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Feeding the Mouth That Bites

Washington, D.C.

Pakistan is, or was until recently the showpiece of development aid policy. Its five-year plans have been sound, their application intelligent and conscientious, their results gratifying. Thus the second plan, just terminated, yielded in the five years a cumulative economic growth of 29 per cent—with, what is more rare and not less precious, an increase in agricultural output substantially greater than the growth of the population. Half of the outside aid that went into the plan was contributed, mostly in cheap government loans, by the United States. That this success for the more enlightened and far-sighted view of foreign aid policy should have been followed first by the collapse of the political relationship between Pakistan and Washington, and now by an old-fashioned territorial conflict hazarding all that has been achieved, is a severe blow to the men of enlightenment, who were ploughing a hard enough furrow already. It is not much consolation to them that the rival policy of using aid as a weapon to secure American political and military ends has been discredited at the same time.

The figures of American military aid to India and Pakistan have never been published, but the amount given to Pakistan since the early 1950s is variously estimated at between $1.2 billion and $2 billion. Since the Chinese attack in the Himalayas in 1962, India has received American arms to the value of perhaps $200 million. Mr. George Ball, the Under Secretary of State, explained in April that each country was intended to use these American arms not against the other, but to protect itself against a threat from the North:

Our assistance to Pakistan is based on developing Pakistan as an effective bastion against the historic movement of the Soviet Union down into the subcontinent and the Khyber Pass…the problem of India again is simply to respond to a demonstrated vulnerability of India across the high mountains to the North, which was shown in 1962 when the Chinese launched their aggression.

But the Indians and Pakistanis have refused to see their military interests in those terms.

Naturally the large amounts of military equipment that have gone to the two belligerents have not been supplied in blithe unconcern about the use that might be made of them. The supplies of spare parts and ammunition have been restricted to make it difficult to use the American tanks and aircraft against the “wrong” enemy for long. American disapproval of the recent fighting, on both sides, is not of course in doubt. Disapproval of Pakistan is at present noticeably more emphatic than disapproval of India. However, the Administration had really no choice but to stop military supplies to both sides…. It might have preferred to stop them quietly and say little about it, but the appropriations for foreign aid have been under debate in Congress, and the doubts that Congress entertains about foreign aid are much reinforced by the spectacle of two recipients using it to fight each other.

To ease the passage of the Bill the Secretary of State, Mr. Rusk, told the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 8th of the Administration’s decision, and gave a statement to a member of the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives, Mr. Mahon of Texas, to repeat on the House floor. In this Mr. Rusk said that shipments of military aid to Pakistan or India had been suspended “in keeping with the announced policy of full support for the efforts of the Security Council and the Secretary General of the United Nations” and he promised consultation with “appropriate members of Congress about the conditions in which military aid might be renewed.” He did not mention deliveries other than aid—both countries buy American ammunition for their American weapons—but to the extent that it can be done legally these too are being held up. In each category there are consignments on the way and where practicable the ships have been told not to deliver them.

Mr. Rusk also promised to consult Congress “in connection with making new economic aid loans or grants” to either country. India and Pakistan are the two biggest recipients of development aid, and it is plainly intended to use the fact as a means of persuasion. As Mr. Mansfield, the Senate majority leader, said, “This is about the only flexible inducement we have for affecting the situation there.” The old fiscal year ended on June 30th and loans and grants for the new one have been waiting for Congress to appropriate the money: they will now have to wait longer…Generally speaking, this will not halt work in progress; the threat is to hold up new projects.

These programs of general economic improvement are very large and longterm (indeed, interminable); the subcontinent is the main testing-ground for the concept of a development partnership between rich and poor regions of the world. Even before the fighting flared up in Kashmir and the Punjab, the Pakistani aid program had run into political trouble as relations deteriorated between President Ayub and President Johnson. American policy towards Pakistan has always been concerned to get the Pakistanis to worry less about any threat from India and to concentrate on holding the ring against the communist powers. When the Himalayan fighting in 1962 caused the United States to start giving military aid to India, Pakistan, till then regarded as the model of anti-communist loyalty in all Asia, was aggrieved. American reassurances naturally took the form of persuading the Pakistanis that India was less to be feared in the subcontinent now that it had an antagonist to the North. But the Pakistanis drew a different conclusion from the one they were intended to draw, and began to reinsure by cultivating closer relations with China. If he had not been influenced by annoyance at President Ayub’s new China policy, Mr. Johnson would presumably not have abruptly cancelled Mr. Shastri’s visit at the same time but this did not assuage the Pakistanis; it merely made sure that Washington would be on bad terms with not one, but both political leaders in the subcontinent when further trouble blew up.

