Islamabad, February 17, 1972, 1330Z
- GOP Soundings on US Bases, Defense Pact and Arms for Pakistan
FEBRUARY 17, 1972
FOR DEPUTY ASST. SECRETARY VAN HOLLEN/ NEA
SUBJECT GOP SOUNDINGS ON US BASES, DEFENSE PACT AND ARMS FOR PAKISTAN
- You will have noted increasing references by GOP reps to desire for closer military collaboration with USG. Early last Dec, Def Sec suggested Pak willingness to arrange facilities for US naval base (Islamabad 11961). Def Sec casually referred to that proposal again in later meeting with me in Dec. Proposal has resurfaced this week in conversation of ISID liaison officer with our Asst. ArmAtt (USDAO 171140Z Feb 72). Casual hints that GOP would like to have US military presence here have also been dropped by Pak officiers in various other conversations. Our firm policy and practice have been to listen politely on such occasions and to be entirely noncommittal.
- As you know, Bhutto has raised with me the matter of Pakistan’s future relationship with CENTO. (I responded that is a matter for GOP to decide.) Bhutto suggested to Cy Sulzberger on Feb 7 that he was interested in reviving and strengthening our existing defense agreement—presumably the bilateral of March 1959. This subject has not arisen in any of my talks with Bhutto, but line which Sulzberger reported is consistent with Bhutto’s desire for closer military relations with us.
- You have informed us of various approaches by Gen. Raza to ease up on existing arms embargo. GOP has refrained from pressing us officially here in arms supply in recent weeks. It is nevertheless matter [Page 2] of live interest. As you know, Bhutto has expressed to at least two American reporters his hope that Pakistan may receive quantities of US arms. Talk along same line came up in my meeting last week with Pak Navy commander in Karachi. In peshawar Feb 15 I was told by senior Pak Air Force officers of their desire obtain a good strike aircraft from us. (When I said I thought they were getting supplies from China, they answered that the MIG–19 cannot do the job and that China does not have another suitable aircraft to offer.) As in case of bases, our firm policy is to be entirely noncommittal here on what decisions may be taken with regard to military supply.
- I know you have had these various questions under review and have doubtless been discussing them with Amb Farland. We have steadfastly refrained from pressing for status reports on general review or on specific decisions. I thought however that it would be timely to present above summary to you. We are now in a somewhat euphoric stage in US-Pak relations, and I am sure that unwarranted expectations are being built up in some quarters here.
- We shall continue to listen noncommittally when these subjects come up here unless you have any better guidance for us.
- Assume you wish share this with Amb. Farland.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 15 PAK–US. Secret; Nodis. Sent to the Department for the attention of Van Hollen.↩
- Chargé Sober reported on indications that Pakistan was interested in a closer security relationship with the U.S. and would welcome the lifting of the arms embargo.↩