110. Memorandum From Director of Central Intelligence Helms to the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Indian Reaction to Statement Attributed to You about U.S. Response in the Event of Indian Military Action in Bangla Desh

Following is an account [2 lines of source text not declassified] concerning a recent talk you had with Indian Ambassador L.K. Jha in Washington. This information will be given no further distribution unless you wish it.

[name not declassified] said that in a recent conversation held in Washington, Dr. Kissinger had made clear to Ambassador Jha that the United States Government (USG) would consider any Chinese invasion of India in response to any Indian action in the Bangla Desh context as entirely different from the Chinese invasion in 1962, and that the USG would provide no support to India, either military or political, in that event.
[name not declassified] remarked that while this was causing considerable concern at the highest levels of the Government of India (GOI), it was not being taken at those levels as a deliberate anti-Indian move on the part of the USG. According to [name not declassified], the leadership levels of the GOI believe that cautious steps toward normalization of U.S.-Chinese relations is to the net advantage of India and South Asia. [name not declassified] also remarked, however, that Dr. Kissingerʼs statement would be taken as an intentional anti-India posture on the part of the USG by the lower levels of MEA and by the Indian public if and when they learned of it.
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul–30 Nov 71. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem; No Dissem Abroad; Background Use Only. Sent to Kissinger on August 13 by Saunders under cover of a memorandum in which Saunders states: “You may want to compare how this message got through with whatever you told the Indians when you were in New Delhi on this subject. Will they regard this as a change in tack?” (Ibid.)