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4. In light above, Sisco asked Hilaly convey to GOP following supplemental points:
A. Recent developments have increase international tension in area and prospects for Indo-Pak confrontation.
B. In view of these circumstances, as friend, we hope GOP will exercise maximum restraint despite what it might consider provocations from other side.
C. We want make clear we have forcefully conveyed to GOI our belief it too should act with restraint. Sisco said he had told Amb Jha India was now strong and stable as result election and consequently could be expected to act responsibly.
D. Number of refugees has risen sharply during past week and we have noted GOI appeal for international assistance.3 At US initiative, Sisco had discussed matter with Jha, told him of US humanitarian concern, and indicated we considering what contribution we might make if some international program was mounted. Sisco emphasized we recognized and were anxious not to get involved in sensitive political aspects refugee question. On other hand Hilaly should understand that if USG seems to stand still in any human crisis like that of East Pak refugees, it immediately is criticized by Congress and US people. USG does have humanitarian concern, as expressed in our previous offer of help to any international effort accepted by GOP in East Pakistan.
E. Sisco asked for report on situation East Pak and any moves toward political accommodation, noting we attach importance to such
F. Otherwise, there is prospect that continued tension in East Pakistan could lead directly to expansion of internal problem into an international issue involving the danger of Indo-Pakistan conflict and wider implications.
5. Commenting on foregoing, Hilaly complained GOI says one thing and does something quite different. Cited Indian involvement in
3 During a meeting with Under Secretary Irwin on April 19, Ambassador Jha asked for U.S. support for relief assistance for East Pakistan, possibly through the Red Cross. He also asked for help in dealing with the growing refugee problem in India. (Telegram 67591 to New Delhi, April 21; ibid., POL INDIA-US)
4 Secretary Rogers sent a memorandum to President Nixon on April 23 in which he pointed to a dramatic increase in the flow of refugees from East Pakistan into India. He noted that the refugee total in India had reached 258,000. Rogers asked Nixon's approval for a program of relief assistance to help meet the needs of the refugees over a three month period. The program would include PL-480 food supplies plus limited dollar or local currency assistance. The projected cost of the program would be approximately $2.4 million. (Ibid., SOC 10 PAK)
ceremony just across border in East Pakistan announcing establishment Provisional Government Bangla Desh and special consideration given officials thereof through accommodation State Guest House, Calcutta. Condemned Indian handling of Pak Deputy High Commission problem in Calcutta.
6. Hilaly gave assurance on other hand GOP wishes avoid providing any pretext that GOI might use as causus belli. Indicated Pak army staying away from Indian border.
7. On situation East Pakistan, Hilaly said military "mopping up" and will complete job in about five days. Dismissed threat of monsoon rains as inhibition to military operation and also dismissed threat of terrorist assassinations pro-GOP Bengalis; GOP will not be scared. Referred to appeal by Tikka Khan3 to politicians, Awami League members and even rebel military to associate with government or rejoin Army. Asserted they won't be shot. In fact foreign press would be invited back to bear witness return of East Pak to normalcy. Said restoration port operations Chittagong and Chalna being given top priority.
8. On question East Pak refugees in India, Hilaly forecast Indians will push up their inflated estimate of total by 60,000 a day until it reaches one million. Noted report that majority Pak refugees staying with "friends and relatives" in India and claimed actual refugees from East Pak could not be so absorbed.
9. In somewhat heated reference to possible international assistance, strongly criticized ICRC intervention through sending plane from Geneva without permission GOP. Asserted ICRC Vice President had opposed move but "Indian influence" had prevailed. Hilaly went on to accuse foreigners in East Pakistan of strong partisanship and total acceptance Bengali charges against GOP. "Americans in Dacca are antiWest Pakistani", Hilaly said.
11. Despite these feelings about foreign offers of relief aid, Hilaly expressed personal view GOP would ultimately accept such aid. Referred to assessment of situation now under way in East Pak by senior officials from Islamabad. Said Paks would handle distribution of outside relief. GOP doesn't want foreigners coming in; instead plans organize local people. Warned against third countries associating selves with India in relief effort: "That simply won't work." Hilaly said India's objective to internationalize East Pak situation to extent possible and in process involve other countries in its efforts.
12. In conclusion Hilaly indicated West Pakistanis and others in Pakistan deeply concerned by "humiliating" situation that has arisen.
5 Lieutenant General Tikka Khan, Martial Law Administrator and Governor of East Pakistan.
Do not want to be difficult re outside assistance, indeed need such assistance in liquidity crisis. However people of West Pak can be expected to be sensitive to forms international aid, particularly relief aid.
13. For Islamabad: Ambassador or DCM should follow up with MFA making same points conveyed by Sisco to Hilaly.
Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National
Washington, April 28, 1971.
