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On the West Pakistan military front, heavy fighting continues in Kashmir, but the principal Pakistani drive appears to have been blunted. According to a less than 1 line of source text not declassified] report, one Indian reserve division was airlifted from the Calcutta area to an undetermined location on the western front.
(less than 1 line of source text not declassified) a Chinese delivery of additional MIG-19's to West Pakistan may be underway. An undetermined number of MIG's were noted flying in the direction of an airfield that has been used in the past as a base for onward flight to Pakistan. In a separate development, [1 line of source text not declassified) the Pakistani UN representative has said that China would make "an important military move” on December 15. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified) no evidence of Chinese troop deployments in preparation for military moves.
Since late November, there have been numerous reports that other Moslum countries had sent or were planning to send military equipment to Pakistan. The countries involved include Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt. Most of the reports concern shipments of jet fighters and spare parts for these and Pakistani aircraft. There is no firm evidence (less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to corroborate any of the reports that this equipment has actually been transferred.
Our carrier task force is transiting the Straits of Malacca and should arrive at a point near the center of the base of the Bay of Bengal this (15 Dec) evening. Rumors about this move are already widespread in the area where they are being combined with stories that the US is considering military assistance to Pakistan. In this connection, Ambassador Keating reports that these stories are spuring increasingly anti-US rallies and press attacks. The Ambassador says that he would be "deeply concerned and anxious" about the lives and welfare of Americans in India if the US were directly or indirectly to support Pakistan with US arms or equipment and would want to recommend at least partial evacuation if this is under serious consideration.3
The British are also moving some naval vessels into the area-a commando carrier and a frigate off the southern coast of Ceylon. Soviet task force, consisting of a guided missile cruiser, an oiler and a diesel powered submarine continues to steam through the South China Sea toward the Indian Ocean where if it continues on that course it should arrive in about three days. The Soviets have 12 other naval ships in the Indian Ocean, but none of these is in or known to be heading for areas near the Indo-Pakistani conflict.
3 In expressing his concern, Keating also asked for an assurance that the United States did not intend to support Pakistan with U.S. arms or equipment. (Telegram 19203 from New Delhi, December 14; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 573, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 12/14/71–12/16/71)
[Omitted here are summary reports on foreign policy issues unrelated to South Asia.)
311. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of
New Delhi, December 15, 1971, 1358Z.
19280. Subj: Indian Response to Niazi Ceasefire Proposal.
1. Haksar, Secretary to Prime Minister, called in DCM at 1800 hours local and handed him text of response from General Manekshaw to General Niazi.
2. Haksar said GOI was conveying response to Niazi through U.S. since we had been good enough to pass on original Niazi proposal. He described reply as a "carefully considered and sincere response" and called particular attention to cessation air attacks which took place at 1700 hours December 15.
3. Text of message which GOI requests be transmitted urgently to Niazi is as follows:
"For Lt. Gen. Niazi From Sam Manekshaw, Chief of the Army Staff India
Firstly—I have received your communication? re a cease fire in Bangla Desh at 1430 hours today through the American Embassy at New Delhi.
Secondly-I had previously informed General Farman Ali in two messages that I would guarantee (a) the safety of all your military and paramilitary forces who surrender to me in Bangla Desh. (b) Complete protection to foreign nations, ethnic minorities and personnel of West Pakistan no matter who they may be. Since you have indicated your desire to stop fighting I expect you to issue orders to all forces under your command in Bangla Desh to cease fire immediately and surrender to my advancing forces wherever they are located.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 INDIA-PAK. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Repeated to USUN, Islamabad, Calcutta, and Dacca.
See Document 300.
Thirdly—I give you my solemn assurance that personnel who surrender shall be treated with the dignity and respect that soldiers are entitled to and I shall abide by the provisions of the Geneva Convention. Further as you have many wounded I shall ensure that they are well cared for and your dead given proper burial. No one need have any fear for their safety no matter where they come from. Nor shall there be any reprisals by forces operating under my command.
Fourthly—Immediately I receive a positive response from you I shall direct General Aurorea the commander of Indian and Bangla Desh forces in the Eastern theatre to refrain from all air and ground action against your forces. As a token of my good faith I have ordered that no air action shall take place over Dacca from 1700 hours today.
