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encircling gloom, and a hoped for vindication of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Pakistan.
7. Re paragraph 4 of reftel, it is the Embassy's strongly held belief that we should avoid problems involved in issuing visa to Bangla Desh “Foreign Minister.” To do so would almost inevitably raise concerns here about our good faith in not encouraging separatist movement. These concerns would be enhanced by inevitable U.S. and world press/television coverage which "Foreign Minister" visit would receive in U.S. rather than have Bangla Desh "FonMin" in U.S., Embassy believes it highly preferable that he take his story to interested GOP representatives in London, where reportedly he will soon be going. He would be less visible in London than in New York or Washington, and it should be easier there to make covert contacts with GOP representatives.
5 In paragraph 4 of telegram 154078, the Department asked for an opinion from the Embassy on the suggestion put forward through Qaiyum that designated Foreign Minister Mustaq Ahmad be granted a visa to visit the United States and meet with U.S. officials.
134. Memorandum of Conversation
San Clemente, California, August 25, 1971.
Indian Ambassador L.K. Jha
The meeting took place at Ambassador Jha's request. When Dr. Kissinger had told the Ambassador that he would be on the West Coast, the Ambassador had eagerly jumped at the opportunity of seeing him out there.
Ambassador Jha opened the meeting by asking Dr. Kissinger what he thought of the state of Indian-American relations. Dr. Kissinger replied that they were in a very curious phase right now. On the one
Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 210, Geopolitical File, South Asia, Chronological File, Aug-Oct 1971. Secret. Drafted by Kissinger on August 30. The meeting was held in Kissinger's office in the Western White House.
hand, as he had explained to Indian officials on his trip to New Delhi, the United States considered India a potentially great power and one of the permanent crucial factors in American foreign policy. We wanted nothing so much as good relationships with India and we thought that our interests in the long term were congruent. On the other hand, Dr. Kissinger continued, it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that a deliberate campaign was being mounted to undermine our relations. Ambassador Jha knew very well that the arms program to Pakistan was totally insignificant. We had explained the circumstances; we had given the major amount of economic aid for the refugees, more than the rest of the world combined. And nevertheless the attacks continued. Even his visit to India had been used not to stress the positive aspects but to make more of a point of the Indian grievances. And this was before his side trip to China was known. Now the argument was that our policy towards China was the cause of the treaty with the Soviet Union.
Dr. Kissinger said he did not really know what India wanted. If India wanted to become an extension of Soviet foreign policy, then inevitably the American interest in India was bound to decline and India would have to look to the Soviet Union for the greater part of its economic and other assistance. He could not understand why India would want to be drawn into the Sino-Soviet rivalry, or why it would deliberately antagonize the one country that had no national interests in the Subcontinent except an independent and healthy India and an independent Subcontinent.
Ambassador Jha replied that the situation in India was very difficult. First of all, Madame Gandhi was not at all pro-Soviet. She had for a long time resisted the proposal—that had first been thought up by Djinesh Singh, the former Foreign Minister—of this treaty of friendship. (In fact, Jha said on a personal basis, he wouldn't be a bit surprised if Djinesh Singh actually received pay from the Communists.) At the same time he also thought that Kaul and Haksar were very much under Soviet influence. In short, for both these reasons Madame Gandhi was under great pressure. The project had been going along for about a year, and recently Madame Gandhi felt she needed some dramatic foreign policy, so she picked it up, but Dr. Kissinger could be certain that she did not have her heart in it.
That might be so, Dr. Kissinger said, but the problem is how she would carry out the policy. Dr. Kissinger could tell her that from our selfish point of view it did not hurt us to have India pursue such a proSoviet line in relation to our China policy, nor should the Ambassador have any illusions that it was possible to stir up any basic American public support on the Bengal issue. Still, in order to score temporary points, India was running a tremendous risk of permanently alienating the United States.
The Ambassador repeated that Haksar and Kaul were the real obstacles in India and that in the Foreign Office there were many proSoviet elements. The big issue was whether we could use Madame Gandhi's visit in some positive sense. He asked Dr. Kissinger what he suggested. Dr. Kissinger said he thought that it was important for the Prime Minister and the President to have a very frank talk. He did not recommend that they necessarily agree now on any very specific measures, nor would we want India to sign any documents that limited its freedom of action. We did, however, believe that it was important that we understood where each side was going and that the actions that followed would be consistent with these expectations.
