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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Nixon-Ford Administrations > Volume XI
Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971
Released by the Office of the Historian

101. Analytical Summary Prepared by the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, July 12, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-058, SRG Meeting, South Asia, 7/23/71. Secret; Exdis. Sent to Kissinger on July 21 under cover of a memorandum from Harold Saunders and Richard Kennedy, who apparently drafted the summary. (Ibid.)

Contingency Planning on South Asia

As directed by NSSM 133/2/ an Ad Hoc Interagency Group chaired by State has prepared a paper on "Contingency Planning on South Asia."/3/ As directed, the study includes:

-a description of present U.S. strategy and steps taken to prevent the outbreak of hostilities;

-additional steps in pursuing this strategy that could be considered in the coming weeks;

-a discussion of the options open to the U.S. should hostilities occur between India and Pakistan.
This is by far the best paper so far produced on the situation in South Asia. For the first time we have a vehicle for high level review of our posture and serious consideration of additional steps that might be taken.

/2/ Document 88.

/3/ This 40-page paper, drafted in NEA/INC by Quainton and approved on July 9 by a State/Defense/CIA Ad Hoc committee, is summarized in the analytical summary, which is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 140. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-058, SRG Meeting, South Asia, 7/23/71)

I. Present Strategy

Our present strategy is based on the following major assumptions concerning U.S. interests and objectives in South Asia:

-The U.S. has no vital security interest in South Asia but as a global power we are inevitably concerned about the stability of an area where such a large percentage of mankind resides and which is geopolitically significant in terms of the Soviets and Communist Chinese.

-Both India and Pakistan are important to U.S. interests although India is of "potentially greater significance." Therefore, in formulating U.S. policy in the region the "relative preeminence" of our interests in India should be an underlying factor in the decisions which we make.

-Peace is essential for the maintenance of U.S. interests. Therefore, our basic objective is to prevent hostilities between India and Pakistan. If hostilities do break out, it would be our objective to ensure that neither we nor any other major external power become directly involved.

-On an operational level, our objectives have been to maintain a "constructively close" relationship with India and "reasonable" relations with West Pakistan while avoiding steps which would do "irreparable damage" to a yet undefined future relationship with East Pakistan.
There are three major ingredients to the strategy we have followed since the outbreak of fighting in East Pakistan on March 25.

1. Restraint. We have counseled restraint on both sides in hope of reducing the possibility of the situation in East Pakistan escalating into a war between India and Pakistan. On the Indian side this seems to have reinforced important elements inclined toward restraint, although contingency planning for an attack against East Pakistan continues and there is considerable public and parliamentary pressure for more forceful action. Our counsels of restraint in Pakistan have been "somewhat less successful."

2. International Assistance. Because the refugee situation is the most likely proximate cause for escalation, we have concentrated considerable effort on lessening this burden for India. To date we have offered grants of $70.5 million and a $20 million supplemental development loan to India and have actively promoted the international relief effort of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. This, of course, leaves untouched the serious social and internal political problem generated by the refugees in India that we can do nothing about. On the Pakistan side, we have also actively promoted an international relief effort, both to deal with the immediate relief needs and to facilitate the return of the refugees. The West Pakistanis were initially very slow to respond but have in recent weeks been more receptive and a UN presence is in the process of being gradually established in East Pakistan. So far the U.S. has granted $2 million for the chartering of boats to distribute food and other relief supplies and $4.7 million for reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in the coastal area affected by the cyclone last winter.

3. Political Accommodation. We have urged the West Pakistanis to proceed as expeditiously as possible with political accommodation in East Pakistan. Recognizing the complex and sensitive issues involved and the fact that Yahya may have only limited political flexibility, we have not attempted to spell out the details of such an accommodation beyond the need to deal with representative political leaders. These efforts have not yet led to a meaningful basis for a political settlement.

In addition to the above steps and in order to maintain a constructive relationship with the West Pakistanis, we have taken several other important policy decisions:

1. Economic Assistance. We have decided not to use our economic assistance to Pakistan as a lever for political pressure and have indicated that future assistance would be conditioned only on developmental and legislative criteria.

2. Military Assistance. We have taken the following restrictive actions concerning the shipment of arms to Pakistan:

-A temporary "hold" has been placed on the delivery of all FMS items from Department of Defense stocks.

-The Office of Munitions Control at State has been instructed to suspend the issuance of new licenses and renewal of expired licenses under either FMS or commercial sales.

-The one-time exception offer of lethal end items announced last October is being held in "abeyance".

II. Limitations on Present Strategy

The judgment of the paper is that although our present policy has had a limited effect in meeting the immediate requirements of the situation, it has not provided the basis for a viable long-term resolution of the crisis.

-The Indians have so far exercised restraint but the problem which the refugees represent and which India considers a threat to its vital interests remains unresolved. The Pakistanis have not created yet either the political, economic or social conditions for the return of most of the refugees.

-Some international relief assistance is reaching the refugees but it is not yet nearly enough to substantially reduce the economic burden on India. On the Pakistan side, relief and rehabilitation efforts are only starting to get underway.

-A viable political accommodation between East and West Pakistan appears to be only a remote possibility at this time.

The paper also concludes that our economic and military supply policies toward Pakistan have done little to maintain the constructive relationships which we desire with both India and Pakistan.

-The hold on all military shipments except those licensed before March 25 has not been received with favor in Islamabad where such shipments are of considerable psychological significance. The West Pakistanis have not, however, chosen to make political issue out of this yet.

-On the Indian side, our failure to embargo all arms shipments (coupled with State's misleading handling of this issue) has resulted in bitter criticism of U.S. motives and policies and has at least temporarily made it more difficult to carry on a constructive dialogue with India.

III. Additional Steps

The conclusion of the paper is that if we are to help preserve the peace in South Asia, to avoid enhanced Chinese and Soviet influence and to support political and economic development, additional new efforts will be required in each of the three major areas of our policy-restraint, international assistance, political accommodation.

A. Restraint (pp. 7-13)

The paper judges that our efforts to achieve restraint will need to be continued either as long as conditions in East Pakistan do not return to normal, there is no political accommodation, and most of the refugees do not return or until the Indians recognize and accept that they have no alternative but to agree to the permanent resettlement in India of most of the refugees. It is thought the use of both diplomatic channels and public statements will be necessary. Specific action which we might take include:

1. Public speech or statement by either Secretary Rogers or the President outlining U.S. policy. This would include a call on India and Pakistan, and possibly other external powers, to exercise restraint while efforts were being made to cope with the refugee problem and achieve a political solution. Such a statement might also include an expression of our concern that efforts at reconstruction be accelerated in East Pakistan and a renewal of our commitment to humanitarian relief under the UN auspices on both sides of the border.

The argument for doing this is that it would put us more clearly on the record, demonstrate high-level concern, and might encourage other countries to join us in urging restraint.

The argument against is that such a statement would be resented by India, would only have a limited impact on decision-makers in both India and Pakistan, could intimidate other major powers.

2. Consultations with the Soviets, perhaps in a high-level approach, aimed at securing their cooperation with us in the maintenance of peace. This could include seeking Soviet support for a larger UN role and presence both in relief efforts and facilitating the return of the refugees.

The argument for doing this is that the Soviets probably have more influence with the Indians on this problem and in any event it would lay the basis for U.S.-Soviet cooperation if hostilities broke out. It would also be a positive response to a probe Dobrynin made to Secretary Rogers immediately after the fighting broke out in East Pakistan.

The argument against is that the Soviets might be reluctant to offend the Indians and could see our approach as an effort to weaken their position in New Delhi and obtain their de facto support for the West Pakistanis. The Chinese might be inclined to see a U.S.-USSR cooperative approach in South Asia as collusion against their interests.

3. Discuss the Chinese threat with the Indians. We would probably not wish to share our assessment with the Indians unless more direct evidence of Chinese intentions was available. We might, however, with the danger of escalation in mind, pass an alarmist assessment of Chinese intentions to Indians. In private discussions we could indicate that the Indians should not count on automatic implementation of our 1964 Air Defense Agreement/4/ if China attacked as a result of an Indian attack on Pakistan./5/

/4/ An apparent reference to the agreement signed in New Delhi on July 9, 1963; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XIX, Document 307.

/5/ Kissinger wrote "No" in the margin next to this paragraph.

The argument for doing this is that it would indicate to the Indians the perils of attacking Pakistan and the sharing of intelligence would be a positive collaborative act.

The argument against is that any reference like this to the Air Defense Agreement would be regarded as a threat and bitterly resented. An alarmist assessment would risk seriously undermining our credibility in New Delhi since the Indians have fairly good intelligence on Chinese border activities.

4. Seek to encourage Chinese restraint. If the Chinese appeared poised to embark on a more aggressive and adventuristic policy toward South Asia, we might seek to urge restraint through third powers with missions in Peking. India could be informed of this effort in confidence.

The argument for this move is that it could head off disruptive Chinese involvement and would be viewed favorably by India.

The argument against is that it probably would not influence the Chinese and if the Chinese were responsive, it could act as an encouragement to Indian military action. Pressure on the Chinese could also have an adverse impact on our relations with Pakistan.

5. UN involvement and presence in border areas. We could encourage the UNHCR to seek placement of UN personnel in refugee camps and resettlement centers on both sides of the border, as an aid in assessing needs and deterring Indian cross-border activities.

The argument for this move is that it would provide an additional means of restraint.

The argument against is that it could provoke opposition that would endanger the UNHCR's broader relief role.

B. International Assistance (pp. 14-20)

The paper notes that we have concentrated considerable effort in this area but that more is needed. Additional steps on which we should focus include (1) the creation of conditions conducive to the refugees' return, (2) planning for the permanent resettlement of at least some refugees, and (3) the encouragement of a more extensive UN role on both sides of the East Pakistan-India border.

1. Conditions in East Pakistan Conducive to Return of Refugees. We have already impressed on Yahya the need to create conditions conducive to the refugees' return and he has responded by (a) publicly indicating [encouraging] bona fide refugees' return irrespective of religion, (b) establishing some refugee reception centers near the border. Specific programs to assure the refugees that they will get their homes and property back, receive relief until they can re-establish themselves and will be compensated for damages have not yet been articulated. We could now, therefore, suggest to Yahya in conjunction with the UNHCR that programs to meet their needs be established. We might also offer to grant considerable quantities of PL-480 grain to be sold for rupees that would then be used to support a UN program of resettlement allowances and home reconstruction.

The argument for is that such moves would encourage the return of those refugees who are willing to go home prior to a political settlement. It might also encourage the Indians to continue to act with restraint by holding out the hope of a substantial refugee return.

The argument against is that the West Pakistanis might regard this as undue interference in their business, the UN program would be expensive, and, if not accompanied by steps toward political accommodation, could be seen by India as a retrogressive step.

2. Conditions in India conducive to return of refugees. The primary problem concerning refugee repatriation is in Pakistan but there are also additional steps which need to be taken in India. The paper recommends that we urge the Indians (a) to agree to a UN presence in the refugee camps,
(b) to be flexible in setting political conditions on repatriation, and (c) to limit their support for cross-border operations.

The argument for is that, if it worked, this could maximize on the Indian side the likelihood that the refugees would return home.

The argument against is that such an approach would be resented by the Indians and, even if they agreed, it might only marginally increase the chances of a substantial refugee return.

3. Permanent resettlement planning. Since a substantial portion of the Hindu refugees may never return, we should consider (a) a possible UN role in resettlement coordination, (b) financial resources required to relocate refugees from the border areas, (c) AID initiatives to create labor-intensive work projects, (d) an initiative on Calcutta redevelopment where many of the refugees will tend to eventually gravitate.

The argument for is that it is increasingly likely that most of the substantial portion of refugees who are Hindus will never return to East Pakistan, and it is only prudent to begin planning for their eventuality.

The argument against is for the time being any U.S. acknowledgment that most of the refugees might never return would be of considerable concern to India and resettlement activities might be prematurely rejected as out of hand.

4. Enhanced relief contributions. Contributions for relief from the international community have fallen far short of the minimum requirements. We should again encourage the UN and UNHCR to launch a more active campaign for contributions and support these efforts through our embassies. Simultaneously, we should encourage the Indians and Pakistanis to be more active in seeking international assistance.

The argument for is that this is essential if adequate resources are to be mobilized and would help meet Indian demands for a more adequate international response.

The argument against is that it could generate pressure for a very large U.S. contribution and does not deal with the political roots of the refugee problem.

C. Political Accommodation (pp. 20-26)

While we need to continue to generally urge Yahya to work toward a political settlement, to be effective we need to be more direct in our suggestions as to the basic conditions for an East-West Pakistan political settlement and point out that failure to achieve this end could increase the dangers of escalation. Specifically, we might suggest the following:

1. Shorter timetable for accommodation. Under Yahya's current game plan there cannot be, under any circumstances, a transfer of power to the civilians before late October or early November which coincides with what could be the optimum time for an Indian attack on East Pakistan. It would be much preferable if Yahya by early September could at least give the appearance of having promulgated a firmly scheduled return to civilian rule having some democratic basis and involving a fair degree of regional autonomy.

The argument for is that this would support our efforts to maintain Indian restraint and could be the first step towards a longer term political settlement.

The argument against is that such a suggestion could be resented by Yahya as unnecessary interference and rejected as out of line with domestic political requirements.

2. Lifting ban on Awami League. We might indicate to Yahya our view that the Awami League is the only party in East Pakistan with a genuine popular following and that Mujib is the only man capable of selling a viable political settlement to the Bengalis.

The argument for is that this is our honest judgment and, if ac-cepted and acted upon, could offer the basis for a lasting political accommodation.

The argument against is that Yahya might well reject this approach from us and in fact bitterly resent it.

3. Indian flexibility. In tandem with our dialogue with Yahya we might also emphasize to the Indians the need for them to remain flexible on the terms of a political settlement and to conduct their relations with the representatives of "Bangla Desh" with circumspection.

The argument for is that this would reinforce policies India is already pursuing.

The argument against is that the Indians might regard it as gratuitous advice at best.

4. UNSYG involvement. We could encourage the UN Secretary General to adopt a more open political role as one means of mobilizing other forms of international opinion on behalf of political accommodation.

The argument for is that, if successful, it could bring greater pressure on Yahya to move more rapidly on political accommodation. It would follow logically from the UN relief efforts and prolong, at a minimum, the talking stage between the parties.

The argument against is that such a move might not be welcomed by either the UNSYG or Yahya and hence might use up political capital in an unsuccessful effort.

5. Third party involvement. Other third parties might be willing, if encouraged, to use their good offices in helping to resolve either the East-West Pakistan problem or the Indo-Pakistan problem.
Muslim states with good relations with Pakistan, like Iran, Turkey or Jordan might be useful in the former role whereas neutral states like Ceylon or Malaysia might be used in the latter case. A five-power international conference of the main externally involved powers (USSR, US, China, UK and France) is another possibility at some stage.

The argument for is that any other angle on multinational mediation effort would provide a protective facade behind which difficult compromises might be made.

The argument against smaller powers are unlikely to be very successful in efforts between these Asian giants and conflicting great power interests might hinder a five-power approach.

6. UNHCR facilitative role for the return of the refugees. This would require Indian acceptance of UNHCR representative in the refugee camps and acceptance of UNHCR representative in reception centers across the borders.

The argument for is that an effective UNHCR facilitative role could be an important measure for assuring the refugees about the safety in going home.

The argument against is that the Indians are not inclined to have UN representatives in the refugee camps and pressure on them to do so could be abrasive to our bilateral relations.

7. Resort to Security Council. We would seek an even-handed Security Council resolution calling on both parties to reduce tensions and urging all states to promote peace and stability in South Asia.

The argument for is that it might help deter dramatic actions on the ground, demonstrate our parallel interests with the Soviets and, with the UN in the middle, preserve U.S. credentials and leverage and provide a basis for a further UN mediation effort.

The argument against is that it would be an empty gesture with no enforcement capability and the session could easily degenerate into an Indo-Pak shouting match. It might also detract from more productive quiet diplomacy. Finally, the Pakistanis might oppose the whole affair on the grounds that it constituted interference in internal affairs.

IV. Military and Economic Programs (pp. 26-30)

Our military and economic aid programs take on considerable significance in view of our desire to develop cooperative relations with both India and Pakistan.

A. Military supply. Our military sales to Pakistan are of paramount psychological and practical significance to the West Pakistanis. Our current even limited supply of arms to Pakistan has been strongly criticized by India and our handling of this issue has further damaged our capacity to influence India in the direction we desire. At the same time the West Pakistanis are likely to become increasingly dissatisfied with our current policy and it is highly vulnerable with the Congress.

The paper recommends a "suspension" of all shipments of arms to Pakistan, "in order to restore a degree of credibility to our calls for restraint and to support the relative preeminence of our interests in India." Once peaceful conditions are restored and a satisfactory political settlement achieved, we could review this suspension. The paper notes that if we wished to stop short of public announcement of such a suspension, we might simply say we had decided to review the remaining items in the pipeline, clearly implying that the more sensitive items would not be shipped.

The arguments for are that such a policy would:

-support our primary interest in influencing India to act with restraint;

-significantly improve relations with India;

-remove a difficult issue with Congress and lessen public criticism;

-have a positive impact on the Bengalis and ultimately on any future relations with East Pakistan.

The arguments against such a policy include that it would:

-seriously irritate the West Paks and greatly reduce our influence with them;

-increase Chinese influence as the major arms suppliers;

-perhaps lead to more intransigent West Pakistani positions on military actions against the Bengalis and political accommodation;

-perhaps encourage India to take military action against Pakistan.

B. Economic Assistance. The paper recommends that we continue to adhere to a policy of not conditioning aid politically but insisting on developmental criteria which will ensure that both East as well as West Pakistan will benefit from our resources. Economic aid, within this context, is viewed as a carrot which we are holding out before the Pakistanis and which may be important if we are to have an effect in dealing with sensitive political subjects such as political accommodation with Mujib.

The arguments for include:

-make non-political and less controversial economic aid the major positive ingredient in our relations with Pakistan;

-is consistent with worldwide policies we follow;

-indicates our continuing concern for Pakistan's developmental prospects and protects our past inputs;

-to a degree counters Chinese influence;

-consistent with approach of other major aid donors.

The arguments against include:

-developmental criteria if strictly imposed could result in very little aid and ultimately the erosion of our credibility and influence in Pakistan;

-if we do not ease his foreign exchange problems, Yahya may be forced into intransigent political positions;

-any aid to Pakistan will be resented by India, although if it was clearly conditioned on developmental terms would not necessarily be a major negative factor in our relations.

V. Options in the Event of Hostilities (pp. 32-35)

The policies suggested in the paper and outlined above would reinforce the intrinsic negative factors working against an Indian decision to attack Pakistan. Nonetheless there is still a significant possibility that a war could erupt between India and Pakistan during the next three to six months. The judgment of the paper is that if no progress is made toward political accommodation between East and West Pakistan or on the repatriation of the refugees by September or October the chances for hostilities will increase.

Our actions in the event of another Indo-Pak war would in part be determined by the circumstances in which hostilities broke out. The most likely scenarios are an Indian attack on East Pakistan to "liberate" the area or a gradual process of escalations involving border incidents on both sides. In any event it would be in the U.S. interest to see that hostilities do not expand to include third parties, particularly China. It would also, according to the paper, be in our interest:

-to see that the hostilities were not protracted since a prolonged war could do profound damage to the political, economic and social fabric of both India and Pakistan.

-If India attacked, our interests would be best served by a rapid Indian victory in East Pakistan followed by a swift withdrawal and installation of a Bangla Desh government and a stalemate on the Western front which left West Pakistan intact. The problem would be how to insure Indian withdrawal and limitation of the conflict in the West.

Irrespective of our political posture toward hostilities, various U.S. programs in India and Pakistan would be immediately affected. The paper recommends that contingency planning by appropriate U.S. agencies should be undertaken along the following lines:

1. U.S. ships destined to India and Pakistan should be warned not to call at belligerent ports if carrying cargo for both belligerents, since it will most likely be confiscated. (Confiscated cargoes caused considerable problems in 1965 which we are still trying to straighten out.)

2. MAC and commercial air carriers should have contingency arrangements for overflying the area without stopping in either India or Pakistan, since the fighting may include the bombing of air fields.

3. Evacuation plans should be reviewed for all posts in India and Pakistan for implementation on short notice.

4. Intelligence collection should be increased to provide the maximum advance warning of Chinese intentions. [2 lines of source text not declassified]

The U.S., according to the paper, could pursue one of the following three broad strategies in the event of hostilities between India and Pakistan:

1. Passive international role. The U.S. would assume an essentially passive role toward the conflict indicating our basic neutrality. This would be most appropriate in circumstances where the responsibility for the outbreak of war was unclear or where we judged the likelihood of Chinese military involvement to be small. It would not do irreparable harm to our interests in either country. This posture would also allow us to adopt a mediating position encouraging a negotiated political settlement when circumstances made such a role possible. Such an approach would not be appropriate if there were a prolonged conflict. In pursuing these options we could

-adopt a public posture of neutrality;

-support third party efforts to end hostilities;

-suspend all economic and military aid;

-offer good offices.

The argument for is that U.S. involvement would be at a minimum and we would at the same time maintain maximum flexibility as events unfolded. Also our relationship with both India and Pakistan would be preserved.

The argument against is that we would risk serious damage to our interests if the conflict were protracted. Indian dependence on the Soviets and Pakistani dependence on the Chinese could be increased without any significant gain for the U.S.

2. Military Support. At the other extreme would be a decision to support with military assistance either India or Pakistan. We have limited commitments to both sides (through SEATO and CENTO to Pakistan and the 1964 Air Defense Agreement with India) although there is no provision for automatic U.S. involvement.

(a) To Pakistan. If the U.S. decided to assist Pakistan in the case of clear Indian aggression we could:

-develop an emergency military supply program;

-terminate all programs to India;

-take lead in mobilizing international effort to pressure India to halt aggression;

-support a Security Council resolution condemning India.

The argument for: we would be supporting our interest in Pakistan's national unity, diminishing Chinese influence and generally strengthening our relations with the whole Muslim world.
The argument against is that we would severely damage our relations with India who would move closer to the Soviets. There would also be no room for a U.S. conciliatory role.

(b) To India. The judgment of the paper is that military support to India is a "less likely" strategy in the context of a limited Indo-Pak conflict, but if China were to intervene we would want to consider military assistance to India./6/ It might even be possible, if China intervened, to militarily support India and launch peacemaking efforts that would allow us to maintain a viable future relationship with the West Pakistanis. Specific action we might take would include:

/6/ In his memoirs, Kissinger points to the contingencies considered in the planning paper in the event of Chinese intervention in a conflict between India and Pakistan and concludes: "Nothing more contrary to the President's foreign policy could have been imagined." (White House Years, p. 865)

-consultation with India under the 1964 Air Defense Agreement;

-develop an emerging military assistance program;

-[1 paragraph (1 line of source text) not declassified]

-coordinate with British and Soviets on additional military assistance measures.
The argument for is that it would be consistent with our overall Asian policy and would establish a firm basis for a close relationship with India, perhaps at the expense of the Soviets.
The argument against is that severe strains would be created in our relations with Pakistan and China. There would also be the risk of creeping involvement leading to a more extensive commitment involving a direct U.S. confrontation with one or more outside powers.

3. Political intervention. The main purpose of political efforts would be to localize and end hostilities. We would also work vigorously for a negotiated settlement that would remove the basic causes for tension in South Asia. Such an effort would involve:

-an immediate call for Security Council consideration of the crisis.

-support of a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire and direct negotiations on the terms of withdrawal and political settlement.

-immediate Presidential message to Yahya and/or Mrs. Gandhi calling for end of hostilities and/or a negotiated settlement.

-immediate consultations with British and Soviets.

If there were a clear case of Indian aggression we would also want to cut off all military shipments to India and hold economic assistance in abeyance.

If the circumstances surrounding the outbreak of war were unclear, we would want to cut off military supply and consider suspending all economic aid to both India and Pakistan. We would urge other major powers to follow suit.

The arguments for include:

-would provide maximum U.S. flexibility;

-would maximize use of U.S. programs and leverage to shorter hostilities and prevent third party intervention;

-would make it possible to maintain relations with both India and Pakistan (and perhaps Bangla Desh as well) in the aftermath of hostilities.
The arguments against include:

-could lead to very serious strains in our relations with India;

-would be seen by Pakistan as a repetition of our future [failure] to help them and as a failure of the U.S. to fulfill its treaty commitments.

102. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State/1/

Islamabad, July 15, 1971, 1235Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 PAK. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to USUN, Geneva, Dacca, Karachi, and Lahore.

7164. Subj: Conversation With Pres. Yahya Khan: Food Situation East Pakistan.

1. I met with Pres. Yahya Kahn in President's office in Rawalpindi at 1000 hours Thursday, July 15. Conversation ensued for approximately 35 minutes.

2. I emphasized our serious concerns about possibility of famine developing in East Pakistan./2/ I pointed out that if famine conditions developed, people will sustain further widespread suffering, GOP will be faced with additional major public relations problem, and substantial new exodus of refugees may occur. I informed President of USAID estimates of rice production and food gap and stated that unless heroic efforts made, famine conditions are likely to prevail. I emphasized that efforts to date have been less than adequate. The GOP has been reluctant to admit possibility of famine and consequently problems of food and transport have not been dealt with sufficient urgency. I pointed out that it was essential that GOP face up to the very real possibility of a major food crisis and begin developing, on a top priority basis, contingency plans for dealing with such a crisis.

/2/ On July 23 the Consulate General in Dacca warned that unless steps were taken to prevent famine in East Pakistan anticipated deaths from mass starvation could approach the catastrophe of the Bengal famine of 1943 in which millions of people died. (Telegram 2814 from Dacca; ibid.)

3. I noted that the results of the efforts to improve food transportation have been very disappointing, pointing out that during June shipments were less than half of the amounts which could reasonably be expected. I told the President that we hoped that grain shipments up country would be at least 100,000 tons in July and 125,000 in August.

4. I advised the President of the actions we were taking to permit shipment of 100,000 tons of wheat, and emphasized that it was the responsibility of the GOP to insure that these shipments are received, unloaded and distributed expeditiously.

5. I also pointed out that efforts must be made to increase purchasing power in East Pakistan so that a situation will not arise in which people will go hungry or starve because they cannot afford to buy food which is available. I urged the President to authorize a special allocation of at least rupees 20 crore, over and above existing budgets, for immediate expenditure on relief and public works activities in East Pakistan.

6. In conclusion I referred to our misgivings about the present relief coordinator, Mr. H.R. Malik, and suggested that he be replaced with a more dynamic officer.

7. Yahya said that he had carefully studied the Ryan report/3/ which I had heretofore given to him, and from it and his own government's sources of information he was considerably concerned by the problem presented by the food situation. He said that as a result of my suggestion to him that a "food czar" should be appointed, a suggestion reflected in the Ryan report, he had as of yesterday appointed the former head of the Chittagong Port Authority, retired Commodore Bajwa, as his personal representative with superior power to act in alleviation of the problem. He further said that as a result of his concern for East Pakistan and the multitude of issues that it presented, he would be going over to Dacca within the next two weeks. He added that during his visit he would carefully examine all facets of the present difficulties, with particular reference to the comments that I had made to him.

/3/ The Ryan report was a survey of the East Pakistan port and shipping situation prepared in June 1971 by Joseph A. Ryan of the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the request of M.M. Ahmad. (Telegram 6395 from Islamabad, June 25; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. V, 16 May-31 Jul 1971)

8. Another subject that was discussed during this conversation will be reported by septel./4/

/4/ During the same conversation, Farland urged Yahya to replace General Tikka Khan, the Governor of East Pakistan, with a civilian governor, preferably a Bengali. Yahya replied that it would be difficult to appoint a civilian governor in East Pakistan and not in West Pakistan, where Bhutto was "standing in the wings" urging a transfer of power. Yahya said that he had just appointed Dr. A.M. Malik as his Special Assistant for Displaced Persons and Relief and Rehabilitation Operations in East Pakistan. Yahya felt that Malik's appointment would meet the need for civilian control in East Pakistan in that Malik would outrank the governor of East Pakistan and could issue orders to the governor in the name of the President. (Telegram 7172 from Islamabad, July 15; ibid, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 18 PAK)

103. Memorandum for the Record/1/

San Clemente, California, July 16, 1971, 10:57 a.m.-12:06 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-110, NSC Minutes, Originals, 1971 thru 6/20/74. Top Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders on August 4. The time of the meeting is from the President's Daily Diary. (Ibid., White House Central Files) The meeting was held in the conference room at the Western White House.

NSC Meeting on the Middle East and South Asia

The President
Secretary of State, William Rogers
Deputy Secretary of Defense, David Packard
Admiral Thomas Moorer, Chairman JCS
Richard Helms, Director of Central Intelligence
U. Alexis Johnson, Under Secretary of State
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Brigadier General Alexander M. Haig, Jr., Deputy Assistant to the President
Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff

The President opened the meeting by pointing out that there are enormous risks in the situation in South Asia for our China policy. There are risks for the Indians and Pakistanis, too. He suggested that the discussion begin with the Middle East and then turn to a briefer discussion of South Asia. That is one problem that must be watched very closely. The Indians are stirring it up. If they mess around on this one, they will not find much sympathy here.

[Omitted here is discussion of the situation in the Middle East.]

The President then turned the discussion to South Asia. With a smile, he asked Dr. Kissinger, "Did you really have a stomach ache?"

Secretary Rogers said that the press thinks it is so smart but it was certainly gullible to assume that if Dr. Kissinger had had a stomach ache he would have driven four hours to have a special lunch with General Hamid.

The President started out by saying that the purpose of the discussion was to get the South Asian situation into perspective. For obvious considerations, he said that he would have to be personally involved. First, he said that it is imperative that the Pakistanis, if possible, not be embarrassed at this point. He said that we could ask them to do what they can on the refugees.
Second, he said that he had talked to Ambassador Keating. He had noted that world opinion is on the side of the Indians and they may be right. However, they are "a slippery, treacherous people." He felt that they would like nothing better than to use this tragedy to destroy Pakistan. In any case, they have built a heavy press campaign against the US. But now intelligence reports show that they are developing a capability to "ramble around" in East Pakistan. He felt that if the Indians believed that they could get away with it they would like to undercut the Pakistani government.

The President asked what restraints could be applied to the Indians. He acknowledged that he has "a bias" on this subject. But under no circumstances would they get a "dime of aid, if they mess around in East Pakistan." He said that we could not allow-over the next three-four months until "we take this journey" to Peking-a war in South Asia if we can possibly avoid it.

The President asked whether the government of Pakistan would fight if they were attacked. Mr. Helms replied, "Yes." Admiral Moorer said he felt that the Pakistanis would not attack India.
Mr. Helms noted that the pressures are building in India to go to war. The President said that the situation "smells bad." The Indians are not to be trusted.

Dr. Kissinger said he agreed that the Indians seemed bent on war. Everything they have done is an excuse for war. Their claim to have been deceived by State on our arms policy looks like an alibi to go to war. Whatever their objective might ostensibly be, they appear to be thinking of using the war as a way of destroying Pakistan. Dr. Kissinger said that he believed that if East Pakistan were attacked, President Yahya would start an all-out war. He would lose it.

The President asked what the Chinese would do.

Dr. Kissinger said he thought the Chinese would come in. He said that the Indians are "insufferably arrogant." The army chief of staff, General Mannekshaw, said that India would take on East Pakistan, West Pakistan, and China, all at once. He said that it was his impression that if we do not "over-power the question of war, India would slide into it." The way that they are hooking a refugee solution to an overall political solution suggests that they are using the refugees for political purposes.

Dr. Kissinger continued that he does not feel that President Yahya has the imagination to solve the political situation in East Pakistan in time. Over a longer period, 70,000 West Pakistanis are not going to hold down East Pakistan. So our objective should be to start some historical evolution which will lead to the inevitable outcome in East Pakistan. But that is not going to happen tomorrow-it will not happen in time to achieve a refugee settlement and to head off an Indian attack. Therefore, he had urged President Yahya to come [up] with the most comprehensive possible refugee package.

The President interjected that President Yahya is not a politician.

Dr. Kissinger said that he had urged President Yahya to come up with a generous settlement on the refugee issue so that India would lose that card as an excuse for intervention. He concluded that if there is an international war and China does get involved, everything we have done [with China] will go down the drain.

Secretary Rogers said that, as far as he could tell, India is doing everything it can to prevent the refugees from returning. Dr. Kissinger replied that if we kept publicizing a reasonable program for the return of refugees, it would be more difficult for the Indians to go to war on that issue.

Mr. Sisco said it is important to get an international program on the refugees moving. He said that he had told Ambassador Jha that India is in an untenable position. He said that it is important for India to come up with a well-orchestrated program.

Mr. Helms commented that, in the meantime, the Pakistanis are going broke. Mr. Johnson interjected that the Pakistanis face a major famine in East Pakistan.

Secretary Rogers interjected that the tragedy is that Pakistan as presently constituted cannot survive.

The President, changing the subject, said that he was going to brief the legislative leaders on Monday/2/ on his China policy. He proposed to tell them nothing of the substance of the exchanges with Chou En-lai. And he would also have a Cabinet meeting to do the same thing.

/2/ July 19.

Dr. Kissinger said that he had backgrounded the press on his visit to Peking but that he had not gone into the substance of the exchanges with Chou En-lai. He has simply provided the rationale for the trip.

The President said that the press would speculate on the impact of his announcement on China for Vietnam policy, South Asia, Japa-nese policy, effect on Taiwan and the USSR.

Dr. Kissinger noted that silence on our side was important because the Chinese had already suffered a great deal of anguish over maintaining the appearance that they are not colluding with us. The best line we can take is that we want friendly relations with everybody.

Admiral Moorer, on a separate issue, said that Senator Stennis had asked him to tell the President that he has gone as far as he can go on the draft bill./3/ Senator Stennis felt that Senator Mansfield is the key and that he is on the verge of coming along if somebody could just approach him.

/3/ Not further identified.

Harold H. Saunders/4/

/4/ Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

104. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 23, 1971, 12:50-1:18 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders on July 24. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office at the White House. The time of the meeting is from Kissinger's appointment book. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-1976, Record of Schedule)

Agha Hilaly, Ambassador of Pakistan
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff

Ambassador Hilaly began the conversation by saying that in his talk with Secretary Rogers/2/ the previous day the Secretary had said that he had given Indian Foreign Minister Singh a further warning against letting increasing incidents on the Pakistan-India border get out of hand. This had indicated to him that the US was maintaining its pressure on India. Dr. Kissinger said that when he had seen Ambassador Jha in San Clemente, he had made clear that any Indian move to begin hostilities would be looked on by the US with extreme disfavor.

/2/ Ambassador Hilaly's meeting with Secretary Rogers was reported to Islamabad in telegrams 134599 and 134643, both July 24. Telegram 134599 is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 17 PAK-US. Telegram 134643 is Document 107.

Ambassador Hilaly noted that President Yahya had announced Pakistan's acceptance of UN personnel in East Pakistan to facilitate the return of refugees. In response to Dr. Kissinger's question, the Ambassador affirmed that President Yahya had appointed a civil administrator-Dr. Malik-to oversee the refugee repatriation program in East Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger said that Pakistan has not been good at its public relations. What Pakistan needs is a comprehensive refugee program. Instead of dribbling out its actions one by one, Pakistan needed to draw them all together into a program to which we could point. He said that he had talked to Mr. McNamara of the World Bank, and he had said that he could support a maximum food and relief effort.

Ambassador Hilaly said that Pakistan is getting that kind of help from AID. What Pakistan needs from the World Bank is straight economic assistance. The Bank has given a wrong lead to the other consortium members. He then mentioned some of the comments made by members of the recent World Bank team which had visited Pakistan. One member had said that East Pakistan looked like "Arnheim after the Nazi blitz" and another said that it looked like "a country after a nuclear attack." Hilaly commented that these were not the comments of a dispassionate group.

Dr. Kissinger said that he had talked with the British again, here and through "the direct channel." The Ambassador said that he had talked to a number of members of Parliament when he had passed through London on his return from Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger returned to the question of a comprehensive refugee package. He recalled that when he had talked to Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan in Islamabad he had suggested the idea of a comprehensive package which included UN personnel, a civil administrator in East Pakistan and so on.

Ambassador Hilaly noted the trouble that Pakistan is having with the US Senate and House. He wondered whether a package arrangement of the kind Dr. Kissinger was discussing would help there. He felt that many of the members were so strong in their feeling that their views would remain unchanged.

Dr. Kissinger repeated that what would help us most in our approaches to the Congress would be a comprehensive Pakistani program which we could point to. We could then argue that we had been able to achieve more with friendship and working with the Pakistan government than with the kind of pressure a number of members of the Congress were proposing. He went on to suggest that if Pakistan had a three-point or a five-point Pakistani refugee program pooling everything together and going as far on each point as possible, then the US would have a framework within which to argue for continued support for Pakistan.

Ambassador Hilaly-seeming to miss the overall import of Dr. Kissinger's comments-said that he hoped the Administration would use influence with some of the Republicans in the Congress. He had had an invitation from Congressman Frelinghuysen to talk informally to a group of 20 or so of his colleagues. He also had been advised that Senator Kennedy wants to go to India and Pakistan. Dr. Kissinger replied, "Let him go."

Ambassador Hilaly replied that a couple of Senator Kennedy's aides had been very difficult. One of them had even said that he was going to India and would try to enter Pakistan across the Indian border. The Ambassador said that he had pointed out to Senator Kennedy that this would be illegal.

The Ambassador then returned to an earlier subject: "So Jha came to the West Coast. Did he ask about China's intentions?"

Dr. Kissinger, speaking slowly and avoiding precise response, said that Jha had just wanted to get a general fill-in. He said that he had told Jha that we are violently opposed to any moves that could lead to war. He had told him that a complete political solution would take longer than working out a plan for the refugees, so the Indians should not condition refugee return on political settlement.

Dr. Kissinger reiterated that any ammunition that Pakistan could give us would help us. He said he would talk to Senator Scott. Ambassador Hilaly said he would send Dr. Kissinger a note, implying that the note would contain the elements of the package Dr. Kissinger was talking about.

[Comment: When that note arrived, it turned out to be simply a recapitulation of the things that Pakistan had said and done on the refugee question since the spring. It was not a new package such as Dr. Kissinger was talking about.]/3/ Dr. Kissinger said that maybe the Foreign Secretary could incorporate other ideas, in addition to those that Dr. Kissinger had mentioned.

/3/ Brackets in the source text. The note was not found.

Dr. Kissinger, changing the subject back to China, repeated that "our gratitude is very great." Ambassador Hilaly said that he had recalled in his conversation with Secretary Rogers the evolution of the China contacts. He recalled that there had been Secretary Rogers' 1969 visit in which the Secretary had mentioned the President's interest in improving relations with China.

Then there had been the President's visit to Lahore, in which the President himself had mentioned this to President Yahya. After that, there had been two schools of thought:

-One school, following the thinking of former President Ayub, felt that Pakistan should continue to be neutral between the major world powers.

-Another school, however, felt that here were two friends of Pakistan, the US and China. Why should Pakistan not make an effort to bring the two together? The argument was that Pakistan would contribute to world peace and help itself as well as others.

The Ambassador continued, saying that he remembered arguing that it was one of the world's curses that the US and China had not talked for 20 years. It was an ill that had to be cured. International relations would be artificial until a normal relationship was established. President Yahya had accepted the Ambassador's argument. He had rejected the idea that Pakistan should not offend the Russians or the Indians. He concluded that the Russians are "upset" and may withdraw some bits of their aid to Pakistan.

As the conversation concluded, Dr. Kissinger reiterated that he hoped that Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan would review the conversation they had had in Islamabad and would put his mind to assembling a comprehensive Pakistani package on the refugee question.


105. Minutes of Senior Review Group Meeting/1/

Washington, July 23, 1971, 4:10-5:30 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-112, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Top Secret; Nodis. No drafting information appears on the minutes. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. A briefer record of the meeting was prepared in OASD/ISA by the Director of the Near East and South Asia Region, Brigadier General Devol Brett. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 092 (Jan-Jul 1971)

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger
John N. Irwin, II
Joseph Sisco
Thomas P. Thornton
Christopher Van Hollen

Armistead I. Selden
James Noyes
B/Gen. Devol Brett

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Col. James M. Connell

Richard Helms
John Waller

Maurice Williams
Donald McDonald

NSC Staff
R/Adm. Robert O. Welander
Harold H. Saunders
Samuel Hoskinson
Col. Richard T. Kennedy
Jeanne W. Davis


It was agreed that

-The State Department will prepare by early next week a paper outlining what we see as a desirable outcome of the imbroglio in East Pakistan and a scenario for discussions with the Pakistanis, the Indians and possibly the Russians, including some concrete ideas on what we want each side to do.

-We will get a statement of food requirements in East Pakistan, what is already there, the distribution problems, and the amount of the shortfall.

-Mr. Kissinger will raise with the President the question of the lapsing on August 10 of the licenses for further shipments of military equipment to Pakistan to determine if the President wishes to put this degree of pressure on Pakistan at this time.

-The SRG will meet again on the question late next week (subsequently scheduled for Friday, July 30).

Mr. Kissinger: I thought we should have a review of South Asia growing out of the NSC meeting/2/ last week. Since I see our whole SALT position is in the New York Times today, I am beginning to think we should have a responsible newsman sitting in on these meetings.

/2/ See Document 103.

As you know, the President has asked for a game plan for the next two or three months, and we have a number of problems. I want to be sure everyone understands that there is to be no India-Pakistan war if we can prevent it; we are to do absolutely nothing that might egg anyone on. There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that there will be a drastic U.S. reaction if anyone resorts to military measures. I think the President made that very clear, but I can get it restated for you if necessary. The Indians should be under no illusion that if they go to war there will be unshirted hell to pay. We want to avoid a war and we will do the right things to prevent it.

Mr. Sisco: I agree: It is in our overriding interest to prevent a war. But the way we handle the Indians can either deter them or move them toward war.

Mr. Kissinger: That's true.

Mr. Sisco: If we assume that the only way to move the Indians is with a stick, I don't think we understand the Indian psychology. We need a combination of carrot and stick and some concentration on the proper way to use our leverage. Psychology and mood are important in terms of making the Indians believe that we are doing what we can to be helpful.

Mr. Kissinger: I agree, and we are quite prepared to do that, but the Indians must not be under any misapprehension. We will do everything we can to ease the refugee problem as long as India understands the consequences of any rash action on their part.

Mr. Irwin: This is the key to the situation. The Indians are suspicious of us-they think we are pro-Pakistan. They will understand pressure if they believe we seriously want to help. But such pressure won't work unless we continue to push the Pakistanis so that the flow of refugees slows or stops, with some possibility of the return of the refugees to East Pakistan or the achievement of some political accommodation.

Mr. Kissinger: I agree; we must make the greatest effort to get the refugee flow to stop. The Indians are not generating any refugees, are they? Or are they just discouraging them from going back?

Mr. Sisco: This will take simultaneous action on both sides. So that, as far as Pakistan is concerned, political accommodation is at the root of the problem. There are, of course, certain limitations on what Yahya can do. In his June 28 speech, he promised a turnover of power in East Pakistan in four months. I may think this is as far as he can go. We must recognize, however, that real progress is unlikely if a turnover of political power is coupled with a banning of the Awami League. The June 28 speech was a step forward but it was inadequate in producing a serious prospect of political accommodation, and we must encourage Yahya to do more in this regard. Yahya has been very good about accepting a UN presence and in declaring amnesty and inviting the refugees back to their villages. But he has not moved the army back to their barracks, primarily because they are still needed to deal with incidents throughout East Pakistan. India is still supporting the liberation movement including assisting border crossings. Any advice we might give Yahya to put his army back in their barracks won't get anywhere as long as the situation prevails. On the other side of the coin, although we gave India $50 million to help with the refugees, they are refusing U Thant's request for a UN presence on the Indian side of the border.

Mr. Kissinger: The Indian Ambassador told me they considered the UN request for observers an unfriendly act.

Mr. Sisco: I agree, we have to support the Secretary General on both sides. India is linking the return of the refugees to some political accommodation. To the degree to which this is likely, that is all to the good. But these actions must be taken in parallel. We also should possibly find a way to begin to engage the Russians./3/ We have a common interest here to see that the situation does not explode. There are responsible actions which need to be taken by both sides, accepting the fact that they are operating under some limitations.

/3/ Kissinger discussed the emerging confrontation between India and Pakistan with Ambassador Dobrynin on July 19. Kissinger said that he had received reports that the Soviet Union might encourage military adventures by India. Dobrynin replied that the Soviet Union was providing political supprt to India but was actively discouraging military adventures. Kissinger warned that a war between India and Pakistan could not be localized in East Pakistan and might not be confined to the subcontinent. (Memorandum of conversation, July 19; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 492, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 7, Part 2)

Mr. Irwin: I agree basically. But in order to get India in a position to move, it would be helpful to get the UN moving on the Pakistani side. It would be helpful if we could get the flow of refugees down to the point where the UN could say "now we need a UN presence on the Indian side, too." We should continue to push India toward moving the refugees back but we may not be successful until there is broader pressure. One way would be to move the UN into Pakistan first.

Mr. Kissinger: Yahya is not making his acceptance of UN presence dependent on acceptance by India.

Mr. Sisco: That's right; the Pakistanis have already responded favorably.

Mr. Kissinger: There is no question that this is an issue of profound emotion to the Indians. My impression is that the Indians have a tendency to build to hysteria from which they won't know how to escape. They could bring about a major confrontation, and I am not confident that China would not come in in the circumstances.

Mr. Sisco: I agree that the Indian psychology is such that they may well paint themselves into a corner to the point that the only alternative they can see is the use of force. Given this mood, something like a continued supply of arms to Pakistan could build up disproportionately until the Indians lock themselves in.

Mr. Kissinger: But the Indians know that the amount of arms that is moving is rather small. They know we have held in abeyance the one-time exception, and that that was a big step. They also know they have received more U.S. aid than any other nation. However, when I was there, their press was vicious and they made no effort to calm it down. I wonder whether this is the result of the situation or whether it is helping to create it. If we assume that the question of human suffering is a big factor in the Indian outrage (although I have my own views on the Indian attitude toward human suffering), if they knock off East Pakistan, it will produce an upheaval, with untold additional human suffering in West Pakistan. I don't think the Indians have a master plan but they could slide into a major crisis.

Mr. Irwin: With regard to military equipment to Pakistan, we might consider my talking to Jha and telling him exactly how much is involved to prove to him that the amounts are very small.

Mr. Kissinger: I have told them that. I have no specific view on your suggestion, but we must strike a balance between excessive reassurance and excessive frightening.

Mr. Irwin: Jha has said that we have helped them economically but never politically. They're really schizophrenic. They appreciate what we have done for them but are distrustful of us. Of course, they have never been with us politically.

Mr. Sisco: When many Americans think of India they think of Krishna Menon, and that's not an inaccurate image.

Mr. Kissinger: On the Pakistani side, it is my impression that Yahya and his group would never win any prizes for high IQs or for the subtlety of their political comprehension. They are loyal, blunt soldiers, but I think they have a real intellectual problem in understanding why East Pakistan should not be part of West Pakistan. You will never get acceptance of the Awami League from the present structure. If India attacks, it will be in the next six months. The Pakistanis will not put the Awami League back in power in the next six months. It seems inevitable that any political process will end with some degree of autonomy for East Bengal. Can we get a program that separates the refugee issue while still leaving a vista for political accommodation? The Pakistanis don't have the political imagination to do this themselves.

Mr. Helms: I agree Yahya simply does not see any political solution.

Mr. Sisco: If the Indians come to the conclusion that there is no hope of any accommodation, this continued frustration could lead to what we would consider irrational Indian action.

Mr. Kissinger: The Indians have a right to want to get the refugees off their territory but they have no right to insist on any particular political formula to do so.

Mr. Irwin: I know the Prime Minister told you they would not insist on any formula but Jha is insisting on reinstitution of the Awami League.

Mr. Kissinger: That's true. They are at the same time supporting a liberation movement and saying that the Awami League has to come back. If we can get a planned program geared to the refugees coming back we might have a chance to pressure Yahya. He has been pretty good about the refugees.

Mr. Irwin: He has been good in what he says but we have some [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] indications that this is just a front. (to Mr. Helms) Does Yahya really intend to get many Hindu refugees back?

Mr. Helms: We just don't know with any certainty.

Mr. Sisco: There were two factors in the use of force against the Hindus: (1) the fact that the primitive Punjabi peasants really took it out on the Hindus, and (2) the basic Pakistan policy of getting rid of the Hindus. If Yahya does what he says he will do, I think he will get 90-95 percent of the Moslems back and maybe 50 percent of the Hindus. Our posture has to be that all refugees come back.

Mr. Kissinger: We could press Yahya on that, but not on accepting the Awami League. If we press him on the Awami League and he refused, that could be the basis for an Indian attack.

Mr. Sisco: We will have to nudge Yahya toward the Awami League. We will also have to do what we can to see that he does not try Mujib./4/ I will weigh in with Hilaly on that.

/4/ The Embassy in Islamabad reported on July 22 that rumors were circulating that the Martial Law Administration was preparing for an in-camera trial of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. (Telegram
7430 from Islamabad; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 29 PAK)

Mr. Helms: But as long as the liberation forces are shooting up East Pakistan, nothing will really help.

Mr. Irwin: Are there any Awami Leaguers left in East Pakistan that Yahya could deal with?

Mr. Kissinger: Yahya claims he could get 45 to 60 out of the 167 Awami Leaguers.

Mr. Van Hollen: That estimate is high.

Mr. Irwin: It would help if he could find a few Awami Leaguers who still had some respect in East Pakistan with whom he could deal.

Mr. Kissinger: He says he could get 45 to 60 of them and hold by-elections for the seats of all the others. We could either see him disenfranchise 167 out of 169 Assembly members or ask him to do something he might not be able to do. I talked with the Army Chief of Staff and he was harder than Yahya.

Mr. Sisco: I agree that Yahya does not have complete freedom of movement.

Mr. Kissinger: I am no expert but I think the situation could be building toward war. India is torn between wanting the refugees to go back and wanting to use them as a pretext for a move against Pakistan. Pakistan is most flexible about wanting the refugees back but is least flexible about the possibility of restoring the Awami League.

Mr. Williams: I think that's too sharp a dichotomy. In the first place, I don't think Yahya can be talked out of his attitude toward Mujib. And the refugees can't be talked into going back unless there is some political accommodation.

Mr. Helms: But first we have to get the Indians to stop screwing around in East Pakistan.

Mr. Williams: And when the famine conditions increase, we will have even more refugees.

Mr. Kissinger: Dick's (Helms) question is crucial. If the Indians are serious, they should stop screwing around with the liberation forces.

Mr. Irwin: Jha takes the position that the overall fighting has stopped but that the refugees continue. He claims this is the result of selective pressure by Pakistan which is forcing out additional refugees. Until this stops, he claims, there wasn't much India could do but help the guerrillas. If the refugee flow could be reduced to a trickle the Indians wouldn't have that excuse. It's a chicken-and-egg situation.

Mr. Helms: It's a see-saw.

Mr. Sisco: It is the result of Pakistan's use of force in the early days. Also, of the continuation of guerrilla action and of the general dislocation in East Pakistan. We can't tell Yahya to put his army back in their barracks when India has training camps on the border, is engaged in border crossings and is actively supporting the liberation movement.

Mr. Helms: (to Mr. Sisco) You mentioned a possible Russian role. I never like to see us get involved with the Russians any more than we have to, but the Russians did a rather good job at Tashkent and they do have some swot with India. This may be one way of getting at them.

Mr. Sisco: In any question of a UN presence, we will certainly want the support of every Security Council member. Also, Russia can influence the Indians. We can't afford another Palestine refugee operation with the Russians standing on the sidelines. We would need them both politically and financially. That makes it more important that the question of the refugees be depoliticized and that the humanitarian aspect is emphasized. If India won't accept even a limited UN presence, there will be political problems all across the board. Absolutely nothing will move and the situation will continue to deteriorate.

Mr. Kissinger: Where does that leave us?

Mr. Sisco: With what we are doing now-trying to hit all things simultaneously.

Mr. Irwin: I think we can and should talk again to the Indian Ambassador here and possibly to the Russians.

Mr. Kissinger: I would like to get a better conception of exactly what it is we are trying to accomplish. If we are going to talk to the Russians, we had better be goddam sure we know what we are going to say.

Mr. Irwin: We will get together a scenario on exactly what we would say to the Indians, the Pakistanis and the Russians.

Mr. Helms: That's very important.

Mr. Kissinger: We must be clear in our own minds what constitutes a desirable outcome. What do we want the Pakistanis to do precisely?

Mr. Irwin: We want to reduce the flow of refugees to a trickle.

Mr. Kissinger: The Pakistanis will agree with that objective but we will have to tell them what to do to bring it about. Both the President and I have some money in the bank with them. We might get them to do something if we know what we want them to do.

Mr. Sisco: In approaching the Pakistanis I think we should say that we are prepared to take certain actions with the Indians. We will tell India to hold down its logistic support of the guerrillas. I think we should draw a distinction between logistical support and actual border crossings. We will tell India to accept a UN presence and to cooperate with it. If we do this with India, what will you-the Pakistanis-do to create more normal conditions in East Pakistan? We could suggest to them that they cut down Pakistani army activities in East Pakistan, even get the army back in their barracks. We could say that we assume Pakistan will cooperate with the UN. We also think Pakistan should implement what Yahya has said they will do about the refugees. We also think that they should do what they can in terms of the political process. For example, Yahya has said he will transfer power to East Pakistan within four months. Could they speed this transfer to two months? Could they try to get as many Awami League people back as possible?

Mr. Williams: As long as the Pakistani army is both fighting and running the country they won't be able to do much. It is absolutely necessary to get the army out of the civil administration. They don't give a damn and they aren't very good at it. That means speed up the process at least to get a quasi-Bengali political apparatus in East Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger (to Mr. Selden): What does Defense think?

Mr. Selden: It's a good idea. We need a scenario.

Adm. Moorer: Before we can get the Pakistanis to do something, India must give some visible evidence that they are not engaging in these border crossings. Just the other day they destroyed a bunch of powerhouses and they are attacking the soldiers in their barracks. As long as there is military activity by India, Pakistan won't move. It has to be simultaneous. I am not sure India does not want to see this turmoil continue.

Mr. Selden: Where do we get these refugee figures from? Are these Indian figures?

Mr. Waller: They are fairly accurate.

Mr. Sisco: They are using the figure of 7 million but it wouldn't make much difference if it were 5 million. The Pakistanis don't seriously question the figures.

Mr. Kissinger: If we have only three plus months and plan on talking to Hilaly and Jha, we must come up with some concrete ideas on what we want each side to do. If we then make this a yardstick for what we will do, we might have a chance.

Mr. Irwin: We will put something down on paper.

Mr. Kissinger: There is a related problem. Mr. Williams has pointed out that the food situation in East Pakistan may generate a new flood of refugees. Can we set up something now to help in a food crisis? Can we do something to help them return to normal distribution procedures?

Mr. Williams: This is why I am stressing the weaknesses in the administrative structure.

Mr. Kissinger: Can we express what we want in terms of an administrative structure? Can we internationalize food relief? We shouldn't just let this famine hit us unprepared.

Mr. Helms: The difficulty is that they need 3.5 million tons of food and can only distribute 2 million.

Mr. Kissinger: Can we put them in a position to distribute more?

Mr. Helms: They have put a very weak man in charge of this.

Mr. Van Hollen: They have recently appointed Malik who has only limited competence. The best thing in his favor is that he is a Bengali.

Mr. Sisco (to Mr. Williams): Can you tell Henry what we have done specifically?

Mr. Williams: When M.M. Ahmad was here we told him he had a serious food problem coming up. We had a whole list of concrete steps that could be taken, including giving them $2 million to charter transport, but the army just doesn't give a damn and isn't good at this kind of thing anyhow, and the Bengalis won't level with the army about what the problems really are.

Mr. Kissinger: We can expect that every one of these problems will get worse over the next few weeks. If famine is inevitable with the resulting increase in the outflow of refugees, there will be strong pressures here at home. Should we be prepared to squeeze the Pakistanis on this? Maybe if we organize ourselves here, we can get them to do something there.

Mr. Williams: One of the big problems, of course, is that most food relief operations are close to the border and susceptible to Indian interdiction.

Mr. Kissinger: But if the food programs are internationalized, this might be a way of restraining the Indians. They may be less likely to blow up an international transport. (to Mr. Irwin) Put into your paper a detailed program of what you want. We in this building are prepared to press Pakistan to do whatever will help but we need to put our greatest weight on the things that matter.

Mr. Williams: The Pakistani Army is very thinly stretched in East Pakistan. They are extremely short of transport and they have been commandeering trucks. The real problem is in getting an effective operation going.

Mr. Sisco: We might think in terms of a massive emergency movement of transport which could be monitored by us or by an international group to see that it gets to the right place. We have two problems: the food that is getting there is not adequate for three months from now and the administrative structure cannot cope with its distribution.

Mr. Irwin: (to Mr. Williams): Have we got all the food into the port/5/ that the warehouses can take?

/5/ Reference is to the port of Chittagong in East Pakistan.

Mr. Williams: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: We need a statement of their requirements, what is actually there, and what the shortfall will be. The food situation can only get tougher. We should start to do our part now.

Mr. Helms: This will make Biafra look like a cocktail party.

Mr. McDonald: We have prepared a detailed plan on this. A Department of Agriculture man came out and did a detailed study/6/ which we understand Yahya read personally. It spelled out specific policies and actions but none of its recommendations have been carried out.

/6/ See footnote 3, Document 102.

Mr. Kissinger: Maybe Yahya can't do it; maybe it requires an international effort. If Yahya were willing to have international observers in the villages maybe he could get the refugees back.

Mr. Williams: A UN structure has begun to be staffed.

Mr. Kissinger: It is true that the UN was very slow in supplying personnel?

Mr. Sisco: Yes, but it is moving pretty well now.

Mr. Williams: They are getting some people there and beginning to build a structure.

Mr. Sisco: They are still trying to get Indian agreement, of course.

Mr. Kissinger: Let's get a scenario early next week and have another meeting on this later in the week.Let's talk about military assistance now.

Mr. Irwin: You know our views. However, we now only have $14-$15 million to go and that's not going to go in the next two weeks. We would have originally recommended a complete embargo but now this may not be so significant. By August 10, $10 million of the outstanding licenses will have expired, with only $4 million left outstanding.

Mr. Sisco: We can let the pipeline slowly dry out. In part, of course, we will be influenced by the degree of success we have in modifying the Gallagher Amendment/7/ to permit us sufficient latitude.

/7/ Congressman Cornelius E. Gallagher (D-New Jersey) offered an amendment to pending foreign assistance legislation that called for the suspension of all military sales and economic assistance to Pakistan until the President could report to Congress that Pakistan was facilitating a return to stability in East Pakistan, and until the refugees from East Pakistan were permitted to return to their homes and to reclaim their lands and property. (Subsection (V) (1) of Section 620 of Chapter 2 of Part III of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended) The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted in favor of the Gallagher amendment on July 15. On October 5 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee adopted the language approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Mr. Noyes: If we are talking about a confrontation with Pakistan over military supply, the fat's already in the fire.

Mr. Sisco: We have put a hold on the one-time exception to our arms policy involving 300 APCs and some aircraft. We believe this hold should be maintained. Nothing has been delivered and nothing is scheduled to be delivered. Since March 25 no new licenses have been issued and we do not intend to issue any new licenses, although we have a hundred requests. There is about $15 million in the pipeline based on licenses issued before March 25.

Mr. Kissinger: I am not aware of any Presidential decision not to issue licenses.

Mr. Sisco: This was considered at your last SRG meeting./8/

/8/ See Document 32.

Mr. Selden: I think we need a definition of "arms."

Mr. Sisco: We will put in our paper what we think the policy is.

Mr. Kissinger: The Pakistanis complained specifically to me about a motor for some experimental tank. I just want to be sure we understand where we are. I agree the Pakistanis are not upset about arms now.

Mr. Sisco: Not at all; they are grateful that we haven't stopped entirely.

Mr. Kissinger: What happens when the licenses expire?

Mr. Sisco: It will be a year before everything that is in the pipeline has been delivered. But we have agreed that we will not renew licenses or issue new ones.

Mr. Selden: We still need a definition of "arms." Are we talking about such things as tires and spark plugs?

Mr. Kissinger: I don't want to reopen the whole question of arms for Pakistan.

Mr. Sisco: It would be suicide to resume deliveries.

Mr. Kissinger: And the Pakistanis don't want it.

Mr. Sisco: We will get a statement of our position on paper.

Mr. Kissinger: Do the Pakistanis understand that the pipeline is closing on August 10?

Mr. Sisco: Let me be sure you understand. By the middle of August $11 million of the $15 million worth of licenses will have been used or will have expired. This does not mean that the material will have been delivered. It will be somewhere in the pipeline.

Mr. Kissinger: Can it be delivered after August 10?

Mr. Van Hollen: Some of it will have been shipped by August 10.

Mr. Irwin: But if it isn't shipped by August 10 it would not be permitted to be shipped.

Mr. Kissinger: How much of the $10 million will be shipped? Do the Pakistanis know they are under the guillotine?

Mr. Sisco: They will still have $4 million left.

Mr. Kissinger: Not even the Indians can make something out of that. In other words, by August 15 we will have done exactly what the President did not want to do in June except for $4 million.

Mr. Saunders: I don't think anyone here understood what the effect would be.

Mr. Noyes: You understand that everything from the Defense Department is still under a complete hold.

Mr. Irwin: We hope that when the military supply fades out, we can get the same effect from humanitarian and food assistance.

Mr. Kissinger: Isn't this a stricter embargo than 1965?

Mr. Van Hollen: No, we had a complete embargo for some months in 1965-66. In 1966 we began providing non-lethal equipment and in 1967 we began giving them spares for equipment that was considered lethal.

Mr. Irwin: Of course, they can buy spark plugs and things commercially. They are only barred from getting them out of FMS stocks.

Mr. Kissinger: So we have cut off economic and, in effect, we are cutting off military assistance by indirection. All we did was give them an additional six weeks.

Mr. Sisco: What do you mean "six weeks"?

Mr. Kissinger: In June the President specifically did not approve cutting off the supply of military equipment. Now you are getting it by indirection.

Mr. Sisco: We have done nothing differently. The deliveries to which we were committed are already made. It is a question of whether or not we make new commitments.

Mr. Van Hollen: The President's reply to our recommendation was to continue present policy.

Mr. Kissinger: I will find out exactly what he thought present policy was. I thought it was that the licenses were to continue. I will find out if it is the President's policy to put this degree of pressure on Pakistan at this time. How much of the $11 million will be shipped by August 10?

Mr. Van Hollen: The Munitions Control Group say they can't determine the amount but it will be substantially less than $11 million. The licenses are valid for only a year.

Mr. Irwin (to Mr. Van Hollen): Can they be extended?

Mr. Van Hollen: No.

Mr. Kissinger: You can damn well extend them if you are told to. If 90 percent of the material is shipped and then the licenses lapse, that's one thing. If 5 percent is shipped, that's another. The Pakistanis don't know what we are doing to them. They are not pressing for new licenses. It has not penetrated that of the material that was licensed in March, 90 percent may be cut off on August 10.

Mr. Van Hollen: It should have; we have told them.

Mr. Kissinger: But they may not realize that goods purchased under license and not yet shipped can't be shipped. We don't want the Pakistanis to believe that we have put it to them in a devious way.

Mr. Sisco: No one can tell us how much of the $11 million will have been shipped by then.

Mr. Van Hollen: But the feeling is that a substantial proportion will not be shipped.

Mr. Irwin: We should make sure the Pakistanis understand this.

Mr. Van Hollen: The Pakistani Military Supply Mission here knows the exact status of the shipments. They bug Defense about it all the time.

Mr. Kissinger (to Mr. Noyes): Do I understand you think some spare parts should be opened up to them?

Mr. Noyes: We have $11 million in Defense stocks that are being held completely. These are mostly spare parts and the Pakistani military are constantly asking us about them.

Gen. Brett: Just today the Pakistani Group Captain asked me about starting cartridges for the B-57s. The shipments have been licensed but are still being held in our depots.
Mr. Kissinger: When was this hold order issued?

Gen. Brett: April 4.

Mr. Kissinger: Who issued that order?

Gen. Brett: Mr. Packard. Then, following the April 19 SRG meeting, the supplies were opened up again. Then we understood Mr. Packard and Mr. Sisco had agreed to reinstitute the hold and we got an order from Packard in writing to hold back.

Mr. Kissinger: Thank you.

106. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, July 24, 1971, 1438Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Nodis. Drafted on July 23 by Schneider and approved by Van Hollen. Repeated to Islamabad, Kathmandu, and Colombo.

134596. Subj: Meeting Between Secretary and Indian Ambassador regarding China

1. Summary: At Secretary's invitation Indian Ambassador Jha visited Department July 22 for discussion recent US moves regarding China. Secretary explained purpose of Dr. Kissinger's visit to Peking was to arrange Presidential visit. US overall purpose was to establish communications with Peoples Republic of China and normalize relations. While there had been presentations of established positions on issues by both sides during Kissinger visit, there had been no decisions or understandings. We intended seek improvement of relations but not at expense of other nations. Amb Jha indicated GOI welcomed new US effort improve relations with PRC but concerned how relationship might affect interests of other countries and how it might relate to troubled Sino-India relationship and Chinese support of Pakistan. End summary.

2. Secretary opened meeting, also attended by Sisco, Rasgotra, Verma and Schneider, saying he had intended to see Jha sooner but Amb had been out of town. He had just come from appointment with President who conveyed his best regards to Amb Jha and asked that they be conveyed to PM Gandhi. Secretary explained that Dr. Kissinger had telephoned Jha prior to President's announcement of Kissinger visit and planned Presidential trip to Peking./2/ Dr. Kissinger had been in India immediately prior to his trip to China and he wanted to make clear that he had intended no misrepresentation when he did not inform GOI of planned visit. No other government had been consulted in advance since we believed without secrecy there would have been too many obstacles in way of successful mission. Secretary said he appreciated India's understanding of President's announcement.

/2/ President Nixon made this announcement on July 15. (Public Papers: Nixon, 1971, pp. 819-820)

3. Secretary explained purpose of Kissinger visit was to arrange Presidential visit. It seemed important to us that President meet PRC leaders as best means of normalizing relations, which was our purpose. We use this general term because we do not now know how normalization will develop. US Administration does not consider it wise continue without communications with country of 750 million people. This does not mean our policy will change. It may mean improvement in relations with PRC but this will not be made at expense of other nations. We have had close communications with Soviets for a long time but these have not been conducted at expense of our friends. No time has yet been fixed for Presidential visit. May 1 was mentioned as deadline because we did not wish visit to become involved in US Presidential campaign.

4. Referring to Kissinger/Chou-En-lai conversations Secretary explained half of time was taken for translation. Much of discussion related to working out communiqué. Balance consisted of restatement of policies, publicly stated before, of both governments. There were no agreements, explicit or implicit, and no understandings other than to have summit meeting. Both sides thought there would be something to be gained by that meeting. That gain will depend upon events. There was certainly nothing in conversations-and Secretary emphasized he had seen everything regarding talks which President had seen-which was detrimental to India in any sense of the word.

5. Amb Jha said GOI understood why it was not taken into confidence regarding Kissinger trip. GOI had noted that Kissinger when in New Delhi had discussed China in more detail than expected in view of refugee problem. In light of later revelations India read this as a prior assurance. Indian Foreign Minister's first response was to welcome US move. Later he made certain observations that external powers should not seek decide future of other countries. US move was important in relationship to state of Sino-India relations and active Chinese support to Pakistan. Therefore there was undercurrent of anxiety in India. There was feeling that this plus Pak role in arranging meeting will make it more difficult for USG to play constructive part in seeking solution to refugee problem and promoting political accommodation in East Pakistan. India is concerned that all these developments may weaken kind of support it is seeking. Result could be additional obstacle in way of warm relations between India and US.

6. Secretary replied US does not intend that this happen. Explained any time we improve relations with one country there are inevitable suspicions that this being done at expense of others. This not so in this case. Secretary has long believed there need for communications with PRC. This should ease tensions and promote world peace. There is no collusion or invidious purpose behind US moves. US actions will demonstrate this is so.

7. Jha inquired whether there were any discussions in Peking about India. Secretary answered that he has avoided answering specific questions such as this and he would in this case except to say that there was no discussion of India in any substantial way. Most discussion related to matters of direct US-China interest. India not high on list of such matters.

8. Secretary explained that if better relations established between US and PRC this should reduce world tensions and, he would think, would be helpful to India as it would in regard Japan and Indo-China. We do not know and are trying to avoid speculation regarding prospects as that would make it appear we had reached agreements. Result, however, could be beneficial to Asia generally. During current era when nuclear power is so destructive it just possible we could have long period of peace. This is what we hope for. Furthermore, we are doing everything we can to show Soviet Union that this US move not directed against them.

9. Jha explained India has also said it desires normalization with China. It continues support Chinese entry in UN. Agreed if US move reduces tensions India would be most happy.

10. Secretary then inquired about latest report on flow of refugees from Pakistan into India. Jha replied there had been some reduction down to 40-50,000 per day. This was nonetheless high and no reverse trend in sight. Refugees not likely return while influx continuing as each newcomer brings warnings about return. Jha said that new reason for migration had been added to Pak actions against political leaders and Hindus. Now food and economic difficulties becoming operative factor while other factors continued. Predicted another 2 million refugees may enter India when monsoon ends and travel easier.

11. Secretary inquired about UN activities. Sisco replied these in planning phase. SYG had developed more precise proposal regarding UN presence to facilitate refugee return. There no disposition now to have Security Council meet. Clear conditions must be created in East Pakistan under which flow will stop and refugees can return. There must be stability, absence of fear, adequate food. For latter purpose much must be done to improve transport to avoid famine. Both India and US wish to see steps toward political accommodation. US will do everything it can to influence these conditions in East Pakistan in the context of restraint and moderation on part of both India and Pakistan. This is US policy. Jha and Rasgotra pointed out East Pakistan problem was not instance of India-Pakistan dispute. It is problem between West and East Pakistan which has effect on India. India therefore takes exception to consideration of problem as another manifestation of India-Pakistan differences. Sisco said that, as he had said before, East Pakistan problem was not anything created by either US or India.

12. In conclusion Secretary asked that his best regards be conveyed to FonMin Swaran Singh whose visit we much enjoyed. Jha indicated FonMin hoped Secretary could visit India again. Secretary was non-committal. Said he hoped Jha would keep in close touch with him and Sisco during current difficult period.

107. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/
Washington, July 24, 1971, 1035Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID (US) 15-8 PAK. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted on July 23 by Laingen, cleared in AID by MacDonald, and approved by Van Hollen.

134643. 1. Following is uncleared memcon, FYI only, Noforn, subject to revision upon review.

2. During Ambassador Hilaly's call on Secretary July 23 (septel),/2/ Hilaly raised two requests in economic field; i.e., request that USG expedite movement additional PL 480 wheat and provide additional funds for leasing coastal vessels. He had told NESA Administrator MacDonald this morning of his impression that some AID people were "dragging their feet" on wheat shipments and issuance of PA's and had made strong case for expeditious wheat movement. GOP was concerned about possible food shortage later in year and worried that possible US port strike in September would complicate movements if maximum effort not made now to get additional wheat on its way. Van Hollen injected that we well aware of possible shortages. We would keep pipeline full and would look promptly at request for more coastal vessels. However, US seriously concerned about need speed distribution system East Pakistan. Hilaly said whatever the facts on congestion in Pak ports and transportation system, it would be better if wheat were tied up in Pak ports than in ports in US. It was unrealistic to expect that "every knot should be tied" before additional PL 480 wheat "for which we have signed" is moved.

/2/ See footnote 2, Document 104.

3. On coastal vessels Hilaly said GOP needed an additional one to two million dollars from US to hire up to half dozen coastal vessels of 3,000 ton capacity each. He had also raised this with MacDonald as important additional step that could be taken to avert difficulties later. Secretary assured Hilaly we would actively consider his requests, noting that if famine does in fact develop later in year and food is here and not in Pakistan, then we would also be subject heavy public criticism.

