Department of State


February 10, 1970


RS/R Files






SUB : South Asia Military Supply Policy


As I see it, we have three basic choices in reaching a decision on the South Asian military supply question. We can: (1) retain the embargo on United States arms sales to India and Pakistan; (2) lift the embargo and permit sales to both countries; or (3) make one-time exceptions or modifications of policy in favour of Pakistan. These choices are fully set forth and analyzed in the paper entitled "U.S. Military Supply Policy for South Asia" (NSCIG/NEA 69-39).


You will recall that before your Asian trip last July the Secretary gave you his tentative view that "having gotten out of the arms business in South Asia, we would do well to stay out". Since your Asian trip, there have been several developments which relate directly or indirectly to the arms supply issue, including India's flirtation on the Hanoi recognition issue and the revival of the Turk-Pakistan tank proposal (Enclosure 1).




I do not believe that any of the recent developments materially change the situation. If anything, we are more convinced that before that we should retain the embargo on United States sales of lethal weapons to India and Pakistan-for the following reasons:


- We do not have overriding political or security interests in South Asia which require us to get back into the arms business. Our relations with both India and Pakistan are generally good, despite the recent Indian flirtations with Hanoi and the disappearance of our former "special relationship" with Pakistan and our intelligence facilities in that country. The Indian military force, rebuilt after the 1962 Chinese incursion, seems capable of withstanding any potential Chinese attack and the prospects of Indo-Pakistan hostilities seem remote at present.

- India is relatively more important to our interests than Pakistan. India will react sharply to any United States policy change. If we can please only one of the two

countries, we should lean toward India, the larger and more influential power.

- Pakistan's unhappiness will be containable. It will continue to maintain good relations with us as a political offset to its relations with the USSR and Communist China and because we are Pakistan's largest aid donor ($100 million in United States economic aid to Pakistan for FY 1969 vs. $200 million for India-although India has a 4 to I population advantage.)

Even if we were ready to resume arms sales on a large scale basis-which is unlikely in any event-we could not significantly affect the policies of India and Pakistan. These policies are set by geo-political factors and matters of basic national interest which could not be significantly influenced by our arms policy.

- At present neither the USSR nor Communist China seems likely to make major additional political inroads in South Asia via the military supply route. Both India and Pakistan can be counted upon to follow essentially non-aligned foreign policies and their military establishments will not succumb to Communist influence. However, we will wish to watch the effect of our arms policy on Soviet and Chinese influence in Pakistan as Pakistan evolves toward new political institutions.

- There are some members of Congress who believe we should not remain out of the South Asian arms picture but a more vocal and influential group, especially in the Senate, would criticize United States reinvolvement in South Asian military supply. We obviously should change the policy despite anticipated Congressional

criticism if our political and security interests dictate. However, as previously noted, our interests do not require and change of policy in this instance.


If you agree to uphold the present embargo, I think we should convey the word to India and Pakistan in terms of a decision to keep the military supply question under continuing review. Such a formula might be slightly better from the Pakistan viewpoint and, by keeping the issue some what open, might give us certain political advantages in future dealings with India.


While recommending that we maintain the status quo, I realize that you may feel some obligation to President Yahya. This might take the form of providing some military equipment

Recent Developments Affecting South Asia Military Supply Policy Issue


I . The Indians began flirtations last summer on the Hanoi recognition issue but backed off -at least temporarily-in view of our objections. Ambassadors Keating and Farland have recommended that we not link our arms policy with the Hanoi issue. The two, nonetheless, have become somewhat inter-related. In the current charged political atmosphere in India, a change in United States policy might generate pressures on the Indian Government to revive the Hanoi recognition question.


2. After lying dormant for some time, the Turk-Pakistan tank transaction suddenly surface in November when the Turks told us they could go ahead if we gave our approval. Under such a sales arrangement, which could be authorized under present policy, we could approve the sale by Turkey of a hundred M-47 tanks to Pakistan and provide Turkey with a hundred more modern M-48 tanks at a cost to us of $3.7 million. We now owe the Turks a reply.


