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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 16, 1956

CABLE FROM THE CHINESE EMBASSY IN PAKISTAN, 'A COMPREHENSIVE REPORT ON RECENT CIRCUMSTANCES IN PAKISTAN'

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    Chinese report on the impact of the Suez Canal Crisis on the Baghdad Pact and Pakistani foreign policy
    "Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, 'A Comprehensive Report on Recent Circumstances in Pakistan'," November 16, 1956, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-00779-04, 29-31. Obtained by Sulmaan Khan and translated by Anna Beth Keim. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114888
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Copy to: Zhang, Zhang [Wenji], Ji [Pengfei], Liu, Qiao, General Office, Soviet and European Affairs Department, Asian Affairs Department, Western European Affairs Department, American and Oceanian Affairs Department, Asian and African Affairs Department, Department of International Affairs, Information Department, Personnel Office, Protocol Department, Consular Affairs Department, General Affairs Department, Research Office, Treaty Committee, Party Committee, [Meng] Yongqian, Ambassador, Ambassador Chen

From the Desk of the Ambassador to Pakistan

Priority: Very Urgent

Received: 11 934

16 November 1956

Already Copied To: Chairman, [Liu] Shaoqi, [Zhou] Enlai, Zhu De, Chen Yun, [Peng] Dehuai, [Deng] Xiaoping, Chen Yi, [Xi] Zhongxun, [Yang] Shangkun, [Wang] Jiaxiang, [Li] Kenong, [Lu] Dingyi, Propaganda Department of the CPC Central Committee, International Department of the CPC Central Committee, Investigation Department, Military Intelligence, Deng Tuo, [Wu] Lengxi, Steering Committee, [Li] Enqiu, General Staff Confidential Bureau

A Comprehensive Report on Recent Circumstances in Pakistan

[To the] Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

(1) As member nations of the Baghdad Pact—touted as defensive in nature—Britain and France’s aggression against Egypt sparked intense opposition among the Asian member nations of the pact, especially the people of Pakistan, Iran and Iraq. The strong [popular] support for either withdrawing from the pact or expelling Britain has put these countries’ governments in a very passive position. The Four Power Tehran meeting [of the Baghdad Pact Council] was held at the suggestion of Pakistan and Iran in order to convey that the pact is non-aggressive and that the Asian member countries have nothing to do with Britain’s aggression, and to give an explanation to the people so the pact does not collapse and they can continue to access American aid through it. The United States has taken a supportive stance toward the conference in order to make use of Britain’s disadvantageous position, snatch away the leadership authority for this organization, split up the Arab nations and expand the pact.

(2) The meeting condemned Israel’s aggression, but viewed Britain’s aggression only as interference and expressed regret about it; meanwhile, it offered lavish praise for the US and also cooperation with Britain, saying that Britain and France had been forced into a ceasefire as a result of the Four Powers sending an official letter. Britain, too, expressed agreement with the Four Powers’ opinion, and also stressed the Baghdad Pact’s role in resolving Middle East problems; so the meeting’s basic mission did protect the Baghdad Treaty’s role, and also created the conditions for the US’s entry. But on the other hand, it showed that the imperialists’ original plan to use this pact as a tool for opposing the Soviet Union and suppressing ethnic movements did not at all work out as hoped. The Baghdad Pact had been weakened by Britain’s aggression, Asian member nations’ opposition, and disagreement between the US and Britain.

(3) Opinion among the Asian member nations is also divided. After the conference ended, Iraq immediately announced, on the 9th, that it was severing diplomatic ties with France and would not have meetings together with Britain, and on the 10th it also joined in an Arab League meeting; this, while displaying Iraq’s Janus-faced approach, was, more importantly, brought about by internal pressure from the people. This way, the Baghdad Pact is in a state of collapse, and it is necessary to consider changing the name to the Angola or Karachi Pact.

(4) In Pakistan, various parties and organizations, including Republican Party leftists, and various circles, expressed intense anger over the stance Mirza, Suhrawardy, and [Foreign Minister Feroz Khan] Noon took on the Baghdad Pact and their remarks before and after the Tehran meeting, criticized them of defending a pact of aggression, working for British and French interests, and lavishing praise on the United States, and demanded withdrawal from the British Commonwealth and the Baghdad Pact and opposing Britain with an economic boycott. The Punjab Awami League and the Karachi Awami League also changed their past stance, demanding that there be no postponement of the Awami League steering committee meeting to discuss Pakistani foreign policy. The long-silent Peace Committee and Pakistani Scholars Association have also taken the initiative to launch activities opposing current foreign policy.

(5) Due to the Pakistani government’s reliance on American aid and the fact that they are currently negotiating with the US over a large batch of loans and three million tons of grain in aid, Pakistan’s president and prime minister still reject the Indonesian prime minister’s advice to accept the five principles for withdrawing from the military pact and to actively support Egypt, and they are also preparing to pay visits, on the 17th, to Turkey, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia; the goals remain to persuade Iraq not to break with Britain, to persuade Saudi Arabia to join the Baghdad Pact, to isolate Egypt, to strengthen Pakistani-Turkish and Turkish-Iraqi relations, and to use Egypt’s plight to fight for leadership authority over Muslim nations. Domestically, while superficially sympathizing with Egypt, [the Pakistani government] is secretly spreading rumors that Egypt has imperialist ambitions, and that [Egyptian President Gamal Abdel] Nasser and Lufen’s [sic] actions resulted in British and French interference; however, due to great internal pressure, a visit may be paid to Cairo in order to deceive the people and also to urge the Egyptian government to compromise. A fundamental change in Pakistan’s stance on the Baghdad Pact still requires greater internal pressure and a lessening of economic dependence on the U.S. Now the differences of opinion among Awami League leftists and rightists have become public, and the struggle is very fierce. Bhashani has already used the name of the East Pakistan Awami League Headquarters to release his telegram to Suhrawardy, stating that the League has nothing to do with Suhrawardy’s remarks in defense of the Baghdad Pact, and that it still insists on withdrawing from all military pacts. Suhrawardy is preparing to dissolve the Karachi Awami League and to make the leftist elements responsible for reorganizing it. Struggles between the broad masses of people and various parties and organizations against the Republican Party and Awami League rightists, and especially those between Awami League rightists and leftists, are developing. There are already signs that Suhrawardy’s position is no longer secure, and it is reckoned that Suhrawardy’s future Middle East trips will not garner the anticipated results.

[Chinese] Embassy in Pakistan

16 November

Telegram received on the 18th, 3:49 a.m. Printed on the 19th, 10:50 a.m.