4. Ambassador made brief reference to articles today's press quoting contents of Department cables on possible food shortages East Pakistan. Secretary assured Hilaly we equally concerned over unauthorized disclosure this cable traffic and had said so in statement to press. Ambassador said he had written Senator Kennedy strong letter of concern about news stories and particularly over language therein that some of Senator's aides would shortly be visiting refugee camps India and "will try to enter East Pakistan" as well. He had reminded Senator that no one from his staff had applied for visas and that GOP could not be responsible for what might happen to such individuals should they attempt unauthorized entry across East Pakistan borders.
Comment: We plan call in Hilaly next week to apprise him fully of steps being taken by USG and to urge upon him essential need for GOP to take urgent steps on its side to put USG resources effectively to use.

108. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and His Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, July 27, 1971, 7:20 p.m.

/1/ Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 368, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. The call was placed by the President to Kissinger in the White House.

P: Working late?

K: Yes, I am going over some papers.

P: Anything new?

K: Nothing of any consequence.

P: A lot of stuff to catch up on I guess.

K: There's a certain routine.

P: Terrific, I know.

K: It keeps piling up. There's still a lot of congratulatory mail/2/ coming in.

/2/ The mail was in response to Kissinger's trip to China.

P: Good, good. You know the one thing we want to do is to be fair-we will probably be getting a question on the India/Pakistan thing. We really want to-we sure don't want to hurt our friends.

K: No, we certainly don't. Being fed by the-.

P: I know, the Indians. Awful but they are getting some assistance from Keating, of course.

K: A lot of assistance; he is practically their mouthpiece.

P: I talked to Bill [Rogers] in California while I was waiting for you. He is down on Keating; he is a total mouthpiece for the Indians.

K: He has gone native. As I told you, I saw the Indians and listened to their complaints and Keating kept interrupting and saying but you forgot to mention this or that.

P: I think we ought to get moving on him; he is 71 years old.

K: Yes, but he would do us a lot of damage now. We should wait until things quiet down.

P: Two or 3 months and then I think we ought to do it.

K: I will make it clear with the Indians that there isn't going to be a war.

P: They had had this plan-covers planned [sic] long before this.

K: They have certainly been more respectful since this trip. I have asked Sisco to prepare a scenario of how we could handle this situation. I will talk to Farland tomorrow; and within this next week we will have a proposal for you. The problem-no military aid to Pakistan, they are not even getting economic aid. If anything will tempt the Indians to attack, it will be the complete helplessness of Pakistan.

P: After all they have done, we just aren't going to let that happen.

K: Right, right.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to South Asia.]

109. Editorial Note

Ambassador Farland returned to Washington for consultations at the end of July. President Nixon and Henry Kissinger met with him at the White House on July 28, 1971. The discussion began with a brief summary of the initiative undertaken with the People's Republic of China. Turning to developments on the subcontinent, Farland said: "There is another side to this picture, and I can say with complete candor that if we push Yahya to the point where he reacts, the reaction will be such that the entire subcontinent will be [unclear] I mean he'll fight." He anticipated that conflict between India and Pakistan would draw in China as well.

Nixon asked: "What do you think our position should be?" Farland responded: "I think we are doing what we should." He went on to paint a stark picture of prospects for the subcontinent. Hindus and Muslims had been at each other's throats for centuries and in his view were likely to remain so. Nixon interjected: "Miserable damn place." Kissinger said that his appreciation of India's involvement in the crisis building in East Pakistan was that "if they can undermine East Pakistan then in West Pakistan so many forces would be, will unloosen, will be turned loose that the whole Pakistan issue will disappear." Nixon turned to Farland and said: "You are convinced that Yahya will fight." Farland responded: "Oh, he will." Nixon said: "He will commit suicide." Kissinger agreed that Yahya would fight: "Just as Lincoln would have fought." Farland added: "The possibility of defeat is a minor consideration as opposed to their sense of national unity."
Nixon asked for Farland's assessment of the "terrible stories" being circulated by the Indians about the horrors endured by the refugees at the hands of the Pakistani Army. Farland responded that the Indians were "past masters at propaganda." Nixon and Farland turned to the question of arms supply for Pakistan. Farland noted that "since March 25 we have sent over 2,200 rounds of 22 ammunition for survival rifles for down there, that's all." He went on to observe that "40-50 percent of what is in the pipeline is for spare parts for trucks and for communication equipment without which the starving refugees could not be fed."

Nixon encouraged Farland to "lay it right out" in discussing the issue and in talking about the situation in East Pakistan. Nixon felt that it was important to "try to help on the problem." His concern was too that a "bloodbath" would develop in East Pakistan. "We warned the Indians very strongly," he said, "that if they start anything-and believe me it would be a hell of a pleasure as far as I am concerned-if we just cut off every damn bit of aid we give them, at least whatever it is worth."

Farland said that Yahya had told him that his intelligence had pinpointed 29 refugee camps in India where guerrillas were being trained. "I hate to tell you this, Mr. President, but the guerrilla threat is growing by leaps and bounds. They are averaging 18 Pakistanis a day now, they are averaging two bridges a day, killing that many." He added that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that refugees were prohibited from coming back to East Pakistan.

Nixon said that his problems in dealing with the situation in East Pakistan were magnified by the Department of State bureaucracy. "We are having a hell of a time keeping the State Department bureaucracies hitched on this thing." The Department's South Asia specialists were, in Nixon's view, pro-Indian. Farland noted the political fallout that had resulted in the United States from the issue made about Pakistani brutality by the Consul General in Dacca, and by the head of USIS. Both officers had been transferred out of the area and Farland indicated that he was trying to prevent any further negative reporting on the situation in East Pakistan. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation among Nixon, Kissinger, and Farland, July 28, 1971, 4:21-4:54 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 549-25) The editors transcribed the portions of the conversation printed here specifically for this volume. A transcript of this conversation is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 141.

110. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, July 29, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem; No Dissem Abroad; Background Use Only. Sent to Kissinger on August 13 by Saunders under cover of a memorandum in which Saunders states: "You may want to compare how this message got through with whatever you told the Indians when you were in New Delhi on this subject. Will they regard this as a change in tack?" (Ibid.)

Indian Reaction to Statement Attributed to You about U.S. Response in the Event of Indian Military Action in Bangla Desh

Following is an account [2 lines of source text not declassified] concerning a recent talk you had with Indian Ambassador L.K. Jha in Washington. This information will be given no further distribution unless you wish it.

1. [name not declassified] said that in a recent conversation held in Washington, Dr. Kissinger had made clear to Ambassador Jha that the United States Government (USG) would consider any Chinese invasion of India in response to any Indian action in the Bangla Desh context as entirely different from the Chinese invasion in 1962, and that the USG would provide no support to India, either military or political, in that event.

2. [name not declassified] remarked that while this was causing considerable concern at the highest levels of the Government of India (GOI), it was not being taken at those levels as a deliberate anti-Indian move on the part of the USG. According to [name not declassified], the leadership levels of the GOI believe that cautious steps toward normalization of U.S.-Chinese relations is to the net advantage of India and South Asia. [name not declassified] also remarked, however, that Dr. Kissinger's statement would be taken as an intentional anti-India posture on the part of the USG by the lower levels of MEA and by the Indian public if and when they learned of it.


111. Minutes of Senior Review Group Meeting/1/

Washington, July 30, 1971, 3:20-4:35 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-112, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret; Nodis. No drafting information appears on the minutes. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. Another record of the meeting was prepared on August 9 in OASD/ISA by Brigadier General Brett. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 092 (Aug-Dec) 1971) A brief record of the meeting was prepared in the CIA on August 2 by John H. Waller, Chief of the Near East and South Asia Division, Directorate for Plans. (Central Intelligence Agency, O/DDO Files, Job 79-01229A, Box 7, Folder 8, NSC 1971)

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin, II
Christopher Van Hollen
Thomas Thornton

Warren G. Nutter
James H. Noyes
B/Gen. Devol Brett

Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt
Col. James Connell

Richard Helms
John Waller

Dr. John Hannah
Maurice Williams
Herbert Rees

John McGinnis

NSC Staff
R/Adm. Robert Welander
Harold H. Saunders
Jeanne W. Davis


It was agreed to

-Prepare a comprehensive relief program for East Pakistan, including what has already been moved and where the bottlenecks are.

-Prepare a telegram, to be approved by the President, outlining an approach to Yahya telling him what needs to be done on refugees, food relief, etc.

-Talk with the British about a joint approach or separate but concurrent approaches to India and Pakistan.

-Talk with the Russians to get a mutual assessment of the situation.

-Develop a contingency plan for a possible Indian-Pakistani war.

-Schedule fifteen minutes at the beginning of the next NSC meeting for the President again to express his views on the subject.

Mr. Kissinger: This is a continuation of our meeting last week on this subject./2/

/2/ See Document 105.

Mr. Irwin: Our basic feeling is that we should do something, and we recommend some movement along the lines of the scenario we have prepared./3/ We think we should try further with the Pakistanis to seek some restraint on military activity and persuade them to take steps to reduce the flow of refugees and move toward some form of political accommodation in East Pakistan. We should also try to counsel restraint on India in connection with some of the things [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] they are doing.

/3/ An undated "Scenario For Action In Indo-Pakistan Crisis" was drafted on July 29 in NEA/INC by Quainton and circulated to the Senior Review Group. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-058, SRG Meeting, South Asia, 7/30/71) This paper is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 142.

Mr. Helms: There are indications that India is doing something in the military field to keep everyone stirred up. We don't think they are preparing for a physical attack, but the indicators keep flashing. This is all designed to keep the pot boiling.

Mr. Irwin: We think we might also talk to the British and the Soviets. We can talk with the British about a joint or separate but concurrent approaches to the two states, and to the Soviets about getting an assessment of the situation.

Mr. Helms: Has anyone given any thought to involving the Shah of Iran in working with Pakistan? [1 line of source text not declassified]. He might be able to help us; at least it's worth considering since we seem to be out of gas with Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: We're not out of gas with Yahya. I think he will do a lot of things that are reasonable if we concentrate on the refugee problem. One thing he will not do is talk to the Awami League, at least not as an institution. He might talk to some League leaders as individuals.

Mr. Irwin: Ambassador Farland thinks there is a bare possibility that he might talk to the Awami League.

Mr. Van Hollen: Yahya's estimate of how far he might be able to go with the Awami League depends on whether or not he thinks he might be cut down from behind by his military leaders. Farland thinks it's worth trying to move him a step further. There has been no progress along the lines of the June 28 formula./4/ The flow of refugees is continuing, the insurgency is on the increase and there has been no move toward political accommodation. As a result, the Indians are still actively supporting the insurgents and they are facing the prospect of famine in October or November. We have to think of some way of breaking out of this vicious circle.

/4/ See Document 84.

Mr. Kissinger: What are the Indians after? Do they want a political accommodation or do they want to split off East Pakistan?

Mr. Irwin: It's impossible to know. They would probably prefer to split off East Pakistan, and they are assisted in this objective so long as the refugees are still coming out, the Pakistan army is still active, there is no political accommodation and the country is moving toward famine. We should try to make it more difficult for India, by improving the situation in East Pakistan through reducing the refugee flow, putting a UN presence in East Pakistan, and making a start toward political accommodation. If Pakistan can move in this direction, it may be possible to put pressure on India.

Mr. Kissinger: Is it possible to ask the Pakistan Army to with-draw to its barracks when India is supporting guerrilla activity in the country?

Mr. Irwin: I don't think so, but we might work toward this. If conditions improve, this might be our goal.

Mr. Williams: I wouldn't want to take the Army out of its role of maintaining security. You can take them out of the civil administration, though-out of Government House-without insisting that they return to their barracks.

Mr. Kissinger: Why is it our business to tell the Pakistanis how to run their government? We can appropriately ask them for humanitarian behavior, but can we tell them how to run things?

Mr. Williams: It is not our business as such, but we can tell them what we think as a friend and counselor.

Mr. Kissinger: What would an enemy do to Pakistan? We are already cutting off military and economic aid to them. The President has said repeatedly that we should lean toward Pakistan, but every proposal that is made goes directly counter to these instructions. There are undoubtedly some things Pakistan must do, particularly to stop the refugee flow. They ought to do something to make the refugees come back or make India explain why the refugees are not coming back.

Mr. Irwin: What would they have to do to get the refugees to go back?

Mr. Kissinger: In part, India can control this. At the moment, they are expelling all foreigners from the refugee areas and we don't know what they are telling the refugees. Do we think India is encouraging or discouraging the refugees from going back?

Mr. Van Hollen: India is probably discouraging them, or at least is linking their return with some sort of political accommodation. Even if we take India out of the picture, though, the problems in East Pakistan are indigenous. They are merely accentuated by Indian activity.

Mr. Kissinger: So we have the following problems which are, to some extent linked: 1) the refugees-how to stop and reverse the flow; 2) political accommodation; 3) the threat of famine and the necessity for humanitarian relief, which in turn would affect the flow of refugees; and 4) the nature of an East Pakistan government. On famine relief, we must get a program started under any and all circumstances. If famine develops, it will generate another major outflow of refugees. This is one thing we can do something about. I think we can get considerable Pakistani cooperation on this.

(Mr. Kissinger was called from the room at 3:35 and returned at 3:50.)

Mr. Irwin: (to Dr. Kissinger) You mentioned the question of tilting our policy. The State Department is not trying to tilt the consideration of this matter. We have problems of political stability, refugees and the prospect of famine. Fundamental to each of these is the question of some move toward political accommodation. It will be very hard to solve these problems unless there is some start in the political field.

Mr. Kissinger: The relief effort has to be undertaken anyway.

Mr. Irwin: If there is not some move toward political accommodation we may not be able to carry out relief efforts. We can get the food there but if we can't get it distributed to the people who need it our relief efforts won't succeed. The whole distribution mechanism can be upset by the cross-border operations.

Mr. Kissinger: The cross-border operations depend on India. You could put the greatest civilian government in the world in East Pakistan and if India wants to continue the cross-border operations, they will.

Mr. Irwin: I agree, so the question is how to stop the cross-border operations. If we can do it by direct pressure on India, fine. If that is not possible, one way to help would be to start some form of political accommodation in East Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: But the famine will start in October. Under the best possible scenario, political accommodation will have barely begun in October. The relief plans have to be started fairly soon.

Mr. Williams: "Political accommodation" is a shorthand expression. What is more important is some effective administration. Traditionally, in this part of the world, that means a civilian administration. The ability to mount an effective relief effort depends on how much of the civil administration is left intact.

Mr. Kissinger: Are we to tell the Pakistanis that unless they install a civilian administration we will let the famine develop?

Mr. Williams: No, but we can tell them that unless they install an effective civilian administration it will be harder to prevent famine.

Mr. Irwin: We are doing everything we can to prevent famine. We can get the food to them and try to see to it that it is properly distributed.

Mr. Hannah: There will be damned little satisfaction in getting the food to the ports if we can't get it where the people are. The Pakistan Army just isn't used to this kind of an operation, plus the fact that they are still under pressure from the guerrillas. They have invited the UN in to give overall direction to the program but that won't get the food delivered. And Pakistan won't let us in.

Mr. Kissinger: Have the Paks said they won't let us in?

Mr. Williams: They have approved a UN presence in principle, but they still haven't actually admitted them.

Mr. Kissinger: They told me they hoped we would get the UN people in faster.

Mr. Williams: It has been approved in principle in Islamabad but they have not yet agreed to admit the 28 UN people who are poised and waiting to go in.

Mr. Kissinger: We have no problem with the list of things that have to be done. We have to tell Yahya that this is what needs to be done, but why do we have to tell him that it has to be done by civilians?

Mr. Zumwalt: He can't do it with civilians while he is fighting a war. The prevention of famine and our interest in supporting Yahya dictate more help in granting him military supplies than we are apparently prepared to give him. This relates to the spare parts he needs to keep his vehicles moving. He has to keep the roads and waterways open. If we cut off his source of spare parts he can neither fight a war or distribute supplies-both because he couldn't stop the cross-border operations which could interdict the relief distribution and because he wouldn't have the vehicles to move the relief supplies themselves.

Mr. Waller: We have a report from India that if the relief efforts were under UN administration, they would not be interdicted by cross-border operations.

Mr. Kissinger: If we are faced with a huge famine and a huge new refugee outflow in October and we're still debating political accommodation, we'll have a heluva lot to answer for. We need an emergency relief plan and we need to tell Yahya that this is what has to be done to get the supplies delivered. Yahya will be reasonable.

Mr. Williams: There doesn't have to be political accommodation to get the civilians in.

Mr. Van Hollen: But the two things are directly related. We should be and are preparing a relief program, but its implementation depends on the governmental situation in East Pakistan-not on the US or on the UN. The way to get some organizational arrangement in East Pakistan to prevent famine and restore some normality is through some political accommodation.

Mr. Helms: Our problem is to provide the food and get it in place. How can we assume the responsibility for its distribution? We should confine ourselves to doing the things we can do. It's up to Yahya to decide how the food should be distributed. He has an interest in keeping East Pakistan with West Pakistan. He's not interested in helping India by letting a famine develop in East Pakistan.

Mr. Williams: We can get the food there.

Mr. Kissinger: We can go further than that. (to Williams) You made a good presentation at the last meeting on the necessity to marshal water transport and things like that. The resources seem to be more under Army control than civilian control. If we told Yahya these things were required for distribution and we will help, we might make real progress. But if, on top of that, we tell him he must end the insurgency and have some sort of political accommodation, we won't make it in time for October. Yahya's mind just doesn't work that fast and the structure isn't there.

Mr. Irwin: I agree we should do all you say, but we would go a step further. We would point out that there should be a start in a direction that might accomplish political accommodation.

Mr. Kissinger: What do we mean by "political accommodation?" India considers political accommodation as splitting off East Pakistan from West Pakistan.

Mr. Van Hollen: We shouldn't have a blue print. But, in order to create a viable institution, Yahya must agree to deal with the true political representatives in East Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: The question is whether we have to have political accommodation before we can get a relief program.

Mr. Irwin: Not before the relief program starts. But if there is not some effort in this direction, the cross-border operations will intensify and there will be more disruption of the relief efforts. If we can stop the cross-border operations by India, the relief effort might have a better chance of success.

Mr. Kissinger: Will India slow down its cross-border operations if the political process could be speeded up to October? India says Yahya has to deal with the Awami League.

Mr. Van Hollen: The extent to which India desists from its cross-border operations would be linked to progress on the political side.

Mr. Hannah: Why not approach it the other way around. Tell Yahya that the best way to thwart the Indians is to get better food and better conditions in East Pakistan than in the refugee camps in India. We must convince Yahya that certain things have to be done while the military is occupied in dealing with the guerrillas. If Yahya assumes responsibility for the distribution of food, he can use it as a political weapon.

Mr. Kissinger: We can tell him what is needed to distribute the food as long as our programs are moving ahead.

Mr. Irwin: We're not really disagreeing with you.

Mr. Kissinger: But you're saying the next turn of the wheel is conditional-that nothing will move until there is a start on political accommodation.

Mr. Irwin: No we're not.

Mr. Williams: No.

Mr. Zumwalt: Even if all the food gets through, the famine will still probably occur. Both the Indians and the Soviets would prefer famine rather than see Yahya win. The Chinese would probably prefer famine to seeing East Pakistan split off from West Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: I agree with John Hannah. If we can be forthcoming with Yahya on something, we have a better chance of getting some political accommodation than if we hector him and try to put the squeeze on him.

Mr. Hannah: We should continue to do everything we have been doing. We should get Yahya to accept UN direction. We should recognize, though, that even when the UN people are there, it won't work unless the US gets involved in an operation to marshal all existing resources, similar to the recent flood relief operation. We can give him the backstopping of the UN, but we'll still have to furnish the food and get it there, and provide some management once it's there.

Mr. Williams: The food that is moving to Pakistan now is adequate to deal with the crisis. The food is moving to the ports and we have obtained $3 million worth of charter transport to move it from the ports. We want a UN presence involved in the internal distribution. We have an agreement in principle from Pakistan, but they have still not authorized the entrance of the 28 people. We're not holding anything back.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Williams) Maybe you should go there and tell Yahya what is needed to break the bureaucratic log-jam.

Mr. Hannah: It would be more effective if we could get a representative Pakistani to carry the message to Yahya. We can reinforce it. How about Shoaib?/5/

/5/ Mohammed Shoaib, Vice President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Mr. Williams: He's traveling for the World Bank.

Mr. Irwin: We would like to move ahead as you are suggesting. In addition, we think it would be better to start some move toward political accommodation.

Mr. Kissinger: My personal judgement of Yahya is that if we do something for him, then ask him to move in a direction of political accommodation, he would be more likely to do it. We're really debating timing. Can we get a comprehensive program of relief and get it to Yahya together with our judgement as to where the bottlenecks are. We can then get someone to talk to him.

Mr. Williams: This is all in train-he's not in real trouble at the moment. When the harvest fails, then there will be trouble.

Mr. Kissinger: The situation isn't going to get any easier in the next two months. If there is another great outflow of refugees, the domestic problem in India may become unmanageable.

Mr. Williams: It's a matter of internal transport.

Mr. Kissinger: I understand that, but let's keep that a technical problem.

Mr. Williams: We'll put together a comprehensive relief package.

Mr. Kissinger: Let's put it all together-what has moved and where the bottlenecks are.
(to Irwin) With regard to your scenario, I doubt that Yahya can withdraw his army to their barracks under present circumstances.

Mr. Irwin: We took that out of the paper and substituted a restoration of the civil administration, leaving the maintenance of law and order to the police and the provincial para-military forces.

Mr. Kissinger: Your idea would be to go to Yahya with the whole program. If you do, he'll say "I'll do everything but the political steps."

Mr. Van Hollen: We can tell him that to the degree he can do these things, it would help clamp down on the Indian cross-border operations and establish a UN presence on the Indian side of the border. If he makes some political moves, India may be more amenable to stopping its activities that are adding to the tension.

Mr. Kissinger: How would we get India to do that?

Mr. Van Hollen: We could tell India that what is happening in East Pakistan is in the right direction.

Mr. Kissinger: The right direction to them is the Indian direction. What is the right direction?

Mr. Irwin: For Yahya to begin to deal with the elected representatives in East Pakistan-maybe not the Awami League. This needn't be conditioned to doing other things.

Mr. Kissinger: We're holding up military shipments to Pakistan and not giving them economic assistance. What would we do if we were opposed to Yahya? How does our policy differ from a hostile policy?

Mr. Van Hollen: In many ways. In general we have been very forthcoming with Pakistan. We came forward rapidly on relief. We haven't cut off economic assistance-indeed we have been more flexible than the other members of the economic consortium. In Yahya's eyes, our stance has been favorable.

Mr. Kissinger: We should tell him he should do these things on refugees but tie it to political accommodation?

Mr. Irwin: It wouldn't be tied to political accommodation.

Mr. Kissinger: Would we tell him that our efforts with India are contingent on these steps, or that our resumption of economic assistance is contingent on political steps?

Mr. Van Hollen: They are not contingent on political steps. We have been doing these things all along. We can tell him that our success with India depends on his success on the refugee flow and on political accommodation.

Mr. Nutter: We have the very practical problem that 90% of his transport is of US origin. If we cut off his spare parts he won't have a transportation system.

Mr. Zumwalt: Or he won't be able to maintain sufficient order to prevent the insurgents from cutting the system. If we don't give him some spares that are classified as lethal, the Pakistan Army will be relatively limited. They could do a better job than if we bring their military machine to a halt by withholding spare parts. We can use the military capability to keep the lines open and use the vehicles to deliver food.

Mr. Williams: I think your first point is valid but I question the second. The UNICEF vehicles have been commandeered by the Army and they aren't using them to move supplies.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Irwin) Your proposed scenario says (reading) ". . . our hold on military shipments . . . should not be lifted until there is an end of military activity against the civilian population and until the army is returned to its barracks and effective civilian administration is in operation." In other words, until after East Pakistan is independent.

Mr. Hannah: What about the spare parts for the trucks now under order? Are they being shipped?

Mr. Zumwalt: The licenses will run out in a few weeks.

Mr. Williams: Shipments will cease on August 13.

Mr. Zumwalt: At just about the time the famine is hitting, we will likely see a breakdown of transport and of the ability to maintain sufficient order to get food supplies through.

Mr. Irwin: If by giving the military some trucks they would use them to move supplies, no one would object. By giving trucks and spare parts to the military, even though we did our best to see that they were used for food distribution, you would be certain to arouse political opposition here.

Mr. Kissinger: Can we see a cable on what you would tell Yahya. I will schedule fifteen minutes at the beginning of the next NSC meeting so that all of the principals can hear the President's views again on this subject. Let's see a cable of what we want to tell Yahya. We're very receptive here to anything we should say on what he should do on refugees.

Mr. Irwin: To sum up, anything in any area that we can do without getting into the question of political accommodation, we should do. Political accommodation will be treated separately.

Mr. Kissinger: In general, of course, I'm in favor of representative government and we should urge Yahya to restore an increasing degree of participation by the people of East Pakistan. But the clock is running in India faster than the clock on political accommodation. We are determined to avoid war. If it is necessary to squeeze India, we will. There will be no war if we have any pressure available. The inevitable eventual outcome of all this is an autonomous East Pakistan. Over any two or three year period, 75,000 Punjabi cannot govern 75 million Bengalis. West Pakistan needs more time for the sort of accommodation that will be required than they do to meet the urgent problem of the refugees.

Mr. Irwin: We don't disagree. In addition, we are saying it might be helpful if Yahya could make a start in the direction of political accommodation.

Mr. Kissinger: If it can be done in a non-conditional way.

Mr. Irwin: There are no conditions.

Mr. Kissinger: Let's draft a telegram and I will show it to the President.

Mr. Irwin: Warren (Nutter) and Admiral Zumwalt have raised a good question on military supply.

Mr. Kissinger: We can't do anything on military supply until these other things are in train.

Mr. Nutter: There will be a de facto embargo about mid-August.

Mr. Williams: Aren't these truck spares available commercially?

General Brett: They're all made to military specifications.

Mr. Kissinger: Would it be possible to release some spare parts for transport alone?

Mr. Noyes: Some truck parts are interchangeable with tank parts.

Mr. Williams: The Army should have spare parts for its vehicles. Their mobility is important. But the UN people in Dacca had recommended against sending any vehicles. Increased mobility for the army won't move a lot of relief supplies.

Mr. Van Hollen: What about possible discussions with the British?

Mr. Kissinger: That's a good idea.

Mr. Van Hollen: How about with the Soviets?

Mr. Kissinger: What would we tell the Soviets? Who would talk to them? Another Sisco-Dobrynin conversation?

Mr. Van Hollen: It should probably be the Under Secretary.

Mr. Kissinger: That would be useful.

Mr. Irwin: We could suggest a mutual discussion and assessment of the situation.

Mr. Kissinger: We also need a contingency plan in the event of an Indian-Pakistani war.

Mr. Van Hollen: We have done some work on it, but it needs more.

112. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 30, 1971, 6 p.m.

/1/ Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 210, Geopolitical File, South Asia, Chronological File, Nov 69-July 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Saunders on July 31. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office at the White House.

Joseph S. Farland, US Ambassador to Pakistan
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff

After the initial exchange of greetings, Dr. Kissinger asked the Ambassador whether he knew that Senator Kennedy had had the nerve to ask the Pakistanis to arrange a visa for a visit to China. He noted that Ambassador Hilaly had told him of this fact. There was an exchange on the fact that Senator Kennedy plans to visit the Indian refugee camps and that the Pakistanis had denied a visa to one of Senator Kennedy's aides who has been particularly hostile to Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger then asked the Ambassador what the reaction of the officers in his embassy had been after the announcement that Dr. Kissinger had gone to Peking from Islamabad.
Ambassador Farland said that he had never seen so many jaws drop. He said there was no suspicion of this in the embassy. Substantively, everyone felt that it was a significant accomplishment.

Mr. Saunders noted that there had been suspicion among embassy officers during Dr. Kissinger's absence from Islamabad that something special was going on, but most of the officers had given up thinking much about it because they did not have any plausible idea of what might be happening. Ambassador Farland noted that he had been concerned about the AP stringer in Islamabad. Mr. Saunders noted that the few American reporters in Islamabad had pestered the embassy for a while on Saturday and then had taken off for various other places on Sunday morning, having decided that there apparently was to be no story in Islamabad.

Dr. Kissinger concluded this part of the conversation by describing the whole exercise as a "well done operation." He said that he had fully expected something to leak after his return and he had been holding his breath until the Thursday/2/ announcement.

/2/ July 15.

Dr. Kissinger then turned to the situation in India and Pakistan. He said, "State is driving me to tears." He said he was certain that the State Department wanted to link any movement on the refugee and relief fronts to a full political accommodation in East Pakistan.

He asked Ambassador Farland to check his judgment that (1) it is better to talk to Yahya "with love rather than with brutality" [Ambassador Farland said, "That is the only way."]/3/ and (2) that we could say anything to Yahya as long as we related it to a refugee settlement and did not describe it as related to "political accommodation."

/3/ All brackets in the source text.

Dr. Kissinger said that, if one were to ask his estimate, there will some day be an independent Bangla Desh. However, the problem now is to defuse the refugee situation so that India cannot use it as a plausible excuse for going to war. The political outcome in East Pakistan will run far behind the increase or decrease in tensions this fall resulting from the refugee problem. He concluded with a comment on Assistant Secretary Sisco's characteristic of showing a lot of motion without much sense of strategy. He said he had "let Sisco get away with some things in the Middle East" but he is not going to let him do that in South Asia. "Sisco will produce two wars in his area, if we are not careful."

Ambassador Farland agreed that the possibility of war is imminent.

Dr. Kissinger said he felt that we had to press the Indians harder. When he asked what Mr. Saunders thought, Mr. Saunders said that he felt that we had just about run out of steam with the Indians for a moment and had to press for some accomplishment on the Pakistani side before we could go back at the Indians. Dr. Kissinger shrugged.

Dr. Kissinger said that he thought the big mistake the Pakistanis were making was to dribble out all of the things they were doing on the refugee front. He felt that they should save them all up for several weeks and then announce a big program that could be pointed to as a significant effort to solve the refugee problem.

Dr. Kissinger asked whether Ambassador Farland thought he could sell this to President Yahya. Ambassador Hilaly did not understand it here. He thought that perhaps Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan had understood, but "he is such a hard-liner" that it seems unlikely that he would act on the suggestion. Dr. Kissinger does not feel that President Yahya had understood.

Ambassador Farland said that he thought that he could-or at least he would try-to sell this idea to President Yahya. Dr. Kissinger said, "Let's make a deal-that if you get some instructions from the State Department that you consider absolutely crazy, you will use the special communications channel with us." Ambassador Farland agreed.

Ambassador Farland said that he had talked with Mr. McNamara at the World Bank and McNamara remained obstinately opposed to any resumption of economic assistance to Pakistan under present circumstances.

Dr. Kissinger said that it is absolutely essential that we get a comprehensive refugee program. If Yahya could propose a coherent program then we would have something to take to the Indians as a basis for squeezing them not to go to war. The Indians could then be asked to let the refugees go back or to keep quiet about them. In any case, if the Pakistanis had what looked like a plausible refugee program, then the Indians would have less of an excuse to go to war.

Dr. Kissinger said he would urge Yahya to be "sweeping on refugees." He would urge him to allow the intrusion of UN officials into every village. Then, with international civil servants on the scene, we could go to the Indians and refute any of the allegations they were making to keep the refugees from returning. The onus would be on them. It would be difficult to go to war on that issue.

Dr. Kissinger said that he despaired of the State Department's effort to link political accommodation with a refugee solution. [Comment: This had been discussed in the Senior Review Group earlier that afternoon.]/4/ Mr. Saunders said that he felt that the terms "political accommodation" and "civil administration" had been confused during the Senior Review Group meeting. Mr. Saunders felt that Maury Williams [Deputy Administrator, AID] had not been concerned about the political complexion of government in East Pakistan but had been saying that for the refugee relief and feeding programs to succeed, there would have to be some effective local administration. Food would not move if village functionaries could not commandeer trucks to go down to the docks and bring food back to the villages. Williams, Mr. Saunders felt, was talking about the need to restore the administrative machinery, whereas State's term "political accommodation," while encompassing that thought, went beyond and had become shorthand for the ultimate constitutional and political arrangements in East Pakistan. Dr. Kissinger indicated that "Maury Williams is all right, but that idiot Van Hollen drives me crazy."

/4/ See Document 111.

Ambassador Farland said that he would sell President Yahya on the idea of a refugee-relief program.

Dr. Kissinger said he thought we were heading for war in South Asia. What's more, he said he felt that the Chinese Communists would come in.

Ambassador Farland said that the Russians had backed the Indians down the line. Dr. Kissinger noted that recent intelligence reports had indicated that the Soviets had offered to hold naval maneuvers with the Indians. He did not think the Indians would go that far. He said he thought that the Indians feel they can take all of Pakistan, or at least make West Pakistan so feeble that it would no longer be a threat to India.

[At this point Mr. Saunders left and Dr. Kissinger and Ambassador Farland concluded their meeting alone.]


113. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 3, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 1/1/71-9/30/71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. On July 30 Saunders and Kennedy sent this memorandum, which they drafted, to Kissinger for his consideration and submission to the President. (Ibid.)

Military and Economic Assistance to Pakistan as a Framework for South Asian Decisions

With mounting press and Congressional pressure on our assistance to Pakistan, I thought you should have an updated description of where issues stand. The SRG has met twice to refine a game plan for you. This memo is background for that.

Economic Assistance

There are three elements:

-The U.S., like other consortium members, has held up on new development assistance commitments since March 25 because of the general disruption of the Pakistani development program. We are holding $75 million in FY 1971 money against the time when a revised Pakistani development plan is available. The World Bank and IMF continue to oppose resumption of development lending under present circumstances while Pakistan's overall development effort is disrupted. Most of the other consortium members share that view.

-Meanwhile, a pipeline of $82 million is still flowing from earlier commitments. Of that $82 million, about half is already tied up in letters of credit for purchases in process; $15 million is committed to longstanding projects in East Pakistan and $5 million for projects in West Pakistan; $20 million remains to be drawn down. Pakistani drawdowns are running much lower than normal, now about $2 million per month. This means that there could still be ten months of assistance left at present rates, but we could not count on that since the monthly drawdown rate could move back to a more normal level ($5-10 million) if economic conditions improved.

-Food and relief assistance is moving at the rate it can be absorbed, and a major internal U.S. and UN effort is being developed to avert starvation in East Pakistan at the end of this year. Some 360,000 tons of U.S. grain remains to be shipped under existing authorizations. The total import need will be about 175,000 tons a month.

The time frame for further decisions is set by the fact that Pakistan's six-month moratorium on repaying debts to aid donors runs out in October. Pakistan's foreign exchange position now appears likely to hold until then. But at that point Pakistan will, through the aid consortium, seek relief either via formal acquiescence in the moratorium or via an IMF drawing which would require supporting aid from donor governments. Such aid would require some development framework, and the Pakistanis are aiming to present an interim development framework concentrating on rehabilitation in East Pakistan. That may well not satisfy either the World Bank/IMF or the other aid donors. The US may well be alone in proposing support unless the situation in East Pakistan shows improvement.

Military Supply

Because military supply procedures are intricate, it helps in understanding where the present situation stands to understand the three avenues through which Pakistan has procured military equipment here:

1. Under our Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program, Pakistan has been able to buy some equipment directly from US military depots. In these cases, Defense maintains control over the equipment until it is turned over to a Pakistani shipping agent at the depot gate.

2. Also under the FMS program, where equipment is not immediately available in US stocks, Defense has put a private US supplier under contract to furnish equipment directly to Pakistani shipping agents. In these cases, Defense control over the equipment is limited once the supplier accepts the contract.

3. Apart from the FMS program, the Pakistani procurement mission here can make its own contracts directly with the supplier. Defense is not involved at all.
In addition, it is important to understand the two controls that have been used to limit shipments since the outbreak of fighting in East Pakistan:

1. All Munitions List equipment-regardless of the channel through which it is procured-requires an export license issued by the State Department.

2. In addition, equipment in the first category above-equipment supplied under the FMS program from US depots-is subject to administrative controls within the Defense Department.
When fighting broke out in East Pakistan on March 25, the first tentative decision was to establish an administrative hold on equipment still within US Government jurisdiction but not to touch equipment which had already been turned over to a Pakistani shipping agent or was being handled directly between a US supplier and the Pakistani government.

This meant: (a) no new export licenses would be issued, but valid ones (good for one year) would be honored until they expired; (b) equipment in US depots would be administratively held. This left the following equipment moving: any equipment for which a license had been issued and which was under Pakistani jurisdiction, either because a US depot had turned it over to a shipping agent before early April or because the Pakistanis were procuring it directly from a supplier.

The rationale behind this distinction was that administrative actions over equipment within US Government jurisdiction could be explained for a time as bureaucratic delays, but establishing control over equipment within Pakistani jurisdiction would have had conveyed all the political signals of a full embargo. Those were signals we wanted to avoid.

It has been difficult to know exactly what the effect of these partial controls would be on the actual flow of equipment because the accounting is so diversified-through the Defense system and out into the commercial market.

What is clear now is that our policy has become more restrictive simply with the passage of time because licenses which were good for one year continue to expire. When Secretary Rogers wrote you on our military supply options in June,/2/ it was estimated that equipment up to a value of $34 million might legally be shipped under valid licenses but-because some of that was under administrative hold-the value of actual shipments possible would have been less. By mid-July, further refinement of the list which took into account the expiration of licenses set the outside figure at $15 million under valid license, although again the amount free of administrative controls would have been less. The passage of another month is expected to reduce the amount that Pakistan could, by mid-August, still pick up anew from US suppliers to just under $5 million (in addition to $9.5 million in sonar equipment licensed commercially for vessels being built in the UK).

/2/ See Document 78.

On the other side of the ledger, we do not know how much equipment Pakistani shippers may already have picked up before licenses expired and have in transit. Some shipments could continue to show up from time to time, but the amount is not thought to be large.

The results of this policy are twofold:

1. The Pakistanis have played along with the administrative game and have not made an issue of our restrictions. It was clear when I was in Islamabad that they were grateful that the US had not taken the formal step of imposing an embargo. The loss of military supplies bothers the military, but to Yahya it seems at least as important that the US has not joined others in condemning him.

2. The Indians and the Congress have objected sharply to our not imposing a total embargo. The fact that very little equipment is actually moving now under present policy does not satisfy them. There are widely supported moves in the House and Senate to cut off both military and economic (except relief) assistance to Pakistan until you determine that most of the refugees are able to return home. If we hold out against embargo, we could suffer restriction on the more important economic aid for a small amount of equipment (plus the principle of avoiding embargo)./3/

/3/ Nixon and Kissinger discussed this memorandum in a telephone conversation at 5:25 p.m. on August 3. Kissinger said that they, by which he meant Indians and critics of Pakistan in the Congress, were asking for an embargo on arms and economic assistance to Pakistan. "The extreme people want to cut off everything" he said, and concluded "on relief we have a fighting chance but arms itself is hopeless." In considering how to work around pressure for an embargo on arms shipments to Pakistan, Nixon asked about future export licenses. Kissinger's advice was: "Fudge it;" indicate that no licenses were being authorized "at this time." Nixon concluded: "We will evaluate as it goes along. We will have to take the heat on this." (Transcript of a telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 369, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File) There is also a tape recording of the conversation among the White House tapes but it is difficult to understand. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between Nixon and Kissinger, August 3, 5:25-5:31 p.m., Executive Office Building, Conversation No. 270-14)

As a product of two SRG discussions I would expect to have for you very soon a game plan covering our policy on these two issues as well as on the other elements of the South Asian problem./4/

/4/ Nixon highlighted this paragraph and wrote "OK" in the margin.

114. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, August 6, 1971, 1807Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Quainton (NEA/INC) on August 3; cleared by Peter Constable (NEA/PAF), Van Hollen, Johnson (U), and Haig; and approved by Rogers. Repeated to Islamabad. According to an August 4 memorandum from Saunders to Kissinger, Kissinger also cleared the telegram. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 1/1/71-9/30/71)

143415. Strictly Eyes Only for Ambassador Keating and Chargé Sober from the Secretary.

Pakistani governments are beginning to feel war may be inevitable and are tending to act on that assumption. Pak and Indian air forces are on alert. Government of West Bengal has been informed that after August 15 it may not rely on presence of Indian army troops for internal security purposes. Bangla Desh guerrillas appear to hope to mount major offensive in September. Cross-border shelling by both Indians and Pakistanis has increased as has tempo of guerrilla activity which is shifting from sabotage to direct attacks on West Pakistani forces. In addition Indian rejection of UN presence on its side of border and efforts to exclude foreign relief workers from refugee areas suggest greater Indian sensitivity about activities in these areas.

2. With these indications of rising danger in view you should seek early opportunity to meet with Foreign Minister or Foreign Secretary to express our continued concern at dangers of situation and our hope GOI will continue to act with utmost restraint. Specifically you should ask GOI to take no action which would exacerbate situation and to use its influence with Bengali guerrilla forces to prevent creation of situation in which guerrilla activities could lead to hostilities. We would hope GOI would refrain from public statements which would raise level of tension and would make no military deployment which might seem to be provocative.

3. You may also tell Foreign Minister that we are making equally strong appeal in Islamabad and are well aware that restraint is not merely question for one side alone. We recognize that in cases of border incidents both sides must act with restraint and we are so informing GOP. You should stress in your presentation our view that war is in no one's interests in area.

115. Telegram From the Consulate General in Calcutta to the Department of State/1/

Calcutta, August 7, 1971, 1220Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Also sent to New Delhi.

2280. Subject: Meeting With AL Rep. Reference: Calcutta 2230./2/

/2/ Telegram 2230 from Calcutta, July 1, reported on a meeting between Awami League representative Qazi Zahirul Qaiyum and a political officer from the Consulate General. Qaiyum told the officer that Awami League leaders feared the consequences of a war between India and Pakistan and were concerned that extremist elements would take over the Bangladesh movement if guerrilla warfare in East Pakistan was protracted. Consequently, they were interested in a political settlement and were prepared to back away from their demand for total independence. Qaiyum proposed a meeting of representatives of the Awami League, Pakistan, the United States, and India to work out a settlement, but he stipulated that Mujibur Rahman's participation was an essential prerequisite. (Ibid.)

Summary: In discussion with ConGen PolOff, Awami League MNA reiterated points made reftel and reaffirmed that (despite propaganda to the contrary) AL leaders are unanimous in desire for compromise settlement with GOP. He said, in approaching ConGen, he acting under specific instructions of Bangladesh Minister who hopes to convince USG to initiate negotiations with GOP which will lead to a meeting of interested parties and peaceful settlement of current impasse. He said Bangladesh military forces building to strength of two "conventional" divisions (plus guerrillas) when this level is reached they plan to seize and hold territory in East Bengal. End summary.

1. On August 7 PolOff met again with Awami League MNA from Comilla, Qazi Zahirul Qaiyum, who reaffirmed that he had contacted ConGen under specific instructions of Bangladesh Foreign Minister Khandakar Moshtaqyr Ahmed. In reiterating points made reftel, Qaiyum gave special emphasis to two of them: US is only country capable of successfully arranging settlement, and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman must be a party to such settlement. He said that if Mujib is tried and executed, prospects for a compromise "will be zero." Other AL leaders including BD Cabinet members have "no authority, no control over the masses," and thus they would be unable to negotiate compromise. On other hand, any compromise negotiated by Mujib would be accepted by the people, even including a return to the status quo ante. He said refugees would go home under any settlement approved by Sheikh Mujib. Qaiyum thought USG was following correct policy in allowing limited arms shipments to Pakistan, as this would make it easier for USG to approach GOP on question of political settlement.

2. According Qaiyum, AL leaders think there is a good chance of war breaking out, perhaps in the next 15-20 days, which would be an enormous disaster for everyone on subcontinent. Qaiyum said there rumors that India may soon recognize the Bangladesh Government; he thought this would sharpen Indo-Pak confrontation, reduce prospects for political settlement and make war more likely. If war comes, USSR rather than USA is likely to take lead in negotiating peace settlement, and this will be to disadvantage of AL.

3. Qaiyum said there was little time left and urged USG to take action soonest. He thought USG best able judge exactly how to initiate negotiations, but recommended that first we convey to GOP the AL's desire for compromise. He thought this might be done in Washington through Pak Ambassador and/or by US Embassy in Islamabad. He specifically authorized disclosure to GOP of any details of his conversation with us. He said he personally would be willing to go to West Pakistan for talks with the GOP, and Foreign Minister Ahmed also would undertake such a trip, provided the ground has been prepared and they had assurances of safe conduct. Ahmed also wants confer with USG officials, but does not know how best to arrange such talks.

4. Qaiyum said that Mukti Bahini/3/ was becoming an increasingly powerful military force. He said they have developed two-prong strategy. They plan to build MB "conventional" force to two divisions. (They now have one division consisting of 10 battalions of 1200 men each.) When second division is trained and equipped, they will use their "conventional" forces to seize and hold portion of East Bengal. In meantime, MB guerrilla fighters will continue guerrilla warfare tactics throughout entire province. Qaiyum said GOI has 500 East Pakistanis [garble-in?] officer schools at Dehra Dun and in Rajasthan who will be assigned to "conventional" forces upon completion of their training. GOI is in process of providing "conventional" divisions with modern equipment including anti-aircraft guns. Guerrilla fighters are given shorter training at camps near border.

/3/ The Mukti Bahini, which translated as People's Brotherhood, was the guerrilla force operating against the Pakistani Army in East Pakistan.

5. In long run, AL is confident that it can achieve military victory. East Bengal, however, is being devastated (situation would be many times worse if there were an Indo-Pak war), which makes it increasingly important that all efforts be made to achieve political settlement. Under any circumstances an enormous reconstruction job will be required. Qaiyum thought that US was only country capable of providing necessary assistance.

6. Comment. We still have no reason to doubt Qaiyum's bona fides./4/ To best Qaiyum's knowledge, his is only such AL contact with USG. From military standpoint, he seemed more confident this week of eventual MB victory; but nevertheless he equally firmly convinced of necessity to strive for political settlement.

/4/ The Consulate General in Dacca did an assessment of Qaiyum's role in the Awami League and concluded that he was not prominent in the leadership but was probably a confidant of Khondkar Mushtaq Ahmad, the "Foreign Minister" of the Bangladesh independence movement, and a bona fide representative of Mushtaq. (Telegram 3057 from Dacca, August 8; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK) On August 9 the Embassy in Pakistan weighed Qaiyum's approach and concluded that even if the initiative was legitimate and represented the views of the Bangladesh leadership, it was unlikely that it would be acceptable to Yahya Khan's government. The Embassy saw a risk to relations between the United States and Pakistan in becoming involved as a conduit for proposals such as that put forward by Qaiyum. In the interest of longer-term relations with the Bangladesh leadership, however, the Embassy judged that the risk was manageable and worth taking. (Telegram 8052 from Islamabad; ibid.)


116. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Irwin to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 9, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 21 INDIA-USSR. Confidential. Drafted by Quainton; cleared by Schneider, Van Hollen, Igor N. Belousovitch (INR/RSE); and in draft by Laingen, Douglas M. Cochran, Chief of the South Asia Division (INR/RNA), and Wayne S. Smith (EUR/SOV).

Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation

In New Delhi on August 9, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and Indian Foreign Minister Swaran Singh signed a twenty-year Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation./2/ The Treaty is a dramatic demonstration of the closeness of current Indo-Soviet relations. It is an important Soviet initiative to gain greater influence over the course of events in South Asia.

/2/ The text of the treaty was transmitted to the Department on August 9 in telegram 12695 from New Delhi. (Ibid.) For text, see Vneshnyaya politica Sovetskogo Soyuza, 1971 (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 1972), pp. 93-96. The Embassy in Moscow analyzed the treaty and concluded that it represented a move by the Soviet Union to consolidate its position in India by accepting increased involvement in an explosive situation on the subcontinent. (Telegram 5788 from Moscow, August 10; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 21 INDIA-USSR) Kissinger uses similar imagery in assessing the impact of the treaty in his memoirs. In his view the treaty removed an important restraint on India in its confrontation with Pakistan by ensuring continuing Soviet military supplies and by factoring in the Soviet Union to offset a possible intervention in the conflict by China. "With the treaty, Moscow threw a lighted match into a powder keg." (White House Years, p. 867)

The essence of the Treaty is its provision that in the event of attack or the threat of attack there will be immediate mutual consultations. Each side also undertakes to refrain from giving assistance to any third party taking part in armed conflict with the other party. These clauses not only assure Soviet neutrality in the event of hostilities in South Asia but also the prospect of Soviet assistance and support in the event of war.

The Indian decision to depart from its formal posture of non-alliance, the disclaimer of Soviet respect for India's policy of non-alignment as stated in the Treaty notwithstanding, reflects India's perceptions of changing international power realities, notably the détente in Sino-American relations. In addition, recent U.S. policies toward Pakistan have reinforced the Indian view that it could not count on U.S. support for Indian interests in the area or on U.S. assistance in the event of hostilities.

From the Soviet point of view the rising level of tension in South Asia and the prospect that India might extend formal diplomatic recognition to the Government of Bangla Desh, thereby precipitating hostilities, seem to have prompted the Soviet offer of a Treaty at this time. The gains from the Treaty for the Soviets are formal Indian assurances that it will not enter any hostile alliance system, permit the establishment of foreign bases in India or allow the use of India for purposes militarily harmful to the USSR.

It remains to be seen whether the impact of the Treaty will be a moderating one, although that was probably the Soviet intent. This assurance of Soviet support has probably also diminished pressures on the Indian Government and restored a degree of self-confidence and restraint. On the other hand, the Treaty in itself provides no basis for the resolution of the fundamental issues at stake in the East Pakistan situation and may therefore offer only a temporary breathing space. Indeed it is possible that by implicitly giving India a deterrent against Pakistani and/or Chinese attack, it may encourage the Indians to step up their covert activities in East Pakistan with less fear that these activities will escalate into war.

While the Treaty represents no substantial change in Indo-Soviet relations, it reinforces the increasing closeness of view between the Indians and the Soviets which has developed in recent years. It reflects a Soviet recognition of the preeminence of its interests in India and India's recognition of the geo-political necessity of close relations with Moscow. The Treaty does not, however, imply any change in India's desire for close relations with the United States. The Indian Foreign Secretary called in our Acting DCM shortly after the signing of the Treaty to reassure him that it was not directly against the United States. In addition on August 7, two days before the signing of the Treaty, Prime Minister Gandhi's office informed us that she would be pleased to accept an invitation for an official visit to Washington this November, thereby clearly demonstrating her interest in maintaining a significant relationship with us.

John N. Irwin II

117. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, August 9, 1971, 1:15-2:30 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971. Secret. The meeting took place in Kissinger's office at the White House. The time of the meeting is from Kissinger's appointment book. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-1976, Record of Schedule)

Ambassador Lakshmi Kant Jha of India
Mr. Henry A. Kissinger

The lunch took place at the Ambassador's request.

Mr. Kissinger opened the conversation by saying that the Ambassador had picked a rather difficult occasion-the signing of the Soviet-Indian friendship treaty [treaty text at Tab A]./2/ In itself, the treaty was a matter of secondary concern to us, though it was hard to reconcile with the non-alignment policy of India. What did concern us, however, was the possibility that India might draw the conclusion from it of an unlimited freedom of action vis-à-vis Pakistan. Mr. Kissinger said he could not be more categorical in pointing out that a war between India and Pakistan would set back Indian-American relations for half a decade. No matter what the Ambassador was told around town, Mr. Kissinger wanted him to understand that an attack on East Pakistan would involve the high probability of a cut-off of aid. Also, if India wound up as a result of this treaty as a diplomatic appendage to the Soviet Union, there would be a much lessened interest in India. As he had pointed out to all the people he spoke with in India, the American interest was a strong, self-reliant independent India.

/2/ All brackets in the source text. The attached text of the treaty was released in Moscow on August 9 by TASS and circulated in Washington by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service.

The Ambassador said that, of course, India was not going to be anybody's diplomatic satellite. Mr. Kissinger called his attention to Article 9 of the treaty/3/ which, if read literally, meant that India would have to support the Soviet Union diplomatically in a new crisis over Berlin. The Ambassador said that, obviously, this was not the intention of the treaty. India was looking for a counter-weight to Pakistan's repeated claims to the effect that in a new war China would be on its side. Mr. Kissinger said that anything that exacerbated conditions in the subcontinent was against our policy. He hoped the Ambassador understood that we were deadly serious about it.

/3/ Article 9 stipulated that each country would refrain from giving assistance to a third country engaged in conflict with the other country. It further stipulated that if either country was attacked or threatened with attack, the two countries would consult "with a view to eliminate this threat."

Mr. Kissinger also said that it seemed a pity for the United States and India, which have no conflicting interests, to quarrel over a problem whose solution was preordained by history. The Ambassador asked Mr. Kissinger what he meant. Mr. Kissinger said that it seemed to him that over a historical period, East Bengal would be gaining autonomy even without Indian intervention. We, in turn, had no interest in the subcontinent except to see a strong and developing India and an independent Pakistan. Indeed, there was a difference in our approach to India and in our approach to Pakistan. India was a potential world power; Pakistan would always be a regional power. For all these reasons, the problem would sort itself out if we separated the issue of relief from that of refugees and the issue of refugees from that of political accommodation. The Ambassador said that he had no difficulty separating relief from refugees, but he saw no way of separating refugees from political accommodation.

The Ambassador then handed Mr. Kissinger a letter by Prime Minister Gandhi to the President. The letter [Tab B]/4/ was couched in very conciliatory terms. He said it would provide an excellent opportunity for the President to state his basic policy towards India and to start a useful dialogue. He also told Mr. Kissinger that Prime Minister Gandhi had accepted the invitation to come to Washington and, indeed, on the dates we had proposed. This would give us an opportunity to ease some of the tensions.

/4/ Attached is an August 7 letter that Kissinger sent to Nixon under a covering memorandum on August 19; see the attachment to Document 128.

Mr. Kissinger told the Ambassador that we welcomed Prime Minister Gandhi but that it was essential that the India/Pakistan problem not be solved by war. We would be generous in refugee relief, but India should not believe that it could use this crisis to overthrow the settlement of 1946.
The meeting ended with an exchange of pleasantries.

118. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 10, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 PAK. Confidential.

Discussion with U Thant on the UN Relief Effort in East Pakistan

In two meetings August 10 with the Secretary-General and members of his staff and of the specialized agencies involved, I stressed our desire to see the UN rise to the great humanitarian challenge posed by the risk of famine and disease among the victims of the strife in East Pakistan and assured him of our strong support for the UN effort.

U Thant seemed fully aware of the magnitude and urgency of the problem and was very cooperative. He expressed concern over the threats being made by the guerrilla leadership against the safety of UN personnel in the area and preoccupied by the need for a political accommodation with the Awami League in East Pakistan as the only real solution. He said he is prepared under Article 99 of the UN Charter/2/ to bring the situation between India and Pakistan to the attention of the Security Council if he decides that it involves a serious threat to peace. He will announce this week, probably Wednesday,/3/ that he has decided to station 38 UN officials in the Dacca area by early September to coordinate and expedite the movement of relief supplies and to work out arrangements to assure that the supplies reach those in need. Once such arrangements are made he plans to send some 150 additional personnel to other parts of East Pakistan, including the reception centers established to handle returning refugees. Their staffing plan seems sensible.

/2/ Article 99 of the UN Charter reads: "The Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security." (American Foreign Policy, 1950-1955: Basic Documents, Vol. I, p. 158)

/3/ August 11.

He was grateful for our one million dollar contribution and the promise of additional financial aid for this effort, to which the UK is also contributing some $500,000. At the same time he displayed considerable concern lest the US appear to be dominating the UN effort, and particularly at any effort to politicize the UN relief effort.

The discussions with U Thant's staff and representatives of the specialized agencies revealed substantial agreement with our assessment of the relief needs and what needs to be done to meet them. On the whole, I was favorably impressed by their competence and realistic attitude.

At U Thant's request, Mr. Sisco and I gave him a brief and general appraisal of Mr. Sisco's talks with Israeli officials, stressing that serious problems remain but that we are cautiously optimistic that an interim agreement is yet possible by the end of the year and that both sides continue to welcome our efforts to that end. U Thant said he would relay this information to Ambassador Jarring.

Incidentally, from the firmness with which U Thant spoke about his intention if necessary to raise the Indo-Pakistan matter in the Security Council and his stress on his good health, we came away with the impression that he is more than willing to remain as Secretary-General.

William P. Rogers

119. Letter From the Indian Ambassador (Jha) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 11, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 29 PAK. No classification marking. Sent to Kissinger on August 11 under cover of a memorandum from Eliot. (Ibid.)


I am desired by my Prime Minister to convey to Your Excellency the following personal message from her:

"The Government and people of India as well as our Press and Parliament are greatly perturbed by the reported statement of President Yahya Khan that he is going to start a secret military trial of Mujibur Rahman without affording him any foreign legal assistance. We apprehend that this so-called trial will be used only as a publicity to execute Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This will aggravate the situation in East Bengal and will create a serious situation in India because of the strong feelings of our people and all political parties. Hence our grave anxiety. We appeal to you to exercise your influence with President Yahya Khan to take a realistic view in the larger interest of the peace and stability of this region". Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of my highest esteem./2/

/2/ On July 22 Syed Nazrul Islam, using the title of Acting President of Bangladesh, sent a telegram to President Nixon asking him to intervene on behalf of Mujibur Rahman. (Telegram 140332 to Islamabad, July 30; ibid.)

L.K. Jha

120. Minutes of Senior Review Group Meeting/1/

Washington, August 11, 1971, 3:10-4:20 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-112, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. The minutes indicate that the meeting began at 3:10 p.m. and concluded at 3:55. According to Kissinger's appointment book, the meeting began at 3:10 and was interrupted at 3:15 by a meeting of the principal members of the Senior Review Group with President Nixon. That meeting concluded at 3:47 at which point the meeting of the Senior Review Group resumed and concluded at 4:20 p.m. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-1976, Record of Schedule)


Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin
Joseph Sisco
Christopher Van Hollen
Lindsay Grant

Armistead Selden
Brig. Gen. Devol Brett

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Col. James Connell
Lt. Col. Walter B. Ratliffe

Lt. Gen. Robt. E. Cushman
John Waller
[name not declassified]

Maurice Williams
Herbert Rees

Kenneth Dam

NSC Staff
Col. Richard T. Kennedy
Samuel M. Hoskinson
Harold H. Saunders
Jeanne W. Davis


It was agreed that

-The State/AID package of telegrams/2/ would be reworked by State, AID and Hal Saunders, in the light of the President's remarks, to separate some of the political issues from relief matters;

/2/ Reference is to two draft telegrams conveyed to Kissinger under a covering memorandum on August 7 by Eliot. One was a draft telegram from AID to Islamabad and New Delhi providing a status report on humanitarian relief in East Pakistan that emphasized the importance of preventing a famine. The other was a draft telegram of instructions to Ambassadors Keating and Farland entitled "Scenario for Action in the Indo-Pakistan Crisis," that outlined initiatives to be undertaken with Prime Minister Gandhi and President Yahya. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-058, SRG Meeting, Pakistan/Cyprus, 8/11/71)

-Mr. Williams would leave for Pakistan next week to make the presentation to Yahya on relief matters and discuss with M.M. Ahmad the case to be made to the World Bank consortium in October.

Mr. Kissinger: The President would like to see the principals for a few minutes on Pakistan.
(The following adjourned to the President's office and returned at 3:47: Irwin, Sisco, Selden, Cushman, Moorer, Williams, Kissinger, Saunders; see separate minutes.)/3/

/3/ Document 121.

Mr. Kissinger: I think we covered the main points with the President on what is needed. We have the AID package on relief and refugees. I suggest we separate out some of the political issues from the relief matters. Saunders and Van Hollen can work together on this.

Mr. Irwin: I agree we've covered everything. We will take another look at the package in the light of the President's remarks.

Mr. Kissinger: Is $100 million the right figure for refugee relief. We're prepared to entertain a larger figure if that would be desirable.

Mr. Sisco: We should discuss the timing of this. Some people believe we can do too much too quickly with the Indians.

Mr. Kissinger: I'm talking about Pakistan. We're not so eager to do things for India. We want to make a demonstrable case to prevent famine in East Pakistan.

Mr. Irwin: They don't need money as much as they do the means for distribution.

Mr. Selden: The real problem is distribution.

Mr. Williams: And administration.

Mr. Kissinger: Hal Saunders can get together with you on some changes in the State/AID message rather than redraft it here. Can we get the whole package out this week?

Mr. Sisco: I think so.

Mr. Kissinger: Then Maury Williams can go out there to make the presentation to Yahya. I think that is as much as can be done now.

Mr. Irwin: The quicker he can get there, the better.

Mr. Williams: We want to let the UN get out in front, though. Phase One should be an announcement by the UN that they are taking on the responsibility. My trip can then be made in support of the UN effort.

Mr. Kissinger: When will the UN announcement be made?

Mr. Sisco: It's supposed to be this week.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Williams) Then you could go out at least by the end of next week. I wouldn't want you to wait three weeks or so.

Mr. Irwin: He wouldn't wait beyond next week.

Mr. Williams: Just as long as the publicity is directed to the UN. It's a psychological thing. I don't need to wait until they recruit the people to do the job.

Mr. Kissinger: Someone should talk fairly straight to the Indians, too, and tell them the party is over. We will do what we can to help on refugee relief, but if they are planning to use this to split up Pakistan, we won't go along.

Mr. Sisco: The Secretary (Rogers) made this point clearly to Jha, but it will take constant reiteration. They will have less of an excuse now that their treaty with Moscow gives them some assurances.

Mr. Irwin: I have spoken twice to Jha and the Secretary saw him this morning.

Mr. Kissinger: The President has made it plain that there will be an absolute crisis in our relations if two divisions of Pakistan guerrillas cross the border.

Mr. Sisco: I'm convinced there will be no formal Indian attack, but they will probably continue to support the guerrillas in their border crossings. We should watch this very carefully in the light of the new treaty with Moscow.

(Messrs Williams, Van Hollen and Rees left the meeting.)

Mr. Kissinger: There was one other item I wished to take up. Should we not be doing something to prepare for October when the pressure to respond to Pakistan's financial assistance needs would become more acute? At present, there is little support in the World Bank consortium for additional assistance. Yet there might be something the US could be doing to help the Pakistanis present a better case to the consortium. I consider it intolerable that the World Bank should be setting political conditions for the resumption of assistance, but it would be difficult to argue that case if the Pakistanis made no case of their own on economic grounds. Could not Maury Williams, when he goes to Pakistan, also discuss with M.M. Ahmad the elements of a possible case to be presented to the consortium in October?

Messrs. Irwin and Sisco agreed heartily that this should be done.

(Mr. Saunders immediately after the meeting called Mr. Williams and informed him of the discussion. Mr. Williams said that he would be quite prepared to take up that subject and had been developing some ideas for an approach.)

121. Memorandum for the Record/1/

Washington, August 11, 1971, 3:15-3:47 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-058, SRG Meeting, Pakistan/Cyprus, 8/11/71. Secret; Nodis. Prepared by Saunders. The meeting was held in the President's office in the Old Executive Office Building. out of the political side of the problem. We are deeply concerned about the suffering in East Pakistan and about the refugees in India. We must increase our effort on that front. We have already done a lot, but we must think of the "most massive" program possible in terms of our budget. And we must encourage other international support.

The President
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
John Irwin, Under Secretary of State
Thomas Moorer, Chairman, JCS
Robert Cushman, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence
Maurice Williams, Deputy Administrator, AID
Joseph Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State
Armistead Selden, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, ISA
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff

At the opening of a scheduled Senior Review Group meeting on Pakistan, Dr. Kissinger said that the President would like to see the principal members of the SRG in his office to talk about Pakistan.

When the group had moved from the Situation Room to the President's office, the President began by saying that he had had a chance in San Clemente to discuss the South Asian situation with Admiral Moorer, Mr. Helms and, of course, he had been in continuing touch with Secretary Rogers. But he had not had a chance to talk with other members of this group.

The President said that he felt it was important that he state his views on just how the emphasis must be played in the South Asian situation. It is "imperative" to play it this way, he said. He then spoke along the following lines:

First, we must look at this situation above all in terms of US interests. The interests of the US would be "very much jeopardized" by any development that could break into open conflict. "We will have to do anything-anything-to avoid war." We will do "anything-all we can-to restrain" those who want to be involved in a war.

On the public relations side, the media no longer have a great deal to write about on Vietnam. The big story is Pakistan. The political people-Democrat and Republican-are "raising hell" about this issue. "And they should from the standpoint of human suffering."

While there are great differences between the situation in South Asia and that in 1969 in Nigeria, the US in connection with Biafra stayed

Dr. Kissinger interjected that there are two aspects to the humanitarian problem. First, there is the problem of potential famine in East Pakistan. Maury Williams is working on our programs to avert that. Second, there is the problem of the refugees that already exist in the Indian refugee camps.

The President continued:

Whether we help in a bilateral or an international framework, we must do the most that can possibly be done. Indian Ambassador Jha had been in "a month or so ago." The Ambassador was "bullyragging me" about the great statements the French and British had made with regard to the Pakistani situation. He had told the Ambassador not to talk about what they had said but to look at what they had done. The US has contributed more to refugee relief than all the rest of them combined in terms of simply aiding the refugees in India.

We have to press other European countries to contribute. We are "not going to get very much" but we should "make a little issue of it." Embarrassing them a little bit will make it easier for us to dramatize how much we have actually done.

He doubted that this problem would generate a great deal of enthusiasm in the US. It would not generate as much response as the catastrophe in Chile had. Still we must "go all out-all out-on the relief side."

Turning to the political part of the problem, he could not emphasize his position too strongly. India's interest, some Indians think, would be served by war. Some Pakistanis would be willing to have a war. "The USSR-I don't know what they want." The interests of the US would not be served by a war. The new China relationship would be imperiled, probably beyond repair, and we would have a "very sticky problem" with the USSR.

"Now let me be very blunt." He had been going to India since 1953. Every Ambassador who goes to India falls in love with India. Some have the same experience in Pakistan-though not as many because the Pakistanis are a different breed. The Pakistanis are straightforward-and sometimes extremely stupid. The Indians are more devious, sometimes so smart that we fall for their line.
He "holds no brief" for what President Yahya has done. The US "must not-cannot-allow" India to use the refugees as a pretext for breaking up Pakistan. The President said with a great deal of emphasis that he is "convinced" that that is what India wants to do. That is what he might want to do if he were in New Delhi.

Now, as far as the US is concerned, the US has to use its influence in the other direction. The USSR has "this little deal" with India. [Reference to USSR-India Friendship Treaty signed August 9.]/2/ Some think that the Russians want to punish the Pakistanis for their relationship with China. In his view, the Russians are looking at this situation as they looked at the Middle East before the June war in 1967. The danger is that they may unleash forces there which no one can control.

/2/ All brackets in the source text. See Document 116.

The problem is that if the Indians "romp around in East Pakistan" or send guerrillas, the Pakistanis may well go to war even though they feel that would be suicidal.
Returning to his basic point, he said to Mr. Sisco and Mr. Irwin that we "have to cool off the pro-Indians in the State Department and out in South Asia."/3/ We want to help India but we will not be parties to their objective [of breaking up Pakistan]. "If there is a war, I will go on national television and ask Congress to cut off all aid to India. They won't get a dime."

/3/ On August 10 Ambassador Keating sent a telegram from New Delhi pointing out that relations between the United States and India had sunk to a "poisonous" level. He argued that the United States should begin to take the steps necessary to reverse the general Indian perception of a U.S. preference for "politically authoritarian, inherently fragile, third-rate Pakistan over democratic, relatively stable, regionally dominant India." (Telegram 12722 from New Delhi; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK)

We have to keep some leverage in Pakistan. Our concerns must be communicated to the Pakistanis through Ambassador Farland. If we go along with the Congress and cut off all assistance to Pakistan, then we will lose what influence we have on the humanitarian problem. Perhaps the worst we fear will happen anyway, but certainly the US-while the Soviet Union is fishing in troubled waters-must use its influence to keep the war from happening.

In summary, publicly our position is that (1) we will go all out to help the refugees and to help people in East Pakistan; (2) there must not be a war because war would help no one; (3) we will not publicly exacerbate the political situation. We will deal with the political problem in private. It is not our job to determine the political future of Pakistan. The Pakistanis have to work out their own future. We will not measure our relationship with the government in terms of what it has done in East Pakistan. By that criterion, we would cut off relations with every Communist government in the world because of the slaughter that has taken place in the Communist countries.

The President concluded by asking whether there were any questions.

Mr. Sisco said that we had followed the three-pronged approach that the President had outlined. He would like to make an observation on one point. He hoped that the President did not intend to preclude having Farland go to President Yahya when we have concrete suggestions to communicate on steps that might help with the overall political settlement. Given our overall objective-admitting that the real Indian political objective is probably to establish an independent Bangla Desh by peace or by force-he hoped that within the framework of friendship with Yahya where we have concrete suggestions and could help Yahya move a little bit toward political accommodation, Farland could mention the suggestion.

Mr. Sisco expected serious repercussions from the Soviet-Indian Treaty. The Indians may feel constrained from conventional military moves across the border, but they may feel encouraged to support guerrilla crossings. "Relief alone won't do the job." President Yahya may not be able to go far enough. But if there is not some progress on the question of political accommodation, the guerrilla warfare would continue, Pakistani military reprisals would continue and the refugees would be unlikely to return to their homes. More important, Yahya may feel he has to attack guerrilla camps in India.

Mr. Sisco continued, noting that the Indians have behaved very badly. They have prevented the UN from working with the refugees on their side. He agreed that their real policy is one establishing an independent Bangla Desh. We don't care how that turns out. Our interest is that, if it happens, it happens by peaceful means.

Mr. Sisco concluded by asking whether it will be all right if in a friendly posture-noting that we have no blueprint for a political solution-to make suggestions when we have them. One of these might be not to execute Mujibur Rahman [Awami League leader now on trial in West Pakistan for treason].
The President replied that in view of the fact that we have not cut off aid and have a good personal relationship with Yahya, it is possible that unless he is "totally trapped" he might be responsive. Yahya considers Ambassador Farland his friend. Any suggestions that we might have-such as "not shooting Mujib"-Farland might point out to him. The President said he had felt from talking to Ambassador Farland that it was his intention to try to persuade President Yahya to be "more flexible or more sophisticated" on the question of political settlement.

Dr. Kissinger interjected that we should not ask the President in this meeting to arbitrate the nuances of what we might ask President Yahya to do. The basic problem is not some specific proposition. It is whether India links the return of the refugees to a political accommodation. If we go along and play that Indian game, then we are participating in the break-up of Pakistan. If the Indians genuinely need an excuse for calling off the guerrillas and some conciliatory move by Yahya would evoke that Indian response, then we might be justified in making that point to Yahya. But asking him to deal with the Awami Leaguers in Calcutta is "like asking Abraham Lincoln to deal with Jefferson Davis."

The President said we can't ask Yahya to do that. We can't allow India to dictate the political future of East Pakistan. Parenthetically, the President noted that the West Pakistanis probably could not dictate the political future of East Pakistan either. The President said that Ambassador Farland could talk privately with Yahya if we have some concrete suggestions.
Dr. Kissinger said that he thought Yahya would listen if the point were "hooked to" a refugee resettlement proposal. It is the kind of thing Maury Williams/4/ could say if he goes to Pakistan. If Williams can hook proposals to the refugee problem then Yahya might listen to him. The proposal could be put in terms of maintaining the integrity of the people of Pakistan.

/4/ Secretary Rogers announced on August 13 that Maurice Williams had been designated to coordinate all United States relief assistance to East Pakistan. (Department of State Bulletin, September 6, 1971, p. 259)

The President assented, agreeing that Mr. Williams could give Yahya an opportunity to "do something political in the name of humanitarian relief."

