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not release the text, he did tell him the essence of Blood's report.* Ambassador Farland is convinced that Keating is determined to make a political issue out of the Pakistani situation, and is attempting to discredit the Administration in the process.
-Another problem is the quality of political reporting in Dacca. The reporters there are missionaries without significant practical experience. They have never before seen war and are grossly exaggerating the amount of killing and bloodshed there.
Moving to the primary item of business, Mr. Kissinger explained to Ambassador Farland that for some time, we have been passing messages to the Chinese through the Pakistanis. Because of the communications problem, it had not been possible to inform Ambassador Farland of this previously, and messages have been conveyed directly to Yahya by the President, or through Ambassador Hilaly. Mr. Kissinger then outlined the exchange of messages that has occurred to date:
[Omitted here are Kissinger's detailed briefing on the exchanges with the Chinese and discussion of communications and transportation arrangements relating to the contacts.]
Pakistan's Economic Situation
Mr. Kissinger stated that he would talk to McNamara on Monday, May 10, and tell him that Yahya must be kept afloat for six more months; one problem will be that McNamara is emotionally against Yahya as is the entire liberal community. Ambassador Farland pointed out that matters won't be helped by the fact that Keating is now on his way back to conduct a series of conferences, including some with his old Senate confreres. Mr. Kissinger stated that he would tell McNamara that this is the only channel we have, and he must give Yahya at least three months. Ambassador Farland stated that six months should be the goal.
Ambassador Farland stated that he had urged Yahya to tell his staff to make a new presentation to the consortium.” Ahmad is coming to the United States next week, and Ambassador Farland has stressed this to him. The Ambassador stated that one inherent problem is that the lower echelon in the Pakistani bureaucracy feels they have a commitment from China to support operations in East Pakistan. Although Japan is negative in their position, Ambassador Farland felt that Germany will not let Pakistan go down the drain and the British
4 See Document 19.
5 Reference is to the Pakistan consortium, organized by the World Bank to provide economic assistance to Pakistan. The consortium consisted of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Development Association.
will probably help as well. Mr. Kissinger asked whether the $250 million will be applied entirely to debt re-scheduling-and whether Yahya could propose a plan applicable to West Pakistan. Ambassador Farland thought some of the $250 million would be a new loan, and that a consortium proposal would be geared to East Pakistan with the West receiving/administering the funds.
Mr. Kissinger next asked what he could do bureaucratically to help. Ambassador Farland said that the most important contribution would be to get McNamara to head up the consortium. Mr. Kissinger replied that he did not think McNamara would agree to this because it would antagonize his liberal friends. Ambassador Farland then pointed out that the IMF was another possibility that should not be overlooked. Assali had previously requested a standby loan from the IMF which was turned down; however, the loan request could be reactivated. Mr. Kissinger indicated that he would take this issue up with Peterson or Shultz, and that he would report on his meeting with McNamara through the Navy channel. [2% lines of source text not declassified] Mr. Kissinger agreed that this was a good idea.
Mr. Kissinger asked how it was that the election results were so unexpected. Ambassador Farland said that everyone has missed in their predictions. In East Pakistan, Rahman had been able to capitalize on the cyclone. When the western nations began to pour in assistance, the Benghalis realized for the first time that they were part of the world. In the West, everyone had thought the landowners could continue to retain substantial support.
Ambassador Farland voiced some mild complaints about living in Pakistan and expressed the hope that if the China meeting came off successfully, a new post could be offered. Mr. Kissinger replied noncommittally that if this gets done, "we will owe you a great debt of gratitude."
Mr. Kissinger asked if there is any way West Pakistan can hold on to East Pakistan. Ambassador Farland said no, not in the long run. Mr. Kissinger then said that all we need is six months. East Benghal is bound to become an economic disaster; Chinese influence will grow there, and it will not be possible to win any permanent friends there. Ambassador Farland agreed and pointed out the difficulty of making a financial commitment to the Benghalis.
Ambassador Farland asked if Mr. Kissinger could have Hannah pass the word down through regular channels that we are going to work things out and support the government. Mr. Kissinger said he would insure this gets done. Ambassador Farland then said that our interest in trying to save Pakistan be conveyed to the heads of government in Britain, Germany—and possibly also Japan. Mr. Kissinger
replied that he might be going to Britain on other business and would speak to Heath about this. Ambassador Farland pointed out that at this point, the other members of the consortium do not know our position.
Mr. Kissinger indicated, by way of summary, that he would:
(1) Have Hannah told that we want a positive attitude and six months time;
(2) Talk to McNamara along the lines above;
(3) Look into the IMF Loan;
(4) Personally talk to Heath;
(5) Have Rush" talk to Brandt' in two weeks time-or, in any event, before the end of the month; and
(6) Possibly get the State Department to get to Japan if there is a convenient way to do this.
