8. Memorandum From Robert Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1

Tab A is Secretary Rusk’s proposal on how to handle MAP for India and Pakistan. It is based on Taylor’s recommendations following his December trip, and concurred in by McNamara and Bell.

In essence, they say let’s put the bee on the Indians to come up with a sensible five-year anti-China program, telling them that if it is satisfactory India can plan on around $50 million MAP per annum from us. Bowles thinks this sum much too small given the strategic stakes involved (Tab B).3 State, Bundy and I wanted to go a bit more his way; even with only $1 billion annual MAP we could easily find another $10 million by marginal cuts in other countries which are far less important. But we caved when DOD was adamant on $50 million.

We’d also work out a 5-year plan with the Paks, as a means of protecting our Pak assets. Of course, neither proposal really involves a big new outlay we wouldn’t be undertaking otherwise. As long as we have a MAP, we’d presumably want to invest so much in India and Pakistan. So all that is really proposed is to package our MAP in five-year terms rather than annual increments in order to maximize the needed impact and get the most leverage.

Moreover, we suggest in both cases only an opening gambit. Then we check our bets until we see their responses. And even if both agree to our terms, we’d make clear there can be no irrevocable five-year “commitments.” We’d of course declare our Executive Branch intent, but make clear it is dependent on annual Hill action and Pak/Indian performance.

The options are to: (1) remand the proposal again for further study if you have reservations; (2) simply delay action further on grounds that time is not ripe; (3) approve going ahead with initial approaches. The chief reasons arguing for (3) are to get a handle on the Indian buildup and to show India, now in disarray over Nehru’s illness, that we’re still backing it against China. The post-Nehru leadership could be far more pro-US than Nehru. These are big stakes. And if we go ahead with India, we also want to protect our flank with the Paks.

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You could either have a meeting or, in view of inter-agency agreement, just sign off along the lines of Tab C4 (which embodies certain cautionary words I think you’d want).

R. W. Komer
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Action Memorandums, NSAM 279, Military Assistance to India and Pakistan. Secret.
  2. Telegram 2140 from New Delhi, January 14, not printed.
  3. Attached at Tab C was a draft of NSAM No. 279, Document 13.