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Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976
Volume E–7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 182


182. Telegram 11295 from the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Department of State, December 13, 1971, 0211Z11. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Sent flash to the Department with a request to pass to the White House for the President and Secretary Rogers. Repeated flash to USUN.

DEC 71

FM AMEMBASSY LONDON

TO SECSTATE WASHDC FLASH 9571

INFO USMISSION USUN NEW YORK FLASH

PASS WHITE HOUSE FOR THE PRESIDENT AND THE SECRETARY

  • SUEBJECT:
  • INDO-PAK IN SECURITY COUNCIL
  • REF:
  • STATE 223700

1. I HAVE JUST HAD AN EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION WITH THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE FOREIGN SECRETARY WHO WERE ALREADY MEETING AT10 DOWNING STREET ON INDIA-PAKISTAN WHEN I RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS IN REFTEL. SINCE SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING WAS IMMINENT, I JOINED PRIME MINISTER AND FON SEC WITHOUT WAITING FOR TEXT OF DRAFT RESOLUTION WHICH WE RECEIVED A SHORT TIME AGO (STATE 223705) AND HAVE NOW MADE AVAILABLE TO THEM.

2. I TOLD THE PRIME MINISTER THAT THE US WAS CALLING FOR AN IMMEDIATE MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL WITH THE AIM OF HALTING FURTHER FIGHTING IN EAST PAKISTAN AND TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF FIGHTING IN THE WEST. I SAID THAT THE US INTENDED TO INTRODUCE A RESOLUTION TO THIS END AND EXPLAINED US VIEWS AS OUTLINED IN REFTEL. I ASKED THAT THE UKG SUPPORT THE US RESOLUTION.

3. THE PRIME MINISTER OBSERVED THAT HE AND THE FOREIGN SECRETARY HAD BEEN DISCUSSING THE SITUATION FOR SOME TIME. HE NOTED THAT THE UK WAS DEEPLY CONSCIOUS OF THE FACT THAT BOTH INDIA AND PAKISTAN WERE MEMBERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH. EVER SINCE THE SITUATION WORSENED, THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAD ENDEAVORED TO DO WHAT IT COULD TO GET BOTH COUNTRIES TO EXERCISE RESTRAINT. THE PRIME MINISTER BELIEVED THAT SUCH A COURSE HELD OUT MORE HOPE THAN TAKING POSITIONS WHICH ATTEMPTED FORMALLY TO FIX THE BLAME ON ONE COUNTRY OR THE OTHER FOR THE PRESENT SITUATION. FOR THIS REASON, THE UK HAD NOT THOUGHT IT RIGHT TO VOTE FOR THE RESOLUTIONS IN THE SECURITY COUNCIL, BUT RATHER TO ASSUME A POSITION WHICH HOPEFULLY WOULD ALLOW HMG TO RETAIN THE POSSIBILITY OE ACTING DIRECTLY VIS- A- VIS BOTH GOVERNMENTS BOTH NOW AND IN FUTURE.

4. BOTH HEATH AND DOUGLAS-HOME THOUGHT THAT AS A PRACTICAL MATTER THERE WAS LITTLE POSSIBILITY OF STOPPING THE INDIAN ARMY SHORT OF DACCA IN THE EAST. THE PRIME MINISTER SAID HE THOUGHT THAT THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM WAS TO TRY TO BRING ABOUT A CEASE FIRE AND PREVENT THE MASSACRE OF THE REMAINDER OF THE PAKISTAN ARMY IN THE EAST, AS WELL AS MILLIONS OF BIHARIS.

5. AS THE DISCUSSION DEVELOPED, THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE FOREIGN SECRETARY MADE CLEAR THEIR VIEW THAT ANY RESOLUTION CALLING FOR WITHDRAWAL OF INDIAN TROOPS FROM EAST PAKISTAN WOULD BE UNREALISTIC AND, IN ANY EVENT, WOULD BE VETOED BY THE SOVIET UNION. COMMENT: AGREE THAT TO EXPECT WITH- DRAWAI IF INDIAN FORCES IN THE EAST AT THIS JUNCTURE SEEMS UNREALISTIC AND BELIEVE A SOVIET VETO WOULD BE INEVITABLE.

6. THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE FOREIGN SECRETARY INDICATED THAT THEY HAD HOPED FOR CONSULTATION WITH THE USG BEFORE FURTHER ACTION IN THE UN. THEY BELIEVED THAT THE US CALL FOR AN IMMEDIAIATE URGENT MEETING OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL WAS PREMATURE AND ASKED THAT I URGENTLY REQUEST THAT THE INTRODUCTION OF THE US RESOLUTION BE DELAYED TO ALLOW FOR CONSULTATION.

7. HEATH AND DOUGLAS-HOME THEN SAID THEY THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE POSSIBLE TO DEVISE A RESOLUTION WHICH MIGHT BE ACCEPTABLE IN THE SC. THEY OUTLINED TERMS ALONG THE FOLLOWING LINES A CEASEFIRE IN THE WEST: THE GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO INSTRUCT THEIR MILTARY COMMANDERS IN THE EAST TO ENTER INTO CONTACT TO ARRANGE A CEASE FIRE: TAKE ALL POSSlLE STEPS TO AVERT FURTHER LOSS OE LIFE: THE GOVERNMENTS OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN TO ENTER NEGOTIATIONS TO REACH A POLITICAL SOLUTION FOR EAST PAKISTAN.

8. THE PRIME MINISTER GAVE INSTRUCTIONS TO SEND MESSAGES EMBODYING INSTRUCTIONS ALONG THE ABOVE LINES TO BRITISH REPRESENTATIVES IN WASHINGTON IN NEW YORK AND TO RELAY THE UK VIEWS TO THE PRESIDENT AND THE SECRETARY IN THE AZORES,

9. COMMENT: IT SEEMS CLEAR TO ME THAT IF THE US RESOLUTION IN ITS PRESENT FORM IS INTRODUCED AND VOTED ON IN THE SC, THE UK WILL ABSTAIN AS IT HAS PREVIOUSLY AND THE SOVIET UNION WILL VETO. IF, HOWEVER, THE USG IS PREPARED TO CONSIDER A RESOLUTION WHICH DOES NOT CALL FOR WITHDRAWAL OF INDIAN TROOPS, THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF WORKING OUT SOMETHING WHICH THE BRITISH WOULD SUPPORT AND WHICH THEY CONSIDER MIGHT HAVE A REASONABLE CHANCE OF ADOPTION IN SC.

10. THE BRITISH PRESENT ASSESSMENT IS THAT INDIA IS NOT SEEKING TERRITORIAL GAINS EITHER IN THE EAST OR WEST, ALTHOUGH BOTH THE PRIME MINISTER AND THE FOREIGN SECRETARY DID NOT SEEM TO ME TO BE FULLY PERSUADED THAT INDIA WOULD NOT TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SITUATION TO TRY TO FORCE SOME TERRITORIAL ADJUSTMENTS. SIR DENIS GREENHILL, WHO WAS ALSO PRESENT NOTED THAT BEFOR HOSTILITIES BEGAN AND INDIAN MINISTER HAD INDICATED TO HIM THAT IF WAR CAME, INDIA WOULD MAKE THE MOST OF THE SITUATION TO SETTLE THE PAKISTAN PROBLEM ONCE AND FOR ALL. ALL THREE REITERATED, HOWEVER, THAT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT HAD IN RECENT DAYS SOUGHT AND RECEIVED ASSURANCES FROM THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT THAT IT DID NOT SEEK TERRITORIAL GAINS.

ANNENGERG

1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Sent flash to the Department with a request to pass to the White House for the President and Secretary Rogers. Repeated flash to USUN.