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

4396. Please pass White House and concerned agencies. From Ambassador.

Pursuant to appointment sought by him I called on Foreign Minister this morning. Yousuf and Piracha were present.
The Minister handed me a letter terminating the Peshawar Agreement. The text of the letter follows:

“I have the honour to refer to the agreement concluded on 18th July, 1959, between the United States of America and Pakistan relating to the establishment of a communication unit in Pakistan and to state that the Government of Pakistan have decided to terminate the said agreement (when it expires on 17th July, 1969). Therefore, in accordance with Article 12 of that agreement, I hereby convey to you notice of termination on behalf of the Government of Pakistan.

“I avail myself of this opportunity to renew to your excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.” Signed Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Foreign Minister of Pakistan.

Following delivery of notice the following statements were made, with Yousuf doing most of the talking:
When the Minister and Secretary Rusk met in Washington last fall the Secretary noted that USG-GOP relations are now normal with former special circumstances no longer present including the 1965 cessation of arms supply;
GOP now normalizing friendly relations with all major powers;
This means that their relations with each power must be bilateral with nothing directed against any third power;
Peshawar has been and continues to be a serious liability in GOP relations with both USSR and ChiComs;
Renewal would not be appreciated by USSR or by ChiComs or by “our own people”;
Because of recent technical development such as satellites USG really no longer needs Peshawar;
USSR and ChiComs can do many things to harm GOP, including in her relations with GOI;
GOP anxious to maintain good relations with USG free of strain and hopes that “they can continue to go up and up as they have recently”;
GOP sincerely hopes that this termination will have no adverse effect on either USG-GOP aid relations or on the recently improved military supply situation;
The USG and USSR have mutually been seeking a détente with each other and continuance of Peshawar would cast a shadow on those efforts;
GOP hopes, especially in view of recent Viet-Nam relationship, that USG will evolve a new ChiCom relation which would be made more difficult by Peshawar continuance.
Following the above exposition I expressed surprise at the abruptness and apparent finality of this notice and discourse to which Yousuf responded that they wanted USG to have as much notice as possible and felt that in 15 months USG could effect adequate and satisfactory substitute arrangements.
I noted that USG probably did have the technical, geographic and financial capacities to adjust to a new situation but the necessity to make such an effort would put a heavy strain on USG-GOP relations not only because it would be extremely costly but also because it would be interpreted in many USG circles as an indication that GOP preferred cooperative relations with USSR and ChiComs more than with USG.
I then stated that I would of course report this development to Washington and would seek instructions. At this point I observed that I assumed that the subject was still open to discussion and negotiation. The response was affirmative.
I then reviewed briefly the salient reasons why it would not be in the interests of GOP to insist on a July ’69 closing of this operation, as follows:
GOP is itself getting a useful take;
GOP has the continuing benefit of valuable training;
The Peshawar area enjoys a very valuable economic benefit from the operation;
If indeed USG, albeit at great expense and inconvenience, substituted other operations, then this means that neither USSR nor ChiComs would benefit from termination;
The known existence of the operation had not prevented continual improvement in GOP relations with USSR or ChiComs;
The existence of Peshawar gives GOP bargaining power with USSR and ChiComs whereas its elimination would remove that leverage and decrease Communist interest in GOP.
Yousuf responded: [Page 963]
GOP is not getting any worthwhile info from operation largely because USG does not share its take except in unimportant items and all important areas are taboo;
GOP own operation is very marginal. GOI is aware of it and has objected to it thus putting a further strain on GOP-GOI relations;
Training is very limited and can be had under other available arrangements;
The economic benefits are of no great order;
Whether or not Communists would be in improved situation without Peshawar they press very hard for its discontinuance and GOP does not consider it as a lever but rather as a hardship, noting that Communists constantly refer to both Peshawar and CENTO as representing special treatment of USG in violation of GOP’s avowed policy of bilateral even-handedness;
GOP relations with Communists have continued to improve despite Peshawar because GOP has been becoming more and more non-aligned and USSR and ChiComs have grudgingly accepted Peshawar during its original term but would feel quite differently about a renewal;
Peshawar is directed against USSR and ChiComs but GOP does not engage in any operations directed against USG;
GOP is apprehensive about military build-up of GOI and must obtain assistance somewhere but Communists always cite Peshawar and CENTO as reason not to aid GOP militarily and USG has changed its own arms policy toward GOP except for recent opening up of spare parts program and possible third country tank acquisition.
I then observed that in addition to the points I had previously made GOP should consider that, having in mind first that GOP was usually aligned against USG position in international problems and second that there was very little GOP could do for USG to show its friendship other than to refrain from a Peshawar eviction, USG would be entitled to draw its own conclusions regarding the genuine interest of GOP in maintaining, let alone improving, present relations between our two countries.
The conversation then turned to matters of the press, which has been pushing for some statement. It was agreed that it was in the interest of both governments to minimize press coverage and that no statement would be made by GOP other than the observation that discussions are taking place.
Yousuf noted that the GOP National Assembly meets May 3 and that questions would undoubtedly be put to the government from the floor.
The meeting broke up on the note that further conversations would be held, at my initiative, when I had received instructions.
It is not surprising that formal notice of termination would have been delivered. This would understandably be logical way for GOP to initiate discussion;
It is not surprising that notice would have been delivered shortly before the expected arrival of Kosygin;
It is worthy of note that GOP placed such stress on:
Exclusion areas and lack of GOP take which we consider to be a red herring; and
Military supply.
It is my judgment that no further response should be made to GOP prior to Kosygin arrival and departure other than for me to express, and Washington to express to Hilaly, the great surprise and deep concern of Washington a the abruptness and indicated inflexibility of the GOP position coupled with a statement that we will initiate further discussions following full appraisal of the effects of a continued GOP inflexible posture on USG-GOP relations. Please confirm or comment.
Would appreciate development of guidelines on:
Minimum acceptable period of continuance beyond July ’69;
Degree to which exclusion areas may be reduced or eliminated;
What line should be taken with respect to:
Maintenance and/or enlargement of scope of present military supply policy now limited to spare parts and third country acquisition of 200 tanks;
Possible effects on future aid policy; and
Other potential effects on GOP-USG relations.2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 PAK-US. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Rostow sent a copy of this telegram to the President under an April 6 memorandum. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Pakistan, Vol. VIII, Memos, 8/67–4/68)
  2. The Department instructed that no further response should be made until a full assessment of the situation was completed in Washington. (Telegram 143051 to Rawalpindi, April 6; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 PAK-US)