and obtain offer of sale to Pakistan on appropriate terms. At this point I asked Amb. Oehlert to restate our present position with respect to tanks. He reminded Ayub that in previous conversations it had been pointed out: first, that we could not undertake direct sale; second, that we could not consider approving transfers through any intermediate government; third, that we could not take any initiative in undertaking to be purchasing agent for GOP; fourth, [Page 920] that we had under consideration only 100 tanks although we did not foreclose the possibility of considering a second 100 after the first 100 was disposed of one way or another and if justification could be established adequate to make it possible to undertake such consideration; and that if GOP established the availability of 100 tanks in some other country for purchase on acceptable terms USG would give earnest consideration to their request to approve sale of such tanks directly to Pakistan. Ayub stated he must have reconstructed tanks, as he could not afford new ones. Although I admitted we were unhappy at size of India’s military budget, we didn’t believe Indian aggressive intentions toward Pakistan. I admitted weakness Indian Government and many internal problems, but asked whether this wasn’t what had been expected as inevitable after Nehru’s death, and expressed the opinion it was too early to predict political future. I underlined our respect for Pakistan’s economic development and considered use of resources for further economic expansion as wiser investment for Pakistan security than extravagant military outlays. However, I agreed to report his concern.

8. Conversation broke off in order to prepare for luncheon at which Ayub entertained all visiting delegations. He asked me to express his high respects to the President.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 7 US/HARRIMAN. Secret; Priority; Limdis.
  2. The telegram was from Ambassador at Large Averell Harriman, who was head of a Presidential delegation that attended the dedication ceremonies at the Mangla Dam on November 23. The delegation included Senator E. L. Bartlett of Alaska, Representative Delwin M. Clawson of California, Governor Kenneth M. Curtis of Maine, and Governor Calvin L. Rampton of Utah.
  3. Reference is to a November 20 letter from Johnson to Ayub in which Johnson lauded the Ayub government and the people of Pakistan for the signal accomplishment represented by the construction of the Mangla Dam. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Head of Correspondence File, Pakistan, Vol. 2, President Ayub Correspondence, 1/1/66–12/25/67)
  4. In telegram 2016 from Rawalpindi, November 25, Harriman reported that he had explained to Ayub President Johnson’s urgent desire that pressure be exerted on North Vietnam to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Ayub agreed to do what he could in his contacts with Communist countries to promote a settlement. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Harriman Files: Lot 71 D 461, Pakistan Trip)