Mr. Kissinger then asked Ambassador Farland to check back with him if at any point he received instructions from the Department which were intolerable.
[Omitted here is further discussion of contacts between the United States and China.]
6 Kenneth Rush, Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Memorandum of Conversation1
Washington, May 10, 1971, 3:05-3:30 p.m.
M.M. Ahmad, Economic Adviser to President Yahya Khan of Pakistan
Agha Hilaly, Ambassador of Pakistan
Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff
Mr. Ahmad opened the conversation with a long explanation of the political developments over the last couple of years in Pakistan and
1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL PAK-US. Secret; Nodis. No location for the meeting is indicated but it probably took place in Kissinger's office. A copy of the memorandum is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. V, 16 May-31 Jul 71.
then turned, at Dr. Kissinger's request, in the last few minutes to the prospects for the future.
Mr. Ahmad described President Yahya's wish that he come to Washington and acquaint Dr. Kissinger and others with what has happened, why it happened, the present situation and the future program. President Yahya had been anxious that the army should hand over civil power as soon as possible and he had worked hard in that direction. He has been deeply disappointed at the way events have turned out. He believed that the solution to the situation in Pakistan was political-not military. Events prove this. A military solution could have been enforced easily back in 1969, and he did not choose to do so. He broke up the one unit in the West Wing, dividing authority in line with the several provinces. This tilted the balance in favor of East Pakistan. He held fair and free elections. Mr. Ahmad cited this background to show that President Yahya's main desire had been to find a political solution.
Mr. Ahmad continued, saying that President Yahya had placed no limits on the making of a constitution except that it be in the framework of one single country. The President felt disappointment that Mujibur Rahman had begun shifting his ground after the election. Mujib was to have come to Islamabad for meetings early in the constitutional process, but Yahya went to Dacca. Arrangements were made for a second round of talks but Mujib found an excuse not to come. The President felt that there had to be some understanding among the politicians before the constituent assembly actually met.
The problem was that the main political parties were regional in character. When the President was unable to arrange a round of discussions, he found it necessary to postpone the constituent assembly. Postponement had provoked a sharp reaction in East Pakistan, even though the President announced a fresh date within six days.
President Yahya had gone to Dacca on April 15. The Awami League put forward its six demands2 plus four more. The additional demands amounted to lifting martial law before the constituent assembly and transferring power to civil government beforehand. Then Mujib began shifting ground again. Some progress had been made in the talks, and President Yahya asked other political leaders to come over from West Pakistan. Ahmad joined them for talks on the economic side of the problem. There were some differences on this subject, but general agreement that the economic problems could be worked out.
2 See footnote 3, Document 12.
President Yahya offered the possibility of a solution along any the three following lines:
-There could be a proclamation embodying an interim constitution including most of the six points. President Yahya wanted the constituent assembly to meet first, letting them provide the authorization for the constitution. But the Awami League wanted martial law to be lifted first.
-If the constituent assembly could not meet first, there could be a proclamation putting forward the interim constitution but not lifting martial law, although that would be pushed into the background.
-A third possibility would have been to make an announcement that such an interim constitution would date from the date that the constituent assembly adopted it.
The West Pakistani leaders wanted the constituent assembly to meet and then break into two houses. The Awami League wanted the assembly to meet as two houses right from the start.
At this point Dr. Kissinger interjected that he would have to be leaving soon for a meeting with the President and the Secretary of State to hear the Secretary's report on his trip to the Middle East. He said he wanted to hear whatever Mr. Ahmad had to say but simply wanted to point out that he would only have another ten minutes if Mr. Ahmad wanted to use the remaining time to look to the future.
Mr. Ahmad continued saying that President Yahya's policy is still for the transfer of political power. He does not intend fresh elections. Apart from those people against whom there is some unfavorable evidence, those elected last December will still be able to form the nucleus of a government.
Dr. Kissinger asked whether this would include Mujibur Rahman. Mr. Ahmad replied that he ranked within the first eight or so of those political leaders against whom there is evidence of conspiring to secession. However, the rest of the Awami League can drop its title and form a government. They will be able to operate on the basis of an agreement as close to the six points as possible, meeting the legitimate needs of East Pakistan.
Dr. Kissinger asked when this might take place. Mr. Ahmad replied that this would be possible as soon as normal conditions are restored in East Pakistan-"shortly." The law and order phase is, by and large, completed. Civil administration needs to be restored. Indian activity on the border will have to be ended, and Pakistan will appreciate whatever US assistance there can be on this score.
When Dr. Kissinger asked how this might be done, Mr. Ahmad simply said he hoped we would try. President Yahya said he hoped that it would be possible to produce a political package that would permit the Awami League to come forward. He continued saying that he