Dr. Kissinger illustrated by recalling that Mr. Williams had earlier made the point that the army had never had a big civil function in Pakistan. Now that a substantial civil effort in food distribution is necessary, one could argue that the restoration of civil administration is essential to food distribution. The emphasis could be put on restoration of civil administration by talking in terms of food distribution, yet in the knowledge that the restoration of civil administration would also have political implications.

Mr. Williams agreed that that might be a good entering wedge.

The President, returning an earlier theme, said that the other side of the coin is that Mr. Irwin and
Mr. Sisco should "tell your people that it isn't going to help for them publicly to take a stand on the political issue. Our people have got to stay neutral on the question of political accommodation in public." Privately, we can tell President Yahya that he should not shoot Mujib.

Mr. Irwin summarized Mr. Sisco's presentation by making the point that the degree to which we can get Yahya to move toward a political accommodation will increase the ease of moving toward a successful relief program. He noted that we could move behind the scenes in doing this.

The President asked Dr. Kissinger whether he had found "any give in Yahya."

Dr. Kissinger replied that he felt that Yahya would listen if we could put our suggestions in the form of suggestions on a refugee program. The issue is whether we are going to use relief to squeeze Yahya to set political conditions or whether we are going to use relief to deprive the Indians of an excuse to attack.

The President said that we do not care "who runs the place out there."/5/ We can't answer that problem.

/5/ Reference is to East Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger noted that President Yahya is "not the brightest man in the world." But asking him to deal directly with the Awami League would be hard to do.

Mr. Irwin said that they had discussed with Secretary Rogers that morning the question of dealing with the Awami League. We have had reports in recent days of the possibility that some Awami League leaders in Calcutta want to negotiate with Yahya on the basis of giving up their claim for the independence of East Pakistan. The question being discussed is whether Ambassador Farland could talk to Yahya just suggesting that if the Awami League is serious about withdrawing its claim to independence Yahya might consider talking with them.

The President said that we have to remember that Ambassador Farland is the man on the spot. He suggested that Ambassador Farland not be ordered to say certain things to President Yahya. He suggested checking any ideas with the Ambassador to get his thoughts. We don't have to give him the final say because we might come up with some good ideas here but we ought to check with him.

Mr. Sisco said, changing the subject as the group rose to go, that he and Secretary Rogers had been reassured by what they had found at the United Nations Monday./6/ The UN's organization for the Pakistan relief effort is in better shape than anyone had thought.

/6/ August 9.

Mr. Williams said that we would go all out in East Pakistan. The international contributions now, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, for the refugees in India now total $170 million of which the US contributed $70 million. AID would be presenting to the President their recommendation for an additional package of assistance. The President said that he would be glad to receive it.


122. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, August 13, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action.

Instruction on Contacts with Bangla Desh Representatives in India-Cable for Clearance

As you know, Bangla Desh representatives in India have recently sought out and made contact with middle ranking U.S. officials in New Delhi and Calcutta concerning a settlement with the West Pakistanis. It is not at all clear, however, what they are really fishing for. The approach in Calcutta,/2/ allegedly reflecting the Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister's" wishes, was along the lines of a settlement on the basis of something less than full independence, while the approach by the "Foreign Secretary" in New Delhi was based on the opposite outcome of total independence./3/ Another contact is scheduled for tomorrow in Calcutta.

/2/ See Document 115.

/3/ On August 8 the Political Counselor of the Embassy in New Delhi met with M. Alam, "Foreign Secretary" of the Bangladesh movement. Alam requested a meeting with Ambassador Keating but accepted an informal meeting with the Political Counselor when informed that Keating's official position precluded him meeting with a Bangladesh representative. The thrust of Alam's remarks was that the goal of total independence for Bangladesh was firmly established, and he urged the United States to support that goal. (Telegram 12698 from New Delhi, August 9; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK)

In the attached cable/4/ for your clearance State wishes to send the following instructions to New Delhi and Calcutta:

/4/ Attached but not printed. Sent to New Delhi and Calcutta on August 14 as telegram 149322. (Ibid.)

-No commitments, contingent or otherwise, should be made for future meetings with Bangla Desh representatives, unless or until these have first been checked with the Department.

-The already scheduled meeting tomorrow should be limited largely to another low-key listening exercise. A probe on the question of Awami League willingness to negotiate for less than independence is, however, authorized./5/

/5/ An officer from the Consulate General in Calcutta met with Bangladesh representative Qaiyum on August 14. Qaiyum reaffirmed that he was acting under instructions from his Foreign Minister who was prepared to accept a negotiated settlement that provided for less than complete independence. Qaiyum emphasized that only Mujibur Rahman could negotiate on behalf of the people of East Bengal, and only he could get them to accept a political settlement. (Telegram 2321 from Calcutta, August 14; ibid.)

-We must not get into a position where our contact with Bangla Desh representatives will be misunderstood or misread by them or Islamabad./6/

/6/ The Embassy in Islamabad warned on August 12 that the Government of Pakistan was very sensitive about contacts between U.S. officials and Bangladesh representatives. The Embassy counseled that such contacts be kept as low level and unofficial as possible. (Telegram 8235 from Islamabad; ibid.)

This approach to the problem seems to make sense for today. There is some value in at least keeping our option open of informally talking with the Bangla Desh types, but we need control and we will need to square ourselves with Yahya before this goes further.

As the cable indicates, State's next move will be to consider informing Yahya of the contacts to date and passing along whatever seems worthwhile.
Recommendation: That you approve the attached cable. Just to make sure there are no slipups, you may wish to tell Sisco orally that you expect to clear any outgoing cables on this subject./7/

/7/ Haig initialed the approve option for Kissinger.

123. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, August 14, 1971, 2226Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL PAK-US. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Quainton and White (NEA/INC) on August 13; cleared by Sisco, Van Hollen, Saunders, and NSC staff secretary Jeanne Davis; and approved by Irwin. Repeated to New Delhi, Dacca, and London for Ambassador Farland.

149411. Following is text of letter, dated August 14, 1971, from President to President Yahya to be delivered at Farland-Williams Meeting with Yahya./2/ Septel/3/ contains full guidance on Williams visit and discussions.

/2/ A signed copy of the letter presented by Williams to Yahya on August 19 is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971).

/3/ Telegram 149242 to Islamabad, August 14. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 PAK)

"Dear Mr. President:

Dr. Kissinger has reported to me concerning his visit to Islamabad and the productive talks he had with you and other officials of your Government on the problems which are now facing South Asia. I greatly appreciate the candor with which you discussed the serious situation in that part of the world, particularly the danger of hostilities.

You are keenly aware that to the dangers which have previously existed must now be added the possibility of serious food shortages in East Pakistan later this fall. We have sought to do our part to help alleviate the dangers through our appeals for restraint and through our full and active support of the humanitarian relief efforts arranged by the Secretary General of the United Nations. We plan to make a maximum effort in this regard.

Nonetheless, the situation remains extremely tense and in order for the dangers to recede it will be necessary to stabilize conditions in East Pakistan and to see a significant number of refugees begin to return from India. We would like to be helpful, and it is for this reason that I have asked Mr. Williams to go to Pakistan. He is a friend of Pakistan, and he fully shares my views of the situation and of what is required.

Both your officials and ours recognize that the most immediate priority is to mount a major effort to avert famine in East Pakistan. This step is fundamental to progress in re-establishing normal conditions. It will help those of us who want to help and will reduce the pretext for interference. I am confident that you also share our judgment that it would also be helpful in this task for you to continue your efforts to build on the program announced in your June 28 address/4/ for enlisting the support of the elected representatives of the East Pakistani people in the urgent work of national reconciliation.

/4/ See Document 84.

All of these measures will be important in countering the corrosive threat of insurgency and restoring peace to your part of the world. They will also hasten the day when the United States and other countries can resume, within a revised national development plan, the task of assisting your country's economic development which has been so tragically complicated and slowed by recent events.

In addition, demonstrable progress on the political front will mean that our own counsels of restraint in New Delhi will have a greater chance of success.
I have asked Ambassador Farland and Mr. Williams to share with you some additional thoughts on these subjects, in the same spirit of friendship which you have so kindly shown for them in the past and which has also characterized our own discussions. Finally, let me extend my warm regards and assure you again that I appreciate fully the tremendous tasks that you and your countrymen face.

Richard Nixon"


124. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, August 17, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 492, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 7, Part 2. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. The conversation was held during lunch in the Map Room at the White House. Kissinger summarized the conversation in an August 24 memorandum to the President. (Ibid.)

Anatoliy Dobrynin, Soviet Ambassador
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to South Asia.]


We then turned the conversation to India. Dobrynin said he wanted us to be sure to understand that the Soviets were doing their best to restrain India. They wanted peace in the subcontinent. It was an ironic development where they were lined up with what looked like we had always thought was the pillar of democracy while we were lined up with the Chinese. I said as far as the subcontinent were concerned, we were not lined up with anybody. We above all wanted to prevent the outbreak of a war, and we hoped that they did not inadvertently give the Indians enough backing so that they felt it was safe to engage in war. Dobrynin said that their interest was stability, and in fact they had invited the Pakistani Foreign Secretary to come to Moscow in order to show that they were pursuing a balanced policy. I said that they should not encourage Indian pressures for an immediate political solution since that would only make the problem impossible. I stated it would be best if we worked on the refugee and relief problems first and on political accommodation later. Dobrynin said that he was certain that the Soviet Union basically agreed.

Dobrynin then asked me whether it was correct what the Indians had told them, namely that we would look at a Chinese attack on India as a matter of extreme gravity and might even give them some support. He said that the Indians had been puzzled by my comment but had then put it all together after my trip to Peking. I said that I never commented about meetings in other countries, but that we certainly were not aligned with any country against India. Dobrynin commented that he admired the general conduct of our foreign policy even when it was objectively directed against the Soviet Union, but he felt that our arms policy towards Pakistan escaped his understanding. We were paying a disproportionate amount for what we were shipping. I said that we never yielded to public pressure and that he knew very well that the arms we were shipping were minimal and inconsequential with respect to the strategic balance.

Dobrynin volunteered that the Soviet treaty with India was not in response to recent events but had been in preparation for a year.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to South Asia.]

125. Analytical Summary Prepared by the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, August 17, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71. Secret; Exdis. No drafting information appears on the summary, but an August 17 transmittal memorandum, attached but not printed, to Kissinger suggests it was drafted by Hoskinson and Kennedy.

Contingency Paper-Indo-Pakistan Hostilities

At the Senior Review Group meeting on July 30/2/ concerned with NSSM 133/3/ (Contingency Planning on South Asia), it was decided that those sections of the paper/4/ dealing with U.S. actions in case of war should be updated and expanded. The following summarizes and reviews the current state of our contingency planning for the possible outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan. Actually this current paper/5/ represents only slight progress beyond the earlier effort.

/2/ See Document 111.

/3/ Document 88.

/4/ See footnote 3, Document 111.

/5/ On August 17 NSC staff secretary Jeanne Davis circulated to the Under Secretary of State, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Chairman of the JCS an undated paper prepared in the State Department that revised sections V and VI of the contingency study referenced in footnote 4 above. The revisions, which are summarized in the analytical summary, are a refinement of the initial response to NSSM 133. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71)

I. The Prospects (pp. 1-3)

The danger of a new war in South Asia "remains real." If no progress is made toward (a) political accommodation between West and East Pakistan and (b) repatriation of Bengali refugees from India by September or October, the chances for hostilities "will increase."
U.S. actions in the event of another Indo-Pak war would in part be conditioned by the circumstances in which the hostilities broke out. The most likely scenarios are:

-Indian military forces attack East Pakistan in an effort to, at a minimum, seize and hold part of the area and at a maximum to drive out the West Pakistani forces.

-India steps up more direct support for a major insurgent effort to seize and hold a portion of East Pakistan.

-A gradual process of escalation involving incidents along the East Pakistan-India border with confusion as to who is most at fault.

-West Pakistanis initiate hostilities by attacking guerrilla sanctuaries in eastern India and/or Indian military support bases.

-West Pakistanis, either to divert Indian attention or to demonstrate Indian vulnerability, attempt to stir up trouble in India-held Kashmir and/or along the Kashmir cease-fire line. As in 1965, the situation rapidly escalates to full scale hostilities. (The State paper does not include this possibility but it seems real enough to be considered since from a Pak point of view Kashmir is India's most vulnerable point.)

II. U.S. Interests (p. 3)

Should war break out between India and Pakistan it would be in the U.S. interest that:

-the hostilities not expand to include third parties, particularly China (and the Soviets).

-to see that hostilities are not protracted since a prolonged war could do profound damage to the political, economic and social fabric of India and Pakistan.

Thus, the paper concludes, U.S. interests would be best served by an early end to the conflict and by negotiations among all parties leading to a withdrawal of Indian troops and an overall political settlement.

III. Options in the Event of Hostilities (pp. 3-13)

The U.S., according to the paper, could pursue one of the following three broad strategies in the event of hostilities between India and Pakistan:

A. "Passive International Role." (pp. 4-5) The U.S. would assume a "relatively passive" (or inactive) posture indicating our basic neutrality. Such a role might be particularly appropriate in circumstances where (a) responsibility for the outbreak of hostilities was unclear, (b) the likelihood of Chinese involvement was judged to be small and (c) the conflict appeared likely to be of short duration. Such a posture might involve:

-adopting a public position that we did not intend to become directly involved and would not provide assistance to either side;

-support of efforts in the Security Council to end hostilities and achieve a negotiated settlement;

-suspension of all economic and military aid;

-Presidential offer of good offices to both Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi;

-close consultation with Soviets and British;

-cautioning Chinese (and Soviets) against involvement (presumably only if they seemed to be heading in that direction).

The argument for is that U.S. involvement would be at a minimum and we would at the same time maintain maximum flexibility as events unfolded. Also, our relationship with both India and Pakistan would be preserved. (As long as the Chinese stayed out and refrained from adopting a menacing posture toward India, there would be a hope for maintaining our own relationship with them.)

The argument against is that we would risk serious damage to our interests if the conflict were protracted. Indian dependence on the Soviets and Pakistani dependence on the Chinese could be increased without any significant gain for the U.S.

B. "Military Support." (pp. 6-9) At the other extreme would be a decision to support with military assistance either India or Pakistan. We have limited commitments to both sides (through SEATO and CENTO with Pakistan, and through the 1964 Air Defense Agreement with India),/6/ although there are no provisions for automatic U.S. involvement and these are practically speaking dead letters.

/6/ The reference is in error; the agreement was signed in New Delhi on July 9, 1963, by Prime Minister Nehru and Ambassador Galbraith. The text of the agreement was transmitted to the Department on July 10 in telegram 143 from New Delhi; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XIX, Document 307.

1. To Pakistan. (pp. 6-8) In the event of a clear-cut Indian attack on Pakistan, the Paks might well turn to us as they did in 1965. Short of providing U.S. combat personnel, we could:

-develop an emergency military supply program;

-terminate all U.S. programs in India;

-take the lead in mobilizing international pressure on India to halt its intervention;

-support a Security Council resolution condemning India.

The argument for is we would be supporting Pakistan's national unity, diminishing Chinese influence and strengthening our position elsewhere in the Muslim world.
The argument against is that U.S. interests in and relations with India would be "seriously damaged" and the Soviets would gain ground there. Moreover, our actions would probably have little effect on the military outcome of the conflict and there would be no basis for a U.S. conciliatory role.

2. To India. (pp. 8-9) The judgment of the paper is that military support to India is a "less likely" strategy in the context of a limited Indo-Pak conflict. However, if China were to intervene massively on Pakistan's side and seemed to threaten India in a major way "we would want to consider providing military assistance to India." Short of providing combat personnel the U.S. might:

-offer to consult with India under the 1964 Air Defense

-develop an emergency military assistance program focused primarily on meeting the Chinese threat;

-[1 paragraph (1 line of source text) not declassified];

-coordinate with the British and the Soviets on additional assistance measures.

The argument for is that it would be consistent with our overall Asian policy of assisting states threatened by external aggression and would, perhaps at the expense of the Soviets, create a firm basis for a future close relationship with India.

The argument against is that very severe strains would be created in our relations with Pakistan and, more importantly, with China. There would also be the risk of creeping involvement leading to a more extensive commitment involving a direct U.S. confrontation with China.

C. Political Intervention. (pp. 10-13) Rather than assume a relatively passive political posture stressing our neutrality or intervening with military assistance to one side, we could intervene politically. The main purpose of an activist political role would be to first localize the hostilities and then work for a settlement which would remove the basic causes of the fighting.
Immediately upon the outbreak of war we could:

-call for a UN Security Council meeting and support a demand for an immediate cease-fire and negotiations between the parties;

-send immediate Presidential messages to Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi calling for an end to the fighting and a negotiated settlement;

-engage in immediate talks with the Soviets and British on ways to end the hostilities;

-privately and publicly urge restraint on the Chinese (and if possible engage them also in the peacemaking effort).

If hostilities have broken out because of an Indian attack or because of Indian support to the Bengali insurgents "we should" also:

-after carefully assessing the likelihood on a Chinese attack on India, move to terminate our residual military sales program for India;

-hold up on all shipments and licenses of military supplies destined for India;

-"prepare" to hold economic assistance to India in abeyance at least for the duration of the hostilities.

If the circumstances of the outbreak of hostilities were thoroughly ambiguous then "we should" also:

-publicly suspend military supply to both countries;

-consider suspending economic assistance to both sides;

-urge other major arms supplying countries (Soviets, Chinese, British and French) to suspend arms shipments to both sides.

The arguments for include:

-would provide maximum U.S. flexibility in a complex situation;

-would maximize use of U.S. programs and influence to shorten hostilities and inhibit external military intervention;

-would increase chances for U.S. to maintain relations with both India and Pakistan (and perhaps even "Bangla Desh") in the aftermath of hostilities;

-might create conditions in which the U.S. and USSR (and possibly China) could cooperate fully in a common political and peacemaking role.

The arguments against include:

-a heavy, perhaps unbearable, strain would be placed on our relations with India;

-at the same time the Paks could also feel sold out;

-might not succeed in shortening hostilities and encourage Chinese military intervention.

IV. Pre-Hostilities Contingency Actions

Irrespective of the posture we assumed upon the outbreak of hostilities, various U.S. programs and interests in both India and Pakistan would be immediately affected by the war. The paper, therefore, suggests the following operational contingency planning by appropriate U.S. agencies be undertaken soon:

1. Guidance for shipping companies, insurance agents, freight forwarders and customs agents should be prepared. Confiscated cargoes and other related complications caused endless problems after the 1965 war. (Presumably the main agencies involved would be AID, Defense and Agriculture.)

2. MAC should be instructed to review its contingency arrangements for overflying South Asia without any stops. Hostilities could involve extensive bombing of airfields on both sides.

3. Evacuation plans should be reviewed for all posts in India and Pakistan for implementation on short notice.

4. Intelligence coverage of Chinese intentions and capability to intervene in South Asia should be intensified to provide the maximum possible advance warning of any significant Chinese military move.

[2 lines of source text not declassified]

5. Intelligence coverage of Indian and Pakistani military activities should be increased as much as possible.

126. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, August 17, 1971, 4:35-5:05 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret; Exdis; Codeword. Sent for information. No drafting information appears on the source text. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room.

India and Pakistan

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin
Joseph Sisco
Anthony C.E. Quainton

David Packard
Armistead Selden
Brig. Gen. Devol Brett

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Lt. Gen. John Vogt

Richard Helms
John Waller

NSC Staff
Col. Richard Kennedy
Samuel Hoskinson
D. Keith Guthrie


1. The WSAG agreed that Option C of the contingency paper/2/ on a possible India-Pakistan conflict seemed likely to be the most suitable strategy for the US.

/2/ The contingency paper on Indo-Pakistan hostilities is summarized in the August 17 analytical summary prepared for the WSAG meeting; see Document 125. Option C called for political intervention to localize the hostilities and to work for a settlement which would remove the basic causes of the fighting.

2. The analysis of Option C will be expanded to include a scenario for US approaches to the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China both before and after the outbreak of hostilities. The WSAG noted the importance of insuring that the Chinese are aware that it is our policy to seek to preserve the integrity of Pakistan. No action will be taken with either the Soviet or Chinese government, however, without prior clearance by the White House.

3. The State Department will prepare a study of a possible cut-off in economic assistance to India. This should set forth specific steps to be taken in implementing a cut-off and should evaluate anticipated consequences.

4. The emergency and evacuation plans for India and for East and West Pakistan will be reviewed and updated.

Mr. Kissinger: I just wanted to have a brief meeting on the contingency paper. It states three options, of which only one-Option 3-is likely to be operative. A passive international approach would not be tolerated by either side. The logic of events, taking into account the Soviet and Chinese involvement, would not permit such an approach. Does anyone disagree with this?

No one disagreed.

Mr. Kissinger: As for military support to India or Pakistan, that also does not seem to be a very probable course of action. So we are left with political intervention, and I would like to talk about that for a minute.

We have an overall interest in preventing hostilities. We do not want to be forced to choose between 800 million Chinese and 600 million Indians and Bengalis. We don't want India in the Soviet camp, even though the Indians may be driving themselves there deliberately through the creation of a phony crisis.

Let's discuss this issue in two categories: (1) what we can do to minimize the danger of an outbreak of war and (2) what we can do in case there is an attack.
We need to consider what we would say to the Soviets and to the Chinese and how we could cooperate with the Soviets to prevent a war. Both the President and the Secretary of State have warned the Indians that we will cut off economic aid in case of war. But do we know what that means? No one has looked at the consequences or examined the means of implementing a cutoff. This is something that it is imperative to examine. Could we have some discussion on some of these problems? What preventive actions can we take? What steps can we take to limit the damage in case hostilities occur?

(to Helms) Dick, do we have enough intelligence on what the Chinese, Indians, and Pakistanis are doing?

Mr. Helms: I would like to ask John Waller to discuss that.

Mr. Waller: [8 lines of source text not declassified] The overt reporting speaks for itself. [1 line of source text not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: Do you lose them to the New York Times faster than you can recruit them?

Mr. Waller: The intelligence community has been assessing the critical collection problems.

Mr. Helms: These are all being scrubbed down in our committee.

Mr. Kissinger: Do you think the Indians will attack?

Mr. Helms: My personal feeling is that they will not do so.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Sisco) What do you think?

Mr. Sisco: I don't think they will launch an attack across the border. However, I believe they will feel free to support the liberation movement in East Pakistan now that they have the treaty with the Soviets. This will be more likely to happen if the liberation movement picks up steam, the relief problem continues, and there is no political accommodation. My reaction is that in no circumstances will the Pakistanis initiate hostilities in the West. If the Indian objective is to achieve a Bangla Desh that they can work with, they will continue to support the liberation movement.

Adm. Moorer: [6 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: Are the Chinese reinforcing?

Mr. Helms: No.

Adm. Moorer: There are no indications yet that they are. We do know that the Indians have activated some airfields near West Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: How quickly would the Chinese be able to reinforce?

Adm. Moorer: It would be very difficult for them.

Mr. Helms: The terrain is bad, and they don't have the necessary equipment. We would know ahead of time.

Mr. Kissinger: Did they reinforce in 1962?

Mr. Helms: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: Did we know?

Mr. Helms: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: What did the Indians think was going to happen?

Mr. Helms: As I recall, the Indians had sort of decided to take on the Chinese before the attack took place.

Mr. Kissinger: Thus, their surprise was the result of a judgmental factor.

Mr. Helms: In that part of the world one still has the problem of passions outrunning good judgment.

Mr. Kissinger: Passions don't have to run very far to do that in India.

Mr. Irwin: If Joe's [Sisco's]/3/ scenario is correct, what steps could be taken to reduce that possibility [that the Indians will stir up trouble].

/3/ These and following brackets are in the source text.

Adm. Moorer: Doesn't it all boil down to whether the Indians take overt action? The Pakistanis are outnumbered four to one. They certainly are not going to attack.

Mr. Irwin: What would cause the Indians to take action?

Adm. Moorer: The emotion you were talking about. Also the refugee problem.

Mr. Irwin: There are several possible contingencies that could cause the Indians to act. There could be a famine in East Pakistan which would stimulate a large wave of refugees. Failure to reach a political accommodation would be another factor. The execution of Mujibur Rahman might touch off something.

Mr. Kissinger: Do we know what is going on at the trial?

Adm. Moorer: It is expected to last two months.

Mr. Helms: Until October.

Mr. Irwin: All we can do with India is to urge restraint and threaten. The things that might cause the Indians to move are some military incident, a famine, or the execution of Mujibur Rahman.

Mr. Helms: I think US policy has been just right on this occasion. We are urging the Indians not to attack, we are taking action to prevent famine, and we are getting the UN engaged. It doesn't look like we are doing a lot, but what else is there to do? The only other thing we should do is get Ted Kennedy home./4/

/4/ Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) completed on August 17 an 8-day fact-finding trip to India undertaken in his capacity as Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Refugees.
The results of the trip were summarized in telegram 13221 from New Delhi, August 18. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-US)

Mr. Kissinger: I'm not sure they would agree about that [Kennedy's return] upstairs.

Mr. Sisco: In this contingency paper there are a lot of unilateral steps indicated. I think we ought to realize that in case of war there is really very little that we can do unilaterally. We will have to rely on what parallel interests the US, the USSR, and China may have in localizing the war. What bothers me is that we have channels to the Soviets, but we have to find ways to talk to the Chinese.

Mr. Kissinger: We can figure that out.

Mr. Sisco: By ourselves we have a limited capacity to influence the situation.

Mr. Kissinger: What should we tell the Soviets and Chinese that we want them to do?

Mr. Sisco: Before or after hostilities?

Mr. Kissinger: Before and after. Has anyone talked to the Soviet Union?

Mr. Sisco: It is difficult to say exactly what we would tell them at the present juncture.

Mr. Kissinger: Couldn't we say: "Cool your new friends?" Am I missing something here? Why not say that to them?

Mr. Helms: Sure. Why not? Conversation is cheap.

Mr. Irwin: I see no problem. At some point we might move to that. The Secretary [Rogers] was planning on seeing the Soviets, but the Soviet treaty with India intervened.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Sisco) You shake your head. Why?

Mr. Helms: This is the time [to talk to the Soviets]. If you don't turn that stone and a serious problem develops later, you will kick yourself.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Sisco) Is there something going on that eludes me, Joe? Why are you so mysterious?

Mr. Sisco: I have no problem with talking to the Soviets. Two weeks ago we prepared talking points for that.

Mr. Kissinger: Well, can I assume that we [the White House] will be told if you decide to approach the Soviets?

Mr. Sisco: Naturally we will have to talk to the Secretary [Rogers] about this.

Mr. Irwin: Certainly.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Sisco) What should we tell the Chinese? It is so out of character for you to be reticent.

Mr. Sisco: We have such good direct relations with the Pakistanis that we don't have to go to the Chinese to ask them to urge restraint on the Pakistanis. I don't see any immediate need to talk to the Chinese.

Mr. Kissinger: When you think the time has come, will you give us a hint? A reticent Joe Sisco is unknown. Usually when you come here you have already done whatever is to be done. Maybe you have decided to change your strategy from one of telling us afterward to not telling us at all. Anyway, we assume the State Department will let us know when a message is to be passed to the Chinese. What do we do when a war starts?

Adm. Moorer: As for evacuation, there are 7,698 US nationals to be evacuated from India, some 2,000 from West Pakistan, and 242 in East Pakistan.

Mr. Sisco: We should look at the evacuation plans.

Mr. Kissinger: Can we get these plans in shape?

Mr. Sisco: Some of the things we do in connection with evacuation are standard. We need to get suggestions on what to tell the Soviets and Chinese.

Mr. Kissinger: Can someone study what we mean when we say we are going to cut out economic aid [to India]? We should look at the consequences.

Mr. Irwin: What we do is cut down on Indian possibilities for economic development. This increases the burden on the Indian governmental system, may stop their democratic evolution, and might lead them to make a pact with the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kissinger: Can we cut off aid through the consortium?

Mr. Sisco: We will produce a paper on this. Some of the steps might be to delay a commitment on the 1972 development loan program, to mobilize other aid donors to delay their assistance, to delay signing a PL-480 agreement, and to stop things that are in the pipeline.

Mr. Kissinger: Could you do that [prepare a paper]? We will also be getting talking points for the Soviets and Chinese both before and after an attack. You will let us know what you are doing on this, and we in turn will let you know about anything we are doing here that may affect the situation.

Mr. Sisco: We and the Chinese and the Russians have certain common interests in this.

Mr. Kissinger: We can't have solo efforts on this.

Mr. Irwin: Yes, we should coordinate as much as possible with the Chinese and Soviets.

Mr. Kissinger: I mean bureaucratically.

Mr. Irwin: Oh. I was looking at it from a somewhat broader perspective.

Mr. Helms: Can we assume that the Chinese know about our efforts to keep Pakistan together?

Mr. Sisco: I think they ought to know that our basic policy is to be helpful in maintaining the integrity of Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: I agree. We should make sure that they don't misread us. Everyone can get together and assemble these talking points. Let us have those for the Chinese fairly soon.

127. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 18, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 1/1/71-9/30/71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it; Nixon put a checkmark on the memorandum to show that he had read it.

Implications of the Situation in South Asia

As Ambassador Farland and Deputy AID Administrator Williams prepare for their approach to President Yahya, this memo explores some of the implications of the situation in South Asia for our strategy. I am sending you separately another analytical memo dealing solely with the Indo-Soviet Friendship treaty./2/

/2/ Document 132.

Situation Within South Asia

You are familiar with the situation, but it seems worth stating some of the key elements that govern it.

-President Yahya is committed to preventing Bengali independence. Since this is probably futile over time, the issue is how to get through the transitional period without a blow-up.

-In East Pakistan, a serious insurgency movement is now underway in the countryside and is beginning to penetrate the major cities. This has been fed by the Indians in terms of logistics, training and some arms, but basically reflects a strong Bengali will to resist the West Pakistanis. This in turn provokes an army response which stimulates further refugee flow.

-The refugee flow to India continues. This has increased to a rate of some 50,000 per day after a drop in late July. This could be a temporary aberration; it could result from a new increase in violence; or it could reflect hunger in some pockets, although there is enough food overall in East Pakistan now.

-The Indians before March preferred a united Pakistan when they thought the Bengalis might play a dominant role, but now that they judge this is no longer possible they would like to see an independent Bangla Desh as soon as possible. The problem with their policy is that they may be able through their support for the guerrillas to do enough to stalemate a political settlement in East Pakistan but not enough to produce independence. Increased guerrilla activity will also slow food distribution and increase the flow of refugees.

-Also affecting Indian policy entirely apart from any broader political strategy are important economic considerations. Just maintaining the present number of refugees is projected to cost $600 million in a year, a figure larger than the net flow of foreign aid from consortium donors. With their economic development program threatened with disruption anyway, they may give much more weight to political considerations than to how the aid givers might react to any military move.

-The determining factor in stemming and then hopefully reversing the refugee flow is the economic and political situation in East
Pakistan. Few if any refugees will return under present conditions and more will probably leave East Pakistan. A major international effort can be made to avert famine, but the cycle of guerrilla attack and army reprisal will affect not only food distribution but also the restoration of normal conditions in which refugees or potential refugees can feel safe.

-The UN has taken an unexpectedly (for it) bold step in ordering a substantial staff to East Pakistan. If violence continues, they could well get cold feet and leave the US alone.

A US Strategy

The dilemma that derives from this situation is that:

-it is crucial to provide relief against famine if a new flood of refugees and an intensified excuse for Indian interference is to be avoided but

-even food distribution could be thwarted if President Yahya is unable either to regain absolute control militarily or to undercut the guerrillas politically.

The only strategy for us to follow in this situation is to concentrate the world's attention on averting famine as an umbrella under which hopefully enough might be done to deprive India of an excuse for intervention and to give Yahya a face-saving way of taking some of the political steps he may have to take if he has to rely on political measures rather than on military control to re-establish normal conditions.

At this stage in our stance toward China, a US effort to split off part of Pakistan in the name of self-determination would have implications for Taiwan and Tibet in Peking's eyes. It is also important that they not feel that we are lining up with India and the USSR against them. That is why for the moment it is important that we stay one step behind the Soviets in India, although over the longer run, we have no interest in writing off 600 million Indians and Bengalis.
At the same time, we must make a maximum effort to deprive India of an excuse to attack Pakistan. We do not want to lose our position in India altogether or to have to take sides between the USSR and China. At this stage in our China exercise we would be presented with excruciating choices if the Chinese were to attack India following an outbreak of Indo-Pakistani hostilities.

The situation is complicated by our uncertain leverage in India. The Indians still want the US as a balance to the USSR and, paradoxically, for our influence in Pakistan. The response I got in India was: "You say your policy is directed at preserving your influence in Pakistan; please use it." But we are unlikely to deter them from moves which they regard to be in their vital interests. US economic assistance is important to their development under normal circumstances, but they may well see the costs of the refugee influx as absorbing their development resources and energies anyway. Also, they react negatively to any suggestion that aid is being used as pressure. Still the Indians know they will get more help for the refugees from us than from all the rest of the world.

What would do us the most good now is to have from Yahya a comprehensive package that we could claim some credit for both in New Delhi and in our Congress. Then we would be in a position to tell the Indians that (a) we are taking at face value their concern about the refugee burden and (b) if that is their real concern, then we expect their cooperation in moving the refugees back and in helping to create the conditions, insofar as they can, to make that possible.
Once we have Yahya's response, renewed efforts to restrain the Indians can be made, but for the moment it seems wise to concentrate on improving the program for East Pakistan.

128. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 19, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, India (1971). Confidential. Sent for information. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it; Nixon put a checkmark on the memorandum to show that he had read it.

Letter From Mrs. Gandhi

Mrs. Gandhi has written in response to your two most recent letters to her concerning the situation in South Asia (Tab A). There is nothing new in this letter. Also attached (Tab B)/2/ is her appeal sent to you and other major heads of state to use your influence with President Yahya concerning the fate of Mujibur Rahman.

/2/ See Document 119.

Specifically, Mrs. Gandhi makes the following major points:

-It is not for India to object to the US maintaining a "constructive relationship" with Pakistan with a view toward retaining some influence in the present situation. She implies, however, that this has yet to produce anything tangible. Nothing, she says, would give India a greater sense of relief than saying that the US is "working toward a viable settlement which would restore peace and a semblance of civilized government in East Bengal which would enable Pakistan citizens to return to their homes."

-She rejects our idea of posting UN observers on both sides of the India-East Pakistan border. Essentially her argument is that anyone is free to travel and visit the refugee camps and that it is "unrealistic" to think that UN observers could help stem the flow of refugees. "Would," she asks, "the League of Nations Observers have succeeded in persuading the refugees who fled from Hitler's tyranny to return even whilst the pogroms against the Jews and political opponents of Nazism continued unabated?"

-Her government was "greatly embarrassed" by the revelation, right after her Foreign Minister returned from Washington, that the US was still shipping arms to Pakistan. She characterizes all our arms shipments to Pakistan as a "sad chapter in the history of our subcontinent."

-She thanks you for informing her of the China initiative, welcomes this move and wishes you well.

Despite Mrs. Gandhi's obvious disagreement with our policy toward South Asia, the generally moderate and somewhat defensive tone of her letter is perhaps significant. It is also interesting that it was dispatched just prior to the signing of the new Indo-Soviet "friendship" treaty and on the same day she also accepted your invitation that she visit here in November. This coincides with other indications that despite recent events, Mrs. Gandhi is by no means prepared to write off the US.

State has been asked to draft a suggested response. They will do this after seeing what comes out of the discussions that Maury Williams and Ambassador Farland will be having in Islamabad this week. If these produce something positive we will then be in a better position to go back at the Indians.


Letter from Indian Prime Minister Gandhi to President Nixon/3/

/3/ No classification marking.

New Delhi, August 7, 1971.

Dear Mr. President,

Thank you for your letters-one dated May 29/4/ and the other brought by Dr. Kissinger, dated July 1./5/ I have read them with interest. Dr. Kissinger has no doubt spoken to you about his wide-ranging discussions in New Delhi.

/4/ The letter, dated May 28, was delivered to Gandhi on May 29; see Document 62.

/5/ Document 86.

Since I wrote to you on May 13,/6/ the situation has not improved. Sanguinary conflict continues unabated in East Bengal. The number of Pakistani citizens fleeing their homeland and seeking shelter in India is steadily augmenting. We now have more than seven million registered evacuees. The West Pakistani army has driven out the greater part of the minority community as well as more than a million Moslem citizens of East Bengal. In recent weeks, the number of the latter is increasing.

/6/ Document 46.

It is not for us to object to the United States maintaining, as you, Mr. President, have put it, "a constructive relationship with Pakistan" so that the U.S. may "retain some influence in working with them towards important decisions to be made in that country." We have waited patiently and with restraint, hoping for a turn in the tide of events which the Government, Parliament and people of India could recognize as a step towards a political settlement.

Your letter of May 29 referred hopefully to President Yahya Khan's press conference of May 24. Since then, we have carefully considered his statement of June 28 and his utterances on television. These pronouncements show a hardening of attitude and it seems to us that they do not take us nearer a solution.

Nothing would give me, my colleagues in the Government and the Indian people a greater sense of relief than to be able to say that the United States was working towards a viable settlement which would restore peace and the semblance of civilized Government in East Bengal which would enable Pakistani citizens to return to their homes.

However, the malaise afflicting the socio-political structure of Pakistan and the tensions prevailing between the various parts of it are deep rooted. The present attempt is to solve chronic problems, arising out of political, social and economic disparities, by force. I believe that the Government of the United States supports the view that the posting of U.N. observers on either side of the frontiers of India and East Bengal could solve the problem of the refugees. We regret that we do not see the situation in this light. India is an open democracy. We have a large diplomatic corps and many representatives of the world press. We have had visits of parliamentary delegations from various countries. All are free to travel and to visit the refugee camps. They see for themselves that although we are doing all we can for the refugees, life in the camps is one of deprivation and acute discomfort. Hence it is unrealistic to think that the presence of a group of U.N. observers could give any feeling of assurance to the evacuees when every day they see new evacuees pouring in with stories of atrocities. Would the League of Nations Observers have succeeded in persuading the refugees who fled from Hitler's tyranny to return even whilst the pogroms against the Jews and political opponents of Nazism continued unabated? In our view, the intentions of the U.N. Observers might be more credible if their efforts were directed at stopping the continuing outflow of these unfortunate people and at creating conditions which, to any reasonable person, would assure the safety of life and liberty of the refugee who wishes to return to East Bengal.

Mr. President, I am touched by your generous references to the vitality of Indian democracy and the strength of purpose of our Government in meeting the complex social and economic problems which confront India. These problems have been rendered more complex by the action of the Pakistan Army and the burden on us is almost unbearable. It is by sheer act of will that we are able to hold on.

I should like to mention one other matter. Our Government was greatly embarrassed that soon after our Foreign Minister's return from his Washington visit and despite the statements made by Ambassador Keating in Bombay on April 16 and by the State Department's spokesman on April 15, 1971, came the news of fresh supplies of U.S. arms to Pakistan.

It was a sad chapter in the history of our subcontinent when the United States began to supply arms to Pakistan in 1954 and continued doing so up to 1965. These arms have been used against us, as indeed we feared they would be. And now these arms are being used against their own people whose only fault appears to be that they took seriously President Yahya Khan's promises to restore democracy.

In the midst of all the human tragedy, it is some relief to contemplate the voyage of the astronauts in the Apollo-15. These valiant men and the team of scientists supporting them represent man's eternal longing to break from the constraints of time and space. As I write this, the astronauts are heading homewards, back to our earth. We pray for their safety and success. Please accept, Mr. President, our warm felicitations.

I was glad to have your message regarding your initiative to normalise relations with the People's Republic of China. We have welcomed this move and we wish you well.

With best wishes and regards,

Yours sincerely,

Indira Gandhi

129. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State/1/

Islamabad, August 20, 1971, 1320Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Maurice Williams visited Pakistan August 17-23.

8534. From Williams. Subject: Meeting with President Yahya,
August 19, 1971 (M.M. Ahmad, Ambassador Farland and Williams attending).

1. After reading President Nixon's letter of August 14,/2/ President Yahya said he is deeply appreciative of President Nixon's continuing understanding, warm support and friendship. Williams briefly underlined President Nixon's concern of possibility of serious food shortage in EP, the danger that this would bring further large scale outflow of refugees to India, and that continued flow of refugees to India would create an explosive situation and could be seized as pretext for war by India. President Nixon seeks to alleviate this danger by pressing the Indians for restraint-and more will be done in this regard-and by all-out support for relief assistance, both through the United Nations and directly.

/2/ See Document 123.

2. President Yahya stated he fully alerted to danger of hostilities. Indeed, he was the one who had sounded the alarm. He wished to make one thing clear. There was not at this time a continuing flow of refugees leaving East Pakistan. These were erroneous charges by India. His army was on the border and he could assure us that no refugees were leaving. Indians were mounting attacks against Pakistan, preventing refugees from returning, arming guerrillas, and misleading the world as to the nature of the refugee situation. He said the Indians had shown damn little restraint to date.

3. Williams welcomed reassurance that the refugee flow being stopped, and repeated importance of dealing with potential food shortages as continuing deterrent to large movement of refugees in future. It was clear from discussions of past two days that President Yahya's appreciation of danger of famine was same as ours and that he was launching an energetic program to assure continued supply of food to the people of East Pakistan. We also recognized his statesmanlike step in accepting the United Nations field team.

4. President Yahya said that initiative in calling for international relief had been his. It had been slow in coming. Considering the delays that had taken place in the UN response, it was fortunate that food stocks in East Pakistan had been adequate. He said the U.S. and other countries are providing coastal vessels and mini-bulkers to transport food by river, but only a few had arrived. Williams responded that if foodstocks had not been adequate to cover needs of last four weeks, the U.S. would have airlifted food, and that massive efforts were underway to supply U.S. food assistance to East Pakistan. Pakistan's own efforts in the relief program under President's direction were outstanding. Williams stressed that relief program strengthens the government's position in East Pakistan, helps to correct international misimpression that Pakistan's major efforts in East Pakistan are primarily military, and partially deals with the critical problem of refugees.

President Yahya said that to date his government had not been successful in getting its case across to the international press of the many constructive things that they were attempting to do in East Pakistan. Government makes the information available but the New York Times doesn't print it. In order to put their case forward they have to buy space in American newspapers. However, he fully appreciated U.S. help with the relief effort and welcomed Williams visit as means of reviewing adequacy of their own plans and preparation.

5. Williams said priority which Pres. Yahya placed on the relief effort was evident from the very able civil officers now being assigned to the relief effort. He would focus on five specific operational areas which had been the subject of discussion with M.M. Ahmad./3/ The first concerned the movement of food from the ports. The government recognized it would take an all-out effort, and had assigned Commodore Bajwa as advisor to the Governor on Food and Transport. President Yahya replied that river transport must be effectively organized and he had recalled Bajwa from retirement to take on this task; with the limited movement possible by rail and road the movement of water transport assumed priority importance and every effort would be made to see that the required tonnages were moved. He regretted that such a low priority had been placed in the past on river transport.

/3/ Williams met twice with Ahmad on August 18 to discuss an economic relief program for East Pakistan and measures to prevent famine. (Telegrams 8471 and 8480 from Islamabad, August 19; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 PAK)

6. Second concern, beyond movement from the ports to the main centers which was going to strain capacity to the utmost, was the problem of local distribution. Here he understood that the government's plan was to mobilize small boats and trucks. Up to now smaller country boats had not been moving in adequate numbers. Williams welcomed appointment of Muzafar Husain as chief secretary who had outlined a plan for bringing small boats and commercial trucks back into service by high incentive payments. Williams said this was first sensible proposal he has heard on the subject of local transport and distribution and believed it could do the job. President Yahya replied Muzafar Husain was the man for this job. The former chief secretary was a Bengali and the Bengali administrative service was still dispirited and ineffectual. He pointed out that they had had a request with UN for trucks which were essential. Williams replied that he had asked for and expected receive list of overall requirements, including trucks, which we would seek to provide through the UN or directly.

The third operational problem concerned the low level of economic activity in East Pakistan. There is need rapidly increase relief programs and expand incomes if people are to be able to buy food, recognizing that the government's program was one of providing works relief rather than free distribution. M.M. Ahmad said our initial $10 million in rupees had been recently provided for relief works. He agreed there was need rapidly and flexibly to expand relief work as a means of restoring purchasing power and confidence.

7. A critical problem in effectiveness of relief operation was the question of administration which had always been weak in EP. The President's assignment of outstanding civil officers to key positions recognized this need. However Williams respectfully suggested that one officer be designated as being operationally charged with overall supervision of food transport and relief. Some eight different senior officials below governor were concerned with various aspects of program. President Yahya replied that he was in charge and that he held the governor responsible for the program and he had assigned different officers to different aspects of it, yet he realized the governor was too busy to be directly concerned. Turning to M.M. Ahmad he asked if there was a need as he saw it to designate one overall responsible official. Ahmad replied that he believed it would be helpful and suggested that the new chief secretary, Muzafar Husain be given this assignment. President Yahya so ordered.

8. To extent that responsibility for civil affairs could continue to be transferred from military to civil officers both military and civil efforts would benefit, Williams observed. Was it possible to consider separating functions of MLA and civil authority which were now combined in the single position held by Tikka Khan? President Yahya turned to Ahmad and said that this was a shrewd guess at his intentions. He would shortly announce a civilian Bengali Governor/4/ for Civil Affairs and a new Martial Law Administrator for Military Affairs.

/4/ In a private conversation with President Yahya after his meeting with Williams, Ambassador Farland pressed for a more definitive response to the question of who would replace General Tikka Khan. Yahya indicated that he intended to name Dr. A.M. Malik as civilian governor and said he would make the announcement by September 1. (Telegram 8502 from Islamabad, August 20; ibid., POL 18 PAK) Williams subsequently inspected conditions in East Pakistan and met in Dacca on August 21 to discuss them with General Tikka Khan and A.M. Malik. (Telegrams 3365 and 3369 from Dacca, August 23; ibid., POL INDIA-PAK and SOC 10 PAK, respectively)

9. A further operational problem was that of equity in distribution of relief supplies. Williams said that one of our observers had reported that relief in cyclone disaster area was being refused to Hindus. Perhaps this was a local problem but it was matter of concern since if Hindus throughout province were being discriminated against they almost certainly would all leave EP which would mean that flow of refugees could rise to over 10 million. President Yahya replied that it was not his policy to discriminate against Hindus. He had given firm instructions to this effect and he would reaffirm these instructions.

10. President Yahya went on to discuss his plans to associate Bengalis in administration of province by clearing 88 of former Awami League representatives to National Assembly. Asked if it was possible that more than 88 might be cleared he said all the others were being specifically charged with crimes but that it was possible that they could clear themselves of these charges and then take their seat in next National Assembly. He said that only some 15 or 16 of the 88 were presently in Dacca and they were being protected by the government since they feared for their lives. The rest of 88 were either in the countryside or in India. He did not know how many of them would come forward to claim their seat but he supposed he would have to set some kind of a deadline on this.

11. Williams wondered if reluctance to come forward might not be related to fact that AL was an outlawed party. Perhaps if the President recognized that AL had been cleansed of old leadership he could lift ban on party and deal with the 88 as members of a reconstructed AL. After some discussion of this point from several angles it was quite clear that President Yahya refused to deal with any group however cleansed under name of Awami League./5/ He regarded the 88 as having been certified as individuals and indeed said that he was severely criticized in West Pakistan for having cleared as many as 88 of former AL members to take their seats in next assembly if they came forward.

/5/ In telegram 1031 from Islamabad, August 20, Farland informed Kissinger that the effort by Williams to persuade Yahya to reinstate the outlawed Awami League proved to be an "out and out non-starter", as Kissinger had anticipated. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages 1971, Amb. Farland)

12. It was agreed that M.M. Ahmad and Williams should consult further concerning a consortium meeting, perhaps in September in Washington at the time of the World Bank meeting to consider Pakistan's debt problem and the need for relief and reconstruction assistance in EP. Williams urged that a possible third agenda item be prepared concerning the overall needs for economic assistance which would be brought forward at the time of the meeting if circumstances seem favorable.

13. As the meeting drew to a conclusion the Ambassador made reference to a casual remark made by Pres. Yahya to the effect that he was hoping to move towards a civilian government at an early date. Using this as a point of departure, he re-opened the general discussion of the GOP's moves on refugees and food distribution. The Ambassador stated that, taken together, the numerous specific acts promulgated by the MLA add up to a major effort on both subjects. However, he added, the manner in which these various actions were taken and the piecemeal announcement of each through the press had created little or no impact on world understanding of what the GOP was actually doing nor on the problem of the refugee outflow. At this juncture Yahya said that in his opinion his government had failed miserably vis-ˆ-vis India in its public relations effort, that perhaps it was partly his fault since he, as a military man, had not been raised with a public relations textbook at his side; nevertheless, whosever fault it may be, the fact remained that the GOP lacks expertise in all aspects of PR relationships. The Ambassador hastened to agree, saying that he had made mention of this problem to various high GOP authorities, beginning with Ambassador Agha Hilaly even prior to accreditation to Pakistan. The Ambassador then went on to say that, even though the GOP and Pres. Yahya had promulgated various MLA regulations and had made various statements concerning both the problem of refugees and the problem of food, it was imperative that all of these promulgations of state must be reiterated time and time again in order for the message to get across and the refugees impressed with the factual authenticity which the GOP meant to convey.

14. Referring thereafter to Yahya's comment re civilian participation in the GOEP, the Ambassador suggested that any announcement which Yahya planned to make on this subject should carry with it a restatement of the entire "package" which the GOP had promulgated to date, and that the same should be so tailored as to get maximum news impact both in Pakistan, India and in the Western world. Yahya replied by stating that, "I think this is an excellent suggestion and I'll do it; I will couple it with my planned announcement." Yahya then turned to M.M. Ahmad, who continued to take extensive notes on the conversation, and said, "Be sure that this is done." A general conversation then ensued concerning the fact that Pakistan had poorly presented its side of the case before the world, that the press by and large today was antagonistic as to Pakistan's actions and purposes towards East Pakistan, and the difficulties which ensued to those nations which sought to help Pakistan regain its status in the world community.


130. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State/1/

Islamabad, August 20, 1971, 1000Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 29 PAK. Secret; Nodis; Eyes Only.

8501. Eyes Only for Secretary Rogers and Assistant Secretary Sisco. Subj: Trial of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

1. Based on my assumption that Pres. Yahya would speak more freely to me alone, I introduced the delicate subject of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's future in a conversation with Pres. Yahya which ensued immediately after a meeting which concluded at noon Aug. 19, the participants of which were Pres. Yahya, AID Deputy Administrator Maurice Williams, presidential adviser M.M. Ahmad and myself.

2. Broaching the matter, I indicated to Yahya that I realized that I was involving myself in a discussion which was completely an internal affair, but nonetheless I felt bold so to do inasmuch as the manner in which it was handled by his government would definitely and decisively affect virtually all assistance, humanitarian and economic, which my government could institute; and, further, it would have a bearing upon the refugee problem which had become international in character.

3. I told Yahya that most, if not all, nations of the world were watching with intense interest and anxiety how the in-camera trial of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was proceeding, and most, if not all, were seized with concern as to its outcome./2/ I concluded by stating that I, as a friend, felt strongly obligated to suggest (RFR [?] to admonish) that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman not be executed. Such an action, I said, would be in my belief contrary to the best interests of his government as well as to his own best personal interests.

/2/ On August 11 Secretary Rogers telephoned Ambassador Hilaly and expressed the widespread concern felt in the United States over the trial as well as his hope that it might be delayed. Hilaly said that he would report the Secretary's concern to Islamabad. Kissinger summarized the exchange in an August 24 memorandum to Nixon. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Pakistan, Vol. VI, 1 Aug 71-31 Aug 71)

4. Pres. Yahya said that he wanted me to know (and for my government to know, but only on the highest levels) that my concern in this regard was unfounded. He said that he had gotten the most qualified Pakistani attorney, A.K. Brohi, to act as defense counsel, that the military tribunal had been advised that the trial must be conducted with the greatest care, without bias or prejudgment, and that the record must be in full substantiation of whatever verdict was reached. Yahya further stated that because the charge carried the possibility of a death sentence, it was his plan that if such the verdict be, a request for mercy would be made in the Sheikh's behalf, and he, Yahya, would accept the petition. Yahya observed that when this request for mercy, as aforesaid, reached him it was his intent to "sit on it for a few months" without making a decision until power was turned over to a civilian government.

5. It was Yahya's further observation that once the problem of Mujibur's mercy petition became the problem of a civilian government, there was little or no possibility that Mujibur would be executed. I finished my comments with the remark that, "from what you have told me it is obvious that you have given considerable thought to a solution of this problem." Yahya replied, "I have, and you can stop worrying because I am not going to execute the man even though he is a traitor."/3/

/3/ Farland discussed the trial of Mujibur Rahman with Yahya again on September 21. Farland asked about press reports that the trial had ended and the tribunal had submitted its recommendations to Yahya. Yahya responded that the trial was ongoing, and added that at its conclusion he planned to make a transcript available to the public to confirm that the trial had been fair and complete. Farland asked if Yahya had given any consideration to using Mujibur after the trial as a "trump card" in negotiating a political settlement in East Pakistan. Yahya indicated that he had given considerable thought to the possibility but was constrained by the weight of the evidence of treason being compiled against Mujibur which was so explicit that the reaction in West Pakistan to his release could be explosive. (Telegram 9599 from Islamabad, September 21; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 29 PAK)


131. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, August 20, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Constable; Sisco initialed the memorandum indicating that he had reviewed it.

Military Supply Pipeline in Pakistan

His Excellency Agha Hilaly, Ambassador of Pakistan
Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary, NEA
Peter D. Constable, Pakistani Desk Officer

Ambassador Hilaly called at Mr. Sisco's request. Mr. Sisco said he wanted to raise a difficult problem in an unorthodox and personal way and to seek Ambassador Hilaly's advice as to whether any further steps should be taken at this time. Mr. Sisco then referred to the problem of the military supply pipeline to Pakistan, which has now declined to about $2.6 million. Mr. Sisco reviewed the political price that the United States Government is paying for the continuation of the pipeline, even though the actual military supplies are not now of any great significance to Pakistan. Mr. Sisco referred particularly to the actions in Congress to impose an embargo on military shipments and to terminate economic assistance to Pakistan. He said that our efforts to preserve our flexibility on economic assistance, on debt rescheduling, and other problems were being jeopardized by the continuing pressure against our military supply pipeline.

Mr. Sisco then asked Ambassador Hilaly if the USG and the GOP could work out together a mutually satisfactory way to dry up the existing pipeline over the next few weeks. Pointing out that we had no intention of imposing an embargo against the military supply pipeline, nevertheless we thought it possible that it might be dried up by some joint steps that would satisfy Pakistan's minimal needs but at the same time end the political liability that the pipeline represents. Mr. Sisco described to the Ambassador the three categories of items in the pipeline (Foreign Military Sales, commercial sales to the Government of Pakistan, and commercial sales to commercial importers in Pakistan), and suggested possible ways that particular licensed items might be dealt with. Some examples cited included: speeding up shipment of FMS items of which Pakistani commercial agents have already taken possession of; examination of commercial contracts to see which ones might yield quick deliveries; careful scrutiny of the outstanding licenses to see if there are items that Pakistan no longer needs, or if some items might be purchased elsewhere; voluntary withdrawal of some licenses in the interests of terminating the pipeline quickly.

Mr. Sisco assured the Ambassador that any movement in this direction would be given only minimal low-key publicity to point out that the pipeline had "run-out". There would be no suggestion that the USG or the GOP had responded to any untoward pressure in phasing down the pipeline. Mr. Sisco also reiterated that there has been no policy change on military supply, that it remains under review and that a mutually worked out program to terminate the present pipeline would not prejudice future consideration of military supply for Pakistan.

Ambassador Hilaly responded that he fully recognized the political problems in the United States which our military supply policy posed. He felt, nevertheless, that a great deal of the adverse publicity was based on a misunderstanding of the facts, that this misunderstanding was in some cases deliberate, and that the enemies of Pakistan would continue to hammer against American policies favorable to Pakistan even if the pipeline issue were removed. Mr. Sisco noted that there was, however, great psychological importance in the military supply issue and that if it could be removed, then much of the other argumentation against American policies toward Pakistan would lose their force. Ambassador Hilaly acknowledged this to be so.

After some thought and choosing his words with care, the Ambassador suggested that he put the case to President Yahya directly-not as an official suggestion from the USG but simply as a proposal informally discussed. Hilaly used much the same phraseology as Mr. Sisco had earlier in describing the way he would put the matter to the President, e.g., a mutual effort to find a way to preserve the flexibility of the American Government in dealing with problems of economic assistance to Pakistan. He then said that he would recommend that President Yahya send the Director of Military Supply on a secret visit to Washington to review with USG officials just what specifically might be involved in drying up the pipeline. Emphasizing that he was in no position to speak at this point for the Government of Pakistan, the Ambassador nevertheless made it clear that he thought the exercise could be put to President Yahya in the framework of a friendly suggestion informally put forward.

Ambassador Hilaly and Mr. Sisco agreed that the matter would be extremely closely held since any premature disclosure could jeopardize consideration of the question.

132. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, August 24, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.

Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty

We have received some analysis of the Indian-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation signed August 9./2/ A short memo from Under Secretary Irwin is at Tab A and a CIA analysis at Tab B./3/ The following are some of the more important observations that can be made at this point.

/2/ See Document 116.

/3/ A 3-page analysis of the treaty, sent by Irwin to the President on August 9, was attached at Tab A; a 9-page analysis prepared in the CIA on August 11 was attached at Tab B; neither printed. It is the CIA assessment of the treaty that Kissinger refers to in his memoirs as a "fatuous estimate." (White House Years, pp. 866-867)

Provisions of the Treaty

Most of the 12 articles of the treaty, which will be in effect for an initial period of 20 years, seem to do little more than record formally the existing Indo-Soviet relationship. The preamble and about half of the articles are similar to those of the recently concluded Soviet-Egyptian "friendship" treaty./4/

/4/ A Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed in Cairo on May 27 by Presidents Sadat and Podgorny. (New York Times, May 28, 1971)

There are, for instance, the usual clauses on lasting friendship and noninterference in each other's internal affairs and virtually the same denunciations of colonialism and racialism as appear in the Soviet-Egyptian treaty. The two sides also agreed to continue expanding their cooperation in economic, scientific, technical and cultural matters, and to consult regularly "on major international problems" affecting both sides.

Unlike the Egyptian treaty, however, there is no clause which commits Moscow to a continuing role in strengthening India's "defense capacity."/5/ Moreover, the Indian treaty seems a degree less strong in that it calls only for consultation if hostilities threaten while the UAR treaty calls for the two sides to "concert" their positions. India's concern about nuclear disarmament gets a nod in one of the articles. Even though it has been seriously undercut by the treaty, India's non-alignment is specifically endorsed by the Soviets.

/5/ On August 18 Sonnenfeldt sent a memorandum to Kissinger assessing a report that a secret section of the Indo-Soviet treaty called for the Soviet Union to provide nuclear-capable bombers to India and nuclear weapons under Soviet control. Sonnenfeldt noted that to station nuclear weapons in a non-Communist country, where no Soviet forces were garrisoned, would represent a "dangerous break in Soviet policy," and he judged that the report was open to serious doubt with regard to the nuclear weapons. He found it more credible that the Soviet Union would agree to provide India with a medium-range bomber to offset China's capability to launch air strikes into India. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71)

The most important operative clauses (article 9) call for the two sides to refrain from giving assistance to any party taking part in an armed conflict with the other. This is the same article that then goes on to commit each side to consult immediately with a view toward taking effective measures in case either party is attacked or threatened with attack.

This does not add up to the language of a traditional mutual defense or security pact, since there is no specific obligation to assist militarily in case of conflict with a third party. Nevertheless, the impression is left that the Soviets would, if necessary, join in on India's side in a conflict involving Pakistan and/or Communist China. At a minimum the operative clauses insure Soviet neutrality toward an Indo-Pakistani conflict and hold out the strong prospect of Soviet assistance or support to India against both Pakistan and the Chinese. Also, in practice, the treaty creates a stronger obligation for India to follow the Soviet policy lead on developments elsewhere in the world.

Soviet Motivations

The idea of a treaty was first broached by the Soviets over two years ago in a clearly anti-Chinese context when the Sino-Soviet border tension was at its height. Talks concerning the treaty apparently continued from March 1969 well into 1970 but by then both sides seem to have lost interest. The Soviets had broken their logjam with the Chinese and the Indians had raised the ante by attempting to include several directly anti-Pakistan measures. The Indians at that time were also engaged in their own hesitant moves to perhaps improve their relationship with the Chinese.

From all indications, the Soviets only recently and hastily took up the treaty again, primarily to meet short term objectives./6/ They seem to have thought that the Indians were on the brink of taking some precipitate move, such as formally recognizing "Bangla Desh", that could have led to an early outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan and perhaps result in Chinese intervention. They seem to have calculated that the treaty will provide both reassurances to India and, at the same time, give them the influence to restrain India. In short, the Soviets seem to have gambled that, by simultaneously strengthening India's position and making New Delhi more beholden to Soviet counsel, they can best restrain India and also deter Pakistan from taking steps likely to lead to war.

/6/ During their conversation on August 17 Ambassador Dobrynin had assured Kissinger that the Soviet treaty with India had not been negotiated in response to recent events; see Document 124.

However, the Soviets must also have seen the treaty as a way of solidifying their position in South Asia at the expense of the US and China. One of Moscow's recurrent concerns is the possibility, over the longer term, of a Sino-Indian rapprochement, and the new treaty would seem to put the brakes on Indian receptivity to recent tentative moves by Peking in that direction. As far as the US is concerned, by seeming to spring to India's side in her hour of need-while in Indian eyes the US stands aloof or worse-the Soviets have secured a position as India's "first friend" from which they will not be easily dislodged. In the wake of new movement in Sino-American relations, the Soviets also probably believed that a formal treaty relationship would constitute a warning to Peking and a setback for US diplomacy.

Indian Motivations

By concluding the treaty, the Indians probably feel that they have bought both time and insurance as they confront the problem of war with Pakistan. Pressure had been mounting rapidly on Mrs. Gandhi to "do something" positive about the East Pakistan and refugee situation and the treaty, which has met with almost universal acclaim in India, has relieved this some. Moreover, the Indians seem to feel that the treaty puts both the Pakistanis and Chinese on notice that India does not stand alone. If Indo-Pak hostilities do break out, the Indians are probably hoping that the treaty will at least serve to limit Chinese intervention and perhaps even bring the Soviets in directly on their side. Finally, the Indians may hope that the treaty will instill in the West Pakistanis a greater sense of urgency to halt the refugee flow and reach a political accommodation in East Pakistan.

This consolidation of the Indo-Soviet relationship, at the expense of India's cherished non-alignment, is indicative of the fact that they think their vital interests are at stake in the present situation. However, the Indians do not seem at all prepared to write off the US. They have been at pains to make clear that the treaty is not directed at the US. Two days before the signing of the treaty, Mrs. Gandhi suddenly informed us that she would be pleased to accept your invitation for an official visit here in November thereby signaling her interest in maintaining a significant relationship with us.
Having made a lurch toward the Soviets it would now be in character for the Indians to begin balancing this off by moving to improve relations with the US and West in general. In fact, if we do not roll over too quickly, the Indians may think of compensating moves towards us. The Indians may also attempt to balance off their relationship with the Soviets by minor gestures toward the Chinese.

The Treaty-On Balance

The treaty seems to reduce the danger that Indo-Pakistani hostilities will break out in the next several weeks, but not necessarily over the longer run.

It is very possible that over the slightly longer run the treaty could be manipulated by Mrs. Gandhi's opponents in such a way as to defeat the short-term purposes for which it was signed and make it more difficult for the Soviets both to restrain the Indians and to avoid becoming overinvolved. It is only a short step from (a) Mrs. Gandhi's boasting of having secured Soviet support to (b) her opposition, once the euphoria wears off, pressing her to take advantage of that support by taking more direct action against Pakistan. In short, the Soviets may, by inserting themselves into this situation, bring about a situation similar to that of the Middle East in 1967 where contrary to their intentions they contributed to the outbreak of war.

On the other hand, the treaty should have given the Pakistanis pause for reflection if they had, for instance, been thinking of punitive raids against guerrillas in India. Previously they might have hoped that China would fully support Pakistan in a war with India, but they must have somewhat less confidence that China would attack India now that it would mean risking hostilities with the Soviets on their behalf.

However, the Pakistanis may have a better idea from the Chinese as to precisely what the latter may do than can be determined from our intelligence.

The Chinese, for their part, will not miss the point that their growing role in South Asia has, at least for the moment, been countered by the Soviets, both by nailing down the Indians and raising the risks of military intervention. Whether or not the treaty would deter the Chinese in a crunch, however, is another matter. At stake would not only be the Chinese and Soviet positions in South Asia, but, perhaps more importantly, in all of Asia. Moreover, neither the Soviets or Chinese are easily bluffed and they could rapidly move toward the brink of a confrontation should India and Pakistan go to war.

We have been considering in the WSAG and SRG the operational implications for US policy of this complicated situation. If we play our cards right, there might be a small opening for us to play a crucial moderating role if the situation does polarize along Soviet-India and China-Pakistan lines. Above all we must avoid being forced to choose between our policy toward the government of 700 million Chinese and over 600 million Indians and Bengalis.

133. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State/1/

Islamabad, August 24, 1971, 1255Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to Calcutta, Dacca, London, and New Delhi.

8631. For Asst. Secretary Sisco. Subj: Contacts With Bangla Desh Reps-Pres. Yahya's Reaction. Ref: State 154078./2/

/2/ Telegram 154078 to Islamabad, August 22, which was cleared by Sisco, Irwin, and Kissinger, authorized the Embassy to inform Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan about the contacts with Qaiyum in Calcutta "on off chance that Qaiyum proposals might provide glimmer of hope for negotiated political settlement between GOP and Awami League." The Embassy was instructed to stress that U.S. officials had listened to Qaiyum but had formed no judgment on the value of his proposals. The United States was not seeking to play a role as a mediator but was willing to help "as a friend." (Ibid.)

1. Summary. Pres. Yahya indicated his approval quiet USG contacts with individuals formerly associated with Awami League and indicated appreciation for receipt present and future info obtained through said contacts. Looked with favor upon an unpublicized meeting between GOP and Bangla Desh group for purpose seeking political rapprochement. Embassy disinclined to issue visa to "Foreign Minister." End summary.

2. Immediately following Aug. 24 call by Ambassador David Popper/3/ and me upon Pres. Yahya to discuss narcotic drug problems and purposes of Popper's mission as related thereto, I requested a private conversation with Yahya in order to discuss matters suggested reftel.

/3/ Ambassador to Cyprus David H. Popper visited India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in August and September 1971 to press for measures to limit the illicit production of opium in the area and to encourage planning to control the production and distribution of a wide range of narcotics. Popper's mission was coordinated by Nelson G. Gross, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State and Coordinator for International Narcotics Matters. Documentation on Popper's mission is ibid., SOC 11-5 INDIA, SOC 11-5 PAK, and SOC 11-5 AFG.

3. In accordance reftel I stated that the U.S. Consulate General in Calcutta had been picking up "signals" from various Bangla Desh sympathizers, particularly Khan Abdul Qaiyum Khan,/4/ a former attorney in Comilla. These signals seemed to indicate that a substantial number of MPA's and MNA's presently in Calcutta and elsewhere were seriously amenable to the acceptance of an agreement which would maintain the integrity and unity of Pakistan, within the general concept of the so-called "six points," if such an agreement could be somehow reached between Mujibur and Yahya, given the circumstances of Mujibur's ongoing trial. I told Yahya that in making mention of this I wanted him fully to understand that USG had taken no initiative whatsoever in gathering this information nor was the USG seeking to play a mediatory role between the GOP and the outlawed Awami League. Conversely, I stated that USG had consistently maintained a diplomatic stance of non-involvement and had in no way sought out or solicited contacts with "Bangla Desh Govt" reps. However, I noted Yahya's many conversations with me during which he emphasized his hope for a return to normalcy and his additional hope that with such a climate he could turn power back to the people. Since USG was now privy to this information, I thought that in the interests of the much sought for peace I should bring it to his attention.

/4/ The Consulate General in Calcutta pointed out on August 25 that this reference to Qaiyum was in error. The contact in Calcutta was with Qazi Zahirul Qaiyum, an industrialist rather than an attorney. (Telegram 2389 from Calcutta; ibid., POL 23-9 PAK)

4. Yahya's reaction was favorable and positive. He said that he was most happy that I had provided him with this type of intelligence and he felt that the U.S. had been correct in its political and diplomatic posture, adding that he hoped our officials "with their customary care and exercise of discretion" would maintain appropriate contacts. Yahya noted that his overriding desire was to bring harmony back into the body politic of Pakistan with such adjustments therein as would be for the greatest possible good of both wings. That included, he said, widespread economic and political adjustments in the east wing which he stood prepared to make. He opined, however, that he could not understand why those MPA's and MNA's who had been fully cleared did not come forward and take over the organization of a GOEP so that he could transfer power soonest.

5. Following the general discussion on the aforesaid aspect, I asked Yahya if he saw any major obstacle to a select group of GOP members, unpublicized and on neutral ground in a foreign country, meeting with a few of the key people for whom Qaiyum indicated he spoke. I said the purpose of such a hypothetical meeting could be to ascertain jointly whether or not there existed areas in which political rapprochement could be effected. This would serve its own purpose, and in addition the related matters of refugees, food distribution and rehabilitation could get under way meaningfully and with full purpose. Yahya replied he would favor such a development wholeheartedly, asking that in case such a contingency developed, I keep closely in touch with him on this matter generally.

6. It would seem that several forces are at play in this present situation. (A) At least some of the Bangla Deshers are realizing that their independence would be sorely limited by the interests of India; as such independence may be an illusion. And (B) Yahya may be coming to the conclusion that his appetite wasn't commensurate with the bite he took. In any event the foregoing represents a glimmer of light amidst the encircling gloom, and a hoped for vindication of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Pakistan.

7. Re paragraph 4 of reftel,/5/ it is the Embassy's strongly held belief that we should avoid problems involved in issuing visa to Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister." To do so would almost inevitably raise concerns here about our good faith in not encouraging separatist movement. These concerns would be enhanced by inevitable U.S. and world press/television coverage which "Foreign Minister" visit would receive in U.S. rather than have Bangla Desh "FonMin" in U.S., Embassy believes it highly preferable that he take his story to interested GOP representatives in London, where reportedly he will soon be going.

/5/ In paragraph 4 of telegram 154078, the Department asked for an opinion from the Embassy on the suggestion put forward through Qaiyum that designated Foreign Minister Mustaq Ahmad be granted a visa to visit the United States and meet with U.S. officials.
He would be less visible in London than in New York or Washington, and it should be easier there to make covert contacts with GOP representatives.


134. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

San Clemente, California, August 25, 1971.

/1/ Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 210, Geopolitical File, South Asia, Chronological File, Aug-Oct 1971. Secret. Drafted by Kissinger on August 30. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office in the Western White House.

Indian Ambassador L.K. Jha
Henry A. Kissinger

The meeting took place at Ambassador Jha's request. When Dr. Kissinger had told the Ambassador that he would be on the West Coast, the Ambassador had eagerly jumped at the opportunity of seeing him out there.

Ambassador Jha opened the meeting by asking Dr. Kissinger what he thought of the state of Indian-American relations. Dr. Kissinger replied that they were in a very curious phase right now. On the one hand, as he had explained to Indian officials on his trip to New Delhi, the United States considered India a potentially great power and one of the permanent crucial factors in American foreign policy. We wanted nothing so much as good relationships with India and we thought that our interests in the long term were congruent. On the other hand, Dr. Kissinger continued, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that a deliberate campaign was being mounted to undermine our relations. Ambassador Jha knew very well that the arms program to Pakistan was totally insignificant. We had explained the circumstances; we had given the major amount of economic aid for the refugees, more than the rest of the world combined. And nevertheless the attacks continued. Even his visit to India had been used not to stress the positive aspects but to make more of a point of the Indian grievances. And this was before his side trip to China was known. Now the argument was that our policy towards China was the cause of the treaty with the Soviet Union.

