141. Paper Prepared by Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff1


In addition to the issues arising from the continuing refinement of our contingency planning, there are several other issues that should be considered at this point. These arise either from actions we have already taken or may wish to take in the relatively near future.

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Williamsʼ Trip. As you know, Maury Williams has returned from his trip to Pakistan. His written report2 is attached to this memo, and he is prepared to report orally to the WSAG.

On the basis of his experiences, Williams has some specific recommendations for future action. He feels that refugees and relief in both India and Pakistan are integral parts of the same problem. On the relief side, the critical element for the success of our efforts is the acceptance, or tolerance, by all parties—Pakistan, Bengali insurgents and India—that food and humanitarian concern for the Bengalis is “above the battle.” On the refugee question, Williams sees the need for an equivalent “cease and stand fast” situation to break the vicious circle of the refugee influx leading to increased Indian support to the insurgents and the Pak army fighting back with policies encouraging more Hindu refugees to leave and never return. Specifically, Williams suggests that:

We urge on Yahya a public declaration of protection for all minorities and that he back up the new Bengali Governor, Dr. A.M. Malik, in measures to reduce the emotions against the remaining Hindus.
[We] parallel our approach to Pakistan on relief needs and administration with similar discussions in India at the appropriate level. Among other things, we would (a) encourage the Indians to help exempt the movement of relief supplies within East Pakistan from insurgent attack; (b) seek Indian recognition that intensification of the insurgency only produces more refugees; (c) seek help in obtaining a 60-day “dampening” of insurgent activity to permit a cooling of anti-Hindu passions in East Pakistan and improve the atmosphere for possible negotiations between Pakistani and “Bangla Desh” representatives; and (d) seek acceptance of UN observers statement [stationed] in East Pakistan having the freedom to cross into India on valid refugee business.

Comment: The security of food distribution in East Pakistan is a crucial issue. Our next step should be to devise approaches to persuade the insurgents not to attack it.

Arms Supply to Pakistan. This is an old issue returned with new problems because of Joe Siscoʼs discussion with Hilaly.3 The basic issue at this point is whether Siscoʼs proposition to the Paks of trading our “cutoff” [Page 382] of military supply for a resumption of economic assistance is tenable. It could well turn out that Sisco has given an empty promise of economic aid in exchange for a cut-off of virtually nothing in the military supply pipeline. If this is true, Yahyaʼs willingness to give up quietly what little military supply remains for vital economic aid could quickly turn to pique if he comes to believe that in fact aid may not be forthcoming in the large and fairly immediate quantities Sisco seemed to indicate.

Bangla Desh-West Pakistani Talks. If Yahya gives the signal to go ahead (Ambassador Farland will see him on Saturday)4 and the “Bangla Desh” representatives agree, we may soon be on the sidelines of secret exploratory talks between them. The main issue then for us will be at what moment, if ever, and how we should use our influence to help produce a settlement. Siscoʼs inclination, as in the Middle East, will probably be to jump right into a mediatory role just as soon as there is any opportunity. However, to make our limited influence count most will require careful timing and employment of it with Yahya, if at all.

New Approach to India. As you know, Under-Secretary Irwin would like to make a trip to India before too long to parallel Williamsʼ trip to Pakistan. The main issue here is not so much the principle of a new high-level approach to India but its substance and who makes the pitch. Irwin seems to have in mind using the same old refrain of restraint and mild threat, but, just as we were with Pakistan, we may well want to consider a new approach to India. There may be some new elements we can add. Williams, for example, seems to have some thoughts worthy of consideration. As for who does the job, State, especially after the Williams trip, will insist that they do it and Irwin would be much better than unleashing Sisco on the Indians.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–082, Senior WSAG Meeting, South Asia, 9/8/71. Secret;Nodis. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. It was sent to Kissinger by Saunders and Hoskinson on September 3 under cover of a memorandum that refers to a paper they were preparing on the Williams report. (Ibid.)
  2. Maurice Williams submitted a report to Secretary Rogers on September 3 on the trip he made to Pakistan August 17–23. Rogers sent a copy of the report to President Nixon on September 13. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 PAK) The report is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 143.
  3. See Document 131.
  4. September 4.