Original Articles

A gentle reminder: General Ayub Khan’s memo to Admiral Radford – by Kamran Shafi

General Ayub Khan revealed top secret details of Pakistan army in his memo to a US Admiral

Editor’s note: According to news reports, Pakistan army is quite interested in investigating about a memo delivered to Admiral Mullen in May 2011 which was allegedly authored by Ambassador Husain Haqqani on the advice of Pakistan’s elected government. An agency plant has approached the Supreme Court requesting it to constitute a judicial commission to investigate the authenticity of the ‘secret memo’. We consider such steps and allegations as baseless and ill-motivated and remind army generals and their accomplices in judiciary to refrain from any misadventures against the democratic government. As noted by Cyril Almeida, “The trap may be more elaborate this time, but to anyone who has seen this cloak-and-dagger stuff over the years, the first suspect, the first port of call, is always the same.” We welcome Ambassador Haqqani’s offer to present all details to Prime Minister Gilani, however, in all fairness before any investigation on the current memogate (most probably a trap carefully laid out by Pakistan’s ISI via Mansoor Ijaz) is initiated, why don’t Pakistan army and judiciary start investigating about another memo which was written in 1955 by General Ayub Khan, Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan army to US Amdiral Arther Radford, in which top secret details of Pakistan army were revealed. More details in Kamran Shafi’s column below. (End note).


Amid all this talk of how our sovereignty has been compromised byMemogate, another Memo, this priceless one signed by none other than the Founder of the Pakistan Army who first taught the Generals a lesson they never forgot: how to mount coups d’etat and take over the government from the useless ‘bloody civilians’ came to mind. Here it is:

General Headquarters



27th Sep ‘55.

D.O. No. 7/36/C-in-C.

My dear Admiral Radford,

Considering that you have been such a good friend, I thought you would be interested to know how the affairs of military aid stand looked at from our angle… which to say the least is gloomy.

2. In early 1954, we were informed that Meyer’s Mission was coming out to Pakistan to negotiate details of military aid with us. In order to prepare our appreciation and plan for presentation to this Mission, we made several approaches to Pentagon (sic) to give us an indication of the scope of the aid. On failing to get any reply we prepared our case on the following basis.

In the event of major aggression against Pakistan, determine the forces required to:

(a) Defend it.

(b) Launch a counter-offensive from it.

The result of appreciation on the above basis gave us an estimate of the additional effort to be put in by USA (sic) after deducting our maximum effort on one or both scores, depending on how far America was prepared to go. It was not till the end of our briefing we were told that… the Mission had come out to find out our deficiencies in nuts and bolts and no more.

3. Then came our meeting in Washington in October ‘54. On it (sic) we were told that America would be prepared to complete one ½ Division of our Armour and four Divisions of Infantry, and as we were spending the maximum we could on Armed Forces (sic), apart from weapons etc required our additional internal expense [salaries, staff cars?] would also be covered for these Formations. The programme was to take three years to complete. Thereafter our dealings began with the USMAAG.

4 .Now that the target was set, I thought the things (sic) will move smoothly so long as a sound working arrangement was evolved between the American Staff and our Staff. So, I issued a directive to my staff that they will work (sic) in close collaboration with the Americans, who were also asked to work more or less on a joint staff basis with our fellows. Unfortunately I failed to obtain American cooperation on this with the result that when our staff presented our requirements list it was objected to on the ground that our Divisional strength was in excess of theirs, which could not be supported. In any case no more than 40,000 additional men could be catered for. Our figure was 56,000 men. When asked for the working (sic) of the figure of 40,000 men, no satisfactory answer could be given.

5. Thereupon the whole thing was put in the melting pot and our staff went to work again. We reduced our establishments to remain within 40,000 men additional permissible limit with the following effect:-

(a) Reducing of officer strength by 20per cent. (b) Reduction of JCO and OR strength by 10per cent. (c) Conversion of A/Tk units to Fd Arty Units. (d) Conversion of two 5.5’ gun units to 155 mm How units. (e) Non-activation of certain units. (f) Deletion of expansion in Schools & Centers (sic).

6. Our requirements based on above (sic) were then worked out and submitted to USMAAG and presumably accepted by the Department of the Army, who allotted certain amount of funds for internal use for the fiscal year 1954-55. Incidentally the allotment for a certain set of accommodation (!) estimated to cost 16.64 crores (sic) rupees was 7.40 crores and so on. Meanwhile, the whole of Pakistan Army (sic) in general and especially the five ½ Divisions earmarked for completion are being churned up and re-organised to conform as far as practicable to American establishments.

