495. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

164030. 1. Ambassador Hilaly at his request called on Assistant Secretary Battle today. He opened conversation by describing changing South Asian situation brought about by UK decision to leave the area and Russian move to fill this vacuum. Referring only briefly to Indian arms buildup, he explained GOP decision reassess Pakistan’s defense requirements in light these developments.

2. Hilaly then stated GOP had drawn up list of “minimum defense requirements to insure Pakistan’s security.” He presented “austere list” which included four hundred 106 recoilless rifles, one hundred twenty-five 175mm guns, various types ammunition, thirty armored recovery vehicles, four maritime aircraft, sixteen patrol boats with missiles, eight F–104s and various types of electronic counter measure and signal equipment. He said he understood from MOD that Embassy Rawalpindi had also been informed of list.

3. Ambassador Battle expressed appreciation for GOP’s constructive attitude in making list available and applauded restraint shown [Page 975] by GOP in its defense spending. Battle asked whether materiel listed encompassed total requirements from all sources including Red China and Russia, noting we had heard Pakistan might be receiving SU–7s from USSR. He also inquired how long a period the list was intended to cover. Ambassador Hilaly replied list covered needed supplies from all sources, explaining he had not been informed of any plans for SU–7 deliveries and that the requirements were for “now” but he assumed they would be good for two or three years. Battle promised review list noting a substantial portion of the items were already obtainable under our current policy. He promised we would be in touch as soon as our study had been completed.

4. Hilaly pointed out that “lethal” weapons on list as well as all other matériel were defensive in character and suggested USG should reconsider ban on sale of lethal end items to Pakistan. He added list was designed to bring Pak defense forces up to, but not to augment, present capacity.

5. In closing Ambassador Battle and Country Director Spain mentioned our concern over recent flurry of interest by press representatives about information newsmen claimed to have that GOP had given USG notice termination of Peshawar communications agreement. Mentioned indications that information was supplied to other correspondents by Dawn Washington correspondent Ejaz Hussain. Hilaly first indicated doubt that leak could be attributed to Hussain or Pakistan Embassy sources; but later conceded that such was possible and he planned investigate.2 He argued however that in such matters it was unrealistic to hope that secrecy could be maintained for any length of time.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 PAK. Secret; Limdis. Drafted by David A. Macuk (NEA/PAF), cleared by Spain and in substance by Schaffer and Reed (DOD/ISA), and approved by Battle. Repeated to New Delhi and CINCSTRIKE.
  2. In a May 20 letter to Battle Hilaly wrote that Foreign Minister Arshad Husain, who succeeded Pirzada on May 1, made the following statement on May 20 in the National Assembly in response to a question: “The agreement for establishment of a U.S. communications unit near Peshawar is to run for a period of ten years and is automatically renewed for a further period of ten years unless notice of termination by either side is served at least twelve months in advance of expiry of the first ten year period. The Government of Pakistan gave notice of termination to U.S. Government on April 6th, 1968. This step is in keeping with our policy of developing bilateral relations of friendship and mutual understanding with all countries. We can have friendly relations with U.S.S.R., China, and U.S.A. without these being at the cost of any of the others.” (Ibid., DEF 15–4 PAK-US)