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on which it will be difficult, if not impossible, to find a neutral ground. Whatever we do or do not do has implications.
It is important that this exercise begin with a clear focus on our overall interests and objectives in South Asia and result in a policy framework that will provide a sound basis for these decisions. I shall report further as this review proceeds. The Senior Review Group is meeting again this week.
Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)
Washington, April 16, 1971.
SNIE on Prospects for Pakistan
Attached is a Special National Intelligence Estimate on “Prospects for Pakistan"? produced at the request of the State Department in connection with the current review of our posture toward Pakistan. In case you do not have time to read through the document yourself, the main points are summarized below:
The following judgments are made concerning the outcome of the conflict in East Pakistan:
-The prospects are "poor” that the army can substantially improve its position, much less reassert control over the Bengalis.
-Whether the army is to face widespread non-cooperation or continued active resistance will depend in part on how much help India gives the Bengalis. The estimate is that India "will continue and increase" its arms aid to the Bengalis and that this will enable them to develop at a minimum the kind of insurgency capability that the army cannot entirely suppress.
-Whatever the extent of Indian support to the Bengalis, the West Pakistanis will face “increasingly serious difficulties” in East Pakistan. The army's will to continue the campaign will over time come to depend “a good deal” on outside pressures, particularly by the great powers, and on developments in the west wing itself where popular support "is likely to dwindle."
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-054, SRG Meeting, Pakistan and Ceylon, 4/19/71. Secret. Sent for information.
2 Special National Intelligence Estimate 32-71, April 12; published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 131.
The Soviet and Chinese attitudes are:
– The Soviets have put themselves firmly on the record in opposition to West Pakistani military suppression of East Pakistan. The decision was “no doubt” heavily influenced by the Indian attitude but probably also involved a calculation that the odds favor a separatist solution and that Soviet interests would not be served by a prolongation of the conflict.
—The Communist Chinese have come down heavily on the West Pakistani side but Chinese military intervention in support of the West Pakistani course does "not now seem likely" although they may increase deliveries of military equipment. The Chinese however, may in time face a dilemma should an extremist group come to the fore and seek Peking's support.
The following judgments are made concerning the political prospects for East Pakistan:
- In the unlikely event that the West Pakistanis did succeed in reasserting military control over the Bengalis, they would almost certainly find it impossible to develop a new political system based on anything approaching a consensus of opinion in the two wings. The army would remain the final arbiter of power and a substantial majority of the population would continue to be strongly disaffected, probably to the point of launching sporadic uprisings.
-If an independent Bangla Desh were to come into being “rather soon" there would seem to be a good chance of its having a relatively moderate leadership. However, the longer the fighting goes on, the more the prospects for a takeover by an extremist and radical leadership are enhanced. Over a longer term even if the moderates initially took over their inability to solve Bangla Desh's serious problems would lead to increased susceptibility to radical and extremist ideas and groups.
-Bangla Desh would remain an object of continuing concern to India and in the name of national security, would be an object of manipulation and even of open interference on New Delhi's part. Indeed, an independent Bangla Desh is likely to remain very much in India's orbit so long as that country has a government strong and decisive enough to seek to exercise its influence.
The following are the prospects for a separate West Pakistan.
-The army is likely to remain the principal political factor in West Pakistan, though it might eventually turn over formal political power to some civilian groups whose views are compatible.
-A separate West Pakistani regime, even if Yahya goes, would be likely to pursue the same foreign policies it now does in balancing off China, the USSR and the US.
-West Pakistan might experience a crisis in the wake of the loss of the East wing that could lead to its breakup but this contingency “now appears unlikely."
Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)?
Washington, April 16, 1971.
Ambassador Farland's Recommendations on Pakistan
Ambassador Farland has sent in his recommendations on what our posture toward the conflict in Pakistan should be at this point (Tab A). These are, of course, integrated into the NEA/IG paper, but they are also (worth) reading since they provide a clear picture of the problems involved as seen from Islamabad.
The Ambassador believes that our "first aim" should be “an early end to the violence in East Pakistan and introduction of a working government. In seeking this end he sees three alternative postures the US can adopt: (1) “business as usual,” (2) “sanctions against West Pakistan," (3) "maintaining options in both East and West Pakistan."
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-054, SRG Meeting, Pakistan and Ceylon, 4/19/71. Secret; Exdis. Sent for information.