Evidently the Pakistanis have never appreciated quite how strongly the Administration and Congress resent their Chinese flirtation. One element in Mr. Johnson’s decision to put off receiving President Ayub and Mr. Shastri lay in his anxiety to give Congress as few reminders as possible of the recalcitrance of the two big beneficiaries of foreign aid until he had got the Bill authorizing it through Congress. In April, in the expectation (or so it is now said) that the Bill would after all have a fairly smooth passage, the Administration was represented at the meeting at which nine governments, together with the World Bank and the International Development Association, pledged their contributions for the next year of the Indian economic plan. In June it took part in the first consortium meeting for Pakistan, at which the Pakistani proposals were received and discussed. The pledging meeting for Pakistan was to follow on July 27th. The Pakistanis were asking an American contribution of $300 million for the first year of their third plan, and were expected to get $225 million or perhaps a little more. But while the administrators of foreign aid, impressed with the technical quality of Pakistan’s performance, were decidedly in favor of a handsome contribution, the political officials higher up had begun to harbor reservations based on Pakistan’s awkward diplomatic behavior and on a feeling that President Johnson might be hard to persuade.

By the beginning of July the Foreign Assistance Bill was in trouble, the two houses of Congress having arrived at a deadlock which was to last many weeks. The Administration therefore decided that it would not be ready to pledge aid for Pakistan in July and the world Bank postponed the pledging meeting until September 23rd. But the Administration also told the Pakistani government that there were “other matters” to be discussed between them in the interval before the postponed meeting took place. This convinced President Ayub that aid policy was being used as a weapon to force him back into line in his dealings with China. Whether it was then or not, if had certainly begun to be so used by August. President Ayub’s assertion in a broadcast of Pakistan’s “right to normalize our relations with our neighbors however different our ideologies might be,” and that he was looking for “friends, not masters,” followed by a report that Pakistan was considering asking Moscow for fighter aircraft if it could not get modern ones from the United States, convinced Mr. Johnson that he was being put under pressure. His reaction was irate…

Without some resolution of the conflict between Pakistan and India it is hardly to be thought that the consortium will meet to pledge its development loans. Indeed, without some resolution the whole of America and western policy in South Asia faces total uncertainty.

In this uncertainty policy on development aid is included. Congress succeeded last month in ending its own deadlock and agreeing on a draft which both houses, each with reluctance though on different grounds, were prepared to pass. Their disagreement had turned largely on the desire of the Senate, under the influence of Mr. Fulbright, to authorize economic and military aid for two years instead of one year at a time, and on the opposition in the House of Representatives to the desire of the Senate majority to allow a larger proportion of American aid to be administered by international bodies like the World Bank and the IDA. On the first point the Senate had to retreat. Not only is the foreign aid program disliked by many congressmen but the annual act affords the House its main opportunity which it will not give up willingly. All that the Senate could achieve was a not very precise agreement that any proposals for a two-year Bill would be examined next year “with the greatest care.” The share of the development loan money which may be channeled through international organizations was raised from 10 to 15 percent. The two houses also agreed to urge the President to institute a review of the entire foreign aid program, “seeking to direct it more effectively toward the solution of the problems of the developing countries.”

On the face of things, the passage of the compromise is another of the President’s legislative successes. The Bill authorizes $3.36 billion, only $99 million less than the President requested—by no means a bad result when compared with the savage slashing of President Kennedy’s more ambitious requests. Of the total, $2.19 billion are classed as economic and $1.17 billion as military assistance. But these figures remain somewhat abstract until the money is actually appropriated. India and Pakistan have been getting between them more than 40 per cent of all development loans and grants, as well as a substantial ration of military assistance. With the promises of delay and further consultation that it has made, the Administration can get Congress to vote this money (the House passed the appropriations Bill on September 8), but it has new no certainly of being able to spend it. The chances of keeping the aid program fully alive in its existing form look thinner than before.

The Economist, London

RATS PROVIDE A HUMOROUS SIDE

New Delhi

Then, in discussing a proposal to establish a committee for the control of rodents, members suggested that the cat population be increased to keep pace.

Sunday Times, London

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