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306. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
Washington, December 14, 1971, 2136Z.
224704. If and when Bangla Desh and or Indian forces occupy Dacca, you should not take any initiative to establish or encourage contact with them beyond that which may be required in emergency situations to protect American lives or to otherwise assure safety of your mission.
1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by U. Alexis Johnson, cleared in the White House by Saunders, and approved by Johnson. Repeated to New Delhi and Calcutta.
307. Telegram From the Consulate General in Dacca to the
Department of State
Dacca, December 15, 1971, 0500Z.
5643. 1. Assistant Secretary General Paul Marc Henry has asked that I arrange to have following message (not verbatim quote) passed
I from him to SYG.
Begin message: I have been informed by Governor Malik and General Farman Ali that President Yahya Khan strongly desires to put a end to hostilities in EP. For this purpose he wishes to arrange with the Indian Govt an immediate cease-fire period of at least two hours in which discussions for this purpose can take place between the military commanders concerned. The President desires honorable conditions for Pakistani troops and protection of civilians. I pass this message to
. you for what it is worth, since I have no independent means of verification. End of message.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, New Delhi, and USUN.
2 USUN passed the message to the UN Secretariat at 11:30 a.m. on December 15 and the Secretariat passed it to Bhutto. Bhutto refused to credit the message without authentication from Islamabad. (Telegram 5044 from USUN, December 15; ibid.)
308. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of
New Delhi, December 15, 1971, 1050Z.
Ref: State 225268.2
1. DCM called on Haksar, Secretary to Prime Minister, at 1410 IST, and handed him text of message from General Niazi as contained in Dacca 5637, DATT simultaneously passed copy to General Manekshaw, Chief of Army Staff.
2. DCM explained that USG could take no responsibility for content of message nor express views thereon, and was simply transmitting the message at request of Foreign Minister Swaran Singh.
3. Haksar was also informed that Foreign Minister attempting to telephone him urgently. He said he had had difficulty getting call through but had managed disjointed conversation with Foreign Secretary Kaul.
4. Haksar expressed appreciation, then asked where our overall relations had gone off the track. He recounted at some length the discussions with the National Security Adviser, Dr. Kissinger, and with Assistant Secretary Sisco, during Prime Minister's visit in early November. He stressed that there could be no question of the integrity of Mrs. Gandhi's remarks to the President. He said he had a copy of the record of their talk, and that he had agreed in advance to accept the U.S. record as the official record.
5. Haksar stated that all human affairs were transitory and he was not so much concerned about the present, as it would pass, as he was about the future. He expressed concern about the relations our children would have and what we owed to them. Haksar became quite emotional, his eyes watering, and asked what we could do. DCM suggested letter from Prime Minister to President might be in order. Haksar said he would draft such a letter that afternoon.
6. U.K. HICOMer Sir Terrence Garvey called DCM as above being drafted and recounted that Niazi text had been passed back and forth between our respective UN reps. He asked if message had been delivered locally. DCM confirmed that it had.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.
2 Telegram 225268 to New Delhi, December 15, instructed the Embassy to comply with the request of Foreign Minister Singh to USUN to convey to Haksar the text of the message from General Niazi as contained in telegram 5637 from Dacca. The Embassy was also instructed to tell Haksar that Singh was attempting to reach him urgently by telephone. (Ibid.)
309. Editorial Note
President Nixon met with Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office of the White House the morning of December 15, 1971, to discuss the latest developments in the crisis in South Asia. Kissinger reported that “the Russians came in yesterday giving us their own guarantee that there would be no attack on West Pakistan." (See Document 305.) Kissinger continued: “Now it's done. It's just a question of what legal way we choose." Nixon said: “Well, what the UN does is really irrelevant." Kissinger felt that a solution to the crisis might be formalized in an exchange of letters between Nixon and Brezhnev that would be made public. Nixon asked how the Chinese would react to a public accommodation between the United States and the Soviet Union. Kissinger responded: "Oh, the Chinese would be thrilled if West Pakistan were guaranteed."
Kissinger drew on his conversation with Vorontsov the previous evening to expand upon the Soviet guarantee: "He said well, I just had a cable to tell the President we give him, that this letter means that the Soviet Government gives him the guarantee that there will be no attack on West Pakistan, no annexation of West Pakistan." Nixon asked: "Vorontsov talking now?" Kissinger replied: “Yeah. He said no annexation of West Pakistan territory as of now. Don't play any legalistic games with me. We consider the existing dividing line, and also that disputed territory cannot be taken. He said yes, that's the guarantee. So now it's just a question of how to formalize it.” Kissinger considered the anticipated outcome to be "an absolute miracle." He said: “I have this whole file of intelligence reports which makes it unmistakably clear that the Indian strategy was to knock over West Pakistan."