The Ambassador then asked a number of technical questions: Could we pick up Madame Gandhi after she arrives in New York with a military airplane? Dr. Kissinger told him we could. Could the President come to some social function at the Indian Embassy or at Blair House? Dr. Kissinger said dinner was absolutely out of the question, and whether the President might call on Madame Gandhi at Blair House would depend on the then state of relationships. It was imperative, however, that India do nothing to upset the equilibrium before Madame Gandhi's visit, and that the Indian press campaign be muted in anticipation of that visit. The Ambassador agreed that we would meet in Washington to work out the agenda and other details.
135. Memorandum From Samuel Hoskinson of the National
Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for
Washington, August 26, 1971.
Rogers-Dobrynin Talk on South Asia?
You may have already seen the account of Secretary Rogers' talk with Dobrynin on Wednesday. (attached) 3
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, IndoPak War, South Asia, 1/1/71-9/30/71. Secret. Sent for information.
2 The portion of the conversation that dealt with South Asia was summarized in telegram 156613 to Moscow, August 25. (Ibid.)
August 25; attached but not printed.
In response to the Secretary's probing concerning the Soviet position on South Asia, Dobrynin made the following major points:
- The USSR has no interest in conflict in the area and Soviet policy has been directed toward reducing the danger of conflict.
-Some recent developments make it appear to the public, perhaps erroneously, that the US favors Pakistan. After hearing the Secretary's explanation of our arms policy toward Pakistan, Dobrynin implied he understood that in fact that issue was relatively insignificant but that press reports had inflamed tempers.
- The intent of the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty was to calm the Indians by assuring them that they had friends at a time when they suspected the Pakistanis of planning hostilities. Dobrynin added the treaty seemed in fact to have had the intended effect.
— The guerrilla action in East Pakistan is “practically over” and the real problem is coping with seven million refugees. Dobrynin further volunteered that the Soviets were giving no encouragement to the separatist movement in East Pakistan and said the Soviets had informed the Indians that they will not support demands for a separatist state.
-As for Soviet involvement with the Bengali guerrillas, Dobrynin stated, “we do not like to be involved in such things."
Contrary to the WSAG discussions on August 17 and the subsequent memo* you sent to each of the members, State never cleared this approach to the Soviets with us. I have raised this matter with Acting Assistant Secretary Atherton (acting for Sisco) who said it was "out of his hands." I also said that despite the Rogers-Dobrynin talk, we were still expecting to receive the broader scenario for a US approach to the Soviets "before" the outbreak of hostilities.
Kissinger circulated a memorandum on August 18 to the CIA, the JCS, and the Departments of State and Defense in which he reiterated the decisions reached by the WSAG in their meeting on August 17. He stipulated that in drawing up scenarios for U.S. approaches to China and the Soviet Union on the crisis in South Asia the State Department should clear any such approach with the White House before taking action. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71)
136. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
Washington, August 31, 1971, 0025Z.
159587. Subject: Contacts with Bangla Desh Reps. Ref: Islamabad 8631;2 Calcutta 2204.3
1. We agree that President Yahya's reaction to Ambassador Farland's presentation of Bangla Desh rep's negotiation feeler is a “glimmer” of hope. We do not, however, believe that the time has come for U.S. to play any mediatory role. On the other hand, there may be some merit in carrying our present honest broker role one step further, i.e., by helping two sides communicate with each other on arrangements for meeting on neutral territory for exploratory session on possibility of serious negotiation.
2. The first order of business should be for Ambassador Farland, if he has no big problems, to inform President Yahya of our ideas (outlined paras 3 and 4 below) and without being an advocate, ask for his reaction. This approach should be couched in terms of our willingness as a friend to help. It should be stressed that we will not go any further in our contacts with Bangla Desh reps than Yahya desires.
3. Our thinking is that it may be useful to further test temperature of water by attempt at verification of Qaiyum's bona fides. We see no better way to accomplish this quickly than to contact the Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister" Mushtaq Ahmed directly in Calcutta. If he in effect verifies content of approaches previously made by Qaiyum, we would then want to inform him that substance of talks with Qaiyum has been passed to President Yahya.
4. We would also inform Mushtaq Ahmed that Yahya showed interest in a meeting of GOP reps and BD reps and volunteer to pass back to President Yahya any response Mushtaq may have. Should reactions from both sides to meeting prove favorable, we could then examine question whether further US role in providing communication link between them would be necessary or desirable.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Constable (NEA/PAF) on August 25 and revised in the White House on August 30; cleared by Laingen, Schneider, and Atherton; and approved for transmission by Eliot. Also sent to Calcutta and repeated to New Delhi, London, and Dacca.
2 Document 133.