letter Harold MacMillan
The Pakistani concern over the change of the British
and American policies towards India reached a peak in December 1962
when the supply of arms and military aid to India continued even
after the Indian cease-fire with China. The following letter, written
by President Ayub to the British Prime Minister on 2 January 1963
comments on a decision taken by the US and UK on 29 December 1962
at the Nassau Airbase in the Bahamas to continue the supply with
up to 120 million dollars' worth of military aid.
Ayub's letter to Harold MacMillan
January 2, 1963
My Dear Prime Minister,
I thank you for your message of December 24th.
Sir Morrice James has also explained to me the extent of the military
assistance which you and President Kennedy have decided, at your
Nassau meeting, to extend to India.
The extent of the military assistance which Britain
and the United States have decided to extend to India for the present
without making it contingent on a Kashmir settlement, gives us cause
for great concern. The Nassau decision based on the assessment of
your military experts, may seem, in the context of your global strategy,
to be the minimum aid necessary to enable India to defend itself
from an attack through NEFA and Ladakh. We on the other hand find
it hard to believe that any invasion of the sub-continent is likely
to occur from these directions and consequently the quantum of military
support to India, quantitative as well as qualitative, which you
will be extending is fraught with serious consequences to the maintenance
of the present ratio of military strength in the sub-continent and
hence to the security of Pakistan.
I have always held the view that the most effective
way of safeguarding the security of the sub-continent is through
a disengagement of the armed forces of the two countries. A Kashmir
settlement will assure to both the substance of disengagement. Without
a settlement, sizeable military aid to India is more likely to be
deployed against Pakistan than for the defence of the north-east
of the western sectors of India's frontier with China.
We have kept the British High Commissioner informed
of the talkd that took place a few days ago at the level of ministers
in Rawalpindi. This meeting was purely exploratory. The real test
of India's intentions regarding Kashmir will come in the next ministerial
meeting in New Delhi about the middle of January.
Pakistan's attitude will not be rigid. I have instructed
my delegation to be guided by three basic principles in its approach
towards possible solutions that may be discussed:
(i) whether the solution is likely to be acceptable
to the people of Jammu and Kashmir;
(ii)whether it safeguards the vital interests of
(iii)whether it meets the legitimate claims of India.
I have no illusions that any formula which satisfies
these three requirements will not be beset by difficulties; but
if India sincerely desires an end to the dispute, and given goodwill
on both sides, there is no reason why the two countries should not
be able, with the assistance of Britain and the United States, to
reach an equitable and honourable settlement within the next month
Public opinion in Pakistan is such that while I am willing
to exercise due patience I will find it extremely difficult to convince
the people of the virtue of this quality if one round of discussion
after another does not open the way to a solution.
I remain convinced that they key to a just and peaceful
settlement lies with you and President Kennedy. If the flow of your
arms supply is so regulated as to influence India to be in a more
amenable frame of mind, positive results are bound to follow from
negotiations now under way.
With best wishes for your health, happiness and prosperity
in the New Year.
Mohammad Ayub Khan
Source: Friends Not Masters by Mohammad Ayub
Khan. Published by Oxford University Press (Pakistan) 1967.
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