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his military position, in order to put the onus on the Indians to take reciprocal action.
Recognizing that the lack of a viable political settlement in East Pakistan continues to fuel the tensions between India and Pakistan, we are also suggesting that Ambassador Farland, if he agrees, discuss ways in which Yahya might move more rapidly toward such a settlement. We are particularly focusing on ways in which Yahya might begin a dialogue with the previously elected representatives of East Pakistan. Because President Yahya has already indicated willingness to establish contact with Bangla Desh leaders, we are asking Ambassador Farland to suggest that they be included in any such dialogue. To date, however, the Bangla Desh representatives have refused, insisting that nothing can be negotiated except independence and only Mujib can speak for the Bangla Desh group. Given the apparent importance of the arrested Awami League President Sheikh Mujib to a negotiated settlement, we are asking Ambassador Farland to raise again with President Yahya whether he believes there are possibilities for Mujib to play a part in a settlement.
On October 19 Secretary General U Thant offered his good offices to President Yahya and Mrs. Gandhi.? We support this initiative. For the moment, however, we hope to keep the Indo-Pakistan dispute from surfacing in open debate in the Security Council. Between now and the time of Mrs. Gandhi's visit on November 4 and 5, we prefer to work privately with both the Indians and the Pakistanis. During Mrs. Gandhi's visit, we hope you will be able to dispel some of the suspicions which have entered our relationship with the Indians. At the same time, we will want again to urge maximum restraint on Mrs. Gandhi, get her to support direct negotiations between Bangla Desh leaders and President Yahya, and seek her cooperation in trying to stabilize the situation in East Pakistan. We believe that India must bear a share of the responsibility for bringing stability back to East Pakistan, in part by exercising greater control over India-based guerrilla activity.
2 UN Secretary-General U Thant held separate meetings on October 19 with the Indian and Pakistani permanent representatives to the United Nations and gave them identical letters for Prime Minister Gandhi and President Yahya. In his letters, the Secretary General expressed concern about the deteriorating situation along the borders between the two countries and offered his good offices to seek a peaceful solution. (Telegram 3705 from USUN, October 21; ibid., POL INDIA-PAK) The text of the letters, as conveyed to members of the Security Council on October 21, was transmitted to the Department in telegram 3766 from USUN, October 22. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Oct 25-Nov 22 1971)
Following Mrs. Gandhi's visit, if it is necessary at that time, we may want to see the Indo-Pakistan situation aired in the Security Council and publicly in other ways in order to increase international pressure on both sides for restraint and de-escalation.
For the President
Widespread Famine Averted for Now in East Pakistan: Maury Williams, after an on-the-spot review,2 has concluded that the widespread famine
with associated deaths and an accelerated refugee flow to Indiapredicted by many last summer will not occur in East Pakistan this winter. The next critical period is March. He cites the following reasons:
-U.S. efforts in dramatizing the problem and in providing twothirds of needed transport from ocean ports to river ports, plus continuing shipment of one million tons of grain, have been a major factor.
--Reduction of the East Pakistani population by the nine million (13%) more or less who have moved to India.
—The end of a black market flow of rice, normally one million tons annually, from East Pakistan into India as a result of border tension.
—The UN role in making food distribution neutral in the civil conflict.
- The prospect of the winter crop beginning in late November.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 575, IndoPak War, South Asian Relief, 8/1/71-11/23/71. Confidential. Prepared by Hoskinson and Saunders for an October 28 briefing of the President. The memorandum does not indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by Kissinger.
The briefing was based upon telegram 4614 from Dacca, October 26, a report from Deputy AID Administrator Maurice Williams, who was investigating the danger of famine in East Pakistan in his capacity as coordinator of relief assistance. A copy of telegram 4614 was attached to the briefing memorandum.
Williams cautions, however, that the situation in East Pakistan is still grim and that continuing relief assistance will be needed. There is still the likelihood that increased guerrilla activity will make food distribution more difficult. Serious pockets of need will continue to exist. A buildup of stocks will have to continue against the next critical period in March, and a further strengthening of the UN field staff remains important.
Beyond the humanitarian aspect, this is also a major U.S. contribution to peace in South Asia since the avoidance of famine at this critical juncture will mean that many millions more Bengalis will not flee to India. This will be a point worth making to Mrs. Gandhi when she asks how our relationship with Yahya has contributed to peace. It is hard to prove, but the situation could have been a great deal worse by now. ,
173. Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson
of the National Security Council Staff to the President's
THE OHIO SIE
Washington, October 29, 1971.
Military Supply to Pakistan
On the eve of Mrs. Gandhi's visit here, a potentially explosive issue concerning US arms supply to Pakistan has arisen.
