14. Letter From the Pakistani Ambassador (Hilaly) to Secretary of State Rogers1 2

Dear Mr. Secretary,

General A.M. Yahya Khan, Chief Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan, has asked me to convey the following personal message to President Richard M. Nixon:


On March 24th President Mohammad Ayub Khan addressed to me a letter, explaining that since the civil administration and constitutional authority in Pakistan had become ineffective, he had no option but to step aside and let the defence forces of Pakistan, as only remaining effective and legal instrument, to take over full control of the country’s affairs. On March 25th he announced his decision to relinquish office of the President of Pakistan and called upon me, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to defend the country not only against external aggression but also to save it from internal disorder and chaos.

Consequently, I have placed the country under Martial Law and assumed all powers as the Chief Martial Law Administrator.
It will be my earnest endeavour to restore as soon as possible normal conditions in the country as a preliminary to early restoration of democratic rule and a civilian Government elected on the basis of adult franchise.
In this difficult hour Pakistan needs goodwill, understanding and support of all its friends. I am confident that existing friendly relations between Pakistan and your great country will not only be maintained but would continue to grow. On my part I can assure you that there will be no change in Pakistan’s policy which seeks friendship with all countries.
I take this opportunity to extend to you my warmest regards and best wishes. Please accept Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.

General A.M. Yahya Khan


May I request you to be kind enough to transmit the above to the President.

With my warm personal regards,

Yours sincerely,

A. Hilaly
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 PAK. Confidential. Sent to the White House on March 29 under cover of a transmittal memorandum from Acting Executive Secretary John P. Walsh to Kissinger. Nixon returned a reply to Yahya on April 22 in which he wrote: “I wish you well in your efforts as President to restore normal conditions.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 623, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. I, 1 Jan 69–30 Nov 69)
  2. Hilaly transmitted a message from General Yahya Kahn to President Nixon in which he explained former Pakistani President Ayub Khan’s decision to relinquish power to Pakistan’s defense forces, and Yahya’s subsequent assumption of the position of martial law administrator. Yahya expressed his commitment to restore democratic rule and a civilian government as soon as possible.