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A story in the New York Times Tuesday on two Pakistani ships that left New York in recent days triggered a letter to you from Senator Church urging that one of them be intercepted in US or Canadian waters.
The criticism has been compounded by the fact that State in its press and Congressional briefings has stressed the items that have been held by Executive Branch action without acknowledging those items beyond US administrative control which we had chosen to let go. Critics have—perhaps honestly, perhaps with malice-interpreted Administration policy as a policy of embargo. Consequently, a first point of criticism has been that the departure of these ships constitutes a violation of that supposed embargo. Now that some are coming to understand our actual policy, they are claiming that the State Department at best was misleading. They are beating the "credibility” issue again. This news story has also caused a reaction from the Indians. So far this is in proportion, but it could well grow to the point where the progress made during Foreign Minister Singh's visit could be undercut.
There are two separate issues involved with military supply for Pakistan:
-The first is whether to confirm and to explain publicly (or at least to Congress) with greater accuracy our present policy or whether to tighten further our control over shipments to Pakistan. Your options are set out below.
-The second is whether to begin, in addition, to release equipment still under US Government control. I had prepared a memo for you on this, but I will hold that momentarily until this present problem is sorted out. If you were to release more, it would probably be best to wait in any case until the current flap dies down.
On the current problem, Secretary Rogers in the attached memorandum suggests three options:
Option 1: Continue present policy. This would mean that equipment up to a value of $34 million might still be legally shipped from the US by the Pakistanis. Because of long delays in reporting procedures through commercial channels and other technical factors, those who work with this program say the real figure is probably considerably less, perhaps only half.
The advantage of this approach would be that it would continue to avoid the unfavorable political signal to Pakistan that would result from revoking licenses already issued or from stopping at the docks
5 June 22.
items already under Pakistani title. This would be done without becoming involved in the supply of amounts of equipment that could have major military significance, although some of the items would be useful spares or support equipment.
The disadvantage would be that any military shipments to Pakistan would be subject to sharp Congressional (and Indian) criticism. This could add momentum to the already active movement in the Senate to amend the Foreign Assistance Act to prohibit economic aid to Pakistan until the political problem is settled.
Option 2: Suspend the further export of all Munitions Control items for which licenses were granted prior to early April. In effect, this would seem to be to impose a full embargo.
The advantage would be fully meeting Congressional and Indian concerns and lessening the danger of Congressional restrictions on economic assistance to Pakistan.
The disadvantage would lie in the negative political signal to Pakistan. Their concern would be less over the military items themselves than over the sign of diminished US support.
Option 3: Issue a temporary suspension of any further matériel for which there are valid outstanding licenses while we review those items still in the pipeline. The purpose would be to screen out those items which could have military significance in East Pakistan or cause major problems with Congress. This might result in a decision to release some innocuous spare parts while withholding ammunition.
The advantage of this approach would be that it would tighten control and permit us to be selective in what goes without imposing an embargo.
The disadvantage would be that temporary suspensions have a way of becoming permanent and we could become locked into a total embargo. The political signal to Pakistan is not what you want. I feel this disadvantage provides the most compelling argument.
Secretary Rogers recommends Option 3. If you select Option 1continuing present policy-he urges a more precise briefing to press and Congress. In the course of this it would probably be necessary to meet the argument for embargo head-on and to say that the Administration does not feel that a formal suspension would be useful.
Recommendation: A prompt decision is desirable in order to permit a firm response to critics. I recommend that you:
-approve Option 1, which is to continue present policy rather than to authorize even a temporary suspension on items beyond US control;
--instruct State and Defense to prepare the most complete possible list of (a) those items still in the pipeline and (b) those items scheduled for release from US stocks in the rest of 1971;
-authorize an accurate explanation of our policy to members of Congress and to the press with the instruction that this (a) avoid restricting your future flexibility and (b) maintain the position that overall military supply policy toward Pakistan is under review."
Once your decision on this is made, you will receive a memo looking to the larger military supply question.
7 President Nixon initialed his approval of the recommendation.
Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
Washington, June 26, 1971, 2258Z.
115314. Subject: East Pakistan Refugees; Discussions with UNHCR Sadruddin.
1. Following is Noforn, FYI only, uncleared and subject to revision on review:
Summary: During discussions in Washington June 24 with the Secretary, and Assistant Secretary Sisco, UNHCR, Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan, indicated grave consequences which could flow from presence of East Pakistan refugees in India. He described his efforts to obtain a UNHCR presence in East Pakistan and India in order to facilitate return flow of refugees. Said that GOP had agreed to his presence in Dacca and he believed he could obtain Pakistani agreement to presence in refugee reception centers. GOI, however, had categorically refused to accept UNHCR presence beyond New Delhi. Sadruddin, who was quite critical of Indian policies regarding refugee return, said Indian refusal appeared result from GOI desire protect cross border infiltration from international view. UNHCR believed some return flow possible on basis restoration of peace, even before political accommodation, but Indian cooperation, which thus far not forthcoming, would be essential. Sadruddin also expressed concern regarding possible Soviet objection to UN operation of sort he is planning. Department
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, REF PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted and approved for transmission by Schneider and cleared in substance by Van Hollen. Also sent to US Mission Geneva and repeated to USUN, Islamabad, Dacca, Calcutta, and London.
encouraged Sadruddin continue his efforts and it was agreed we would keep in close touch in future. End summary.