Fifthly—I assure you I have no desire to inflict unnecessary casualties on your troops as I abhor loss of human lives. Should however you do not comply with what I have stated you will leave me with no other alternative but to resume my offensive with the utmost vigour at 0900 hours Indian Standard Time on 16 December.
Sixthly-In order to be able to discuss and finalise all matters quickly I have arranged for a radio link on listenint watch from 1700 hours Indian Standard Time today 15 December. The frequency will be 6605 (6605) KHZ by day and 3216 (3216) KHZ by night. Callsigns will be CAL (Calcutta) and DAC (Dacca). I would suggest you instruct your signallers to restore microwave communications immediately."
4. DCM assured Haksar message would be transmitted immediately. 5. Assume Department will authorize Dacca delivery.
The Department instructed the Consulate General in Dacca to pass Manekshaw's message to Niazi immediately. The Consulate General did so, and the Embassy in Islamabad passed a copy of the message to Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan. (Telegrams 225341 to Dacca, 5659 from Dacca, and 12593 from Islamabad, all December 15; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27-14 INDIA-PAK)
312. Memorandum of Conversation
Washington, December 15, 1971, 11:30 a.m.
Dr. Henry A. Kissinger
I met with Vorontsov at my request to hand him a draft letter to Kosygin (attached) on the need to put an end to hostilities.
Vorontsov said that I had to believe him that a major effort was being made to induce the Indians; however, they were not being very reasonable. I said that there was no longer any excuse; the President had made any number of personal appeals, all of which had been rejected, and it was time to move. Vorontsov asked me whether it could be dealt with in the United Nations. I told him yes, we were prepared to support the British Resolution? if the Soviet Union would. Vorontsov said that the British Resolution was not very agreeable; the Soviets were trying to promote the Polish Resolution.I said I wanted him to know that we would not agree to any resolution that recognized a turnover of authority. There was a question of principle involved. It was bad enough that the United Nations was impotent in the case of military attack; it could not be asked to legitimize it. However, as I pointed out, we were prepared to work in a parallel direction.
Vorontsov said that the letter presented some difficulties. The Soviet Union was prepared unconditionally to guarantee the United States that there would be no Indian attack on the Western front or on Kashmir, and that when they referred to West Pakistan they meant the existing dividing line. However, to do this publicly would mean that they were in effect speaking for a friendly country. After all, India was not a client state. I said that the course of events was obvious: Either there would be a ceasefire soon in the West anyway through the UN or through direct dealings with us, or else we would have to draw appropriate conclusions.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 492, President's Trip Files, Dobrynin/Kissinger, 1971, Vol. 8. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The meeting was held in the Map Room at the White House.
UN doc. S/10455. 3 UN doc. S/10453.
Vorontsov said, “In a little while we will go back to where we were." I said, “I have told you for two weeks now that this is not the case.” On this note, we left.4
Draft Letter From President Nixon to Soviet Chairman
Dear Mr. Chairman:
Now that the military conflict in East Pakistan appears to be moving to a conclusion, the most challenging task to both our countries, as great and responsible powers, is to see to it that the bloodshed should promptly end and that fighting does not continue in the West.
Although the United Nations has been seized with this difficult problem, efforts in that body have so far not resulted in progress, partly because of the difficulties of resolving political issues. It is not therefore urgently desirable that our two countries should take prompt and responsible steps to ensure that the military conflict does not spread and that assurances be given against territorial acquisition by either side? I know that
with me that when this has been successfully accomplished the dark cloud that now hangs over the international situation as a whole will have been substantially lightened. I hope therefore that we can cooperate to achieve an end to all the fighting, to remove the concern that the war will become one of conquest, and to eliminate the threat to peace that has arisen. This would, of course, not prejudice anybody's position with respect to an ultimate political solution.
I believe that efforts in the above direction must continue to be vigorously pursued.
4 Vorontsov called Kissinger at 1:20 p.m. to say that when he returned to his embassy he found a cable from Moscow reacting to their conversation of the previous day. Vorontsov was instructed to: “Advise President and Dr. Kissinger that we are in consultations with Indian leadership including in the Security Council.” The Soviet leadership promised to “inform President of substance of the matter.” (Transcript of a telephone conversation, December 15; Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)