167. Memorandum From President Nixon to his Assistant (Haldeman)1

In the Sunday, January 9, New York Times there is an article by Benjamin Wells on India–Pakistan. I want you to clip the article and without discussing it with Henry and stirring him up have a quiet talk with Bill Rogers. The problem is that somebody in State, with no justification whatever, is trying to continue a running battle with the White House on this issue. Of course, an idea as to how the State people feel is the disrespectful tone of the quote, “Nixon is mad at India, etc.,” rather than that the President is opposed to aiding India. You will also note that the high State Department official who gave the story to Wells made a big point of the fact that 104 million dollars in letters of credit were not cut off and that 30 million dollars or so in development loans were not cut off.

The difficulty with this kind of article is that it appears that the State Department bureaucracy is (one) disrespectful toward the President; (two) deliberately failed to follow his directions with regard to cutting off aid during the period of the war and thereafter; and (three) are trying to move back toward India at a time that we are for other reasons trying to play it cool.

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My attitude toward India, as Bill knows, is that in the long run we must continue to aid them, but I think we gain nothing whatever by running to them so fast and particularly in this manner which would lead Mrs. Gandhi to believe that the State Department was totally on her side, the President was the only one who was against her.

Bill has handled the questions in fine shape. What is needed is to have the government speak with one voice on this and not give an indication that policy enunciated by the President and Secretary of State is being undercut by career diplomats.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, President’s Personal Files, Box 3, Memoranda from the President, 1969–1974, Memos—January 1972. Confidential.