2. Sadruddin started off hour-long discussion with Secretary and Sisco June 24 by expressing his great concern that unless quick political solution to East Pakistan situation could be found, there might be a new Viet Nam in South Asia. There was polarization between Bengalis and Punjabis, with no sympathy between the two elements. Extremists in East Pakistan-Naxalites-are using fear against a "foreign army" to strengthen themselves. Result could be extended guerrilla warfare. Sadruddin explained India was quite worried about this. The Inner Cabinet had decided not to recognize "Bangla Desh," not to go to war with Pakistan but to provide complete support for the "Mukhti Fauj." Consequently India does not wish there to be UN presence on East Pakistan border. It desires international relief but does not wish to have foreigners wandering about border areas.
3. Discussing return flow of refugees, Sadruddin said he thought some East Pakistanis would return if they had an element of guarantee. Sadruddin has already received GOP approval for UNHCR presence in Dacca. He believes he can get agreement to presence in refugee reception centers, but to do this he may have to have Indian agreement to presence on Indian side border. He considers some refugees would return with simply a return to peace in East Pakistan, if only because of the "continuous squalor" of Indian refugee camps. Expressed concern, however, about inconsistency of Indian policy. On the one hand, India complains about presence of six million refugees and insists they must return and on the other hand it imposes conditions (negotiations with Mujib, etc.) for their return. Speaking of "Indian escalation," Sadruddin referred to possibility of Indian "preventive aggression" and said resulting conflict would place regional and great powers in very difficult situation, comparable to Middle East. Said there was also danger that international community would be left with indefinite burden of supporting refugees.
4. UNHCR said India was not following a logical pragmatic path. It says it does not want escalation and refugees must return, but it seems uninterested in repatriation. It is important that India not insist upon political solution as prior condition for return of refugees. By political solution, India appears to mean return of Mujib. While India confronted by burden of refugees and possible communal problems, it is in excellent international position. Pakistan is weak, substantial international assistance is being provided, and there is great sympathy for India. India has succeeded in bringing US and Soviet Union together in an airlift. Consequently, there is every reason for India to be moderate in regard to refugee return. Yet Foreign Secretary Kaul was adamant against any UN presence in India along East Pakistan border. It seems obvious India wishes to keep very close control of border area.
5. Sisco commented it very important we make major point to Indians in regard to UN role and presence. This would contribute to stopping refugee flow and reversing it. It is essential that there be no EastWest conflict regarding the UN role. We want financial support for this UN activity from many nations, including Soviets. We would hope Soviets would support and use their influence on the Indians because of the danger to their interest of a prolonged impasse regarding refugees.
6. Sadruddin said we must be sure Soviets will not attack UN role regarding refugees as they have in past regarding Congo and Korea. Asked what their position likely to be in Fifth Committee regarding financing. Sisco commented Indian attitude likely to be the key. If Indians see UN role as in their interest, then Soviets likely support.
7. Sisco inquired about Sadruddin's view of Yahya. Sadruddin replied pressures on him very great. He must make all decisions. He is not happy about army actions in East Pakistan and agreed that actions against Hindus were unfortunate. He covers army, however. Sadruddin emphasized importance of his maintaining relationship with Yahya. He is only person of importance in Pakistan. Because of what UNHCR has done to maintain this relationship, he has come under attack in India. GOI, however, conveyed apologies.
8. Sadruddin reported that in 28th June speech2 Yahya will say those elected members of Awami League who are not "criminals" should come forward and lead people of East Pakistan so that he can hand over power to them. He will announce Turkish type of constitution providing for substantial army control. Sadruddin feared this would not be enough. He should withdraw army. Yet he cannot do so in border areas so long as India supporting infiltration. If India accepted UN presence, then perhaps Yahya could withdraw troops. Said it important keep pressure on India to moderate its position on refugee return; control Bangla Desh elements; and stop infiltration. If Indians wanted to crack down on latter they could.
9. Sadruddin said he had spent day with SYG in New York. SYG had said he would talk to Malik and tell him UN presence in East Pakistan was necessary. UNHCR did not know whether he would speak similarly about need for presence in India. This because SYG concerned Malik will say this depends upon Indians.
10. Sadruddin said when he met with Mrs. Gandhi she was very "hawkish." She sought to impress him with seriousness of situation saying "we may have to resort to other means." Secretary said Swaran Singh had used term "special measures" or "another option" when he
2 The text of President Yahya's June 28 speech was transmitted to the Department in telegram 6477 from Islamabad, June 28. (Ibid., POL 15–1 PAK)