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Prior to the broadcast, Bhutto called in Ambassador Farland. He succinctly characterized the situation by saying: “We are in one hell of a mess." Bhutto went on to say he sincerely trusted that the United States would do all within its capacity to assist him with the monumental effort which lay ahead. If at all possible, he would attempt to reconcile and reunite both wings of Pakistan within some loose federation. Bhutto also revealed that he might soon travel to Peking, since "China had not fulfilled its obligations to Pakistan as promised."
Meanwhile, there is still considerable public resentment about the way the war ended. In Karachi, for example, bands of demonstrators have been roving in and out of the major business and residential areas setting fires and causing disruptions. Many educated Pakistanis are still openly attacking Yahya and saying that the people will never allow the return of a military government under any circumstances. At the same time, even those who oppose and distrust Bhutto seem inclined to give him a chance.
The situation is still fluid in the East. The Indian Army seems to be gradually restoring a minimum of law and order in Dacca and reorganizing the administrative apparatus. The “Bangla Desh” cabinet, however, has still not arrived from Calcutta, although there are reports that it may proceed to Dacca by mid-week. The Bangla Desh “Prime Minister" is quoted by Dacca Radio as saying that there is a great need for foreign aid but that they will “not touch" any part of U.S. aid because of the “hateful and shameful" policy that the U.S. has followed toward the Bangla Desh "freedom struggle."
There are also reports that the Indians have removed the two top Pak military officials in the East to Calcutta and are making preparations to move all Pak POWs and civil servants to detention camps in India. What could be shaping up is protracted bargaining between the Paks, Indians and Bangla Desh representatives involving repatriation of the POWs, the release of Mujib (Bhutto said nothing about him)3 and the transfer of the Bengali population in West Pakistan and minority groups in the East.
(Omitted here are summary reports on foreign policy issues unrelated to South Asia.)
330. Letter From Pakistani President Bhutto to President Nixon
It is with a very heavy heart that I address this, my first message, to you for your assistance to alleviate human suffering. The news from Dacca is grim. Reports from independent sources, which must have reached you by now, speak of inhuman atrocities and mass murders of innocent people in a part of Pakistan which is now under India's military occupation. To say that these killings and atrocities are being perpetrated by the so-called "Mukti Bahini" does not, and cannot, absolve India of its responsibility to ensure the safety of life and property of the people. The Commanding General of India has publicly stated that the "Mukti Bahini" and all other forces now in East Pakistan are under his effective command.
What is happening in Dacca is by no means an isolated affair. Reports of similar incidents are being received from other cities in East Pakistan also. News of this indiscriminate carnage has been received with the gravest concern in Pakistan, and cannot but be viewed with horror throughout the world.
I am, therefore, addressing this earnest appeal to you on behalf of the people of Pakistan and on my own behalf to use your influence with India most urgently to prevent further carnage. Otherwise that Province might soon be engulfed in a widespread blood-bath.
My Government has already approached the International Red Cross, who have sent some personnel and supplies to Dacca. The need of the hour, however, is for Red Cross presence in greater strength, for assistance by way of medicines and field hospitals in a more massive form. Apart from requesting the International Red Cross to do the needful, and in particular, to ensure compliance of the Geneva Convention, my Government has also enlisted the support of other friendly governments to lend their weight in moving the Red Cross and also to take action themselves through humanitarian organizations.
An urgent appeal to India by all permanent members of the Security Council and action by them individually in pursuance of these humanitarian objectives would go a long way in bringing peace to that strife torn land.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 760, Presidential Correspondence File, President Bhutto. No classification marking. The letter was delivered to the Department of State on December 21 under a letter of transmittal from Ambassador Raza to Secretary Rogers. (Ibid.) The text of the letter was transmitted to Islamabad in telegram 233015, December 30. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 573, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 12/17/71-12/31/71)
I would, in particular, impress on you immediately to approach the Government of India to take effective measures, with all the means at their command, to ensure that this carnage stops without loss of time.
I avail of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?
Secretary in the Foreign Office
the Prime Minister
Sir Alec Douglas-Home
to the Prime Minister
Science and Technology, Foreign Office
American Department, Foreign Office
Office of President
Monetary Affairs Volcker
Member, NSC Staff
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Nodis. Drafted on January 13, 1972, by Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Martin J. Hillenbrand. The meeting was held at Government House. The conversation, part I of VIII, was one of a number of exchanges December 20–21 among Prime Minister Edward Heath, Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home, various advisers and members of the British Cabinet, and a U.S. team headed by President Nixon that included Rogers, Connally, Kissinger, and Haldeman.
