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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* 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.

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.

* 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)

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.

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. The UN's organization for the Pakistan relief effort is in better shape than anyone had thought.

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

5 Reference is to East Pakistan.

6 August 9.

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.


Instruction on Contacts with Bangla Desh Representatives in India—Cable for

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.

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.

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 for your clearance State wishes to send the following instructions to New Delhi and Calcutta:

-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.

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

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.?

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

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.)

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.)

7 Haig initialed the approve option for Kissinger.

123. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

Washington, August 14, 1971, 2226Z.

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 Septel3 contains full guidance on Williams visit and discussions.

"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

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.

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)

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