3. The British asked us in October to authorize sale of 12 United States-controlled Canberra bombers to India. We told the British last month that we could not approve the sale by the UK of these bombers, explaining that our approval of the British request could create complications for us in our military supply review and in our relations with Pakistan. We suggested instead that the British consider the sale of some of their Canberras which were not financed under MDAP and, therefore, did not require United States approval.


4. We have confirmed through sensitive intelligence that Pakistan in December received from Communist China the first 12 of a scheduled 60 MIG-19 aircraft which China has agreed to provide Pakistan. This is the first major Chinese supply of weapons to Pakistan since 1967. (Some of these aircraft reportedly are replacements for MIG-19's previously supplied by the Chinese.)


Possible Gestures Toward Pakistan


Military Gestures


The Following are some possibilities in order of preference if you should conclude it is important to do something for Pakistan in the military field.


1. One-time Sale of Aircraft to Pakistan - We could make a one-time exception to present policy to sell Pakistan six F-104 fighter aircraft or four B-57 bombers or both, which Pakistan has asked to buy from us. The F-104 aircraft would bring Pakistan's F-104 fighter squadron up to full strength and thus contribute to Pakistan's air defense capability. The B-57's, on the other hand, are offensive aircraft. At the same time, it should be recognized that sale of both types of aircraft would be only a small gesture in Pakistan's eyes.


2. Approve the Turk-Pakistan Tank Transaction - This would be regarded as a favorable political gesture by Pakistan although it would only partially meet Pakistani military requirements and would provoke a strong reaction on the Indian side.


Even if we turn down the Turk-Pak tank transaction, Pakistan could continue to try to meet some of its future requirements via the third country route, despite the difficulties the Pakistanis have experienced to date.


3. Sell Pakistan M-47 Tanks Directly - We could hold up on the Turk-Pak tank transaction and, instead, sell one hundred M-47 tanks directly to Pakistan as a one-time exception to present policy. This would be a cleaner proposition and would avoid Congressional criticism that we "sugared up" the Turkish transaction in the amount of $3.7 million. Nonetheless, in terms of our relations with India, it would have greater drawbacks than the proposed Turk-Pak arrangement.


4. Permit Continued Sale of Replacements for Pakistan - By modifying present policy we could permit the sale of weapons on a continuing basis to replace equipment previously supplied by the United States but rendered inoperative through peace-time loss or attrition. This would mean we could provide the F- 104's or B-57 aircraft and some M-47 tanks as well as replacements for other previously-supplied United States equipment. This policy modification would cause an even stronger Indian reaction with the intensity of thee reaction depending upon the amounts and types of equipment supplied. Despite disclaimer, the Indians would suspect that the Pakistanis would exploit the continuous replacement route as a way to obtain more sophisticated weapons.


Note: If we proceed with any of the above four alternatives, we may also want to agree to certain sales to India. The range of sales would extend from those permissible under current policy to exceptions or motifications. The alternative selected could depend upon what was decided upon for Pakistan.


Development-related Gestures


If you should decide to make a gesture toward Pakistan in the field of economic development, you could consider interalia:


1. Additional dollar loan funding above the estimated $84 million which Pakistan may receive in FY 1970 (although this increase would have to come from allocations to other this United States-aided countries).

2. Reallocation of about $40 million of United States-owned Pakistan currency for Pakistani use-possibly for East Pakistan in the rural works program, coastal embankment project, or for flood control.

3. Supply of additional PL 480 food grain assistance in support of a comprehensive water and flood control program in East Pakistan. 4. Meeting Pakistan's request for an additional 50,000 tons of edible oil.


However, we should realize that any additional United States economic assistance will only slightly cushion the negative Pakistani reaction to a status quo decision on military supply.



 Source: The American Papers Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1965-1973,  The University Press Limited, p.320-323.