Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Dennis Kux
As I suggested earlier, we had a large economic assistance program in Pakistan. Basically, we were underwriting the development budget of Pakistan. My feeling about the aid program was mixed. Some of our people were quite good and helpful. A lot of the projects were just a total “mismatch.” I found an illustration of this “mismatch” out in the countryside in the Province of Sindh—maybe 200 miles north of Karachi. We had come to a small government office, like a county headquarters where I met two women ICA experts. I was there for the day, traveling around and looking into irrigation matters. They were home economics teachers from Ohio and their project was to teach home economics to Pakistani women, by getting home economics into the curriculum of the rural schools. The project was a total “mismatch.” The AID women were working at one level, with one set of values which had absolutely nothing to do with the values which rural Pakistani women had. The ladies were quite nice, but they were a bit lost. They didn't understand the environment, and that their program couldn't work in that environment. I think unfortunately that this happened with a lot of our aid programs at the time. The money was committed rapidly, and then the staffs began to think of ways to spend it.
One of the ways to spend it was in the field of education, where the Pakistanis certainly needed help. However, the AID view seemed to be that if we teach home economics in the U. S., then we should teach home economics in Pakistan. I don't think that the Pakistanis knew what these people were talking about. These ladies didn't know what the Pakistanis were talking about.On another occasion when I was travelling in Sindh perhaps 200 miles north of Karachi, the Pakistani hosts said to me, “Oh, you are from the American Embassy. You must see our aid project. We have a wonderful science laboratory.” So we visited the laboratory at a local college. There was lots of equipment on hand—refrigerators and various other modern things. I noted that the equipment wasn't plugged in. When I asked why, I was told: “Well, there is a little problem. We don't have any electricity.” AID had given the Pakistanis some money to equip science labs for local colleges. Nobody apparently bothered to find out if they had electricity. I think that there was a lot of that sort of thing going on.
That is not to say that there weren't a lot of good aid programs. There was the Mangla dam, a big project, but that came after my tour. There were other things that we did well. We were involved in helping the Pakistani Railways. They needed re-equipment. We helped PIA, (Pakistan International Airlines). There we had a contract with Pan American Airways, which brought in a team which “lived” with PIA and showed them how to operate the system. That worked quite well. PIA was much better than Indian Airlines, which modernized itself on its own. So some of the aid projects were good. Some of them were not so good.