Following Pakistan's independence from the British Indian Empire, the nascent state struggled to position itself as a non-aligned member of the international community. Pakistan's pro-communist forces commanded considerable support in East Pakistan, while in West Pakistan, the pro-Soviet Pakistan Socialist Party remained largely marginalized. The capitalist and pro-American Pakistan Muslim League dominated much of West Pakistan's political landscape, particularly in the prosperous region of Punjab, while its base of support in East Pakistan was far more modest. Prime Minister Ali Khan, however, attempted to establish friendly relations with both the Soviet Union and the United States in hopes that Pakistan could benefit from an alliance with both superpowers. Both the Military of Pakistan and Foreign Service of Pakistan raised doubts as to whether the Soviets had the political will and capacity to provide military, technical, and economic aid to a similar degree that Soviets had begun to offer to Pakistan's socialist neighbor, India. Pakistan nevertheless requested military aid from the USSR, which was predictably rebuffed as the Soviet Union had previously oriented itself to India. The government's overtures to the Soviet Union were not favorably regarded by Pakistan's conservative middle classes, who regarded the USSR as an atheist and socialist ally of India. In 1950, the United States extended an overture to Pakistan by inviting Prime Minister Khan for an official state visit. As the USSR had rebuffed capitalist Pakistan and aligned itself with Pakistan's rivals, the country's policy crafters found that maintaining friendly relations with both superpowers was impossible. Prime Minister Khan accepted the American invitation and paid an official 23-day state visit to the United States beginning on May 3, 1950. The event was highly politicized in Pakistan, and outraged the country's leftists, and was seen as the seminal event that leads to warm diplomatic ties for several decades. However, it is alleged that during PM Khan’s first visit to the US, president Truman requested Pakistan’s premier to let the CIA formulate a base in Pakistan, strictly to keep an eye on the activities of Soviet Union—a request which was not granted by Khan. Throughout the period between 1950 and 1953, several major Pakistan political and military figures paid visits to the United States. During this time, Army commanderAyub Khan paid visits to the United States - a figure who would later institute a strongly pro-American military dictatorship. Foreign MinisterSir Zafrullah Khan, Foreign Secretary Ikram-Ullah Khan, Finance MinisterGhulam Muhammad, and Defense SecretarySikander Mirza all paid official state visits to the United States.