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130. Telegram From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department
Islamabad, August 20, 1971, 1000Z.
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.? 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.
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
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 29 PAK. Secret; Nodis; Eyes Only.
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)
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" with
a out 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
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
Washington, August 20, 1971.
Military Supply Pipeline in Pakistan
His Excellency Agha Hilaly, Ambassador of Pakistan
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
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.
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 directlynot 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?
Washington, August 24, 1971.
Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty
We have received some analysis of the Indian-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation signed August 9.? A short memo from Under Secretary Irwin is at Tab A and a CIA analysis at Tab B." The following are some of the more important observations that can be made at this point. 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.*
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."Moreover, the Indian treaty seems a degree less strong in that it calls only for consultation if hostilities threaten while the UAR treaty
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.
See Document 116.
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)
* A Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation was signed in Cairo on May 27 by Presidents Sadat and Podgorny. (New York Times, May 28, 1971)
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