letter to Kennedy
In 1962 much alarm was caused in Pakistan when the
US started supplying arms to India in view of the latter's conflict
with the communist China. On 28 October the US President John F.
Kennedy wrote a letter to President Ayub Khan assuring him that
India will be obliged not to use the arms supplied by America against
Pakistan but also suggesting that Pakistan should take an initiative
at this point and provide some kind of moral support to India in
its war against China. The following is President Ayub's reply President
Kennedy, dated 5 November 1962.
Ayub's letter to Kennedy
November 5, 1962
Dear Mr. President,
I am grateful to you for your kind message of October
28, 1962, which was delivered by your Ambassador.
For the last fifteen years, India has posed a major
military threat to Pakistan. She has built up her forces, may I
say, mainly with American and British equipment three to four times
our strength and has openly declared that Pakistan is her enemy
Eighty per cent or more of her Armed Forces have already
been earmarked against us and the bulk of them remain concentrated
on our borders on ten days' state of readiness. We have been exposed
to these aggressive designs all these years simply because the Indian
Prime Minister himself is not prepared to honour his pledge in regard
to so many agreements and especially in regard to the solution of
Kashmir in which Pakistan is vitally interested for profound economic
and security reasons. Therefore, by and large, we have spent these
fifteen years in a state of mobilization which has been forced upon
us by India. On top of all this, the recent conflict between India
and China has led to developments of grave concern to us.
However, our own information, although meager, leads
us to believe that the Chinese intention seems to be to occupy the
territory which they believe belongs to them and over which there
has been a dispute between her and India. Even if Mr. Nehru thought
it fit in his wisdom to declare in the Indian Parliament in 1954
with reference to Chinese position in Tibet that 'I am not aware
of any time during the last few hundred years when Chinese sovereignty,
or if your like suzerainty, was challenged by any outside country.
All during this period, whether China was weak or strong, or whatever
the Government of China, China always maintained its claim to sovereignty
over Tibet. The British Empire in the days of Lord Curzon had expanded
into and made several types of arrangements in Tibet. Now it is
impossible or improper for us to continue any such arrangements.
These maps and treaties are all prepared by the British Imperialists.
These treaties and maps are intended to show that we must act as
Militarily, however, we do not believe that China can
bring to bear against India her major forces through the difficult
terrain of the Himalayas to achieve decisive results, and even if
she has any such intention the way to do it would be to outflank
India through Burma. In our opinion that would be a simpler way
of doing it and in cost it would be cheaper. If the Chinese intensions
were more than limited and they were to expand into the territories
of Assam, we would have as much cause for concern as India, as our
East Pakistan would be directly affected. We are making this appreciation
about the actual situation in no light-hearted mood.
Why has such a situation developed on this sub-continent
and around India? We believe that this is the direct outcome of
distorted and fallacious thinking on the part of Mr. Nehru and his
associates and a consequence of a baseless foreign policy that he
has been following. This foreign policy has been based on the following
(a) bending over backwards to appease communism;
(b) hoist the white flag of neutralism to appease
communism and get otherwise wavering nations to join India in
order to be able to create a world nuisance-value for themselves;
(c) intimidate and threaten Pakistan in order to
politically isolate it and economically weaken it; and
(d) abuse the West, and especially the U.S.A. in
season and out of season.
The events have proved that all that is happening to
Mr. Nehru is the direct consequence of his warped thinking. We have
been warning and pointing to this all along.
Mr. President, what you now ask of us is to give an
assurance to Mr. Nehru of a kind that will enable him to deploy
his troops, at present concentrated against us, elsewhere. I am
surprised that such a request is being made to us. After all, what
we have been doing is nothing but contain the threat that was continuously
posed by India to us. Is it in conformity with the human nature
that we should cease to take such steps as are necessary for our
self-preservation? Or, will our people ever accept such a position?
According to our information, India has withdrawn an
infantry division and half away from us but there are definite inclinations
that they are moving forward their reserve armoured formations of
one division and one brigade to battle location against Pakistan.
Similarly, they now have a corps headquarters to control troops
deployed against East Pakistan. The bulk of their Navy, barring
a couple of small vessels, have been concentrated in Bombay harbour,
ostensibly for refit but in reality to pose a threat to us. Under
no stretch of imagination, Mr. President, can these moves be described
as indications of peaceful intentions towards us by India. So, how
can we, in a situation like this, be expected to show our friendship
No, Mr. President, the answer to this problem lies elsewhere.
It lies in creating a situation whereby we are free from the Indian
threat, and the Indians are free from any apprehensions about us.
This can only be done if there is a settlement of the question of
Kashmir. This matter is sometimes stated as very difficult to resolve.
I do not agree with that. I believe that if there is a change of
heart on the part of India, it should not be difficult to find an
equitable and honourable settlement.
Our object is to have peace, especially with our neighbours.
I am very grateful for the assurance you have given that the arms
you are now supplying to India will not be used against us. This
is very generous of you, but knowing the sort of people you are
dealing with, whose history is a continuous tale of broken pledges,
I would not ask a friend like you to place yourself in an embarrassing
situation. India's conduct over the question Junagadh, Mangrol,
Hyderabad, Kashmir and Goa should be well-known to you. Our belief
is that the arms now being obtained by India from you for use against
China will undoubtedly be used against us at the very first opportunity.
However, in the light of the promise that you were good enough to
make, namely, that we shall be consulted and also informed as to
the types and the quantities of weapons and equipment before you
gave any military assistance to India, we did expect to be consulted
and also informed as to the types and the quantities of weapons
and equipment which are now in the process of being supplied to
them. It is regrettable that none this has been done.
I would also like to draw your attention to the fact
that although India today poses as an aggrieved and oppressed party,
in reality she has been constantly threatening and intimidating,
in varying degrees, small neighbouring countries around her. Let
me assure you that in the eyes of many people in Asia, Indian intentions
are suspect and the Indian image as a peace-loving nation has been
You have referred, Mr. President, to press comments
in Pakistan. While we have endeavoured to restrain expression of
extremist views in our newspapers, it is not possible to interfere
with the freedom of the press which reflects the real sentiments
of the people. It must be realized that public opinion is gravely
exercised by the new developments as the result of arms aid to India,
more so, as India continues to pose a serious threat to our security.
I am afraid it is going to be extremely difficult for my Government
to discount public opinion.
With kind regards,
Mohammad Ayub Khan
Source: Friends Not Masters by Mohammad Ayub
Khan. Published by Oxford University Press (Pakistan) 1967.
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