7. Then came the bomb-shell in the form of the message from the Head of the USMAAG … shorn of its verbiage it reads that as far as the Army is concerned the ceiling of military aid is 75.5 million dollars and that all talk of balancing five ½ Division (sic) is revoked.

8. Forgive me for being frank, but I would be failing in my duty if I did not tell you that our people are completely frustrated. They think they have been given an enormous amount of work unnecessarily and that they have been let down. They are in a mood not to accept an American word however solemnly given. This is sad in that it does not augur well for our future good relationship which was one of the things I had been hoping to develop.

9. What the political repercussions be (sic) when this news gets known, and after all you cannot conceal facts indefinitely in a Democracy (this is really rich coming from the grand-daddy of coups d’état in the Land of the Pure!), I do not know. But one thing I do know that (sic) this government will come under tremendous pressure and fire from within and without.

Hope you are in very good health.


With best wishes,

Yours sincerely,

M.A. Khan’


Admiral Arthur Radford

Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff


Washington, US

Now then, for those of my readers who are ‘bloody civilians’, Ayub Khan disclosed, in his memo, the Table of Organisation and Equipment (TO&E) of the Pakistan Army to the American. The TO&E is always Top Secret for it gives out the actual make-up of the sub-units/units/and formations of the army, information that can be of the greatest help to the enemy. Also, kindly note the whimpering tone of the Memo.

So there you have it. So let us not just dump on ‘bloody civilians’, that is, if they had anything to do with any of it in the first place.

Just a gentle reminder to the keepers of our ideology…


Admiral Arthur Radford

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Abdul Nishapuri


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  • Excellent post, Mr. Shafi.

    Will our saviour in the SCP order an inquiry against General Ayub Khan and his memo. This memo is signed and owned, unlike Mansoor Ijaz’s memo. Chori aur Seena Zori!

  • Two wrongs never make a right. If the the Elected government has not written such a memo it should no be worried. The contents of the alleged memo are of no surprise to me, they have just provided potential evidence.
    Furthermore if the government had been any good in fulfilling previous promises or had stood by their word there was room for believing them. However I don’t think any body is willing to take the word of this dishonest government on any matter, except for a disillusioned few.
    Inquiry should be made, so far so Mullen and ISI have confirmed existence of this memo, the culprits must be brought to justice at last.

  • Ayaz Amir writes:

    But in a land not famous for an excess of imagination what is there to expect? Are the keepers of the sacred flame, the guardians of national security, on anything better? Not if we judge matters by something which in any other clime would be treated as a national absurdity: the Hussain Haqqani-inspired memo to what it is safe to assume must have been a startled Admiral Mike Mullen, sent through a messenger with a well-earned reputation for self-promotion.
    A charlatan as a conduit: this takes some doing. If President Zardari has anything to do with this he deserves to be fired not for endangering national security, or putting patriotism on the line, but for outright stupidity. When the crowd in Julius Caesar catches one Cinna, taking him to be one of the conspirators, he shouts, “I am Cinna the poet.” Someone from the crowd retorts, “Hang him for his bad verses.” If anyone deserves hanging it should be for stupidity. Or, in Haqqani’s case, for being too clever by half, his regular failing over the years.
    The army is miffed at Haqqani. Indeed it always was, considering him to be a suspect piece of goods, but only now has the opportunity come its way to fix him. PM Gilani, always the most pragmatic of souls – they don’t come more pragmatic than from Multan – would feel not the slightest compunction in letting Haqqani go, as a sacrifice, so to speak, to appease military anger.
    But will this satisfy the usual conspirators whose real aim is not Haqqani’s scalp but Zardari’s? For some time now they have been urging General Headquarters and the army’s think-tank, the ISI, to go the entire distance and get rid of Zardari. The way they are going on about this memo suggests that this is their last chance before Zardari rides out yet another storm. He has shown a capacity for survival that no one would have given him credit for when he stepped into the presidency. Talk of a cat’s nine lives. This accounts for the conspirators’ desperation.
    But Zardari it seems is set to survive this round of turmoil too. All the signs suggest it will be Haqqani’s head, although he is too smart to run the risk of catching a plane to Islamabad, and that’s about it. The army won’t be pleased but then what choice does it have? Short of activating Pakistan’s highest constitutional authority, 111 Brigade, the generals in command can only knit their brows and keep a stern face. As for a voluntary exit from the scene, what many a conspirator has dearly wished, that is unlikely to happen.
    The political class, not used to the politics of routine, is already out of patience and here it is being asked to exercise patience for another year. As the party in power, the PPP is quite happy to let things drift. Time also suits Imran Khan. It doesn’t suit the PML-N which, for this reason, is the most desperate for early elections. But can it afford to bring the walls of the temple down? That is its dilemma.