Dr. Kissinger said he did not really know what India wanted. If India wanted to become an extension of Soviet foreign policy, then inevitably the American interest in India was bound to decline and India would have to look to the Soviet Union for the greater part of its economic and other assistance. He could not understand why India would want to be drawn into the Sino-Soviet rivalry, or why it would deliberately antagonize the one country that had no national interests in the Subcontinent except an independent and healthy India and an independent Subcontinent.
Ambassador Jha replied that the situation in India was very difficult. First of all, Madame Gandhi was not at all pro-Soviet. She had for a long time resisted the proposal-that had first been thought up by Djinesh Singh, the former Foreign Minister-of this treaty of friendship. (In fact, Jha said on a personal basis, he wouldn't be a bit surprised if Djinesh Singh actually received pay from the Communists.) At the same time he also thought that Kaul and Haksar were very much under Soviet influence. In short, for both these reasons Madame Gandhi was under great pressure. The project had been going along for about a year, and recently Madame Gandhi felt she needed some dramatic foreign policy, so she picked it up, but Dr. Kissinger could be certain that she did not have her heart in it.

That might be so, Dr. Kissinger said, but the problem is how she would carry out the policy. Dr. Kissinger could tell her that from our selfish point of view it did not hurt us to have India pursue such a pro-Soviet line in relation to our China policy, nor should the Ambassador have any illusions that it was possible to stir up any basic American public support on the Bengal issue. Still, in order to score temporary points, India was running a tremendous risk of permanently alienating the United States.

The Ambassador repeated that Haksar and Kaul were the real obstacles in India and that in the Foreign Office there were many pro-Soviet elements. The big issue was whether we could use Madame Gandhi's visit in some positive sense. He asked Dr. Kissinger what he suggested. Dr. Kissinger said he thought that it was important for the Prime Minister and the President to have a very frank talk. He did not recommend that they necessarily agree now on any very specific measures, nor would we want India to sign any documents that limited its freedom of action. We did, however, believe that it was important that we understood where each side was going and that the actions that followed would be consistent with these expectations.

The Ambassador then asked a number of technical questions: Could we pick up Madame Gandhi after she arrives in New York with a military airplane? Dr. Kissinger told him we could. Could the President come to some social function at the Indian Embassy or at Blair House? Dr. Kissinger said dinner was absolutely out of the question, and whether the President might call on Madame Gandhi at Blair House would depend on the then state of relationships. It was imperative, however, that India do nothing to upset the equilibrium before Madame Gandhi's visit, and that the Indian press campaign be muted in anticipation of that visit. The Ambassador agreed that we would meet in Washington to work out the agenda and other details.

135. Memorandum From Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 1/1/71-9/30/71. Secret. Sent for information.

Washington, August 26, 1971.

Rogers-Dobrynin Talk on South Asia/2/

/2/ The portion of the conversation that dealt with South Asia was summarized in telegram 156613 to Moscow, August 25. (Ibid.)

You may have already seen the account of Secretary Rogers' talk with Dobrynin on Wednesday. (attached)/3/

/3/ August 25; attached but not printed.

In response to the Secretary's probing concerning the Soviet position on South Asia, Dobrynin made the following major points:

-The USSR has no interest in conflict in the area and Soviet policy has been directed toward reducing the danger of conflict.

-Some recent developments make it appear to the public, perhaps erroneously, that the US favors Pakistan. After hearing the Secretary's explanation of our arms policy toward Pakistan, Dobrynin implied he understood that in fact that issue was relatively insignificant but that press reports had inflamed tempers.

-The intent of the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty was to calm the Indians by assuring them that they had friends at a time when they suspected the Pakistanis of planning hostilities. Dobrynin added the treaty seemed in fact to have had the intended effect.

-The guerrilla action in East Pakistan is "practically over" and the real problem is coping with seven million refugees. Dobrynin further volunteered that the Soviets were giving no encouragement to the separatist movement in East Pakistan and said the Soviets had informed the Indians that they will not support demands for a separatist state.

-As for Soviet involvement with the Bengali guerrillas, Dobrynin stated, "we do not like to be involved in such things."

Contrary to the WSAG discussions on August 17 and the subsequent memo/4/ you sent to each of the members, State never cleared this approach to the Soviets with us. I have raised this matter with Acting Assistant Secretary Atherton (acting for Sisco) who said it was "out of his hands." I also said that despite the Rogers-Dobrynin talk, we were still expecting to receive the broader scenario for a US approach to the Soviets "before" the outbreak of hostilities.

/4/ Kissinger circulated a memorandum on August 18 to the CIA, the JCS, and the Departments of State and Defense in which he reiterated the decisions reached by the WSAG in their meeting on August 17. He stipulated that in drawing up scenarios for U.S. approaches to China and the Soviet Union on the crisis in South Asia the State Department should clear any such approach with the White House before taking action. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71)

136. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, August 31, 1971, 0025Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Constable (NEA/PAF) on August 25 and revised in the White House on August 30; cleared by Laingen, Schneider, and Atherton; and approved for transmission by Eliot. Also sent to Calcutta and repeated to New Delhi, London, and Dacca.

159587. Subject: Contacts with Bangla Desh Reps. Ref: Islamabad 8631;/2/ Calcutta 2204./3/

/2/ Document 133.

/3/ Not found.

1. We agree that President Yahya's reaction to Ambassador Farland's presentation of Bangla Desh rep's negotiation feeler is a "glimmer" of hope. We do not, however, believe that the time has come for U.S. to play any mediatory role. On the other hand, there may be some merit in carrying our present honest broker role one step further, i.e., by helping two sides communicate with each other on arrangements for meeting on neutral territory for exploratory session on possibility of serious negotiation.

2. The first order of business should be for Ambassador Farland, if he has no big problems, to inform President Yahya of our ideas (outlined paras 3 and 4 below) and without being an advocate, ask for his reaction. This approach should be couched in terms of our willingness as a friend to help. It should be stressed that we will not go any further in our contacts with Bangla Desh reps than Yahya desires.

3. Our thinking is that it may be useful to further test temperature of water by attempt at verification of Qaiyum's bona fides. We see no better way to accomplish this quickly than to contact the Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister" Mushtaq Ahmed directly in Calcutta. If he in effect verifies content of approaches previously made by Qaiyum, we would then want to inform him that substance of talks with Qaiyum has been passed to President Yahya.

4. We would also inform Mushtaq Ahmed that Yahya showed interest in a meeting of GOP reps and BD reps and volunteer to pass back to President Yahya any response Mushtaq may have. Should reactions from both sides to meeting prove favorable, we could then examine question whether further US role in providing communication link between them would be necessary or desirable.

5. Caveats-We are confident posts share Department's awareness need for utmost caution and discretion in carrying out these next steps. Publicity concerning possibility of direct contacts between GOP and BD reps; exposure of our role; or knowledge of our contacts with Mushtaq Ahmed could cause sudden termination of this exercise. Furthermore, we should all keep in mind at every step that what may appear sincere desire to negotiate on one or both sides might in fact prove to be little more than tactical maneuver in complex process of pursuing greater influence over US policy. We will also need to bear in mind those who would want to see negotiations fail. We presume such elements would exist in Pakistan, India, and in BD movement.

6. For Calcutta: If Ambassador Farland receives Yahya's approval, you should at earliest opportunity contact BD Foreign Minister Mushtaq Ahmed with object accomplishing purposes outlined in paras 3 and 4 above, at same time reiterating that we are passing messages but not acting as mediator. If subject of visa for Mushtaq Ahmed surfaces, you should follow guidance State 154078,/4/ i.e., request has been referred to Washington and he should be given no encouragement. You may also suggest Ahmed's visit might better be deferred while present effort to arrange BD and GOP contacts under way. If Mushtaq Ahmed out of India, report info on whereabouts soonest.

/4/ See footnote 5, Document 133.

7. For all addressees: We will welcome continuing analysis and comments on: (a) possibilities for negotiation between BD reps and GOP; (b) dynamics of possibly troublesome divisions within BD movement (including Mukti Bahini) over "independence vs. accommodation"; (c) GOI attitudes toward negotiated settlement in lieu of independent Bangla Desh; (d) kind of settlement Yahya could sell in West Pakistan to military and politicians; and (e) ways in which apparent BD insistence on central role for Mujib (Calcutta 2204) might be reconciled with Yahya's apparent need for "secessionist scapegoat." Any other observations or contributions would of course also be welcome./5/

/5/ Ambassador Farland endorsed the Department's scenario and indicated that he would put it forward during his meeting with Yahya scheduled for September 4. He stated that he would stress that U.S. contacts with Bangladesh representatives would be conditioned by what Yahya considered appropriate. (Telegram 8909 from Islamabad, August 31; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VI, 1 Aug 71-31 Aug 71) Yahya gave his approval on September 4 to discreet U.S. contacts with Bangladesh representatives and the Department instructed the Consulate General in Calcutta to proceed along the lines of paragraphs 3 and 4 of telegram 159587. (Telegram 163594 to Calcutta, September 4; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

8. Messages this subject should be transmitted Nodis.


137. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, August 31, 1971, 1551Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 29 PAK. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Quainton on August 19; cleared by Schneider, Laingen, and Kissinger; and approved by Sisco. Repeated to Islamabad.

159706. Subj: Trial of Mujibur Rahman. Ref: State 149347./2/

/2/ Telegram 149347 to New Delhi, August 14, transmitted the text of the letter sent to President Nixon on August 7 by Prime Minister Gandhi; see the attachment to Document 128.

Because of possibility that Indians might attempt to exploit any written reply to Mrs. Gandhi's August 11 message/3/ on trial of Mujibur Rahman, we have decided that it would be preferable for Ambassador to make oral response on behalf of President to Foreign Secretary Kaul. Ambassador should make following points: the President has received Mrs. Gandhi's message and has considered it with care. There has been extensive interest in United States in trial of Mujib. Secretary Rogers has conveyed our concern about summary treatment of Mujib to GOP. We intend to continue to indicate our concern on appropriate future occasions, not only for humanitarian reasons, but also because we recognize importance which trial, and possible execution of Mujib, would have in broader context of search for peace and stability in South Asia.

/3/ See Document 119.


138. Memorandum From the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis.

Washington, September 1, 1971.

Attached is a memo from Saunders which deals with the subject the Secretary has been talking to you about personally and which confirms what Sisco indicated to me last week. You will note that Yahya is sending over a personal emissary/2/ to discuss with Sisco the actual status of items remaining in the pipeline as a further refinement of the proposal.

/2/ Major General Inam-ul Haq, Director General of Defense Procurement in Pakistan's Ministry of Defense. On September 3 Kissinger sent a special channel telegram to Farland instructing him to make certain General Haq understood that he should contact Kissinger personally to obtain an accurate appraisal of President Nixon's thinking with respect to arms shipments. (Ibid., Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971)

As you know, Secretary Rogers has done this on his own despite contrary hints. Very few people in the Department are aware of the project according to Eliot. I told Eliot that this project could upset the President a great deal and that it would be well for us to take stock of the situation in the light of Yahya's response and his obviously cooperative but apparently concerned attitude. I believe you will want to focus on this as soon as possible before it progresses any further./3/ The real problem is the large number of unfilled military requests which have been stonewalled by Defense.

/3/ Kissinger responded in the margin with the following handwritten note: "Al-They cannot play fairly. Make sure we are cut in & that Paks know what must be done." Haig added a handwritten note in the margin that reads: "Saunders will be sure Pak General sees HAK."


Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/4/

Washington, September 1, 1971.

/4/ Secret; Nodis. Sent for information.

Sisco-Hilaly-Yahya on the Military Aid Pipeline

Ambassador Farland has cabled to you Yahya's reaction to a recent conversation between Assistant Secretary Sisco and Ambassador Hilaly in which Sisco indicated that the possibility of the stoppage of economic aid to Pakistan could be averted if the arms flow were shut off. We have no record of the Sisco-Hilaly talk-although the Paks have now provided us with the text of Hilaly's report/5/-and were not previously informed about this approach.

/5/ Ambassador Farland reported on September 1 that Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan had made available Hilaly's account of his recent conversation with Sisco. (Telegram 8934 from Islamabad; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK) Because of the practice of reducing the size of telegrams by eliminating words considered to be obvious, Farland's report of receiving Hilaly's account on August 23 was taken to mean that the conversation was held that day. The conversation between Sisco and Hilaly took place on August 20; see Document 131.

Sisco's Proposition

According to Hilaly, Sisco called him in on August 23 and made the following major points:

-the question of arms shipments had become an important internal political issue in the US with the passage of the Gallagher amendment./6/ There was every likelihood that the Senate would pass a similar restriction which would also insist on the stoppage of economic aid until there is a satisfactory political settlement in East Pakistan.

/6/ See footnote 7, Document 105.

-The possibility of such a stoppage of economic aid could be averted if the Administration agreed to cut off military supply to Pakistan. If the delivery of some of what little remained in the pipeline could be speeded up and the Paks agreed to sacrifice the remainder, the Administration could then placate the Senate by saying the pipeline had been closed and that "no Defense stores whatsoever would move to Pakistan in the future."

-Pakistan's stake in the "immediate resumption" of economic aid from the consortium was much longer than its stake in the small amount of arms remaining in the pipeline.

-It was a mutual problem and both governments needed to help each other and devise a political strategy that could ensure the resumption and increase of economic aid. Sisco, "confidentially and unofficially" suggested that both governments sit together secretly as friends to look at what remained in the pipeline with a view to "announcing" its final close.

Yahya's Response

According to Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan, Yahya instructed Hilaly to inform Sisco/7/ that (1) the gesture of initiating prior unofficial and confidential consultation on this matter of "vital importance" is appreciated; (2) he agreed that this was a mutual problem which required a common political strategy.

/7/ Yahya's reaction was reported in telegram 8934, cited in footnote 5 above.

Yahya then went on to ask that President Nixon be informed that:

-"We" would do well to consider the effect a public announcement of the kind suggested by Sisco would have on Pakistan internally and externally and on the image of US-Pak relations. Internally, it would be a "setback" to the "strengthened good feeling toward the Nixon Government" in Pakistan. Externally, other states might also cut off military supply and the impact would "merit very serious consideration."

-Pakistan's difficulties with India would be "compounded." It is for "serious consideration" whether it would not be in the US interests in South Asia to prevent development of a "precarious imbalance" between India and Pakistan.

-Then (almost as an afterthought in his instructions to Hilaly) Yahya added that the President be informed that he "in no way wishes to weaken the position of the Nixon Government. Therefore, should President Nixon feel that the proposed announcement would enable him to defeat the Democratic designs to make the existing position a political issue for the Presidential election, Pakistan will accept it despite the sacrifices it involves." If this is the case, then Yahya would at least hope that the announcement would say "shipments of military stores to Pakistan have terminated, and their resumption will depend upon the improvement of the situation in East Pakistan," and he would hope that under these circumstances "essential supplies" could later be "quietly resumed."

-Finally, Yahya "notes with deep appreciation" the assurances that the cut off would help the Administration to (1) save economic aid for Pakistan (2) take a stronger line with Congress for resumption of economic aid to Pakistan and (3) to take the lead in the consortium for immediate resumption of international aid to Pakistan.


Unless you have talked to Sisco or Secretary Rogers had the permission of the President, Sisco has been free-wheeling again. We had no idea until this cable was received from Islamabad today (September 1) that he had made this approach on August 23.

That issue aside, however, Yahya's response raises some important substantive questions.

1. Yahya realizes that there is very little (about $2.6 million) in the pipeline and that there is virtually no chance with Congressional pressure that more will be made available in the foreseeable future. This being the case he may well see this as a unique opportunity to trade virtually nothing in military supply for vital US economic aid and leadership in the consortium.

2. Resumption of economic aid to Pakistan and US pressure on the consortium governments to resume aid raises bureaucratic, Congressional and policy problems. As Sisco indicates, we might save the possibility of resuming aid by cutting off military supply but we will be right back in the soup again with Congress if we do this without first having some sort of national development plan such as the Congress expects. Taking the lead in the consortium raises the same problem and it is doubtful we could achieve much anyway in the consortium without such a plan. Finally, AID is no more aware of this approach than we. Sisco has promised much more than we may be able to deliver soon.

-A cut-off of military supply to Pakistan might gain us some points in India but we have already been so damaged there on this issue that a cut-off when the pipeline is almost dry will not recoup much. Moreover, there is some question whether we really want to send the Indians this kind of a signal now.

In short, Sisco is talking about a trade-off that might make sense when the Senate reconvenes. But he has raised it with the Paks without authority, without much sense of what it would take to resume aid and over-arousing Pak expectations about resumption.

139. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, September 2, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted on September 8 by Constable (NEA/PAF).

Military Supply Pipeline for Pakistan

The Secretary
Christopher Van Hollen, Deputy Assistant Secretary, NEA
Peter D. Constable, Senior Political Officer, Pakistan-Afghanistan Affairs
Maj. Gen. Inam-ul Haq, Director General, Defense Procurement; Pakistan
Ministry of Defense
Mr. Z.M. Farooqi, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Pakistan

The Secretary welcomed General Haq to Washington and expressed his deep appreciation for President Yahya's prompt response to Mr. Sisco's suggestion that our two governments look at ways to deal with the remaining military supply pipeline. He also expressed appreciation of President Yahya's understanding of the problems that military supply pipeline presents. The Secretary stated, however, that he wanted to make clear Mr. Sisco's suggestion was just that. We are not pressing the Government of Pakistan. We want to take a look at the problem together. We do not want to change our policy toward Pakistan or to do anything that will hurt Pakistan. If it does work out, it would be to our mutual advantage, since it would give us an opportunity to try to play a constructive role in economic assistance. Comparing the military supply pipeline of $2.6 million with the economic assistance pipeline of $80 million, it is apparent which is the more important. While the military supply question is not an important issue in domestic politics, Congressional opposition to military supply has created a potential political problem in U.S.-Pakistan relations. The pipeline question may impair our ability to be helpful with economic assistance. It is in this context that Mr. Sisco asked Ambassador Hilaly if shipments from the remaining small pipeline might be speeded up or items ordered elsewhere. If that were done, then we could make a low-key statement to the effect that shipments from the pipeline had been completed.

Major General Haq replied by expressing President Yahya's deep appreciation for being taken into confidence. He does not want to cause any difficulties for President Nixon and he is aware of the political pressures. President Yahya had instructed him to cooperate fully with us. There is tremendous good will in Pakistan for the United States and there might be some bafflement when the public learns the United States is no longer shipping military items to Pakistan. However, he hoped the announcement can be worded in such a way as to avoid any impression that we have joined hands with India. The General noted that the recent Indo-Soviet treaty had caused an imbalance in the Subcontinent and he alleged that the Indians would be receiving 400 T-60 series tanks from the Soviets as a result of the treaty, while the Soviets had now cut off spares for the inferior tanks they had previously supplied to Pakistan. It was obvious, according to the General, that the new Soviet tanks were for Indian use on the plains of the Punjab. The imbalance of power could be increased by Pakistan's difficulties in maintaining U.S. equipment, particularly aircraft. He added, however, that they would try for the time being to find alternate sources for the spares. He concluded by saying they would try to ship out as much as possible in as short a time as possible. He also raised a question as to the feasibility of air cargo shipments out by MATS flights, but also recognized possible problems with this method.

The Secretary then emphasized our interest in a low-key announcement, perhaps by the State Department spokesman, noting simply that Pakistan had completed its shipments of military supply items, or some similar formulation that we could mutually agree on. The General and Mr. Farooqi expressed their agreement with and appreciation for this kind of formulation.
Mr. Farooqi asked whether the resolution of the military supply question would enable the United States to take the lead with the Consortium countries in economic assistance questions. The Secretary replied that it would make it easier. In response to Farooqi's observation that President Yahya also hoped there could be a resumption of arms shipments when conditions settled down, the Secretary noted that while we need not go into that question now, relations between the United States and Pakistan and their leaders were very close and cordial.

(Note: In an earlier conversation with the General, Mr. Van Hollen sketched out briefly the mechanics of the "drying out" exercise as we saw it, pointing out the need for rapid movement, if there were to be advantage in an announcement before the Senate considered the foreign assistance legislation. Subsequently in the technical discussions with General Haq, Mr. Constable pointed out that we were thinking in terms of completion of shipments by the end of September.)

140. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, September 3, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71. Secret; Exdis.

Cut-Off of Aid to India

The Washington Special Action Group meeting on August 17, 1971 agreed on the need to prepare a study of a possible cut-off in economic assistance to India setting out the specific steps which might be taken in gradually implementing a cut-off and evaluating the anticipated consequences.

The possible actions set forth in the attached paper/2/ range from a total cut-off, which we would impose automatically if India clearly instigated hostilities, through a series of partial steps that might be used in an attempt to gain influence over Indian policy by using our aid program.

/2/ Not printed. Attached was a 15-page paper entitled "Economic Assistance Cut-off for India." The paper is undated and no drafting information is provided.
This analysis shows that a restrictive use of aid, in the short run at least, would provide us with some marginal influence but would be unlikely to affect significantly policies that India saw to be in its vital interest.

The paper does not consider alternative strategies. One such alternative might be based on supportive political and economic policies, paralleling those we are currently pursuing with respect to Pakistan.

We will be prepared to discuss these issues at the September 8 meeting of the WSAG.
Ted E./3/

/3/ Deputy Executive Secretary Robert T. Curran signed for Eliot.

141. Paper Prepared by Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, September 3, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 9/8/71. Secret; Nodis. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. It was sent to Kissinger by Saunders and Hoskinson on September 3 under cover of a memorandum that refers to a paper they were preparing on the Williams report. (Ibid.)


In addition to the issues arising from the continuing refinement of our contingency planning, there are several other issues that should be considered at this point. These arise either from actions we have already taken or may wish to take in the relatively near future.

Williams' Trip. As you know, Maury Williams has returned from his trip to Pakistan. His written report/2/ is attached to this memo, and he is prepared to report orally to the WSAG.

/2/ Maurice Williams submitted a report to Secretary Rogers on September 3 on the trip he made to Pakistan August 17-23. Rogers sent a copy of the report to President Nixon on September 13. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 PAK) The report is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 143.

On the basis of his experiences, Williams has some specific recommendations for future action. He feels that refugees and relief in both India and Pakistan are integral parts of the same problem. On the relief side, the critical element for the success of our efforts is the acceptance, or tolerance, by all parties-Pakistan, Bengali insurgents and India-that food and humanitarian concern for the Bengalis is "above the battle." On the refugee question, Williams sees the need for an equivalent "cease and stand fast" situation to break the vicious circle of the refugee influx leading to increased Indian support to the insurgents and the Pak army fighting back with policies encouraging more Hindu refugees to leave and never return. Specifically, Williams suggests that:

1. We urge on Yahya a public declaration of protection for all minorities and that he back up the new Bengali Governor, Dr. A.M. Malik, in measures to reduce the emotions against the remaining Hindus.

2. [We] parallel our approach to Pakistan on relief needs and administration with similar discussions in India at the appropriate level. Among other things, we would (a) encourage the Indians to help exempt the movement of relief supplies within East Pakistan from insurgent attack; (b) seek Indian recognition that intensification of the insurgency only produces more refugees; (c) seek help in obtaining a 60-day "dampening" of insurgent activity to permit a cooling of anti-Hindu passions in East Pakistan and improve the atmosphere for possible negotiations between Pakistani and "Bangla Desh" representatives; and (d) seek acceptance of UN observers statement [stationed] in East Pakistan having the freedom to cross into India on valid refugee business.

Comment: The security of food distribution in East Pakistan is a crucial issue. Our next step should be to devise approaches to persuade the insurgents not to attack it.

Arms Supply to Pakistan. This is an old issue returned with new problems because of Joe Sisco's discussion with Hilaly./3/ The basic issue at this point is whether Sisco's proposition to the Paks of trading our "cut-off" of military supply for a resumption of economic assistance is tenable. It could well turn out that Sisco has given an empty promise of economic aid in exchange for a cut-off of virtually nothing in the military supply pipeline. If this is true, Yahya's willingness to give up quietly what little military supply remains for vital economic aid could quickly turn to pique if he comes to believe that in fact aid may not be forth-coming in the large and fairly immediate quantities Sisco seemed to indicate.

/3/ See Document 131.

Bangla Desh-West Pakistani Talks. If Yahya gives the signal to go ahead (Ambassador Farland will see him on Saturday)/4/ and the "Bangla Desh" representatives agree, we may soon be on the sidelines of secret exploratory talks between them. The main issue then for us will be at what moment, if ever, and how we should use our influence to help produce a settlement. Sisco's inclination, as in the Middle East, will probably be to jump right into a mediatory role just as soon as there is any opportunity. However, to make our limited influence count most will require careful timing and employment of it with Yahya, if at all.

/4/ September 4.

New Approach to India. As you know, Under-Secretary Irwin would like to make a trip to India before too long to parallel Williams' trip to Pakistan. The main issue here is not so much the principle of a new high-level approach to India but its substance and who makes the pitch. Irwin seems to have in mind using the same old refrain of restraint and mild threat, but, just as we were with Pakistan, we may well want to consider a new approach to India. There may be some new elements we can add. Williams, for example, seems to have some thoughts worthy of consideration. As for who does the job, State, especially after the Williams trip, will insist that they do it and Irwin would be much better than unleashing Sisco on the Indians.

142. Analytical Summary Prepared by Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, September 3, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 9/8/71. Secret; Exdis. No drafting information appears on the source text. The summary was sent to Kissinger by Saunders and Hoskinson on September 3 under cover of a memorandum that refers to the papers cited in the summary. (Ibid.)

Contingency Planning-Indo-Pak Hostilities

The Papers

At the last WSAG meeting on contingency planning for possible Indo-Pak hostilities (August 17) it was agreed that the State Department would prepare scenarios for US approaches to the Soviet Union, the People's Republic of China and the United Nations. Most of this work has now been completed and is incorporated in the several papers that follow this analytical summary.
The papers that State has drafted analyze the problems and suggest diplomatic moves within the separate and artificial categories of "before" and "after" hostilities. This makes it difficult to devise a present strategy toward the Chinese and Soviets with a clear view in mind of where we want to be if there is an extended war. This approach also makes it difficult to calculate the possible inter-play of interests among the great powers at the various stages of a South Asian crisis.

This analytical summary, therefore, is organized so as to raise the issues that the State papers seem to miss. These will be highlighted in your talking points./2/ The summary will cut across the several papers State has produced and construct from them the separate but related approaches we might wish to take toward China and the USSR at the major stages of the South Asian crisis and our derivative postures at the UN. In other words, instead of using State's "before hostilities" and "after hostilities" approach, this summary deals first with China, then with the USSR and finally with the UN.

/2/ Saunders and Hoskinson sent a memorandum to Kissinger on September 3 outlining talking points for the WSAG meeting scheduled for September 8. (Ibid.)

You should not be handicapped by this at the meeting since you will be focusing on issues rather than on papers per se. Our approach makes it a lot easier to get to the ultimate issues which the papers generally miss.

Just so you will know what State has done, here is the list of papers which this summary covers. They follow the summary at sub-tabs under the general tab marked "Contingency Papers":/3/

/3/ The papers cited here are identified and summarized in the text by Saunders and Hoskinson, with the exception of the paper dealing with the approach to take to the South Asian crisis at the United Nations before hostilities developed, and the report on the meeting between Rogers and Dobrynin on August 25. For a memorandum reporting on the meeting between Rogers and Dobrynin, see Document 135. On August 27 Eliot sent to Kissinger the paper entitled "Contact with the Chinese on the South Asian Crisis." On September 1 he sent him the papers entitled "Conversation with the Soviets on South Asia" and "China, the Soviet Union, and the UN-Post Outbreak-of-Hostilities Diplomacy." All three are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71. Eliot sent "South Asia at the United Nations" to Kissinger on September 3. (Ibid., Box H-115, WSAG Minutes Originals, 1971)

-"China." A proposed line to take with the Chinese now before hostilities.

-"Soviet." This is a proposed approach to the Soviets now before hostilities, both in New York and Moscow. Also at this tab is the report of the August 25 Rogers-Dobrynin meeting.

-"UN." A posture at the UN before hostilities./4/

/4/ The paper entitled "South Asia at the United Nations" laid out what was seen in the Department of State as the potential offered by the United Nations to try to contain the crisis short of war. The United Nations provided a channel for famine relief for East Pakistan and refugee relief for India. The United States could use the United Nations to stress the gravity of the situation and the danger of war, to express concern to India about Indian reluctance to accept a UN presence in India, and to emphasize the importance of a political accommodation in Pakistan to defuse the crisis.

-"After Hostilities." Approaches to the Soviets and Chinese and actions at the UN after hostilities break out. This concentrates on getting a cease-fire. It does not deal with the tough question of
Chicom intervention.

I. Approach Toward China

State's scenario for dealing with the Chinese on South Asia is contained in two papers-"Contacts with the Chinese on the South Asian Crisis" considers what we might wish to say to the Chinese before the outbreak of hostilities and a scenario for approaching the Chinese after the outbreak of an Indo-Pak war is included in the paper entitled "China, the Soviet Union and the UN-Post Outbreak-of-Hostilities Diplomacy" (pp. 7-9). The following summary draws together the main points made in both of these papers and identifies issues that should be considered.

A. Contacts with Chinese Prior to Hostilities

The paper on contact with the Chinese prior to hostilities asserts that the principal purpose would be to:

-make sure the Chinese were fully informed of our policies on South Asia;

-stress parallel interests we have in discouraging a war between India and Pakistan.

In any such contact, State believes that it should be made clear that we are not challenging the Sino-Pakistani relationship nor threatening China but simply trying to insure that there are no misunderstandings of each other's policies.

Specifically, State suggests that the following points be communicated to the Chinese through "appropriate" channels:

1. We are seriously concerned about the dangers of war in South Asia.

2. Hostilities may not only result from military over-reaction to provocations but also from the flow of refugees into India.

3. Our actions are designed to ease the burden of the refugees on India and mitigate the prospect of a major famine in East Pakistan.

4. Our efforts are primarily humanitarian and we will not be a party to any effort to capitalize on relief for political purposes.

5. We have urged the Indians to act with restraint and have pointed out to Pakistan the importance of working for a political accommodation in East Pakistan as the best hope for preserving the unity and integrity of the country.

6. We regard the East Pakistan situation as an internal matter, although we recognize that it has international dimensions with involvement of the US, Soviet Union and China.

7. Indo-Pak hostilities would not be to anyone's benefit. Moreover, if external powers did become involved, it would contribute to rising international tensions that would make it difficult for the US to reduce the level of confrontation in Asia and move toward an era of consultation and détente.

8. For our part we are (a) making sure both India and Pakistan are aware that we would not support an attack by one of them against the other, (b) pursuing an extremely restrained military supply policy and (c) using our influence to prevent border incidents from escalating into general war.

9. As the President made clear in his foreign policy report to Congress,/5/ we will do nothing to harm legitimate Chinese (or Soviet) interests in South Asia. No outside power, however, has a claim to predominant influence in the region, and each can serve its own interest best by acting accordingly.

/5/ Reference is to the report submitted to the Congress on February 25, 1971. For text, see Public Papers: Nixon, 1971, pp. 219-345.

10. We are making similar points to the Soviets and would be interested in China's overall view of the South Asian situation.

These suggestions appear to be reasonable as far as they go but some very important contingencies and related issues are not addressed. As State suggests the Chinese should probably know what our general approach to the South Asian crisis is but more important to them, and to us, would be our specific reaction should China and India seem to be heading for a military confrontation or even war. It is difficult to sharpen our present approach to the Chinese (or to the Indians, for that matter) unless we have some idea what stance we would take in a Sino-Indian confrontation. Some of the more important issues that would arise in such a situation would include:

-Should the Chinese provoke border incidents with India and/or make threatening noises in support of Pakistan, what would be the US private and public positions? Even strong anti-Indian propaganda, ultimatums and border incidents without a Chinese military buildup along the frontiers could conceivably raise serious problems for the China trip. Should this be pointed out to the Chinese now? (Who wants the China trip more-we or they?)

-How would we react to a gradual buildup of Chinese forces along India's borders, especially at strategic points? The Indians might regard such a development as a serious threat, or at least would bill it as such in public. Again the spectre of China threatening India could raise some serious problems for the China trip. Would we want to point this out to the Chinese as soon as we detected the beginning of their military buildup or even before they begin to move?

B. Contacts with Chinese After Hostilities

The State paper is premised on the assumption that:

1. In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of hostilities, we should attempt to prevent China from intervening directly and militarily on the side of Pakistan by military action against India;

2. In the post-hostilities peace-keeping phase we should move "energetically" to limit the influence the Chinese may have gained in South Asia, and ensure that they accept and will not disrupt whatever political settlement may be achieved between India and Pakistan.

1. Actions in Immediate Aftermath. State believes that there are a "variety of factors" encouraging the Chinese to limit their intervention, like fear of a possible Soviet riposte along the Sino-Soviet border and the damage that bellicose behavior might do to China's foreign policy posture in general and the prospects for the President's trip in particular. Therefore, State believes that should Indo-Pak fighting break out "these constraining factors, reinforced by statements of our concern, are more likely to be effective than direct preemptive moves."
State suggests the following specific actions:

-Through the most direct and rapid channel of communication, convey our concern, our determination not to seek advantages from the crisis and hope that China will influence the Paks to bring hostilities to an early end. We would also indicate the bilateral steps we were taking in Moscow, New Delhi and Islamabad to the same end and particularly express the hope that the Chinese would also cut off arms shipments. Finally, we would suggest our willingness to cooperate in seeking an early settlement.

-If the PRC is a member of the Security Council, seek its support for a resolution calling for an early end to hostilities and creating a basis for a political settlement.

-If PRC is not in Security Council, we would keep it informed of our activities there and seek at least tacit endorsement of any resolution we might favor.

-Include the Chinese in any other international mechanism that might be developed to cope with the crisis.

2. Post-Hostilities Peace-Keeping Phase. State offers no specific suggestions on how we might wish to cut our diplomatic losses to the Chinese in South Asia and insure that they accept and will not disrupt the peace settlement. It is probably assumed, however, that if we succeed in involving the Chinese in putting out the fire, they will then have a vested interest in maintaining the peace in the future.

Again the State paper seems reasonable as far as it goes but some very important contingencies and related issues are not addressed. It makes good sense to involve Chinese in stopping the fighting and working on a peace settlement, but what if they do not see it that way? It would seem to be far too rosy a prognosis to base US policy on a judgment that the Chinese will not line up, at a minimum with threats and propaganda, on Pakistan's side should there be a war. Certainly there are constraining factors but there are also factors that could impel the Chinese toward deeper and more direct involvement. In this connection, it is instructive to note that the Chinese have quietly stepped up their support to the Paks, almost across the board, since last March.

Some of the more important issues this raises are:

-Are there any pre-emptive moves we can take with the Chinese immediately after the outbreak of hostilities to prevent them from intervening?

-If the Chinese do come in on Pakistan's side what should our posture be? Would we provide military assistance to India against China if we judged that India was the target of generally unprovoked aggression?

It is the answers to these questions that we have to think about not only to deal with the contingency if it arises but to sharpen whatever we may say now.

II. Approach to Soviets

State's scenario for dealing with the Soviets on South Asia is contained in two papers-"Conversation with the Soviets on South Asia" and "China, the Soviet Union and the UN-Post-Outbreak-of-Hostilities Diplomacy" (pp. 4-7). The following summary draws together the main points made in both of these papers and identifies issues that should be covered.

A. Contacts with Soviets Prior to Hostilities

At the last WSAG meeting on South Asia (August 17) there was some hesitancy on the part of Under Secretary Irwin and Assistant Secretary Sisco to agree to produce a scenario for approaching the Soviets and especially on the specific issue of prior clearance of any actions with the White House. We attempted to nail both these points down with a subsequent memo from you to the WSAG members,/6/ but Secretary Rogers and Ambassador Beam went ahead with apparently already planned approaches to Ambassador Dobrynin and Gromyko. With some prodding, State has sent over a short paper on further approaches but it falls far short of being the comprehensive scenario we were looking for.

/6/ See footnote 4, Document 135.

You will recall that Ambassador Beam in his August 23 talk with Gromyko and Secretary Rogers in his August 25 meeting with Dobrynin did little more than to convey our concern about the dangers of war in South Asia and gently probe Soviet intentions. They both, not unexpectedly, got back platitudes and positive statements of Soviet intention to exercise restraint and to urge restraint on the Indians. The Soviets also said they were not working towards the dismemberment of Pakistan and do not support separatist and guerrilla operations in East Pakistan.
State "proposes" that our next move with the Soviets should be to attempt to elicit support for, or at least not opposition to, the UN relief effort. They note the apparent close identity of Soviet and Indian negative attitudes toward UN involvement in any aspect of the current situation, and apparently (without so stating) hope that a shift in the Soviet position would also help to bring the Indians around. Specifically, State proposes to instruct Ambassador Bush to discuss these issues with the Soviets at an early date along the following lines:

-Express our concern about the refugees in India and famine in East Pakistan.

-Note the limited Soviet contribution and hope that they will provide support to the concept of an international relief effort as the best way to separate humanitarian relief from political problems.

-Express hope the Soviets will not continue to oppose UN moves designed to reduce tensions and cope with refugee problems.

-Note that if there is famine in East Pakistan there will be an increased flow of refugees to India and the danger of hostilities will increase.

-Recognize our common interests in peace and stability in South Asia and hope for working with the Soviets to de-escalate the crisis.

Then, after we have talked with the Chinese along the lines State suggests, they would go back to the Soviets and reiterate our "basic position," i.e. that we have common interests in the peace and stability of the region and that we will continue to take such actions as we can to de-escalate the crisis. State also proposes saying:

-We have made our commitment to peace and restraint clear to the Chinese and would hope that the Soviets will do the same.

-As the President made clear in his report to Congress in February, we will do nothing to harm legitimate Soviet (and Chinese) interests in South Asia, but no outside power has a claim to predominant influence and all should conduct their activities in the region accordingly.
This is hardly the detailed scenario we were looking for and it would seem to be largely diplomatic eyewash. Now that we and the Soviets have said the appropriate peace and restraint phrases to each other something more substantive would seem to be in order. We might be able to score a few propaganda points on the UN issue but the basic fact is that the Indians are leading the Soviets on this one and our efforts to be most effective should be concentrated on New Delhi, although making the Soviets feel uncomfortable will not hurt. Bush's point on recognizing our common interest in peace and stability in South Asia and opening the door to Soviet cooperation would seem to be a good one, but it needs to be said at a higher level where we can be sure it will have an impact.

Beyond these comments, there are other issues that should be addressed now, such as:

-Can we and should we maneuver the Soviets into using their negative influence with the Chinese to keep them from getting directly involved on the side of Pakistan?

-How can we achieve our objective in South Asia and contain the current thrust of Soviet influence?

-What can we do to encourage the Soviets to use more boldly their substantial influence to restrain the Indians?

-Is there a potential trade-off whereby we squeeze Yahya and they do the same to Mrs. Gandhi and, if so, how do we approach the Soviets on this delicate issue?

B. Contacts with Soviets after Hostilities

State's thinking on how we should approach the Soviets after the outbreak of hostilities is based on the following assumptions:

1. In the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of hostilities we should see that Soviet support to India does not encourage India to keep on fighting until its maximum political demands are met.

2. In the post-hostilities peace-keeping phase, as with the Chinese, we should more "energetically" limit the influence the Soviets may have gained in South Asia and ensure that they accept and will not disrupt whatever political settlement may be achieved between India and Pakistan.

3. Actions in Immediate Aftermath. As in the case of the Chinese, State believes that these are a "variety of factors" encouraging the Soviets to limit their intervention, like their presumed desire not to force the Chinese to intervene on Pakistan's side and the fact that India can probably handle Pakistan alone without direct Soviet military support. Therefore, again as in the Chinese case, State believes that should Indo-Pak fighting break out "these constraining factors, reinforced by statements of our concern, are more likely to be effective than direct preemptive moves."

State suggests the following specific actions toward the Soviets:

-Approach them immediately, perhaps on the hot line, with a message from the President stressing our concern with the gravity of the situation, our determination not to seek advantages from the situation, our hope that the USSR will act likewise and will use its influence to end hostilities.

-Issue immediate Presidential statement deploring the resort to violence, calling for a cessation of hostilities and requesting other interested external powers to work toward this end. The statement, however, would be couched in generalities, not foreclose any of our options and not attempt to get the Soviets to condemn one side or the other.

-Call in Ambassador Dobrynin at the highest appropriate level and [say?] soon we hope that the Soviets will associate themselves with our call for an end of hostilities, support Security Council discussion and reasonable resolutions, and cut off arms shipments. We would inform him of our intention to make a parallel approach to the Chinese.

-In public statements at the UN and elsewhere, hit hard on such themes as:

-Soviet responsibilities to bring an end to the fighting;

-need for Soviets to suspend military and economic aid as we have;

-we seek no special advantage from the conflict.

2. Post-Hostilities Peacekeeping Phase. As with the Chinese, State offers no specific suggestions on how we might cut our diplomatic losses to the Soviets in South Asia and ensure that they accept and will not disrupt a peace settlement. It is probably assumed, however, that if we succeed in involving them in putting out the fire, the Soviets will then have a stronger vested interest in maintaining the place in the future.

Viewed from today's perspective this is probably the right tone and type of posture we should take toward the Soviets in the immediate aftermath of the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan. The whole point would be to encourage them to use their influence with the Indians to halt the fighting, or at least not to let it drag out and see tensions increase among the great powers as a result. There may be other things that we might wish to do but this objective seems right.

The question which remains, but which State does not address, is what if the Soviets do not choose to use their leverage with India. This is very possible and we need to develop our thinking on this subject.

III. The UN-Before and After Hostilities

Whatever is done at the UN is in the nature of being supportive of rather than independent from the major thrust of bilateral policies toward the major actors-India, Pakistan, China and the Soviet Union. The important thing about our UN posture at this point is that it backs up, or at a minimum, runs parallel to our positions in the major capitals. The details are for the technicians to figure out.
State has developed a scenario for a number of things that could be done at the UN after the outbreak of hostilities. (pp. 9-11 of paper on "China, the Soviet Union and the UN-Post Outbreak-of-Hostilities Diplomacy".) These are largely the normal moves of going to the Security Council and supporting a resolution calling for the end of hostilities and seeking a basis for a peace settlement. Again, the important thing about our UN posture after the outbreak of hostilities is also that it supports and is not independent of other actions we may be taking elsewhere.

143. Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, September 7, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action.

Guidance for Keating-US Policy Toward China and India

You will recall from our brief of August 31/2/ that Foreign Minister Singh asked Ambassador Keating and Senator Percy for clarification of the US position in the event of Sino-Indian hostilities. He recalled that:

/2/ Apparent reference to an oral briefing done by Saunders and Hoskinson.

-in July he and the Defense Minister had the impression from your talks in Delhi that India "could be reassured concerning continued US support against China;"/3/

/3/ See Document 93.

-after your return, in connection with a talk you had with Ambassador Jha, the US position "was conveyed that if China intervened as the result of an Indo-Pakistan confrontation, the US reaction could not be assured."

Singh said he was surprised at the apparent change and told Keating: "We would definitely like to know where it now stands" [Tab A, para. 6]./4/ Keating reports he is seeing Singh tomorrow, September 8, and asks for guidance [Tab B]./5/

/4/ All brackets in the source text. Telegram 13793 from New Delhi, August 29, which reported on a conversation that Keating and Senator Charles Percy (R-Illinois) had on August 28 with Foreign Minister Singh, was attached at Tab A but is not printed.

/5/ Tab B, telegram 14180 from New Delhi, September 6, was attached but not printed.

I assume that you were at least making a distinction between unprovoked and provoked Chinese attack and, perhaps more, attempting to unsettle any Indian planning for attacking Pakistan. I also assume that Singh's question is a serious one since past Indian contingency plans have been based on the assumption of some sort of US help in the end.

It seems to me there are three generally possible ways to respond:

1. Remain silent and leave the Indians uncertain.

2. Instruct Keating to reply that there is no ground for confusion. The US has often expressed its interest in India's independence and its consequent concern over an unprovoked Chinese attack (your first statement). But if India started a war, obviously the situation would be different.

3. Add to the explanation in para. 2 above some comment that the Soviet-Indian treaty has injected further complications into our review of the situation.


I am not in favor of a big exercise and a formal reply to Singh. My own suggestion would be to instruct Keating to use paragraph 2 above as his own explanation and pass Singh's question off that way. Since this is a serious question, the Indians may continue to ask it until they are satisfied that they understand our answer but this way we may be able to preserve some of our flexibility.


/6/ Neither recommendation is initialed. In a September 7 note to Kissinger, which is attached to the memorandum, Haig wrote: "You will recall I told State at your direction that you did not make such a statement." Haig was referring to Kissinger's exchange with Jha on July 17. Haig concluded that Kissinger's recollection of his exchange with Jha had not been passed to Keating.

Let's remain silent

144. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, September 8, 1971, 3:07-4:25 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. Another record of the meeting was prepared on September 13 by James Noyes (OASD/ISA). (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 381 (Jan-Nov) 1971)

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin
Joseph Sisco
Bruce Laingen
David Schneider

G. Warren Nutter
James H. Noyes

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Captain Howard N. Kay

Richard Helms
John Waller

John Hannah
Maurice Williams
Donald MacDonald

NSC Staff
Col. Kennedy
Mr. Saunders
Mr. Hoskinson
Adm. Welander
Jeanne Davis


It was agreed that

1) We would make another approach to India to try to establish a common interest in avoiding famine and try to get an accurate count of the refugees;

2) State and AID will prepare a joint memorandum on an approach to the Congress for additional aid funds;

3) We should repeat the warning to India about military activity;

4) We should avoid giving any assurances to the Indians that we would support them in the event of a Chinese attack; nor should we make any threatening noises to the Indians.

Dr. Kissinger: I thought we could ask Maury Williams to give us a brief rundown on relief, then discuss what I thought was to be a feeler on arms supply policy. I wonder what we would do if we were instructed to use a baseball bat-go to nuclear war?

Mr. Williams: As you know, I had discussions in Islamabad and Dacca from August 17 to 23. We nailed down a number of points. We got agreement with Yahya on the priority of the relief effort. He agreed that this was important to his objective of maintaining a Government position in East Pakistan. We also got Yahya to agree, although grudgingly, to the first UN field mission of some 40 people. Also, Yahya said that his policy was for a "civilianization of the Government in East Pakistan" which means deemphasizing the role of the military in running the place. He has now appointed Dr. A.M. Malik, a Bengali, as Governor of East Pakistan in place of the Commanding General there.

Dr. Kissinger: If I may interrupt-Senator Kennedy was in to see me today and claims there is a good possibility that Mujibur is already dead. Is that possible?

Mr. Sisco: Yahya told (Ambassador) Farland categorically that Mujib would not be hanged.

Mr. Helms: We have no information to support the rumor that he is dead.

Dr. Kissinger: I told (Senator) Kennedy that, and he asked why there has been no picture of him published to still the rumors. So we are reasonably sure he is alive?

Mr. Williams: It is inconceivable to me that they would announce a trial and arrange for a well-known defense attorney if he were dead.

Mr. Sisco: It's even more inconceivable for the President of the country to tell our Ambassador to relax-that Mujib would not be killed.

Dr. Kissinger: I can't imagine that he is dead. Go on with your briefing Maury.

Mr. Williams: With regard to political accommodation, the amnesty does not extend to most of the Awami League. Only 88 of the elected League members of the General Assembly and 94 League members of the Provincial Assembly have been cleared of criminal charges and therefore included in the amnesty. Most of these are in India-only 16 of the 88 General Assembly members are in Dacca. The remaining 79 General Assembly members and 60 Provincial Assembly members are on trial either in person or in absentia. There has been some blunting of anti-Hindu practices and some improvement in a more balanced distribution of relief supplies.
With regard to Pakistan's relations with the consortium, we got agreement to try to have a consortium meeting in early October, at the time of the IBRD Executive Directors meeting in Washington, and some agreement on strategy and tactics for such a meeting as well as a sense of the agenda. We proposed they consider: a) immediate relief requirements for East Pakistan and the need for more international help; b) debt relief by common donor action; and c) longer term relief and rehabilitation needs, particularly for agriculture. As of yesterday, McNamara agreed to this.

Dr. Kissinger: Were the Paks happy?

Mr. Sisco: Yes, they asked us to help them and are pleased that we are carrying the load for them.

Mr. Williams: They're delighted-the debt rescheduling is worth $75 million to them this year. They assured me Mujib would be tried. He's worth more to them alive than dead. With regard to the security situation in East Pakistan, there is much guerrilla activity on the eastern border, primarily directed against transportation lines.

Dr. Kissinger: Is this parallel to the Indian border?

Mr. Williams: Yes-it's a battle for the life-line, with the guerrillas trying to cut the railroad and blow up the bridges. This will make the East Pakistanis dependent on water transport. In the north, the bands seem to be operating independently. To the south, there are bands of 3-600, well equipped and using sophisticated tactics. Their targets are transportation lines, bridges, police stations and the administrative structure generally. The first step in the communal violence may have been the killing by the Bangla Desh of the Urdu-speaking Bihari Minister. The counter-reaction when the Pak troops arrived led to the communal riots. The exact number of casualties is not known, but the deaths in the communal riots were probably in the thousands and in the later attacks on the Hindus, probably in the ten-thousands.

Dr. Kissinger: I didn't understand they had attacked the Hindus.

Mr. Williams: They were raped twice-once by the Bangla Desh, then by the troops.

Dr. Kissinger: Why didn't this story come out?

Mr. Williams: I can't tell you.

Mr. Hannah: The journalists don't see that side of it.

Mr. Williams: I lived there for four years and have many friends there, and this is their assessment.

Dr. Kissinger: But you believe it?

Mr. Williams: Yes. The guerrilla activity has been slowly intensifying, thus forcing the Army to exercise increasing control. Army officers have been assigned down to the district level, and the
Army is arming some anti-Hindu elements.

Dr. Kissinger: Are the infiltrators mostly Hindu?

Mr. Williams: Not necessarily. But the Urdu and the orthodox Moslems are more loyal to the Pakistan Government. They are being armed at the village level through what they call Peace Committees. They are the least experienced in leadership but are considered the most reliable by the central Government. These elements tend to be anti-Hindu, and this has generated fear and continued flight on the part of the Hindus.

With regard to a relief program, transport is the key. We have provided 25 coastal steamers which were much appreciated by Yahya. These will move food as it arrives. The security of the transport is of great concern, since the guerrillas are attacking the food and relief ships. The Paks want to arm the ships. We have tried to convince the UN and the military people in Dacca to use the UN emblem. They have agreed reluctantly to rely on the UN emblem and the attitude that "food is above the battle", but if the UN doesn't get moving soon, the operation will fail.

Dr. Kissinger: Have we approached the Indians about assuming the security of the Hindus?

Mr. Williams: Alex Johnson spoke to (Indian Ambassador) Jha but he was brushed off.

Dr. Kissinger: When did this happen?

Mr. Irwin: About 10 days ago, but I don't know that Alex emphasized the point.

Mr. Schneider: He put it pretty directly.

Dr. Kissinger: Did he make the specific point, or say it would be a nice thing?

Mr. Schneider: He asked Jha to ask the Bangla Desh to assure the security of the remaining Hindus.

Mr. Williams: Jha brushed him off. He claimed these things were happening deep in East Pakistan territory and India had nothing to do with it.

Mr. Sisco: It was an unsatisfactory response. We think we should go back to the Indians. Jack (Irwin) could call in the Indians this week.

Dr. Kissinger: Would you show him the map of guerrilla activity? Or we could give it to the New York Times, but they wouldn't print it.

Mr. Williams: The coordination of a relief program with the UN is no picnic, but it can be handled if the security situation is okay.

On the aid requirements, Yahya has asked for a massive effort of some $250-315 million, with a proposed US share of 75%, or $160-235 million. This would include $115 million in PL-480 funds, $25 million in US-owned excess rupees, and up to $95 million in appropriated dollars to come from the $100 million special contingency fund. The variable is the cost for the returnees. (to Dr. Kissinger) You asked if $100 million is enough. The answer is (yes) for East Pakistan. I have two specific recommendations: we should talk to the Indians urgently, trying to nail down the idea of a common interest in avoiding famine. We also need to settle on the number of refugees in order to calculate refugee needs. India claims 8 million, the Pakistanis say over 2 million. We need an impartial third-party verification.

Dr. Kissinger: What do you think?

Mr. Williams: Probably around 6 million. The question is how to stop the flow of refugees. Secondly, we need a decision on how to approach the Congress for the funds required for the refugees, principally in India. If there are 8 million refugees, they will need about $830 million.

Dr. Kissinger: How should we approach the Indians?

Mr. Irwin: We can make a two-fold approach-I can talk to Ambassador Jha here or (Ambassador) Keating can make the approach in New Delhi.

Dr. Kissinger: It would probably be better for you to do it here with Jha.

Mr. Irwin: I agree-maybe we can do both.

Dr. Kissinger: How can we get an impartial refugee count? Would the Indians agree?

Mr. Irwin: They haven't agreed to the UN presence yet. We can do it at the border and try to get a count in the camps.

Dr. Kissinger: (Ambassador) Keating said the Indians had agreed to travelling teams.

Mr. Williams: Yes, but they can't move very far out.

Dr. Kissinger: How can they object to counting the numbers we're supposed to support? Will they load up the camps? How can we establish that they are genuine?

Mr. Hannah: We would know in a range between 2 million and 8 million.

Dr. Kissinger: Let's make the approach to India. Let's try to establish the principle of a common interest in relief measures in East Pakistan to prevent a further exodus into India. Then let's get an impartial count of what they are asking us to support in India. Why not show them the map of guerrilla activity? We can say we understand they can't do much about the forces deep in East Pakistan, but how about the ones at the India border. Would that be useful?

Mr. Irwin: We have already talked partially in these terms but didn't get far. We should try again.

Dr. Kissinger: They will diddle us to death if we don't talk energetically.

Mr. Sisco: Energetically and specifically. We could tell Jha that we have committed $7 million and are prepared to move. But we have to be satisfied of at least minimum cooperation from India. How can we be more responsive if we are not assured of minimum cooperation? There is no need for us to throw money away.

Mr. Hannah: Congress is at the appropriation stage. They have been told $100 million would take care of East Pakistan. Now we will need more for Pak refugees in India. Eight million refugees at 25¢ a day amounts to $2 million a day. We will be stuck with at least 50% of this.

Dr. Kissinger: If there is a continued heavy outflow of refugees, India will use it as a pretext to go to war. This will blow our China policy. They are already killing us in the press and lobbying with the Congress. We have to be firm. What else can they do to us? I'd do it myself, but I think it's a State Department responsibility.

Mr. Irwin: Sure it is.

Dr. Kissinger: We're not asking them to give up anything essential.

Mr. Sisco: These little probes might offer a ray of light that we might get the Bangla Desh together with the Pak Government.

Mr. Irwin: We'll hit the Indians on this and push the UN to move.

Dr. Kissinger: The Indians are playing an absolutely ruthless game.

Mr. Williams: We have to indicate to the Congress what additional appropriations we want. For 8 million refugees, the non-food costs will be about $390 million. We have already provided $30 million in non-food costs and $40 million in food leaving a requirement of $100-120 million. In the next week or so we need to ask for two things: 1) $100-150 million under the relief act/2/ to be used as we wish; and 2) an addition to the $100 million under the contingency fund of the foreign assistance act./3/

/2/ Reference is to the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962. (76 Stat. 121)

/3/ Reference is to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended. (75 Stat. 424)

Dr. Kissinger: How will we get it? (to Mr. Williams) Are you making a recommendation?

Mr. Williams: OMB is formulating one.

Mr. Sisco: There will be input from State and AID on how to proceed. It will be a joint memo from
Mr. Hannah and Secretary Rogers.

Dr. Kissinger: Let's have it this week.

Mr. Irwin: We will get in touch with OMB.

Dr. Kissinger: Talk to Hal Saunders before it is all wrapped up. Can we talk now about the Bangla Desh feelers?

Mr. Sisco: We are trying to get the Bangla Desh to think in the direction of trying to look at political accommodation within the framework of the integrity of Pakistan. We think the six points are within the ballpark. We sent the cable/4/ to the Bangla Desh at Yahya's request. He appreciates our position and we have assured him that we have taken no substantive position.

/4/ See footnote 5, Document 136.

Dr. Kissinger: This can be very helpful.

Mr. Irwin: So much depends on the treatment of Mujib.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Williams) If we can get economic aid through the Senate wrapped in a relief program for Pakistan, would this be agreeable to the Paks?

Mr. Williams: They understand. It would be a case of broadening humanitarian assistance to include commodity assistance for agriculture.

Mr. Sisco: Isn't something further needed? What about the Gallagher Amendment?/5/

/5/ See footnote 7, Document 105.

Mr. Hannah: The legislative history in the House is clear. In the Senate, we would not like to see the $18 million taken out-we would like to have it available.

Mr. Sisco: Secretary Rogers is appearing before the Proxmire Committee/6/ today.

/6/ Senator William Proxmire (D-Wisconsin) chaired the Joint Economic Committee and a subcommittee of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Sisco) I understand you suggested to the Paks that we might give economic aid in return for a complete shut-off of arms shipments.

Mr. Sisco: No. I told them if they were willing to look at the possibility of drying up the military pipeline it would help us in dealing with the Gallagher Amendment. That's as far as I went.

Dr. Kissinger: We have a report from the Pak Embassy about discussions at the State Department.

Mr. Laingen: The Secretary talked to them initially, and now we have been talking to one of their Generals./7/

/7/ General Inam-ul Haq.

Dr. Kissinger: May the President be informed? He has a personal relationship with Yahya. We will either get our reports from our own bureaucracy or from the Paks, but we won't be uninformed. We want to know what is being said to the Paks.

Mr. Irwin: You should have been. We will send you the memcons.

Mr. Hannah: Relief for the refugees in India is another matter. We need an appropriation for that. The $100 million will take care of East Pakistan, but we need more for the refugees in India.

Mr. Laingen: Our discussions with the General are continuing. We're looking now at FMS. They understand what we are up to.

Dr. Kissinger: What are we up to?

Mr. Laingen: We're trying to dry up the pipeline. That's where we stand.

Dr. Kissinger: That's not where we stand. You are trying to dry up the pipeline. You are asking them to dry up the pipeline.

Mr. Sisco: We'll send you the memorandum of the Secretary's conversation./8/

/8/ Document 139.

Dr. Kissinger: The President has ruled on this 500 times. He thought this was to be an exploratory conversation.

Mr. Sisco: That's what's going on. There has been no decision.

Dr. Kissinger: What does the General think is going on?

Mr. Sisco: We're trying to determine if it is technically feasible. The Secretary checked this out with you. I'm not aware that there is any information that hasn't been provided you. There's been no recommendation from State or Defense. The Secretary merely wanted to know if it was technically feasible.

Mr. Irwin: It's a question of what you mean by "drying up." Some of the things we can deliver quickly. How long will it take to deliver what's left over? The question is should we cut off the pipeline when most of the material has been delivered or drag it out. If we drag it out, we should be prepared to take the heat.

Mr. Sisco: The US will be in a better position to be helpful if we are freed of the yoke of continued military shipments.

Dr. Kissinger: How?

Mr. Sisco: We haven't gotten into specifics. We can be helpful in the consortium with debt rescheduling, providing dollars for humanitarian relief, as well as normal programs.

Mr. Williams: Normal programs are held up by the Gallagher Amendment.

Dr. Kissinger: I'm trying to get the President's orders carried out. Doesn't the Gallagher Amendment block economic aid? We're trading what for what-arms shipments for no arms shipments?

Mr. Sisco: It depends on how you interpret the Gallagher Amendment.

Mr. Hannah: There is no intention of cutting off the $75 million loan funds for Pakistan held over from 1971. The Kennedy Amendment/9/ applies to the 1972 appropriation. It's possible we could do some maneuvering. Even if the Gallagher Amendment is retroactive, it won't be effective until the appropriation is passed. There are indications Senator Fulbright will hold the authorization in bondage until he gets a commitment from State and Defense to provide him certain information he wants. We have the $75 million which I don't think is affected by the Gallagher Amendment.

/9/ On September 23 Senator Edward Kennedy introduced an amendment to section 302 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 authorizing $400,000 to assist the international refugee effort in India. (S. 2568. Congressional Record, September 23, 1971, pp. S14876-14877)

Dr. Kissinger: Are we saying we would make this available?

Mr. Sisco: We're not saying anything. We will consider it and make a recommendation.

Dr. Kissinger: You're talking about a dried-up pipeline for a dried-up economic aid policy.

Mr. Sisco: I hope not. We're going ahead on humanitarian relief and we have the $75 million. The Paks understand this.

Mr. Williams: They're sympathetic to our situation. They have a $30 million loan from 1971 funds for agriculture-pesticides, fertilizer, etc. With the other money, they would be getting a fair-sized program. That is satisfactory to the Paks.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand the relationship to economic assistance. Let's find out what's going on and I will find out from the President what he wants.

Mr. Sisco: I'll talk to the Secretary.

Mr. Hannah: We have a little maneuvering room from the 1971 funds.

Mr. Irwin: (to Kissinger) You're implying that this is an attempt to do what was previously recommended and turned down. That's not true.

Dr. Kissinger: This is a technical study of how to turn off the pipeline?

Mr. Irwin: There is a small amount left in the pipeline that will stretch over 8 to 10 months. The
Gallagher Amendment stands in the way of doing anything.

Dr. Kissinger: What are we studying? How to turn off $5 million in supplies?

Mr. Irwin: We're studying what the items are, when they will be delivered, how significant they are to the Paks. We may decide to do nothing to the pipeline. Or we may decide it is to our advantage, or to our mutual advantage, to modify the pipeline if it will have an effect on aid.

Dr. Kissinger: As soon as we find out what is going on we will have a basis for discussion. There are two separate problems-they are not linked.

Mr. Irwin: Could I raise the point of UN neutrality?

Mr. Williams: We can't mix relief and non-relief cargoes. We discussed this in Dacca. The river boats that are carrying food will either have to fight their way up or use the UN emblem. In the latter case they can't have armed guards. We need Indian support for an agreement with the guerrillas, and Pak agreement that the ships will not carry jute back down the river.

Dr. Kissinger: Have the Paks agreed?

Mr. Williams: In Dacca.

Dr. Kissinger: Let's put it to the Indians.

Mr. Irwin: We will (1) call in the Indian Ambassador; (2) proceed on the relief situation; and (3) be sure you (Mr. Kissinger) are informed; I apologize if you have not been.

Dr. Kissinger: We should also warn India against military activity./10/

/10/ In the minutes of the meeting taken by Noyes, this statement by Kissinger is preceded by the following comment by Helms: "As the monsoon ends in a few months, we will reach the moment of truth regarding the possibility of military operations on dry land."

Mr. Helms: This would be a good time to repeat the warning.

Mr. Irwin: During the Secretary's talk with Dobrynin, Dobrynin said they were restraining India but were taking no positive action. They were negative in the UN. They may be helpful but in a limited way.

Dr. Kissinger: It depends on the price they think they will have to pay if they are unhelpful.

On the contingency situation with regard to China, the basic points in State's paper/11/ are well taken. I don't think the Chinese rate political accommodation very high. They're not too eager to establish a principle that might create turmoil in one part of a country. Is fear of China one of the factors deterring India?

/11/ See Document 142.

Mr. Helms: That's all that deters India.

Dr. Kissinger: Then should we ease their worries that much?

Mr. Sisco: No.

Mr. Helms: That should be part of our game plan-to make the Indians wonder what China might do.

Mr. Sisco: I don't see why we should reassure the Indians on this score.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Irwin) I'll talk to you about the basic cable later.

Mr. Sisco: We can't speak to what the Chinese might do.

Dr. Kissinger: India is trying to get us to say that we would support them in the event of a Chinese attack. We should avoid saying it, since it might encourage them. Does anyone disagree?

Mr. Sisco: I hope not.

Dr. Kissinger: Are we all agreed that there should be no solo efforts? No one should make any reassuring noises to the Indians without some central point knowing about it. We should make no threatening noises either.

Mr. Sisco: We'll leave any contacts with the Chinese with you.

Dr. Kissinger: I will follow up on that. I don't think they're worried about us. They're worried that someone else will take advantage of the crisis.

Mr. Helms: There's no evidence that the Chinese are gearing up their military for anything.

Dr. Kissinger: How long would it take them?

Mr. Helms: A long time. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

Mr. Sisco: (to Kissinger) You'll keep us informed of the Chinese aspects?

Dr. Kissinger: I have made arrangements with the Secretary (Rogers). The "no solo" edict applies to everyone. I will flag any developments for the Secretary and make sure you know. If anything is said to the Indians here, which I don't foresee, you will know. We will undertake no solo efforts here.
Would it be effective to approach the Soviets through (Ambassador) Bush on relief efforts? I think it's a good idea, but is there anyone for him to talk to?

Mr. Irwin: Dobrynin will be back in two weeks. We should wait until he gets back.

Dr. Kissinger: No matter what the newspapers say, if India should jump on Pakistan, the President will try to cut off aid.

Mr. Sisco: That would be the least he could do.

Mr. Hannah: There would be no objection if there were a war situation.

Mr. Sisco: As we begin to look at aid, we can't divorce it from present Indian behavior-support of the guerrillas, lack of cooperation in contributing to stability in East Pakistan. Did we make the right decision in providing $7 million for the refugees in India? If we hadn't moved so fast, would India's attitude have been different? We have to look at this in the context of the situation.

Mr. Williams: We have a chance to test our thesis in the discussion of relief requirements. If we can exercise some influence with regard to aid, we should do it-not as a threat but in a constructive way.

Mr. Sisco: We should say "Here are the needs; we must work together. We're not putting conditions on this, but you've got to help us in creating some stability."

Dr. Kissinger: They're not that tender-hearted.

145. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, September 10, 1971, 4:20-4:50 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Hoskinson on September 13. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office at the White House. The time of the meeting is from Kissinger's appointment book. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-1976, Record of Schedule)

Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Samuel M. Hoskinson, NSC Staff
Major General Inam-ul Haq, Director General, Defense Procurement, Pakistan
Ministry of Defense
Z.M. Farooqi, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Pakistan

Following the initial exchange of pleasantries, General Haq led off by saying he knew that Dr. Kissinger was very busy and that his remarks would be brief and to the point. He had been discussing the technical aspects elsewhere and did not want to get into these. First of all, he wanted to say that President Yahya was very appreciative of this opportunity for consultation on the military supply problem. Consequently, he had sent General Haq to Washington to determine what could be shipped now and our thoughts. President Yahya does not want an embargo, but he had instructed him to determine what, if necessary, could be shipped by the end of this month.
Dr. Kissinger, after indicating the US desire not to pressure Pakistan on this issue, said he wanted to make sure it was understood that the President was not placing any arbitrary deadline on a possible cut-off of military shipments to Pakistan. If Pakistan needed two or three weeks beyond the end of September to wind things up, that was perfectly alright. We were not holding a gun at Pakistan's head on this problem. Our only point was that if the pipeline were dried up in the relatively near future, it could remove some constraints on us and might make it easier for the US to be more forthcoming on economic matters. Dr. Kissinger concluded this series of comments by asking Mr. Hoskinson to make sure that they were fully understood by the remainder of the US Government.

General Haq indicated his understanding and agreement with Dr. Kissinger's remarks. He especially welcomed the opportunity to have more time for shipping items in the pipeline to Pakistan. He then noted that Pakistan also has some 50 tons of presently unlicensed military supplies in warehouses in New York.

These, he said, were important shipments that Pakistan would like very much to obtain. (While Dr. Kissinger left the room for a moment, General Haq explained to Mr. Hoskinson that they were mainly aircraft spares and valued at about $1 million.) Dr. Kissinger responded that "we will look into these shipments." He added that, while we would like to help as much as possible, we would not want to limit our capacity to help in other areas by our actions on one limited aspect of the arms supply problem. Again, Dr. Kissinger stressed that we were not attempting to force or pressure Pakistan. General Haq indicated his full understanding of Dr. Kissinger's comments.
Dr. Kissinger then went on to explain that we are trying to promote the resumption of economic aid to Pakistan and will do our best on this. Mr. Farooqi, at this point, said that Pakistan hoped that if we can get over the arms supply problem it would be easier for the US to take the lead in the consultations. Dr. Kissinger replied that indeed this was our intention and, after indicating that Deputy AID Administrator Williams had discussed the consortium question in Islamabad, he asked Mr. Hoskinson to explain what we had in mind. Mr. Hoskinson said that Williams had indicated we were pressing for a consortium meeting right after the forthcoming World Bank/IMF meeting here during which debt relief and humanitarian relief would be discussed. Dr. Kissinger added that there might be something we could also do with some of the $75 million held over from last year's appropriation.

General Haq shifted the subject by saying that Pakistan would like to have US assistance in obtaining vital military supplies through third countries. Dr. Kissinger replied that we would look at this with sympathy but there were problems and complications.
The conversation ended with General Haq explaining, at some length, the West Pakistani view of the situation in East Pakistan. Among other things, he alleged that the number of refugees was really much lower than the Indians claimed and that this is why they would not accept UN observers; the Mukti Fauj were mostly Indians, and India wanted to cut off the northwestern tip of East Pakistan to establish the "Bangla Desh" government. The General also asserted that the military imbalance between India and Pakistan was growing, especially since India was receiving new shipments of tanks from the Soviets as a result of the friendship treaty.

(After leaving Dr. Kissinger's office, General Haq told Mr. Hoskinson he thought he would be staying on longer in Washington since he now had more time and would at least want to settle the "50 ton problem" before he reported the results of his trip to President Yahya.)


146. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, September 11, 1971, 9:30-10:10 a.m.

/1/ Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Geopolitical File, Box CL 150, India, 21 May 1971-21 Dec 1971. Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office at the White House. The time of the meeting is from Kissinger's appointment book. (Ibid., Box 438, Miscellany, 1968-1976, Record of Schedule)

Ambassador L.K. Jha
Henry A. Kissinger

The meeting was arranged at the request of Ambassador Jha.

Ambassador Jha began by saying he wanted to review the arrangements for the forthcoming visit of Prime Minister Gandhi (November 4-5, 1971)./2/ Specifically, could the Prime Minister be picked up in New York by an airplane and brought to Andrews AFB on the morning of the arrival ceremony? Dr. Kissinger said that he thought this was possible and he would let the Ambassador know if there were any difficulty. The Ambassador then wanted to review the conduct of the meeting./3/ He agreed that it would be best if the Prime Minister and the President met alone with one adviser entering after the photographers had left through a side door.

/2/ A letter of invitation from Nixon to Gandhi, signed on September 11, was given by Kissinger to Jha at this meeting. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 755, Presidential Correspondence File, India (1971)) The text of the letter was transmitted to New Delhi on September 17 in telegram 171338. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 INDIA)

/3/ On September 29 former Ambassador to India John Kenneth Galbraith telephoned Kissinger to say that he had met with Prime Minister Gandhi and she was uncertain about the kind of reception she was going to receive in Washington. Galbraith said that one of her assistants told him that "she was afraid of some brush-off at the White House which would be very damaging." Galbraith urged that Nixon send her a personal note "saying he is looking forward to her visit, getting better acquainted, understanding her problems on the subcontinent." Kissinger assured Galbraith that Gandhi would be received with "special courtesy" and added that the type of note Galbraith was suggesting had been sent to the Prime Minister more than 2 weeks earlier. In the September 11 letter to which Kissinger referred, Nixon wrote of looking forward to wide-ranging discussions which had taken on "a new urgency and a new importance" in light of the events of recent months. Nixon noted his pleasure that Gandhi would be visiting Washington November 4-5, but his letter was not the informal note of reassurance Galbraith proposed. (Transcript of a telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 369, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

Ambassador Jha then asked what interest the United States had in keeping East Bengal a part of Pakistan. Dr. Kissinger replied that the Ambassador misunderstood our policy. We had no interest in keeping East Bengal a part of Pakistan. We did have an interest in preventing the outbreak of a war and preventing that issue from turning into an international conflict. As for the rest, we would not take any active position one way or another. Ambassador Jha pointed out that the pressures on the Indian Government were very great. Dr. Kissinger replied that some of them were self-generated.

