123. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

149411. Following is text of letter, dated August 14, 1971, from President to President Yahya to be delivered at FarlandWilliams Meeting with Yahya.2 Septel3 contains full guidance on Williams visit and discussions.

“Dear Mr. President:

Dr. Kissinger has reported to me concerning his visit to Islamabad and the productive talks he had with you and other officials of your Government on the problems which are now facing South Asia. I greatly appreciate the candor with which you discussed the serious situation in that part of the world, particularly the danger of hostilities.

You are keenly aware that to the dangers which have previously existed must now be added the possibility of serious food shortages in East Pakistan later this fall. We have sought to do our part to help alleviate the dangers through our appeals for restraint and through our full and active support of the humanitarian relief efforts arranged by the Secretary General of the United Nations. We plan to make a maximum effort in this regard.

Nonetheless, the situation remains extremely tense and in order for the dangers to recede it will be necessary to stabilize conditions in East Pakistan and to see a significant number of refugees begin to return from India. We would like to be helpful, and it is for this reason that I have asked Mr. Williams to go to Pakistan. He is a friend of Pakistan, and he fully shares my views of the situation and of what is required.

Both your officials and ours recognize that the most immediate priority is to mount a major effort to avert famine in East Pakistan. This step is fundamental to progress in re-establishing normal conditions. It will help those of us who want to help and will reduce the pretext for interference. I am confident that you also share our judgment that [Page 332] it would also be helpful in this task for you to continue your efforts to build on the program announced in your June 28 address4 for enlisting the support of the elected representatives of the East Pakistani people in the urgent work of national reconciliation.

All of these measures will be important in countering the corrosive threat of insurgency and restoring peace to your part of the world. They will also hasten the day when the United States and other countries can resume, within a revised national development plan, the task of assisting your countryʼs economic development which has been so tragically complicated and slowed by recent events.

In addition, demonstrable progress on the political front will mean that our own counsels of restraint in New Delhi will have a greater chance of success.

I have asked Ambassador Farland and Mr. Williams to share with you some additional thoughts on these subjects, in the same spirit of friendship which you have so kindly shown for them in the past and which has also characterized our own discussions. Finally, let me extend my warm regards and assure you again that I appreciate fully the tremendous tasks that you and your countrymen face.


Richard Nixon

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL PAKUS. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Quainton and White (NEA/INC) on August 13; cleared by Sisco, Van Hollen, Saunders, and NSC staff secretary Jeanne Davis; and approved by Irwin. Repeated to New Delhi, Dacca, and London for Ambassador Farland.
  2. A signed copy of the letter presented by Williams to Yahya on August 19 is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971).
  3. Telegram 149242 to Islamabad, August 14. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 PAK)
  4. See Document 84.