114. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India1
Washington, August 6, 1971, 1807Z.
143415. Strictly Eyes Only for Ambassador Keating and Chargé Sober from the Secretary.
- I am increasingly concerned at public and intelligence indications that both Indian and Pakistani governments are beginning to feel war may be inevitable and are tending to act on that assumption. Pak and Indian air forces are on alert. Government of West Bengal has been informed that after August 15 it may not rely on presence of Indian army troops for internal security purposes. Bangla Desh guerrillas appear to hope to mount major offensive in September. Cross-border shelling by both Indians and Pakistanis has increased as has tempo of guerrilla activity which is shifting from sabotage to direct attacks on West Pakistani forces. In addition Indian rejection of UN presence on its side of border and efforts to exclude foreign relief workers from refugee areas suggest greater Indian sensitivity about activities in these areas.
- With these indications of rising danger in view you should seek early opportunity to meet with Foreign Minister or Foreign Secretary to express our continued concern at dangers of situation and our hope GOI will continue to act with utmost restraint. Specifically you should ask GOI to take no action which would exacerbate situation and to use its influence with Bengali guerrilla forces to prevent creation of situation in which guerrilla activities could lead to hostilities. We would hope GOI would refrain from public statements which would raise level of tension and would make no military deployment which might seem to be provocative.
- You may also tell Foreign Minister that we are making equally strong appeal in Islamabad and are well aware that restraint is not merely question for one side alone. We recognize that in cases of border incidents both sides must act with restraint and we are so informing GOP. You should stress in your presentation our view that war is in no oneʼs interests in area.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Quainton (NEA/INC) on August 3; cleared by Peter Constable (NEA/PAF), Van Hollen, Johnson (U), and Haig; and approved by Rogers. Repeated to Islamabad. According to an August 4 memorandum from Saunders to Kissinger, Kissinger also cleared the telegram. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 1/1/71–9/30/71)↩