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2. The larger problem lies in East Pakistan. Food stocks seem adequate in most areas for another two or three months, but the transportation and distribution systems are not functioning. We have privately offered Pakistan assistance through an international effort. U Thant has offered UN help and Secretary Rogers joined Foreign Secretary Home in encouraging U Thant to urge the Pakistanis to accept. As you know, President Yahya is adamant against inviting foreigners into East Pakistan.
In immediate terms there are two issues:
1. Mounting Congressional criticism must be dealt with. This involves marshalling the facts on what we are doing in such a way as not to be offensive to President Yahya. This may be done by State Department statement.2
2. A compromise must be found to meet President Yahya's sensitivity to foreign involvement as well as donors' requirements for assurance that the food and equipment they give will be used for humane and not military purposes. This issue will become active only when food begins to move again.
I shall keep you informed of developments.
The President underlined the final sentence of the first paragraph and endorsed it with a marginal notation: "OK". In a statement to the press on May 19 by Department of State spokesman Charles Bray, the United States welcomed the appeal issued by UN Secretary-General U Thant for assistance to help support East Pakistani refugees in India. Bray noted that the United States was participating with other countries in providing such assistance through voluntary agencies and under the guidance of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. The United States had set aside $2.5 million for short-term assistance to the refugees, and Bray anticipated that under the guidance of the United Nations a longer-term program of international assistance would be developed to help meet the burgeoning problem. (Department of State Bulletin, June 14, 1971, pp. 764–765)
Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
Washington, May 14, 1971, 2358Z.
84783. Subject: Letter From President Nixon to President Yahya.
1. We have transmitted separately to you text of May 7 letter from President Nixon in reply to President Yahya's letter of March 31.3 It is our conclusion on basis your reports and related interagency discussion that only long term prospect for restoration of normal life in East Pakistan is through re-establishment of representative civilian govt in East Pakistan and greatly enhanced East Pakistani autonomy. This reasoning may not be fully shared in West Pakistan although we note increasing indications of intention on part of MLA to seek some sort of political accommodation (Islamabad 4331,4 43325). We hope President Yahya will reach this conclusion himself and work out transitional arrangements leading to cessation of direct military control and greater East Pakistani cooperation and autonomy. We should be prepared to assist toward this goal in any way possible.
2. In this delicate interim period, while West Pakistanis coming to terms with situation, adjustments in our programs will be required for developmental reasons and to take account of US Congressional attitudes. However, these will not be used to apply political pressure, and our posture should be one of making serious effort to help President
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. IV, 1 Mar 71-15 May 71. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Quainton (NEA/INC); cleared by Van Hollen, Spengler, Schneider, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Rodger P. Davies, and Kissinger; and approved by Acting Secretary Irwin. Repeated to New Delhi and Dacca.
2 Document 41. The text of the letter was transmitted to Islamabad on May 15 in telegram 84892. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971))
3 See Document 16.
* In telegram 4331 from Islamabad, May 6, Chargé Sober reported on a conversation on that day with M.M. Ahmad. The conversation was in anticipation of Ahmad's trip to Washington, and he reviewed with Sober issues expected to be discussed in Washington. Ahmad said that Yahya anticipated that law and order would be reestablished in East Pakistan within a matter of days, and Yahya intended to establish a civil government in the near future based on an understanding he expected to reach with the Awami League and the People's Party. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 PAK)
5 According to information obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, President Yahya planned to announce that all five provincial assemblies elected in December would be convened shortly. Members of the assembly in East Pakistan were being offered “fantastic" inducements to participate. (Telegram 4332 from Islamabad, May 6; ibid., POL 23-9 PAK)
Yahya achieve peaceful settlement of underlying political problems which have caused present situation.
3. Within foregoing general guidelines you should make following points to President Yahya: (a) the President's letter is sent in spirit of friendship and concern for recent developments, (b) President welcomed opportunity he had last October to discuss Pakistan's political future with President Yahya, and would be most interested in Yahya's current plans for accommodation with people and politicians of East Pakistan, (c) we recognize that problems have multiplied and grown in complexity in recent weeks, and we hope for a peaceful political accommodation which would permit people of Pakistan to turn their attention to rehabilitation, reconstruction and economic development, and avoid dangers of escalation, (d) we would be willing to be of assistance in facilitating an accommodation.
4. With respect to economic development, you should indicate our pleasure that M.M. Ahmad is in Washington and that we have opportunity to discuss with him Pakistan's political prospects as well as GOP's revised development efforts and its plans regarding international humanitarian assistance. President had a good talk with Ahmad on May 10 and was pleased to receive from him Yahya's letter of April 17“ (being repeated septel).
