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

202058. For the Ambassador. The following letter from President Johnson should be delivered promptly to President Ayub.

“Dear Mr. President: In the spirit of honesty and frankness that has always been at the heart of our relationship, I feel I must tell you of my deep concern over the reports I have received during the past several weeks from Ambassador Oehlert about your Government’s attitude toward our communications facility at Peshawar. I have delayed writing to you personally until now because I hoped that some mutually acceptable solution could have been worked out by this time.

I was surprised and disturbed that your Government saw fit publicly to announce its position on the Peshawar facility before any real discussion between our two Governments was possible. And it was particularly distressing to learn that your Government’s action may have been taken because of threats and demands by another power.

I had thought that you and I shared a conviction that our own security—as well as the security of many other nations—was well served by our cooperation in maintaining the Peshawar facility. Accurate technical and scientific information on the intentions and capabilities of others can, as you know, be a stabilizing element in the present uncertain state of the world.

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In all frankness, the actions of your Government do not seem to me to be appropriate to the close relationship that has existed for so many years between our two countries and which has been manifested in our contribution of more than $3 1/2 billion in aid to Pakistan.

I accept, of course, your right to terminate the 1959 Communications Agreement,2 although I would hope that even now you could reconsider that decision. I do want you to know, simply and unequivocally, that the closing down of the Peshawar facility in July 1969 will give us real problems.

In this connection, I must point out that this facility is a complex one. Some of its elements can be moved relatively easily. Others will take more time. Their hasty removal could result in significant gaps in our understanding of the intentions of others and thereby diminish the sense of security we both seek.

If, however, your decision is firm, I would hope and expect that you might allow our representatives to discuss an arrangement whereby the various elements of the facility can be phased down and closed out in an orderly way during a period beyond the formal termination date of July 17, 1969. I have asked Ambassador Oehlert to convey these views to you and to be prepared to enter into full discussion of them at an early date.

I cannot hide from you the fact that the loss of the Peshawar facility will be a real blow to what I believe to be our mutual interests. But I do think that if we can agree to arrangements that will permit a reasonable withdrawal period it will lessen the impact. Such arrangements, if arrived at through imagination and good will on both sides, would make the transition easier to accomplish. I do not think, old friend, this is too much to ask.

Sincerely, Lyndon B. Johnson.”

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 PAK-US. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Katzenbach; cleared by Helms, Nitze, and Rostow at the White House; and approved by Samuel G. Wise (S/S-O).
  2. For text of this agreement, signed in Karachi on July 18, 1959, see 10 UST 1366.