51. Memorandum From Robert Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


Shastri’s victory2 is a definite plus for our side. He was the guy who had the guts to vote for letting Abdullah out of the clink. What remains to be seen, however, is whether Shastri can make that inchoate mass known as the Congress Party pull together, and whether he has the ability to lead.

Ayub’s conciliatory noises yesterday3 are also a plus.

Meanwhile Talbot says Rusk wants to go slow on arms aid to India, till we see how Indians and Paks perform on SEA. In other words, let’s not offend the Paks just now. Do you agree? I’m more inclined to agree with Bowles that now’s the time for a gesture toward Indians.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, India, Vol. II, Cables, 4/64–6/64. Secret.
  2. Lal Bahadur Shastri was elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party on June 2. He was sworn in as Prime Minister, Minister of External Affairs, and Minister of Atomic Energy on June 9.
  3. Ayub responded to Shastri’s election by urging a “fresh look” at relations between Pakistan and India. Shastri stated at a June 2 press conference that he was “much impressed” by Ayub’s statement. (Telegram 3633 from New Delhi, June 3; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDIA–PAK)
  4. Bundy wrote a note to Komer beneath his initials: “speak to me on this.”