5. With respect to relief and rehabilitation you should stress again our willingness to participate in reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts as required and our hope that cyclone rehabilitation work in particular can be fully resumed at an early date. We are pleased to note that GOP will soon be prepared to avail itself of offers of international humanitarian assistance. In this regard, you should emphasize the importance which we attach to such international efforts, and to resolution of internal communications problems in East Pakistan which affect our ability and that of others to meet relief needs. We would anticipate that representatives of the international relief organization and foreign voluntary agencies, would, as has been customary in such circumstances, expect some type of participation in administration and distribution of relief aid. Perhaps some arrangement can be worked out to meet needs of both sides.
6. Finally should President inquire about status of our military supply policy you should note that this issue has not arisen as a question for policy decision, although we have had to review the subject in the light of current circumstances. In this connection, you may wish to refer to the growing Congressional, press and public concern which is being expressed over this issue. An example is the Case-Mondale resolution.
6 Document 29.
Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)
Washington, May 17, 1971.
Military Assistance to Pakistan
Mr. Packard has sent you the information concerning military assistance to Pakistan that he promised at the last SRG meeting on Pakistan (Tab B).? Unfortunately, it is not presented in a very useful fashion in terms of the issues involved, contains some gaps, and lacks an interpretive element. We have attempted, with the assistance of the working level in ISA, to break out for you the most important policyrelated aspects, but it seems to us that the next step is to ask Defense for a paper that could provide the basis for some decisions.
The following are the most important points that can be extracted from the immediately available data:
-The Pakistanis have some $44 million worth of equipment, ammunition and spares on order here. This includes:
-about $5 million in equipment that can be categorized as “nonlethal,” though this does not mean it would not contribute to the war effort;
-about $18 million worth of so-called "lethal" items;
-about $18 million in spares under a so-called "open-ended sales" agreement. The Pakistanis, subject to six-months' notice of cancellation, can draw spares directly from our inventories. There is a ceiling on the amounts but they presently have a “right" to order some $11 million in spares for aircraft and $7.4 million for army equipment. This supply is essential to keeping the US-equipped part of the Pakistan air force flying. As you know, the air force has been used in East Pakistan.
— There is nothing major that we know of in the pipeline now. Nothing has been sent to Pakistan from official sources since the civil war broke out, although two small shipments of training items are currently being processed for shipment. However, about 20% of the "nonlethal" items (about $1 million worth) are purchased directly from US
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 574, Indo-Pak War, South Asian Military Supply, March 25-Aug 26, 1971. Secret. Sent for action.
Attached but not printed is an April 23 letter from Packard to Kissinger enclosing an April 21 memorandum from Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense Armistead Selden to Secretary Laird which detailed military assistance shipments to Pakistan during the previous 6 months as well as shipments that were pending.
commercial suppliers, and we have no way of finding out the delivery schedules on these unless we ask the suppliers and create concern among the West Pakistanis. In the course of preparing for Senator Fulbright's hearings, Defense also turned up the fact that the Pakistanis have ordered new engines for trainer aircraft under a trade-in arrangement we have with them.
-We will be forced before long to make some important military supply decisions. The Pakistanis have a considerable amount of ammunition for their aircraft on order for delivery in late May, June and July and could at any time place new orders or attempt to draw aircraft spares from our inventory under the "open-ended” agreement. Moreover, they may attempt to resume negotiations under the one-time exception before long.
Mr. Packard has instructed the Services to defer shipment, pending his specific clearance, of any end item, any spares package for lethal material usable in the civil war and all ammunition. He promises to inform you of "significant developments. "
Now that we have an expression from the President as to the general posture he wishes to assume toward Pakistan, we need to consider what our specific policy on military supply should be at this point. There is a particular Congressional problem in that Senator Javits in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has requested State Department to inform the Committee when military shipments were made to Pakistan and State is on the hook to inform the Committee. There is also considerable bipartisan criticism of our military supply program to Pakistan.
As it happened, no significant shipments have been scheduled for delivery since March 25. Soon, however, specific cases will come up. We need a decision on our posture and how to handle it with both the Congress and the Pakistanis. As it now stands, the bureaucracy would simply hold up the shipment of major and controversial items without any real idea of what we might accomplish by this other than keeping our options open and appeasing the Senate.
We should establish a position soon so that unintended signals will not be sent to the Pakistanis. They could become concerned and test us with new orders on controversial items.
you answer Mr. Packard's note with a request for a paper analyzing our military supply relationship with Pakistan and our options at this point (Tab A).' Dick Kennedy concurs.4
Draft letter attached but not printed.
Kissinger responded with a handwritten comment in the margin that reads: “AlSee me. The end result of this will be to terminate the relationship."