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

202781. Ref: Rawalpindi 6173.2 Subject: Peshawar Communications Facility.

Please deliver Presidential letter to Ayub3 ASAP.
As you know, now appears likely Belgian-Pak deal will go through. We will take up matter with GOI at appropriate time. Language announcement virtually agreed. Anticipate we will be able handle Belgian desire be even-handed with Indians more or less along lines para 3 Rawalpindi 6174.4 However, there can always be additional last minute snags and in any event we wish see how Ayub reacts to Presidential letter on Peshawar. If Ayub queries on this subject, therefore, you should not go beyond already stated position that Belgian tank arrangement seems be in last stages and we remain hopeful it will be consummated under terms and conditions previously discussed.
We agree would be useful to get Shah and Turks to put in good word with Ayub at proper time, but here too would rather wait; if possible, until after we have had chance assess Ayub’s reaction to Presidential letter. Also, the more people who know details of our Peshawar problems, the more chance there is for information to get to Russians who would use for additional mischief-making. We propose, therefore, defer action on this item at least for few days.
You may draw on following in attempting to get maximum possible phase-out period from Ayub:
We of course wish to remain in operation as long as we reasonably can in order to reduce the damage to our interests from termination of Peshawar. During the phase-down period, we can dismantle and remove some antenna which will make our preparations for departure obvious. Alternatively, should Ayub prefer, we can leave most general [Page 997] purpose antenna intact, even after we’ve ceased to use them, so that they could be inherited by Paks. (FYI: Exactly which antenna could go first will have to be worked out with US technical authorities. End FYI.)
To further reduce visibility, we can begin to remove personnel and some miscellaneous equipment on a schedule to be worked out with GOP. This could include relinquishing off-base housing, removing dependents, and cutting back on support activities.
FYI: Present estimate is that 12 months is desirable for orderly withdrawal with about 6 months possible on crash basis. Should you believe it worthwhile, in terms our objectives keeping as much as possible as long as possible, we could begin phasedown schedule to take effect before July 17, 1969, but we would hope to decide finally on this only after further discussions with GOP. End FYI.
FYI: Only exception to 12 months period above, as far as retention priorities are concerned, DOD considers Sugar Tree most important for continued operation until mid-1971, if possible. End FYI.
We can grant Pakistanis permanent possession of communications electronic equipment now on loan to them, and possibly some additional similar items. However, most of our equipment at Peshawar will be needed for other US requirements because of stringent budgetary restrains on new procurement. For security reasons we must remove all our sophisticated equipment, which would not be usable by Paks anyway.
Re exclusion area, if it would be helpful, we will use our best efforts to make entire base accessible to Pakistanis with, of course, exception communications center.
After thorough consideration, our conclusion is that we not prepared pay additional rental for any time extension.
Some additional quid might be available through consideration of what removable non-technical property to which Paks not legally entitled we could leave in Pakistan upon departure. (FYI: This depends on DOD requirements elsewhere and may not be very large. See 40 USC 512. End FYI.)
We recognize foregoing alone not likely persuade Ayub on extension, which likely depend more on his reaction to letter. In light Ayub reaction, we will provide further guidance.5
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 PAK-US. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Spain, Wolf, Wix, and Sheldon on July 15; cleared by Curl, Country Director for Turkey John M. Howison, NEA Deputy Assistant Secretary Stuart W. Rockwell, Country Director for Iran Theodore L. Eliot, Jr., Heck, Nitze, and Helms; and approved by Katzenbach. Walt Rostow was informed.
  2. In telegram 6173 from Rawalpindi, July 14, Oehlert indicated that he was reluctant to deliver the President’s letter to Ayub without guidelines concerning the position to take in discussions concerning the future of the facility at Peshawar. (Ibid.)
  3. See Document 503.
  4. In paragraph 3 of telegram 6174 from Rawalpindi, July 14, Oehlert suggested that Belgium be informed that U.S. military supply policy applied equally to India as well as Pakistan, on a case-by-case basis. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–8 US–BEL)
  5. Printed from a copy without a stamped signature. Oehlert delivered the Presidential letter to Ayub on July 17. He reported that he had no opportunity during a brief meeting with Ayub to make the additional points contained in telegram 202781 to Rawalpindi. (Telegram 6235 from Rawalpindi, July 17; ibid., DEF 15 PAK-US)