135. Memorandum From Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • RogersDobrynin Talk on South Asia2

You may have already seen the account of Secretary Rogersʼ talk with Dobrynin on Wednesday. (attached)3

[Page 370]

In response to the Secretaryʼs probing concerning the Soviet position on South Asia, Dobrynin made the following major points:

  • —The USSR has no interest in conflict in the area and Soviet policy has been directed toward reducing the danger of conflict.
  • —Some recent developments make it appear to the public, perhaps erroneously, that the US favors Pakistan. After hearing the Secretaryʼs explanation of our arms policy toward Pakistan, Dobrynin implied he understood that in fact that issue was relatively insignificant but that press reports had inflamed tempers.
  • —The intent of the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty was to calm the Indians by assuring them that they had friends at a time when they suspected the Pakistanis of planning hostilities. Dobrynin added the treaty seemed in fact to have had the intended effect.
  • —The guerrilla action in East Pakistan is “practically over” and the real problem is coping with seven million refugees. Dobrynin further volunteered that the Soviets were giving no encouragement to the separatist movement in East Pakistan and said the Soviets had informed the Indians that they will not support demands for a separatist state.
  • —As for Soviet involvement with the Bengali guerrillas, Dobrynin stated, “we do not like to be involved in such things.”

Contrary to the WSAG discussions on August 17 and the subsequent memo4 you sent to each of the members, State never cleared this approach to the Soviets with us. I have raised this matter with Acting Assistant Secretary Atherton (acting for Sisco) who said it was “out of his hands.” I also said that despite the RogersDobrynin talk, we were still expecting to receive the broader scenario for a US approach to the Soviets “before” the outbreak of hostilities.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 1/1/71–9/30/71. Secret. Sent for information.
  2. The portion of the conversation that dealt with South Asia was summarized in telegram 156613 to Moscow, August 25. (Ibid.)
  3. August 25; attached but not printed.
  4. Kissinger circulated a memorandum on August 18 to the CIA, the JCS, and the Departments of State and Defense in which he reiterated the decisions reached by the WSAG in their meeting on August 17. He stipulated that in drawing up scenarios for U.S. approaches to China and the Soviet Union on the crisis in South Asia the State Department should clear any such approach with the White House before taking action. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–082, WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 8/17/71)