The Ambassador noted that Haksar was on his way out; maybe Kaul was also in difficulty, but it was not easy to tell who would replace him and whether the man who would replace him would be any better.

If we played our hand intelligently, the Ambassador continued, it would even turn out that India might now look for a compensating move/4/ to take towards the United States. Dr. Kissinger responded that we would certainly be ready, but it was important for India not to be playing with the President. If it turned out that some of our reports were correct, that India was using the visit to the President to cover an imminent attack on Pakistan, our relations would not recover so soon.

/4/ The compensating move suggested by Jha implied an initiative to offset to some extent the treaty India had signed with the Soviet Union on August 9.

Dr. Kissinger also said he could not understand the Indian press reports and official reports according to which he had told Jha that India would have no American support in the case of a Chinese attack. The Ambassador replied that what he had reported was the following: Dr. Kissinger had said that in the case of a Chinese attack that was unprovoked, the United States' interest in India would be very great; in the case of a Chinese attack produced by an Indian attack on Pakistan, it would be much harder for the United States to do something. Dr. Kissinger stated that this was essentially correct.

Dr. Kissinger and the Ambassador promised to stay in touch with each other in preparing the Prime Minister's visit, and the meeting then ended.

147. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, September 15, 1971, 2005Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, REF PAK. Secret; Exdis. Drafted on September 14 by Quainton; cleared by C. Herbert Rees, Director of the Office of South Asian Affairs (AID/NESA); and approved by Irwin. Repeated to Islamabad, London, Moscow, USUN, Calcutta, and Dacca.

169506. Subj: Refugee and East Pakistan Relief.

1. Summary: Under Secretary Irwin called in Indian Ambassador Jha September 13 for general review of current relief situation in India and East Pakistan. Under Secretary stressed importance of India and US working together toward common goal of averting famine in East Pakistan. He expressed hope that GOI would publicly indicate its support for neutral UN relief effort and would use its influence with Bangla Desh leadership to persuade it to support UN relief on Bangla Desh Radio and to avoid guerrilla activities aimed at relief personnel. Under Secretary pointed to dangers of increased guerrilla activity, Indian support therefore and increase of tension flowing from precautionary actions taken by both India and Pakistan. Jha said ultimate solution of refugee problem rested on an East Bengali government which the refugees would trust. Under Secretary also raised with Jha desirability of some kind of verification system to determine number of refugees and their needs. Jha indicated GOI did not wish to see starvation in East Pakistan, and suggested that USG and other countries approach Bangla Desh representatives on subject of relief. Jha reacted negatively to verification proposal which appeared to impugn veracity of GOI. End summary.

2. At Under Secretary Irwin's request, Indian Ambassador Jha called September 13 to discuss famine situation in East Pakistan and relief needs. Jha accompanied by Minister Rasgotra and First Secretary Verma. AID Deputy Administrator Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary Van Hollen and Quainton of NEA/INC also present.

3. Under Secretary began by emphasizing common USG and GOI interest in working toward goal of averting famine in East Pakistan. USG, he said, recognized excellent job which India had done in organizing refugee relief. We also recognize political and economic pressures which refugees represent. As we see it, however, most immediate issue is famine which will come unless active measures taken to avert it. This will require energetic, extensive and effective UN effort. We hope this effort will be supported and accepted by GOI and Bangla Desh (BD) leaders. If relief effort is disrupted, famine is likely and refugee flow will be increased. Greatest present danger is guerrilla attacks on relief assistance. Guerrillas have been most active all along East Pakistan's eastern border with India and have successfully disrupted rail line along eastern border. Only shipping remains and if that is attacked as well, it will destroy whatever relief effort we can make.

4. Under Secretary noted that Foreign Secretary Kaul in discussion with Ambassador Keating and Professor Galbraith had recognized need for relief as long as it was not bound up with Pak military. We strongly agree that relief must be above the battle. We believe that Pak military can be kept away from relief effort. We hope very much GOI will be willing to back neutral relief effort. We would not expect it to back relief which was part of military operations. We would also hope BD leaders would support truly independent UN relief effort and would not continue to insist that BD reps be associated with relief effort. We recognize in asking GOI to use its influence with BD leaders that it may not have full control over guerrilla movement and that BD leaders may not fully control their own military. Nonetheless, if BD leaders would use BD radio to support UN relief effort this would be constructive.

5. AID Deputy Administrator Williams then reviewed achievements of his recent Pakistan trip, noting that the UN effort now accepted by GOP. It had also accepted UN's need to monitor its relief and agreed that there would be no discrimination in allocation of relief to Hindus and Muslims. Williams noted that in response to UNSYG's request, 17 coastal vessels of up to 800 tons and nine mini-bunkers, all with foreign crews, would be distributing relief. There would be no mixed cargoes, neither military nor industrial goods would be carried, and no jute would be brought back on return trips. Ships would operate under UN emblem.

6. Jha responded by stating that GOI anxious that there be no starvation deaths to add to others that have already taken place. He expressed appreciation for assessment of relief plans. He said question was how could GOI help, and wondered whether talking to Bangla Desh people would really help. He expressed view that relief operation needed to be projected in more positive way and thought that East Pakistani people with experience of slow cyclone relief effort had little confidence in UN. Recalling his earlier suggestion, Jha said that relief should begin in areas such as Barisal where logistics were not vital. In addition, he suggested that relief officials on both sides of border establish informal contact with BD representatives. Jha thought it would be preferable to convey our concerns directly to BD leaders rather than have them diluted through GOI. Williams noted that UN Mission in East Pakistan obviously could not deal with BD reps, but he thought UNSYG might be approaching them elsewhere. In any event, GOI good offices with BD reps and clear public acceptance of UN relief effort would be helpful, although it would not substitute for direct UN contacts. He thought it would be particularly helpful if BD radio would state that battle was not against hungry people. Van Hollen added that it was important in terms of India's public posture that it reaffirm publicly it wanted no one to starve and supported international relief effort. Since India's influence with BD leaders is relatively the greatest, if GOI convinced that UN effort is neutral it could use its influence effectively with them.

7. Jha also expressed view that it would be helpful if other countries taking part in humanitarian relief effort contacted BD reps. He said that this would make it easier for GOI politically, since it would prefer to be joining international chorus rather than playing first fiddle. Under Secretary noted that some countries reluctant to take action which GOI opposes, particularly USSR. They will follow what GOI wants to do.

8. Jha said he was unaware to what extent UN had raised security issue with GOI in New York. Foreign Minister and Foreign Secretary will be in New York in next few weeks and will then have very direct discussions on this issue.

9. Jha asked Williams for his assessment of causes of current refugee flow. Williams said he was puzzled by number of refugees and differing GOP and GOI claims. Famine did not appear to be a major factor. First wave of refugees were political, second came because of communal fear and insecurity. There seemed to be direct corollation between insurgency and tensions which led to refugees. He said we were encouraged by Dr. Malik's appointment since he had a reputation as a moderate on Hindu-Muslim matters.

10. Under Secretary said that the Ambassador's question to Williams led to another item he wished to discuss, namely India's support to guerrillas. He commented that to degree that there is continuous fighting it seems communal problem is enhanced and the refugee flow increases. We recognize position GOI has taken with respect to support of BD movement, but fighting creates refugees. Further additional support to guerrillas or recognition of BD as independent government would increase refugee danger and danger of radicalization. Under Secretary noted that both India and Pakistan seemed to be taking precautionary action in case other side takes offensive action. Such actions can only increase tensions and lead to possibly more dangerous situation. We hope GOI will do all it can to avoid increasing tension.

11. Jha said that it was grave misreading of situation to think that guerrilla activity can be curbed or stopped by GOI in order to limit refugee influx. Large numbers of East Pakistani military personnel defected in March and they will not give up or accept mere civilian administration in East Pakistan. Similarly, bulk of refugees will not go back if there is no fighting, but only if there is truly Bengali government. Jha noted that Hindu refugee flow threatened India's entire secular policy. This was far more serious than question of whether fighting a bad thing. If that were to happen, it could be even more disastrous than conflict with Pakistan. GOI was committed, however, to avoid fighting and had tried to maintain degree of propriety in its relations with GOP. Rasgotra noted that cause of refugee exodus was systematic Pakistani campaign to evict Hindus. There was nothing GOI or guerrillas could do to stop this exodus.

12. Conversation then turned to question of numbers of refugees. Under Secretary noted GOP claim of two million. All of our plans had been based on GOI figure of 8 million. It would be very helpful for us in dealing with Congress if we could have independent system or count by UN team. Such a count would probably come out with recognition of excellent job done by GOI. Jha replied that GOI had kept careful register of refugees and if anything figures were under-estimates. If purpose of verification was to carry weight with Congress, he thought Chairman of Refugee Subcommittee/2/ who had recently visited India might be more helpful. Jha said GOI was not asking Congress for money and he concerned that USG felt Pak figures somehow more credible. Williams said what we had in mind was to have UNHCR representative review basis on which GOI counts refugees. This would be helpful in preparing estimates of how refugee burden affects development program. There is a feeling that GOI figures might perhaps be somewhat high and since we do not understand GOI procedures it would be useful if UNHCR could evaluate them.

/2/ Senator Edward Kennedy.

13. Williams noted that in consortium operation World Bank had frequently carried out assessment of Indian economic performance and had sent teams to India. Jha said that consortium review had never been designed to question basis for GOI statistics. Getting satisfactory proof of numbers of refugees is irrelevant exercise if it is merely designed to keep foreign legislatures happy. There is no point at all in engaging in statistical exercise for this purpose. Until now level of aid from world as a whole only a fraction of what India has done. Principal constraint on contributions has not been lack of information about magnitude of problem but domestic preoccupations in donor countries. Unless USG proposal was part of new approach designed to mobilize massive international aid, there would be no point in counting exercise. Williams said we hoped larger international effort could be undertaken. Under Secretary Irwin said he hoped USG proposal would be considered not as questioning of Indian estimates but in context of total development program which India faces. Jha reiterated that from his point of view verification of national data had never been international responsibility. Evaluation and appraisal, yes; but verification, no. This would be a wholly new chapter for UN.

14. Rasgotra noted that UN seemed to be mounting major programs in East Pakistan but had not done much in India. Van Hollen replied that this reflected different attitudes of GOI and GOP on this issue. He pointed out that since May, GOP had accepted substantial UN relief programs and personnel, whereas on Indian side there had been only a limited UN presence in New Delhi and apparent GOI disinterest in major UN activity in Eastern India. Williams noted that what we sought was common assessment in order to give us basis for providing resources. This was the way we had always operated in the past. Jha said if there were going to be a major international commitment to support of refugees on scale commensurate with problem, then clearly there would need to be discussion between administering agency and GOI on what was needed; but if it merely a matter of token contributions then dialogue on this subject would not be necessary. Under Secretary concluded by saying he had noted Jha's strong reaction to proposal for UN counting. We had made proposal because we considered it as step which could be helpful in supporting India's case in Congress.


148. Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, September 16, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 641, Country Files, Middle East, South Asia, Vol. II, Jan-Oct 1971. Secret; Exdis. Sent for information. Kissinger initialed the memorandum indicating he read it.

Situation in South Asia

We have recently received a series of related reports suggesting that relations between India and Pakistan could again be moving toward a flash point. The evidence is still highly circumstantial, but there is enough at least to warrant increased concern.

New Developments

As you know, both the Indians and the Pakistanis have in recent weeks been taking increased measures of military preparedness. In some cases, these surpass those made before the war in 1965. Forces on both sides are now at a high state of alert, and other related measures have been taken against the contingency of the outbreak of war.

The most recent, and most worrisome, report is that units of India's armored division and an independent armored brigade have begun moving from the interior toward the border with West Pakistan, opposite Lahore. This move reportedly is intended to signal the Pakistanis that New Delhi is prepared to meet and deal with any Pakistani incursion and to discourage any thoughts Islamabad may have that a pre-emptive strike against India could succeed. It could also, however, lead the Paks to believe that the Indians are preparing to attack and stimulate some drastic reaction, perhaps along the cease-fire line in Kashmir.

The Indians also seem to be stepping up the pace on the political front. As you know, they apparently played a guiding role in the recent formation of a multi-party Bangla Desh "National Liberation Front" which is to function as an overall steering committee. The Front includes-among others-pro-Moscow Communists, who knowledgeable sources believe were brought in at Indian and Soviet insistence. At a minimum, it broadens the base of the Bangla Desh movement and strengthens the hand of the leftist hardliners against the remaining pro-West moderates. In a related move, T.N. Kaul is being publicly quoted as saying India will recognize Bangla Desh "very soon," and in private Kaul and other major foreign policy advisors to Mrs. Gandhi are reported to be talking about the inevitability of war.

There may also be a degree of Indian coordination with the Soviets on bringing pressure to bear on Pakistan. Gromyko, for instance, recently issued a stern warning to Sultan Khan to refrain from any kind of hostilities or use of arms but offered no solution to Pakistan's problems. As you know, Mrs. Gandhi plans to travel to Moscow for a visit toward the end of the month, possibly to assess Soviet reactions and support.

It is difficult to say exactly what this situation adds up to. Most observers doubt that the Indians are preparing to initiate a direct attack on either East or West Pakistan. Many of the moves taken could be viewed as defensive moves against the possibility of attack. It is possible, however, and there have been persistent rumors that the Indians are planning to increase significantly their support to Bengali insurgents, perhaps even involving the use of Indian "volunteers." This could involve an attempt to capture some of the more isolated border areas in northwest East Pakistan and establish the Bangla Desh "government" there. Now would be about the right time to begin preparing for the likely Pakistani reaction by moving armour up to the Western Front if the operation in the East were to begin in early October. The rains in East Pakistan will be ending soon, and the area will by early October be more conducive to military operations.

At a minimum, it appears that the level of tension and the danger of war, at least by accident, has increased another notch in recent weeks. War may not yet be inevitable, but there is a certain grave sense of inevitability hovering over the subcontinent and influencing actions on both sides. Under these conditions and with tensions running so high, events can gain a momentum of their own and lead to a war that no one really wants but all are willing to fight out of fear of losing if they do not mobilize and go on the offensive.

What Can We Do

It seems to us the framework for policy-making falls into two parts:

-Contingency planning can now be sharpened somewhat by attempting a more refined estimate of the ways in which hostilities might begin. CIA/ONE is drafting a memo which covers these points. That done, we can draw together the papers already done.

-Further diplomatic steps in the longer term, of course, lead to the President's talk with Mrs. Gandhi if the situation holds that long. But there is the more immediate question of what more should be done in the immediate future. State is producing a paper on this, and I shall send you a separate memo. Secretary Rogers' talk with Gromyko will come a couple of days before Mrs. Gandhi is in Moscow.

149. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Calcutta/1/

Washington, September 18, 1971, 1738Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Constable on September 16; cleared by Laingen, Schneider, Van Hollen, Sisco, and Saunders; and approved by Irwin. Repeated to Islamabad, London, New Delhi, and Dacca.

172246. Ref: Calcutta 2513, 2510./2/

/2/ Telegram 2510 from Calcutta, September 15, reported on a September 14 meeting between a political officer of the Consulate General and Bangladesh representative Qaiyum. According to Qaiyum, Foreign Minister Mushtaq Ahmed had discussed with the Bangladesh Cabinet a proposed meeting between Mushtaq and the political officer. The Cabinet questioned the purpose of the meeting, and Mushtaq asked Qaiyum to find out why the political officer wanted to speak to him. The political officer replied that he had been instructed to discuss the Bangladesh position directly with Mushtaq, and "implied that he might subsequently have something to say to FonMin." Qaiyum said he would stress the importance of such a meeting, and, if Mushtaq remained reluctant to meet, he would approach Prime Minister Tajuddin Ahmed or Acting President Islam to take his place. On September 16 the political officer met with Qaiyum again. Qaiyum said that Mushtaq was still questioning the need for a personal meeting, but wanted to know what would be discussed if the meeting did take place. The officer replied that he was prepared to listen to anything Mushtaq wanted to discuss. (Telegram 2513 from Calcutta, September 16; both ibid.)

1. As Calcutta has noted, Qaiyum's reluctance or inability produce Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister" Mushtaq Ahmed for meeting indicates considerable cooling Mushtaq's initiative. While there may be many reasons for this development, point for us seems to be that we should not seek to lead unwilling BD reps into negotiation.

2. At this time, we see little merit in Qaiyum's alternative suggestion of meeting with "Prime Minister" Tajuddin Ahmed or with "Acting President" Nazrul Islam who were presumably not instigators of Mushtaq's initiative. You should, therefore, avoid giving Qaiyum any encouragement that you wish to see these BD reps. If, however, he should on his own produce appointment with one or both, hold option open and report soonest so that Dept can consider what, if any, use might be made of such contacts.

3. We do, however, see point in continuing to seek meeting with Mushtaq if for no other reason than to verify whether Qaiyum's reporting of Mushtaq's earlier and current positions has been accurate. Dept, therefore, suggests you continue discreetly seek contact with Mushtaq via any appropriate channel available to you (given Qaiyum's increasingly emotional and seemingly erratic outbursts, it may be well to avoid pursuing contact through him). You should, however, continue to be cautious in avoiding implication we have "important" message to pass Mushtaq lest latter seek hold out for higher level meeting there or elsewhere, e.g., as part of visit to UNGA, New York. Should meeting with Mushtaq take place, believe you should pass on indication of President Yahya's interest in negotiation, whether or not Mushtaq verifies past BD interest in negotiation.


150. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Calcutta/1/

Washington, September 21, 1971, 2347Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Constable; cleared by Laingen, Schneider, Van Hollen, Sisco, and Saunders; and approved by Irwin. Repeated to New Delhi, Islamabad, Dacca, and London.

173942. Subject: Contact with Bangla Desh Reps. Ref: Calcutta 2527,/2/ State 172246./3/

/2/ On September 20 the Consulate General in Calcutta reported that the Bangladesh leadership in the city were divided over whether to meet with representatives of the U.S. Government. Qaiyum sent word through a messenger that, while Mushtaq Ahmed and Tajuddin Ahmed were not interested in such a meeting, Acting President Nazrul Islam was "keen" to meet with a political officer of the Consulate General. (Telegram 2527 from Calcutta, September 20; ibid.)

/3/ Document 149.

1. In view of fact no USG official has yet had contact with any member political leadership of BD, PolOff authorized meet with BD "Acting President" Nazrul Islam. We see meeting as means: (a) to establish whether any interest in BD "govt" in negotiated settlement at this stage; (b) to learn what are current negotiating demands of BD reps and (c) to inform Nazrul Islam, and through him BD cabinet, that we have already passed on to Pres. Yahya word of possible BD interest in negotiation and that latter's reaction was one of interest./4/

/4/ Yahya reiterated his interest on September 21. (Telegram 9582 from Islamabad, September 21; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971)

2. We believe it is important at this stage that high level official in BD govt be at least aware there has been expression of interest in negotiated settlement on part of Yahya govt. You should, of course, continue to take stance that we are neither proposing negotiations nor taking any part other than that of messenger. In this role, you may if occasion warrants offer to pass any BD message on negotiation or reaction to your information on Yahya's position back to President Yahya.

3. You should also use opportunity of meeting to urge BD "govt" and Mukti Bahini to respect UN relief operations in East Pakistan as per State 165031./5/

/5/ An instruction to this effect was transmitted on September 8 to Calcutta in telegram 165031. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

4. Dept believes it would be useful, if opportunity arises in meeting with Nazrul Islam, determine if there is channel other than Qaiyum to Nazrul and BD cabinet./6/

/6/ Printed from an unsigned copy. A week after receiving this instruction, the Consulate General indicated that it was "stymied" in its efforts to arrange a meeting with Islam. The only channel to Islam remained through Qaiyum. Qaiyum sent a message that Islam was still keen to talk to a political officer but was seeking permission from the Indian Government to do so. (Telegram 2570 from Calcutta, September 28; ibid.)

151. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State/1/

New Delhi, September 25, 1971, 1530Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-US. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Islamabad, London, USUN, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and Dacca.

15268. Subj: Indo-U.S. Relations in Indian Public Arena: There's No Place To Go But Up.

1. Summary. During previous troughs in Indo-U.S. relations, American officials and private Americans caring about health of Indo-U.S. relations frequently comforted selves that while government-to-government relations temporarily low, there such substantial bedrock of goodwill for America among Indian people, equilibrium bound to be re-established in time, almost as law of nature. Most competent Indian and foreign observers today agree with Senator Percy's comment in August 9 Indian Express that Indo-U.S. relations at "all-time low." What makes present crisis in confidence particularly important and disturbing is accumulating evidence that old easy-going assumption about unshakableness of Indians' private fondness for America is outdated, and that events of past six-months have seriously drawn down fund of goodwill. Recognizing that during this period there have been, as always, some Indian officials, media representatives, and other influential intelligentsia working overtime to place U.S. policies in worst possible light, fact is that even after American spokesmen's careful, cogent explanations of those policies, vast majority of Indians who have commented, including many old friends, profess confusion about American purposes in South Asia and chagrin about American actions. Single most damaging factors during past spring and summer, from which most other specific criticisms of U.S. derive, concern military sales: (a) U.S. decision not to ban all military shipments to Pakistan upon outbreak hostilities East Bengal, and (b) subsequent public fuzzing of specifics of military sales program, resulting in serious questions about U.S. credibility across broad range of foreign policy/ defense issues. End summary.

2. Recent letter to me from Gandhian friend of U.S. suggesting Mrs. Gandhi's visit to U.S. good time for U.S. and Indian officials to assess what respective peoples think of each other, has prompted me to review public indicators of Indian views toward U.S. over past six-months. Our depressing conclusion is these months have seen injection into Indo-U.S. equation of Indian public bitterness which will not be easily erased. Unlike earlier storms in our relationship, at level of public consciousness, suspicion and hostility are broad, deep, and on present evidence, durable. We note following indicators:

(A) Ambassador's Mail. Volume extremely heavy since beginning East Pakistan crisis. Includes playwrights, journalists, professors, school teachers, lawyers, businessmen and common people-many of whom say they have not previously written Ambassador of any country. Themes have become all too familiar: (i) desire to create South Asia power balance causes U.S. to "equate" Indian and Pakistan; (ii) U.S. at worst assisting Yahya to crush democracy (eleven professors of Rajasthan University), at best "silent spectator to genocide" (high school teacher in Bihar); (iii) U.S. "arming" of Pakistan and warming of Sino-U.S. relations has driven isolated India further unto arms of USSR, which may radicalize Indian political process (e.g., leader in history Osmania University, businessman in Kerala, agriculturist in Punjab); (iv) irony of U.S. providing "arms" to Pakistan and assisting refugees who are victims; (v) U.S. gains nothing from its policy in present crisis; sample comment: "What is it America stands to gain by keeping alive flame of torture in subcontinent?"; (vi) some writers profess continued friendship for American people, but contrast administration unfavorably with "land of Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy" (frequent quote). Prominent Delhi advocate, declaring self member of Congress Party who believes strong Indo-U.S. relations important to India, wrote in mid-August: "Every right-thinking person in India is entitled to know . . . whether American Government places Pakistan's interest above Indian interest . . . I am writing to get clarification so Indian minds are cleared of mist that has developed due to present steps by American Government."

(B) Letters to Editor. Though volume has decreased somewhat past month, hostile letters continue as near daily feature. Themes which have not changed appreciably since beginning are same as those in letters to me. Notably, long-time friends of U.S. have joined critical chorus: (i) G.L. Mehta, former Ambassador to U.S. and life-time President Indo-America society, in letters to Times of India and Indian Express in late July and early August professed self "outraged by U.S. policy of U.S. administration on arms supply, economic aid to Pakistan . . . if conscience of American nation is alive, it must realize what grievous wrong is being done through present policy its government"; (ii) J.J. Singh, resident of U.S. nearly four decades as head of India-America League has written several letters, including one to Times of India August 4 re alleged U.S. "insistence" GOI accept UN observers-"same old pernicious game of equating India and Pakistan . . . (also) Machiavellian scheme to make Mukti Bahini unpopular in eyes of world. Let Mr. Nixon and others of his ilk rest assured freedom fighters of Bangla Desh . . . will not be awed by scowls of big powers." Others have written: (i) (U.S.) "short-term national objectives being pursued in utter disregard of values cherished by civilized society." (Hindustan Times July 8); and (ii) American Government . . . could not but be expected to support venture of death and destruction by Pakistan." (Times of India September 2).

(C) Editorials. Since Embassy and USINFO have reported in detail all significant editorials, and since themes much same as in correspondence noted above, will not repeat substance here. However, would highlight that: (i) editorial and analytical comment on East Pakistan crisis remains heavy in most papers, with U.S. strong second ary villain. More broadly, almost every editorial appearing on fast-changing power relationships in Asia suggests U.S. has committed itself to side of Pakistan and China, India's putative enemies; and (ii) edits [editorials] critical of U.S. appear in vernacular and English papers widely divergent political/ideological orientations through-out country. Notable, for example, that Indian Express, largest chain in India, which considered by Indians as rightist and normally pro-American, has been leading pack in shrill anti-U.S. diatribes.

(D) Treatment of News. Suspicion of American motives has, since beginning of crisis, been reflected in ways news stories written and headlined. Normal Indian journalistic tendency to sandwich speculation with straight news has become more pronounced. This particularly evident in reports on alleged U.S. views/efforts on such issues as U.N. observers in India and Pakistan, relief assistance in East Pakistan, and AID Pakistan Consortium meeting. Illustrative of insinuative headlining are these from Statesman, which probably has been least hostile to U.S.: (i) September 17 headline "UK Sends Relief Boats to India, USA to Pakistan," over Geneva datelined report of British and U.S. efforts to assist food distribution in waterlogged East and West Bengal; and (ii) September 10 headline, "Aid to Pakistan Without Curbs-Rogers' Appeal To Congress," over item reporting Secretary's Congressional testimony designed to obtain unfettered aid legislation which would assure greater funds for Bengali relief assistance in both India and Pakistan.

(E) Returns from Indian Institute of Public Opinion poll reported New Delhi 14579./2/ Poll indicates dramatic decline past year in U.S. prestige in India.
/2/ Not found.

(F) Private comments of Indian officials, citizens, friendly diplomats. Unlike previous Indo-U.S. contretemps, mission officers have during present one heard no expressions of private understanding or support for relevant U.S. policies. Friendliest thing that has been said (e.g., Congress M.P. R.P. Sinha, and some of less shrill MEA officials) is that U.S. attempt to push GOP into constructive actions in East Pakistan by maintaining dialogue proved unavailing and should be abandoned. Many question how arms policy serves U.S. interest. Ranking officials have generally been tart. Indian Army Commander in Chief characterized U.S. actions as "stupid." Chief Justice of Supreme Court, my close personal friend and long-time admirer of U.S., said at dinner party at residence shortly after signing of Indo-Soviet treaty: "I have always been friend of U.S. and opposed to communism. Now I wonder whether I should review those positions." And so on, across broad social/economic spectrum, as U.S. officials and families traveling throughout India have found. Illustrative is poignant occurrence during recent visit of EmbOff's wife with Indian friend to latter's home on Punjab border with Pakistan. Elderly family retainer, who occupies declining years with daily newspapers, questioned how hostess could bring American to "our home if Americans helping Pakistan prepare for war." Commonwealth and other friendly diplomats return to Delhi from trips across country with sober tales of low esteem in which U.S. currently held.

3. Indians are emotional people who frequently over-react in ways Westerners consider immature. Recognizing this, it is all more important that U.S. policies toward South Asia in time of crisis be examined to ensure that likely emotional/psychological implications for this populous and important country of our actions or inactions carefully understood and factored into policy equation. We suggest that as part of preparation for Mrs. Gandhi's U.S. visit, U.S. officials seized with South Asian problems take new look at policies toward this area with that end in view. As brilliant, articulate, U.S. trained director of MEA's legal division recently pleaded with EmbOff, U.S. policies toward region over next period should be carefully calculated to strengthen forces in India which stand for moderation, reason, and constructive international activity, lest field be preempted by indigenous obscurantist forces who will prey upon average Indian's feeling that India relatively isolated and drive country in unwholesome policy directions in domestic and external security fields.


152. Letter From Pakistani President Yahya to President Nixon/1/

Rawalpindi, September 26, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971). No classification marking. This letter, and an accompanying 11-page aide-mémoire, were delivered to Kissinger by Ambassador-designate Raza on November 3, the eve of Prime Minister Gandhi's visit to Washington. (Memorandum from NSC Staff Secretary Jeanne Davis to Theodore Eliot, November 4; ibid.) The aide-mémoire marshaled Pakistan's case in its dispute with India through November 2. (Ibid.) The text of the letter was transmitted to Islamabad on November 6 in telegram 203180. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

Dear Mr. President,

In calling Major-General N.A.M. Raza, a veteran soldier as well as an experienced diplomat, back to duty from retirement, I have I think selected a most suitable envoy for Washington. His appointment further emphasises the paramount importance I attach to our relations with your great country. Apart from his distinguished services as our Ambassador in Tehran, Rome and Paris, he served twice as Ambassador in Peking.

2. May I avail myself of this opportunity, Mr. President, to express my very sincere appreciation of the sympathetic understanding and assistance that I have been receiving from you and your Government in over-coming the immense difficulties placed in my path towards restoration of democracy, by the unfortunate crisis in East Pakistan.

3. As you know I have been doing everything within my power to put the country back on the rails. However, India with her intransigence, her open hostility and her unabashed support and aid to the miscreants is making my task infinitely more difficult. I earnestly request you to do all you can to dissuade India from this militantly aggressive attitude of hers towards my country. She must be made to realise the serious threat that her present policy is posing towards the peace of this region.

4. Since the announcement of my political programme of 28th June, I have taken various steps to hasten the moment for the redemption of my pledge to transfer power to a civilian Government. As you may have been informed, I have declared general amnesty in East Pakistan and have also appointed a civilian Governor there, who is being assisted by civilian ministers selected from various shades of political opinion. Dates for by-elections in East Pakistan have also been announced. All these steps have evoked a response from political circles and I am hopeful that by the end of the year the major problems would have been resolved. In this process of democratisation your continued personal interest and the support of the United States would be invaluable.

5. With that in view, I would earnestly hope that Ambassador Raza, in whom I repose my fullest trust, would receive your kind co-operation and would have access to you so as to keep you posted on future developments in my country.

Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.

Yours sincerely,

Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan

153. Memorandum for the President's File/1/

Washington, September 29, 1971, 3-4:40 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 492, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 7, Part 1. Secret; Nodis. Prepared by Kissinger. The full text of this memorandum is in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XIII, Soviet Union, October 1970-October 1971. The conversation was tape recorded, with a slightly different time indicated than that noted on the memorandum. Kissinger's record of the conversation adheres closely to the recording. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation among President Nixon, Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, Secretary of State Rogers, Ambassador Dobrynin, and National Security Assistant Kissinger, September 29, 1971, 3:03-5 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 580-20)

President Nixon's Meeting with USSR Foreign Minister Gromyko on September 29, 1971 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. in the Oval Office of the White House (List of participants is attached)/2/

/2/ Attached but not printed. The participants were Nixon, Rogers, Kissinger, Gromyko, and Dobrynin.

The President opened the conversation by noting that it had been one year since he had last met with the Foreign Minister. Since that time some progress had been achieved in a number of fields, notably in the Berlin problem and in some aspects of arms control. The President thought it would be very useful to get Mr. Gromyko's evaluation of where we stood and what needed to be done now. He would also give the Minister his ideas in order to see how we could get things moving.

Foreign Minister Gromyko suggested that the discussion follow the lines of their talk last year, i.e., that one question after another be taken up with each side expressing their respective views and positions on that question before going on to the next. President Nixon agreed to this procedure.
Mr. Gromyko said that first of all he wanted to carry out the pleasant task of conveying to the President the personal regards of the Soviet leadership, Mr. Brezhnev, Mr. Kosygin and Mr. Podgorny.

[Omitted here is discussion of bilateral relations between the United States and the Soviet Union, SALT negotiations, the European Security Conference, and the Middle East.]


The President raised one other subject which was of serious concern to us now. He believed that Mrs. Indira Gandhi was presently visiting Moscow and she would be visiting here later. He wanted to strongly emphasize his concern over the possibility that the situation involving East Pakistan, the refugees and Indians, could explode into a conflict. He believed it was in our mutual interest to discourage the Indian Government in every possible way from taking action that could explode into war in that area. Having said that, he would point out that he was aware of the fact that Pakistan was in no position to fight a successful war with India, because it was outnumbered. However, the situation in that area was so fraught with historical hatreds that if the Indians pushed too hard, the other nation might willingly commit suicide. He believed that the Soviet Union had played an important role in keeping the peace in that area in the past and hoped the Soviet Government would do all it could to prevent an outbreak of war in this crisis.

Mr. Gromyko said he had understood what the President had said in regard to American interests in the area and moreover he would say that he was gratified to learn the U.S. did not want to see a clash between India and Pakistan. He could assure the President that the Soviet Government also did not want the conflict to break out into war. Moreover, perhaps the President knew that the Soviet Union had taken steps in the present situation to rule out the possibility of a confrontation. Of course, Pakistan was by far the smaller country, but he would point out that to provoke a conflict one did not necessarily have to have superior size and strength. To do so it would be enough if there was a lack of restraint and insufficient understanding of one's responsibilities. For these reasons, it was Soviet policy to do everything possible to prevent a confrontation and the Soviet Government had said so in its conversations with Mrs. Gandhi, the Indian Prime Minister. Mrs. Gandhi had assured the Soviet Government that India would do nothing to precipitate a clash with Pakistan. It was true the Pakistani leaders were conveying the same thoughts to the Soviet Government, but here the Soviets did not have as much confidence as in the case of the Indian leadership. Once again, he was gratified to know that the U.S. was interested in averting a war between those two countries and that it stood on the position of counseling both sides to exercise restraint. If this was so, this was one policy that our two countries had in common. On the whole, he would sum it, that the country that should be restrained first of all was Pakistan, at least this was the conclusion the Soviet Government had come to on the basis of what they had observed. The President said we would need to keep in close touch with each other on this situation.

[Omitted here is discussion of economic relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.]

154. Editorial Note

President Nixon and Henry Kissinger met at the White House on September 30, 1971, with British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Ambassador Cromer and reviewed a number of issues affecting relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. During the course of a discussion of the emerging crisis in South Asia, Douglas-Home pointed up the importance of making contact with the Bangladesh leaders in the interest of developing a basis for a political settlement. Kissinger responded: "We have been in touch with Bangladesh people in Calcutta. And we were trying to set up a meeting between the Bangladesh people and the West Pakistanis outside of India. And we had Yahya's agreement to that. And the Indians have now totally thwarted it. They made it hard for these people to deal with us, they're forcing them to check everything with them, they are padding demands which are totally incapable of fulfillment." Nixon also felt that the Indians were preventing a settlement of the crisis: "they're playing a game here that I think is wrong. I think they're deliberately trying to make it insoluble." Later in the conversation, Kissinger said: "The Bangladesh people are actually quite eager to talk." "At first, they were willing to settle for autonomy, and as we all know autonomy would produce independence, there is no other way it can go. Now the Indians have escalated their demand into total independence immediately." He said that Yahya never would agree to such a demand.
"There has to be a face-saving formula and a transition period."

Looking toward his upcoming conversation with Prime Minister Gandhi in November, Nixon suggested that the United States and the United Kingdom exchange information on their talks with her. It was important to do so, he said, so that "she doesn't come in here and, frankly, pull our legs." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation among President Nixon, British Foreign Secretary Douglas-Home, Ambassador Cromer, and National Security Assistant Kissinger, September 30, 1971, 4:10-5:31 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 582-9) A transcript of this conversation is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 146.

155. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 641, Country Files, Middle East, South Asia, Vol. II, Jan-Oct 1971. Confidential. Sent for action. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.

Washington, September 30, 1971.

South Asian Relief

AID Administrator, Hannah, is proposing a FY 1972 budget amendment of $250 million to the foreign assistance appropriation for our South Asian relief programs. Mr. Shultz is sending you separately and without a recommendation a memorandum on the pending alternatives. [Tab A]/2/

/2/ All brackets in the source text. The memorandum was dated September 30; attached but not printed.

Dr. Hannah's proposal rests on estimates by Maury Williams following his recent trip to both wings of Pakistan. To allow flexibility, the money would not be designated specifically for use in either Pakistan or India but the plan now is that about $100 million would be needed in East Pakistan and the rest for East Pakistani refugees in India.

The larger framework is an estimate that total costs in both countries will reach $1.1 billion this year-$300 million of that for avoiding famine in East Pakistan./3/ Grant food shipments would amount to about half-$590 million. Of the remaining need for cash assistance-$390 million for refugees and $150 million for East Pakistan-Williams proposes that the US meet about two-thirds of the requirement in Pakistan and about 40% in India.

/3/ Kissinger and George Shultz discussed the memorandum Shultz was about to forward to the President in a telephone conversation on September 29. Although he was sending his memorandum without a recommendation, Shultz felt that the proposed $250 million appropriation was "a hell of a lot of money" and a complicated way to get the problem of hunger in East Pakistan "on kind of a limitless basis." Kissinger responded: "Not on a limitless basis but have to prevent Indians from attacking. If there is a flow of refugees, we will have another Southeast Asia war." (Notes of a telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 369, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

Mr. Shultz presents three options without recommendation:

-Go to the Congress in two tranches, $125 million now and possibly another $125 million early next session. Everyone agrees this buys the worst of all worlds: we would probably end up doing $250 million but would lose the political impact of doing it.

-Go for $200 million now rather than the $250 million recommended. Williams could live with this, but what this would do is remove all contingency cushion for an increase in the number of refugees or a breakdown in the distribution system in East Pakistan.

-Go for the whole $250 million as recommended by Williams.

Mr. Shultz's concern, understandably, is the budget impact of a program of this size. In those terms, the real choice is between going ahead with $250 million and doing something very little. It might be possible to shave $50 million from the $250 million if that would help, but the overall problem is so large that one could argue that the $50 million saved would not be that significant and that if we are going to pursue an all-out effort to avert famine and war, it should be done right. On balance, I recommend $250 million, but point out that you have a real alternative of $200 million.

If you approve this program, I strongly recommend the attached statement for release when the appropriations request is transmitted to Congress. Senator Kennedy has begun hearings on the refugee issue. Maury Williams will testify Monday (October 4). If you wished to make such a statement, optimum timing would seem to be Friday./4/ Williams would then be in a strong position to defend a record that is already sound and a plan that had been announced and submitted to the Congress. Since only your press conference comment is on the record on this issue, I feel this statement would be a good idea. It would be released on a natural occasion and directed exclusively at a humanitarian problem. [Tab B]/5/

/4/ October 1.

/5/ The attached draft statement was released to the press on October 1 in Key Biscayne, Florida, where the President was visiting. The statement pointed to the danger of famine and war in South Asia. The President called upon the Congress to add $150 million to the $100 million approved by the House of Representatives in August to provide a total of $250 million in additional funds under the Foreign Assistance Act for humanitarian relief and refugee rehabilitation. (Public Papers: Nixon 1971, pp. 1017-1018)


1. That you approve a program of $250 million to be submitted to the Congress tomorrow. [Tab A]
Approve $250 million/6/

/6/ Nixon initialed this option.

Approve $200 million

2. That you approve the attached statement for release tomorrow. [Text cleared with Mr. Price. Tab B]



156. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State/1/

New York, October 2, 1971, 1422Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27-14 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Also sent to Islamabad, New Delhi, and Calcutta. Secretary Rogers was in New York for the autumn session of the UN General Assembly.

Secto 02/3063. Subject: Discussion Between Secretary and FonMin Swaran Singh (India)-Bangla Desh-GOP Negotiations.

1. Summary: During conversation between Secretary and Indian FonMin Swaran Singh, Assistant Secretary Sisco reviewed recent discussion with Ambassador Jha in which he urged India to use influence with Bangla Desh reps to start dialogue with GOP./2/ Swaran Singh replied that GOI does not have influence with Bangla Desh which has independent source of finance and is critical of GOI for its failure to recognize Bangla Desh. Said this did not mean India did not want dialogue.

/2/ A summary of Sisco's discussion with Jha on September 27 was transmitted to New Delhi on September 29 in telegram 178939. (Ibid., POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

2. Secretary urged GOI initiate dialogue without insisting upon Mujib's participation to see what could be accomplished. Swaran Singh replied that US has contacts with Bangla Desh people. It has greater influence, it should try bring about dialogue. Secretary concluded US would do what it could with GOP to get talks with Bangla Desh reps started. Said we hoped India could help. End summary.

3. During course of bilateral between Secretary and Indian FonMin Swaran Singh October 1, Assistant Secretary Sisco reviewed his recent discussion with Ambassador Jha in regard to dialogue between Bangla Desh reps and GOP. Taking off from Swaran Singh's emphasis on need for political settlement,/3/ Sisco emphasized importance of getting dialogue started and urged Indians not to insist that Mujib be participant. Said in view Indian concern over trend toward extremism among guerrillas was it not in India's interest to influence Bangla Desh reps below level Mujib to start talking. Asked isn't this development which would serve interests India, Pakistan, and US?

/3/ Earlier in the conversation Swaran Singh said that an average of 33,000 refugees were crossing from East Pakistan into India every day, exacerbating an already grave situation. He stated that humanitarian efforts to deal with the problem were only a palliative and emphasized that a political settlement was essential. India had no particular solution to propose but felt that the United States should use its leverage with Pakistan to bring about a solution. Rogers agreed on the need for a political settlement but he did not accept Swaran Singh's suggestion that the United States had the necessary leverage to promote a settlement. The United States would do what it could to help with the problem and would provide humanitarian relief, but Rogers said that it was not a U.S. problem and it was wrong for India to look to the United States for a solution. (Telegram 3062 from USUN, October 2; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, October 1-24, 1971)

4. Swaran Singh replied GOI did not have sufficient influence with Bangla Desh. Bangla Desh has independent finances brought out of East Pakistan and collected abroad. Furthermore, it is displeased over India's failure to recognize Bangla Desh. Also Bangla Desh reps would suspect GOI of trying to divide them if Indians suggested leaving aside upper layer of leaders and starting dialogue. It was not that GOI opposed dialogue, but Mujib was important to it.

5. Secretary said dialogue below Mujib would not mean he had been abandoned. Discussion should be started to see what could be accomplished. Swaran Singh replied that US has contacts with Bangla Desh. It could try to start talks since it had greater influence. Secretary repeated that India had greater leverage.

6. Indian Perm. Rep. Sen restated US suggestion saying we proposed lower echelon discussions between Bangla Desh and GOP. Sisco replied there no lack of senior Bangla Desh people, including "foreign minister". He was not proposing discussions between lower echelon people on either side. Said he did not accept FonMin's view that GOI lacked influence with BD. Sisco replied to doubts expressed by Sen regarding GOP willingness to talk and said we have not found any reluctance to open dialogue on part of GOP. Secretary concluded this part of conversation saying we would do what we could with GOP to get talks started with Bangla Desh. He hoped India would help.


157. Analytical Summary Prepared by the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, October 7, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, India-Pakistan, 10/7/71. Secret; Exdis. No drafting information appears on the summary. Transmitted to Kissinger on October 7 under cover of a memorandum from Samuel Hoskinson and Richard Kennedy that indicated they had prepared it. (Ibid.)

Next Steps in South Asia

The State Department paper at the following tab/2/ deals with these subjects: (a) Suggestions for military de-escalation by the regular forces on both sides and diminuation of guerrilla activities; (b) Promoting the beginning of a dialogue between the government of Pakistan and the Bangla Desh leadership; (c) Reducing the flow of refugees and promoting refugee return. Attached to the State Department paper are draft letters to Mrs. Gandhi and to President Yahya incorporating approaches on each of these issues./3/ Each is dealt with separately below with issues identified for discussion.

/2/ Attached was a 10-page undated paper entitled "Next Steps in South Asia" which was transmitted to Kissinger on October 6 under cover of a memorandum from Eliot indicating that the paper had been prepared for the October 7 WSAG meeting.

/3/ Copies of the draft letters are attached to a copy of the paper in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK.

A. Military De-escalation

The State paper proposes urging the Indians to lower the alert status of their forces and to pull back their troops and armor some distance from the border. This would be followed by Presidential letters to both Mrs. Gandhi and President Yahya reiterating the proposal that they pull back their units ten miles from the border. It suggests that border patrolling be carried out by border security and para-military personnel rather than by regular army units. The State proposal then goes on to suggest stressing to India the importance of ending support for guerrilla activities in East Pakistan and to President Yahya an admonition against sabatoge against the Indian rail network in Asam and West Bengal.

There are two issues here: (a) Whether we should propose a pullback of regular units from the border and (b) whether we should again repeat our admonition against a guerrilla war. It would seem to me that the case for trying to avoid accidental clashes of regular forces is better than the one for simply reiterating our argument against guerrilla war. That is an issue of much greater magnitude and might be dealt with better in a broader context. It would be impossible to police such a mutual pullback, but it is possible that the mere announcement of willingness to execute such a pullback and some movement on the ground might help to reduce tensions somewhat.

B. Progress on Negotiations

The State Department paper judges that the political steps taken so far by President Yahya, which exclude the Awami League, do not provide the basis of a settlement acceptable to the Bangla Desh leadership in Calcutta. To facilitate a political evolution, the paper suggests that "our next step should be designed to promote the beginning of a dialogue between the government of Pakistan and the Bangla Desh leadership." The paper notes that we have two possible channels-the Government of India and the Bangla Desh representatives in Calcutta and elsewhere. State suggests that we say we believe President Yahya would be receptive to a dialogue. The problem with this is that as far as we know the Bangla Desh leadership only wants to negotiate on the basis of independence and the release of Mujib.

The State paper recognizes that the Indians are only likely to acquiesce in a proposal for pressing the Bangla Desh leadership toward a dialogue if they believe we are prepared to use our influence with Yahya. So the issue is really whether we want to get into the middle of a dialogue like this where, like in the Arab-Israeli conflict, we will be expected to produce a solution.

C. Refugees

The State Department paper proposes that we "bring home effectively to the government of India" the need to halt support for crossborder activities which create conditions of insecurity and inhibit the return of refugees and to the Government of Pakistan the need to stop actions against the Hindu minority. State also suggests we need to get the Paks to be more realistic about the refugee figures and encourage the UNHCR to be more active on the Indian side. Finally, it is said that we need to consider ways to promote refugee return, when and if conditions in East Pakistan return to normal.

These are highly sensitive subjects for us to discuss with both India and Pakistan, the very mention of which, if done in the wrong way, can create more problems than it resolves. The Indians, for example, flatly refuse to assume any responsibility for the Bengali insurgents and insist that the root of the problem is in East Pakistan. The Paks claim that they are not harrassing the Hindus in East Pakistan. In both cases, the gap between their words and actions is great but it is very difficult to bridge. Meanwhile, the security situation in East Pakistan is continuing to deteriorate and the refugee flow continues.

158. Analytical Summary Prepared by the National Security Council Staff/1/

Washington, October 7, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, India-Pakistan, 10/7/71. Secret; Exdis. No drafting information appears on the summary. Transmitted to Kissinger on October 7 under cover of a memorandum from Hoskinson and Kennedy that indicated they had prepared it. (Ibid.) The summary is undated; the date used is from the covering memorandum.

Possible US Responses to Chinese Military Actions in South Asia

State's paper/2/ assumes that, if hostilities break out between India and Pakistan, China will give some support to Pakistan. They might:

/2/ Reference is to an undated 9-page paper entitled "Possible US Responses to Chinese Military Actions in South Asia," that was forwarded to Kissinger on October 6 under cover of a memorandum from Eliot indicating that it had been prepared for the October 7 WSAG meeting. (Ibid.)

(1) Give additional military assistance-this action is all but certain.

(2) Raise the level of tensions on the Sino-Indian border short of provoking incidents-this is highly probable.

(3) Provoke border incidents in Ladakh or the Northeast Frontier Agency (NEFA)-this also is highly likely.

(4) Limited invasion of India in Kashmir or NEFA. This is considered unlikely.

(5) Step up clandestine support of insurgents-this is likely.

(6) Invasion on several fronts-this is also considered unlikely given traditional Chinese military caution and the improved Indo-
Soviet relationship.

Our Response-Objectives

-Limit the Indo-Pakistan conflict in scope and time in an effort to avoid confrontation between US and Chinese policies.

-Limit Chinese actions to the first two options and work to avoid Chinese involvement directly in hostilities.

-Quick negotiated settlement through the UN or other international mechanism.

-Avoid overreaction to limited Chinese actions which could induce India to move toward ceasefire negotiations.

[Comment: Clearly it would be in everyone's interest to see that hostilities are halted as quickly as possible-the sooner the fighting stops, the less likely would be serious Chinese intervention. How we use what leverage we may have with Pakistan or India or with the Soviets or Chinese will depend on how the conflict begins-which side initiated hostilities or whether each bore a measure of responsibility.]/3/

/3/ All brackets in the source text.

Possible U.S. Actions

1. Additional Chinese Military Equipment to Pakistan. If India attacked Pakistan we would:

-condemn India's attack,

-cut off economic aid and military sales to India,

-call for Security Council action.

We would not take exception to Chinese military aid, but we would not reopen our own military supply.

[Comment: This begs the question-if Pakistan is attacked, Pakistan may ask for our help. And if it does, some response beyond our good offices to try to halt the fighting will probably be necessary. Whatever we would do would not be decisive but certainly would be symbolic both to Pakistan and India. A reopening of the military pipeline would suggest to some "great power involvement" but the fact would be that China and the USSR would already be involved to some extent and our own interests vis-ˆ-vis the subcontinent and China are such that we too would be involved.]

If Pakistan attacked India. The principal question would be whether we would cut off aid to India. In this case we could use the possible cut off as a lever to get India to press for negotiation while using our own pressure on Pakistan to stop the fighting.

2. Increase in Border Tension. We would urge restraint on China and inform them of the efforts we were making with the Indians and others to end the conflict.

[Comment: We also could urge the Chinese to use their influence with Pakistan to offer ceasefire/negotiation.]

3. Provocation of Border Incidents. These incidents would propose no serious threat but might cause an unwanted escalation. We could:

-Warn the Chinese that continuation could affect Sino-American relations./4/

/4/ Kissinger wrote in the margin at this point: "No".

-Make a public statement deploring Chinese actions, calling on them to desist.

[Comment: A public statement would seem to be only a last resort to be avoided if possible. The incidents themselves would likely be ambiguous. A public statement by the U.S. could be counterproductive in hardening Chinese attitudes and making them even less receptive to our good officers.]

If India had attacked Pakistan we would want to make clear that we would not come to India's aid in event of Chinese provoked border incidents.

4. Limited Invasion. The paper states that:

-If India had initiated hostilities we should not agree to consult under the Air Defense Agreement/5/ or provide military equipment.

/5/ In the margin Kissinger asked: "What is the Air Defense Agreement?" The Air Defense Agreement between the United States and India was signed in New Delhi on July 9, 1963, by Prime Minister Nehru and Ambassador Galbraith. The text of the agreement was transmitted to the Department on July 10 in telegram 143 from New Delhi. (Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XIX, Document 307)

-If the fault for beginning hostilities were unclear, we should consider consulting with India and responding positively to Indian requests for assistance, if the invasion threatened critical supply lines or occupation of major portions of India.

-If Pakistan had attacked India we should consult, if asked, under the Air Defense Agreement and be prepared to assist with equipment.

-In any event a Chinese invasion of India probably would call for postponement of the President's trip.

[Comment: The role of the Soviets in the case of a Chinese attack on India is not discussed. Obviously Soviets are not only a deterrent to such an attack but also would be likely to take some action to help India. It would seem in our interest to avoid getting involved in a military supply relationship with India in these circumstances.]

5. Increased Insurgent Activity. We might consult with Burma and Nepal on ways in which the flow of material, funds and propaganda might be curtailed and inform India that we have done so. We might also warn China of the danger of stepped-up insurgency.

[Comment: Before taking any steps we would certainly want to be sure of our ground. The Chinese unquestionably would deny any involvement and efforts by us with Nepal and Burma could be counterproductive in our relationships with China.]

6. Direct Invasion. The paper suggests that we would offer political support to Nepal and Bhutan if Chinese move through them. We would call upon China to withdraw, postpone or cancel the President's visit and inform the Chinese that an attack is considered an unfriendly act. The paper also suggests that if India clearly was the aggrieved party vis-à-vis Pakistan, and the Chinese attacked, we would indicate support for India and respond to Indian requests for military equipment.

[Comment: Again the Soviet role is ignored. However unlikely this contingency, if it occurred, the Soviets certainly would be expected to take some steps quickly. Any meaningful scenario on our side would have to take into account the possible Soviet moves.]

[This paper, hurriedly done by State without interagency participation, is simply inadequate. It raises more questions than it answers. It should be redone on a priority basis by a WSAG Working Group, including NSC, DOD, JCS and CIA.]

159. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, October 7, 1971, 3:10-3:50 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret; Exdis; Codeword. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. No drafting information appears on the minutes. A briefer record of the meeting, prepared by James Noyes (DOD/ISA), is in the Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 381 (Jan-Nov) 1971.

India and Pakistan

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

U. Alexis Johnson
Christopher Van Hollen

David Packard
Armistead Selden
James H. Noyes

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Capt. Howard N. Kay

Richard Helms
John Waller

NSC Staff
Col. Richard T. Kennedy
Harold Saunders
Samuel Hoskinson
R/Adm. Robert Welander
James Hackett


It was agreed that:

-The State Department is to send a telegram to our Ambassadors in New Delhi, Islamabad, Moscow and Tehran, instructing them to initiate immediate approaches to the local governments at the highest level. In New Delhi and Islamabad, they will urge both Indians and Pakistanis, in the strongest terms, to practice restraint in the current situation. The Soviet Union will be asked to appeal to the Indians for restraint, while the Shah of Iran will be requested to make a similar appeal to Yahya Khan.

-It should be made clear to both the Indian and Pakistani governments that aid will be suspended if war breaks out.

-An inter-agency working group is to be established under the direction of Under Secretary of State U. Alexis Johnson to monitor the India-Pakistan situation and to prepare contingency papers as required.

-No approach is to be made or suggested through the United Nations unless the President grants his approval.

Dr. Kissinger: Dick (Helms) is going to tell us what's going on.

Mr. Helms: I have a current report/2/ I would like to read. India and Pakistan continue to make military preparations. Their moves still seem primarily defensive, however. In the west, each army has about 200,000 men near the border. These units are in a high state of readiness. In Pakistan, many have moved to forward positions. India has two infantry divisions and an armored division earmarked for the western front, although all three are still stationed hundreds of miles from the frontier. The armored division has been alerted for movement, but it still appears to be in central India. If India were about to attack, these units almost certainly would move to the front, but it would take them about a week to get there.

/2/ Not found.

The Pakistanis also have two infantry divisions and an armored division in rear areas. They might hold the armored division in place, about 100 miles from the border, but would bring up the other two if they expected war in a matter of days. In the east, the Indians have over 100,000 troops, while the Pakistanis have 70,000 in East Pakistan. The Indians may want to bring up one more division before launching an attack. The Pakistanis claim they are doing this but we have no confirmation. The Pakistanis have their hands full with the guerrillas and are in no shape to start major operations.

War seems most likely to come, as it did in 1965, from a series of miscalculations, but we cannot rule out a deliberate decision by one side or the other. Mrs. Gandhi could still decide to invade East Pakistan to end the refugee influx. The total has passed nine million, with 30,000 more arriving every day.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you believe that? Do you think nine million is an accurate figure?

Mr. Helms: Well, it may not be accurate, but even if it's only seven million, it is still a lot of refugees, with still more coming and practically none returning. In any case, by mid-November Mrs. Gandhi will come under increased pressure to take military measures. Parliament reconvenes then and many members will call for action against Pakistan.

Senior Pakistani officials are convinced that Yahya will launch a pre-emptive attack in the next few weeks. Yahya himself has given the British the impression that he is considering such action, but he has assured our DCM he is not. He may be trying to bring Western pressure on India, or he may think an attack would help by bringing international pressure on both sides.
In East Pakistan, the guerrillas have become more active as the rains taper off. The secessionists and the Indians both want a speedy solution, even at the risk of war, to prevent radical leftist elements from taking over the independence movement. We have reports that up to 100,000 Indian-trained guerrillas will be infiltrated into East Pakistan over the next two months. This force would try to seize an area in northeast East Pakistan where a provisional government could be established. India would then recognize the Bangla Desh, which would almost certainly send the Pakistanis to war.

Mr. Johnson: We have received a separate report which indicates that some 40,000 guerrillas will be infiltrated into East Pakistan by October 15./3/

/3/ On October 3 Qazi Zahril Qaiyum told one of the political officers at the Consulate General in Calcutta that the Mukti Bahini planned to introduce 40 to 60 thousand men into East Pakistan by the end of October. Forty thousand would be infiltrated by October 15 and the other 20 thousand would follow by the end of the month. (Telegram 2605 from Calcutta, October 5; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

Mr. Helms: We do have trouble with these figures, but when the weather gets dry they will be infiltrated in numbers, and whether it is 40,000 or 100,000 or something in between, there is no question that there will be a lot of them. The Indians believe that snow and bad weather in the north will keep Pakistan from over-running Kashmir and would hinder Chinese aid to the Pakistanis, and that the guerrillas eventually will be successful in East Pakistan. The civil administration in East Pakistan cannot cope with the enormous social, economic and political problems, and in a few areas the guerrillas have set up their own administrative structure. The Pakistani government has made little headway in winning over the people of East Pakistan, and popular support for the insurgents seems to be increasing.

The secret treason trial of Mujibur Rahman has antagonized the East. A reliable source says he has been sentenced to life imprisonment. Yahya can uphold the sentence, commute it or let the matter lie. His decision will be an indication of how conciliatory he intends to be toward East Pakistan. Production in the East is well below last March. Most workers have not returned to their jobs and guerrilla sabotage is a problem. Foreign shipping companies have greatly reduced service, and there is some danger of severe food shortages in parts of the East by November.

Dr. Kissinger: We are indeed fortunate that the Indians are such reasonable and pacific people. Tom (Adm. Moorer), how do you assess the military situation?

Adm. Moorer: The most important factor is that the Indians have a four to one ratio in ground forces. With regard to air forces, the outcome depends in large part on who pre-empts.

Dr. Kissinger: I remember a while back the story of the Indian pilot who crashed near Dacca. The Indians are such poor pilots they can't even get off the ground.

Adm. Moorer: You're right, the Indians can't compete with the Pakistani pilots. The air units of both sides will deteriorate rapidly. The restraints on our aid program have already led the Pakistanis to cannibalize some F-86's in order to keep the rest in the air. After six months of restraints, they would have to do the same with the F-104's. In combat, attrition and a lack of spare parts would wear them down quickly.

Dr. Kissinger: How long would it take? Two or three weeks?

Adm. Moorer: I was about to say four to six weeks, but it could be less. The naval forces don't amount to much. The Indians would undoubtedly try to blockade East Pakistan and probably could do so. The Pakistani Army would give a good account of itself but would fail on the logistics problem. The Indian Army eventually would gain a superior position because of its numerical advantage. They have large numbers on the ground, but then they may consider it necessary to keep five or six divisions on the Chinese border.

Dr. Kissinger: Am I right in understanding that we have no evidence of a Chinese buildup?

Adm. Moorer: You are right. There is no such evidence. The main factor here is that neither side can fight a war of attrition. They should begin running out of supplies in four to six weeks, and India will prevail because of superior numbers.

Mr. Johnson: This is especially true in East Pakistan, where they will have a numerical advantage of regular forces plus the support of the Mukti Bahini.

Dr. Kissinger: Well, Alex [Johnson],/4/ where do we stand politically?

/4/ Brackets in the source text.

Mr. Johnson: It's a mess, although there is one new element that is encouraging. The Shah (of Iran) had a meeting with Yahya [Khan] and pressed him strongly to reach a political settlement./5/

/5/ This meeting was reported in telegram 5655 from Tehran, October 6. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK) Brackets in the source text.

Mr. Van Hollen: The Shah urged Yahya to cut his losses, told him frankly that he didn't have a chance in a military showdown and urged him to seek a political settlement.

Mr. Johnson: We have been in touch with the Bangla Desh people and have tried to encourage the development of a dialogue between Bangla Desh and West Pakistan, but they are insisting on complete and unconditional independence immediately.

Dr. Kissinger: You mean that's their starting point.

Mr. Johnson: Yes, their initial position. Mujibur [Rahman]/6/ is the key. If Yahya would release Mujibur and make a deal with him . . .

/6/ Brackets in the source text.

Dr. Kissinger: I think that's inconceivable! Unless Yahya's personality has changed 100% since I saw him in July.

Mr. Johnson: I agree that it's unlikely, but we have had some indications.

Mr. Van Hollen: Ambassador Farland recently proposed to Yahya that he make a deal with Mujibur and what is interesting is that Yahya did not take the usual negative attitude./7/ This may indicate that they [the Pakistanis] are planning to deal with Mujibur, but this is highly speculative, and I think we must assume the contrary until we get more evidence.

/7/ In telegram 9599 from Islamabad, September 21, Ambassador Farland reported that President Yahya had told him that the secret trial of Sheikh Mujibur had ended and he was awaiting the tribunal's report. Farland asked if Yahya had considered using Mujibur as a "trump card" to restore peace in East Pakistan. Yahya responded that he had given thought to the matter but was unable to formulate a solution that would be acceptable in West Pakistan. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971) Brackets in this paragraph are in the source text.

Mr. Johnson: With thousands of Bahini being introduced into East Pakistan at the onset of the dry season, Yahya may feel more beleaguered and may become more interested in seeking a settlement. On the other hand, with the end of the monsoon season, Yahya's army will have greater mobility.

Dr. Kissinger: When he was here last week, Gromyko claimed that the Russians are restraining the Indians./8/ Are they doing this? I haven't seen anything on this.

/8/ See Document 153.

Mr. Helms: All our evidence indicates this is true.

Mr. Johnson: I agree with that.

Dr. Kissinger: In what way? I have seen no such information. Are you holding out on me? I don't seem to be getting my copies of cables.

Mr. Helms: Madam Gandhi gave the Soviets a whole list of things she wanted. She asked them to arrange for Mujibur to be the go-between.

Dr. Kissinger: The Indians have great ability for determining the impossible and then demanding it.

Mr. Johnson: The Soviets were quite firm in telling the Indian representatives who went to Moscow/9/ that they [the Soviets] would not support Bangla Desh.

/9/ Reference is to Prime Minister Gandhi's visit to Moscow, September 27-29. Brackets in this paragraph are in the source text.

Mr. Van Hollen: [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

Dr. Kissinger: So you are the one who has been holding back my cables, and I thought all along it was Joe Sisco.

Mr. Helms: [11/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Johnson: The Soviets don't want hostilities if they can be avoided.

Dr. Kissinger: When I was in India recently I formed the opinion that if the Indians were prepared to accept slow evolution in Pakistan, we could work effectively with them, and they would eventually get most of what they want. But they keep lumping all these things together; the refugee problem, independence for Bangla Desh, Pakistani forces on their borders. In their convoluted minds they really believe they can give Pakistan a powerful blow from which it won't recover and solve everything at once. If they would cooperate with us we could work with them on 90% of their problems, like releasing Mujibur or attaining some degree of autonomy for Bangla Desh, and these steps would lead eventually to their getting it all.

Mr. Van Hollen: The Indians don't have complete control over the Mukti Bahini. They couldn't stop them all if they wanted to.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Saunders) Weren't you with me when I talked with the [Indian] Army Chief of Staff?/10/ He was so cocky, he thought he could defeat everyone in sight, all at the same time. We can't ask them to shut off the guerrillas. It will get us nowhere.

/10/ General Sam H.F.J. Manekshaw. Brackets in the source text.

Mr. Van Hollen: We could ask them to try to curb the guerrillas.

Dr. Kissinger: No, that's a non-starter. We can't ask them to cut off aid to the guerrillas. It's an internal affair.

Mr. Helms: When you fatten up guerrillas they become a different force. They aren't guerrillas any longer.

Dr. Kissinger: Yahya is a slow learner. He is very deliberate, but if you force him to make a decision, his Moslem instinct may assert itself, and perhaps he will start taking rapid action.

Mr. Johnson: You may be right about that.

Dr. Kissinger: When I was in India in 1962, they told me how they were going to squeeze the Pakistanis along the front. They were so clever they got themselves into a war.

Adm. Moorer: If the Indians really want to punish the Pakistanis, they may be ready to go all the way to a break to do it.

Dr. Kissinger: Let's get this completely clear. Do the Indians really understand that we will cut off aid if they go to war?

Mr. Van Hollen: Yes, the Secretary (of State) told them that.

Dr. Kissinger: This is of the utmost importance. The Indians must understand that we mean it. The President has said so. In fact, he tells me every day. Are you sure the Indians got the message?

Mr. Van Hollen: I believe so. I will double check, but the Secretary has been seeing them in New York.

Dr. Kissinger: Please make sure. What about Yahya? Does he understand that we will suspend aid if he starts hostilities?

Mr. Van Hollen: [Ambassador]/11/ Farland told him that in a conversation just recently, but we can ask Farland to tell him again.

/11/ These and remaining brackets are in the source text.

Dr. Kissinger: They [the Pakistanis] should have no illusion on this point.

Mr. Helms: We should make another effort to be sure this is clear. If war breaks out, we will all look back and regret not having made that one extra effort.

Mr. Johnson: It is possible that the Pakistanis may strike out against India because of some minor incursion.

Mr. Packard: I agree, we want to hold them back as much as possible.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Van Hollen) When did the Secretary last see the Indians?

Mr. Van Hollen: The Secretary saw them last week, in New York. He saw Singh [Foreign Minister Swaran Singh].

Dr. Kissinger: How did it go?

Mr. Van Hollen: It was the usual circular argument, the Indians complaining about attacks on Bengalis and about the Pakistanis generating refugees.

Dr. Kissinger: I don't believe that the Pakistanis are generating refugees. Do you believe it?

Mr. Van Hollen: Oh, yes, it's still going on. Pakistani army or militia units will round up a group of people in reprisal for a guerrilla attack or act of sabotage and threaten to kill them, so they go across the border.

Mr. Packard: But that's at the local level. Those are small local units acting on their own authority. The government is not sanctioning that sort of thing and the military commanders in West Pakistan are opposed to it.

Mr. Van Hollen: That's right. The government in Islamabad is opposed to the generation of more refugees, but they haven't been able to stop local units from doing it.

Dr. Kissinger: We have some contingency papers/12/ here, but they are not as good as we can do. The China paper suggests a public admonition to China to desist from aiding Pakistan. I can assure you that that is the least likely thing the President will want to do. He has too much going on his China policy to jeopardize it in this way. And besides, I'm not sure it's a good idea.

/12/ Reference is to the papers summarized in Documents 157 and 158.

Mr. Johnson: We can more usefully engage the Soviets in this matter. Do you think it's worthwhile talking with them about possible restraints on the Indians?

Dr. Kissinger: Alex (Johnson), I'm glad you raised that point, because I want to ask you to set up an inter-agency working group to look at this question. We should have someone approach the Russians, perhaps Gromyko, or whoever you think would be best, you know better about these things, and tell them that this situation (in South Asia) is building to a crisis.

Mr. Van Hollen: We can tell them some of the information we have, let them know we are trying to restrain Yahya and ask them to help do the same with the Indians.

Dr. Kissinger: Exactly, we have very parallel interests here. (to Mr. Johnson) Can you get some people together quickly and develop some ideas on how this can be accomplished, say within the next 48 hours?

Mr. Johnson: It just so happens that I have a draft telegram/13/ on this subject all ready. I was going to raise it with you.

/13/ See Document 160.

Dr. Kissinger: Let's see the telegram.

Mr. Johnson: I have it right here.

Dr. Kissinger: Johnson lets me go through all this discussion and then pulls out a bloody telegram.

Mr. Johnson: This was prepared just last night.

Dr. Kissinger: Who will it go to?

Mr. Johnson: Everyone involved: New Delhi, Islamabad, Moscow and including Tehran.

Dr. Kissinger: When Alec Home was here the other day he said that he had been of the opinion that the Pakistanis were at fault, but now he thinks the Indians are equally guilty. He said he thought that Swaran Singh was the worst of the lot.

Mr. Johnson: Another thought that has occurred to us is the possibility of exploring what might be done on a multilateral basis, perhaps at New York, by getting the Soviets, French and British all involved, with U Thant or someone like that taking the initiative. Any proposal made through such a group would have to be relatively easily balanced. It would have to deal not only with the forces on the borders but also the problem of the refugees.

Mr. Packard: This is a good telegram!

Dr. Kissinger: It's a damn good telegram!

Mr. Johnson: The Secretary will be seeing the head of the Pakistani UN delegation soon.

Dr. Kissinger: What's his name?

Mr. Van Hollen: Mahmoud Ali, he's a kept Bengali.

Dr. Kissinger: In outline, the telegram is excellent. When do you think it should go out?

Mr. Van Hollen: As soon as possible.

Dr. Kissinger: Tonight?

Mr. Van Hollen: The sooner we can get it out the better.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Johnson) In view of that cable that came in from Pakistan earlier today, it may be better to send the Pakistani part as a separate telegram in reply to the incoming./14/ This looks like an abrupt answer.

/14/ The incoming telegram is an apparent reference to a telegram received by the Pakistani Embassy, the substance of which was delivered to Kissinger on October 6. The communication from the Embassy was text of a letter from President Yahya to President Nixon and an accompanying aide-mémoire; see Document 161.

Mr. Johnson: We can send a separate reply to Pakistan and take into account receipt of the other cable. Perhaps we can also introduce in our reply the idea of proposing Security Council action.

Dr. Kissinger: I would rather leave that idea out at this time.

Mr. Johnson: We have had indications that the Pakistanis may be willing to work something out through the UN.

Dr. Kissinger: I didn't think they were all that eager.

Mr. Johnson: I had a little concern that these indications may have been a case of the Pakistanis laying the groundwork for a pre-emptive strike. It was just a hunch on my part.

Dr. Kissinger: I don't think they would do it before I've been to China. I just don't think they would do it.

Mr. Johnson: There is no point in getting started on UN action unless there is prior agreement between the Soviets and ourselves. That must be our first step.

Dr. Kissinger: I don't think the Pakistanis will launch a pre-emptive strike, but we should not mention any approach through the UN until the President has considered the question.

Mr. Johnson: We want to avoid unilateral action by the Pakistanis in the Security Council. That only means confrontation and would accomplish nothing.

Mr. Van Hollen: Perhaps the US, British, Soviet and French delegations could make a combined presentation in the UN.

Dr. Kissinger: That could be a good approach, as long as it doesn't become a squeeze play on the Pakistanis.

Mr. Van Hollen: We have to squeeze both sides to get any kind of agreement.

Dr. Kissinger: Let me just emphasize that before we get started on any action through the UN, we must go to the President. So this telegram will go out tonight. (to Mr. Saunders) Will you see that it goes out?

Mr. Van Hollen: We'll get the telegram out, and I'll notify Sisco.

Dr. Kissinger: You want to try to get Sisco to quiet things down? So far, I've only seen him stir things up. So, first, we send this telegram and second, we get word to Yahya.

Mr. Van Hollen: We will send instructions to our Chargé in Islamabad to get in touch with Yahya right away.

Dr. Kissinger: And you will do absolutely nothing in New York unless we first go to the President?

Mr. Van Hollen: Right.

Mr. Saunders: Shall we also ask [Ambassador] MacArthur to discuss it with the Shah and appeal to him to raise the issue again with Yahya? A copy of the cable is going to Tehran.

Everyone agreed.

160. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, October 8, 1971, 0041Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted on October 7 by Laingen and Schneider; cleared in draft by Davies (EUR), Noyes (DOD/ISA), Acting Secretary Johnson, and Saunders; cleared in substance by Jack C. Miklos, Director of the Office of Iran Affairs; and approved by Van Hollen. Also sent to Moscow, New Delhi, Tehran, and USUN for Sisco and repeated to London, Calcutta, and Dacca.

Tosec 100/185010. Subj: Risks of War in Indo-Pak Confrontation.

