Volume #20 - 431.|
UNITED STATES MILITARY AID TO PAKISTAN
Memorandum from Acting Secretary of State for External Affairs|
to Prime Minister
December 17th, 1953|
You will have seen references to the rumoured Pakistan-United States Military Security Agreement. The High Commissioner for India called on Mr. Ritchie on December 10th, on instructions from his Government, and made representations to the effect that the Government of India regarded the projected military security agreements with the greatest concern. Mr. Saksena followed this interview up with a letter dated December 11th, copy of which is attached. As you will see, the language used by Mr. Saksena in this letter is pretty extreme and his oral presentation of the case to Mr. Ritchie was even more so. While Mr. Saksena emphasized that he was making representations on the instructions of Mr. Nehru, it is possible that he himself may be responsible for some of the strong statements and rather ambiguous hints contained in his letter. Mr. Pearson has been informed, in the attached telegram of December 16th,? of the substance of Mr. Saksena's representations and of the reports which we have received from our High Commissioner in India on this subject, in case he may wish to discuss the matter with Mr. Eden while in London.
2. You will observe that the Indian Government suggests that an expression of Canadian opinion to the Governments of the United States and Pakistan would be helpful at this juncture. It would plainly be a very delicate matter for the Canadian Government to make any such representations in Washington and Karachi, and in this connection Mr. Pearson has been asked for his comments.
3. Meanwhile Mr. Saksena has asked whether he may have an interview with you to put the position of his Government, on this subject, to you personally and I should be grateful to know whether you would be prepared to see the Indian High Commissioner.
4. You may have noticed a report of the New York Times Service, appearing in today's Montreal Gazette to the effect that Mr. Nehru:
"...has ordered his nationwide Congress Party machine to organize demonstrations against the proposed United States military aid Pakistan in all of India's 28 states.
Although Prime Minister Nehru, who is president of the Congress Party, has decreed that direct condemnation of the United States and Pakistan should be avoided, his campaign is thought likely to generate a nationwide wave of anti-Americanism on an unprecedented scale".
5. It is unfortunately apparent that unless the United States decide in the interim not to proceed with military assistance arrangements to Pakistan this subject will probably be a very burning one at the time of your own visit to the Indian sub-Continent and it is to be anticipated that representations will be addressed to you by both the Indian and Pakistani Governments.
Letter No. 276-HC/53
Dear Mr. [C.S.A.] Ritchie,
I spoke to you yesterday about the projected United States - Pakistan Military Pact. In this letter I am giving you the background of this question and briefly summarizing the views I conveyed to you verbally. I shall be grateful if you would kindly bring this matter to the attention of the Prime Minister. He might perhaps agree to afford me an opportunity to discuss it personally with him.
As I explained to you yesterday afternoon, there has recently been a spate of speculation, more particularly in the American Press, in regard to a Military Pact between the United States and Pakistan. Some of the writers have referred to the possibility of Pakistan agreeing to grant bases to the United States for military purposes, while others have stressed that the intention of the United States was to grant military aid to Pakistan. Even though we recognize fully the sovereignty of Pakistan and its right to enter into any international commitments it likes, we could not obviously remain indifferent to developments across the border which might affect profoundly the situation in our own country. Prime Minister Nehru, therefore, on the basis of reports which he had seen, made a press statement in which he referred to the dangers inherent in a move of this kind and stated that a Military Pact between Pakistan and the United States of America would be of "the most intense concern to India".
Objection was taken both in Washington and in Karachi to Prime Minister Nehru's statements and it was alleged that no decision in regard to acquisition of bases in Pakistan had been taken. It was, nevertheless, admitted that talks on the subject of a military alliance had taken place and the grant of military assistance by the United States of America to Pakistan was contemplated. As a matter of fact, matters would appear to have gone far beyond this point. Talks between Military Commands of both sides are reported to have taken place and visits by Military Missions have been exchanged. It is, therefore, fair to assume that the groundwork of a plan for military assistance to Pakistan has been prepared and now awaits implementation. Our view is that if this plan is implemented, a dangerous situation full of the most explosive possibilities would arise in India, the gravity of which could not be overemphasized. Through a delicate balancing of forces and the peaceful intent of the Government of India, peace has hitherto prevailed in our part of the world. The United States, by its action to enter into a Military Pact with Pakistan would disturb this delicate balance and would create conditions which would undermine the peace and stability of the sub-continent. The United States would, in our view, be guilty of aiding the aggressive intent of Pakistan against India - a Commonwealth country which has endeavoured throughout to maintain friendly relations with all countries and whose only offence, if it can be called an offence, has been to refuse steadfastly to subordinate her conscience to the will of the United States. I am giving below in the form of questions and answers our reactions to the projected Military Pact.
Q.1: Why is Pakistan anxious to enter into a Military Pact?
