United States: The Most Allied Ally?

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Let me take you back in time… On October 20, 1947 diplomatic relations between Pakistan and the United States were officially established. But it was in General Muhammad Ayub Khan’s era that Pakistan and USA came so close that he declared USA as “the most allied ally” of Pakistan. It was partly because of the Kashmir dispute and partly due to the security threat from India, as Ayub Khan believed only the USA could help out Pakistan, on the other hand United States aimed to help Pakistan to maintain her independence in the area threatened by communism. And remember it was the early days of cold war and United States needed partners against the Soviet Block.
On March 5, 1959 Pakistan and the United States signed a bilateral agreement of Defence. According to which the United States agreed to fulfill the defence requirements of Pakistan. The United States also declared that any attack on Pakistan would be considered as attack on America. In May 1959, United States sent fresh supply of arms to Pakistan. Ayub Khan demanded for F-104 Fighter aircraft and also informed the United States about the problems created by the United States intelligence activities against Soviet Union from Badaber American base for Pakistan. He also told Ambassador Langley that the Soviet Union and India were security threats for Pakistan, but he did not receive the desired response.
On December 7, 1959 Eisenhower visited Pakistan, it was considered as a major event in the history of Pakistan as he was the first ever American President to visit Pakistan.
On May 5, 1960 Soviet Union captured a spying aircraft of America (U2). According to Dennis Kux, on 7th May, 1960 when all the leaders of the United States, Soviet Union, France and Britain were gathered on one table for summit in Paris, Washington announced a false statement about captured aircraft. The statement declared that a weather reconnaissance aircraft was lost while flying over the Soviet Union. But in reality that U-2 aircraft was used for getting secret information about Russia and Pakistan had provided the base for such activities in return for military and economic aid.
When John F. Kennedy became the President, his interests shifted from Pakistan to India. Kennedy invited Ayub Khan for an official visit but just six day before that on July 6, 1961, Ayub Khan said: “Pakistan was concerned, upset and disappointed over the . . . United States policy in the region.” On the eve of his departure for Washington, Ayub Khan said that the increased aid to India poses a great threat for Pakistan.

He also threatened that “Pakistan might pull out of United States backed SEATO pact if United States will continue its heavy aid to India.”

On 11 July, 1961 Ayub Khan paid his official visit to the United States as the president of Pakistan. At that time Kennedy declared Pakistan “a powerful force for freedom in its area and praised Pakistan as a first country who offered support to United States during Korean War.” In his address to the Joint session of the United States Congress, Ayub Khan said: “We value our friendship with you and we also take deep interest in your affairs.” He made an appeal to congress for economic aid and America today has world agreement. If America feel any difficulty there is no country in Asia where you will be able to put your foot in. we are the only nation who will stand by you. Ayub Khan returned to his country after his visit to the United States on July 19, 1961. In a news conference in Karachi, he stated: “Kennedy assured me to solve Kashmir problem and also provide military aid to Pakistan.”
Pak-US relations consistently followed a downward trend, then on September 6, 1965 India attacked Pakistan, but United States provided no support to Pakistan as pledged in the 1959 Agreement of Cooperation. Though the United States suspended military assistance to India as well but the suspension of aid affected Pakistan much more severely in the conflict.
My aim was not to give you a lesson in history, but it is time we should take a lesson from history. As history has a knack of repeating itself.

i. A. K Hameed, Foreign Policies of Major Powers. Lahore: Aziz Publishers, 1989. N.P. 
ii. Farhat Mahmood, A History of US Pakistan Relations. Lahore: Vanguard Books Pvt. Ltd. 1991,35.
iii. Dawn Karachi, March 7, 1959.
iv. Ibid., 104.
v. Kux, The United States and Pakistan, 12.
vi. Dawn Karachi. July 7, 1961.
vii. Pakistan Times. July 8, 1961.
viii. Farhat Mehmood, History of US Pakistan Relation, 146.
ix. Kux, The Pakistan and United States, 122.
x. Dawn Karachi, July 20, 1961.
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