1. We are deeply concerned over increasing risks of war in current India/Pakistan confrontation over East Pakistan. With upcoming end of monsoon season, reports of movement Indian and Pakistani armor and possibly massive cross-border operations by Mukti Bahini, General Aurora's remarks on possible Indian "positive" action (Calcutta 2617),/2/ and persistent reports of possible Pak military attacks across West Pakistan border add up to critical situation where conflict could quickly ensue despite protestations both Islamabad and New Delhi that they do not want war and would [not] be first to initiate hostilities. We believe situation serious enough to require immediate and highest level representations both capitals and concurrent approach to Soviets to exercise their own influence toward some reductions of risks in present military confrontation in South Asia.

/2/ Dated October 7. (Ibid.)

2. For New Delhi: Ambassador should seek immediate appointment with Prime Minister Singh to make following points against general expression of concern described above.

A. We have heard reports for some time of possible large-scale cross-border effort by Mukti Bahini to coincide with end monsoon season. We now have specific report (Calcutta 2605/3/-protect source) to effect that Mukti Bahini plans to inject as many as 40,000 armed men across border by October 15, with additional 20,000 to follow by end October. This action reportedly would be accomplished with support of diversionary actions by Indian Army to keep Pak Armed Forces off balance while infiltration took place. We are not convinced that intensified guerrilla activity will achieve results compatible with India's interests.

/3/ See footnote 3, Document 159.

B. You should make clear to GOI our concern about any MB effort of this dimension which could not be accomplished without support of GOI. It is our concern that Pak Armed Forces would not acquiesce in this cross-border operation and would make military response directed against India.

C. In short, this situation has large potential for major confrontation and conflict which we must continue to assume India does not see serving its larger interests.

D. We would, therefore, strongly urge that GOI act immediately to reduce these risks by efforts with MB to restrict cross-border operations. While we recognize that major responsibility for maintenance of India-Pak peace rests with GOP, GOI also bears major responsibility keep present situation from deteriorating into war or prolonged insurgency. Should such cross-border operations lead to conflict with Pakistan, this would have serious effect on US-India relations.

E. If dangers of immediate conflict are to be meaningfully reduced, we believe there must be reduction in level of military confrontation by accomplishing both (1) curb by all parties involved in cross-border operations, and (2) pullback by military forces of both India and Pakistan some distance from their respective borders. We make this suggestion in all seriousness to GOI and we are doing same with GOP in Islamabad at highest level.

F. You should point out that we fully recognize major responsibilities resting on Islamabad in current crisis and that we are concurrently informing GOP in strongest terms that it should also avoid actions that could lead to war and, in particular, any form of military action against India. We are also urging GOP to move more rapidly in the political settlement which all recognize is essential if crisis is to be dealt with at its roots. In our view this will require dialogue between GOP and BD leadership which we continue to believe GOI can facilitate.

3. For Islamabad: Chargé should seek immediate appointment with Yahya in Karachi, prior latter's departure for Tehran, and make following points in support of effort described above:

A. We have carefully noted assurances given by Yahya to you following Frelinghuysen conversation with Yahya that Pakistan would not be first to initiate hostilities and that it recognized destructive costs to both countries of any conflict developing out of present crisis./4/

/4/ This exchange between President Yahya and Congressman Peter Frelinghuysen (R-New Jersey) took place on September 30. (Situation report on India/Pakistan from Eliot to Kissinger, October 7; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

B. Nonetheless, we remain deeply concerned that present situation has elements in it that could cause conflict to break out despite best intentions both sides. We continue to hear reports of strong Pakistan military buildup along West Pak border where opposing forces already virtually face-to-face. For instance, we have very recent report of actual small skirmishes taking place in late Sept along West Pak border. While we recognize GOP responsibility to prepare its own defense, GOP must appreciate better than anyone else cost to Pakistan, both in resources and its standing in world public opinion should GOP be seen to have initiated hostilities. We have also heard report that in response Indian supported cross-border guerrilla attack in East Pakistan, GOP might take military action against India. FYI: We note in this connection conversation between French Amb Islamabad and Pak FonSec reported State 183252/5/ that GOP would regard as casus belli any action by Indians that would permit MB to make successful attack in separate areas East Pak border with objective holding East Pak territory. We are especially concerned over possibility noted Islamabad 913/6/ that Pakistanis planning attack across West Pak borders between Oct 15- Nov 1. End FYI.

/5/ Dated October 6. (Ibid., POL 32-1 INDIA-PAK)

/6/ The telegram citation is inaccurate and has not been further identified.

C. While we recognize that major responsibility for degree of military confrontation along East Pak borders rests with Indians, we believe GOP must share responsibility for reducing risks of conflict in that area. Any military action initiated by Pakistan directed against India would have an adverse effect upon our relationship and would affect our ability to continue to be of assistance to Pakistan.

D. You should tell Yahya that we fully recognize major responsibilities resting on New Delhi in current crisis and that we are taking strongest position with GOI that it should restrict cross-border operations by MB.

E. Given dangers for conflict that are present along both East and West Pak borders in simple fact of present face-to-face confrontation by military units along borders, we are also proposing to both GOI and GOP that they consider mutual withdrawal of troops and armor some distance from their respective borders. We believe this kind of mutual effort should be feasible in military terms for both sides without detriment to their military preparedness and would be positive and constructive step toward beginning de-escalation present crisis.

F. Finally, however, you should make clear to Yahya that we continue to believe that the only long-term resolution of current danger can be found through progress toward political solution and accommodation in East Pakistan. We know Yahya recognizes this imperative and has begun taking actions toward this end. Yahya knows we have been fully understanding of his problems in this area and we do not propose in any way to make these problems worse by gratuitous or unhelpful suggestions in area which is internal Pak matter. He will understand, however, that current risks of military hostilities in South Asia plus major international problem posed by refugees make this crisis an international issue in which all friends both countries have deep concern. It is for this reason that we express again strongest hope USG that GOP can find ways move even more rapidly toward political settlement facilitated by direct discussions with elected East Pakistan leaders. We recognize difficulty doing this in insurgency atmosphere but latter in our view makes progress in political area only more imperative and urgent./7/

/7/ Chargé Sober responded on October 9 that he had a meeting scheduled with Yahya on October 11 and he would make the points put forward in the Department's instruction at that time. He anticipated that the proposal for a mutual force withdrawal would present difficulties for Yahya, at least with regard to East Pakistan. (Telegram 10262 from Islamabad; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

4. For Moscow: We continue to assume, particularly in light reports from both Moscow and New Delhi assessing Mrs. Gandhi's visit Moscow, that we and Soviet Union have strongly shared interest in reducing risks of conflict in present South Asian crisis. Ambassador requested, therefore, to seek earliest opportunity convey our current concerns to Gromyko if possible or to highest available M.F.A. official. Ambassador should inform USSR of approaches we are making including proposal for mutual withdrawal regular forces along Indo-Pak borders, and urge USSR act in ways open to them help accomplish both immediate requirement of reduction in military confrontation and longer term objective of political solution East Pakistan. Ambassador should also seek Soviet assessment of situation, particularly in light of recent Soviet contacts with Indians.

5. For Tehran: Ambassador should see Shah soonest to inform him of our concerns re dangers inherent in current situation and our approaches to Pakistanis, Indians, and Soviets as stated above. Ambassador should also solicit Shah's continued support in our common effort to damp down situation and obtain political settlement. If Shah unavailable Ambassador should pass message through Alam. In your conversation with Shah or Alam you should avoid any detailed specific reference to prospect of more than 40,000 Mukti Bahini crossing border this month (Para 2A above).

6. For Islamabad: Additional instructions being forwarded septel./8/

/8/ See Document 161.


161. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, October 8, 1971, 0044Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Van Hollen on October 7, cleared by Saunders and Acting Secretary Johnson, and approved for transmission by Van Hollen. Also sent to USUN for Sisco.

Tosec 101/185011. Eyes Only Chargé. Ref: 185010./2/ Subject: Letter from President Yahya.

/2/ Document 160.

Following is text of letter from President Yahya to President Nixon, and accompanying aide mémoire, delivered to Dr. Kissinger October 6 by Pakistan MFA Additional Secretary Alvie:

Begin text of letter.

Mr. President,

Persistent intervention in my country's internal affairs by India, its refusal to resolve the humanitarian problem of the displaced persons with the help and assistance of the United Nations as originally proposed by Dr. Kissinger during his talks with me last July, later formally proposed by U Thant, and promptly accepted by us, and the increasing violations of Pakistan's borders by the Indian Armed Forces, have created a warlike situation between Pakistan and India.

Moreover, all available evidence indicates that Indian Armed Forces have been put in a state of readiness and moved to forward positions for offensive action at short notice against our frontiers in both the wings./3/

/3/ An intelligence appreciation prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, based upon military intelligence, and sent by Eliot to Kissinger under a covering memorandum on October 6, concluded: "(a) military preparations are approaching a stage at which a major clash could occur through miscalculations or misinterpretations, (b) tensions have reached a point at which a major clash, however sparked, might prove uncontainable, and (c) present Indian and Pakistani intentions to avoid war could be suddenly overridden by new developments." (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

In these circumstances, and because India has rejected the United Nations observers and good offices, the present situation in the India- Pakistan sub-continent constitutes a threat to international peace and security and an armed conflict between the two countries is likely to erupt if it is not brought under control immediately. It, therefore, appears appropriate that the United Nations Security Council should consider this matter in order to avert in time the impending blood-shed and destruction.

In our discussions with the Russians in Moscow last month, they conveyed assurances that India would not start a conflict and added that they were exercising restraining influence on India. Unfortunately, the facts are quite different. The bulk of Indian Forces have moved in operational positions against our borders after the signing of Indo-Soviet Treaty and there has also been a marked increase in shelling and raids on our territory since then. Apparently, the Indians are either not amenable to Soviet advice or are deliberately misleading them.

Confident of the friendship between our two countries and your personal concern for peace in the region, I would request that the United States Government extend the necessary help and assistance to my country in this grave hour with a view to facilitating an urgent consideration of the situation by the Security Council and for a constructive decision and positive action by it.
In case, Mr. President, you deem that some other course of international action at this stage would be more helpful, I shall be grateful to be apprised of it. It only remains for me to assure you that we repose the utmost confidence in your judgement.

With warm personal regards. End text.

Begin text of aide mémoire.

Pakistan is considering to call a meeting of the Security Council to consider serious threat to peace in the sub-continent arising from India's open and mounting interference in Pakistan's internal affairs and ever-increasing Indian military activities on Pakistan's borders. In view of special relations existing with the United States and particularly with President Nixon President Yahya Khan wishes to apprise President Nixon of his intention so as to seek American support and influence in the Security Council.

India continues to refuse to resolve the humanitarian problem of the displaced persons with the help and assistance of the United Nations as originally proposed by Dr. Kissinger himself and later formally proposed by U Thant and accepted by Pakistan. A war-like situation has thus developed between Pakistan and India. Despite assurances of restraining influence on India, the Indo-Soviet Treaty seems to have further emboldened India in her aggressive and bellicose designs against Pakistan. In fact Indian forces have moved into operational position after the signing of the Indo-Soviet treaty. President Yahya Khan wishes to request President Nixon for full American support and assistance to Pakistan in the urgent consideration of the situation by the Security Council and for a constructive decision and positive action by it. President Yahya Khan would be grateful to know any other course of international action which President Nixon may consider helpful. President Yahya Khan has the utmost confidence in President Nixon's judgement. Since the matter is of utmost urgency, President Yahya Khan will appreciate a reply to his enclosed message. End text.

2. In carrying out instructions reftel you should also inform Yahya that his letter has been delivered to President Nixon and that reply will be forthcoming shortly./4/ FYI. In preliminary comment Kissinger suggested there might be problems in unilateral Pakistan call for Security Council meeting but noted (per last para aide mémoire) that other courses of action might be helpful. See also Secretary's conversation with Mahmood Ali reported septel./5/ End FYI.

/4/ When Sober met with President Yahya in Karachi on October 11, he told Yahya that his letter suggesting the possibility of calling the UN Security Council into session had been delivered to President Nixon and was being carefully studied. Sober said there was a concern in Washington that a discussion in the Security Council might generate a good deal of emotion, fail to achieve anything constructive, and thus serve to further polarize the situation. There was the additional concern that India would broaden the discussion to include the entire range of problems affecting relations between India and Pakistan. Yahya expressed appreciation for the advance indication of the U.S. response to his suggestion and indicated that he would be governed accordingly. (Telegram 2030 from Karachi, October 11; ibid., POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

/5/ Telegram 3369 from USUN, October 9, reported on Secretary Rogers' conversation on October 7 with Mahmud Ali, head of Pakistan's delegation to the UN General Assembly. Ali gave Rogers a copy of the letter delivered to President Nixon the day before. Rogers promised to study the letter but warned against the risk of an unproductive Security Council debate. Ali outlined what his country viewed as the Indian threat to Pakistan, and Rogers indicated the efforts the United States had made with India and the USSR to caution restraint. (Ibid., POL 27-14 INDIA-PAK/UN)


162. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, October 8, 1971, 4:11-4:58 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971. Secret; Nodis. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office in the White House.

Indian Ambassador L.K. Jha
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

The meeting was held at the Ambassador's request to discuss arrangements for Prime Minister Gandhi's forthcoming visit.

The Ambassador began the conversation by discussing the visit. He said he noticed that there had been some coolness on the part of the Protocol people, and he wanted to make sure the Prime Minister would receive a cordial visit. Dr. Kissinger replied that he could assure him that there would be a cordial reception. He then telephoned Ambassador Mosbacher/2/ in his presence to make sure that Ambassador Jha heard Dr. Kissinger give instructions about the need for Grade-A treatment.

/2/ Emil Mosbacher, Jr., Chief of Protocol.

Ambassador Jha then returned to the subject of a conversation he had had with Dr. Kissinger some weeks previously, when Dr. Kissinger had mentioned the need to have a year's interval for a political settlement. Jha said that that year simply did not exist, and that India would be forced into some military action by the end of this year. The ten million refugees in Bengal would break the political cohesion of India; they were all Bengalis and did not leave Bengal, and in Bengal they would tip the balance of power totally in a Maoist direction. Finally, the financial cost would be more bankrupting than a war. Dr. Kissinger replied, "Have no misunderstanding: If you start a war we will cut off all economic aid and you must include that in your cost calculation." Dr. Kissinger added that if the constant harrassment of the President in the Indian press and the constant playing with American political opponents did not cease, the Ambassador could not expect a very forthcoming attitude on our part./3/

/3/ In a telephone conversation with Kissinger on October 6, President Nixon said that he noticed that the Pakistanis were charging that India was starting a war. Kissinger replied: "I think the Indians are trying to sharpen the conflict." Nixon asked: "Are we playing all our cards?" Kissinger said that he was scheduled to see Ambassador Jha on October 8, and he promised to "lay the wood to him." (Transcript of a telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 369, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

The Ambassador as usual ascribed this to the machinations of the pro-Soviet group. He said he could tell Dr. Kissinger, however, that the pro-Soviet group was in some difficulty now, because apparently the Soviet Union had given the strongest warnings against unilateral Indian actions and seemed to be participating in delaying maneuvers.

Ambassador Jha then asked whether Dr. Kissinger was in a position to appeal to the Pakistanis for the release of Mujib and his reintroduction into Bengali political life. That they thought was necessary to keep moderate control over the Bangla Desh movement. Their experience with the Bangla Desh movement had been that the so-called foreign minister in Calcutta was already being attacked by Maoists, and part of their reluctance to let him engage in negotiations with Yahya was so that he wasn't discredited further, and leave the field open to the extremists.
Dr. Kissinger responded that it was important for us to come to some understanding of what was possible, and warned again against unilateral action.

The Ambassador and Dr. Kissinger agreed to meet again prior to Mrs. Gandhi's visit.

163. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/

Moscow, October 8, 1971, 1825Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. This telegram was summarized on October 8 by the National Security Council staff in a memorandum for Kissinger to use in briefing the President on October 9. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, October 1-24, 1971)

7529. Subj: Discussion With Gromyko on Indo-Pak Confrontation. Ref: State 185010./2/

/2/ Document 160.

1. Summary. I called on Gromyko and expressed concern over Indo-Pak situation. He listened gravely and attentively, agreed that situation is both tense and complex but otherwise declined to give Soviet assessment of border situation. He noted with approval that US is seeking to restrain both sides. He said Soviet side also has approached both sides and indicated Soviets have faith in Indian assurances but lack of faith in Pakistani assurances. He warned there are people in Pakistan who might be tempted to resort to force. He appreciated need for US and Soviet Union to work in same direction of averting conflict, said Soviet Union wishes to do utmost to this end, and stated he will see what steps can be taken "under present conditions." End summary.

2. I called on FonMin Gromyko Oct 8 and expressed our concern over increasing risks of war along lines reftel. Noting reported Indian and Pakistani military movements, reports of possible cross-border operations by Mukti Bahini, as well as possible Pakistani military attacks across West Pakistan border, I said we consider situation sufficiently serious that we are making immediate representations at highest level in both capitals, urging curb on cross-border operations by all parties and pullback from borders of military forces of both India and Pakistan. I noted that we assume both the US and Soviet Union have strongly shared interest in reducing risks of conflict and expressed hope that Soviet Government would act in any way open to it to bring about both immediate reduction of military confrontation and longer-term objective of political solution.

3. Gromyko expressed satisfaction that US takes measures in direction of restraining both sides. His government has also made approaches, of differing natures, to both sides. He said Soviets rely on assurances given personally by PriMin Gandhi that India will do nothing to cause clash with Pakistan. They are less certain about Pakistani assurances. US should know that in Pakistan there are people who probably are tempted to resort to force to solve problem. Soviet Govt will see what steps can be taken at present moment and under present conditions. As he said in Washington and particularly in New York, Soviet Union not only not interested in conflict in that area but will do utmost to avoid clash. It would be good if US Govt acted in same spirit. It is necessary that conflict be avoided. It is in the interest of our two countries and of peace in the area.

4. I reiterated that because of gravity of crisis it was important to take action with both sides, without apportioning blame, because both are on edge of hostilities. I noted reports of plans by Mukti Bahini to move large numbers of men across border, with support of Indian army, and reports of military buildup along West Pakistan border. I asked what is Soviet assessment of situation.

5. Gromyko said that he does not have factual information about activities of "irregulars" (his word for Mukti Bahini) on border. He said he does not doubt situation is tense as well as complex: this was clear at time of his recent visit to India. It is necessary for all parties concerned to show restraint, and for US and Soviet Union to make all possible efforts in the same direction of averting conflict between India and Pakistan.

6. I suggested that we keep in touch on this matter. Gromyko replied that he would of course leave open possibility of responding in more detail later and agreed that it would be useful to maintain contact on this subject. He expressed appreciation that I had presented this information to him.

7. Dept repeat as desired.


164. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Calcutta/1/

Washington, October 9, 1971, 2149Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Constable on October 5; cleared by Laingen, Schneider, Van Hollen, Johnson (J), and Saunders in the White House; and approved by Davies. Also sent to Islamabad and repeated to New Delhi, and USUN for Sisco.

186323. Subject: Bangla Desh Contacts. Ref: Calcutta 2575,/2/ Islamabad 9960/3/ and 10002./4/

/2/ Telegram 2575 from Calcutta, September 29, reported on a meeting on September 28 between a political officer from the Consulate General and Bangladesh "Foreign Minister" Mushtaq Ahmed. Mushtaq blamed the United States for the crisis in East Pakistan because of its continued support for Yahya Khan's government, but said that his government still hoped to win the friendship of the United States. Mushtaq asked Washington to intervene to arrange for the peaceful independence of Bangladesh, and he warned that time was running out to do so before a leftist takeover of the Bangladesh movement. Mushtaq outlined a list of objectives to be met in negotiating independence for Bangladesh, which included full independence and the release of Sheikh Mujib, but said that he had no desire to speak directly to Pakistani officials. He requested U.S. officials to speak on behalf of his government. (Ibid.)

/3/ During a meeting on September 30, Chargé Sober told President Yahya that he did not have anything new or positive to report on U.S. contacts with Bangladesh representatives in Calcutta. Yahya reiterated his continuing interest and asked to be kept informed. (Telegram 9960 from Islamabad, October 1; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971)

/4/ Telegram 10002 from Islamabad, October 1, commented on telegram 2575 from Calcutta. The Embassy continued to support a role for the United States in promoting contact between Bangladesh representatives and the Government of Pakistan. But the Embassy argued that "it would be mistake for USG to undertake to act as broker for either party." The Embassy was not inclined to pass on to Yahya the objectives put forward by Mushtaq. (Ibid.)

1. Commend Calcutta's able and discreet handling of first contact with Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister" Mushtaq Ahmed. We also appreciate detailed report ConGen has provided of Mushtaq's views. While much of substance of what Mushtaq had to say, particularly with reference to expectations of what U.S. could or should do in present crisis, was fatuous or naive, we nevertheless believe it worthwhile to give him response, with intent of developing some momentum in moving BD reps toward talks.

2. You should, therefore, seek appointment with Mushtaq to report back views of USG. You should tell him that USG has no desire place itself between GOP and BD reps or to enter into merits of positions of either side. USG therefore has no substantive comment to make on points raised by Mushtaq. We would urge, rather, that the BD reps seek earliest opportunity to present views directly to GOP reps, in effort explore possibility of negotiated settlement. We would hope that both sides could come to such meeting prepared to discuss whole range of issues that divide two sides, but without any preconditions. We have already discussed possibility of such meeting with President Yahya and he had indicated his interest. USG willing assist in passing messages back and forth that might lead to meeting, but we are not interested in playing transmission belt for "demands" or "positions" of one side or other.

3. To Mushtaq's probable reiteration of BD "desires," you should suggest to him that BD reps present these directly to GOP in talks and not to us. Only by engaging in talks can two sides hope to find ways toward early end of violence, killings, and other hardships that now afflict people of East Pakistan. Alternative what we see is escalation violence, and possibly war, with further tragic consequences for entire Subcontinent. In our view, those who refuse to participate in unconditional talks may have to assume responsibility for continued loss of life and for loss of "opportunity" to achieve constructive outcome.

4. We wish to keep our options open for contacts with other elements of BD leadership, although this will continue to be controlled from Washington. Hence while we assume that Mushtaq may remain principal channel for future communications, we do not wish to give him impression that he will necessarily be only channel. For example we obviously might be in touch with BD delegation in New York which presumably sent to this country for purpose of contacting foreign officials, including U.S. Therefore you may inform Mushtaq at your discretion that we intend to maintain some contact with other BD reps if occasion arises. We are confident this will not cause serious problems for BD, since we are not "negotiating" with any of reps and assume they will keep each other informed of contacts with USG reps./5/

/5/ In the absence from Calcutta of Mushtaq Ahmed, the political officer met on October 12 with Bangladesh "High Commissioner" Hossain Ali and gave him the substance of the instructions contained in telegram 186323. Ali said he would report the U.S. response to "Acting President" Nazrul Islam and, if Islam deemed it necessary, would make a trip to report to Mushtaq. (Telegram 2648 from Calcutta, October 14; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK) Four days later, the political officer met with Qaiyum who told him that Islam was in control of the Bangladesh Government but Islam insisted that only Sheikh Mujib could negotiate on behalf of Bangladesh. Qaiyum said that the Bangladesh representatives needed permission from India to negotiate with Pakistan and any claim to the contrary by India was a "lie." (Telegram 2662 from Calcutta, October 18; ibid.)

5. For Islamabad: Believe you need not go any further than you already have (Islamabad 9960) in informing Yahya of state of play on BD contacts. Your next step with Yahya, if you believe it might be productive, should be to suggest that GOP simultaneously look for ways establish its own direct contact with BD reps in N.Y., London or elsewhere. Such contact could provide opportunity for GOP signal to BD type of settlement it may be willing to negotiate. Such signals at this stage could help pave way for substantive negotiations. You might also probe with Yahya whether Soviets have played any role to date in seeking to advance GOP-BD negotiations./6/

/6/ From the tenor of comments by Yahya Khan on October 11, Sober concluded that the Soviet Union had not attempted to promote negotiations between Pakistani and Bangladesh representatives. (Telegram 10294 from Islamabad, October 12; ibid.)

6. Foregoing drafted prior receipt Calcutta 2605./7/ However, believe latest meeting with Qaiyum does not indicate alteration these instructions.

/7/ On October 3 Qaiyum met with the political officer to pass a message from Islam asking for a rapid response from the United States to Mushtaq Ahmed's September 28 démarche. In the same meeting, Qaiyum said that the Mukti Bahini planned to infiltrate 40-60 thousand men into East Pakistan before the end of October. (Telegram 2605 from Calcutta, October 5; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 1971)


165. Telegram From the Consulate General in Karachi to the Department of State/1/

Karachi, October 11, 1971, 1200Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, New Delhi, Moscow, USUN, London, Calcutta, and Dacca. This telegram was summarized on October 11 by the National Security Council staff in a memorandum for Kissinger to use in briefing the President on October 12. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, October 1-24 1971)

2028. From Chargé. Subject: Discussion With President Yahya: Risks of War. Ref: State 185010./2/

/2/ Document 160.

1. Summary. Yahya reaffirmed his assurance that Pakistan would not be first to initiate hostilities. He accepted our proposal for mutual withdrawal of troops and armor by both GOI and GOP to some distance from their respective borders, noting that he would have to work out potential problem with regard East Pakistan. Yahya suggested that Indian and Pak army chiefs of staff meet to work out arrangements for withdrawal. He agreed that political solution in East Pakistan is essential and reviewed his timetable for issuing constitution and convening National Assembly before year's end, with provincial assemblies to meet shortly thereafter. New national govt should have East Pak majority. End summary.

2. I called on President Yahya at President's house in Karachi morning October 11 and remained with him for one hour. Yahya was nursing sore tooth and received me in private sitting room, in his quarters rather than in office. No one else was present. After initial amenities, including extension of best wishes on behalf Ambassador Farland and myself on engagement of his only son, which was celebrated in Karachi past weekend, I told Yahya I had been instructed call on him because of deep USG concern over increasing risks of war in subcontinent. Recalling our last conversation on this subject September 30 during Freylinghuysen visit, I went over carefully and in detail each of the points (less FYI portion) contained para 3 reftel. At conclusion my pre-sentation, during which Yahya interjected various comments (below), I left him after summarizing all points. (Yahya asked at end of conversation that I give copy of paper and résumé of Yahya's remarks to Fon Sec Sultan Khan, and I propose do so Oct 12 in Islamabad.)

3. Yahya nodded at mention of his personal assurances to me on September 30 that Pakistan would not be first to initiate hostilities. He said this was only sensible position and he reaffirmed it.

4. Yahya said he was not aware of any skirmishes in late September along West Pak border (para 38 reftel). He had not heard of any firing at all along West Pakistan border. Occasionally, he said, there is isolated firing along Kashmir ceasefire line, but if there had been any in recent weeks, it was not important enough to have come to his attention. Yahya also denied reports we have heard that GOP might take military action against India in response to Indian-supported cross- border guerrilla attacks in East Pakistan.

5. At that point Yahya said that despite his desire for peace, there was real danger of war and he had duty to inform people of Pakistan thereof. He said he had devoted portion of his address to nation which will be broadcast/telecast evening Oct 12, and which he had already recorded, to this subject. He said he wanted nation to understand that although he was doing his best to avert war, risk nevertheless existed. He hoped this portion of his speech would actually serve to calm the people while also alerting them to worst contingency.

6. Yahya nodded agreement when I said that GOP must share responsibility for reducing risks of conflict (para 3c reftel). He listened carefully when I mentioned adverse effect upon our relationship which would follow any initiation of military action by Pakistan and said such action was against his policy.

7. Yahya asked me to reiterate point that we are taking strongest position with GOI that it should restrict cross-border operations by MB (para 3d reftel) and said "that was excellent."

8. Yahya listened attentatively to our specific proposal for mutual withdrawal of troops and armor by both GOI and GOP to some distance from their respective borders. We came back to that point for fuller discussion after covering political issues (below). His first comment was that this was a good idea. It would present no problem at all along West Pakistan border. Pak forces there, he said, could return to their peacetime locations. Units which had come from Peshawar and Kharian, for example, could return thereto; units which had moved up from closer points, such as Sialkot and Lanore cantonments, could return to their cantonments. Situation was not quite that simple in East Pakistan, Yahya went on. The normal peacetime regular army force in East Pakistan had, of course been increased since March by reinforcements from west wing. There were only a few peacetime army cantonments of any importance in East Pakistan and of these only Jessore and Comilla (and of lesser importance, Rajshahi) were near the border. In recent months, following the defections and departure of elements of East Pakistan rifles and police, the Pak army has been attending to job of anti-guerrilla operations along the border. It might present problem to withdraw army from border while guerrilla activities continuing. I asked Yahya to consider that point carefully, to see for example whether border surveillance might be taken on by elements of the para-military East Pakistan Civil Armed Force (EPCAF), which is successor to EPR, and by police, allowing regular Pak army units to retire from border. Yahya responded that might possibly be done in light of fact that both EPCAF and police had recently increased in strength; he would surely consider this and other possibilities.

9. As discussion proceeded on withdrawal proposal, Yahya's thoughts seemed to become firmer. He said our proposal was "noble" and "I accept it in toto" subject to some clarification on detail such as with regard East Pakistan. He asked what type of machinery we thought might insure execution of mutual withdrawal. I said we had not made any specific proposal on modalities, and asked whether he had any suggestions. Yahya said he thought mechanics of withdrawal might be worked out in a meeting of Indian and Pakistan army chiefs of staff. That mechanism had been used from time to time in previous years. I said I thought his suggestion was most constructive and that I would report most promptly both his acceptance of the withdrawal proposal and his suggestion for a meeting of the chiefs of staff.

10. Yahya nodded agreement at various points when I presented our position on the essential importance of a political solution in East Pakistan (para 3f reftel). He agreed that military action, which he said he had no choice but to undertake in face of the violence and intentions of the Awami Leaguers last March, could not be a solution in itself. He was appreciative of USG understanding of his problems and the way in which we had not added to his very heavy burdens. Far from questioning our right to feel deep concern over current crisis, he welcomed our views and our suggestions with regard to his political problems. Regarding our hope that GOP could move even more rapidly toward political settlement facilitated by direct discussions with elected East Pak leaders, Yahya pointed to the clean bill of health given to many Awami Leaguers elected last December and to his firm plans for early by-elections to fill vacated seats. He was moving as fast as he could. His address to the nation on Oct 12 would reveal his intentions to publish a constitution on December 20 and to convene National Assembly on December 27. Latter step would be followed shortly by formation of a national government in which East Pakistan, given its population majority, would presumably hold a majority of ministerial portfolios. Beyond that, Yahya went on, he would shortly thereafter appoint new governors for each of the five provinces, as to be provided for under the constitution, and the provincial assemblies would come into being. He was indeed serious about restoring government to the elected representatives of people.

11. I said I much appreciated preview of his plans for political action in next several months. Coming back to point in our presentation concerning direct discussions with "elected East Pakistan leaders," I said we had in mind a dialogue between GOP and BD leadership (per para 2f reftel). In this regard, I offered it as my purely personal observation at this time that such discussions would be difficult to arrange unless one took into account the apparent continuous attraction of Mujib for the mass of East Pak population. Yahya said he would not deny that Mujib was still an important symbol. He thought, however, that Mujib's strength even at time of last year's elections might have been overestimated. Actually, a fairly large proportion of the East Pak electorate had not voted last December, and a significant proportion of those who voted for Mujib were of "minority population" (i.e. Hindus). Many of those who did not vote had been intimidated. Other points regarding Mujib are being reported by septel./3/

/3/ Document 166.

12. Other subjects covered in Oct 11 meeting with Yahya are being reported septels.


166. Telegram From the Consulate General in Karachi to the Department of State/1/

Karachi, October 11, 1971, 1344Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Priority; Nodis.

2029. From Chargé. Subject: Pres. Yahya on Mujib and on Talks With BD Leadership. Ref: Karachi 2028./2/

/2/ Document 165.

1. After introducing subject of Mujib in connection with proposed GOP direct discussions with BD leadership (reftel), I recalled to Pres Yahya during conversation Oct 11 his recent talks with Amb Farland regarding Mujib. I referred specifically to possibility of Mujib's serving as "trump card" and asked whether he might tell me anything further in that regard. Yahya noted that Mujib's trial was still going on. If he were convicted, court would sentence him to punishment which would conceivably be death. Matter would then come before Yahya who had presidential power to modify court's judgement. As he had already told us, he did not intend to permit any death sentence to be carried out. With early formation of civilian government, that government (which would presumably have East Pak majority) would then have task of dealing with Mujib's future.

2. I said there were obvious problems but asked whether there was possibility of Yahya's revealing anything of his thinking along above lines to larger audience before too long. Mujib's role seemed to be a crucial issue, for example, with regard initiation any direct talks between GOP and BD leadership. I recalled that Yahya had told us he is prepared have GOP participate in such talks. We have recent indications that various pressures on BD leadership in Calcutta have inhibited any progress toward initiating talks, and one of their primary concerns seems to be that Mujib should have role.

3. Yahya responded that there were limits on his freedom of action. He pointed to predominant West Pak public opinion damning Mujib, and opined that not a single West Pak political leader would welcome an act to free Mujib and negotiate with him. Even the East Pak political chiefs with whom he has been talking in recent months, including respected elder leader Nurul Amin, had raised specter of return to pre-March situation which they said would result in terrible violence among East Pakistanis. As for himself, Yahya went on, if he now indicated that Mujib should be pardoned, people will ask why there had had to be so much sorrow and trouble and would raise question why Yahya should remain in office. Personally he did not hanker for power, but he had duty to deal with critical problems which his country faced. Yahya added he is not a ruthless person but a normal human being. He has no personal rancor against Mujib but he cannot disregard facts of recent history.

4. This portion of our conversation was conducted with no indication of any annoyance on Yahya's part that he was being pressed on what is perhaps most highly sensitive issue facing him in eyes of world opinion. On contrary he responded calmly in stating pressures weighing on him and his rationale for current stance. He appeared to wish leave impression he was man with rather little choice but to do what he is doing.


167. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State/1/

New Delhi, October 12, 1971, 1859Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, London, Moscow, Tehran, Bonn, Brussels, Paris, Vienna, USUN, Calcutta, Dacca, Bombay, and Madras. This telegram was summarized on October 13 by the National Security Council staff in a memorandum for Kissinger to use in briefing the President on October 14. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, October 1-24, 1971)

15988. Subject: Risks of War in Indo-Pak Confrontation. Ref: State 185010./2/

/2/ Document 160.

1. Summary: Prime Minister Gandhi being immediately unavailable, I met October 12 with Foreign Minister Swaran Singh and Foreign Secretary Kaul to make presentation per reftel. Foreign Minister (a) claimed East Pakistan insurgency profoundly rooted in Bengali alienation and has own dynamic, not dependent upon India; (b) argued insurgency exists deep within East Pakistan and significance of cross-border activities easily exaggerated and any event GOI cannot shoot down East Bengalis entering or departing India; (c) noted how long insurgency will be prolonged and whether it leads to Pak attack upon India depends upon GOP; (d) stressed insurgency is caused basically by Pak military repression to which Mukti Bahini (MB) is reaction. Foreign Minister (a) expressed strong resentment at any suggestion East Pakistan insurgency being maintained by India; (b) took exception to any implication that MB successes could justify Pak attack upon India and in such event that Indo-American relations need be adversely affected; (c) noted impression US continues to fail to appreciate psychological factors in present crisis despite GOI efforts to explain in New York, Washington and New Delhi; (d) charged US support to GOP strengthens Yahya regime determination to maintain military repression policy; and (e) concluded US has heavy responsibility to exercise its "great influence" with GOP. Foreign Minister confirmed our impressions (a) GOI probably does not currently anticipate MB cross-border operations on scale suggested reftel; and (b) GOI most probably does not presently plan to use Indian army for diversionary strategy noted reftel which Swaran Singh termed "pin pricks." Foreign Minister asserted in event GOP agreed to withdraw military forces from Indo-Pak borders, GOI could reconsider situation in light circumstances at that time. End summary.

2. I opened with expression my gratification at being received by busy Foreign Minister on short notice and my disappointment that Prime Minister Gandhi had been too busy to see me. Swaran Singh said if I must see Mrs. Gandhi she would be back in two or three days, but I noted my prior scheduled departure for the US. I noted that for first time in my experience I had been explicitly instructed by Washington to express to Prime Minister, as her appointments secretary was informed, USG concern over increasing risks of war in South Asia as consequence of East Bengal events. With end of monsoon, there are movements of Indian and Pak armor in East and West and reports of possible mass cross-border operations by MB. I noted GOI and GOP protestations they do not want war and would not be first to initiate hostilities. My personal conviction is this true as regards India, and I have so advised Washington. Nonetheless, reports point to critical situation where conflict could break out.

3. I told Foreign Minister in addition we have specific report MB plans inject 40,000 armed men across border by October 15 with 20,000 more by end October. According to this report this would be accomplished with support of Indian army diversionary actions to keep Pak forces off balance while the infiltration took place. MB effort of this dimension could not be accomplished without GOI support. US concerned Pak forces would respond militarily against India to any such operation. Thus, situation as reported has large potential for major confrontation which we must continue assume India does not want and does not see serving its larger interests.

4. I pointed out India as sovereign nation must of course make decision in own best interest but US strongly urges GOI act immediately to reduce these risks by efforts with the MB to restrict cross-border operations. We recognize major responsibility for Indo-Pak peace rests with GOP. No one could claim India started this mess. However, we feel GOI also has major responsibility to try to keep situation from deteriorating into war evolving from cross-border operations with serious effect on Indo-US relations.

5. Foreign Minister interrupted to ask whether he understood correctly if armed conflict takes place as a result of Pak incursions against India in retaliation successful guerrilla activity in East Pakistan, Indo-US relations would be adversely affected and whether it also would be injurious to US-Pak relations. I replied, large cross-border activities supported by Indian army which resulted in military conflict with Pakistan would be injurious to Indo-US relations. This I said differed somewhat from formulation in Foreign Minister's question. My instructions assumed if India were aggressor against Pakistan under the formulation I had stated there would be serious effects upon Indian-American relations just as if Pakistan were to attack India, I was convinced US-Pak relations similarly would be seriously affected.

6. I continued if dangers of immediate conflict are to be reduced meaningfully, we believe there must be reduction in level of military confrontation by (a) curbing all parties involved in cross-border operations on eastern and western Indo-Pak borders and (b) pulling back Indian and Pakistani military forces some distance from respective borders. I added hope Foreign Minister would not charge me with equating India and Pakistan if I advised him US had made same suggestion to GOP at highest level. US fully recognizes major responsibilities in current crisis rest with GOP. We informing Islamabad in strongest terms it should avoid actions that could lead to war and particularly any form of military action against India. We also urging GOP move rapidly in political settlement which all recognize essential if crisis to be dealt with at roots. In our view, this will require dialogue between GOP and Bangla Desh leadership which we have strongly recommended to GOP and continue to believe GOI can help facilitate.

7. Foreign Minister said since I departing soon for US he wished take opportunity to clarify perspective. He said it can be very misleading to break into chain of events at any one point in attempt to understand what has led Pakistan and India to present predicament. Basic realities are (a) Pak military repression unleashed six months ago continues; (b) refugee influx continues with September average 33,000 daily and recently up to 42,000, and current total in India of 9.5 million; (c) hard core of MB insurgency is formed by trained former Bengali military and police personnel totaling approximately 45,000, and highly motivated embittered East Bengali youth participating in insurgency in large numbers. If from 9.5 million refugees only one percent or 95,000 are highly motivated activists, these plus former Bengali police and military would total around 150,000 insurgents, which reasonable figure and one used by Pak Ambassador Hilaly on TV in Washington. Moreover, Swaran Singh said, insurgents are reasonably well equipped with weapons taken upon defection or otherwise liberated from Pak army, as well as with weaponry purchased in Europe by fairly large number of well-to-do Bengalis living abroad. Singh stated GOI cannot stop these activities; it has tried to explain basic realities and greatly resents natural process of growing Bengali resistance being interpreted by US as bolstered from India. He said, "We have uneasy feeling US is saying if Mukti Bahini succeeds in inflicting serious blow upon Pak army, GOP will be justified in striking back against India." I interjected that I did not mean to convey that impression. I pointed out that I laid stress on diversionary activities by Indian army in support of MB operations. Furthermore US is pointing to danger of what might happen, not suggesting justification any such eventuality. Singh expressed gratification for clarification. He maintained most daily operations take place deep within East Pakistan and are not cross-border in character, for example, recent actions against ocean shipping and strikes in Dacca and in Chittagong. He said, "Trans-border operations are not whole picture. We cannot stop refugee influx into India nor return of some for whatever purpose into East Pakistan. We cannot shoot people down coming or going. With your vast intelligence resources you must be familiar with conditions in East Pakistan where there no effective border guards. India cannot prevent movement of such people and does not have heart to attempt to do so. It not quite correct to describe situation in which MB gaining strength as cross-border. If 40,000 Mukti Bahini are in India as alleged then still 100,000 are within East Pakistan."

8. Swaran Singh urged US consider profound, alienated attitudes of Bengalis demonstrated by defections of well-placed Pak diplomats, including most recently Pak Ambassador in Buenos Aires. History knows no parallel and situation demonstrates even hard-eyed diplomats taking decision. GOI impression is such psychological factors are not appreciated in US which is blinded by charisma of military regime in Pakistan. History will demonstrate US has greatest responsibility in present situation since support for GOP has contributed to hardening and continuation of Pak military policy of repression. Even at this late date, GOI appears to us to exercise all influence which it surely has to bring GOP to sensible view even in its own interest. Meanwhile East Bengali alienation is deepening.

9. Foreign Minister reiterated it contrary to reality to argue MB action could justify Pak reaction against India. In truth MB is itself a reaction to continuing root cause, i.e., Pak military repression. If MB succeeds it will be easy to say India responsible, but GOI strongly resents implication and is greatly disturbed that realities of situation are not understood in US despite great pains to make them clear to President Nixon, Secretary Rogers and others in New York, Washington and New Delhi. GOI does not accept US distortion of sequence of events. GOI does ask US to exercise its immense influence with Yahya to bring him to reality. "We and I personally are under pressure. In my AICC speech, it was not slip of tongue, when I suggested Bangla Desh might be realized within framework of Pakistan, autonomy, or independence." Under existing circumstances, when US addresses GOI "in somewhat threatening manner" it seems to have ignored GOI statements as well as basic realities. Continuing US support to Yahya regime will only (a) deepen rift between East and West Pakistan, (b) make struggle in East Pakistan more bitter, and (c) rule out negotiated settlement. In latter regard, Foreign Minister said recent statement of Bangla Desh authorities ruling out compromise settlement was indirect repudiation of his AICC statement.

10. Foreign Minister said GOI knows perfectly well US officials are in close touch with Bangla Desh (BD) leaders and is aware of US efforts to promote settlement between Pakistan generals and some elements of Awami League. GOI urges US to focus any such efforts on genuine reconciliation, for it would be great mistake to seek to promote deal with break-away Awami League element. Situation is quite straight-forward. Yahya simply cannot ignore Mujib and Awami League leaders; they are true East Pakistan leadership. If Pakistan looking for excuse to start trouble India will defend self, however GOI sees no justification why this should affect Indo-US relations. "Please pass that on to your government. We are not speaking from excitement, fear or dialectic. But ask why Washington should think if Pakistan starts something, Indo-US relations would be affected? We shall continue to try to remove Indo-American misunderstanding and are particularly anxious to do so in light Prime Minister's forthcoming visit. Mrs. Gandhi seeks to reverse misunderstandings, and it would be unfortunate to burden her effort with extraneous considerations."

11. I said I never had met with BD representatives, although some of my junior officers had informally in Calcutta and New Delhi to listen to their stories. I cited pro-Communist Patriot allegation recently that I attempting disrupt MB and Awami League and cause internal friction. I said we do not have that kind of power and assured Foreign Minister we have done nothing of kind. I acknowledged we have gotten some conflicting stories about BD and suppose differences of opinion exist and with MB, but it not US intention to exacerbate same.

12. Foreign Minister said State Department knows of effort to bring about dialogue between President Yahya and Awami League, and GOI doesn't need to read Patriot for its view. I said effort to promote such dialogue seemed plausible but did not imply exploitation of differences. However, Singh said US attempting to bypass Mujib. I told Singh American Embassy Islamabad under instructions from Washington had just finished urging President Yahya to establish dialogue with elected representatives of East Pakistan, which I took to mean Mujib. I expressed certainty US would be delighted if President Yahya held discussions with Mujib.

13. I asked Foreign Minister if he prepared tell me more about reported large-scale MB intrusions planned for second half October as well as alleged plan for Indian army diversionary action. Singh said he clearly and categorically wished to state (a) MB does not take GOI and Indian army into confidence, has own tactics and means, and "has never consulted us"; (b) GOI refuses to believe MB is on Indian border in such large numbers prepared to march openly into East Pakistan; (c) Indian Government believes MB operating in heart of East Pakistan but doesn't know of MB plans to step up activities except perhaps in reaction to highly publicized reports of Pak army intention make clean sweep in East Pakistan upon end of monsoon; (d) GOI will never attack Pak positions and will never commit any incursion against Pakistan territory; (e) if Pakistan starts war India will defend itself with every means available; (f) GOI will never undertake such "pin prick" diversions as alleged, since India mature country with mature and strong leadership and disciplined armed forces; and (g) MB operations cannot be valid excuse for GOP action against India.

14. As to proposed withdrawal of military forces from border Swaran Singh said there already are ground rules concerning border deployments which India honoring. However, he alleged there have been large-scale Pak military concentrations in Jammu/Chamb, Sialkot, Lahore, Bahawalpur and areas further south, and Pak army has moved troops forward from cantonment areas such as Peshawar and Quetta. I asked if Pakistan agreed to withdraw military forces from border, how would GOI react? Singh replied, "We can reconsider situation if they withdraw."

15. Comment to New Delhi 15778/3/ applies. In particular, we continue to perceive no present GOI intention to initiate hostilities during next couple months.

/3/ Dated October 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, LEG 7 FRE-LINGHAUSEN)


168. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, October 15, 1971, 0222Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Schneider on October 13; cleared by Curtis W. Kammon (EUR/SOV), Laingen, Van Hollen, and Haig; and approved by Acting Secretary Irwin. Also sent to Moscow and repeated to Islamabad, USUN, Tehran, London, Calcutta, Dacca, and Paris.

189037. Subj: Risk of War in Indo-Pak Confrontation. Ref: (a) Karachi 2028, (b) New Delhi 15988, (c) Moscow 7529./2/

/2/ Documents 165, 167, and 163.

1. In light Pakistani and Indian responses to our démarches regarding risks of war, we wish to emphasize and pursue further our proposal for mutual withdrawal of troops by both governments. For this purpose we wish to reinforce our approach for Soviet support with Indians and make further approach to GOI.

2. For New Delhi: Ambassador or Chargé should seek early appointment with FonMin and make following points:

A. We were pleased to note FonMin's categorical statement discrediting our report of large numbers of Mukti Bahini personnel prepared to invade East Pakistan and of concurrent Indian army diversion of defending Pak force. We also note FonMin's statement that India would never attack Pak positions and would never commit any incursion against Pakistan territory.

B. We wish to report that in response to our presentation to GOP, President Yahya assured us that Pakistan would not be first to initiate hostilities. In regard to our proposal for a pullback of military forces, President Yahya raised certain questions regarding how such pullback might apply to East Pakistan border but accepted proposal in principle subject to clarification on details such as with regard to East Pakistan. Specifically President Yahya suggested that mechanics of withdrawal might be worked out directly by India and Pakistan army chiefs of staff. USG has no particular desire to involve itself in regard such mechanics and suggests direct contact between military organizations at some level might be best way of carrying out withdrawal.

C. We wish to re-state and emphasize suggestion which was put forward solely on our initiative that India and Pakistan carry out a mutual withdrawal of troops from their borders. We make this proposal in all seriousness and ask that India give it the most careful consideration. We believe India would agree that neither it nor Pakistan would find escalation or present tensions in its interest. Yet proximity of forces along India-Pakistan borders present great danger of accidental war which each government has informed us it does not intend to initiate. We have made this proposal in hope that very substantial movement of men and matériel which has taken place on both sides of border might be reversed. We do not wish to involve ourselves in debate regarding details of which country has violated ground rules. Facts are that substantial movements have been made on both sides with resulting increase in dangers of escalation. Consequently we would appreciate India's reaction to Yahya's suggestion that the Chief of Staff on both sides might arrange the mechanics of the pullback. Alternately, we would be interested in any other Indian proposal for method by which pullback might be accomplished./3/

/3/ In Ambassador Keating's absence, Chargé Stone met with Foreign Secretary Kaul on October 16 and made a presentation based upon the instructions in telegram 189037. Kaul responded by reiterating Foreign Minister Singh's assurance that India would not initiate a military confrontation with Pakistan. He said that India viewed Pakistan's recent military moves as a threat to attack India, despite Yahya's protestations to the contrary. Kaul added that India could not accept the U.S. proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces until the threat from Pakistan had been removed. He maintained that a withdrawal of forces from the border between India and West Pakistan would leave India at risk in that the proposed move to the closest military bases would put Pakistani forces considerably closer to the border than Indian forces. (Telegram 16247 from New Delhi, October 16; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

3. For Moscow: Embassy Moscow authorized to brief Gromyko or other senior Soviet official on general outlines of our discussions with both Yahya and Swaran Singh. In particular Embassy should cover those portions of conversations regarding pullback proposal in detail and in such a way as to make apparent that US has obtained substantial agreement from GOP and that situation in regard to India is such that Soviets' use of their influence might enhance prospects of Indian agreement to withdrawal which we are convinced is as much in Soviet interest as in ours./4/

/4/ Ambassador Beam met with Foreign Minister Gromyko on October 18 to urge that the Soviet Union support the proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces. Beam said that President Yahya had accepted the proposal but Foreign Minister Swaran Singh had gone no further than to state that if Pakistan withdrew, India would reconsider the situation. Beam asked Gromyko to encourage India to accept the proposal. Gromyko said that the Soviet Union had also been in touch with both sides to urge restraint. India and Pakistan had both indicated that they would not initiate hostilities, but the conclusion drawn in Moscow was that the Indian assurance could be relied upon but that offered by Yahya could not. Gromyko did not agree to support the proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces. He said that separating the troops confronting each other along the border was a good idea but not a solution. He urged the United States to join the Soviet Union in seeking a political settlement to the crisis. (Telegram 7794 from Moscow, October 18; ibid., POL 27 INDIA-PAK) On October 19 Haig reinforced Beam's initiative with a telephone call to Dobrynin in which he said that the President was concerned that the situation on the subcontinent could take a dangerous turn. Nixon, Haig added, hoped the Soviet Union "could exercise maximum restraint on the Indians." (Transcript of a telephone conversation; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 998, Haig Chronological File, Haig Telcons, 1971)


169. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, October 19, 1971, 2159Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 578, Indo-Pak War, Pakistan Chronology, Dr. Kissinger. Secret; Exdis. Drafted and approved by Van Hollen and cleared by Laingen and Jeanne Davis, Director of the NSC Staff Secretariat. Repeated to New Delhi and Dacca.

191555. Subject: Yahya Letter to President Nixon./2/

/2/ A signed copy of the letter delivered by Zahir M. Farooqi is in the Library of Congress, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 210, Geopolitical File, South Asia, Chronological File, Nov-Dec 1971.
Following is text of letter from Pres Yahya to President Nixon dtd Oct 9, delivered to White House Oct 19 by Pakistani DCM Farooqi:

Begin text.

Your Excellency

I write to express the sense of gratitude of the Government and the people of Pakistan for your sympathetic understanding of our difficulties during the recent crisis. We also appreciate your government's continuing interest in the affairs of the sub-continent, particularly, its concern for the well-being of the people and for the preservation of stability and peace in the area. In this context, may I state briefly, Mr. President, the latest position on the state of affairs in the sub-continent. In an already tense situation India's land, sea and air forces have been brought to a state of confrontation against Pakistan's frontiers in both the wings.

There are 7 divisions of the Indian army which are deployed against West Pakistan and additional forces have been put in a state of readiness to move to forward positions at short notice./3/

/3/ An intelligence report sent by the CIA to the White House on October 19 indicated that all Indian armed forces had been placed on full alert status. (CIA telegram TDCSDB-315/06207-71, October 19; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71)

A total of nearly 8 divisions have encircled East Pakistan.
Substantial forward moves have taken place from the rear to the forward operational positions in the last few weeks. In addition, the deployment of Indian forces on the Sino-Indian borders have been rearranged in a manner that these could be simultaneously utilized in an offensive against Pakistan's frontiers as well.

The Indian air force has activated and occupied forward airfields and special facilities and stockpiling have been carried out. Tactical air-centres have also been established near Pakistan's frontier.

A total of nearly 26 squadrons, inclusive of supersonic aircrafts, are today positioned against Pakistan. There is a virtual combat air ring around East Pakistan for offensive purposes.

The Indian navy has been put to a state of war-preparedness with sixty percent of its forces deployed against the coasts of West Pakistan. The remaining strength of the Indian navy is positioned to move against the shores of East Pakistan.

Mr. President, the inevitable conclusion that one can draw from this offensive posture of the Indian armed forces is that it is pointed in the direction of conflict and not of peace. Our concern is all the more grave since India has shown no inclination to give up its policy of instigating and assisting armed infiltration into East Pakistan. It continues to support, train, and launch rebels and insurgents who seek the dismemberment and destruction of Pakistan. I am constrained to say that if this state of affairs continues it may lead to dangerous consequences: a situation which we in Pakistan-and I am sure all the friends of Pakistan and India, particularly, the United States-would wish to avoid.

It is most unfortunate that to justify its aggressive posture, India continues to exploit the humanitarian question of displaced persons. As you perhaps know, Mr. President, my government has taken several constructive steps for the return and speedy rehabilitation of these persons who are our own kith and kin. This contrasts sharply with India's totally negative attitude and leaves us with no doubt that India does not wish an amicable settlement of this problem.
I would wish to add that the political situation in Pakistan is rapidly progressing towards the objective I have set out for transferring power to the elected representatives of the people. I have already taken some decisive steps, including the appointment of a civilian governor in East Pakistan, fixing a time schedule for holding by-elections in December this year, declaration of general amnesty and release of detained persons. These efforts towards the civilianisation of provincial government in East Pakistan have evoked a highly favourable response from the people. In addition, the food situation in the province is fully under control and the industrial and economic life is rapidly returning to normal. A very healthy improvement in the atmosphere in East Pakistan is thus discernible.

Mr. President, since you have always taken a keen personal interest in the preservation of peace in the sub-continent, I do hope that you would share my belief that whether it be for the creation of a climate conducive to the return of the displaced persons, or for the normalisation of situation, it is essential that India and Pakistan should work out necessary ways and means to reduce tension and allow normalcy to return at the earliest. Having this in mind, may I urge you to impress upon the Government of India the need for urgent constructive steps with a view to arresting further deterioration of the situation in the sub-continent. As I have always maintained, war will solve nothing. I, therefore, earnestly hope that wise counsels would prevail in India and the Indian leaders would exercise restraint and caution in this highly surcharged atmosphere. I would request you, Mr. President, personally to take up this matter in your talks with the Indian Prime Minister during her forthcoming visit to Washington. On my part, I shall welcome any constructive suggestion that you may wish to offer in this regard.

With warm personal regards,
A.M. Yahya Khan
End text.


170. Telegram From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State/1/

Dacca, October 20, 1971, 1400Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK. Confidential. Repeated to Islamabad, New Delhi, Calcutta, and Karachi.

4498. Subj: East Pakistan Insurgency-Evaluation.

1. Summary. East Pakistan insurgency has increased in tempo and geographic scope in last three months. Still unable challenge Pakistan army in urban areas, but shows increasing capability carry out ambushes and hit-and-run attacks in certain areas, while limited to minor sabotage elsewhere. Govt efforts reduce popular support by "civilianization" and general amnesty unsuccessful, except possibly among middle class in cities. Future course of insurgency will depend heavily on (a) Indian support, (b) tenacity of Islamabad Govt, (c) quality of Bengali leadership (Sheikh Mujib or other emerging leader). In meantime insurgency successfully disrupting major economic activities especially exports.

2. Over past three months East Pakistan insurgency has increased in intensity and widened its geographic scope of operations. Concentrating in the rural areas, with only token activity in cities (exception has been systemic and repeated disruption of power supply to Chittagong), Mukti Bahini (MB) have stepped up their disruption of roads, bridges, railroad lines in most parts of the country. In some districts, notably Dacca, Comilla, Noakhali, Faridpur, Bakarganj, MB seems able move about almost at will and appears even to have set up parallel administration at some points. Evidence on hand suggests that insurgents are better armed than formerly, (automatic weapons, mortars, heavier explosives) and increasingly able undertake sophisticated operations (mining of ships, effective sabotage of bridges, etc.). In central and southern districts mentioned, MB has demonstrated aggressiveness and skill in ambush operations against Razakars (voluntary home guards) and army, occasionally inflicting significant casualties. Areas other than those cited above, MB activities largely confined destruction of bridges, culverts, railway lines, apparently avoiding contact with govt forces.

3. Critical factor in increased insurgent capability up to now has been Indian support in form of training on Indian territory, supply, and assistance in infiltration into East Pakistan. Moreover, by adopting forward military posture on East Pak borders, Indians have pinned bulk of Pak army regular troops in border areas, so that internal defense against MB operations has devolved principally upon Razakars, police, and other para-military or semi-volunteer organizations which are less efficient than regular army and considerably less reliable. (Several reports received of defections, both individually and en masse, of Razakars to MB, taking their weapons with them; one report received that group of Razakars suspected of collaborating with MB were summarily executed by military [garble] explanation frequently cited by GOEP officials for alleged recent intensification Indian shelling border areas is provision of cover for large scale infiltrations of newly-trained MB into EP.) EP press regularly carries accounts massive captures Indian-origin weapons and ammunition from infiltrating "Indian agents" allegedly intercepted after crossing border. While virtually overt and acknowledged support of India by MB is undoubtedly important factor in sustaining latter and making possible its increased activity, we believe MB now sufficiently established in many areas of country and has sufficient cohesion to sustain itself even if India cut down its support to level which could be maintained by truly covert means. Continued Indian support at present levels will inevitably further extend MB range of operations.

4. Up to now and for reasonably foreseeable future MB not likely present dangerous threat to Pak army, despite probable increases in numbers and scope of activity. In contrast with situation in Viet-Nam, MB does not possess redoubt in which it can concentrate masses of supplies and weapons, nor are there protected trails through which large quantities heavy equipment can reach them from easily accessible seaport. For many months to come Pak army will certainly retain advantage in equipment and training on other hand, even at present level of activity, MB is serious thorn in army's side. We have no means of accurate assessment of army casualties, but indications are that figure may run as high as 10 to 12 killed daily, with corresponding number of wounded. While not in itself crippling to Pak army contingent in EP, these figures over extended period of time could create serious morale problem among troops far from home, living among unfriendly people and in difficult and wearing climate. Concern felt by MLA authorities in Dacca is evidenced by precautions being taken to protect vulnerable points in city. Brick walls with rifle or machine gun ports being constructed entirely around airport, electric power stations, etc., while sandbagged strong points set up at many places along principal streets. Security check points maintained along main roads, and occasionally set up unexpectedly at other places. Series of pillboxes and fortifications have been installed along northern rim of Gulshan residential area.

5. Economy of EP slowly but surely declining as MB keep up pressure on roads, bridges, railroads, powerlines and fuel supplies. Dacca 4032/2/ presents latest overall picture with no improvement noted since.

/2/ Telegram 4032 from Dacca, September 27, summarized the economic disruption occurring in East Pakistan as a result of the insurgency. (Ibid., E 8 PAK)

6. To extent that "civilianization" and general amnesty were intended damp insurgent activities, they have demonstrably failed. While weariness and desire for "peace at almost any price" apparent among middle class urban groups, we have impression that younger Bengalis, particularly those in countryside, are entrenched in their detestation of Islamabad Government and bitterness against Pak army. These attitudes reinforced by persisting reports atrocities and indiscriminate retaliation carried out by government forces, principally army or Razakars, to point where even many conservative Bengalis see no other outcome than to drive army out by force.

7. Such slim evidence as we possess indicates greater overall organization among MB, including recently-reported (Dacca 4374)/3/ setting up of Mukti Bahini as kind of civil defense force. Problems of coordination and communication persist, with some units apparently following different lines of action and policy. Recent CAS reports indicate awareness on part of MB of danger of such radical insurgent groups as Naxalites to overall unity of movement. On other hand there have also been reports of differences of opinion between MB and group of Bangla Desh politicians at Calcutta. While we still believe that Sheikh Mujib, released and allowed freedom of action, could assert control over MB and use it as disciplined instrument of his policy, longer he is restrained more likely we consider it that new leadership will emerge from among MB which, tempered by fighting and action-oriented, might one day challenge both Mujib and old Awami League leadership for primacy in independent or largely autonomous East Bengal. Orientation such eventual leadership on right-left spectrum impossible to predict at present.

/3/ Dated October 13. (Ibid., POL 23-9 PAK)


171.Memorandum From Secretary of State Rogers to President Nixon/1/

Washington, October 22, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Constable and cleared by Laingen, Schneider, and Van Hollen.

Indo-Pakistan Situation

The potential for an outbreak of hostilities between India and Pakistan remains high; but we have no information that either side intends to take the initiative at this time. A possible indicator of the level of tensions will be whether Mrs. Gandhi begins her three-week international tour on October 24.

We have urged maximum restraint on both India and Pakistan. Specifically we have suggested to both that they pull their troops back from the border. President Yahya has reacted positively in private. The Indians have said they would consider withdrawals only if Pakistan withdrew first. They indicated that India would have to withdraw much farther than Pakistan. Both President Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi have publicly discussed the circumstances under which they might withdraw in contexts which are probably mutually unacceptable at this point. We are now planning, if Ambassador Farland concurs, to suggest that President Yahya consider a unilateral and limited withdrawal as a signal to the Indians of his desire to de-escalate and reduce tensions. We believe he might be willing to do this without jeopardizing his military position, in order to put the onus on the Indians to take reciprocal action.

Recognizing that the lack of a viable political settlement in East Pakistan continues to fuel the tensions between India and Pakistan, we are also suggesting that Ambassador Farland, if he agrees, discuss ways in which Yahya might move more rapidly toward such a settlement. We are particularly focusing on ways in which Yahya might begin a dialogue with the previously elected representatives of East Pakistan. Because President Yahya has already indicated willingness to establish contact with Bangla Desh leaders, we are asking Ambassador Farland to suggest that they be included in any such dialogue. To date, however, the Bangla Desh representatives have refused, insisting that nothing can be negotiated except independence and only Mujib can speak for the Bangla Desh group. Given the apparent importance of the arrested Awami League President Sheikh Mujib to a negotiated settlement, we are asking Ambassador Farland to raise again with President Yahya whether he believes there are possibilities for Mujib to play a part in a settlement.

On October 19 Secretary General U Thant offered his good offices to President Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi./2/ We support this initiative. For the moment, however, we hope to keep the Indo-Pakistan dispute from surfacing in open debate in the Security Council. Between now and the time of Mrs. Gandhi's visit on November 4 and 5, we prefer to work privately with both the Indians and the Pakistanis. During Mrs. Gandhi's visit, we hope you will be able to dispel some of the suspicions which have entered our relationship with the Indians. At the same time, we will want again to urge maximum restraint on Mrs. Gandhi, get her to support direct negotiations between Bangla Desh leaders and President Yahya, and seek her cooperation in trying to stabilize the situation in East Pakistan. We believe that India must bear a share of the responsibility for bringing stability back to East Pakistan, in part by exercising greater control over India-based guerrilla activity.

/2/ UN Secretary-General U Thant held separate meetings on October 19 with the Indian and Pakistani permanent representatives to the United Nations and gave them identical letters for Prime Minister Gandhi and President Yahya. In his letters, the Secretary General expressed concern about the deteriorating situation along the borders between the two countries and offered his good offices to seek a peaceful solution. (Telegram 3705 from USUN, October 21; ibid., POL INDIA-PAK) The text of the letters, as conveyed to members of the Security Council on October 21, was transmitted to the Department in telegram 3766 from USUN, October 22. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Oct 25-Nov 22 1971)
Following Mrs. Gandhi's visit, if it is necessary at that time, we may want to see the Indo-Pakistan situation aired in the Security Council and publicly in other ways in order to increase international pressure on both sides for restraint and de-escalation.

John N. Irwin II/3/

/3/ Under Secretary Irwin signed for Rogers.

172. Briefing Prepared for President Nixon/1/

Washington, October 27, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 575, Indo-Pak War, South Asian Relief, 8/1/71-11/23/71. Confidential. Prepared by Hoskinson and Saunders for an October 28 briefing of the President. The memorandum does not indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by Kissinger.


For the President

Widespread Famine Averted for Now in East Pakistan: Maury Williams, after an on-the-spot review,/2/ has concluded that the widespread fam-ine-with associated deaths and an accelerated refugee flow to India-predicted by many last summer will not occur in East Pakistan this winter.

The next critical period is March. He cites the following reasons:

/2/ The briefing was based upon telegram 4614 from Dacca, October 26, a report from Deputy AID Administrator Maurice Williams, who was investigating the danger of famine in East Pakistan in his capacity as coordinator of relief assistance. A copy of telegram 4614 was attached to the briefing memorandum.

-U.S. efforts in dramatizing the problem and in providing two-thirds of needed transport from ocean ports to river ports, plus continuing shipment of one million tons of grain, have been a major factor.

-Reduction of the East Pakistani population by the nine million (13%) more or less who have moved to India.

-The end of a black market flow of rice, normally one million tons annually, from East Pakistan into India as a result of border tension.

-The UN role in making food distribution neutral in the civil conflict.

-The prospect of the winter crop beginning in late November.

Williams cautions, however, that the situation in East Pakistan is still grim and that continuing relief assistance will be needed. There is still the likelihood that increased guerrilla activity will make food distribution more difficult. Serious pockets of need will continue to exist. A buildup of stocks will have to continue against the next critical period in March, and a further strengthening of the UN field staff remains important.

Beyond the humanitarian aspect, this is also a major U.S. contribution to peace in South Asia since the avoidance of famine at this critical juncture will mean that many millions more Bengalis will not flee to India. This will be a point worth making to Mrs. Gandhi when she asks how our relationship with Yahya has contributed to peace. It is hard to prove, but the situation could have been a great deal worse by now.

173. Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Washington, October 29, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country File, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis.

Military Supply to Pakistan

On the eve of Mrs. Gandhi's visit here, a potentially explosive issue concerning US arms supply to Pakistan has arisen.

You will recall that the USG has gone on the public record with Pentagon concurrence, informed Congressional committees and told the Indians that by early April:

-A hold was put on the delivery of FMS items from the Department of Defense stocks and that no such items have been released to Pakistan since then.

-We had suspended the issuance of new export licenses and renewal of expired licenses for items on the munitions list-for either FMS or commercial sales.
It was clearly understood that items already released from Defense stocks and already under valid licenses could still be shipped out of the country. The Indians in Congress have been informed that about $3.8 million of such items have been shipped to Pakistan on commercial carriers paid for by the Government of Pakistan.

It now turns out that some equipment has been released from Defense stocks since March 25-perhaps as much as $2 million worth. So while our total figure of $3.8 million shipped is correct, it is untrue that nothing moved from Defense depots.

State and Defense believed until recently that the two statements represented an accurate accounting of our military supply to Pakistan. Much to their surprise, however, a GAO investigating team acting on orders from Senator Kennedy has discovered that the initial orders issued by ISA to put the "hold" into effect were not followed completely by the services and that there has been substantial leakage. According to the best accounting ISA can make at this point:

-The Air Force continued to release $2.4 million worth of spares (70% lethal) up to July. Some of the more urgently needed items were flown to Pakistan on the normal MAC embassy support flights on an almost weekly basis. All of these spares were under valid license so the customs people did not interfere.

-The Army "inadvertently" has released some $83,000 worth of lethal spares to the Paks but these were not under valid license and therefore did not leave the country.

-The Navy is also thought to have released some $100,000 in lethal spares but it has not yet been determined how much of this was under license and was shipped out of the country.
What this boils down to is that, allowing for shipment delays and expiration of licenses, probably at least half of the $3.8 million shipped to Pakistan should never have been released under the ground rules which we imposed on ourselves and made public.
The most immediate problem facing us now is that this information could become public knowledge on the eve of the Gandhi visit since the GAO will be submitting its report to Senator Kennedy on Monday. It is hard to believe that he will not exploit this situation and, even if we attempt to explain it, think that we have not been trying to sneak arms to Pakistan behind the back of Congress. If it doesn't come out before the Gandhi visit it almost certainly will leak in the aftermath and could undermine whatever positive might come out of her talks with the President. This could make the harm caused by similar disclosures in the wake of Foreign Minister Swaran Singh's visit here, look mild by comparison.

It seems to us that the only thing to do now is to attempt to cut our losses with the Indians by explaining in good faith what happened. Our credibility with them is already so undermined that they might not believe us anyway but at least we will be protecting the President so that they cannot come back later with a charge that he misled them.

At the same time, the "drying up" exercise is coming to culmination.

You will recall that it began when Sisco broached to Ambassador Hilaly in August the idea of accelerating shipments of any outstanding military equipment the Pakistanis still wanted. You saw General Haq when he was here and gave him some additional time, i.e. until about October 15, to locate outstanding equipment and to collect it.

The Pakistanis have now designated the equipment which they would still like to ship and it amounts to 32 tons on a dock in New York. They are prepared to ask that licenses for the remainder be withdrawn, and they agreed when General Haq was here to a low-key public statement that the pipeline was "completed."

The main purpose of this exercise, as you will recall, was to get the troublesome military assistance issue out of the way in order perhaps to strengthen the Administration's hand in limiting the damage that would be done by excessively restrictive amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. Since the Pakistanis have seemingly willingly cooperated in this exercise-perhaps seeing the congressional handwriting on the wall in any case-State has been working steadily toward wrapping this up as neatly as possible.

Now it comes simultaneously with (a) the increase in tension, (b) these impending new revelations of "bureaucratic bungling" on the release of military equipment and (c) the dock strike.
One physical complication in a neat wrap up is the dock strike. It had been hoped that all of the remaining equipment could have been shipped and then a statement might have been issued saying that the exercise was over. With the dock strike, it would be necessary to say that the shipment of military supply items is being completed, that there are no further outstanding licenses and that the final shipment of $160,000 worth of equipment will be shipped when the dock strike ends.

Because of the untidiness of the situation, I have argued that we not make any kind of announcement. That would look like we were claiming credit for something we had not completely done since one more shipment is still to go. However, State would like to put itself in a position to answer a question at the daily briefing in the next few days by explaining how the pipeline is drying up.

A response might go something like this: "The embassy of Pakistan has informed the Department of State that it is completing Pakistan's shipments of military supply items. In view of this information, at the request of the government of Pakistan the office of munitions control is withdrawing remaining outstanding valid licenses." It would also have to be stated that we understand that the Pakistanis have a small amount of munitions list items that have "cleared customs" and are pending loading on ship at the conclusion of the dock strike. It might also be said that the value of those items is about $160,000 and the value of the unused licenses is about 2 million dollars. The content of the announcement would be worked out with the Pakistanis.
My question for you is: Do you see any objection to completing this exercise provided it is fully cleared with the Pakistanis and informing the Indians at the same time we tell them of the other problem?/2/

/2/ Kissinger initialed the yes option and added the following handwritten notation: "(No objection-but let me see what we tell them)." Ambassador Farland was instructed on November 1 to inform the Pakistani Government that Congressional support for the administration's policies in South Asia would benefit if key Congressional leaders were informed that the military pipeline was being closed down except for a small final shipment awaiting the end of a dock strike. (Telegram 198915 to Islamabad; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK) Farland met with President Yahya on November 2 and Yahya agreed to the necessity to close down the pipeline, subject to the understanding that title to the items on the New York dock had passed to Pakistan. (Telegram 10904 from Islamabad, November 3; ibid.) The same day Under Secretary Irwin called in Ambassador Jha and informed him of the plan to close down the pipeline to Pakistan and of the supply slippages not previously made public. (Telegram 200295 to New Delhi, November 3; ibid., DEF 12-5 PAK)

174. Briefing Prepared for President Nixon/1/

Washington, October 29, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Indo-Pak Crisis, Withdrawn Files, Boxes 570-573. No classification marking. Prepared on October 29 by Hoskinson and Saunders for an October 30 briefing of the President. The memorandum does not indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by Kissinger.


