60. Letter From President Ayub to President Johnson1

My dear President Johnson,

I am asking my Ambassador to call on you and apprise you of the likely repercussions of the recent decision of your Administration concerning military aid to India. I think the time has come for me to make a personal approach to you.

We have, over the last two years, repeatedly represented to the United States Government the dangers implicit in their policy of massive arms aid to India. From the very beginning we have held the view that the arming of India on the scale chosen by the United States was uncalled for. Time has proved that we were right. It must now be clear to everyone that China does not plan to invade India and there is no likelihood of recrudescence of even a limited arms conflict between India and China.

On the other hand, this aid imperils the security of Pakistan, your ally; it prevents an Indo-Pakistan rapprochement over Kashmir which immobilises the bulk of their armed forces in a dangerous confrontation; it must lead to an arms race between India and Pakistan and thereby place a crushing burden on their economies. Surely this is no way of preventing the inroads of Communism into the sub-continent—if this is the United States objective. On the contrary, it would facilitate them.

Further, by continuing to build India’s armed might, the United States might well force India’s smaller neighbours already deeply mistrustful of India—to seek the protection of China.

In short, the policy the United States is following in this area is self-defeating.

The foregoing considerations have been put before the United States Government time and again. If I am restating them, it is because I have a feeling that these considerations have not been given the weight they deserve.

On May 26 my Foreign Minister explained to Ambassador McConaughy Pakistan’s growing concern at the continued arming of India. He also stated that if this policy continued, Pakistan would be compelled to reconsider its commitments to her allies.

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Your Government has since decided not merely to continue to arm India; it has offered India twice as much arms aid in FY 1965 as in previous years. India has also been given to understand that she may expect to receive military aid of this order for the next five years.

Not to mention the timing of previous decisions to arm India which have all contributed towards complicating Indo-Pakistan relations, the present decision, in particular, has been singularly ill-timed. Latterly, we were moving towards a relaxation of tension in our relations with India. There was some hope that the Shastri Government recognised the importance of improving relations with Pakistan and, to that end, might be willing to settle the Kashmir dispute. That hope has now been rudely shaken.

This latest manifestation of US Administration’s resolve to continue to give long term military aid to India has caused deep misgivings in Pakistan. Faced with the resultant growing peril to our security, because of the enormous Indian arms build up with US support, I am writing to you in the hope that you will please look personally into the issues I have mentioned and take suitable corrective action in the interest of Pakistan-United States relationship which has so far been cordial and warm. And to my way of thinking very little effort is required to maintain it so. I am saying this as I have belief in your wisdom and sagacity. I also believe that this is not only necessary in the interest of Pakistan but also very much in the global interest of the United States relating to Asia.

With warm personal regards,

Yours sincerely,

Mohammad Ayub Khan
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 19 US–PAK. Secret; Exdis. The classification marking was added in the Department of State. The text of this letter was transmitted to the Embassy in Karachi in telegram 25, July 9. (Ibid., DEF 19–3 US–INDIA) Ambassador Ahmed delivered the letter to President Johnson on July 7; see Document 63.