19. Telegram 4275 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State1 2


  • Peshawar


  • A. Paragraph 17, Rawalpindi 5405 (31 May 1968)
  • B. Paragraphs 11 through 16, Rawalpindi 6039 (9 July 1968)
At his request I called on the Defense Secretary at 0900 hours this morning.
He reminded me that before I had left for consultation in Washington in June 1968 then President Ayub had given me a message for President Johnson to the effect that it might be possible to work out some continuation of the Peshawar operation if it could be done quote on a smaller and less visible basis, in a different location, under complete Pakistan control unquote. He also reminded me that upon my return from that consultation trip I had informed him that President Johnson had been interested in the suggestion and had requested me to explore that possibility fully. Comment: You will recall that when I conveyed President Johnson’s message to President Ayub the then new Foreign Minister, Arshad Hussain, remarked that while he had not repeat not been present at the prior meeting he had studied the record very carefully and that Ayub had not repeat not stated the matter as I had [Page 2] suggested. You will recall further that Ayub promptly and vigorously contradicted the Minister saying that I had quoted him precisely but that in the intervening weeks there had been developments, namely that the Russians had stated that they would expect us to try this gambit and that they wanted the Pakistanis to know that if they undertook it, it would be detected, and therefore Ayub was no repeat no longer in a position to pursue that possibility.
The Secretary then said that President Yahya would be writing to talk to me about the possibility of making some arrangement such as Ayub had previously suggested.
Would appreciate instructions ASAP as to:
What attitude I should take if Yahya does surface this possibility in the near future: and
Should I raise the matter with him if he does not repeat not do so shortly?
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 PAK–US. Secret; Exdis. Sent with an instruction to pass to the White House. The Department responded on April 30 that Oehlert should not take the initiative in discussing continuation of the operations at Peshawar, and if Yahya raised the issue, Oehlert was instructed to take a non-committal attitude and report to Washington. (Telegram 66922 to Rawalpindi; ibid.)
  2. Ambassador Oehlert reported that the Pakistani Government was offering to consider a continuation on a “smaller and less visible basis” of the U.S. use of the facilities at Peshawar.