Department of State
MEMORANDUM FOR THE PRESIDENT
SUB : South Asia Military Supply Policy
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
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).
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
we should lean toward India, the larger and more
- 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
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
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
if our political and security interests dictate. However, as previously noted,
our interests do not require and change of policy in this instance.
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.
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
Developments Affecting South Asia Military Supply Policy
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.
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.
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.
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
Gestures Toward Pakistan
Following are some possibilities in order of preference if you should conclude
it is important to do something for Pakistan in the military field.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
you should decide to make a gesture toward Pakistan in the field of economic
development, you could consider interalia:
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).
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.
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.
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.