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chance to get a crack at the APC shipment. You're not recommending we stop the shipment?

Mr. Packard: No, but I recommend we look it over carefully. I don't think we should change our policy, but we will bring specific items to your attention. If anything looks troublesome, you can check it.

Mr. Kissinger: We have two bureaucratic choices. If we want to defer all military shipments, we will have to go to the President. If we want to defer particular items, we can raise them here and possibly settle them without going to the President.

Mr. Packard: We will get a consolidated list and work out a plan. We'll try not to ship any controversial items so to avoid facing the issue. (to Mr. Nutter) Will you go over the list?

Mr. Nutter: Yes. We don't know what may be on the way now. Mr. Irwin: Is it possible something may show up in the near future?

Mr. Packard: It's possible. Congress may holler and you can just blame it on the stupid Defense Department.

Mr. Nutter: We can't find out about the shipments for sure without alerting the forward freight shippers to a possible change of policy.

Mr. Schlesinger: We're not talking about suspending sale of the APCs, are we?

Mr. Packard: No.

Mr. Kissinger: When is another payment due?

Adm. Weinel: The balance is due on the date of shipment which is expected to be May 1972.

Mr. Irwin: We don't have to suspend any contracts, just hold up deliveries. We need not do it officially.

Mr. Schlesinger: Are items 1 and 7 consistent?" Item one chides Yahya because he is unable to carry on development activity. No 7 defers new development loans.

Mr. Irwin: We don't know what the established development criteria are.

Mr. Kissinger: Have we asked them to come up with a development plan for all Pakistan; or just for West Pakistan? What do we want them to do? Let's make sure we get an NSC meeting or a Presidential decision before we undertake a major revision of policy. If East Pakistan collapses, no matter what our view may be of the savagery of the West Pakistan troops, we would just be pulling India's chestnuts out of the fire if we take on West Pakistan. If East Pakistan goes into

6 Reference is to items listed under the selective influence option of the IG paper.

guerrilla warfare, the paper is correct. But we need enough time to determine what the situation in East Pakistan really is. The President thinks he has a special relationship with Yahya; he would be most reluctant to take him on. This reluctance might be overcome, but we can't do it at this level.

Mr. Van Hollen: We definitely want an NSC meeting. Now that the ballgame has changed, I think the World Bank should take the lead in a new assessment of Pakistan's development potential.

Mr. Kissinger: Is a new development loan due?

Mr. Van Hollen: We were about to go for $70 million for Pakistan in the context of an integrated plan for both wings.

Mr. Kissinger: Is it for us to make a judgment? Should we say no and stop the loan?

Mr. Van Hollen: Let's get the World Bank to make a new assessment.
Mr. Nutter: $70 million won't make or break the economy.

Mr. Packard: I think we should wait until the situation has clarified.
Mr. Kissinger: When is the $70 million due.

Mr. Williams: This is part of the aid program for FY 1971. They expect it now or in the next two months.

Mr. Kissinger: To stop it would be a major act.

Mr. Williams: I agree, it would be a major act. Also, the President told Yahya we might go as high as $100 million if they proceeded with their development as recommended by the IMF. They may say now that they are ready to go ahead with that development. They are losing their reserves rapidly, due largely to the loss of their jute earnings. They have a representative in Washington now talking to the IMF about a standby and to the World Bank about a moratorium on debt repayment. They have another $60 million due in April. They can't meet their debts and are looking to the international agencies, then to us. We need information from them on their revised development plan before we can do much. Mr. Kissinger: There are many ways of handling this. Mr. Williams: That's a good reason for a reassessment.

Mr. Nutter: This isn't a development question. They're in a financial crisis and need help.

Mr. Williams: But the funds were approved by Congress for development.

Mr. Kissinger: We have to know what we want to do. We either need an NSC meeting or some other mechanism for the President to get a crack at the basic decision-to find out what basic stance he wants to take.

Mr. Irwin: If we stop the loan, that is a major act. If we let it go through, that is a major act. We have to shape up what issues are before us and when we have to act on them.

Mr. Kissinger: It would be less of a major act to go through with a loan which has already been approved for a government we recognize, than to stop it.

Mr. Irwin: Let's find out how the President looks at the overall problem, then we can fit the details in.

Mr. Packard: We have to decide whether to continue to support West Pakistan or to withdraw our support.

Mr. Kissinger: And to figure out what it gets us if we withdraw our support.

Mr. Irwin: We need time.

