23. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State1 2


  • Secretary’s Lahore Meeting With President Yahya
Summary: Tone of visit throughout was frank and cordial with President Yahya and Secretary Yusuf emphasizing theme quote we are glad you have come to see us as we are unquote. In ninety minute discussion May 24 with Secretary Rogers and party, President Yahya and colleagues discussed Pak internal situation forthrightly and at some length made pitch for continued economic aid and for direct military sales and sent friendly message to Afghan King. Secretary and party described U.S. efforts in Middle East and Southeast Asia and reviewed longer term relations with USSR. Secretary suggested U.S. would continue econ aid to Pakistan and was noncommittal on military sales. End summary.
Pakistan internal situation. In lengthy discussion with frequent questions from Secretary, Yahya attributed administrative [Page 2] collapse basically to (a) lack of sense of political participation by intellectuals, poorer classes and others, (b) imbalance between quote social sector unquote and development, i.e., inadequate improvement in current living standards, (c) neglect of East Pakistan, and (d) corruption and nepotism. Said martial law put out quote flame but not fire unquote. He moving as quickly as possible toward restoration normal democratic processes but timing depended on quote conditions and circumstances unquote. Yahya said parliamentary form of government and maximum regional autonomy were widespread demands: he would insure free elections but not impose specific constitutional forms. Yahya described present situation as not one of military repression forced on people but one which was welcomed by relieved populace as saving country from chaos. Stressed his own desire to go back to being a soldier ASAP.
Economic assistance. Yahya, assisted by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission M.M. Ahmad, made effective presentation on econ development results. Yahya said Pak development success was as much vindication of U.S. philosophy of assistance as proof of Pakistan’s ability to help itself. Recent crisis, according Ahmad, showed growth alone not enough and must be blended with social justice. This requirement made Pak assistance needs more urgent than ever and pointed to (a) need for restoration of funds to earlier levels, (b) importance of early IDA contribution, (c) Pak need for PL–480 grain assistance to East Pakistan without quote normal restrictions unquote and (d) East Pak requirements for flood control and water development. Secretary said he understood Pak point of view but present situation (MLA) presented problems for some in U.S. He indicated we had asked Congress for $140 million commodity loan FY 1970 and said he would look into latter two points.
Military supply. Yahya made brief but emphatic reference along expected lines to need purchase U.S. arms to ensure Pakistan’s safety. Secretary questioned Yahya’s claim that Pakistan’s safety was threatened but assured Yahya matter was being carefully considered. In private conversation, Yahya re-emphasized seriousness of Pak arms supply situation and Pak request to U.S., saying Pak would have to have some source of supply.
Southeast Asia. Secretary said U.S. had no desire impose any particular political system in South Vietnam: so long as outcome reflected will of people. U.S. objectives would be satisfied if NVN not prepared to negotiate seriously. U.S. would continue efforts to strengthen South Vietnam that it could assume larger share of responsibility. Secretary emphasized that simple U.S. pullout of Vietnam would be followed in short time by Chinese control of entire area and that this feared by countries of area. He indicated U.S. willing aid economically both North and South Vietnam following satisfactory settlement. He expressed uncertainty about Soviet assistance in arriving at settlement, but pointed to Soviets’ great concern now over china. Secretary said U.S. wants no land bases or other special privileges in Vietnam: we desire only that China not take over. He asked Yahya if Pakistan could be of assistance. Yahya described Pakistan’s objectives in area as similar and promised to be responsive to any specific request for help, mentioning particularly Pak dialogue with China.
Middle East. Asst. Secty Sisco, without discussing specifics of possible settlement, told Yahya U.S. had been seeking define common ground with USSR in bilaterals, which could be passed to both sides through jarring. Similar dialogue underway in Four Power talks. Hardening of positions between parties on both sides plus deteriorating situation in area made this most difficult. Yahya made no substantive comment but seemed to applaud U.S. efforts.
CENTO. FonSec Yusuf gave eloquent description of Pak position toward CENTO, asking how Pakistan could be active in military aspects of CENTO when USSR now a source of military supply. He pointed out, however, that Pak position on CENTO, with two Ambassadors and MFA Director at Tehran, was not as mere observer. Secretary said U.S. had sought better relations with USSR and with China but Czechoslovakia and Brezhnev Doctrine showed how little USSR had changed. Assured Yahya he understood his position and had no intent pressure him on CENTO. Separately Gen. Pirazada indicated Paks had no intention of leaving either SEATO or CENTO.
Afghanistan. Yahya, in brief discussion of Pak-Afghan problems, said he wanted to improve relations and asked Secretary to convey this assurance to King. Secretary agreed to do so.
Indo-Pak relations. Yahya did not devote large amount time to Indo-Pak troubles but took fairly hard line on Indian intransigence re Kashmir and Farraka. Said it was almost useless talk to people who would not admit problem existed. Indicated he was willing go on trying, however, and did not suggest GOP contemplated any new tactics in near future. Asked if Secretary would be willing help in dialogue with India. Secretary responded U.S. could not assume responsibility for solution to problem but if both sides wanted, we would be willing try be helpful in any way possible.
ENDC. Yusuf expressed hope we would not agree to Sov proposal to accept Japanese-Mongolian candidacies for enlargement of ENDC, since this reduced Pakistan’s chances of membership. Pedersen later gave him U.S. statement accepting this formula pointing out specific U.S.-Sov agreement enlargement could not stop there.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, ORG 7 S. Confidential; Priority. Sent as Secto 111/2059. Repeated to Rawalpindi, New Delhi, Kabul, Ankara, Saigon, Bangkok, London, and the mission at Geneva. Rogers visited South Asia following his participation in the SEATO meetings in Bangkok, May 19–23, and prior to his participation in the CENTO meetings in Tehran, May 26–27. He stopped in New Delhi May 23–24, in Lahore May 24–25, and in Kabul May 25.
  2. Rogers reported on his conversation with Pakistani President Yahya during his stop in Pakistan on May 24.