Department of State

 

AIRGRAM

CONFIDENTIAL

 

 

TO       :  DEPARTMENT OF STATE

INFO   :  ISLAMABAD, DACCA, HONG KONG, LAHORE, LONDON, NEW DELHI.

FROM   :KARACHI   

DATE   : FEBRUARY 4, 1971

SUBJECT : Pakistan Peoples Party on U.S.-Pak Relations

REF:    ISLAMABAD 348

 

During a general discussion with the DCM in Karachi on February 2, the question of the U.S. attitude towards the Pakistan Peoples Party was raised by Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, leader of the Karachi PPP and one of Bhutto's lieutenants. Pirzada was aware that the DCM had met with Bhutto in Rawalpindi three weeks earlier, and commented that QTE the Chairman UNQTE (i.e., Bhutto) knew of Pirzada's present meeting with the DCM.

 

In response to a direct question as to how the USG viewed the PPP, the DCM said that the United States had been and remained interested in helping the people of Pakistan to meet some of their problems. Our hope was that Pakistan would make progress in the economic and social fields and that it would consolidate its strength as a nation to play a sound and independent role in the international community. As for the PPP, the DCM went on, its success in the recent elections was a fact. We recognize that the PPP had been given something of a mandate by the people in the two largest provinces of West Pakistan to seek changes in the prevailing system. The PPP's electoral victory did not affect the U.S.'s continued interest in the welfare of Pakistan. The DCM stated that it was our hope that we could cooperate effectively with Pakistan's new political leadership to achieve goals of mutual interest.

 

Elaborating briefly on concerns which US might have about PPP actions, in response to Pirzada's queries, the DCM recalled that he had told Mr. Bhutto we naturally hoped that Pakistan's leaders would do what they could to promote a climate for good relations between our two countries. This did not mean that we expected Pakistan to agree with the United States on all questions; on the contrary, we respect Pakistan's right as a sovereign country to follow its own politices. We would, however, naturally be concerned if Pakistan pursued policies which were damaging to U.S. interests. On the domestic side, the DCM added, what the Government of Pakistan did within its own territory was fundamentally a matter for Pakistan to decide. Here too we would at least wish that Pakistani actions would not damage the legitimate interests of American firms which were active in Pakistan and doing their part to help build up the country. American public opinion had to be reckoned with by the United States Government, and popular concern in the United States (including the American business community) could effect the climate for continued effective collaboration between our two governments.

Pirzada then asked how the United States saw the question of the continued unity of Pakistan. The DCM replied that it had been and continued to be the firm policy of the United States to support the unity and the integrity of Pakistan. We recognized that it was up to the people of Pakistan how they wished to organize their country. We believe, however, that there are numerous positive reasons for the people of Pakistan, both East and West, to continue to work together for their common good. Pirzada said he hoped the United States would not misunderstand the PPP's desire to maintian close and friendly relations with Communist China. This was a natural step for Pakistan, given the fact that China was an important factor in India-Pakistan relations and also the fact that China was not only a large country but a neighbor of Pakistan. The DCM commented that we understood Pakistan's interest in having very good relations with China. We did not oppose good relations between Pakistan and China. We hoped that those relations would not develop in such a way that Pakistan would become overly dependent on China and lose its freedom to pursue a policy in Pakistan's own independent interest. Pirzada said that he shared that view, which was also that of "the Chairman."

 

In further discussion on the desirability of maintaining good relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, the DCM recalled the sniping at the United States which had been indulged in by some PPP representatives during the recent election campaign. Pirzada said he knew the DCM had spoken on more than one occasion to Mr. Bhutto about this question; Bhutto had in fact spoken to various of his people in recent months in an attempt to give a better perspective to the problem. At this point the DCM said that we were concerned mainly that anti-American statements could make it more difficult to maintain and develop the good relations which he believed both the United States and Pakistan desired. He suggested that Pirzada consider the desirability of at least an occasional public statement by the PPP leadership noting that it values and desires the maintenance of good relations between our two countries. Pirzada said he would mention this to "the Chairman."

 

LUPPI

 

 

Source: The American Papers- Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1965-1973, The University Press Limited, p.484-485