A: It must be obvious to any discerning person that Pakistan is not immediately or directly threatened by the Soviet Union or Communist China; nor, judging from the pronouncements in its Press and by its leaders, is it greatly concerned with the spread of communistic activity in the country. Further the urge to adopt defensive measures against the Soviet Union should, if anything, have shown abatement because of the recent easing of international tension. Pakistan has, nevertheless, been increasingly insistent on securing military aid from the United States of America. Why? Quite obviously for one reason, and one reason only, and that is that she desires to build up her military strength first to use it as a bargaining factor in dealing with India, and, if these efforts fail, by waging a regular war against her. In the circumstances which exist any other conclusion would be contrary to reason and entirely untenable.
Q.2: Why is the United States anxious to enter into a Military Pact with Pakistan?
A: In the first place, the United States desires to forge another link in the chain which she has been fabricating to encircle the Soviet Union.
Secondly, it would certainly appear that this step is being considered as a means of bringing pressure on India to abandon her so-called neutralist foreign policy and be coerced into joining the anti-Communist bloc. I venture to prophesy that if the United States persists in consummating its Military Pact with Pakistan, it will fail in the attainment of both these objectives. You may rest assured that India will, in no circumstances, succumb to outside pressure and abandon a foreign policy which has the solid and united support of all her people. With a hostile India, the military support of Pakistan is scarcely likely to achieve the objective which the United States Government has in view.
Q.3: What will be the effect of a Military Pact on Pakistan?
A: Pakistan has declared on numerous occasions that the be-all and end-all of her foreign policy was to wrest control of Kashmir. Hostilities in this area ceased after an understanding was reached that a solution would be sought through peaceful means by holding a plebiscite. Both sides have adhered to this arrangement because of the balance of power in the sub-continent. If now Pakistan receives military assistance from a third party, it would find itself strong enough to adopt towards India a more aggressive attitude. Public opinion in Pakistan, which is highly inflammable, would be whipped up by demagogues who would dangle before the people the bait of a successful military exploit. It is also not unlikely, conditions being what they are in Pakistan, that the increase of military power would result in the overthrow of constitutional government and the establishment of a military dictatorship.
Q.4: What will be the effect of the Pact on India?
A: The country will be swept by anti-American feeling from one end to the other and all prospects of collaboration between India and the United States will cease. By the same token all prospects of peaceful settlement of the Kashmir and other disputes between India and Pakistan will also disappear. Tension between India and Pakistan will increase, and India will be forced into re-thinking and reorganization of her defence arrangements. To cope with the increasing military might of Pakistan, she will have to increase her military power, in the first instance, from her own limited resources, thus applying a brake on much-needed economic development. She will also, in all probability, be forced to seek such outside assistance from other quarters as she is able to get. The cold war will thus be brought to India and it would be difficult to prevent the outbreak of actual hostilities. Because of international repercussions, hostilities in India could scarcely be localized and the probability is that these developments would lead to a world-war. Another country which will be similarly affected will be Afghanistan. Its relations with Pakistan have not been always happy and it will be similarly forced to look elsewhere for support to counter the military threat from Pakistan.
Q.5: What will be the effect on the Soviet Union and Communist China?
A: The Pact would give cause for serious offence to both these countries. They would take all possible steps to counteract this settlement. Not only will they try to establish bases on borders of India and Pakistan and take such other steps as logistics will permit, but they will further redouble their efforts to win over the people of India and Afghanistan to their side. Because of the Military Pact between the United States of America and Pakistan, a climate would have been created in India which would be most favourable to the communist cause. They would have willing listeners and also willing tools. The Pact thus would be a menace to stability of India, to the hard-won freedom of the people and to the cause of democracy in the East.
Q.6: Can United States prevent misuse of force by Pakistan?
A: The answer to this question is definite, and emphatically, "No". The United States has informed us that it does not consider that the Pact will imperil India's interests. This hope, in the context of prevailing sentiments and events, is utterly futile and meaningless. If planes, arms, explosives and other war materials are given to a country, there is no power on earth which could stop it from using these engines of destruction against any country. Any assurance which the receiving country might give to the donor country is not worth the paper on which it is written. In the case of Pakistan, it must be obvious to all except the wilfully blind that her sole objective in seeking this pact is to employ her enhanced military strength against India, first in arguments, and later on the field. The fact that recipients of military assistance cannot be controlled has been amply demonstrated by the conduct of President Syngman Rhee in Korea and by the threatening manoeuvres of the Italian Army, equipped with NATO arms on the frontiers of Yugoslavia. Neither of these protégés of United States could be controlled in the exercise of threats held out by them against their opponents.
Q.7: What is the scope of the Pact and when will it be implemented?
A: The United States Government, beyond admitting that it was thinking of giving military assistance to Pakistan, has vouchsafed no information to us in regard to the scope of the projected Pact or of the degree of military aid which Pakistan will receive. As regards the time of implementation, we learn from newspaper reports that plans will be speeded up on the return of Vice-President Nixon from his tour. It is also reported that Vice-President Nixon is strongly in favour of the grant of military assistance to Pakistan.
As I explained to you yesterday, my Government regards the projected military alliance with the gravest concern. We feel that the consequences of such a Pact will be serious, far-reaching and unpredictable. The Government of Canada will, no doubt, decide its own course of action, but we feel that an expression of their opinion to the Governments of United States and Pakistan will help.