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understood in US despite great pains to make them clear to President Nixon, Secretary Rogers and others in New York, Washington and New Delhi. GOI does not accept US distortion of sequence of events. GOI does ask US to exercise its immense influence with Yahya to bring him to reality. “We and I personally are under pressure. In my AICC speech, it was not slip of tongue, when I suggested Bangla Desh might be realized within framework of Pakistan, autonomy, or independence." Under existing circumstances, when US addresses GOI "in somewhat threatening manner" it seems to have ignored GOI statements as well as basic realities. Continuing US support to Yahya regime will only (a) deepen rift between East and West Pakistan, (b) make struggle in East Pakistan more bitter, and (c) rule out negotiated settlement. In latter regard, Foreign Minister said recent statement of Bangla Desh authorities ruling out compromise settlement was indirect repudiation of his AICC statement.
10. Foreign Minister said GOI knows perfectly well US officials are in close touch with Bangla Desh (BD) leaders and is aware of US efforts to promote settlement between Pakistan generals and some elements of Awami League. GOI urges US to focus any such efforts on genuine reconciliation, for it would be great mistake to seek to promote deal with break-away Awami League element. Situation is quite straight-forward. Yahya simply cannot ignore Mujib and Awami League leaders; they are true East Pakistan leadership. If Pakistan looking for excuse to start trouble India will defend self, however GOI sees no justification why this should affect Indo-US relations. “Please pass that on to your government. We are not speaking from excitement, fear or dialectic. But ask why Washington should think if Pakistan starts something, Indo-US relations would be affected? We shall continue to try to remove Indo-American misunderstanding and are particularly anxious to do so in light Prime Minister's forthcoming visit. Mrs. Gandhi seeks to reverse misunderstandings, and it would be unfortunate to burden her effort with extraneous considerations."
11. I said I never had met with BD representatives, although some of my junior officers had informally in Calcutta and New Delhi to listen to their stories. I cited pro-Communist Patriot allegation recently that I attempting disrupt MB and Awami League and cause internal friction. I said we do not have that kind of power and assured Foreign Minister we have done nothing of kind. I acknowledged we have gotten some conflicting stories about BD and suppose differences of opinion exist and with MB, but it not US intention to exacerbate same.
12. Foreign Minister said State Department knows of effort to bring about dialogue between President Yahya and Awami League, and GOI doesn't need to read Patriot for its view. I said effort to promote such dialogue seemed plausible but did not imply exploitation of differences. However, Singh said US attempting to bypass Mujib. I told Singh American Embassy Islamabad under instructions from Washington had just finished urging President Yahya to establish dialogue with elected representatives of East Pakistan, which I took to mean Mujib. I expressed certainty US would be delighted if President Yahya held discussions with Mujib.
13. I asked Foreign Minister if he prepared tell me more about reported large-scale MB intrusions planned for second half October as well as alleged plan for Indian army diversionary action. Singh said he clearly and categorically wished to state (a) MB does not take GOI and Indian army into confidence, has own tactics and means, and "has never consulted us”; (b) GOI refuses to believe MB is on Indian border in such large numbers prepared to march openly into East Pakistan; (c) Indian Government believes MB operating in heart of East Pakistan but doesn't know of MB plans to step up activities except perhaps in reaction to highly publicized reports of Pak army intention make clean sweep in East Pakistan upon end of monsoon; (d) GOI will never attack Pak positions and will never commit any incursion against Pakistan territory; (e) if Pakistan starts war India will defend itself with every means available; (f) GOI will never undertake such "pin prick" diversions as alleged, since India mature country with mature and strong leadership and disciplined armed forces; and (g) MB operations cannot be valid excuse for GOP action against India.
14. As to proposed withdrawal of military forces from border Swaran Singh said there already are ground rules concerning border deployments which India honoring. However, he alleged there have been large-scale Pak military concentrations in Jammu/Chamb, Sialkot, Lahore, Bahawalpur and areas further south, and Pak army has moved troops forward from cantonment areas such as Peshawar and Quetta. I asked if Pakistan agreed to withdraw military forces from border, how would GOI react? Singh replied, “We can reconsider situation if they withdraw."
15. Comment to New Delhi 157783 applies. In particular, we continue to perceive no present GOI intention to initiate hostilities during next couple months.
Keating 168. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
3 Dated October 7. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, LEG 7 FRELINGHAUSEN)
Washington, October 15, 1971, 0222Z.
189037. Subj: Risk of War in Indo-Pak Confrontation. Ref: (a) Karachi 2028, (b) New Delhi 15988, (c) Moscow 7529.2
1. In light Pakistani and Indian responses to our démarches regarding risks of war, we wish to emphasize and pursue further our proposal for mutual withdrawal of troops by both governments. For this purpose we wish to reinforce our approach for Soviet support with Indians and make further approach to GOI.
2. For New Delhi: Ambassador or Chargé should seek early appointment with FonMin and make following points:
A. We were pleased to note FonMin's categorical statement discrediting our report of large numbers of Mukti Bahini personnel prepared to invade East Pakistan and of concurrent Indian army diversion of defending Pak force. We also note FonMin's statement that India would never attack Pak positions and would never commit any incursion against Pakistan territory.
B. We wish to report that in response to our presentation to GOP, President Yahya assured us that Pakistan would not be first to initiate hostilities. In regard to our proposal for a pullback of military forces, President Yahya raised certain questions regarding how such pullback might apply to East Pakistan border but accepted proposal in principle subject to clarification on details such as with regard to East Pakistan. Specifically President Yahya suggested that mechanics of withdrawal might be worked out directly by India and Pakistan army chiefs of staff. USG has no particular desire to involve itself in regard such mechanics and suggests direct contact between military organizations at some level might be best way of carrying out withdrawal.
