107. Telegram Fromthe Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1
134643. 1. Following is uncleared memcon, FYI only, Noforn, subject to revision upon review.
2. During Ambassador Hilalyʼs call on Secretary July 23 (septel),2 Hilaly raised two requests in economic field; i.e., request that USG expedite movement additional PL 480 wheat and provide additional funds for leasing coastal vessels. He had told NESA Administrator MacDonald this morning of his impression that some AID people were “dragging their feet” on wheat shipments and issuance of PAʼs and had made strong case for expeditious wheat movement. GOP was concerned about possible food shortage later in year and worried that possible US port strike in September would complicate movements if maximum [Page 287] effort not made now to get additional wheat on its way. Van Hollen injected that we well aware of possible shortages. We would keep pipeline full and would look promptly at request for more coastal vessels. However, US seriously concerned about need speed distribution system East Pakistan. Hilaly said whatever the facts on congestion in Pak ports and transportation system, it would be better if wheat were tied up in Pak ports than in ports in US. It was unrealistic to expect that “every knot should be tied” before additional PL 480 wheat “for which we have signed” is moved.
3. On coastal vessels Hilaly said GOP needed an additional one to two million dollars from US to hire up to half dozen coastal vessels of 3,000 ton capacity each. He had also raised this with MacDonald as important additional step that could be taken to avert difficulties later. Secretary assured Hilaly we would actively consider his requests, noting that if famine does in fact develop later in year and food is here and not in Pakistan, then we would also be subject heavy public criticism.
4. Ambassador made brief reference to articles todayʼs press quoting contents of Department cables on possible food shortages East Pakistan. Secretary assured Hilaly we equally concerned over unauthorized disclosure this cable traffic and had said so in statement to press. Ambassador said he had written Senator Kennedy strong letter of concern about news stories and particularly over language therein that some of Senatorʼs aides would shortly be visiting refugee camps India and “will try to enter East Pakistan” as well. He had reminded Senator that no one from his staff had applied for visas and that GOP could not be responsible for what might happen to such individuals should they attempt unauthorized entry across East Pakistan borders.
Comment: We plan call in Hilaly next week to apprise him fully of steps being taken by USG and to urge upon him essential need for GOP to take urgent steps on its side to put USG resources effectively to use.