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Don’t arm Pakistan: US envoy had warned Nixon in 1974

October 11
03:18 2010

Daniel Patrick Moynihan

WASHINGTON: Strongly opposing the Richard Nixon administration’s decision to rearm Pakistan in early 1974 after India conducted its first nuclear test, the then US envoy in New Delhi had warned the White House that such a move would be “devastating” for Indo-US ties.

As the White House decided to supply arms to Pakistan, the then American Ambassador to India Daniel Patrick Moynihan drafted a cable for the State Department warning that military assistance to Pakistan will damage US-India relationship.

The cable was not sent, partly because of its coarse language, according to the book “Daniel Patrick Moynihan: A Portrait in Letter of an American Visionary” that will hit book stalls in the US tomorrow. The book is a collection of personal letters and journal entry of Moynihan.

Edited by Steven R Weisman, public policy fellow at the Washington-based Peterson Institute, an advance copy of the book was provided to PTI by publisher Public Affairs, New York.

In the cable dated September 11, 1974, Moynihan wrote that the decision to rearm “Pakistan will be devastating for Indo-US relationship and drive New Delhi further into the Russian camp.”

“In ordinary circumstances this would not much matter, but with India having become nuclear power it will make impossible any serious negotiations to bring India into an international regime bent on controlling proliferation,” he said.

“The decision to rearm Pakistan marks the death knell of the non-proliferation treaty and the failure of a decade of American diplomacy…In no time nuclear weapons will be in the Middle East. All because the Pakistan kiss a** so well.”

“I recall an Arab saying: ‘women for duty: boys for pleasure.’ And there is, of course, a boy lurking in every American man,” Moynihan wrote.

He also warned Washington that the decision to rearm Pakistan will consolidate the Indo-Soviet alliance.

“It is no doubt this quality which has made it seem so compelling, but even so, historians will generally record it among the non rational of the American Government in this era, and will speculate with wild inaccuracy as to just what dementia led to it. The answer of course is self evident.

Pakistan is the last Asian country willing to kiss our a** in public…,” Moynihan wrote in his draft cable.

On the substantive point, however, it is to be noted that the decision to rearm Pakistan was unnecessary.

Pakistan has today virtually unlimited access to the arms, and increasingly has oil money to pay, he wrote.
In the cable, Moynihan said: “A second point about the decision to rearm Pakistan is that historians will surely note it opened the closing chapter in the history of that dubious nation state, the very name of which is an acronym.”

Editor Weisman says that by calling Pakistan an acronym, Moynihan is referring to its name devised by its founders as an agglomeration of Punjab, Afghania, Kashmir, Sindh and Baluchistan.

“The main point about Pakistan in this regard is that its quarter century of dependence on American arms prevented its leaders from developing the political skills necessary to survive as a multi-national state. They depended instead on parade ground bravura, and in consequence they were clobbered by the Hindus every time they started something,” Moynihan wrote.

“With the new supply of American arm, Islamabad will start pushing around the Pushtoons and the Baluchi. This will play right into Indian hands. Pretty soon there will be a full scale insurgency going, and in time the further partition of Pakistan,” the US Ambassador had warned.




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