Policy Options Toward Pakistan
I do not normally bother you with tactical judgments. But in the case of the present situation in Pakistan, policy depends on the posture adopted toward several major problems. The purpose of this memo is to seek your guidance on the general direction we should be following.
Three weeks after the West Pakistani military crackdown, these three judgments seem to characterize the situation we must deal with:
-The West Pakistani military seem likely to regain physical control of the main towns and connecting arteries. The resistance is too poorly organized and equipped to prevent that now.
-Physical control does not guarantee restoration of essential services like food distribution and normal economic life because that requires Bengali cooperation which may be withheld.
-Suppression of the resistance, even if achieved soon, will leave widespread discontent and hatred in East Pakistan, with all that implies for the possibility of effective cooperation between the populace and the military, for eventual emergence of an organized resistance movement and for the unity of Pakistan.
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. IV, 1 Mar 71–15 May 71. Secret. Sent for action.
-Tension between India and Pakistan is at its highest since 1965, and there is danger of a new conflict if the present situation drags on.
Those judgments suggest that there will probably be an interim period, perhaps of some length, in which (a) the West Pakistanis attempt to reestablish effective administration but (b) even they may recognize the need to move toward greater East Pakistani autonomy in order to draw the necessary Bengali cooperation.
What we seem to face, therefore, is a period of transition to greater East Pakistani autonomy and, perhaps, eventual independence. How prolonged and how violent this period is will depend heavily on the judgments made in East and West Pakistan.
-In the East, leaders of the resistance will be faced with the problem of weighing the political disadvantages of cooperating with a West Pakistani administration against the need to restore essential services, especially food distribution. Without that restoration, large-scale starvation seems unavoidable.
-The West Pakistanis, on their part, face serious financial difficulties within the next several months. They have told us that unless they receive emergency foreign exchange help they will have to default on outstanding external loan repayments and restrict imports to the point of stagnating the economy and possibly bringing on a financial crash. It may well be that, as these costs become apparent to a wider group in West Pakistan, the pressure on President Yahya to let East Pakistan go will mount.
Outside actors will also play roles of varying significance:
-India will be the most important. By training and equipping a relatively small Bengali resistance force, India can help keep active resistance alive and increase the chances of a prolonged guerrilla war. From all indications, the Indians intend to follow such a course. They could also make it difficult for Yahya to negotiate a political transition. in East Pakistan by recognizing a Bengali government. They seem more cautious on this.
-The US will be an important factor from outside the area: (a) We still have influence in West Pakistan and remain important to India. (b) US economic support-multiplied by US leadership in the World Bank consortium of aid donors-remains crucial to West Pakistan. Neither Moscow nor Peking can duplicate this assistance. (c) Our military supply, while relatively small and unlikely to affect the outcome of the fighting, is an important symbolic element in our posture.
-The USSR is concerned that instability will work to China's advantage and has shown perhaps more inclination in recent years than the US toward trying to settle disputes in the subcontinent. In the short run, Soviet interests seem to parallel our own, although they would certainly like to use this situation to undercut our position in India.
-Communist China could (a) be West Pakistan's main ally in threatening India with diversionary military moves and (b) eventually enter the contest with India for control of the East Pakistani resistance movement. For the moment, the Chinese seem to have cast their lot with the West Pakistanis.
The options are most clearly understood in terms of decisions on our ongoing programs. There are three, each described in terms of concrete actions that would be taken:
Option 1 would be essentially a posture of supporting whatever political and military program President Yahya chooses to pursue in the East. Specifically:
-On economic assistance, we would support debt relief and go on with our full development aid program as soon as the West Pakistanis could assure us that the money would go for development purposes, not to financing the war effort. We would not concern ourselves that most of the aid would go to the West.
-On food assistance, we would proceed with all shipments at the request of the government and state no conditions about how they distribute or withhold food from specific areas in East Pakistan.
-On military assistance, we would allow all shipments but ammunition to proceed. We would delay ammunition without taking any formal action.
Option 2 would be to try to maintain a posture of genuine neutrality. Specifically:
-On economic assistance, we would delay all further aid until the IMF and World Bank were satisfied that Pakistan has a satisfactory development plan revised to take account of the recent disruption in economic activity and to assure equitable allocation of resources between East and West Pakistan.
-On food assistance, instead of deferring to the West Pakistani government on distribution, we would insist before resuming shipments on assurance that food would be distributed equitably throughout East Pakistan, in the cyclone disaster area and in the countryside as well as in the army-controlled towns.
-On military assistance, we would have to defer all deliveries of ammunition, death-dealing equipment and spare parts for it. Nonlethal equipment and spares might continue.
Option 3 would be to make a serious effort to help Yahya end the war and establish an arrangement that could be transitional to East Pakistani autonomy. Such an effort would have to carry with it the understood possibility that, if the political effort broke down, US aid might have to be reduced by virtue of our being unable to operate in