493. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State 1
Rawalpindi, April 22, 1968, 1320Z.
4635. From Ambassador. Please pass White House. Subject: Tanks.
- German Ambassador to Pakistan returned to Pindi on Friday2 from Bonn consultations. Saw him socially over weekend and he asked to see me ASAP re tanks. We met 1200 hours today. More on this subj later this tel.
- At 0900 hours today GOP Defense
Minister and Secretary informed me that they were convinced that no
tanks would be forthcoming for GOP
from FRG through Italy because:
- FRG would in all probability not make a sale to Italy on basis which would permit tanks to come to GOP; and B. even if they were ultimately proved wrong in this respect Italy would not agree to acceptable terms.
- Defense Minister and Secretary went on to say that there is a
vital tug-of-war going on within top GOP levels re their short and long term relationships
vis-à-vis USG, USSR and ChiComs. They said that in that context: [Page 968]
- GOP military and other elements urging closer USG relationships including Peshawar renewal for additional three years;
- “Enemies” of USG including
powerful elements of MFA
among others contending that USG is pro-India and anti-Pakistan, citing:
- 1962 and 1965 developments;
- Apparent unwillingness apply Conte-Symington Amendments to India despite heavy Indian rearmament program;
- No spare parts have been shipped despite fact program was announced a year ago. Comment: The reasons for this delay are understandable to us but not readily explained to GOP military and certainly not to elements already convinced that we are dragging feet and will continue to;
- Breakdown of tank deal after tank deal, for one reason or another, also being used against us as additional evidence that we are not being helpful but are rather causing delays behind the scenes.
- German Ambassador informed me that:
- There is no tank agreement between FRG and either Government of Italy or Italian firms;
- He strongly doubts that FRG can now make any tank agreement which would
permit tanks to go from FRG
to GOP through Italy
- India exerting strong pressure against such a transaction including threat to recognize East German Government;
- Publicity given fact that some German tanks would probably end up in Pakistan has strengthened hands German Socialist Party which is opposed to cooperation re arms for GOP, which represents approximately 40 per cent of parliamentary coalition and to which FRG Foreign Minister belongs.
- Whatever the reasons, it is a fact that no spare parts have yet been forthcoming.
- Whatever the reasons, it is a fact that tank possibility after tank possibility has evaporated.
- Whatever the reasons, it is a fact that the Germany to Italy to Pakistan transaction remains an enigma shrouded in mystery.
- It is a fact that first through spare parts and second through
approval of tanks, under strict conditions, from third countries we
have been moving towards arms policy liberalization here in order
- Maintain some reasonable forces balance on subcontinent;
- Counter Indian indigenous production capacity and USSR pipe line;
- Maintain and improve our influence here; and
- Hold at present levels or better yet diminish both USSR and ChiCom influence here.
- During their visit here Hamilton, Spain and Heck indicated that there could be further liberalizations if necessary to obtain needed tanks and possibility limited quantities other hardware.
- It is my considered judgement that the moment of truth has arrived
and that some prompt and positive steps must be taken to:
- Convince GOP of sincerity and effectiveness our policy; and
- Forestall GOP moves for either or both profligate spending as per France and/or diminishing influence with corresponding increase influence USSR and/or ChiComs.
- Our prior decision to see to it that GOP does get 200 tanks in early time frame and on reasonable terms is not adversely affected by Peshawar termination notice. On the contrary, I view such a notice as an added reason why we should speed up effectuating that decision at least with respect to the first 100 tanks.
- Depending on how Peshawar comes out we may or may not be prepared to be forthcoming on the second 100 tanks and/or other items.
- It is therefore urgently recommended that we wait no longer for
the evolving of a complicated Tinker to Evers to Chance triple play
but that on the contrary, we at once inform GOP that pending further evolution of arrangements with
Germany, Italy and/or Belgium, they can have 100 tanks in either
- By purchase from Iran;
- By direct purchase from our own inventories; or
- From German inventory which we would reclaim from Germany and sell to GOP. The German Ambassador assures me his government would have no problems with such an arrangement.
- By confirming publicly our agreeability to having GOP receive tanks under our control we have already invited any Indian or Congressional displeasure which might be inherent in the situation. It is difficult to see how either problem would be seriously further complicated by following any of the courses recommended in paragraph 13 above.
- Respecting the Iranian possibility it is observed that:
- The Shah has the means and probably the determination to get the number and quality of tanks he wants—if not all from us then from some other source;
- He might be persuaded not to raise his sights re new acquisitions because of a sale of M–47s or 48s to GOP;
- It is far more important to protect vital interests here and to thwart those of USSR and ChiComs than it is to place any particular limitation on the number of new tanks the Shah purchases, especially since we may not be able to control that anyway.