Nixon and Kissinger were concerned about efforts made by Ambassador Jha to influence public opinion in the United States during the crisis. Kissinger said: "After this is over we ought to do something about that goddamned Indian Ambassador here going on television every day and attacking American policy. Nixon asked: “Why haven't we done something already?" Kissinger responded: "I'd like to call State to call him in. He says he has unmistakable proof that we are planning a landing on the Bay of Bengal. Well that's OK with me." Nixon agreed: “Yeah, that scares them." Kissinger added: “That carrier move is good." Nixon said: “Why hell yes ... the point about the carrier move, we just say ... we got to be there for the purpose of their moving there. Look these people are savages." He added: "I want a word-put a word in for Scali to use ... that the United Nations cannot survive and we cannot have a stable world if we allow one member of the United Nations to cannibalize another. Cannibalize, that's the word, I should have thought of it earlier. You see that really puts it to the Indians. It has, the connotation is savages. To cannibalize, and that's what the sons-of-bitches are up to." Kissinger interjected: "One thing we have done, if I may say so, rather well. We've put the Chinese into position where they're more eager to yield than we are." (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between Nixon and Kissinger, December 15, 1971, 9:05–9:11 a.m., Oval Office, Conversation No. 638–4)
Kissinger returned to the Oval Office later in the morning to ask for Nixon's approval of the line he intended to take in a meeting he had scheduled within the hour with Vorontsov. Kissinger began: “And now Mr. President what I wanted to check with you just to make sure you approved. I am having Vorontsov in at 11:30. And I propose to tell him the following: Look, the Security Council thing can go on forever." Nixon concurred: “That's right." Kissinger continued: “What you and we have in mind, what
and we can do is—the President was very impressed by sunclear)." Nixon said: "By the letter of Brezhnev." Kissinger went on: “Well, that I told him already we weren't impressed with Mr. President. I told him that was just words, what we need is something complete." Nixon agreed: “Yeah, fine." Kissinger said: “He was very impressed with these assurances. That we could make
peace formal. That the President writes you a letter and you respond. Or that you write us a letter and we respond. It doesn't make much difference who takes the first step, in which you'd say that you know that no military action [is] planned against West Pakistan." Nixon instructed: “Just put it in the letter." Kissinger said that the letters would then be published to “symbolize Soviet-American concern for peace.” Nixon said: "Good, good." He added: “But tell him ... it would only be beautiful if we do it fast." One of two things were going to happen, Kissinger predicted: “Either they will both vote for the British resolution in the Security Council, in which case they will take credit for it, or they will not vote for the British resolution and exchange these letters.” Nixon felt that an exchange of letters would be good in any event and he instructed Kissinger to tell Vorontsov that. (Ibid., 11–11:03 a.m., Conversation No. 638–4) The editors transcribed the portions of the tape recording printed here specifically for this volume. A transcript of the conversation is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 189.
310. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National
Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon?
Washington, December 15, 1971.
India-Pakistan Situation: The proposal of the Pakistani commander in Dacca for a ceasefire? was passed to Delhi last night, but we are aware of no Indian response yet (8:00 a.m.). Consultations on the UK-French draft Security Council resolution are scheduled to continue this morning.
Foreign Minister Bhutto declined to pass General Niazi's ceasefire proposal to the Indians in New York, so our UN mission was instructed to communicate it to Foreign Minister Singh, and subsequently Ambassador Keating was instructed to pass its text to Mrs. Gandhi's secretary, Haksar. In this as in the negotiations on the Security Council resolution, Bhutto is apparently being careful to sidestep onus for the surrender of East Pakistan. Meanwhile, latest Indian reports indicate that Dacca is receiving heavy artillery fire, and three Indian columns have advanced to within a few miles of Dacca where they are preparing for attack.
Despite initially favorable reactions to the first UK draft Security Council resolution, positions on both sides hardened as they became aware of the rapid deterioration of the Pakistani military position in Dacca.
-The Indians are being tough on aspects of the transfer of East Pakistan governmental functions to a new civilian government. They have submitted their own draft which includes the following: "Recognizes that simultaneously with the ceasefire in East Pakistan power shall be transferred to the representatives of the majority party elected in December 1970."
-The Pakistanis have shown a new turn of attitude. They now seem to feel that, since East Pakistan is lost, a UN resolution which "legitimizes" the Indian seizure may be unacceptable. His (Bhutto's?] greatest concern now is a ceasefire in the West.
British consultations will continue this morning, but these views may set the stage for a simple ceasefire resolution which also calls on all parties to safeguard the lives of civilians and captured soldiers.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 37, President's Daily Briefs, Dec 1-Dec 16, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword. A stamp on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
See Document 300.