Secret and Confidential
India. Pakistan. Bangladesh
Compiled and Selected by Roedad Khan
Indroduced by Jamsheed Marker
Oxford University Press, Karachi, 1999
ISBN 0 19 579190 8 PKR 995
(printed with permission)
From the introduction:
The documents contained in this volume were obtained from the United States National Archives in Maryland during the fall of 1998. These records were made available to the public, Linder the American Freedom of Information Act, as they became declassified after a given period of time. They constitute a rich and wide-ranging source of primary material for the historian, the scholar, the researcher, or the merely curious. The papers cover the global activities of the Department of State, and ‘whilst a few documents, oh account of their sensitivity continue to remain classified: the overwhelming number are made available for public scrutiny. The plethora of material that is available thus inevitably involves a considerable output of time and effort, for research, and an equally prodigious application of talent and selectivity for compilation. The material in this book was culled by Roedad Khan during a period of enforced medical confinement following a surgical procedure in Washington. DC. This is an unusual form of convalescence, but then all who know Roedad would know that he is an unusual man.
For the purpose of good order and balance of perspective, it is necessary to record a few caveats. The first is that these documents. within the stipulated time frame. relate mostly to the bilateral context of Pakistani/US relations and do not cover in depth either multilateral (United Nations activities) or issues involving Pakistan and third countries, most notably India: in ‘such cases the references are largely marginal.
The second caveat is that the most sensitive of telegrams and despatches retain their classified status, and are likely to remain so for some time. The pinnacles are still, so to speak, enshrouded in clouds. But enough remains visible to us of these impressive mountain ranges, the nature of the glaciers, the rock formations, the valleys and the foothills, to enable us to draw conclusions and make judgements that are valuable.
The third caveat is that for the most part the reports emanate from the missions in the field and are transmitted to the State Department. The traffic is largely one way, and we see very little of the instructions that go out to the Ambassadors from State. Nor do we have any records of the decision-making process in Washington that generates the instructions that eventually go out to the Ambassadors. My own experience in Washington led me to the conclusion that in the Administration alone there are at least two centres of power—The White House/National Security Council. and the State Department. To this may be added the CIA and the Defence Department, both of which have always been involved with Pakistan. Then there is the Congress. with its powerful Committees and Subcommittees which both legislate and supervise the implementation of such legislation. Add to this the media. whose influence extends to all branches of the Executive and Legislative organs, and one finds that power in Washington is a indeed a multicentric phenomenon. It is, of course, ridiculous to expect to find, in the despatches contained in this volume. evidence of inputs from the various institutions just mentioned, but the discerning reader would be well advised to keep in mind Washington’s multi-faceted power scenario as a backdrop to the many dramatic events that are played out in these despatches.
The reader must not expect to find complete impartiality: the object of the exercise is to defend and further the interests of the United States.
(Roedad Khan is a former Pakistani civil servant who held several important appointments, including those of Chief Secretary Sindh; secretary, Ministry of Interior; Secretary General, Ministry of Interior, Federal Minister in Charge of Accountability; and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Accountability.)