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

6039. Please pass White House. From Ambassador.

Spent an hour with Ayub after twenty minute session with McCormack and Griffith of COMSAT.
Several matters discussed will be covered septel.2
Except for a few brief flashes of his old energy Ayub seemed disinterested and lethargic. He has lost more weight. He has definitely retrogressed since my last visit with him.
Upon departure COMSAT representatives Ayub said “The Foreign Minister is waiting. Would you mind terribly if I asked him to come in?” I responded “Mr. President, as you know, I had asked to see you alone but of course the decision is yours.” He then said “It would save me having to take notes and repeat the conversation.” He then sent for the Minister who came in with Mohiuddin Ahmad, the successor to Mansur Ahmad on the American desk, who took copious notes.
With respect to tanks, I assured him that the Belgian deal was still very much alive, pointing that:
There had been bureaucratic delays due to the changes of government; and
That the Belgians felt no particular incentive because they wouldn’t make any money and had no public excuse such as they would have if the transaction provided work and profit.
I then suggested that he consider:
Sending for the Belgian Ambassador and impressing on him both Ayub’s deep personal interest and the needs and merits of the situation; and
Offering to have half of the tanks rehabilitated in Belgium in order to provide incentive and to lessen burden of rehabilitation on GOP.
He seemed a bit vague about the status of the Belgian deal, commenting that the Belgians had indicated that they want to talk again but that so far they had not been willing to discuss reasonable prices and terms for rehabilitation.
He did not commit himself either re whether or not he would send for the Belgian Ambassador what response would be given to the alleged Belgian desire to talk again or what his reaction was to a half and half deal.
I did not indicate that if the Belgian deal fell through we would seriously consider a direct sale because I felt that to do so would cause him to drop the Belgian transaction in favor of direct purchase.
During the course of the conversation I pointed out the significance of the Conte-Long amendment, mentioning specifically that it would require us to make a deduction from aid for the acquisition of sophisticated weapons unless the President certified to Congress that the acquisition was in the national security interests of the USG, emphasizing that of course he could not do so with respect to weapons acquired from a Communist country so that such acquisition would mean in effect that GOP would have to pay a double price for such weapons.
On the Peshawar question, not having received my expected guidelines, I had nothing to try to sell so I contented myself by saying that:
President Johnson had been greatly disappointed in the way the termination notice had been handled; did not and never had wished to embarrass Ayub unduly since he fully understood Ayub’s problems; but believed that the matter could be handled to the satisfaction of the USG and GOP; and
My government had been interested in Ayub’s suggestion of “A smaller less visible installation in a different location under complete Pakistani control” and had requested me to explore that possibility fully.
At that point the Minister spoke up for the first time and said “Mr. President, may I make a comment?” Ayub acquiesced, whereupon the Minister said “While I was not present at the previous meeting I have studied the record very carefully and, Mr. President, you did not state the matter as the Ambassador has suggested.”
With a flash of his former self Ayub said, somewhat heatedly “Oh yes, he did. That’s exactly what I said. The Ambassador has quoted me exactly.”
The Minister did not speak again on the subject.
Ayub then took up the conversation, saying:
He had said exactly what I said he did, and he had meant it, but that there had been fresh developments since then;
The Russians had since predicted that USG would suggest a smaller, less visible installation in a different place under GOP control, but that the USSR would know all about it at once and would consider it a very hostile act; and
Therefore, sorry as he was about it, he could no longer consider that possibility.
After pleading surprise since the suggestion had been Ayub’s own, I closed the conversation by noting that under the circumstances I would have to seek new instructions.
Comment: It seems clear to me that:
Ayub’s health has deteriorated;
He has been carefully hemmed in by his Ministers and Secretariat (see septel re other matters brought up in which he would previously have shown great interest but which today he merely asked me to take up with Agriculture Minister Doha and Commerce Minister Hoti); and
His Foreign Ministry is most hostile to USG. I have no doubt that someone in the Ministry, and I personally suspect the Minister himself, leaked to the Russians the suggestion Ayub had made at our previous meeting.
When I receive guidelines about “phasing out” I will of course seek a further audience to present them. FYI: Ayub’s schedule calls for departure to Lahore and Karachi July 13, to Iran 20, to the UK 22.
Today’s developments emphasize importance of a good word from Iran and Turkey, as suggested in Rawalpindi 6038.3
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 PAK. Secret; Exdis.
  2. In telegram 6040 from Rawalpindi, July 9, Oehlert reported on the effort he made in the conversation with Ayub to point up the problems being experienced by a number of U.S. companies trying to compete in the Pakistani economy. (Ibid., FN 9 PAK-US)
  3. Oehlert suggested, in telegram 6038 from Rawalpindi, July 9, that Ayub’s visit to Tehran July 20–22 would offer an opportunity for Iran and Turkey to encourage Ayub to extend leniency to the United States with regard to the facility at Peshawar. (Ibid., POL 7 PAK)