C. We wish to re-state and emphasize suggestion which was put forward solely on our initiative that India and Pakistan carry out a mutual withdrawal of troops from their borders. We make this proposal in all seriousness and ask that India give it the most careful consideration. We believe India would agree that neither it nor Pakistan would find escalation or present tensions in its interest. Yet proximity of forces
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Schneider on October 13; cleared by Curtis W. Kammon (EUR/SOV), Laingen, Van Hollen, and Haig; and approved by Acting Secretary Irwin. Also sent to Moscow and repeated to Islamabad, USUN, Tehran, London, Calcutta, Dacca, and Paris.
2 Documents 165, 167, and 163.
along India-Pakistan borders present great danger of accidental war which each government has informed us it does not intend to initiate. We have made this proposal in hope that very substantial movement of men and matériel which has taken place on both sides of border might be reversed. We do not wish to involve ourselves in debate regarding details of which country has violated ground rules. Facts are that substantial movements have been made on both sides with resulting increase in dangers of escalation. Consequently we would appreciate India's reaction to Yahya's suggestion that the Chief of Staff on both sides might arrange the mechanics of the pullback. Alternately, we would be interested in any other Indian proposal for method by which pullback might be accomplished.
3. For Moscow: Embassy Moscow authorized to brief Gromyko or other senior Soviet official on general outlines of our discussions with both Yahya and Swaran Singh. In particular Embassy should cover those portions of conversations regarding pullback proposal in detail and in such a way as to make apparent that US has obtained substantial agreement from GOP and that situation in regard to India is such that Soviets' use of their influence might enhance prospects of Indian agreement to withdrawal which we are convinced is as much in Soviet interest as in ours. 4
In Ambassador Keating's absence, Chargé Stone met with Foreign Secretary Kaul on October 16 and made a presentation based upon the instructions in telegram 189037. Kaul responded by reiterating Foreign Minister Singh's assurance that India would not initiate a military confrontation with Pakistan. He said that India viewed Pakistan's recent military moves as a threat to attack India, despite Yahya's protestations to the contrary. Kaul added that India could not accept the U.S. proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces until the threat from Pakistan had been removed. He maintained that a withdrawal of forces from the border between India and West Pakistan would leave India at risk in that the proposed move to the closest military bases would put Pakistani forces considerably closer to the border than Indian forces. (Telegram 16247 from New Delhi, October 16; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA-PAK)
Ambassador Beam met with Foreign Minister Gromyko on October 18 to urge that the Soviet Union support the proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces. Beam said that President Yahya had accepted the proposal but Foreign Minister Swaran Singh had gone no further than to state that if Pakistan withdrew, India would reconsider the situation. Beam asked Gromyko to encourage India to accept the proposal. Gromyko said that the Soviet Union had also been in touch with both sides to urge restraint. India and Pakistan had both indicated that they would not initiate hostilities, but the conclusion drawn in Moscow was that the Indian assurance could be relied upon but that offered by Yahya could not. Gromyko did not agree to support the proposal for a mutual withdrawal of forces. He said that separating the troops confronting each other along the border was a good idea but not a solution. He urged the United States to join the Soviet Union in seeking a political settlement to the crisis. (Telegram 7794 from Moscow, October 18; ibid., POL 27 INDIA-PAK) On October 19 Haig reinforced Beam's initiative with a telephone call to Dobrynin in which he said that the President was concerned that the situation on the subcontinent could take a dangerous turn. Nixon, Haig added, hoped the Soviet Union "could exercise maximum restraint on the Indians.” (Transcript of a telephone conversation; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 998, Haig Chronological File, Haig Telcons, 1971)
169. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
Washington, October 19, 1971, 2159Z.
191555. Subject: Yahya Letter to President Nixon.?
Following is text of letter from Pres Yahya to President Nixon dtd Oct 9, delivered to White House Oct 19 by Pakistani DCM Farooqi:
I write to express the sense of gratitude of the Government and the people of Pakistan for your sympathetic understanding of our difficulties during the recent crisis. We also appreciate your government's continuing interest in the affairs of the sub-continent, particularly, its concern for the well-being of the people and for the preservation of stability and peace in the area. In this context, may I state briefly, Mr. President, the latest position on the state of affairs in the sub-continent. In an already tense situation India's land, sea and air forces have been brought to a state of confrontation against Pakistan's frontiers in both the wings.
There are 7 divisions of the Indian army which are deployed against West Pakistan and additional forces have been put in a state of readiness to move to forward positions at short notice.
A total of nearly 8 divisions have encircled East Pakistan.
Substantial forward moves have taken place from the rear to the forward operational positions in the last few weeks. In addition, the deployment of Indian forces on the Sino-Indian borders have been rearranged in a manner that these could be simultaneously utilized in an offensive against Pakistan's frontiers as well.
The Indian air force has activated and occupied forward airfields and special facilities and stockpiling have been carried out. Tactical aircentres have also been established near Pakistan's frontier.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 578, IndoPak War, Pakistan Chronology, Dr. Kissinger. Secret; Exdis. Drafted and approved by Van Hollen and cleared by Laingen and Jeanne Davis, Director of the NSC Staff Secretariat. Repeated to New Delhi and Dacca.
A signed copy of the letter delivered by Zahir M. Farooqi is in the Library of Congress, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 210, Geopolitical File, South Asia, Chronological File, Nov-Dec 1971.
An intelligence report sent by the CIA to the White House on October 19 indicated that all Indian armed forces had been placed on full alert status. (CIA telegram TDCSDB-315/06207-71, October 19; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul–30 Nov 71)