Indo-Soviet Relations: From all indications, the Soviets appear to be keeping an unusually close watch on the situation in South Asia. At the end of last week, Deputy Foreign Minister Firyubin made a hurriedly arranged trip to New Delhi apparently to get a fresh reading on the situation. Then yesterday a military delegation, headed by the commander of the Soviet air force and including representatives of the other services, arrived with little advance preparation./2/

/2/ Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Firyubin visited New Delhi October 22-27. The military delegation, which arrived in New Delhi on October 28, was headed by Marshal Pavel Kutakhov, Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Soviet Air Force. An analysis prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research on November 3 concluded that Firyubin assured India of continued Soviet support in the event of hostilities and Kutakhov conveyed a Soviet willingness to discuss an emergency military supply program for India. (Intelligence Note; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

If nothing else, this is a graphic demonstration of the consultation clause in the new "friendship" treaty. It also would seem to reflect Soviet concern that the Indo-Pak military confrontation could blow up into full scale fighting./3/ By visibly demonstrating their support for India, the Soviets may hope to deter the Paks from taking any rash actions.

/3/ An intelligence report circulated on October 15 indicated that the Soviet Union had assured India that in the event of a war between India and Pakistan, India "would not be alone." (Intelligence Information Cable TDCS DB-215/06104-71; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul- 30 Nov 71)


175. Letter From President Nixon to Pakistani President Yahya/1/

Washington, October 30, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971). No classification marking. The text of the letter was transmitted to Islamabad on October 31 in telegram 198807 for delivery to President Yahya. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 US/NIXON)

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letters of October 6 and October 9/2/ concerning the dangers to peace in South Asia. I am grateful to you for conveying your concerns to me and for the confidence and friendship in which your letters were written. The Vice President has conveyed your good wishes from Persepolis.

/2/ See Documents 161 and 169.

We share most deeply many of the concerns you have expressed. I am keenly aware of the continuing difficulties you face and know how much the threat of war adds to the burdens you already bear. I have asked Ambassador Farland to discuss with you as a concerned friend further steps that might be taken to reduce tension.

Because of our concern for peace, we have requested both your government and the government of India to consider withdrawal of forces along your respective borders as an action that would contribute to restoring mutual confidence and reducing the risks of war. We appreciate your prompt and positive response to this proposal. We hope that both your government and that of Mrs. Gandhi will keep this possibility under serious consideration in the days ahead. Your strong desire to avoid hostilities is most encouraging.

Nonetheless, there are still serious risks in the present situation and hostilities could still erupt inadvertently. Such hostilities could easily escalate with a much wider conflict with tragic consequences for the entire South Asian subcontinent. We therefore share your view that the United Nations has a serious responsibility in this situation to act in ways that will help reduce tensions and begin the difficult task of building a lasting peace in that area.

For those reasons we have welcomed the initiatives taken by the United Nations in recent months, both those designed to reduce the risk of conflict and those in the field of humanitarian relief. I know of the Secretary General's very recent letter to you and Mrs. Gandhi,/3/ and I welcome the tenor of your response to that letter./4/ We intend to be in close touch with the Secretary General, with your government, and with the government of India to consider ways in which these initiatives might be followed through.

/3/ See footnote 2, Document 171.

/4/ On October 26 the press in Pakistan printed the text of Yahya's October 25 letter to U Thant welcoming his offer to mediate in the dispute between India and Pakistan. (Telegram 10700 from Islamabad, October 26; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)
Meanwhile, I have asked Ambassador Farland to talk with you about what might be a feasible next step toward beginning the withdrawal of forces from their dangerous border positions. I know the importance you attach to enlisting the maximum degree of participation by the elected representatives of the people of East Pakistan. I also believe you agree that this process is essential to restoring those conditions in the Eastern wing of your country which will end the flow of refugees into India and achieve a viable political accommodation among all the people of Pakistan.

We have recently said farewell to Ambassador Hilaly who has completed more than five years of dedicated service to the cause of friendship between our two countries. I want you to know how much we have appreciated his wise counsel and understanding and how much I have enjoyed my relationship with him.

Richard Nixon

176. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, October 30, 1971, 0056Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Laingen and Constable on October 29; cleared by Schneider, Van Hollen, Sisco, and Saunders; and approved by Irwin. Repeated to London, Moscow, New Delhi, Paris, Tehran, USUN, Calcutta, and Dacca. A note for the record, attached by Saunders on October 29 to a draft of the telegram, indicates that Kissinger revised and cleared it. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971)

198660. Subject: Indo-Pak Confrontation. For Ambassador Farland. Deliver 8 a.m. October 30.
1. You should seek earliest possible appointment with Yahya to deliver President's letter/2/ (septel) and to elicit response from Yahya to presentation below to be available here if at all possible before Mrs. Gandhi's arrival November 4. Overall objective of your talk is elicit maximum Pakistani package which can be used during talks with Mrs. Gandhi here in urging Indian restraint and reciprocal de-escalation.

/2/ Document 175.

2. You should emphasize at the outset that you are speaking as a concerned friend in a desire to be helpful and make most of the Gandhi visit in the context of common desire to preserve peace and to follow through with orderly political process. We need a Pakistani position that is as forthcoming and defensible as possible.

3. Presentation outlined below covers two subjects: (a) military pullback and (b) next steps in Yahya's political process. Question for Yahya is how he mixes variety of political and military moves open to him. US not the party to make that judgment. Approach described below designed strictly to help Yahya canvass options open to him.

4. On military pullback, we now have response from both GOP and GOI to our proposal for mutual withdrawal of forces. Despite largely negative and now public nature of Indian response and some disadvantages in Yahya's going public with a proposal to which he has added his own conditions, we have achieved reaffirmation by both of their intention not to initiate hostilities and each has expressed a willingness to consider withdrawal in context some action by the other.

5. We believe our next step should be to advise Yahya directly of what we have heard from Indians and probe whether he prepared consider action unilaterally that might serve as means of triggering some response from Indians and thus be start of self-generating series of steps. We should also note Yahya's positive response to U Thant(Islamabad 10700)/3/ and particularly reference to pullback to "mutually agreed safe distance." Promise of such a step would be useful here in talking with Mrs. Gandhi. At a minimum, a unilateral beginning of this kind could put pressure and onus on India to take a reciprocal step.

/3/ See footnote 4, Document 175.

6. While we recognize difficulty for GOP of unilateral actions in present crisis (para. 5 Islamabad 10479),/4/ it seems to us that Pakistan has most to gain from any reduction present military confrontation and that some risk, therefore, may be worth taking. Is such a pullback possible without diminishing significantly precautionary moves already made by GOP? In this connection, it is our understanding (on basis DIA information) that GOP was first to undertake major movement of forces when in mid-Sept. it deployed Sixth and Seventeenth divisions from Kharian cantonment to Sialkot border area. Indian reaction occurred in early October with movement of several divisions opposite Pakistan forces at Sialkot.

/4/ Dated October 18. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

7. In this context, you should broach with Yahya whether some initiative by Pakistan along western border involving visible pullback of some specified force would be feasible and could be signaled by local commander to his opposite number by means that may be open to him. We leave it to you with DATT advice what specific examples you might cite, but pullback of elements Sixth and Seventeenth divisions noted above would be one possibility, particularly in light Yahya's comments to Chargé Sober in Karachi 2028/5/ suggesting forces from Kharian and other cantonments as types that might move back from border if there were reciprocal move on Indian side. Alternatively, you should raise with Yahya possibility more limited withdrawal of forces (of kind spoken of in his letter to U Thant) in specified sectors of distances 3-5 miles but still of dimensions visible to Indians and of variety that could be used to achieve similar withdrawal by Indian forces. Yahya could also ask for UN verification that Pak units have pulled back. Such step, whether or not UN actually provided verification, would nevertheless increase incentive for India to take reciprocal step.

/5/ Document 165.

8. If Yahya prepared make this kind of beginning, we would like to be able to mention during Gandhi visit, pointing to this as indicative of Yahya's bona fides in desiring initiate process of gradually reducing force confrontation, in West to begin with, possibly in East later. We would press GOI immediately to respond with equivalent withdrawal of its own. Would seem desirable to proceed without publicity.

9. On political side, we continue to believe that long-term resolution of current crisis can only be found through progress toward political solution in East Pakistan, whatever comes of pullback proposal. So far, Yahya's responses to us in this area have been essentially to restate to us serious problems he feels would be involved in going beyond political timetable he has spelled out publicly. We fully appreciate these problems. However, we note that in your last talk with Yahya on Mujib, he did not exclude concept using Mujib as "trump card" at some point in the political process (Islamabad 9599)./6/ We believe we should take up with him his request to you at that time for suggestions on dealing with political problem in a way that will focus on our concerns and reflect his that this is crux of matter.

/6/ See footnote 7, Document 159.

10. If you agree with above, suggest you speak frankly and in some detail with Yahya about political timetable he has now outlined, specifically possibilities that might present themselves within this timetable to get privately across to BD clear signals that Yahya both recognizes strong autonomous sentiments of East Pakistan and does not exclude major realignment East-West Pakistan relationship within constitutional process. In this connection you should say that we attach significance to Swaran Singh October 8 statement Simla that GOI will accept any political solution "acceptable to people of Bangla Desh or their elected representatives", including one within framework of Pakistan. (FYI: We note also Chib's comment in New Delhi's 16246/7/ to effect that negotiations feasible with people Mujib might designate "speak for him". End FYI.)

/7/ Telegram 16246 from New Delhi, October 16, reported on an October 15 conversation between an unidentified officer of the Embassy and Ashok Chib, the Indian Chargé in Islamabad. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 32-1 INDIA-PAK)

11. Yahya knows we understand complexity his political problems and that we have no desire further complicate them by moralistic pronouncements or public advice. You should say frankly, however, that our judgment is that success of political-constitutional scenario he has worked out now depends heavily on his readiness himself to signal, through us or otherwise, his willingness engage in substantive dialogue with BD as a means of markedly broadening support for that process. The longer this dialogue is delayed the greater the depth of alienation of BD (not to mention MB) and the less reason to hope for any kind of political settlement. FYI: When we speak of negotiated settlement, we have in mind process of winning East Pakistani support for new constitution and involvement sufficient numbers key Bengalis to make its implementation a realistic possibility. End FYI.

12. What we have outlined below is illustrative of what might be conceivable and is not intended as any American blueprint. You will have other ideas to use yourself with Yahya to get our concern across that time may be rapidly working against political process Yahya envisions for implementing his constitution for united Pakistan.

13. With respect Mujib himself, we understand sensitivities and only note that, right or wrong, he seems to have become major symbol so at minimum it would seem necessary to success any political process to avoid any step such as publishing full transcript Mujib trial which would inflame Bengali opinion and might, as Yahya had already noted, produce "explosive" reaction in West Pakistan. Whether Yahya can use Mujib as "trump card" as he put it at some point we must leave entirely to his judgment. Short of that, we assume Yahya fully aware possibilities such as simple statement from Defense Attorney Brohi that trial was fair or use of any appeals procedure available which would both soften international criticism and provide further time to see whether some way open for negotiated settlement.

14. Re broader issues, you might sound out Yahya as to degree of autonomy for East Pakistan contemplated in constitution he intends to promulgate and how new constitution will handle provision for eventual constitutional review that would allow for evolutionary political development. While we have no formula on this point, it seems to us as sympathetic observers of Pakistan dilemma that, over long run, constitutional arrangements which are flexible and workable enough to provide for future re-examination of relationship between two wings might go a long way towards satisfaction Bengali needs. Such review provisions could provide basis for dissident elements within East Pakistan come forward and join in political process. Such measures might also provide useful signal to BD reps Calcutta that positive basis for negotiation with GOP exists.

15. In terms of present situation, and recognizing all problems involved, you might say that we wonder whether it would be feasible to convey in some way to BD Calcutta that new constitution would not exclude re-entry at some point of Awami League into political life in East Pakistan, with an amnesty extending to all Awami Leaguers. In this connection, are there steps Yahya could take now that would encourage in some way Awami League sympathizers to enter and contest scheduled by-elections as independents? If these thoughts create major problems, what about indicating that under new constitution there would be possibility fresh elections within two years so that those now frozen out of process (by charges against them or by own choice) would see opportunity for their own eventual reintegration into political life of East Pakistan.

16. If you find Yahya in receptive mood on any of these "thoughts," you should use opportunity to probe more deeply Yahya's ideas on mechanics getting dialogue with BD started, reminding him that we have urged Indians and Soviets to get behind idea of open-ended political dialogue. You should emphasize, nevertheless, our basic view that this is not likely to get off the ground except through Yahya himself finding ways through suggestions indicated above or otherwise to signal BD directly that possibilities of dialogue exist (Calcutta 2713)./8/

/8/ In telegram 2713 from Calcutta, October 28, the Consulate General noted that a number of factors limited the maneuverability of the Bangladesh leadership, including increased activity by the Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan, growing tension between India and Pakistan, and leftist pressure within the Bangladesh movement. The Consulate General felt that the range of maneuver open to the Bangladesh leadership was further reduced by news stories published in London that revealed the role of the Consulate General in attempting to promote contact between the leadership and Yahya Khan's government. The conclusion drawn was that that effort had reached a "dead end" and it was time for Yahya to take the initiative and respond to the Bangladesh insistence that he make the first move in establishing direct contact with them. (Ibid., POL 27 INDIA-PAK)

17. In sum, remind you that main purpose this talk is to provide understanding here of maximum Yahya can offer as background for judicious use with Mrs. Gandhi.

18. For Dacca: You may wish to provide Embassy with your thoughts on these suggestions or with additional ideas including that suggested by Nurul Islam (Dacca 4497)/9/ that might be discussed with President Yahya.

/9/ Consul General Spivack commented on October 27 on a proposal put forward by Nural Islam for indirect negotiations between Mujibur Rahman and the Martial Law Administration. The essence of Islam's proposal was that he and other members of his Bangladesh leadership group were sufficiently acceptable to Mujib and Yahya to act as a credible bridge between them. In Spivack's judgment there was no point in pursuing the proposal unless Yahya was in principle open to the idea of negotiating with Mujib. (Telegram 4497 from Dacca; ibid.)


177. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State/1/

Islamabad, November 2, 1971, 0810Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to New Delhi, London, Moscow, Paris, Tehran, USUN, Calcutta, Dacca, Lahore, and Karachi.

10905. Subj: Indo-Pak Confrontation-Military Pullback. Ref: State 198660./2/

/2/ Document 176.

1. Summary: Yahya agreed to unilaterally withdrawing military units as first step in defusing explosive situation in subcontinent. End summary.

2. I met with President Yahya Khan at the President's house in Rawalpindi at 0900 hours Tuesday, November 2. During the hour and twenty-minute conversation which ensued, among other matters which were topics for comment and which will be reported by septels,/3/ the question of a unilateral military pullback was discussed at length.

/3/ In telegram 10927 from Islamabad, November 2, Farland reported that Yahya agreed during the conversation to meet with Nurul Islam and his group of former Awami Leaguers to discuss Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's future and to explore means of effecting contacts with representatives of Bangladesh. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9 PAK) Telegram 10964 from Islamabad, November 3, reported that the conversation dealt repeatedly with the trial of Mujib. Yahya agreed that a transcript of the trial should not be made public and said that he no longer considered the Awami League to be a "nefarious institution." He added that, if purged of its "secessionist leaders," he could foresee reestablishing the League as a participant in the political process. Yahya concluded the conversation by expressing his willingness to establish a dialogue with "appropriate Bangla Desh representatives who were in a position to act constructively." (Ibid., POL 29 PAK)

3. Emphasizing at the outset that I was speaking as a concerned friend with a desire to be helpful and stressing the concern of the USG regarding the imminent possibility of a war on the subcontinent, I referred to Mrs. Indira Gandhi's November 4-5 visit to Washington for the purpose of discussions with President Nixon. I also made note of the fact that the Tuesday morning Pak Times carried an article datelined London, November 1, which reported "that the Indian Prime Minister said today that her government would never agree to a unilateral withdrawal of Indian troops from the borders of East Pakistan." I then went on to recall our conversation of October 28 during which he (President Yahya) had asked me for any specific suggestions which we might have for the purpose of defusing the explosive situation existing in the subcontinent (Islamabad 10802)./4/

/4/ Dated October 28. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971)

4. Responding to that request, a major suggestion of immediate moment, I said, was one which any leader of a nation under threat of attack would find hard to accept-doubly so when the leader of the nation had devoted his life to military pursuits-was to adopt an action diametrically opposite to that which Mrs. Gandhi had negated, i.e., agree to the concept of unilateral withdrawal.

5. Yahya didn't hesitate at all, saying spontaneously: "Of course I will. Now this doesn't mean that I would pull the troops back into the barracks but I will gladly promise to make the first move back from a forward military position."

6. I told Yahya that I personally considered this a most salutary development and I knew that my government also would so consider it. I added that I would convey this information to USG soonest so that Mrs. Gandhi might be apprised of his posture on this matter during her Washington conversations.

7. Yahya concluded this portion of our conversation by saying "What I want your government to know, is that in order to bring normalcy back to the subcontinent, I will do anything within my power short of simply turning Pakistan over to India."

8. FYI: Contrary to the suggestion contained in the reftel I felt it inappropriate to go into proposals relating to specific military units, or examples thereof, the pullback of which would be feasible and could be signaled by local commanders to their opposite numbers. As delicate as this particular conversation was, I believed it necessary to establish a commitment rather than become involved in specifics.


178. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, November 3, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 627, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VIII, Nov-Dec 71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for action. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.

President Yahya on Military Pullback

When I had my first talk Tuesday/2/ with the new Pakistani Ambassador I asked him to provide you with the most forthcoming Pakistani position possible for your talk with Mrs. Gandhi. His reply this evening is as follows:

/2/ November 2.

"As regards withdrawal of forces from the Indo-Pakistan border, the most appropriate and fair procedure would be for the armed forces of both the countries to withdraw simultaneously to mutually agreed safe distance. However, in the interest of peace and in order to provide an exit to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, President Yahya Khan would be willing to withdraw Pakistani forces first from the border to varying distances, depending upon the terrain of different sectors, provided the Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, gives an undertaking to President Nixon that the Indian forces will then also withdraw shortly afterwards.

"As regards political plans, the National Assembly of Pakistan is to meet towards the end of December and other consequential steps are to follow. This is according to political plans already announced by the President of Pakistan. There is no other development."

This provides nothing new on the political side. The significant point is that he is willing to pull some units back from the border on the basis of Mrs. Gandhi's oral assurance to you that she will take a reciprocal step.

The Ambassador in delivering this message was instructed to emphasize the risk involved for President Yahya. He would be taking a concrete step on the basis of an oral statement which Mrs. Gandhi could later disavow, on a pretext such as saying that the situation had changed. If India attacked, he would be vulnerable to charges of jeopardizing Pakistan's security. Despite this risk, he has sent this reply because of his trust in you.

Mrs. Gandhi with Prime Minister Heath voiced reservations about the pullback idea. There would be an advantage in trying this out on her, although it may have to be followed up later at a lower level. State Department is not aware of this detailed message from Yahya.

179. Memorandum for the President's File/1/

Washington, November 4, 1971, 10:29 a.m.-12:35 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Box 2, Memoranda for the President, Beginning October 31, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Apparently drafted by Kissinger. The meeting was held in the Oval Office. The time of the meeting is from the President's Daily Diary. (Ibid., White House Central Files) The conversation was also tape recorded. (Ibid., White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between President Nixon and Prime Minister Gandhi, November 4, 1971, 10:29 a.m.-12:35 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 613-15) Prime Minister Gandhi's state visit to Washington began November 4 and concluded November 6. While Nixon met with Gandhi, U.S. and Indian advisers met in the Cabinet Room and discussed a number of issues concerning the situation in South Asia. The U.S. team was headed by Sisco and included Keating, Van Hollen, Saunders, Hoskinson, and Schneider. The Indian team was headed by Foreign Secretary Kaul and included Jha and Rasgotra. Sisco and Kaul led the discussion. The discussion was summarized in a November 4 memorandum from Saunders and Hoskinson to Kissinger. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 919, VIP Visits, India, PM Indira Gandhi Visit, Nov 1971) The memorandum is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 149. It was summarized in greater detail in telegram 203189 to New Delhi, November 4. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 INDIA)

Meeting Between President Nixon, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Mr. Parmeshwar Narain Haksar and Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

Following press photographs, the President welcomed the Prime Minister and expressed his pleasure at the opportunity that this meeting provided for an exchange of views on a range of subjects of mutual interest to old friends. The President suggested that the first session might be used to discuss the situation in South Asia and that the second session on Friday might be reserved for discussion of broader issues, to include the People's Republic of China, the Soviet Union and the situation in Southeast Asia.

The Prime Minister agreed to this formula and expressed India's admiration for President Nixon's skill in handling both the Vietnam situation and his initiative in seeking the normalization of relationships with the People's Republic of China. It appeared from the Indian perspective that each move of the United States had been carefully thought out and well designed. Each move was accomplished in an imaginative and effective way, with a style which kept the main objective in view and which did not permit diversionary distractions to derail progress. The President thanked the Prime Minister for her expression of support and noted that the attitude of the Prime Minister's government had been most helpful in the process. He noted that the U.S. had expected a great deal of criticism domestically from more conservative elements who are opposed to the normalization of relationships with the People's Republic of China. On the other hand, he was convinced that the steps had to be taken in the interest of stability in Asia. The President stated that stability could best be served when parties are able to communicate and this has been his initial objective. Dr. Kissinger added that he agreed it was important that the People's Republic of China no longer remain isolated.

The President continued that the essential objective is to eliminate the frustrations that China's isolation can cause and thereby achieve increased moderation. The very act of communication between parties has a beneficial effect in relieving tensions. India's understanding of this process and support for it have proven very helpful. The U.S. has always had great respect and admiration for the Indian people and there is a deep-seated friendship for India among the American people. Americans want India to succeed.

With respect to the recent Senate action on the foreign aid, the President emphasized that he was fighting to have it restored and was equally confident that his efforts would succeed. On the other hand, there are strong sentiments in the U.S. which no longer favor an extensive foreign assistance expenditure.

The President then asked Mrs. Gandhi to present her views in detail on the situation in South Asia. In initiating this discussion, the President emphasized:

1. The U.S. has no illusions with respect to the realities of the situation.

2. The initiation of hostilities between India and Pakistan would be unacceptable from every perspective.

3. For this reason, U.S. policy toward Pakistan has been shaped by the imperative to retain influence with the Government of Pakistan.

4. In this regard our military assistance program has been retained in a most limited fashion to enable us to continue a dialogue with that government. The U.S. has and will continue to discourage military actions by the Government of Pakistan.

5. The situation demands the continuation of U.S. aid to relieve the plight of the nine to ten million refugees on both sides of the border. This is an enormous task which requires the concentrated efforts of all the parties. The U.S. objective is to be as helpful as possible without interjecting itself into the internal affairs of the parties.

The President then outlined the measures which the U.S. has taken to relieve the plight of refugees in India and in Pakistan. He listed specifically the following:

1. In June and July the U.S. Government persuaded Pakistan that a famine was likely in East Pakistan if massive forestalling efforts were not undertaken. We have just received a report from Mr. Williams in Dacca that widespread famine has probably been averted as a result of major U.S.-Pakistani and UN efforts./2/ Such a famine could have further exacerbated the problem of the flow of Moslem refugees and created a tremendous new burden on India.

/2/ See footnote 2, Document 172.

2. Despite initial opposition by President Yahya in April, following pressure from the U.S. Government he agreed to an international relief presence in East Pakistan.

3. At U.S. urging the Pakistani government accepted a civilian governor in East Pakistan.

4. U.S. pressure on Pakistan resulted in President Yahya's public proclamation of amnesty and specific public reference by him to returnees of all creeds, Hindus as well as Moslems.

5. U.S. representations brought assurance from President Yahya that Mujib would not be executed.

6. U.S. representations also resulted in President Yahya's agreement to pull some military units back from Pakistan's western border with India as a first step toward de-escalation.

7. President Yahya informed our Ambassador Tuesday, November 2, that he is prepared: to hold direct discussions with cleared Awami League leaders, to meet with a Bangla Desh leader from India and to consider our suggestion that Mujib be allowed to designate the representative.
The President stated that the Australian Ambassador shares India's concern and is most sympathetic with the difficulties that the situation in East Pakistan have brought the people of India. On the other hand, the U.S. could not urge policies which would be tantamount to overthrowing President Yahya. It is recognized that Mujib is a core factor in the situation and that unquestionably in the long run Pakistan must acquiesce in the direction of greater autonomy for East Pakistan, but the situation is extremely fragile and Yahya's flexibility is very limited in the short run. Unquestionably Mujib's fate is an essential aspect of the problem and ultimately he will have to play a role in East Pakistan's future. However, this depends largely on the way events proceed in the shorter term. The greatest danger of all would result if either side were to consider that military action could provide a solution that only an historical process can settle. Should India resort to force of arms, the current balance suggested that it would succeed in a military sense but in a political sense there could be no winner.

The President continued by observing that the consequences of military action were incalculably dangerous. In this regard, India's recent agreement with the Soviet Union was understood by this government but India must recognize that it is not popular in the U.S. It must, therefore, have an impact on the general attitude of the U.S. Government. Should the situation deteriorate to armed conflict, there is doubt that the conflict could be limited to just India and Pakistan. It would have implications and possibly great dangers for the whole framework of world peace. The American people would not understand if India were to initiate military action against Pakistan. While the U.S. could not expect India to determine its own policies based solely on U.S. attitudes, these attitudes should be taken into consideration.

The President then asked the Prime Minister if she believed that President Yahya could really survive if Mujib were released at this point in time. The President noted that the U.S. Government understood the political realities of the situation in East Pakistan. On the other hand, practical considerations and limitations on the courses of action open to all parties could not be overlooked. Nevertheless, many have attributed a lack of progress and the continuing deterioration of the plight of the refugees as somehow resulting from U.S. policies. For this reason, the President remained deeply concerned and had concentrated more time on this particular problem than on any other subject. Criticism, no matter how well meaning, tended to further limit the U.S. Government's ability to be helpful.

Prime Minister Gandhi stated that India was not being driven by anti-Pakistan motives. India had never wished the destruction of Pakistan or its permanent crippling. Above all, India sought the restoration of stability in the area and wanted to eliminate chaos at all costs. The Prime Minister recalled the genesis of the partitioning of the subcontinent and noted that the solution, largely dictated from abroad, had left the peoples of the area restive and dissatisfied. President Nixon agreed that the partitioning of the subcontinent had contributed to a permanent instability and noted that India had a larger Moslem population than Pakistan.

Prime Minister Gandhi observed that many harbor the feeling that her father had let the country down by accepting the partitioning along the lines ultimately reached. Nevertheless, once the decision had been taken it had been accepted. But the partitioning generated a persistent "hate India" campaign which resulted in the conflicts of 1947 and 1965. Since that time, U.S. arms shipments to Pakistan had become a major point of concern to the Indian people. The provision of armaments to Pakistan could not help but affect the attitude of the Indian Government even though its leadership attempted to restrain outraged public opinion. To the degree that these shipments continued, the Prime Minister was subject to attack even from her own party.
Following India's independence, it was the leaders of the independence movement who formed India's government. On the other hand, in Pakistan it was the loyalist or pro-British factions which formed Pakistan's government. Pakistan proceeded to imprison or exile leaders of the independence movement. Baluchistan, as well as the provinces along the northwest frontier, has a strong desire for greater autonomy. There has been, therefore, a long history of separatist policies in Pakistan which heretofore has not necessarily been supported in India. Yahya was mistaken in trying to suppress Mujib.

India, on the other hand, has always reflected a degree of forebearance toward its own separatist elements. The pattern has been clear. West Pakistan has dealt with the Bengali people in a treacherous and deceitful way and has always relegated them to an inferior role. As the situation worsened, India attempted to ameliorate it by maintaining communication with all the parties.
The Prime Minister then turned to the great numbers of refugees who continue to stream across the border from East Pakistan. She noted that there were many estimates of what the totals might be and that precise calculations had to be inconclusive due to the confusion and the possibility of miscalculation.

President Nixon stated that this tragic situation demanded prompt and extensive humanitarian assistance and that for this reason he would continue to pressure the U.S. Congress to provide this assistance.

The Prime Minister noted that India had been accused of supporting guerrilla activity but that the situation was not that clear. She drew a parallel to the problems the U.S. Government had when Cuban refugees based in Florida launched forays against the Cuban mainland.
The Prime Minister then cited the additional problems which had resulted from the severe cyclone. She noted that the situation was aggravated by the differences in religion and background between the refugees and the local population in India on which they were superimposed. This situation demanded the utmost efforts on the part of the Indian Government to prevent communal riots and bloodshed.

President Nixon stated that U.S. policies were predicated upon the need to have the refugees return to their homes. The Prime Minister emphasized the great dilemma facing India. She noted that India does not object to observers but has difficulty in understanding what role they would play. She stated that, contrary to current criticism, foreign observers were free to go where they pleased.

President Nixon expressed sympathy with India's dilemma and noted that the U.S., and other nations as well, were greatly concerned with the problems posed by the flood of refugees from East Pakistan. He noted, however, that many of the tactics which were being employed by the Bangla Desh were increasing the dilemma. For example, it was difficult to understand their motives in harassing and destroying the flow of humanitarian supplies being carried in ships to Chittagong Harbor. Also it would seem that guerrilla activity of this type must involve sophisticated training and equipment.

The Prime Minister then described in detail the atrocities which were occurring in East Pakistan. She noted that despite oppressive measures, the Pakistani military had been unable to establish control in the area. There were, of course, continuing accusations that India had instigated the guerrilla movement and continued to support it. However, the realities were that it was no longer realistic to expect East and West Pakistan to remain together. The pressures for autonomy are overwhelming.

The President agreed that accusations and counter-accusations on both sides made progress most difficult. It also complicated the U.S. Government's efforts to be helpful. There was no doubt that Pakistan must ultimately do more to relieve the situation.
The Prime Minister stated that President Yahya continued to speak of a Holy War. It may well be that the presence of Indian forces along Pakistan's frontier had deterred the initiation of military action by Pakistan thus far. This tense situation had influenced India toward making its treaty with the Soviet Union as a means of creating an additional deterrent. Stability in India was an important objective to the Soviet Union and, therefore, the Soviet Union had been pressing for a political solution. Many in India have been opposed to the Soviet treaty and the majority of the Parliament was concerned about this.

President Nixon asked the Prime Minister for her views on how a solution could be achieved. The Prime Minister stated that India's major concern was the impact of the situation on India itself.
President Nixon stated that U.S. efforts with respect to Pakistan were designed to alleviate the situation along constructive lines. The U.S. Government had always admired the people of India and shared its concerns. This had been clearly demonstrated. The restrictions we had placed on military assistance to East Pakistan had been undertaken with our relationships with India clearly in mind.

The Prime Minister replied that the crucial issue remained the future of Mujib who was a symbol of the imperative for autonomy.

The President reassured the Prime Minister that the U.S. Government had thus far placed great pressure on Pakistan. It had urged President Yahya to move his forces back from the border with India unilaterally as a deescalatory step. While the U.S. Government understood that India must make its own judgment in this regard, based on its national interests, some disengagement would serve the interests of lessening tensions.

Mr. Haksar noted the difficulties for India posed by the displacement of Indian forces.

The President expressed his understanding for India's problem in undertaking the displacement of forces, but he noted that President Yahya had indicated a willingness to undertake some pullback. If India now believed that such a step would not contribute to the lessening of tensions, it would be necessary for the U.S. to reconsider its efforts to effect such a pullback by Pakistani forces. Up to now, the U.S. had been urging President Yahya to take the first step and President Yahya had expressed a willingness to do so on a unilateral basis. It had been the U.S. Government's view that if Yahya would undertake such a step we could then anticipate similar moves on the part of India. Obviously, however, India would have to make its own decision.
President Nixon assured the Prime Minister that the U.S. Government would continue to pursue all avenues to improve the situation. The U.S. Government would:

-continue to assist with humanitarian relief efforts, both through multilateral organizations and bilateral programs.

-continue to urge restraint on the Pakistan Government.

-explore with all parties measures to facilitate a political solution.
However, the President stated, nothing could be served by the disintegration of Pakistan. The initiation of hostilities by India would be almost impossible to understand. In some respects, the situation was similar to that in the Middle East, where the U.S. Government had told the Israeli Government that it could not support the initiation of hostilities by that government, despite our long established ties of friendship and respect. It would be impossible to calculate with precision the steps which other great powers might take if India were to initiate hostilities.

As the meeting concluded, President Nixon expressed the U.S. Government's continuing sympathy and support for the Government of India at this most difficult and trying time.

180. Editorial Note

President Nixon and Henry Kissinger met in the Oval Office of the White House on the morning of November 5, 1971, to discuss Nixon's conversation with Prime Minister Gandhi on the previous day. Kissinger's overall assessment was that "the Indians are bastards anyway. They are starting a war there. . . . To them East Pakistan is no longer the issue. Now, I found it very interesting how she carried on to you yesterday about West Pakistan." He felt, however, that Nixon had achieved his objective in the conversation: "While she was a bitch, we got what we wanted too. . . . She will not be able to go home and say that the United States didn't give her a warm reception and therefore in despair she's got to go to war." Kissinger judged that Gandhi had been thwarted in her objective: "She would rather have had you give her a cool reception so that she could say that she was really put upon." Nixon agreed: "We really slobbered over the old witch." Kissinger felt that on matters of substance, nothing of importance had been conceded: "You slobbered over her in things that did not matter, but in things that did matter, you didn't give her an inch." Nixon and Kissinger agreed that in the upcoming conversation with Gandhi the approach to take was to be "a shade cooler" and allow her to do more to carry the conversation than had been the case in the initial conversation. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between Nixon and Kissinger, November 5, 1971, 8:51-9:00 a.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 615-4) A transcript of this conversation is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 150.
President Nixon and Prime Minister Gandhi met in the Oval Office at 11:20 a.m. on November 5. Kissinger and Haksar were also present. Nixon opened the conversation by discussing the objectives of his planned trip to China. Thereafter the conversation, which lasted an hour, became a diplomatic tour d'horizon, touching on many of the trouble spots of the world, but with scant reference to South Asia. Gandhi did not respond to Nixon's proposal of the previous day to consider a withdrawal of forces from the borders of India and Pakistan. (Ibid., Recording of conversation between President Nixon and Prime Minister Gandhi, November 5, 1971, 11:20 a.m.-12:20 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 615-23) Kissinger prepared a memorandum of the conversation (ibid., White House Special Files, President's Office Files, Box 2, Memoranda for the President, Beginning October 31, 1971) which is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 151.

181. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, November 8, 1971, 2045Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 INDIA. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Schneider on November 5, cleared by Laingen, and approved by Van Hollen. Repeated to USUN, London, Paris, Moscow, Bonn, Islamabad, Calcutta, Dacca, and Tehran.

203187. Subject: Secretary's Meeting with Prime Minister Gandhi; East Pakistan Problem. Following is Noforn, FYI only, uncleared and subject to revision on review:

Summary: In response Secretary's request, PriMin described manner in which East Pak situation was threat to Indian security and very great domestic pressures on her to take firmer action. Secretary indicated steps USG had taken: dried up arms pipeline; secured Yahya's agreement to unilateral withdrawal; and obtained Yahya's agreement meet with Awami League representative and consider meeting with Awami Leaguer designated by Mujib. Said we hoped India would respond if there was unilateral withdrawal. PriMin described problems in way of withdrawal and raised questions regarding Bangla Desh/ Yahya talks. Sisco responded if there was merit in ideas we have suggested, such questions can be worked out. PriMin questioned that Yahya genuinely sought political solution. Secretary and Sisco affirmed our evaluation that he did and Secretary pointed out USG has done its utmost to assist. End summary.

1. Secretary met with PriMin Gandhi at 10 AM November 5. Secretary accompanied by Ambassador Keating, Sisco and Schneider. PriMin accompanied by Ambassador Jha, Haksar and Sathe.

2. Secretary opened conversation by expressing interest in Mrs. Gandhi's views on East Pak problem. PriMin replied Indian security threatened by East Pak development. Threat caused not only by presence Pak armed forces on Indian borders but by massive refugee flow and GOP continuing actions in East Pak causing flow. This creates not just economic burden but also political and social problems which can affect Indian stability and integrity. PriMin pointed out crisis has created great pressures on her. Even within Cabinet there is feeling that by following "weak-kneed policy" PriMin is jeopardizing security of India. PriMin explained that she had had some experience with war, having been in London during worst period of World War II blitz. Said she understands larger ramifications of conflict, but India has been pushed step by step to confrontation. Most of her colleagues and leaders other parties had thought she should not make current trip. She concluded tensions would have become more severe if she had canceled. Therefore she concluded she had to go. She had told army even if there were casualties it should refrain from action, but this would be difficult to explain to Parliament. She was sending daily messages to Delhi. Even from here, she explained, she was trying to hold back pressures for more action. Said she had large majority in Parliament but on this issue it was not absolutely in her control.

3. Secretary replied he agreed with PriMin's judgment that tensions should be curbed. As President had told Mrs. Gandhi it would be world tragedy if there were India-Pakistan war. We understand India's problem, which caused by others. We want to assist and have taken certain steps which we hope are in accord with Indian views. First, we have dried up arms pipeline to Pakistan. Some $160,000 worth of items remain on docks in New York. Arms matter is now behind us. We wish to brief Congressional leaders next week and thereafter make information public. Second, we accept Indian position that we should not equate India with Pakistan and in fact we never have. Taking this into account, we have asked Yahya if he could unilaterally withdraw some of his military forces. He has said that he would. Third, we recognize this is not just military problem. It is political problem. We have had active discussions on political problem with Yahya and Awami Leaguers. Yahya has agreed to meet with a cleared Awami Leaguer, or meet with a Bangla Desh representative from India. Furthermore, he has agreed to consider meeting with Bangla Desh leader designated by Mujib. We think this is encouraging indication process can be started under which troops could be moved from border and political negotiations begun. We will continue to work to get this process started. This is all we can do. We cannot ask Yahya to release Mujib. This would not work. We would hope India could consider some response if Yahya makes unilateral withdrawal.

4. PriMin replied that Yahya would make withdrawal from western border, while major pressure on India is in east. Haksar explained that because of defections from East Pakistan Rifles, GOP had moved regular army forces to border and violated ground rules. These forces repeatedly shelling Indian territory. Kaul pointed out Pak bases were closer to borders and therefore they could more easily withdraw. Secretary and Sisco indicated we had not gone into details regarding withdrawal with Yahya. Questions Indians raised were understandable. Our hope was that Indians could get together with Paks and see if some equitable modality could be worked out.

5. Following further discussion of negotiation proposal Sisco concluded that if Indians saw merit in ideas we had suggested there would remain a number of questions which could then be worked out.

6. Returning to withdrawal question Kaul said withdrawal without political settlement would incorrectly suggest crisis coming under control. Secretary responded that political settlement would be difficult under threat of imminent war. If war started, there could not be political solution. Furthermore, without political solution, war likely to start.

7. PriMin and other members Indian delegation stated doubts that Yahya actually desires political solution. Secretary and Sisco indicated their belief that Yahya sincerely seeking such solution; that he in fact felt that he had to have one. Indians presented detailed recent history events in East Pakistan to demonstrate lack of sincerity on part Yahya. Asked what is evidence that Yahya in fact seeks political solution. Secretary replied he wanted make it clear that US had done all it could in this regard. Haksar intervened to say this was not matter in dispute between US and India. Indian questioning of Yahya's motives was not criticism of US but was attempt seek understanding with US regarding start [state] of play in East Pakistan. Jha pointed out he did not believe anyone had said USG should have done more.

8. Secretary concluded conversation referring to success of President's efforts restore peace to various parts of world. Said we fully understand problems brought to India by East Pak situation and Indian domestic political problems. US is doing best it can to help with these problems to avert danger of war.

9. Following Secretary's meeting with PriMin, Kaul told Sisco that if GOI could be assured that there had been contact with Mujib and that Mujib, free of coercion, had designated an individual to negotiate with Yahya, India could give this proposal its cautious support.


182. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan/1/

Washington, November 11, 1971, 0147Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Laingen and Quainton on November 10, cleared by Schneider and Van Hollen, and approved by Sisco. Also sent to New Delhi and repeated to USUN, Moscow, Tehran, Calcutta, and Dacca.

205540. Subj: Indo-Pak Military Confrontation.

1. Assistant Secretary Sisco called in Pakistan and Indian Ambassadors November 10 to express our concern over continuing clashes along East Pakistan/Indian borders, including cross border shelling and report of Indian attack at Kamalpur to silence Pakistani artillery action. Representations made in view of evidence we have that Indian troops involved in latter attack may still be on Pak side of border and that Pakistanis may be seriously considering retaliatory attack.

2. Sisco told Raza that representations we wanted to make were against background of appreciation for Yahya's expressed willingness to begin withdrawal process including his willingness to consider unilateral effort to lessen tensions. Said we also appreciative of Yahya's willingness to cooperate in any way with UN to prevent outbreak of hostilities and of Yahya's repeated assurances that Pakistan would not initiate hostilities. Nonetheless we were increasingly concerned over reports of clashes along East Pakistan/Indian borders and particularly over current situation Kamalpur, and we were therefore making representations today to both Raza and Indian Ambassador to caution against any action that would increase tensions or provoke incidents between Pakistan and Indian armed forces. Sisco said we would hope Pakistanis would continue to demonstrate their awareness of fact that any military initiatives or retaliatory actions on their part could be seized upon by Indians as excuse for strong countermeasures.

3. Raza responded that GOP was acutely conscious of current situation and had every intention to avoid beginning hostilities. Indian tactics were clear, however; i.e. to provoke Pakistan into steps that could be seized upon by GOI as excuse to commence broader hostilities. He thought GOP would be patient and careful but wanted also to say there was a limit to what GOP could tolerate.

4. In conversation with Indian Ambassador Jha, who accompanied by Rasgotra and Verma, Sisco led off with appreciation for positive way in which visit of PriMin Gandhi had gone. He noted we had tried to go beyond established positions in order to put forward some concrete ideas which would begin to reverse trends. He said he was impressed with PM's expression of her commitment to peace and her desire to avoid war. He felt that she had got this idea across. In addition, he noted that there was parallelism of views on importance of political settlement. USG has agreed with point Indians have made that we should not merely take steps to defuse the crisis but should also move ahead on the political front.

5. Sisco then went on to note that we are concerned at reports we have received since PriMin's visit that Indian army had crossed into East Pakistan. We are fearful that this kind of crossing would tempt and invite Pakistani retaliatory action, and we therefore hope India would take some step to deescalate situation.

6. Sisco informed Jha that we had already called in Pak Ambassador and conveyed to him our equally strong concern about situation and risks of any retaliatory action. We wished to reiterate our hope that India and Pakistan will not take any steps to undermine efforts we are making toward getting a political dialogue going, a dialogue in which GOI has expressed cautious interest.

7. Jha asked if we had independent conformation of reports which he has seen in press re action near Kamalpur. Sisco replied that we are satisfied there is substance to reports. Van Hollen noted that we understood regular forces had crossed border in some strength last week in order to silence shelling from Pakistani side. Rasgotra noted that official spokesman had twice denied report appearing in press, but indicated that Embassy had no further information.


183. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, November 12, 1971, 11:09 a.m.-noon.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret; Nodis. No drafting information appears on the minutes. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. John Waller, Chief of the Near East and South Asia Division of the Directorate of Operations in the CIA, prepared a briefer record of the meeting on November 12. (CIA Files, O/DDO Files, Job 79-0229A, Box 7, Folder 9, WSAG 1971) Another record of the meeting was drafted on November 17 in OASD/ISA by Brigadier General Devol Brett. (Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 381 (Jun-Nov) 1971)

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

Mr. Joseph Sisco
Mr. Christopher Van Hollen
Mr. Bruce Laingen
Mr. David Schneider

Mr. Armistead Selden
Mr. James H. Noyes
B/Gen. Devol Brett

Gen. John D. Ryan
Lt. Gen. John W. Vogt

Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
Mr. John Waller

Mr. Donald MacDonald

NSC Staff:
Col. Richard T. Kennedy
Mr. Harold Saunders
Mr. Samuel Hoskinson
R/Adm. Robert Welander
Mrs. Jeanne W. Davis

Dr. Kissinger: (to Gen. Cushman) What is the situation?

(Gen. Cushman briefed on the situation-text attached.)/2/

/2/ Based on the attached briefing notes, Cushman reported that there had been numerous clashes along the border between India and East Pakistan. He predicted that major hostilities could occur at any time with little warning. Mukti Bahini guerrillas were increasingly effective in East Pakistan and Cushman estimated that up to 30 percent of rural East Pakistan was under guerrilla control. Tensions between India and Pakistan had increased as Indian border security forces and Indian army troops joined in the fighting along the border between Pakistan army forces and Mukti Bahini guerrillas. Cushman noted that on the border between India and West Pakistan both sides had made preparations in anticipation of war. The CIA assessment was that the Soviet Union was still urging moderation on India and that China was not likely to help Pakistan very actively if it came to war.

When you say the casualty rate in the Pakistani Army has doubled, what does that mean?

Gen. Cushman: There are five or six casualties a day as opposed to three a day before October.

Dr. Kissinger: You mentioned the Pakistan Navy. Where is that?

Gen. Cushman: They don't have much, but there are a few ships off Chittagong.

Dr. Kissinger: What does State think?

Mr. Sisco: I would make two points: 1) we will get a clearer determination of the likelihood of war only when Mrs. Gandhi returns and we see how she plays her U.S. visit and how she plays the situation when she talks to Parliament which opens on Monday, November 15; 2) we should consider whether there is anything we can or should do before Monday to encourage Mrs. Gandhi, or to strengthen her hand in any attempt to keep the lid on.

Dr. Kissinger: If she is trying to keep the lid on.

Mr. Sisco: I agree-there's a real question. We have given her enough to get her off the hook, if she wants to. We don't know whether she does. But I think we should discuss what further diplomatic steps over the next 48 hours might help.

Dr. Kissinger: Is it your judgment that war could come very quickly if she strikes the wrong note on Monday with Parliament?

Mr. Sisco: If she decides to continue the pressure on Yahya, I think there is likely to be an intensification of the present situation. Indian strategy has been to continue the pressure on Yahya and to suck Pakistan in militarily so that the principal onus for starting a war would fall on Pakistan. Any one incident where the Pakistanis retaliate can provide a casus belli. The Pakistanis know this. The Pak Ambassador understands that India is trying to suck them in.

Dr. Kissinger: India claims this is a Pakistani problem, but they are deliberately creating conditions which make it insoluble. This is one of the most brutal operations I have seen.

Mr. Sisco: It's as two-faced as one can describe. For the purpose of our objectives, we must assume that Mrs. Gandhi wants to put the lid on. The President made a real impact on her and he gave her something to work with if she wants to use it. But I am convinced that any indication of progress or lack of progress on the political track will be the most decisive element in terms of deterring a war.

Dr. Kissinger: If she wants to. India will never again get the Paks in such a weak position. We've cut off aid to them; other countries have cut off aid. Even the most moderate Indian would conclude that they could settle the Pakistan problem once and for all in this situation. And if they settle the East Pakistan problem in so traumatic a fashion, West Pakistan will probably collapse. If the price for Mrs. Gandhi's keeping the lid on is for us to do these things for her politically, then we will have to consider it. But I am sure the President will not lean that way. Our policy is not to encourage India to attack or to do India's work for them. The President will have an NSC meeting on this next week. We called this WSAG meeting to give me a chance to tell you what he has already told you. We will encourage political evolution. But we will not support the Indian strategy to force the pace of such evolution so that West Pakistan can't survive. When you (Sisco) started your movement toward the Bangla Desh, India immediately escalated their demands, so that they were not possibly fulfillable in the existing time frame. The tilt of this policy is just not what the President has in mind. He thinks we must discourage India from going too far. He won't do anything before Monday unless there is a very strong feeling in this room that we should.

Mr. Sisco: I think everyone is asking himself what we could do to prevent the balloon from going up.

Dr. Kissinger: Isn't there another way than meeting India's demands?

Mr. Sisco: India has had one demand which they have made consistently and unchangingly-release Mujib, since he is the only man Yahya can negotiate with.

Dr. Kissinger: No, they started by saying Yahya must talk to the Awami League leaders and he must not kill Mujib. Then when they got agreement to that, they escalated to the position that Yahya must talk to Mujib.

Mr. Sisco: I think the President's proposal to Mrs. Gandhi was very sensible. It's a happy compromise if she wants to get off the hook.

Dr. Kissinger: What did you think the proposal was?

Mr. Sisco: Of the three alternatives, she seemed most interested in Yahya's possible willingness to consider meeting with a representative designated by Mujib.

Dr. Kissinger: Do you think that is a real proposition? What is it that will deter India? I suppose we will know on Monday.

Mr. Van Hollen: It's not so much a question of our reinforcing Indian demands but of providing a formula to give Yahya a way out short of meeting India's demands.

Mr. Sisco: That's what the President suggested.

Dr. Kissinger: I could be wrong, but my instinct tells me that Yahya didn't consider this as a serious proposal but more as a last resort.

Mr. Sisco: I agree there was a clear distinction between that and the other two proposals. He indicated only that he is willing to consider this. But not only is he feeling the pressure in West Pakistan but there is increasing insurgency in East Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger: What do you suggest we do between now and Monday?

Mr. Sisco: We could do nothing. Or we could call in (Ambassador) Jha and stress again the necessity for them to keep cool. We could point out that we have put forward some concrete proposals for the Indian Government to consider, that failure to grasp the proposals would be a clear indication of their position, and that we await a further indication of their views.

Dr. Kissinger: What would this add to what you've already said?

Mr. Sisco: Not a great deal.

Dr. Kissinger: What would we tell the Pakistanis?

Mr. Sisco: I think we should report the results of the President's discussions directly to Yahya. We should tell him India seemed interested in the third alternative and ask how he feels about it.

Dr. Kissinger: Mrs. Gandhi didn't indicate much interest in anything in her conversations with the President. She spent most of her time telling him that Baluchistan should never have been made a part of Pakistan. When he asked her about military withdrawal, she said she would let him know the next day, and she didn't even have the courtesy to mention it again.

Mr. Sisco: On the other hand, calling in the Indian Ambassador might reflect some undue nervousness on our part. I don't think reinforcement of our position over the next 48 hours is of overwhelming significance. I do think it is important to report to Yahya on the discussions, however. I reiterate that if any action along the political track can begin, it would be the most determining feature.

Dr. Kissinger: You could also have made a good case that the best way to deter war would have been to continue arms deliveries to Pakistan. What we have done is to put India in the best position they have been in for years.

Mr. Sisco: Even if the alternative would have been to get into an arms race with the Soviet Union? I don't agree with you.

Dr. Kissinger: It's too late now. We do not want to bring additional public pressure on Pakistan. On the third track, if Yahya is willing to do it, the sooner the better. The best way to find out is from Pakistan Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan when he comes next week.

Mr. Van Hollen: Sultan Khan is only a senior civil servant. The channel for these discussions has been Yahya to (Ambassador) Farland. We'd only complicate matters if we tried to use Sultan Khan.

Dr. Kissinger: Can the Soviets be helpful?

Mr. Sisco: It would be highly desirable to talk to the Soviets. We could recall Gromyko's conversations with the President and the Secretary and yourself (to Dr. Kissinger), saying they had indicated they didn't want a blow-up in South Asia. There's no question that their provision of arms to India has been emboldening. We could say we think the situation is getting risky and that they may be on an irreversible course. We might also tell them what we have provided India as a way out.

Dr. Kissinger: But we would not push the third course.

Mr. Sisco: No one is suggesting that we push the third course or that we push Yahya. Those are straw men.

Mr. Van Hollen: The political track is the only likely track. We would merely pick up the third track and try to explore it further.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Sisco) I have cleared your cable./3/

/3/ Reference is to telegram 206661 to Islamabad, November 12, which instructed Farland to seek an appointment with Yahya to brief him on the Gandhi visit and to suggest that he consider the possibilities opened by the "cautious support" the Indians had offered during the visit to the suggestion that a political solution might be facilitated by talks between Yahya and a representative designated by Mujib. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 INDIA)

Mr. Sisco: The original cable was much too complicated. I did a shorter version which I hope Al Haig has shown you. We would merely go to Yahya, say India showed interest in the third alternative and ask for his reaction. I wouldn't go beyond that.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Selden) What is the Defense view?

Mr. Noyes: I don't underestimate the psychological effect, but the physical effect of our military supply actions with regard to Pakistan wasn't determining.

Dr. Kissinger: But India kept getting arms and Pakistan was not.

Mr. Noyes: Not from us, possibly, but they were getting them from China.

Mr. Sisco: (to Mr. Noyes) Are you saying that our policy on arms supply didn't immobilize the Pakistan Army?

Mr. Noyes: They're not immobilized.

Dr. Kissinger: Gen. Ryan, what do you think?

Gen. Ryan: I have nothing to add. India seems to be in the driver's seat at the moment.

Dr. Kissinger: What do we do if war breaks out?

Mr. Sisco: There are some other preparatory steps we can take over the next two or three days. We are still operating on the private gambit with Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi. If her statements on her return increase the likelihood of imminent war, I think we should move into the UN Security Council and seek some sort of restraining order. I am under no illusion about the practical effect of such a resolution or that it will be an easy exercise. But I think it is important that we go public before the balloon goes up. After it blows up, we will be in the Security Council anyhow to get a cease-fire. With this in mind, I'd like to pre-position a few things. We have started drafting a resolution and a scenario for a move into the Council. This would, of course, be the first test of the Chinese Communists, and I would expect them to be helpful. Of course, this puts the Soviets in a helluva position. They would be confronted in the Council with the same reality as we are. I would see this as a preempting move.

Dr. Kissinger: What would the resolution say?

Mr. Sisco: It would be very simple. It would note the situation, call on both sides to refrain from further activity to exacerbate the situation. We would have to weigh very carefully whether we wanted to call for everyone to stop shooting. A cease-fire would be very complicated. The issue between India and Pakistan would be easy, but we have the argument that what is going on in East Pakistan is a liberating movement, so we would have to be very careful. But I think it would be important to air the issue, bring out the facts, get some speeches, and get the Council to say everyone should keep their shirts on.

Dr. Kissinger: What would be the operational significance of a UN resolution?

Mr. Sisco: I don't overestimate the significance. Of course it can't prevent a war.

Dr. Kissinger: What about timing? At what point would we say we have made all the moves?

Mr. Sisco: That could come later.

Dr. Kissinger: A Security Council resolution doesn't do a damned thing. What could it do?

Mr. Sisco: It would draw world attention to the situation, expose the facts, including what is happening militarily, and clarify where the responsibility lies.

Dr. Kissinger: Both sides would claim the other side has made the first move. The Pakistanis aren't so stupid as to challenge India militarily now. If a war starts, it would have to be by India.

Mr. Sisco: Any restraining order would obviously be pointed more toward India.

Dr. Kissinger: What if the Indians say they can't control the situation-that only the Pakistanis can control it? Wouldn't this give them another excuse to go to war to defend the UN resolution?

Mr. Sisco: A restraining order wouldn't reinforce India's justification for going to war.

Dr. Kissinger: But India will say their troops aren't doing anything and that it is the Pakistanis who aren't obeying the cease-fire.

Mr. Van Hollen: The public would be made aware that it is Indian forces which are continually crossing an international border.

Mr. Sisco: I don't overestimate the practical effect of a UN resolution, but what is the alternative?

Dr. Kissinger: If Mrs. Gandhi wants a way out, we should try to give it to her. But we have broken our backs to help her and what has she done? She hasn't accepted one thing we've offered. She has said friendly things about the President, but they were not related to what he said. She's merely trying to jockey us into position as the villain of the piece. The question is how are we restraining her by giving her two-thirds of what she wants and letting her use that as a basis for the next move? We should just say that the use of force is not justified.

Mr. Sisco: There will have to be some expressions along this line in the SC. It will be made very clear that the Indians have refused every offer.

Dr. Kissinger: Would you want to go into the Council by next Tuesday/4/-the timing makes a difference. Would you see the debate as being on military intervention or on political atrocities?

/4/ November 16.

Mr. Sisco: The debate would have to cover both. To return to your earlier point, I see no way in which the SC could be turned around so as to justify Indian military action. I agree the practical result of SC debate is likely to be nil in terms of practical deterrence, but I don't have a better alternative.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Cushman) What do you think?

Gen. Cushman: We think there is a good chance that these acts are designed to provoke war. They may, however, be to assist the guerrillas so that they can solve the problem themselves. We may know more after Mrs. Gandhi speaks.

Dr. Kissinger: When will that be?

Mr. Van Hollen: She gets home Saturday and Parliament opens on Monday.

Mr. Schneider: She may say something at the opening of Parliament, but may schedule her formal report later.

Mr. Sisco: We may have a little time beyond Monday.

Gen. Cushman: Mr. Sisco's plan might have a good effect domestically if it were pointed at India.

Dr. Kissinger: But we won't get that.

Mr. Sisco: I agree. We don't get a resolution pointed at India. It should be an interesting session, though. The Russians would be hard put to veto a proposal to put the SC on record in favor of a cooling of the situation. The PRC position hopefully would be helpful. But, I repeat, I don't overestimate the practical effect.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Ryan) Do you have any thoughts or recommendations?

Gen. Ryan: What assurance do we have that the Paks won't preempt the situation and move against the Indians?

Mr. Sisco: That's a definite danger.

Dr. Kissinger: If they will lose East Pakistan politically anyhow, why not lose in a war?

Mr. Van Hollen: It might be easier for them to lose it in a war.

Gen. Cushman: They know they can't get rid of the guerrillas unless they remove their base camps and sources of supply.

Dr. Kissinger: If India doesn't want to settle the matter, we can do whatever we want to on the political track. The Indians will just keep coming back with new elements and we will become the negotiator for the Indians.

Mr. Van Hollen: But it's also possible that we would be helping Yahya out of a box short of war.

Mr. Sisco: Yahya doesn't think we have been pressuring him. He's a desperate man. I was a little surprised at how much we got from him in his discussions with (Ambassador) Farland.

Mr. Van Hollen: Yahya asked for suggestions from Farland, including political suggestions.

Mr. Sisco: I'm not suggesting we should pressure Yahya. I just want Farland to tell Yahya about the discussions with Mrs. Gandhi.

Dr. Kissinger: I understand. I cleared your cable.

Mr. Sisco: Our good friend Bhutto is in Communist China now. He was one of the chief causes of the trouble originally, advising Yahya not to accommodate Mujib. Now he is saying he should deal with Mujib. He is only complicating Yahya's position.

Mr. Van Hollen: Or easing it, possibly.

Dr. Kissinger: Is Bhutto coming here?

Mr. Van Hollen: No. They floated the suggestion, but we said we would leave this to Yahya.

Dr. Kissinger: What do we do when war breaks out?

Mr. Sisco: We might talk a little about our contingency plans./5/ The first steps should be close consultations with the Russians and the Chinese Communists.

/5/ An undated paper outlining contingency planning in the event of the outbreak of war between India and Pakistan and an attached analytical summary of the paper dated November 11, the former apparently prepared in the Department of State and the latter by the NSC staff, were forwarded to Kissinger under a covering memorandum on November 11 by Hoskinson and Richard Kennedy. The covering memorandum and both papers are in the National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/12/71. The analytical summary is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 153.

Dr. Kissinger: (to Sisco) When you go to the Security Council, you will not approach the Chinese in New York. No one is to approach the Chinese in New York until we hear from Peking.

Mr. Sisco: We will review every step of the scenario before we move. If we go to the UN, though, all the SC representatives will be around the table.

Dr. Kissinger: No one is saying you can't talk to them at the table.

Mr. Van Hollen: We envisage a variety of steps: a cease-fire resolution in the SC; termination of military supply to India-

Dr. Kissinger: You can count on that.

Mr. Van Hollen: (continuing) Diversion of American ships containing military supplies; cessation of military training for both countries; a broad range of activities concerning military supply. Termination of aid to both sides-

Dr. Kissinger: But the decision may be to terminate aid only to the country that started the war.

Mr. MacDonald: We have our data organized to accommodate any decision on an aid cut-off.

Mr. Sisco: There is a prior question of overriding and fundamental importance-if there is a war, we will have to come to an understanding on the non-involvement of the major powers.

Dr. Kissinger: India doesn't need to involve anyone else to beat the Paks.

Mr. Sisco: We will have to talk to the Russians and the Chinese Communists-to give them some signal as to our intentions. I don't think big-power involvement is likely, but it will require some exchange of views. We could all get together and concert in the context of the Security Council to bring about a cease-fire. The Russians will drag their feet if India is winning and if they have made up their minds to shear off East Pakistan. If war starts, there is no question but that the Indians have preponderant strength.

Dr. Kissinger: In the West as well as the East?

Gen. Ryan: In the West too. The Paks are outnumbered 3 to 1. The Indians have better air equipment too.

Mr. Sisco: The Paks are no match and Yahya knows it.

Gen. Ryan: Neither country could sustain a very long war without outside aid, but Pakistan is worse off than India.

Mr. Van Hollen: On contingency planning generally, the WSAG Working Group has been reviewing all the various steps we could take in military supply, economic assistance, trade, air services, evacuation, etc. We are keeping everything up to date. The only question is the political framework.

Mr. Sisco: (to Van Hollen) You had better mention the ships.

Mr. Van Hollen: There are two ships from MIDEASTFOR which are due to call at Karachi tomorrow for approximately four days. We have queried both New Delhi and Islamabad and neither has any objection.

Mr. Selden: One has a critical fueling problem.

Dr. Kissinger: I see no problem with this.

Mr. Sisco: We just wanted to be sure both you and the President knew about it.

184. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, November 15, 1971, 4 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office at the White House. Sultan Khan was in Washington November 13-16 to consult on the crisis.

Sultan Khan, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan
Agha Mohammad Raza, Ambassador Designate of Pakistan
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff

Dr. Kissinger had met the Foreign Secretary for a relaxed conversation after dinner at the residence of the Pakistani ambassador the previous evening. The conversation therefore began against that background.

Dr. Kissinger began by asking what had come up at Secretary Rogers' lunch for the Foreign Secretary. The Foreign Secretary noted that there had been considerable interest in how to launch a political process which in some way involved Mujibur Rahman within the limits which President Yahya felt constraining him.

Dr. Kissinger, apparently referring to the conversation of the previous evening, said that in view of the fact that Ambassador Farland had instructions to see President Yahya there was probably little need to ask for clarification on that point until we have a report on that conversation. The other question that had come up, though, was still of interest-what could he convey to the Russians?

The Foreign Secretary said he felt that whatever is known to the Indians will also be known to the Soviets. He noted an article of November 12 in the Washington Post from New Delhi [attached]/2/ which had amounted to an Indian leak of the idea that President Yahya would be willing to engage in negotiations with an approved Bangla Desh leader. The Foreign Secretary noted the part of the article which said that India would have to approve any such negotiator. He said that India does not want to approve such negotiations and felt that the leak was designed to kill the idea. He noted that fragmentary reports on Mrs. Gandhi's speech to the parliament after returning to New Delhi were just coming in and indicated that she had not made a definitive statement. He felt that the determining factor would be what actually happens on the borders over the next week or so. He concluded by saying that it looks as if Pakistan had exhausted the process of accepting suggestions. He enumerated those that Pakistan had accepted ranging from the offer for a unilateral military pullback through the willingness to negotiate with Bangla Desh leaders. He did not see what else Pakistan could do, although the government of Pakistan would always be receptive to suggestions from the United States.

/2/ All brackets in the source text. Lee Lescaze reported on November 12 in The Washington Post that President Yahya had privately expressed willingness to meet with leaders of the Awami League.

Dr. Kissinger said that he felt it would help to issue a comprehensive statement of everything that had been done. The Indians have a monopoly on getting out a one-sided picture of the situation. Putting out a clear picture that Pakistan has done a fair amount could serve as a brake on military action and a one-sided justification of it.

The Foreign Secretary said he wondered whether one statement could brake such momentum. India has created a position for itself where one statement may not be able to do that. The one possible hope that he saw was help from the Soviets in restraining the Indians.
Dr. Kissinger, noting that the Foreign Secretary and the ambassador should not repeat this to the State Department, said that he had talked to the Soviet ambassador that morning on other business. He had told the ambassador that we take "the gravest view" of the situation in South Asia./3/ An outbreak of war there would not be understood here. If the Soviets were thought to have had a role in the outbreak of such a war, it would make US-Soviet relations worse. He also noted that Soviet shipment of military equipment was hard to understand. [The Foreign Secretary carefully repeated this wording to be sure that he understood it.]

/3/ Kissinger told Dobrynin in a telephone conversation on November 15 that the United States was "extremely concerned about the South Asian situation." He said: "We think India is determined to have a showdown," and added: "In our view, sending arms into India is adding fuel." (Transcript of a telephone conversation, November 15, 12:33 p.m.; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 395, Telephone Conversations, Dobrynin, Sept 1971-Apr 1972)

The Foreign Secretary suggested that the Soviet ambassador could be asked what the USSR sees wrong about supporting the US proposal for a military pullback. Dr. Kissinger replied that he knew what the Indian answer would be-that Pakistan should withdraw from the East Pakistan border. The Foreign Secretary said that would be fine if India were to pull back from that border and terminate its support for the guerrillas on the border.
Dr. Kissinger said that he would raise the point. He then returned to the issue of Mujib, saying that he was not pressing the Foreign Secretary at all but simply needed to understand Pakistan's position as clearly as possible.

Dr. Kissinger asked whether he had understood the Foreign Secretary correctly the night before-that over a period of months the government of Pakistan would be able to show more flexibility toward Mujib.

The Foreign Secretary said that, in the absence of instructions from President Yahya, he could only say that once a civilian government is formed if it finds that it is unable to arouse the cooperation of the people of East Pakistan it will have to devise measures for improving that support. The government of that day would have to deal with this issue. If the provincial government said it was not getting the response from the people that was required, it would have to take this question up with the central government. He said he had to note that feeling in the armed forces remained high against Mujib, so even a civilian government would have to weigh carefully any action taken in connection with Mujib.

Dr. Kissinger said he personally believed that whatever demand is met there would be another from the Indian side. But nevertheless "we" need a platform to prevent the appearance of a totally negative position. The Indians have made Mujib central in their estimate of what a resolution of the situation requires. Dr. Kissinger said he personally felt that Mujib would "be devoured by the process" in Calcutta if he were released. But as of now he is perceived by many to be central to a solution.

Dr. Kissinger continued saying that it would be extremely desirable for him to have an authoritative statement of President Yahya's view on the role of Mujib over the next six months. He said that he is constantly confronted by interpretations of what President Yahya's view is and he would prefer not to be in a position of constantly "fighting a rear guard action" on behalf of President Yahya here without really knowing what the President's views are. In response to the Foreign Secretary's question, he said that it would be important to know President Yahya's views in case the situation arose where we might have some ideas on how to transform some aspects of the situation into a concrete proposal.

The Foreign Secretary said it was extremely important to avoid telling the Indians of Pakistan's positions because they will leak them in order to embarrass President Yahya. He again cited the recent Washington Post article on negotiations with Bangla Desh representatives.
At this point Dr. Kissinger took the Foreign Secretary in to see the President for seven or eight minutes.

When they returned it had been agreed, after some discussion of how this might be communicated, that the Foreign Secretary would speak with President Yahya and make his own personal assessment on this subject of Mujib which would be sent in the back-channel to Dr. Kissinger. Dr. Kissinger noted that if there were military action, the issue might be moot.

The Foreign Secretary double checked by saying that the question Dr. Kissinger had asked was: Exactly how far can Mujib's role and personality be used in stabilizing the situation and over what period of time?

Dr. Kissinger concluded by saying that the Foreign Secretary could wait until he got back in five days or so before replying. He repeated again how grateful he had been for his reception in July and President Yahya's kindness in connection with his trip to Peking.

Harold H. Saunders/4/

/4/ Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

185. Memorandum From Rear Admiral Robert Welander to the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig)/1/

Washington, November 15, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Oct 25-Nov 22, 1971. Secret; Eyes Only. Sent for information. Rear Admiral Robert O. Welander was assigned to the Chairman's Staff Group in the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The memorandum was written on National Security Council letterhead, which suggests that he was detailed to the NSC as a staff member.

Pakistan/India Contingency Planning

Prior to the 12 November WSAG meeting on the Pakistan-India Situation, HAK was advised that General Ryan,/2/ the Acting Chairman, might bring up a CINCPAC proposal to ready a WESTPAC attack carrier task group for Indian Ocean operations to dissuade "third party" involvement.

/2/ General John D. Ryan, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force.

The matter was not broached during the WSAG meeting. The JCS considered the matter Saturday/3/ morning and have advised CINCPAC in the attached/4/ that his concept is approved for planning purposes only and, should the situation deteriorate, that he may place a carrier task group on 48 hours readiness for such deployment.

/3/ November 13.

/4/ JCS telegram 7115 to CINCPAC, November 13, was attached but not printed.

186. Editorial Note

President Nixon met at the White House on the afternoon of November 15, 1971, with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan. Nixon briefed Sultan Khan on his conversations with Prime Minister Gandhi, assuring him that "we talked very directly" with her. With regard to United States policy in dealing with the developing crisis in South Asia, Nixon said: "What we are trying desperately to do is not to allow this terrible tragedy, the agony that you're going through, [to] be a pretext to start a war." "The important thing," he added, "is we know, I know, that this is one of those terrible problems that, frankly, must be solved by political solution, it must not be solved by force. We simply want to play a role that will be helpful. We will try to restrain to the extent that we have any influence the Indians. We will do everything we can to try to help you in your cause." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between President Nixon and Foreign Secretary Sultan Mohammed Khan, November 15, 1971, 4:31-4:39 p.m., Oval Office, Recording No. 617-17)

Sultan Khan also met with Secretary of State Rogers on November 15. A summary of their conversation was transmitted to Islamabad on November 17 in telegram 208999. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 PAK)

187. Backchannel Message From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Pakistan (Farland)/1/

Washington, November 15, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1971, Amb. Farland, Pakistan. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.

To be delivered opening of business November 15, 1971.

1. The President would appreciate it if you could give us in this channel your personal assessment of the situation in South Asia. We are receiving conflicting views as to the situation and how it is perceived by Yahya Khan. Some say he is desperate and cannot continue for long to control situation and therefore he would welcome our pressing him to a political solution. Others doubt this view.

2. Would appreciate your assessment of how seriously Yahya views the three proposals which he discussed with you and how he sees their relative priority./2/ State, for example, thinks that the third proposal, i.e., agree to talk with anyone chosen by Mujib, is a serious one which we can pursue. Is this assessment accurate in your judgment?

/2/ Reference is to proposals affecting a possible political settlement put forward by Yahya in his conversation with Farland on November 2. Yahya indicated that he was willing to consider revision of the constitution to restructure the relationship between the two wings of the country. He also said that he did not view the Awami League as a "nefarious institution." If purged of its "secessionist leaders," he saw "no obstacle to its revalidation by the forthcoming civilian government." Finally, Yahya said that he was willing to engage in substantive discussions with Bangladesh representatives who were in a position to act constructively. (Telegram 10964 from Islamabad, November 3; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 29 PAK)

3. The President's views have not changed. He does not want our pressure to be added to that of India, but does wish to be helpful to Yahya. If you feel any instructions you receive go beyond our discussions in July, you should seek guidance directly in this channel before taking any action.

4. We are counting on you in this delicate situation to keep us fully informed, to give us your candid assessments of developments and to keep the lid on impetuous moves.

Warm regards

188. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, November 16, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 627, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VIII, Nov-Dec 71. Secret. Sent for information. Drafted by Saunders and sent to Kissinger under a November 12 covering memorandum. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.

