50. Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Military Assistance to Pakistan

Mr. Packard has sent you the information concerning military assistance to Pakistan that he promised at the last SRG meeting on Pakistan (Tab B).2 Unfortunately, it is not presented in a very useful fashion in terms of the issues involved, contains some gaps, and lacks an interpretive element. We have attempted, with the assistance of the working level in ISA, to break out for you the most important policy-related aspects, but it seems to us that the next step is to ask Defense for a paper that could provide the basis for some decisions.

The following are the most important points that can be extracted from the immediately available data:

  • —The Pakistanis have some $44 million worth of equipment, ammunition and spares on order here. This includes:
    • —about $5 million in equipment that can be categorized as “nonlethal,” though this does not mean it would not contribute to the war effort;
    • —about $18 million worth of so-called “lethal” items;
    • —about $3 million in ammunition.
    • —about $18 million in spares under a so-called “open-ended sales” agreement. The Pakistanis, subject to six-monthsʼ notice of cancellation, can draw spares directly from our inventories. There is a ceiling on the amounts but they presently have a “right” to order some $11 million in spares for aircraft and $7.4 million for army equipment. This supply is essential to keeping the US-equipped part of the Pakistan air force flying. As you know, the air force has been used in East Pakistan.
  • —There is nothing major that we know of in the pipeline now. Nothing has been sent to Pakistan from official sources since the civil war broke out, although two small shipments of training items are currently being processed for shipment. However, about 20% of the “nonlethal” items (about $1 million worth) are purchased directly from US [Page 126] commercial suppliers, and we have no way of finding out the delivery schedules on these unless we ask the suppliers and create concern among the West Pakistanis. In the course of preparing for Senator Fulbrightʼs hearings, Defense also turned up the fact that the Pakistanis have ordered new engines for trainer aircraft under a trade-in arrangement we have with them.
  • —We will be forced before long to make some important military supply decisions. The Pakistanis have a considerable amount of ammunition for their aircraft on order for delivery in late May, June and July and could at any time place new orders or attempt to draw aircraft spares from our inventory under the “open-ended” agreement. Moreover, they may attempt to resume negotiations under the one-time exception before long.

Mr. Packard has instructed the Services to defer shipment, pending his specific clearance, of any end item, any spares package for lethal material usable in the civil war and all ammunition. He promises to inform you of “significant developments.”

Now that we have an expression from the President as to the general posture he wishes to assume toward Pakistan, we need to consider what our specific policy on military supply should be at this point. There is a particular Congressional problem in that Senator Javits in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has requested State Department to inform the Committee when military shipments were made to Pakistan and State is on the hook to inform the Committee. There is also considerable bipartisan criticism of our military supply program to Pakistan.

As it happened, no significant shipments have been scheduled for delivery since March 25. Soon, however, specific cases will come up. We need a decision on our posture and how to handle it with both the Congress and the Pakistanis. As it now stands, the bureaucracy would simply hold up the shipment of major and controversial items without any real idea of what we might accomplish by this other than keeping our options open and appeasing the Senate.

We should establish a position soon so that unintended signals will not be sent to the Pakistanis. They could become concerned and test us with new orders on controversial items.


That you answer Mr. Packardʼs note with a request for a paper analyzing our military supply relationship with Pakistan and our options at this point (Tab A).3 Dick Kennedy concurs.4

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 574, Indo-Pak War, South Asian Military Supply, March 25–Aug 26, 1971. Secret. Sent for action.
  2. Attached but not printed is an April 23 letter from Packard to Kissinger enclosing an April 21 memorandum from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Armistead Selden to Secretary Laird which detailed military assistance shipments to Pakistan during the previous 6 months as well as shipments that were pending.
  3. Draft letter attached but not printed.
  4. Kissinger responded with a handwritten comment in the margin that reads: “Al— See me. The end result of this will be to terminate the relationship.”