The President and Prime Minister called upon the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State to summarize the results of their conversations of December 20 and the morning of December 21. Sir Alec began by saying that on India-Pakistan there was no fundamental difference in assessment between the United States and the United Kingdom, although there had been a difference as to UN tactics. In the British view, the trouble really began historically when the Pakistan Government moved to align itself with the People's Republic of China, opting out of SEATO and loosening its ties with CENTO. India considered this a real threat to the security of the sub-continent. Eventually this led to what was essentially a treaty of convenience between India and the USSR. The British were doubtful that India wanted to go over completely to the Soviets, for example, to the extent of granting formal base rights. It was now essential that the United Kingdom and the United States come together in dealing with the new problems of the future. This would require adequate response to three aspects of the situation: (1) keeping West Pakistan afloat; (2) meeting the humanitarian requirements in the face of inevitable famine in Bangla Desh; and (3) finding a way of coming to terms with India as the most powerful country in the sub-continent.
In the UN, Sir Alec continued, the United States felt it had to register its disapprobation of Indian action. The British wanted to keep a looser position and therefore abstained on the various UN votes. It was unrealistic to think
further in terms of a united Pakistan. We must now deal with the fact of three countries in the sub-continent. He and Secretary Rogers had agreed to keep in close touch in connection with future developments, beginning with the question of some sort of a signing-off resolution in the UN.
The Secretary said he thought the prospects for such a resolution were not too good. The UN might close up tomorrow and India and Pakistan had not yet agreed on any formulation. He had pointed out to Sir Alec the difficulties the United States will have with the Congress in getting any assistance for India, although this might not apply so much to purely humanitarian aid. There might be some difference on timing between the British and the United States as to establishing relations with Bangla Desh. It was difficult to tell what Bhutto was going to do except that one could be fairly certain that he would exploit the situation for his own political benefit. He would probably release Mujib in due time and try to blame the Pakistan military for not having turned over control to civilians sooner. Home observed that there would soon be a meeting of the consortium which would be faced with the problem of keeping West Pakistan afloat. Here there was scope for British-American cooperation.
The President asked for British views on the Soviet interest in the current situation. Would Russia pick up the tab for India or would they want the Western countries to participate? Sir Alec said he thought the Indian nonalignment tradition would prevail, at least for quite a time. The Indians were obviously worried about possible growing Chinese influence in Bangla Desh and would want moderate Bangla Desh leaders to be in control.
The President asked for the British judgment as to whether, if this Chinese danger arose, the Indians would try to get help from us or the Soviets, or both. He noted the sentiment in Congress and elsewhere that our considerable aid to India in the past 25 years—a total of some ten billion dollars—had led only to our being kicked in the teeth. The question was being asked whether such aid was in the United States interest if we remained totally without any influence. The argument was made that such money could be used better at home. Sir Alec said we had to assume that there would be no gratitude on the part of Indian politicians. India, however, would not want to be totally dependent on the USSR. It was worth keeping those contacts with India which we enjoyed, and he thought the Indians would want this. It was for this reason that the British had found the apparent US attitude during the past month worrying. He thought enough good will remained in India to enable the United States to recover its position. The Secretary commented that Mrs. Gandhi resents our even mentioning aid as a factor in our relations. The Congress simply would not approve any program under these circumstances. Sir Alec asked whether anyone ever thanked the United States for its aid. The Secretary said not all countries had acted as had the Indians. We hoped, of course, that the United States could recapture some of its influence with India.
The President said the United States was not simply interested in receiving a “thank you very much” from the Indians. We do what we do in our own interest and must be able to justify our action in those terms. If it were simply a matter of the United States' getting back in the good graces of India, we would do something to achieve this, but he doubted whether this was the right way of looking at the problem. He was inclined to think we should be patient. India has to make an important decision "whether to become like Sadat or not”. He wondered whether it was desirable simply to accept the Indian position that they are automatically in the right on every issue and we are in the wrong
Sir Alec reiterated how important it was to realize what Pakistan did when it lined up with China. Mrs. Gandhi has gambled that Chinese influence would not get out of bounds in Bangla Desh. It was in the Western interest that the new Bangla Desh should be basically India-oriented rather than China-oriented.
The President observed that there was no question as to our goal of insuring that India did not fall into the Soviet bag. There were some five hundred million Indians trying to make it with a non-totalitarian