93. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State1

1730. Embtel 1679.2 Ayub’s Communist China Visit.3

Emb evaluation of Ayub’s visit to Communist China reaffirms our initial appraisal that on balance visit represents significant consolidation of Pak-ChiCom relationship and poses fundamental policy issues for US.
ChiComs once again outmaneuvered Paks and scored major propaganda victory both in Pakistan and internationally. Ayub’s repeated expressions of admiration for and confidence in ChiCom leaders, identification of ChiCom achievements as providing model for other Afro-Asian countries, and enthusiastic references during trip to ChiCom desire for peace has created unfortunate image of close and increasingly amicable and cooperative Pak relationship with ChiComs in Afro-Asian context. Propagation of this image in Pakistan greatly abetted by Pak press play undoubtedly with general encouragement from GOP Ministry of Information. There is absence of any visible appreciation of problems which ChiCom aggressive challenge creates for US and other countries in FE and SEA. Moreover, joint communiqué4 and Ayub’s speeches sharpen growing contrast between private assurances and remarks by Ayub to Ambassador, and public stance not only of Bhutto and other Pak leaders but of Ayub himself.

Paks, however, have not come back empty-handed from visit. Their gains appear primarily psychological rather than tangible. communiqué reference to threat to peace presented by Kashmir problem goes beyond previous Pak-ChiCom formulations in stressing urgency [Page 200] of problem although there no indication of more specific ChiCom commitment of support to Paks.

Secondly, Ayub has probably enhanced both his domestic image and international stature as leading Afro-Asian voice who able and willing to act independently of Western influences and who important enough to merit top-level treatment by ChiComs. Perhaps most vital to Paks, visit tended to place new pressures on India by emphasizing solidity of Pak-ChiCom ties. To achieve these objectives, Pak apparently prepared to pay price of accepting ChiCom formulations on several acute international issues and to bury their differences over approach to A–A conf.

Greatest potential risk to Paks lies in impact of visit on US–Pak relations. FonMin Shoaib clearly recognized this danger in conversation with me March 10 (Embtel 1726).5 Ayub may have felt that as long as he steered clear of sensitive Vietnam issue he could avoid stirring up US. Another consideration was undoubtedly MFA estimate that US is unprepared exert strong pressure on GOP to limit Pak-ChiCom relationship through restriction of economic and military aid programs.
As Ayub visit to US draws closer, we must therefore face the fundamental issue of how far we are prepared to support Pakistan in the face of some policies running counter to our interests. I will be submitting in the near future my recommendations for Ayub visit and our posture during interval preceding visit. To set the stage, I believe that it is essential to shake Pakistani confidence that continued full US support can be taken for granted, irrespective of GOP international posturing. We wish to bring Ayub to Washington genuinely concerned about the future of US-Pakistani ties. I have already started this process in my talks with Shoaib and intend to continue to plant seeds of misgiving. However, I strongly urge against any public US Govt remonstrations. These would only provoke a defensive reaction making it more difficult for Ayub to climb back from the limb.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PAK. Secret. Repeated to New Delhi, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, and CINCMEAFSA and CINCPAC for POLADs.
  2. Telegram 1679 from Karachi, March 10, summarized the joint communiqué issued in Peking on March 7 by Bhutto and Chinese Foreign Minister Chen I. The Embassy reported that the communiqué reflected the closer ties developing between the two countries. (Ibid.)
  3. Ayub paid a State visit to China March 2–9. He was accompanied by Foreign Minister Bhutto.
  4. A copy of the joint communiqué issued on March 7 is attached to a March 9 memorandum to Talbot from Turner Cameron assessing the significance of the Ayub visit to China. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PAK) Komer commented on Cameron’s critical assessment in a March 20 memorandum to Bundy: “State is finally getting fed up with our Pak friends. This is a useful precursor to what I think is an essential showdown with him here in April.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Pakistan, Vol. III, 12/64–7/65)
  5. Dated March 15. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 7 PAK)