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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971

Editor:
Louis J. Smith
General Editor:
Edward C. Keefer

United States Government Printing Office
Washington
2005

Department of State
Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs



Overview

The scope of this volume is limited to the political crisis that began in Pakistan in March 1971 with the government's efforts to suppress Bengali demands for virtual autonomy in East Pakistan and concluded with the establishment of the state of Bangladesh at the end of the year. The limited time frame covered by the volume enabled the editor to compile the record of the Nixon administration's response to the crisis in considerable detail. The crisis was managed largely out of the White House by President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger, with the support of the National Security Council staff. The focus of the volume is on the management of the crisis by Nixon and Kissinger. The editor selected documentation to trace the evolution of the United States response to the crisis from Nixon's initial reluctance to become involved to his "tilt" toward Pakistan which was highlighted by the despatch of the aircraft carrier Enterprise to the Bay of Bengal to act as a restraint on India in the war that had developed between India and Pakistan as a result of the crisis. Nixon's response to the crisis in Pakistan was conditioned in part by the concern that he and Kissinger had to protect the emerging opening to China, which had been facilitated by Pakistani President Yahya Khan. The volume documents that concern, as well as the assurance offered to China that the United States would protect China from the Soviet Union if China took military action against India in support of Pakistan. The record of the Nixon administration's management of the crisis in South Asia thus also bears importantly on United States relations at the time with China and the Soviet Union. In that respect, the volume should be read in conjunction with Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XVII, China, 1969-1972; volume XIII, Soviet Union, October 1970- October 1971; and volume XIV, Soviet Union, October 1971-May 1971.

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