Mr. Kissinger: We need some indication from the President of what our basic stance should be. Within this stance then, we [defer?] the next step, we can present him with the choices either in the NSC or a smaller group. It would serve no useful purpose to go through the individual items here. The Bureau (NEA) can work out the implementing measures once we know what line he wants to take. I'll talk with the President and Secretary Rogers to see how best to get a Presidential determination. In the meantime, don't do anything by default one way or the other, on either the loan or the shipments, so as not to commit us to a course we can't avoid. I think that's as much as we can do today. Do you all agree?

Mr. Irwin: Yes. We also have the problem of a reply to Yahya's letter to the President.

Mr. Williams: The situation has changed a lot in a week. Another week will give us a better reading.

Gen. Cushman: We will lay on a requirement in the field for an estimate on the duration of the resistance.

Mr. Kissinger: I'll be in touch with the Secretary (Rogers) and the President.

[Omitted here is discussion relating to Ceylon.]

7 Reference is to the letter of March 31; Yahya's letter of April 17 was not presented

to Nixon until May 10; see Documents 16 and 29.


Memorandum From Harold Saunders of the National
Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for
National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Washington, April 19, 1971.


Pakistan-A Personal Reflection on the Choice Before Us

Having sent you comprehensive material on the decisions before us in Pakistan, I want to write you this simpler personal note in an effort to leave aside some of the complexities and get down to central thoughts.

It appears that the situation is settling down to one of prolonged conflict. We must guard against moving too quickly to a view that the West Pakistanis are regaining control, but it does seem increasingly clear that we are not going to be dealing with a situation in which the resistance movement is so dramatically successful as to make it immediately apparent to the West Pakistanis that they cannot win.

Nothing has happened to alter our basic judgment that the breakup of Pakistan is inevitable, but events of recent days suggest that we may have been over-emphasizing its imminence.

What this suggests to me is that time may have been bought for a second chance to try mitigating some of the worst consequences of a split.

I have suggested in the analytical summary2 for your SRG book that our basic strategy in South Asia should be to do all we can to avoid having to make a decisive choice among the three major political entities there. While the Soviet Union and Communist China may be more ready to make choices because of their rivalry, the U.S. interest lies in attempting to maintain a U.S. alternative to those two big Asian powers in each of the South Asian entities.

If this is a fair statement of U.S. purpose and strategy, then the present situation in Pakistan means that we have been saved for a moment from making that choice by the fact that an independent East Pakistan has not suddenly been thrust upon us. We may now have some time in which to come to terms with this emerging reality.

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 Dated April 16. (Ibid.)

If we are to preserve some position in both East and West Pakistan, we have to consider the interests of both sides:

-It is instructive to listen to the way the West Pakistanis are now describing the situation and their intent. They are talking in terms of setting up a political regime of respected East Pakistani politicians and conceding to them the six points as modified by Yahya in the negotiations before March 25.

-The general judgment in the intelligence community here is that these politicians will not be acceptable to most East Pakistanis and that the six points as Yahya defines them do not meet East Pakistani demands for government of their own affairs.

Those statements both may be true, but the main fact may be that the West Pakistanis will now succeed in setting up an administration which will at least permit the beginnings of food distribution and a face-saving way for them to back away from the more extreme elements of military repression.

In listening to the West Pakistani plans, one must recognize that accepting them too quickly as realistic could obscure the basic conflict which exists. The West Pakistani military establishment is intent on preserving the unity of the country. The East Pakistanis seem bent on gaining substantial autonomy. We cannot assume that the problem is solved; it is only deferred.

The present situation gives us an opportunity to re-assess one of the options which we discarded before March 25. We decided then not to inject ourselves into the negotiations between East and West. This was probably wise in that we really did not know what was going on and we would have appeared to be meddling in a situation over our depth. Now, however, we have seen the potential consequences-economic problems in West Pakistan beyond our capacity, the possibility of an Indian-Pakistani war and the difficult choices which East Pakistani independence would thrust upon us.

The most important issue before us, therefore, may be whether we wish now to involve ourselves more actively in it attempting to help work out a negotiated settlement between East and West Pakistan.

What I have in mind is fairly limited. It is still true that these negotiations are so intricate and involve such passions on each side that we are ill-equipped to involve ourselves.

However, the very problems we face lay the groundwork for an approach to Yahya which should be the product of the present policy review. However gentle our tactics, I believe our objective should be to encourage movement toward the greatest possible degree of East Pakistani autonomy.

The strategy to follow would be one of attempting to create now a regime in East Pakistan that could be genuinely transitional over time to real East Pakistani autonomy. By creating the impression of movement in

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