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.


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