2 Telegrams 3337, 3351, and 3363 from Islamabad, all April 13, were attached at Tab A. Telegram 3337 outlined the Embassy's recommended response to the crisis developing in Pakistan. Telegram 3351 offered recommendations concerning economic assistance to Pakistan in light of the crisis. Telegram 3363 dealt with the military sales program. (Also ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 PAK, AID (US) 15 PAK and DEF 12-5 PAK, respectively)
3 Reference is to a paper entitled “Pakistan-American Relations--A Reassessment” prepared on April 16 by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia. Sisco, as chairman of the group, sent the paper on that date to Kissinger for consideration by the Senior Review Group at its meeting on April 19. (Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-054, SRG Meeting, Pakistan and Ceylon, 4/19/71) The paper is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 132.
Business as usual would involve:
--In public continue to associate ourselves with humanitarian appeals for relief and, perhaps in private, point out the advisability of accepting such relief.
-No modifications in our on-going military sales programs and move to implement the one-time exception.
-Carry out our economic assistance program making only such changes as are necessitated by the physical impossibility of implementing programs in the East and at about the same proportionate level.
The Ambassador points out that this posture is clearly what the West Pakistanis would like most and it would permit us to at least hold our own and probably register some gains in East Pakistan. At the same time, it would be extremely unpopular in East Pakistan and would create serious residual problems there. It would also be charged that we were financing Pakistan's civil war.
Sanctions against the West Pakistanis would involve:
-Privately telling Yahya we think his present course is tantamount to national suicide and urging him on to an early political settlement.
--Suspend all military sales, including implementation of the onetime exception.
-Suspend ongoing FY-1970 economic commitments and postpone any discussion of new US aid commitments until the government modifies its policy toward the East Pakistanis.
-Limit PL-480 to only that which is strictly humanitarian and feasible under current conditions.
The Ambassador points out that this posture would stand as well in East Pakistan but would reduce to a minimum, if not eliminate entirely, our influence in West Pakistan for the foreseeable future. He is doubtful, moreover, that it would achieve the desired short-term political effect. On the plus side, he notes that such an approach would align us with India.
Maintaining options in both East and West Pakistan would involve:
-In our public stance we would take a somewhat firmer line than we have so far, although sticking to “non-interference," this would include expressing concern for loss of human life and suffering, underscoring our desire to see an early end to the fighting and return to civilian government, and making clear our continuing concern about the use of US arms to suppress the East Pakistanis.
-Privately, we would inform the Pakistanis, without threatening or lecturing, that we do not believe force will provide a solution. This dialogue could begin with the President's answer to Yahya.
- Continue current PL-480, technical assistance, and selected project assistance with substantial overall reduction in our assistance activities and levels as required by difficulties we now face in implementing normal development program. We would maintain activities we can now justify on developmental criteria and ones which would not be seen as directly supporting military action against the Bengalis. We would explain our actions in terms of present inability to carry out many activities, especially those in East Pakistan and hold out hope for full resumption as soon as conditions permit and revised development plans are prepared.
On military supply, take internal actions such as "technical delays" which would have the effect of suspending supply of the most sensitive items such as ammunition. On the one-time exception, enter into a "bureaucratic waltz" without taking any formal action to suspend it.
Ambassador Farland urges the adoption of the last—the posture of keeping our options open to both the East and West Pakistanis. The arguments he advances in favor of it are:
-On military supply we would have a defensible position at home without having to justify it to the West Pakistanis.
-West Pakistani unhappiness with some aspects of this approach may be mitigated by fact we would be continuing at least some economic aid and military supply and not engaging in public moralizing.
-West Pakistanis might choose to slam the door in our face but this would then be their decision defensible both in US and at some later date in West Pakistan.
- Provide basis for re-establishing ties and programs with Bengalis when situation so permits.
The only arguments the Ambassador advances against are:
-It is the harder alternative to implement and runs risk of offending both West and East Pakistanis and satisfying neither.
-Many in East Pakistan will conclude that our half-way house measures (are) inadequate and criticize US for failing to impose total sanctions on "West Pak aggressors." Comment
Ambassador Farland seems to have come up with about the same general range of options as the IG working group here has arrived at independently. The only argument at this point-and it is a crucial
* Kissinger added a handwritten note in the margin at this point which reads: "Maybe he was prepositioned."