Lady Bird Johnson and Ayub Khan, 1963

This photograph shows Mrs Lyndon B. Johnson greeting President of Pakistan Ayub Khan at their Stonewall, Texas in 1963. In the background is his military secretary Brig. Gen. Nawazish Ali Khan. This was a time when the foreign policy had focused on an alliance with the US. Indeed, after taking over the government in a bloodless coup in 1958, General Muhammad Ayub Khan had made an announcement regarding the foreign policy of Pakistan and mentioned that we are “the most allied ally” of the United States.

In the summer of 1961 Ayub Khan paid a state visit to the United States, during which he toured Texas with – then Vice President – Lyndon Baines Johnson as his guide. One event hosted by the Johnsons was a barbecue held in Ayub’s honor at the LBJ Ranch. Johnson presented Ayub with several “Texas” gifts including a saddle made in Fredricksburg, a pair of spurs, and an “LBJ” hat. Ayub deftly averted a diplomatic incident by ignoring the fact that pork ribs were served.

(Clockwise from top): President JF Kennedy; Begum Shereen Aziz Ahmed, wife of Ambassador Aziz Ahmed; Illinois Congressman Robert B. Chiperfield; Alice Roosevelt Longworth, daughter of President Roosevelt; Indiana Congressman Charles Halleck (back to camera); Lady Bird Johnson (back to camera); Congressman John J. Rooney (back to camera); FD Roosevelt, Jr.; Begum Nasir Akhtar Aurangzeb. Marquee; Mount Vernon, Virginia

Mrs. Johnson took such great care of her guests that Ayub Khan, a man drilled in the stiffupperlip tradition, according to the New York Times, tossed understatement to the winds when remembering Mrs. Johnson’s care. In July, 1961, he wrote President Kennedy: “I at times felt sorry that she was put to so much inconven­ience and hard work due to me, which she bore with great forti­tude. May God bless her.”

Ayub was accompanied by his daughter, Begum Nasir Akhtar Aurangzeb, pictured here, for the 1961 state visit. In July 1961, the Kennedys welcomed the president and Begum Nasir Akhtar to the famous state dinner held at Mount Vernon — the only such event ever held outside of Washington. Highlights of their trip also included a visit to the Islamic Center of Washington, and a ticker tape parade in New York City. President Ayub made a trip to San Antonio where he toured and laid a wreath at The Alamo, followed by the barbecue at Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson’s ranch in Stonewall.

“Pakistan is unique in South Asia in its association with the U.S. in collective security arrangements (CENTO and SEATO) and in its outspoken anti-communist stand,” states a scope paper in preparation for President Ayub’s 1961 visit with the JFK Library (declassified in 1977). “Pakistan has, in general, consistently adopted a pro-Western position in the U.N. and other international forums. Some voices in Pakistan question the wisdom of this posture, and the Government periodically seeks reassurances that this is indeed the most advantageous posture open to it. Today Pakistan stands in particular need of such reassurances. We too need to clear up recent misunderstandings and to chart our future course with Pakistan.”

More interestingly, one part of the document outlines “current Pakistan attitudes” in which it says, some developments include: “Pakistan’s irritation, voiced publicly by President Ayub, at U.S. uneasiness over the use of American-supplied arms in Pakistan’s tribal areas close to the Afghan border.” Some things it seems never change.