  • Zardari and Co were worried about WikiLeaks so did not use the US Ambassador… they forgot that any hole Leaks and, Hussain Haqqani and Mansoor Ijaz were huge A$$holes!!! This is BlackBerryGate and MemoGate all in one and Asif Zardari, Jilani, Hussain Haqqani and Govt. should resign!

    There are major flaws in the comparison between the recent BlackBerryGate and MEMOGATE and the old Ayub Khan Memo. Moreover the comments of the writer Kamran Shafi, about Ayub are not correct.

    1. Zardari MEMOGATE asks for the Americans, in return for complete capitulation, wants the Army and the ISI to be CASTRATED by the Americans!! On the other hand, Ayub Khan managed to get substantial military aid that served us well to bring a balance of strength viz-a-viz India, which served to save Pakistan in 1965 as well as in years to come. He ultimately got TWO fully equipped ARMOURED DIVISIONS (1st and 17th Armoured Divisions), F86 Sabre Jets and F104 fighter Jets. It made the Pakistan Armed Forces to balance Indian hegemony over the years till we got the Nuclear Deterrent (mostly in Bhutto’s and Zia’s time even though Nawaz Sharif got to steal the credit by doing the blast!!)

    2. Kamran says:
    “how to mount coups d’etat and take over the government from the useless ‘bloody civilians’ came to mind.”

    Well, actually, the first Martial Law of Pakistan was imposed in Lahore by Maj. Gen. Azam Khan on orders of Maj. Gen. Iskander Mirza (who was then Military Secretary to Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin… Without any permission or sanction of the Cabinet or the Prime Minister. No action was taken against Major General Iskander Mirza, who was rewarded by later being made the Fourth and last Governor General and then the First President of Pakistan.

    It was Iskander Mirza who imposed Martial Law once again and appointed Ayub Khan as Prime Minister. Ayub Khan’s Coup actually only removed Maj. Gen. Iskander Mirza (who would have taken credit of anything good and blamed Ayub for anything bad that happened)!! Facts are facts and should not be twisted to grind axes or present excuses!!

    It is important to also note that Iskander Mirza was a descendant of GHADDAR E ABRAR, MIR JAFAR, The Greatest Traitor!! Iskander Mirza was also instrumental in the rise to early fame of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, whom he patronized!!

    3. About Ayub Khan ‘betraying’ the TO&E Kamran Shafi again is wrong when he says:

    “The TO&E is always Top Secret for it gives out the actual make-up of the sub-units/units/and formations of the army, information that can be of the greatest help to the enemy.”

    It is obvious that Kamran has no idea of what the TO&E is!! The TO&E of India or Pakistan or UK or USA is hardly a secret!! India’s and Paksitan’s original TO&E was based on the ‘inherited’ one from the Royal Army. Everyone knows what the usual composition of various units is. Just enter: http://orbat.com/site/toe/backlist.html and see the TO&E of various army’s of the world!!!

    In the Adm&Morale examination that has to be passed before a Captain can be promoted to the rank of Major, every army officer has to know the TO&Es of India, Pakistan, USA and UK and discuss the merits and demerits of these TOEs compared. I am sure the Indian Army does the same! So, Whats the Big Secret??

    What the Zardari MEMOGATE is?? It is totally shameful and indefensible!!

    Digging up a small ghost from 1955, from one CinC to another friendly CinC negotiating the weapons needed to establish adequate defence needs can’t be used to bypass the current huge PRESIDENTIAL STUPIDITY!! The Americans would anyway, obviously know any details of any equipment they supplied. So, what non-secret was supposed to be hidden from whom??

    WORRYING does not take away tomorrow’s TROUBLES, it takes away today’s PEACE!! Let President AZ worry about his YESTERDAY’S TROUBLES first!!

  • what about MUSH ie Musharaf who permitted Air bases,Drone attacks,CIA and FBI operastives on Pakistan soil.That was national interest????????????????????