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Fri 15 December 2017

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Foreign Office on US influence in Pakistan and countermeasures



Discussions with anglophile General Iskander Mirza (soon to be deposed by pro-US Ayub Khan).

UK concerned that US was not only going to supply military aid, but would pursue a policy of ‘moving in’, by seeking to reorganise the Pakistani military organisation, which was essentially British and also by establishment of training schools in Pakistan that would teach American ideas of organisation and tactics.

File includes discussions with the Pakistan Secretary of Defence, General Iskander Mirza on the importance of Pakistan to the UK, dated 14th August 1954 . "Turkey and Pakistan were the main bastion of this {strategy of imperial} defence of the MiddleEast: and they could be building up the forces of the Arab World between them...there would be a great advantage if Pakistan could mobilise and equip an expeditionary force of even one brigade for service, perhaps, at the head of the Persian Gulf". - Reaction by Mirza: " flattered by idea of such an important position… very encouraging to find that Pakistan was beginning to show a willingness to turn to us for advice and to co-operate with us in projects for the defence of the Middle East".

File on the Turko-Pakistan Pact with confidential notes to Mr Eden from Sir J. Bouller dated March 13th 1954. It presents conversation between Sir Bouller and Assistant Secretary General at Ministry of Foreign Affairs re: the history of this pact. Idea first originated with the ‘sponsors of original Middle East Defence Organisation Scheme’ that to recruit Pakistan into the project would be a ‘great advantage’ …. from her pan-Islamic inclinations and linking her with Turkey and the West’

"Importance for US:: From the moment when the State Department saw it (the Turco-Pakistan talks) they viewed it as a heaven-sent means of justifying to Congress the military assistance which they were anxious to give to Pakistan....moreover it fitted neatly into the pattern of US policy towards Turkey which the Americans have selected as the future bastion of Western defence at the end of NATO.

File inlcudes reaction of UK High Commissioner, Gilbert Laithwaite, on American military aid: " From a Pakistani point of view what has happened is that Pakistan, by the acceptance of American aid, has definitely and consciously moved into the western camp...what has happened is that Pakisatan has moved to the West’. From UK point of view ‘humiliating and disturbing’. For Pakistan has realised that UKs hands are tied when it comes to questions of assisting her, the difficulty mainly being that the UK is ‘sterilised because of relation to India’. Also realistically, little financial aid can be given, especially not of a comparable scale to that supplied by Americans. Pakistan know, in other words, that ‘politically the Americans are now the right horse to back’.

Analysis of what UK should do in this situation: despite these feelings of humiliation, pride should be swallowed, and profess happiness at this situation: ‘welcome the US-Pakistani ties’ and at the same time play a ‘friendly hand with Americans’. Also, take Pakistan ‘into further ground that way...we can encourage closer and more intimate relations, and perhaps hope to be able to exercise a closer influence on Pakistani policy’.

UK High Commissioner of Pakistan, G. Laithwaite in conversation with Zafrullah Khan: notes " I said it was of particular importance...that we should be closely in on what was going on (re: US military aid). Zafrullah said that he was extremely sorry if failure to make earlier communication had caused ill-feeling at home...I think things should go pretty smoothly after this...He showed a ready disposition to be as helpful as possible’

PRO File: PREM 11 1520


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