Maury Williams' Views on Pakistan

As you know, Maury Williams has just returned from a trip to Pakistan. It was from Dacca that he reported his conclusion that we had succeeded in averting a nation-wide famine in East Pakistan. Since his return, he has written the attached memorandum/2/ containing his views on the broader situation there. They are disturbing and I think you should see them.

/2/ The attached 4-page report from Williams to Secretary Rogers on his trip to Pakistan, November 5, which indicates the President saw it, is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 152.

His main points in brief are that President Yahya has only decreasing control over his government's policy in East Pakistan because the Pakistan Army there is "nearly autonomous."

The army's policy is such that the running battle with guerrillas is likely to continue with little attention to changing practices in a way that could restore genuine civilian government.
Williams' reasoning follows:

-Two key advisers to President Yahya told Williams that Yahya is increasingly isolated from events in East Pakistan.

-The Pakistan army in East Pakistan is operating in many respects independent of the policies and direction of President Yahya. The recently appointed civilian government is really run by a major general who is the military adviser to the governor.

-Only foreign affairs is firmly in the hands of Islamabad. What this means is that all official American suggestions are taken seriously in Islamabad and lead to major policy statements by President Yahya. Their implementation is in the hands of army commanders in the East who are not subject to foreign influence.

-The reality in East Pakistan is that army policies and operations-behind the facade of a civilian governor-are "progressively and seriously alienating the Bengali population." Despite orders from Islamabad that the army not engage in terrorist operations against the civilian population-and repeated assurances to US officials to this effect-Pakistan army commanders continue to carry out terror raids against the population and villages. With villagers caught between the army and local vigilantes on the one hand and the guerrillas on the other, law and order is breaking down rapidly in rural East Pakistan. The rural population is moving either to the cities or to India.

-The military has picked the candidates for the by-elections to fill vacant assembly seats. [More than 70% of the candidates have already been declared "uncontested and elected."]/3/

/3/ Brackets in the source text.

-Reprisal operations continue to focus against Hindus.

These observations suggest that it may be time to add a new chapter in our strategy toward Pakistan. The strategy laid out in August for trying to reduce the flow of refugees by humanitarian assistance has worked to the extent that we have helped stave off a major famine and therefore a major new flood of refugees. That strategy has revealed, however, that the current level of refugees stems not from hunger but from a continuing deterioration of local order as the rural population is caught between the guerrillas and the army along with its local allies.

If President Yahya's own electoral process and the practices of his army will not win wide enough support to defuse the guerrilla campaign, the question then arises what other political steps he might take to establish a viable political alternative to the guerrilla's demand for independence. Unless he can devise such steps, he may face the prospect of losing East Pakistan in a war which could have repercussions for the integrity of West Pakistan as well.

The WSAG met Friday/4/ to discuss not only further steps that might be taken to defuse the military confrontation, but also what more may be possible in helping President Yahya develop a political alternative./5/

/4/ November 12.

/5/ President Nixon highlighted the final paragraph, underlined the last four words, and added a marginal handwritten note that reads: "K-This is now imperative give me a recommendation."

189. Letter From Indian Prime Minister Gandhi to President Nixon/1/

New Delhi, November 16, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 755, Presidential Correspondence File, India (1971). No classification marking. An advance copy of the letter was sent to the White House on November 18 by Ambassador Jha. (Ibid.) Chargé d'Affaires Rasgotra delivered the signed letter to the White House under a covering memorandum to Kissinger on November 24. (Ibid.)

Dear Mr. President,

I should like to thank you for your warm reception and kind hospitality during my recent visit to Washington. It was a privilege to meet you and Mrs. Nixon again.

The opportunity to discuss matters of immediate concern and also wider international issues with you was of great value to me.

Immediately on my return to Delhi three days ago, I spoke to my colleagues in the Cabinet and to the leaders of the Opposition parties in Parliament about the broad results of the discussions which I have had with you and with other Heads of States and Governments.

The winter session of our Parliament began yesterday and I made a statement there. I am asking Ambassador Jha to invite your personal attention to it./2/ It reflects our anxiety and hope. I made it in the faith that justice will prevail and the reality of the situation appreciated. This faith is sustained by the discussions I had with you which, I believe, led us to a common understanding of the root causes of the tragedy in East Bengal. I also believe that we generally agreed about the manner in which this crisis could be resolved so that we would be relieved of our suffering and the danger to our country.

/2/ Prime Minister Gandhi's statement in Parliament on November 15 was distributed by the Indian mission to the United Nations. A copy was sent by the Indian Embassy to the White House and is ibid.

I hope that the vast prestige of the United States and its wisdom, which you personify, will be used to find a political solution acceptable to the elected representatives of East Bengal and their leader Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. On my part I shall make every effort to urge patience on our people. However, I would be less than honest if I were not to repeat that the situation in which we find ourselves has long been an unbearable one.

I am somewhat concerned to learn of efforts to involve the Security Council. However well-intentioned these may be, I have little doubt that any public debate at this stage will lead to a hardening of attitudes, which would make the task of reconciliation an extremely difficult one. This is part of the common experience of many countries. Such a move would obstruct the path of the solutions which we jointly seek. In India it will create the impression that the participants are interested not so much in a lasting solution as in side-tracking the main issue, namely, the revolt of the people of East Bengal against the tyranny of the military regime of West Pakistan, first in denying them the fruits of development and then in suppressing their legitimate demand for democratic rights. I hope that the influence of the United States will be used to prevent the development of such an impression.

We have all admired the great courage which has inspired you in taking several important and decisive initiatives to resolve complex problems. I sincerely hope that the same clear vision will guide relations between our two democracies and will help us to come closer. It will always be our effort to clear any misunderstanding and not to allow temporary differences to impede the strengthening of our friendship.

With warm regards and best wishes to you and to Mrs. Nixon,

Yours sincerely,
Indira Gandhi

190. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, November 17, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Johnson and approved in S on November 23. The meeting was held in the Secretary's office. The memorandum is part I of III; separate memoranda were prepared for the discussion of European issues and the Arab-Israeli situation. (Ibid.)

Indo-Pakistan Situation

The Secretary
Ambassador Dobrynin
Peter B. Johnson, Special Assistant to the Secretary

Ambassador Dobrynin was called in today to meet with the Secretary. Dobrynin departs on November 19 for Moscow where he will attend a Central Committee Plenum and then take a two or three-week vacation. He expects to be back in Washington toward the end of December. A summary of the discussion on November 17 follows:

The Secretary opened the discussion with the India-Pakistan issue. He pointed out that Ambassador Beam had already talked with Soviet officials reporting on talks here with Mrs. Gandhi and the Pak Foreign Secretary. The Secretary summarized those talks and emphasized that the U.S. had urged that maximum restraint should be exercised on both sides. We had told the Paks that we could not decide for them what the settlement should be but that it was important to get a dialogue started looking toward a political settlement. The Paks have indicated a willingness to talk with representatives of the Bangla Desh presently in Calcutta and President Yahya has told us that he would consider discussion with a Bangla Desh representative acceptable to Mujibur Rahman.

Dobrynin asked about the Indian reaction to our suggestions and if a Bangla Desh representative had been designated. The Secretary said Mrs. Gandhi had appeared rather negative toward the prospects of such discussions. However we had stressed the vital importance of starting discussions looking toward a political settlement. Although a representative had not been designated by the Bangla Desh, we believed that President Yahya would be interested in such a procedure and that Mrs. Gandhi should support it.

The Secretary said we had suggested troop withdrawals from the frontier in the discussions with Prime Minister Gandhi and that President Yahya had indicated a willingness to withdraw troops unilaterally on the understanding that India would reciprocate by subsequent withdrawal. We would not evaluate the merits of any withdrawal plan but discussions could well begin on the subject between the parties. The Secretary said that the Indians did not seem to view the idea with favor but he could not see what more the Paks could offer to do. He added that the U.S. Government considers President Yahya's agreement to consider talking with a Bangla Desh representative a major concession. Dobrynin said he had not known about this.

The Secretary characterized Soviet arms shipments to India as "not helpful."/2/ Dobrynin said he would check out the size of the shipments but believed them to be small. He said, as often happens in these cases, there is more propaganda than reality to the reports of the size of the deliveries.

/2/ In a November 26 memorandum to the President, Kissinger reported on a conversation he had with Dobrynin on November 18. Kissinger warned Dobrynin that if Soviet "actions" led to a war on the subcontinent, it would have a bad impact upon U.S.-Soviet relations. Dobrynin rejoined that there was no danger of that, and maintained that the Soviet Union was urging restraint on India. (Ibid., Box 492, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 8)

The Secretary stressed our mutuality of interests in having peace in the subcontinent. Dobrynin agreed that both countries would profit from a political settlement and neither would gain from an outbreak of war in the area. Dobrynin agreed that there were essentially no contradictions in our respective positions.

191. Briefing Prepared for President Nixon/1/

Washington, November 19, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Oct 25-Nov 22, 1971. Secret. Prepared on November 19 by Hoskinson and Saunders for a November 20 briefing. The memorandum does not indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by Kissinger. A note indicates that the information was distilled from telegram 11476 from Islamabad, November 18; telegrams 17736 and 17805 from New Delhi, November 15 and 16, respectively; and CIA telegram TDCS DB-315/06847-71, November 16; copies of which were attached.


Situation in India: Ambassador Keating reports that since Mrs. Gandhi has returned to New Delhi most observers feel that she is attempting to lower the political temperature there for the time being at least. She seems to be telling the Indian people and the world that, while she has no intention of reducing the pressure on Pakistan by withdrawing Indian troops from the frontiers or reducing support to the guerrillas, she is prepared to wait for some unspecified period to see whether the international community's efforts to get Yahya into a dialogue with the Awami League are successful before initiating more decisive action. A frequent comment from Indian and foreign observers is that Mrs. Gandhi remains, as before her trip, less hawkish than the country as a whole and that she apparently continues to work to avoid a major war.

The above is the positive side of the picture. Our intelligence indicates that complementing this public posture is continuing planning for possible military intervention in East Pakistan and serious incidents, reflecting an aggressive Indian posture in support of the guerrillas, continue to flare up along the East Pakistan border. It is also worth noting that some official U.S. observers believe that the Indian and guerrilla pressures on the Pak forces could be gradually building up to a point at which the Paks could be goaded into counteractions which could precipitate a full-scale war.

192. Backchannel Message From the Ambassador to Pakistan (Farland) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/

Islamabad, November 19, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The text of this message was conveyed to Haig in a November 19 memorandum. (Ibid.)

Foll for Dr. Henry Kissinger from Ambassador Farland:

1. Have reported results of my conversation Nov. 18 to State through Islamabad 11484./2/ It reflects that Yahya is determined to proceed on his own political plan of action for a 'political solution' between East and West Pakistan. He considers he has a viable plan of operation going for him. Will convene Assembly Dec. 27 and expects to turn power over to civilian government within about two weeks thereafter. He gave me the impression he was zealously anxious to extricate himself from a deteriorating situation by stepping down, thus accomplishing his prime objective, i.e., the transfer of power. From our conversation I seriously question if he will deviate from what he has as his blueprint.

/2/ Telegram 11484 from Islamabad, November 19. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 PAK) The telegram is summarized in Document 193.

2. As reported reftel, Yahya is not interested in discussing political settlement with Mujib's designee, but continues to be interested in talks as reported paragraph 6 Islamabad 10927./3/

/3/ In telegram 10927 from Islamabad, November 2, Farland reported on a conversation he had with President Yahya that day. Paragraph 6 outlined Yahya's conditions for meeting with a leader of the Bangladesh rebels. Yahya said he would grant "white flag" passage to and from West Pakistan, but he would not meet with a Bangladesh representative who had been judged guilty of a major crime. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 32-1 PAK)

3. I have definite impression that Yahya is beginning to feel cornered. For the first time he was somewhat testy during our conversation. He reaffirmed fact that he would not institute war with India, but we are dealing with a military man whose reactions have been preconditioned.

Therefore I sincerely hope that Mrs. Gandhi be cautioned to the fullest by all interested governments, and that as a result of these admonishments she will prevent her generals from instituting any further incursions into Pak territory. Otherwise this thing could blow.

193. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, November 20, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 37, President's Daily Briefs. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.

Information Items

[Omitted here are summary reports on foreign policy issues unrelated to South Asia.]

Yahya's Views: Ambassador Farland has met with Yahya to brief him on the results of Mrs. Gandhi's visit here. Yahya made the following major points:

-He expressed appreciation for the U.S. efforts to lessen the tensions that were daily becoming greater.

-Mujib was not the key to negotiations but rather Indira Gandhi held "both the key and the lock."

-He expressed disinclination to permit Mujib to designate a Bangla Desh representative who could speak on his own behalf and negotiate for the Bangla Desh movement with the Paks. On the other hand, his government would be happy to meet with Bangla Desh representatives under other conditions as he had said before.

-He sketched his scenario for a political settlement through promulgation of a constitution in mid-December, convening the National Assembly on December 27 and transfer of power "several weeks" thereafter. Then the new civilian government could, if it wished, deal with Mujib and Bangla Desh.

-He reaffirmed his decision to avoid war if at all possible and said that he would not start war.

-He is thinking of a plan which would turn over completely to the UN the administration of camps for returning refugees.

Farland had the impression that Yahya believes he is being boxed in by numerous pressures that are being exerted on him at home and abroad. For the first time he sensed "agitation" in Yahya. He thinks that Yahya had decided that his political plan is his only means of extricating himself from an untenable military and economic situation inflamed and fueled by India.

Situation in India: Ambassador Keating reports that since Mrs. Gandhi has returned to New Delhi most observers feel that she is attempting to lower the political temperature there for the time being at least. She seems to be telling the Indian people and the world that, while she has no intention of reducing the pressure on Pakistan by withdrawing Indian troops from the frontiers or reducing support to the guerrillas, she is prepared to wait for some unspecified period to see whether the international community's efforts to get Yahya into a dialogue with the Awami League are successful before initiating more decisive action. A frequent comment from Indian and foreign observers is that Mrs. Gandhi remains, as before her trip, less hawkish than the country as a whole, and that she apparently continues to work to avoid a major war.

The above is the positive side of the picture. Our intelligence indicates that complementing this public posture is continuing planning for possible military intervention in East Pakistan and serious incidents, reflecting an aggressive Indian posture, in support of the guerrillas, continues to flare up along the East Pakistan border. It is also worth noting that some official U.S. observers believe that the Indian and guerrilla pressures on the Pak forces could be gradually building up to a point at which the Paks could be goaded into counteractions which could precipitate a full-scale war.

[Omitted here is a summary report on a foreign policy issue unrelated to South Asia.]

194. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, November 22, 1971, 2:39-3:14 p.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. No drafting information appears on the minutes. A briefer record of this meeting, prepared by James Noyes (OASD/ISA), is in the Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 381 (Jan-Nov) 1971.

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin, II
Joseph Sisco
Christopher Van Hollen
David Schneider
Samuel DePalma

David Packard
Armistead Selden
James H. Noyes

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Capt. Howard N. Kay

Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
John Waller

Donald MacDonald

NSC Staff
Brig. Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr.
Harold H. Saunders
R. Adm. Robert O. Welander
Samuel Hoskinson
Chester A. Crocker
Jeanne W. Davis


It was agreed that:

1) State would prepare a scenario for an approach to the UN including a draft resolution;

2) State would prepare telegrams for approaches to Mrs. Gandhi and to Yahya;

3) the WSAG would meet at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, November 23.
Mr. Kissinger: (to General Cushman) Bob, can you give us a rundown?

(General Cushman briefed from the attached text.)/2/

/2/ Based on the briefing notes prepared for the meeting, General Cushman reported that press reports from Pakistan indicated that India had launched an offensive on the border of East Pakistan in the Jessore area with two infantry divisions supported by armor. The CIA assessment was that, even if the reports were exaggerated, the size of Indian incursions into East Pakistan were apparently increasing. President Yahya did not want to fight a war he knew Pakistan would probably lose, but Cushman concluded that he might soon decide that he had no choice but to do so. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/22/71)

Mr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Irwin) What do you think?

Mr. Irwin: We think the Pakistanis are probably overplaying the situation and the Indians are underplaying it. We think increased participation by Indian regulars is designed either to put enough pressure on Yahya to get a more favorable political situation, or to try to provoke a Pakistani attack on India and thereby put Pakistan further in the wrong in the eyes of the world. We believe the first reason is more likely than the second. We think we can do two things: (1) go back to Yahya on the basis of his latest conversation with (Ambassador) Farland,/3/ which we found somewhat disappointing with regard to Mujib; and (2) go to the UN.

/3/ See footnote 2, Document 192.

Mr. Kissinger: Because Yahya has been attacked, you would bring pressure on Yahya?

Mr. Irwin: No, the move into the UN would put pressure on India. I just think we should go back to Yahya to talk further about Mujib.

Mr. Kissinger: But if we do that, and Yahya doesn't agree to talk to Mujib, we would be contributing to putting Yahya in the wrong. All this has to go to the President, of course.

Mr. Irwin: I was merely following up the discussion at the last meeting.

Mr. Kissinger: What do you think, Dave (Packard)?

Mr. Packard: It's damned hard to know what is going on. We've got to get the facts, first.

Mr. Irwin: One way to avoid war, though, would be through some political accommodation.

Mr. Kissinger: That's all right if we assume we want to do India's job for them.

Mr. Irwin: I don't think that's doing India's job for them. It's one way to avoid a war.

Mr. Kissinger: But India is saying they will go to war unless Pakistan meets their political demands.

Mr. Irwin: I'm only saying that this would be one way to avoid war. Also, it is a step in a process that is already started.

Mr. Kissinger: Yes, we have been moving step by step along a line the President has indicated he doesn't want to go. You can't use the last step, which the President accepted only reluctantly, as the basis for the next step. Also, the assumption on which we made our last move was wrong. We had assumed that Yahya had asked us for suggestions as to what he might do politically, and this turned out to be wrong, if I read the cables correctly. (to Moorer) What do you think, Tom?

Adm. Moorer: We've all sent out flash messages to try to find out what is happening. There's no question that the Indians have superiority in all areas-157 aircraft to 18, for example, along the East Pakistan border. Also, they have deployed forces along the West border and have reorganized them into three sectors so as to manage them more effectively. There's no question that a conflict is going on. I personally think the Indians are trying to provoke the Pakistanis to move in the West. I have some information on the POL and logistic positions that may be interesting. The Indians have a 30-day war reserve of POL, small arms and artillery, plus some local production capability, so ammo is no problem. They also have an additional 90-day POL reserve, but this would have to come from Iran and would probably be cut off in the event of war. Pakistan has a 70-day POL supply, but four-fifths of this is in Karachi which makes it vulnerable to a single attack. They have 34 days of jet fuel in the West, and practically no air position in the East. I think the first thing we must do is get the facts.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Irwin) What do you mean when you say we could go to the UN?

Mr. Sisco: There would be two principal purposes in such a move: (1) in the present circumstances, where we do not have an all-out war but do have a significant increase in the number of incidents, we could try to get some form of restraining order from the Security Council which hopefully would arrest or slow down further deterioration of the situation.

Mr. Kissinger: Could we see the text of such a resolution?

Mr. Sisco: We'll do one. The second purpose would be to involve the UN in some form of good offices instrumentality. We obviously need facts. But I think we know enough about the nature of the insurgency to believe that it would be a good thing to begin to move our efforts somewhat more into the public domain and to begin to place some of the responsibility on the shoulders of the UN. We have withheld a firm recommendation on going to the UN on one ground-as long as our private efforts offered any opportunity for success we thought that approach was better than going public. The Indians have already rejected any UN involvement in a statement by Mrs. Gandhi. If the reports of the fighting are confirmed, I believe any idea of going back to Yahya should go by the board. Yahya can't seriously consider accepting what he turned down 48 hours ago.

Mr. Kissinger: And the President wouldn't approve.

Mr. Sisco: If we conclude that there is little else to be gained by private efforts, the only alternative is to turn to the public domain, and to begin through the UN. I see four options: (1) the most likely development, if the military situation is confirmed, is that the Pakistanis will move into the Security Council; (2) we could go to the Secretary General, give our assessment of the danger of the situation, and suggest that he, on his own initiative, convene the Security Council on the grounds that the situation is a threat or potential threat to the peace; (3) we might get two or three of the smaller powers on the Security Council to take the initiative, after they had been thoroughly briefed; this would be a lot more complicated; or (4) the U.S., in concert with the UK, might move to convene the Security Council.

Mr. Kissinger: To what end? What would we want to accomplish by going to the UN?

Mr. Sisco: To avoid broadening the conflict. To try to get some dialogue going through some UN instrumentality.

Mr. Kissinger: Dialogue between whom?

Mr. Sisco: That's a question. The Indians would press for a dialogue between East and West Pakistan. There would be strong Indian opposition to making India a party at interest. The basis for Security Council consideration would be the reports of outside involvement. That is why the Indians are denying that any Indian troops are involved-why they are saying that it is only the Mukti Bahini. Each side would, of course, present its case.

Mr. Kissinger: And we will get caught between India and Pakistan and, more important, between the Soviets and the Chinese. I'm confident there will be no approval from this building for any free-wheeling exercise in the UN with no clear idea of what we want to come out of it. We need a scenario, the draft of a resolution, and some idea of exactly what would be likely to come out of such an approach. If a resolution results which can be interpreted as directed against Pakistan. .

Mr. DePalma: The Chinese won't let that kind of a resolution come out.

Mr. Kissinger: We don't want the Chinese to be the only country supporting Pakistan.

Mr. DePalma: There's a pretty good balance in the Security Council.

Mr. Kissinger: You'll have to tell us what we want to come out with. What sort of a resolution do we want?

Mr. Sisco: We can put something on paper. There is no one who can call the shots now in terms of what will come out of the Security Council.

Mr. Kissinger: We can call the shots on what we will agree to.

Mr. Sisco: Our objective is to try to discourage war on the sub-continent.

Mr. Kissinger: That's a generalization. We can do that by giving India what she wants. We can also do it by discouraging India from using military force to break up Pakistan. The Indians are trying to break off East Pakistan in a fashion so traumatic as to bring West Pakistan to collapse. Mrs. Gandhi spent a good deal of time telling the President why Baluchistan should never have been made a part of Pakistan. What if the Pakistanis should complete a transfer of power to a new team in East Pakistan? They wouldn't necessarily be completely representative but at least the new people would not be tied to the earlier regime. Is it unreasonable to ask India to wait for four weeks to see how that comes out? If we want to force a political solution now, you would have a different kind of UN resolution. The President has made his views very clear on this issue, although he has obviously had some difficulty in communicating them to some of you. We have got to get some form of resolution which we can support. Are we trying to force Yahya to a political solution now? Or are we trying to get India to relieve some of the pressure on Yahya? These require different kinds of resolutions. We don't just want the mish-mash of discussion at the UN.

Mr. Irwin: Anything that starts at the UN will run the danger of ending as a mish-mash.

Mr. Kissinger: Not if we know what we want. Sam (DePalma), you're the expert on this. What do you think?

Mr. DePalma: As its first target, the UN could be directed toward stopping the Indian incursions. But as UN involvement continues, it will undoubtedly focus on the political situation in East Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: That is what the President wants.

Mr. Sisco: The first half or the second half?

Mr. Kissinger: He wants the first half, and he has agreed reluctantly to the second half.

Mr. DePalma: That means talking among the five powers in the Security Council. I agree that it is probably premature, but we can't escape it.

Mr. Kissinger: How much time do we have?

Mr. DePalma: We don't know enough about the situation on the ground to know.

Mr. Kissinger: I'm sure we will be in the Security Council before two or three weeks are out.

Mr. Sisco: More likely two or three days. If there is any confirmation of the military reports, the Pakistanis will move into the Council. The Paks know they are in a weakened position militarily. They have taken several initiatives toward the UN but have been blocked each time by the negative Indian attitude. We will give you our best judgment on what the Security Council can do and what is likely to come out of Council consideration.

Mr. Kissinger: And how we should play it.

Mr. Sisco: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: I'm sending Secretary Rogers everything we have from the Chinese on the subject./4/

/4/ On November 22 Kissinger sent to Rogers a copy of an undated note "just received" from China which supported President Yahya's proposal for a mutual troop withdrawal from border areas. The note claimed that India was interfering in Pakistan's internal affairs and concluded: "Should Pakistan be subjected to aggression by India, China will support the Pakistan Government and people in their just struggle." (Kissinger memorandum to Rogers; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 849, For the President's File, China Trip, China Exchanges, October 20, 1971)

Mr. Sisco: I think the Chinese will be helpful in the Security Council. There is a relatively even balance in the Council. There will probably be things in the discussion and in any resolution which neither side will like.

Mr. Kissinger: I'm not sure the President will take the position that we have to accept anything we don't like.

Mr. Irwin: That goes without saying. The Soviets won't accept anything the Indians disapprove of.

Mr. Kissinger: Could we have by the opening of business tomorrow: (1) a precise scenario for going to the UN; (2) a draft resolution, including a discussion of what we would be willing and what we would not be willing to have in a resolution; (3) an idea of how consultations would be conducted at the UN and with whom-who approaches whom? We will meet again tomorrow. Even if this present thing blows over, within a week there will be another incident. If India gives us any reasonable chance to get something going, we might then go back to Yahya.

Mr. Sisco: I think we can assume India will keep the pressure on both militarily and politically.

Mr. Kissinger: I'm not sure they want Mujib to settle the situation in East Pakistan; I think they want the situation to collapse.

Mr. Irwin: They might well. But if we don't go to the UN, what would be our next move?

Mr. Kissinger: We have a special problem at the UN-we don't want to get caught between the USSR and China in this first major involvement of the five powers.

Mr. Sisco: This is, of course, inherent to some extent. The Russians will give direct support to India in the Security Council and the Chinese will support the Pakistan position. This automatically puts the U.S. in a delicate position.

Mr. Kissinger: We don't want to push into the UN without knowing exactly how it is to be played. We won't participate in any game in New York without being sure of the real views of all the participants.

Mr. Irwin: I agree. But suppose we don't go to the Security Council? Where should we move bilaterally, if, indeed, we should do anything?

Mr. Kissinger: If the military developments are confirmed, you could make a good case for a cable to Mrs. Gandhi, pointing out everything we have done and making it clear that in this context Indian military activity would simply not be understood.

Mr. Irwin: Fine. We have been telling them this one way or another all along. Would we also go back to Yahya in the same tone as before?

Mr. Packard: What would we accomplish by going back to Yahya?

Mr. Irwin: If he were willing to talk to Mujib, it might possibly dilute the military pressure on East Pakistan.

Mr. Sisco: If the Indian military activity is confirmed, I don't think it would be wise to go back to Yahya to press him on the Mujib talks.

Adm. Moorer: I agree.

Mr. Kissinger: We should go to Mrs. Gandhi and the Soviets, if anyone, pointing out all the things we have gotten from Yahya. Mrs. Gandhi never even answered us on the offer of mutual withdrawal. Let's get the UN material and both telegrams (for approaches to Mrs. Gandhi and to Yahya) over here tonight, and we'll meet at 8:30 tomorrow morning.

(Time of meeting later changed to 9:00 a.m.)

195. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/

Washington, November 22, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Oct 25-Nov 22, 1971. Confidential. Sent for information. A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: "The President has seen."

Indo-Pak Fighting/2/

/2/ Kissinger initially reported on the expanded fighting in East Pakistan in a telephone conversation with the President at 12:45 p.m. on November 22. He said: "There is no doubt there is a large encroachment taking place and it is heavily backed by the Indians." Nixon responded: "I want you to lay it out hard that I have made a determination that all aid to both sides stops. Cut it to both India and Pakistan." Kissinger warned: "We haven't completely cut it to Pakistan yet. That might put them over the brink." (Transcript of a telephone conversation; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)

The Pakistanis today claim in radio broadcasts that India "without a formal declaration of war, has launched an all-out offensive against East Pakistan." They claim that the attack is concentrated in the Jessore sector not too far from Calcutta and includes infantry, armor, and aircraft. The Paks also claim that fighting has flared up in several other locations along the East Pakistan border. The Indians claim that these reports are "absolutely false." They do say, however, that several Pak planes have intruded into their airspace, that the Paks are trying to increase tension and create a "warlike situation" and that some Indian radio broadcasts say that a "concerted" guerrilla offensive is underway.

At this point, we have no independent evidence but it seems apparent that there has been a major incident. These are the possible explanations for today's developments:

-The Indians may be supporting a major guerrilla offensive. If they are following the pattern of smaller past incidents, their forces would move the Pak forces back from a very narrow strip of border territory and then let the guerrillas hold it. Initial reports suggest that this is the least that has happened.

-The Indians may have begun a joint action that will continue with Indian regular forces seeking control of a major area rather than one of the smaller border areas that have been the object of actions over the past few weeks.

-The Pakistanis might have decided that war was inevitable and could have decided on the basis of this largest incident to date to charge the Indians now with having begun it in order to free them for whatever reaction they may feel necessary.
I held a special WSAG meeting this afternoon and will have another early Tuesday/3/ morning to consider what we might do to help contain this situation if at all possible. Much will depend, of course, on what has actually happened and whether the action spreads.

/3/ November 23.

196. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, November 23, 1971, 9:12-10:01 a.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword. No drafting appears on the minutes. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. A briefer record of the meeting, prepared by James Noyes (OASD/ISA) is in the Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 381 (Jan-Nov) 1971.

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin, II
David Schneider
Christopher Van Hollen
Bruce Laingen
Samuel DePalma

David Packard
Armistead Selden
James H. Noyes

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Capt. Howard N. Kay

Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
John Waller

Donald MacDonald

NSC Staff
Harold H. Saunders
Samuel Hoskinson
R/Adm. Robert O. Welander
Jeanne W. Davis


It was agreed that:

1) Telegrams, as revised at the meeting, should be sent to Ambassadors Farland, Keating and Beam instructing them to make démarches to the respective Foreign Ministers expressing our concern and urging restraint;

2) State will do a memorandum on a cutoff of aid;

3) A proposed scenario for UN action and a draft SC resolution will be sent for comment to USUN and Embassies Islamabad and New Delhi.
Mr. Kissinger: (to Cushman) Where do we stand?

(General Cushman briefed from the attached text.)/2/

/2/ General Cushman summarized reports of the fighting occurring along the border between East Pakistan and India. He noted that Pakistani military authorities alleged that Indian armed forces had penetrated East Pakistan in the Jessore area to a depth of eight miles. Other information, however, indicated that, while Indian and Mukhti Bahini forces had attacked in strength, they had not pushed back the Pakistani forces around Jessore. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/23/71)

Mr. Irwin: How long does it take to get some feedback [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]?

Gen. Cushman: We should get it within a day.

Mr. Packard: Do we have pretty good coverage there?

Gen. Cushman: [2 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: Does it look as though this is a limited operation or will they keep going?

Gen. Cushman: They have the option of stopping it or of throwing more in. It looks like a limited operation to us.

Mr. Irwin: The cable/3/ says that there are spearheads directed against Chalma and Chittagong. Is it feasible for them to get there?

/3/ Reference is to telegram 11557 from Islamabad, November 23, which summarized a conversation between President Yahya and Ambassador Farland on November 23. Yahya informed Farland that India had initiated offensive operations against Pakistan, with Indian spearheads directed against the ports of Chalna and Chittagong. Yahya said that in the Chittagong sector Indian forces had penetrated 20 miles into Pakistan's territory. In response to these developments, Yahya stated that he was declaring a national emergency. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 PAK)

Gen. Cushman: They have the capability.

Adm. Moorer: Do you have anything on the Indian Navy-there were reports that they had fired on a British ship.

Gen. Cushman: We have nothing on that.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Irwin) What do you think?

Mr. Irwin: We have nothing to add. General Cushman summarized what we have in the cables.

Mr. Kissinger: We have received a letter from Yahya./4/ It doesn't add anything. (Copies of the letter had been given to Under Secretary Irwin and Mr. Van Hollen at the table.)

/4/ President Yahya's undated letter to President Nixon, which was delivered to the White House by the Pakistani Embassy on November 23, provided a detailed account of what Yahya described as unprovoked, large-scale Indian attacks into East Pakistan. Pakistan, Yahya wrote, would mount a vigorous defense of its territory. Yahya still hoped to avoid a general war with India, but he added that the Indian attacks in East Pakistan were pushing Pakistan to the point of no return. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, 1971) The text of the letter was transmitted to Islamabad on November 23 in telegram 212620. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

Mr. Van Hollen: The first point is a repeat of what Additional Foreign Secretary Alvie told Ambassador Farland. The rest is an appeal for help.

Mr. Kissinger: Has everyone seen the three draft cables (to New Delhi, Islamabad and Moscow)?/5/

/5/ Copies of these draft telegrams were sent to Haig on November 22 under cover of a memorandum from R.T. Curran, Deputy Executive Secretary of the Department. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/23/71) After discussion and revisions made during the WSAG meeting, they were sent on November 23 to Islamabad as telegram 212549, Moscow as telegram 212550, and New Delhi as telegram 212564. Telegram 212549 to Islamabad instructed Ambassador Farland to inform President Yahya that the United States was expressing deep concern to India and to the Soviet Union about reported military operations in East Pakistan. Farland was instructed to urge Yahya to exercise the greatest degree of military restraint. In telegram 212550 to Moscow, Ambassador Beam was requested to seek an appointment with Foreign Minister Gromyko to emphasize the dangers of escalation in the building conflict between India and Pakistan. Beam was instructed to point to reports of Indian and Mukhti Bahini offensive operations against East Pakistan, and to urge the Soviet Union to exercise a restraining influence on India. Telegram 212564 to New Delhi instructed Ambassador Keating to see Foreign Minister Swaran Singh to express the "grave concern" of the United States over recent military action along the East Pakistan border. Keating was to remind the Foreign Minister of Prime Minister Gandhi's assurances to President Nixon that India would not initiate hostilities. The sentence that Kissinger added to the telegram regarding Nixon's warning to Prime Minister Gandhi that the U.S. would not understand an Indian recourse to war, was incorporated into the second paragraph on the second page rather than at the end of the cable. (Telegrams 212549 to Islamabad and 212564 to New Delhi are ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK; telegram 212550 to Moscow is ibid., POL 7 INDIA)

Mr. Saunders: Yes, they have them at the table.

Mr. Kissinger: The President asked for three cables last night-to the Soviets, the Indians and the Pakistanis. I talked to Secretary Rogers last night to confirm that the cables would not be sent until they had been considered at this meeting. The cables were very well done, but the President wanted to add some reference to his conversation with Mrs. Gandhi. He told her we were sympathetic on the refugee situation but that a resort to war "simply would not be understood." I have written in a sentence on page three of the draft cable to Delhi.

Mr. Irwin: The question is whether we should send these cables out now or wait for more independent confirmation of what has happened. If we do send them now, should we refer to "Indian armed forces" or should we generalize? Also, if we send the cables now, might it be better to make the démarche at the Foreign Minister level, saving an approach to Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi for later when we will know more.

Mr. Kissinger: What more do we have to know?

Mr. Irwin: We could use better confirmation of what forces are involved from some external source.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Irwin) What do you think?

Mr. Irwin: If we send them now, I think we should phrase them so as not to appear to be automatically accepting the reports as fact. Also I think it would be good to go in at the Foreign Minister level-to Swaran Singh. Then we could be prepared to go tomorrow, or whenever we have more information, to the Prime Minister. This would give us a double push.

Mr. Kissinger: Would you change the text for an approach to the Foreign Minister or keep it the same?

Mr. Irwin: Essentially the same.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Packard) What do you think?

Mr. Packard: I think it's probably just as good to indicate our serious concern by going right to the
top, but I don't feel strongly about it.

Mr. Irwin: I would fuzz the second line on page 2 of the telegram to Delhi (which expressed "our grave concern at recent engagements between military forces of India and Pakistan") by referring to "reported engagements" between "regular military forces."

Mr. Packard: I would also take out the sentence on page one which says: "GOP has characterized these most recent incidents as 'all out' Indian offensive against East Pakistan."

Mr. Irwin: If we're going to refer to the President, we should probably go to the Prime Minister rather than the Foreign Minister. My choice would be to go to the Foreign Minister first then, when we learn more, go to the Prime Minister.

Mr. Kissinger: We can mention the President to the Foreign Minister, can't we? Is there anything wrong with that?

Adm. Moorer: If we go to the Foreign Minister and the action escalates drastically meanwhile, there would be no point in talking to Mrs. Gandhi about starting a war. It would be a fait accompli, and we should be talking about withdrawing rather than withholding. Personally I think there's no question that Indian regular forces are involved.

Mr. Kissinger: There is no way guerrillas could get tanks and aircraft and be operating in brigade formation. We can play this charade only so long. What kind of a world is it where countries can claim these are guerrilla actions? It doesn't make sense, and we certainly don't have to play along. I have no strong view about whether to approach the Foreign Minister or the Prime Minister first. Should I ask the President about this?

Mr. Packard: We should also be thinking carefully about the next step if the situation escalates.

Mr. Kissinger: I know what the President will do-he will cut off aid. (to MacDonald) Can we operate on the basis of the paper/6/ you did as part of the contingency planning, or will we need something else?

/6/ Reference is to a paper prepared on November 2 in AID/NESA/SA entitled "A.I.D. Actions During First 96 Hours Following Decision to Terminate Aid." The paper was summarized on November 23 by Saunders and Hoskinson in a briefing memorandum prepared as background for that day's WSAG meeting. The four steps in the proposed process of terminating economic assistance to India and Pakistan are those outlined during the WSAG discussion by Donald MacDonald. The projected amounts of assistance involved were $225 million for India and $29 million for Pakistan. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/24/71)

Mr. MacDonald: You can operate on the basis of our paper.
Mr. Kissinger: What would we do-take the first two steps?

Mr. MacDonald: We would propose taking the first four steps: (1) announce a cutoff of economic assistance to India or Pakistan or both; (2) freeze all action on pending obligations and agreements; (3) instruct U.S. banks not to issue new letters of credit against outstanding letters of commitment balances-this amounts to about $100 million; (4) ask U.S. banks informally not to make disbursements against outstanding lines of credit without checking with AID.

Mr. Kissinger: At what point would we take these steps?

Mr. MacDonald: I defer to State on that.

Mr. Irwin: That's uncertain. We think we should wait until we know more.

Mr. Packard: We could send them the warning to slow up. If they don't, we could take the aid cutoff steps.

Mr. Kissinger: I agree, we certainly won't do it today. Who would be hurt more by an aid cutoff-India or Pakistan?

Mr. Van Hollen: In the short term, neither country would be hurt very much. There would be an important political and psychological impact, but very little economic effect. There's still a large pipeline to both countries.

Mr. Kissinger: Can we cut off the pipeline?

Mr. MacDonald: Any aid cutoff would have only a marginal effect. It would be possible to cut off the pipeline, but it's an extremely complicated process and would take some time. They have funds in 39 commercial and investment banks, and lines of credit are in the hands of thousands of suppliers.

Mr. Kissinger: The effect of the cutoff would be felt in what time period?

Mr. MacDonald: It would take about a month to get the instructions out.

Mr. Kissinger: When would India begin to feel the effect?

Mr. MacDonald: In about three months.

Mr. Kissinger: Who would be hurt more-India or Pakistan?

Mr. MacDonald: It's marginal, but probably Pakistan. They have had a leaner diet from the consortium than India.

Mr. Packard: What would you do about the aid to the refugees?

Mr. MacDonald: That is mostly food and could be handled separately-it will be complicated, though.

Mr. Kissinger: Could we cut off aid to India alone?

Mr. Van Hollen: Yes, we can do it to either or to both.

Mr. Irwin: If we cut off aid because of an invasion of East Pakistan, I question whether we should cut off aid to Pakistan too.

Mr. Packard: Does refugee aid go to Pakistan.

Mr. MacDonald: It goes to both countries.

Mr. Van Hollen: I think there is a question of whether it would be in the U.S. interest to cut off aid. The effect would be minimal, it wouldn't be felt for at least a month or two, and any war would probably be of short duration.

Mr. Kissinger: Unless India felt that they would begin to hurt in a month or two and this had a restraining effect on them. Could we stop all shipments?

Mr. MacDonald: The U.S. Government would have to take title to all goods that are now under Indian and Pakistani title. We have the right to do this under our agreements, since we are loaning them the money to buy these goods. But it would create chaos in the commercial world and probably involve years of litigation if we should try to cancel the pipeline.

Mr. Kissinger: How much is involved?

Mr. MacDonald: For India, some $224 million. One quarter to one-fifth is on the high seas, about half in U.S. bottoms and half in foreign bottoms, some Indian bottoms. We would have to instruct the shipping companies to off-load at intermediate ports, arrange for storage and return of the goods-it would be very difficult. Three-quarters to four-fifths of the material is still in the U.S. in various stages of manufacture or transportation. Some is being loaded on ships.

Mr. Van Hollen: Unless we have unequivocal evidence of an all-out Indian attack on East Pakistan, there is a real question as to whether a cutoff of aid will enhance our ability to influence Mrs. Gandhi toward restraint, or the reverse. I'm not convinced that a cutoff would have a restraining effect on her.

Mr. MacDonald: The empirical evidence is that a cancellation of aid tends to lessen our influence rather than enhance it.

Dr. Kissinger: But granting the aid hasn't helped us. I understand your argument, but I don't see how a cut-off of aid could lessen our influence.

Mr. Selden: There's also some military aid going to India-$2.2 million in FMS sales.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we get our pipeline experts to work on this?

Mr. Van Hollen: There is a memorandum from the Secretary/7/ coming over. There is about $5.2 million in the pipeline.

/7/ Not found.

Adm. Moorer: We're in a helluva fix. We're scattering aid all over the world where it isn't doing us any good, then when we try to cut it off we're told it would be counterproductive.

Dr. Kissinger: And we're getting nothing for it. It's not right to have military aid going to India and not to Pakistan.

Mr. Van Hollen: We have a memo from the Secretary to the President on this in train.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we get it today?

Adm. Moorer: What do you mean by an all-out attack? How about a little attack? How much of an attack are we talking about?

Mr. Van Hollen: I agree the situation is complicated, but the Indians are publicly denying that their regular forces are involved. It's a question of the effect of an aid cut-off on our ability to get the Indians to exercise restraint.

Adm. Moorer: Should we wait for the Indians to admit it?

Mr. Irwin: We should wait for outside information.

Dr. Kissinger: What would be outside information?

Mr. DePalma: They haven't captured any Indian troops yet.

Mr. Van Hollen: The Indians claim they have captured some Pakistani pilots, and the Pakistanis claim to have captured a few regular Indian soldiers.

Dr. Kissinger: It doesn't make sense. You have 12 planes against 200. It's the Germans claiming they were attacked by the Lithuanians. If, for cynical reasons, we want to play this game, all right. But let's not pretend to believe it.

Mr. Packard: I think it's okay to send the telegrams because they will not be public. But we should think twice about taking a public action, such as an aid cut-off, that may do no damned good. It won't look very good for us to take a step that is ineffectual.

Dr. Kissinger: I didn't hear the same arguments about cutting off the military pipeline to Pakistan. There was no such solicitude expressed that the move might be ineffective.

Mr. Van Hollen: The rationale for this action, which was taken in consultation with Pakistan, was quite different. The fact was that the mili-tary shipments were causing us disproportionate trouble on the Hill and with our public to the detriment of achieving more important objectives.

Mr. Packard: I would have no objection to cutting military aid to India.

Dr. Kissinger: Can we get the paper on this?

Mr. Van Hollen: Yes.

Dr. Kissinger: It's very difficult not to cut aid to India when we have cut aid to Pakistan. We have to consider the aid program not only in terms of stopping an Indian attack. The Indians have been told that an attack would have serious consequences. They are facing us down, and we have to consider whether we can let them do it.

Mr. Irwin: There would be a symbolic impact, but not a practical one. I'm hesitant about involving the President unless we have external confirmation of the attack-prisoners, dead bodies, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] etc. But there would be no harm in going with the cables to the Prime Minister, as long as they were phrased as a démarche from the U.S. Government to their Government.

Dr. Kissinger: These are not messages from the President. It is merely the U.S. Government quoting a phrase from the President. They aren't Presidential letters.

Mr. Irwin: The President could always enter individually later on.

Mr. Selden: How about the cable to the UN? Shouldn't we let someone else take the initiative?

Mr. Irwin: We think we should send the cable to USUN to get some reaction.

Dr. Kissinger: We could live with this resolution (contained in the draft telegram to USUN)./8/ It's a good cable; I have no problem with it. Let's get the views on the UN approach, then meet again. Does anyone have any problem with this?

/8/ Reference is to a draft telegram sent to Haig on November 22 under cover of a memorandum from Curran. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/23/71) Sent to USUN as telegram 212583 on November 23, it indicated that, in view of the deteriorating situation along the border between East Pakistan and India, recourse to the Security Council was being considered in Washington. A scenario for possible action by the Security Council was outlined and USUN was asked to comment. Security Council action on the matter could eventuate as a result of a Pakistani initiative, an initiative by the United States, and the United Kingdom, by two or three small powers on the Security Council, or by the Secretary-General. The preferred course was to have the Secretary-General take the initiative. The proposed resolution called upon all states to refrain from actions that would endanger the peace of the area, or that would violate the territorial integrity of India and Pakistan. Beyond that, the resolution encouraged both parties to take up the good offices offer of the Secretary-General. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-PAK)

Mr. Irwin: We want to show the telegram to the Secretary. He hasn't seen it yet.

Mr. Van Hollen: If the Pakistanis are determined to go to the Security Council, there is a question as to whether we shouldn't approach the Secretary General or a third party to try to have the call for an SC meeting come from somewhere else. We might get a more balanced outcome if the call did not come from Pakistan.

Dr. Kissinger: You might have a less acrimonious debate, but I don't think you'll have a good outcome.

Mr. Packard: We should not take the initiative.

Mr. Irwin: We prefer the Secretary General or some smaller powers take the lead.

Mr. Van Hollen: We would have to put the Secretary General up to it.

Mr. Irwin: And he is ill.

Dr. Kissinger: Doesn't someone substitute for him?

Mr. DePalma: This would be a very daring move for a substitute to take.

Dr. Kissinger: We're not approaching anyone else yet, are we?

Mr. Irwin: No.

Dr. Kissinger: Let's send the cables as we have revised them here. The President has already asked me if the cables have gone and if they were tough. I couldn't satisfy him on either count.
(9:50-Mr. Kissinger left the room.)

Mr. Irwin: (to Gen. Cushman) What are our chances on getting further information?

Gen. Cushman: We're getting more information but I can't say when we'll have proof of Indian involvement. The fact that the Pakistanis admit they have lost tanks, which they do not normally do, indicates that the Indians must be operating there.

Mr. Van Hollen: Is there any way of closing the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] time gap?

Mr. Waller: [2 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Van Hollen: [11/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Waller: [1 line of source text not declassified]

Mr. Irwin: (to Gen. Cushman) What is the one you have?

Gen. Cushman: [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reporting damage to the Jessore airfield [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

Mr. Irwin: Are they within range of the border?

Gen. Cushman: [31/2 lines of source text not declassified]
(9:58-Dr. Kissinger returned.)

Mr. Irwin: We will get all four of the cables out. At what level should we go in?

Dr. Kissinger: What is the consensus?

Mr. Packard: I think we should go right to the top to emphasize our concern. But we should also begin to think about the next steps.

Dr. Kissinger: We should cut off the military pipeline.

Mr. Irwin: My inclination would be, until we have firm confirmation of the attack, to go to the Foreign Minister and then escalate to the Prime Minister, but I have no strong feeling.

Mr. Packard: It might be better to start at the lower level.

Dr. Kissinger: OK, but let's get the telegrams out within the hour.

Mr. Van Hollen: We have the same problem, with cutting off the pipeline, of the impact on U.S. effectiveness with the Indians.

Dr. Kissinger: I'm only talking about the military pipeline.

197. Backchannel Message From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Pakistan (Farland)/1/

Washington, November 24, 1971.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1971, Amb. Farland, Pakistan. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Dated November 24, but an attached memorandum from Haig to Kissinger indicates that it was sent on November 25 at 1233Z. (Ibid.) Haig signed for Kissinger, but a copy in another file indicates that Kissinger revised and cleared the telegram. (Ibid., Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971)

Appreciate your personal assessments of the situation/2/ and share your concern for its gravity. Because there may be some differences in approach within the bureaucracy, I wanted you to be aware of actions we have taken over the past twenty-four hours, and am providing information via this channel with the confidence that it will be kept exclusively to you although you may draw on it in discussions with Yahya. I also provided this information to Pakistani Ambassador Raza today on an exclusive basis. Details include:

/2/ See Document 192.

1. Meeting with the British Ambassador today during which I informed him that U.S. is prepared to support the UN Resolution along the lines contained in State 212583./3/ I emphasized, however, that we would leave up to the Government of Pakistan decision as to whether the issue should be referred to the Security Council. I asked him to request that his Government support Pakistan in UN and if this proved impossible for them, to at least refrain from supporting India.

/3/ See footnote 8, Document 196.

2. Decision to send stronger démarche to Prime Minister Gandhi on situation. Specific inquiries would be included concerning India's failure to respond to our proposal already agreed to by Yahya calling for pullback of forces from border between West Pakistan and India.

3. My discussion with Chancellor Brandt on November 23 during which I informed him of our position with respect to Security Council Resolution and suggested that we would welcome démarche from FRG to Indians registering FRG concern for the situation.

4. Instruction to Ambassador Beam to register again our concerns to Moscow.

5. Daily meetings of Washington Special Actions Group from which several additional actions are pending. These meetings have resulted in issuance of strictest Presidential instructions to tilt toward Pakistan in our public stance.

In addition to informing Ambassador Raza of the foregoing, I recommended that he check promptly with the PRC UN delegation in New York to ascertain their views on the desirability of introducing the issue into the UN as well as their views on the draft resolution. I informed him that we believe PRC views should be considered by Pakistan as they decide whether or not to proceed in UN forum.

We will continue to follow the situation very closely and you can assure Yahya that President is personally involved in all aspects of the problem. Please keep me informed via this channel of any additional steps that you believe should be considered here.

Warm regards.

198. Minutes of Washington Special Actions Group Meeting/1/

Washington, November 24, 1971, 9:29-10:05 a.m.

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-115, WSAG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Top Secret; Codeword. No drafting information appears on the minutes. The meeting was held in the White House Situation Room. A briefer record of the meeting, prepared by James Noyes (OASD/ISA), is in the Washington National Records Center, OSD Files, FRC 330 76 0197, Box 74, Pakistan 381 (Jan-Nov) 1971.

South Asia

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger

John N. Irwin II
Joseph Sisco
Samuel DePalma
Christopher Van Hollen
Bruce Laingen

David Packard
Armistead Selden
James H. Noyes

Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
John Waller

Adm. Thomas H. Moorer
Capt. Howard N. Kay

Donald MacDonald

NSC Staff
Brig. Gen. Alexander M. Haig
Harold H. Saunders
Col. Thomas C. Pinckney
Samuel Hoskinson
Jeanne W. Davis

Mr. Kissinger: (to Cushman) What is the situation?

Gen. Cushman: We still have conflicting Pakistan and Indian versions of the action, but there is little doubt that regular Indian troops have entered Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: Is there any doubt? How long can they maintain this charade?

Gen. Cushman: There's no doubt in my mind.

Mr. Packard: They call it "protective reaction."

Mr. Kissinger: There's no doubt in my mind what is meant by "protective reaction."

Mr. Sisco: Mrs. Gandhi's statement yesterday/2/ didn't deny that Indian troops had crossed the border. There's no doubt in my mind that they have.

/2/ Prime Minister Gandhi's statement in the Lok Sabha on November 24 was summarized in a November 24 memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon. Gandhi told the Indian parliament that Pakistani allegations of Indian aggression were wholly untrue, and that Indian troops were under orders not to cross borders, except in self-defense. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Indo-Pak Crisis, Withdrawn Files, Boxes 570-573) The speech was also reported in The Washington Post on November 25.

Gen. Cushman: There is no doubt for our purposes, but it is questionable whether we could prove it in the UN.

Mr. Irwin: The question, also, is how the troops are being used.

Mr. Kissinger: [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

Gen. Cushman: [17 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Kissinger: Why can't we find out more?

Gen. Cushman: We are getting all the information available in the capitals, but we don't have anyone on the ground where the fighting is.

Mr. Kissinger: Are we getting from the Pakistanis everything they have? They must have captured some prisoners by now. Ask them.

Gen. Cushman: We will.

Mr. Sisco: [1 line of source text not declassified]

Gen. Cushman: [1 line of source text not declassified]

Mr. Irwin: Do we have contacts in East Pakistan?

Gen. Cushman: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: Tell them that it is essential we have objective information on the situation.

Gen. Cushman: We have.

Mr. Waller: [3 lines of source text not declassified]

Gen. Cushman: [3 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Irwin: [1 line of source text not declassified]

Gen. Cushman: Yes.

Mr. Kissinger: Is there any doubt in the mind of anyone in this room that the Indians have attacked with regular units across the Pakistan border? And if there is, does it make any difference? Can we possibly believe that these are guerrillas attacking across hundreds of miles, with tanks and aircraft-that this is an indigenous movement?

Mr. DePalma: There is no question that these forces are armed and supplied from the outside, but we can't make an airtight case in the UN.

Mr. Kissinger: The question is what hard data we have to support whatever action we want to take. We have no doubt that India is involved and that they are probably across the border. But we need something to nail down the exact nature of their activity and we need it in a day or two.

Adm. Moorer: They may be making a distinction between their regular forces and their border security forces. [21/2 lines of source text not declassified]

Mr. Irwin: (to Moorer) What do you think their purpose is? Are they trying to cut off supplies? Are they primarily supporting the Bangla Desh guerrillas, or are they planning to go further? Are they putting forces in to take and hold territory or to protect the Bangla Desh?

Adm. Moorer: Initially to support the Bangla Desh, and then to whip hell out of the Pakistanis. The Bangla Desh are moving to the border where the Indians can assist in attriting the Paks.

Mr. Kissinger: So our situation is that we don't know enough now to do anything, and by the time they are in Dacca, it will be too late to do anything. In these circumstances, we should move early rather than later, since if we are late, any move we make will be ineffectual. That is our dilemma.

Mr. Packard: We should also think about the steps we could take. We have sent the messages to the Ambassadors for the approaches to the Foreign Ministers./3/

/3/ See footnote 5, Document 196.

Mr. Kissinger: Have we any answers?

Mr. Sisco: Farland couldn't get in to see Sultan Khan.

Mr. Kissinger: How about India?

Mr. Sisco: No reply, yet.

Mr. Packard: The first thing we can do is escalate to a higher level. We will also get the reaction from our telegram on possible UN activity./4/

/4/ See footnote 8, Document 196.

Adm. Moorer: I personally am confident that Indian forces are inside the East Pakistan border, but I don't think they have the drive to penetrate deeply.

Mr. Irwin: They can cut two vital supply routes with only a short penetration. They haven't done it yet, though.

Adm. Moorer: They don't have enough forces for a deep penetration. I think they're trying to open up the Paks so the guerrillas can defeat them. The Paks have only a limited reinforcement capability. The Indian Navy could prevent reinforcement.

Mr. Kissinger: (to Sisco) What do you think?

Mr. Sisco: From the Indian point of view, I think this is a substantial probe in force with both a political and a military objective. The political objective is to increase pressure on Yahya in terms of dealing with Mujib. The military objective is to increase the strength of the insurrection. I don't think the Indians have made any decision in terms of this being a prelude to something more militarily.

From Yahya's point of view, he shows every evidence of wanting to wash his hands of the situation. I think his immediate objective is to proceed with the elections and then to turn the situation over to Bhutto. Once Bhutto takes over, whatever slim possibility exists of a reconciliation between West and East Pakistan is reduced considerably. The Bengalis have always been willing to deal with Yahya but not with Bhutto. Indeed, Bhutto was the primary problem in the trouble in March. Bhutto's sole objective is to achieve power-in all of Pakistan if he can, but, at least, in the West.

Mr. Kissinger: But he has it.

Mr. Sisco: I mean literal power. He will have it if the election schedule goes forward. Yahya is willing to go ahead and dump the problem in Bhutto's lap. If this happens the possibility of reconciliation is reduced.

Mr. Kissinger: Do you seriously believe India wants a reconciliation? Don't they control the situation?

Mr. Sisco: In answer to your first question, no, I don't. I was merely stating one option-the transfer of the problem by Yahya to Bhutto. Another option is for Yahya to deal with Mujib directly.

Mr. Kissinger: Why can't Bhutto deal with Mujib?

Mr. Sisco: He might, but there is considerably less prospect of success. Not only are the Bengalis very reluctant to deal with Bhutto, but Bhutto and Mujib are potential rivals. The likelihood of a Mujib/Bhutto reconciliation is considerably less than the Bengalis agreeing to talk to Yahya.

Mr. Kissinger: But that assumes that the difficulty is between East and West Pakistan. Nothing India has done indicates that they want to see a reconciliation between East and West Pakistan.

Mr. Sisco: I don't think Mujib's objective in March was complete separatism or independence. Even now I don't think some form of loose confederation between Yahya and Mujib is impossible.

Mr. Kissinger: So, India having attacked Pakistan, the logical conclusion is that we should squeeze Yahya to talk to Mujib. What Indian troops can't achieve, we should achieve for them. That's the implication of what you're saying.

Mr. Sisco: I have asked myself why the Pakistanis haven't already moved into the UN. It would seem to be very attractive to them, particularly since they are the weaker power and there is a possibility that the UN could dampen the immediate military situation. But, to be a reality, the Security Council would have to defuse the situation and would immediately get into the question of political accommodation. If Yahya is not able to move toward Mujib directly, why should he not use the UN as a facade?

Mr. Kissinger: Unless he doesn't want to do it at all.

Mr. Sisco: I agree. He has three options: do it directly with Mujib; do it through the UN; don't do it at all. If East and West Pakistan can't get together, the U.S. can live with an independent East Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: We don't give a damn.

Mr. Sisco: However, Yahya, by going to the UN will have internationalized a situation which he has maintained is an internal matter. In these circumstances he would be forced to deal with Mujib.

Mr. Kissinger: Does anyone seriously believe India wants a reconciliation between East and West Pakistan?

Mr. Sisco: I believe India would be willing to go along if Mujib were restored to power by peaceful means. India doesn't want war. If Mujib were back in power, he would organize an East Pakistan Government and it wouldn't be long before it was a separate entity or independent. However, Mujib, in a confederal tie with West Pakistan, would have as much fly-paper attraction for the West Bengalis as would an independent East Pakistan.

Mr. Kissinger: You say that a chance of reconciliation exists more under Yahya than under Bhutto. Therefore, the four weeks before Yahya turns over to Bhutto must be used.

Mr. Sisco: I say they could be used. If power is turned over to Bhutto we will have more war in the subcontinent. The Indians have the upper hand-they will get East Pakistan one way or another. What are our interests? Maybe we can live with a war for three or four weeks. We won't become involved, and I don't think the Russians or Chinese will either. But we don't want one power to dominate in the area, and the defeat of Pakistan would certainly strengthen the Soviet position.

Mr. Kissinger: You say an opportunity exists to use Yahya to get a reconciliation. But we know that any reconciliation won't last since Mujib will go separatist in any event. We tell the Pakistanis "let's have a reconciliation." Then we tell the Indians "why fight, since you are going to get it anyway." Yahya may say "if we're going to lose anyway, why me? Why not Bhutto?"

Mr. Sisco: Maybe it doesn't make any difference. If we stay out of it, the situation will evolve by military means rather than peaceful means.

Mr. Kissinger: That's a phony. Everyone is for peaceful means, but do you honestly believe there is any chance of getting India to desist militarily? If the situation were reversed and Pakistani troops were moving into India, the New York Times, Washington Post and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee would be committing mass hara-kari, and there would be marches on Washington. When you say we should work for a peaceful settlement, are we going to help India grab what they want? Maybe we should, but don't say we have the choice of peace or war.

Mr. Sisco: But India has the upper hand-they are stronger than Pakistan. I have not put this in terms of choosing.

Mr. Kissinger: What do you recommend we do?

Mr. Sisco: We should do nothing for the moment.

Mr. Kissinger: The President, the Secretary of State and I have told the Indians there will be consequences if they start a war.

Mr. Packard: But what can we do? I don't see that we have any effective leverage on India.

Mr. Kissinger: We can cut off aid. We can move diplomatically.

Mr. Packard: Fine-we should, but with what the likelihood of success? We don't know. One alternative would be to back up the Pakistanis, but we have to evaluate the chance of success and the price of failure.

Mr. Kissinger: We don't have to back up the Paks. It's not outrageous to ask that Yahya be given four weeks to try to adjust the political situation in East Pakistan. What is India doing other than pressing an attack on East Pakistan with a view to settling the hash of West Pakistan?

Mr. Sisco: I agree.

Mr. Kissinger: And we haven't mentioned China. What will be the effect if, the first time something like this happens where China is involved, the U.S. doesn't make some move. You (to Sisco) say we have two choices-do nothing or press Yahya to release Mujib.

Mr. Sisco: No. We still have a heavy cannon to use with India. We have shot one cannon in the approach to the Foreign Minister. But we are limited in what we can do.

Mr. Irwin: We could raise the level of the approach to the Prime Minister, or we could cut off aid. State doesn't think we should cut off aid right now.

Mr. Kissinger: When should we do it? If the Indians go deeper, you will say it's too late.

Mr. Packard: We can watch the situation carefully and should have a better fix in a day or two.

Mr. Kissinger: Did we get the State paper on military aid?

Mr. Saunders: We got a paper from the Pentagon/5/ but not from State.

/5/ Reference is to a November 24 memorandum from Laird to Kissinger that summarized the status of U.S. military sales and grants to India. Laird noted that, except for training, direct grant aid for India had been suspended since 1965 and $2.8 million of an $8.8 million grant to support a highway project remained to be delivered. There was also over $24 million in approved military sales in the pipeline to India. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul-30 Nov 71)

Mr. Kissinger: Why not?

Mr. Irwin: We did a paper and had a two-hour meeting with the Secretary on it yesterday. He asked that it be expanded, which is being done, and it will come over to you./6/

/6/ Sent on November 24 as a memorandum to Kissinger, the Department of State assessed military sales and economic assistance programs for India, noting that military sales to India were limited to non-lethal items, which included ammunition, and put the total of approved military sales in the pipeline to India at over $20 million. The memorandum noted that approximately $38 million in approved PL-480 economic assistance remained to be delivered to India, and added that a new PL-480 agreement in the amount of $72 million had been tentatively approved within the executive branch. (Ibid., NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 11/24/71)

Mr. Kissinger: You can't accuse the White House of acting unilaterally, if you don't get your papers here. We will meet tomorrow.

199. Editorial Note

President Nixon, Secretary of State Rogers, and National Security Assistant Kissinger met in the Oval Office of the White House at 12:30 p.m. on November 24, 1971, to discuss developments in South Asia in light of the expanding conflict in East Pakistan. Rogers began the conversation by denying that there was any difference in perspective on South Asia between the White House and the Department of State and offering his assessment of how the United States should respond to the crisis. "First, it seems to me we should engage in the maximum diplomatic efforts to do everything we can to caution restraint on both sides at the highest level always so that everyone can look at the record and see that we have done everything that we can diplomatically. Secondly, I think that our relations with Yahya are good and should continue to be good and we should continue to keep very close to him. Three, I don't think we should try to mastermind a political solution. I never thought so. I don't think it is possible and I think he [Yahya] is coming to the conclusion that something has to be done politically." Rogers went on: "He is going to have to do it on his own." He added: "I think he is going to be forced to do something, either that or he is going to get out. There is the possibility that he will turn over to Bhutto, which would not be a good development. . . . I think the thing we have to face up to, and not make any decisions so this is not to ask you to decide anything, but I think, I want to express my view that I think it is probably going to get worse. I don't see any solution for-so I think our principal objective should be to do what we can to prevent fighting from breaking out."

Nixon referred to news reports on the fighting in East Pakistan and asked if the Indians were still denying that they had divisions fighting there. Rogers responded that they were denying it and that while they did not have divisions involved, India was in East Pakistan in brigade strength. Kissinger noted that the Indian brigades were supported by artillery, air, and armor. Rogers concluded that India would "get more involved" in the fighting in East Pakistan and that Pakistan's position would progressively deteriorate. "I think we have to face the fact that Yahya's position militarily is extremely weak. He's got 60-80 thousand men in East Pakistan." Nixon interjected: "He'll be demolished there." Rogers pointed to the logistical problems confronted by Pakistan. "It is a 2500 mile flight" to resupply the troops in East Pakistan. "The logistics, you know, are impossible . . . . My own judgment is that probably it will get worse, and probably we will have to face up to the fact that it will get worse." He added: "Our ability to affect the course of events is quite limited." Rogers noted that he had instructed Department of State officials to delay processing export licenses to India and not to make any commitments on economic assistance to India. But he felt that these were effectively symbolic gestures that would not serve to deter India: "The leverage we have on India is very minimal. If we take some action against them, which you might decide to do, it would be symbolic rather than substantive."

There was inconclusive discussion about whether anything would be gained by submitting the crisis to the United Nations Security Council. Nixon then reverted to Rogers' observation that the United States appeared to be limited to symbolic gestures in attempting to restrain India. "I know it can be said that it won't do any good, and we don't have any leverage, and it's only symbolic and the rest. But on the other hand, I want you to look into what we could do that is symbolic because "I think we need some symbolism." He recognized the realities of the situation: "Looking at the balance there, the Indians are going to win. . . . Pakistan will disintegrate." It was therefore "very much in our interest to get the damned thing cooled if we can. . . . Under those circumstances, it seems to me that, clearly apart from the fact that Yahya has been more decent to us than she has, clearly apart from that, I think that our policy wherever we can should definitely be tilted toward Pakistan, and not toward India. I think India is more at fault. . . . Having said that, it seems to me that our whole game has got to be played-if you could find something symbolic to do I think it really has to be . . . [He did not complete this thought.] She knows that we did not shoot blanks when she was here. Maybe it doesn't mean anything . . . . In terms of the merits of the situation, to the extent that we can tilt it toward Pakistan, I would prefer to play that. That's where the UN game comes in." Rogers felt that if the issue was taken up by the United Nations "Pakistan will come off better than India."

Rogers "agreed fully" that the United States should tilt toward Pakistan. The question was how to do it. He felt there were several possibilities. "One would be right now we'd just announce that we're not going to grant any more export licenses. . . . We actually could embargo everything in the pipeline. . . . We may have $10 or $15 million worth in the pipeline, . . . military equipment. . . . We could say that we're not going to permit economic assistance [to be] committed, it's about $11 million worth. It's insignificant. I think that would be probably not a wise thing to do because we're going to have to provide help for them for the refugees anyway." Rogers added that "300 and some odd million is done in irrevocable letters of credit, so we can't get out of that." Nixon said "I just may want to take a hard line on that." Kissinger agreed with Rogers that it would be hard to finesse the letters of credit that had been issued.

Whatever the constraints, Nixon was determined to do something that might serve to restrain India: "I feel that we ought to do something symbolic, I really . . . feel that something symbolic might have an effect on restraining India." Rogers suggested an announcement on November 26 of a suspension of any further export licenses. Nixon indicated that he wanted to review his policy options before meeting again on November 26. He was wary of economic sanctions that might prove "useless." He said he was looking for an approach that was "very firm." "In anything that we say," he added, "there should be a very positive statement that the United States commitment to help refugees, to help hungry people, et cetera remains." He felt that military assistance, on the other hand, should be halted.

The conversation continued with Kissinger's interpretation of India's objectives in the crisis. He saw India as striving to split the two wings of Pakistan, with West Pakistan ultimately reduced to the status of Afghanistan, and East Pakistan similarly reduced to the status of Bhutan. Rogers viewed the conflict as growing out of the deeply ingrained sectarian animosity that had animated the initial division of the subcontinent. There was general agreement with Nixon's assessment of Yahya Khan as a "decent and reasonable man" if "not always smart politically." All three viewed the prospect of Yahya stepping aside in favor of Bhutto with trepidation. Nixon's assessment of Bhutto was that he was "a total demagogue." In a concluding admonition to Rogers and Kissinger, Nixon said: "I don't want to get caught in the business where we take the heat for a miserable war that we had nothing to do with." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation among Nixon, Rogers and Kissinger, November 24, 971, 12:27-1:12 p.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 624-21) A transcript of this conversation is published in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 156.

200. Telegram From the Embassy in the Soviet Union to the Department of State/1/

Moscow, November 24, 1971, 1525Z.

/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, New Delhi, Dacca, USUN, Calcutta, London, and Tehran.

8767. Subj: Indo-Pak Military Escalation. Ref: State 212550./2/

/2/ In telegram 212550 to Moscow, November 23, Ambassador Beam was instructed to see Foreign Minister Gromyko to express U.S. concern about the dangers of escalation in the confrontation between India and Pakistan. The instruction reads in part: "At this critical juncture we hope USSR will make renewed efforts to restrain India and will not further encourage Indian military actions against East Pakistan by further deliveries of military equipment." (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 571, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Nov 23-Nov 30, 1971)

1. Summary: In response my presentation, Kuznetsov said Soviet Government has approached Indian and Pak Governments in recent days with appeal that they show wisdom and patience and avoid steps that could worsen situation and lead to war. He acknowledged situation was worsening and said Soviets intended make further approaches in both New Delhi and Islamabad designed to lessen tensions and prevent military clashes. End summary.

2. Gromyko being unavailable until Friday because of Supreme Soviet session, I saw First Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov this afternoon to make presentation specified reftel, emphasizing that I was acting under instructions my government, which was concerned at growing danger of war. Kuznetsov interrupted me once to ask source of our information concerning military actions in East Pakistan. I said I assumed our info represented digest of our current intelligence from that area. I noted we were taking steps to bring our concern to attention of both Indian and Pakistani Governments. We intended remind Indian authorities of the concrete steps we had discussed with Mrs Gandhi in Washington, on which I had briefed Kuznetsov in our last meeting. We felt these ideas needed to be given time to work and we would emphasize this to the Indians in our approach.

3. Kuznetsov thanked me for info and expressed gratification that USG was keeping Soviet Government informed of steps it was taking to facilitate normalization of situation in this region. He said that in recent days Soviet Government had approached Governments in both New Delhi and Islamabad with appeals that they exhibit wisdom and patience and not take steps that could worsen situation and lead to war. Mrs Gandhi had again said that India did not intend to unleash war but she had reiterated need for urgent Pak measures aimed at political settlement. On military situation itself, Kuznetsov noted Soviet info was confusing and incomplete. However, they had received recent reports from New Delhi concerning apparent Pak efforts to provoke military conflict on the Indo-Pak border. While this info less than fully reliable, apparent downing of three Pak planes over Indian airspace and capture of two Pak pilots, if confirmed, suggested that Paks were guilty of violations Indian airspace.

4. Kuznetsov said situation in general seemed to be worsening and Soviets were preparing to make new approaches in both New Delhi and Islamabad designed to lessen tensions and prevent military clashes. Referring to our previous conversation, he said Pak authorities were still not taking necessary measures for political settlement. For example, release of Mujibur Rahman would improve atmosphere and facilitate negotiations with Awami League. Soviets intended to stress this point in their approach to Yahya Khan.

5. Asked how Paks had responded thus far to Soviet approaches, Kuznetsov said Yahya had announced he would not launch military actions but had tried to place blame on Indian side and had said nothing definite on key question of political settlement.

6. In general, Kuznetsov said situation was extremely complicated. It was difficult to find out what was going on and which side was initiating military acts. He asked if USG had any new suggestions. I said we had no formula for solution but felt Indians were providing support to insurgents in East Pakistan, which amounted to hostile act against Pakistan. Kuznetsov reiterated his earlier view that responsibility lay on Pakistan for present situation. He expressed hope that US side would use its good offices to convince Pak authorities to see that main step leading to normalization of situation in East Pakistan and would be speediest possible implementation of political arrangements taking into account will of East Pak population as expressed in Dec 1970 elections.

7. In closing, Kuznetsov urged that we keep in contact and emphasized that Soviets were also working with both sides to keep situation from getting out of control.


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