You will recall that the USG has gone on the public record with Pentagon concurrence, informed Congressional committees and told the Indians that by early April:
-A hold was put on the delivery of FMS items from the Department of Defense stocks and that no such items have been released to Pakistan since then.
-We had suspended the issuance of new export licenses and renewal of expired ficenses for items on the munitions list-for either FMS or commercial sales.
It was clearly understood that items already released from Defense stocks and already under valid licenses could still be shipped out of
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country File, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis.
the country. The Indians in Congress have been informed that about $3.8 million of such items have been shipped to Pakistan on commercial carriers paid for by the Government of Pakistan.
It now turns out that some equipment has been released from Defense stocks since March 25—perhaps as much as $2 million worth. So while our total figure of $3.8 million shipped is correct, it is untrue that nothing moved from Defense depots.
State and Defense believed until recently that the two statements represented an accurate accounting of our military supply to Pakistan. Much to their surprise, however, a GAO investigating team acting on orders from Senator Kennedy has discovered that the initial orders issued by ISA to put the “hold” into effect were not followed completely by the services and that there has been substantial leakage. According to the best accounting ISA can make at this point:
- The Air Force continued to release $2.4 million worth of spares (70% lethal) up to July. Some of the more urgently needed items were flown to Pakistan on the normal MAC embassy support flights on an almost weekly basis. All of these spares were under valid license so the customs people did not interfere.
– The Army "inadvertently" has released some $83,000 worth of lethal spares to the Paks but these were not under valid license and therefore did not leave the country.
— The Navy is also thought to have released some $100,000 in lethal spares but it has not yet been determined how much of this was under license and was shipped out of the country.
What this boils down to is that, allowing for shipment delays and expiration of licenses, probably at least half of the $3.8 million shipped to Pakistan should never have been released under the ground rules which we imposed on ourselves and made public.
The most immediate problem facing us now is that this information could become public knowledge on the eve of the Gandhi visit since the GAO will be submitting its report to Senator Kennedy on Monday. It is hard to believe that he will not exploit this situation and, even if we attempt to explain it, think that we have not been trying to sneak arms to Pakistan behind the back of Congress. If it doesn't come out before the Gandhi visit it almost certainly will leak in the aftermath and could undermine whatever positive might come out of her talks with the President. This could make the harm caused by similar disclosures in the wake of Foreign Minister Swaran Singh's visit here, look mild by comparison.
It seems to us that the only thing to do now is to attempt to cut our losses with the Indians by explaining in good faith what happened. Our credibility with them is already so undermined that they might not believe us anyway but at least we will be protecting the President so that they cannot come back later with a charge that he misled them.
At the same time, the "drying up" exercise is coming to culmination.
You will recall that it began when Sisco broached to Ambassador Hilaly in August the idea of accelerating shipments of any outstanding military equipment the Pakistanis still wanted. You saw General Haq when he was here and gave him some additional time, i.e. until about October 15, to locate outstanding equipment and to collect it.
The Pakistanis have now designated the equipment which they would still like to ship and it amounts to 32 tons on a dock in New York. They are prepared to ask that licenses for the remainder be withdrawn, and they agreed when General Haq was here to a low-key public statement that the pipeline was “completed."
The main purpose of this exercise, as you will recall, was to get the troublesome military assistance issue out of the way in order perhaps to strengthen the Administration's hand in limiting the damage that would be done by excessively restrictive amendments to the Foreign Assistance Act. Since the Pakistanis have seemingly willingly cooperated in this exercise-perhaps seeing the congressional handwriting on the wall in any case—State has been working steadily toward wrapping this up as neatly as possible.
Now it comes simultaneously with (a) the increase in tension, (b) these impending new revelations of “bureaucratic bungling" on the release of military equipment and (c) the dock strike.
One physical complication in a neat wrap up is the dock strike. It had been hoped that all of the remaining equipment could have been shipped and then a statement might have been issued saying that the exercise was over. With the dock strike, it would be necessary to say that the shipment of military supply items is being completed, that there are no further outstanding licenses and that the final shipment of $160,000 worth of equipment will be shipped when the dock strike ends.
Because of the untidiness of the situation, I have argued that we not make any kind of announcement. That would look like we were claiming credit for something we had not completely done since one more shipment is still to go. However, State would like to put itself in a position to answer a question at the daily briefing in the next few days by explaining how the pipeline is drying up.
A response might go something like this: “The embassy of Pakistan has informed the Department of State that it is completing Pakistan's shipments of military supply items. In view of this information, at the request of the government of Pakistan the office of munitions control is withdrawing remaining outstanding valid licenses." It would also have to be stated that we understand that the Pakistanis have a small amount of munitions list items that have