156. Telegram From the Mission to the United Nations to the Department of State1

Secto 02/3063. Subject: Discussion Between Secretary and FonMin Swaran Singh (India)—Bangla Desh—GOP Negotiations.

Summary: During conversation between Secretary and Indian FonMin Swaran Singh, Assistant Secretary Sisco reviewed recent discussion with Ambassador Jha in which he urged India to use influence with Bangla Desh reps to start dialogue with GOP.2 Swaran Singh replied that GOI does not have influence with Bangla Desh which has independent source of finance and is critical of GOI for its failure to recognize Bangla Desh. Said this did not mean India did not want dialogue.
Secretary urged GOI initiate dialogue without insisting upon Mujibʼs participation to see what could be accomplished. Swaran Singh replied that US has contacts with Bangla Desh people. It has greater influence, it should try bring about dialogue. Secretary concluded US would do what it could with GOP to get talks with Bangla Desh reps started. Said we hoped India could help. End summary.
During course of bilateral between Secretary and Indian FonMin Swaran Singh October 1, Assistant Secretary Sisco reviewed his recent discussion with Ambassador Jha in regard to dialogue between Bangla Desh reps and GOP. Taking off from Swaran Singhʼs emphasis on need for political settlement,3 Sisco emphasized importance of getting dialogue started and urged Indians not to insist that Mujib be participant. Said in view Indian concern over trend toward extremism [Page 430] among guerrillas was it not in Indiaʼs interest to influence Bangla Desh reps below level Mujib to start talking. Asked isnʼt this development which would serve interests India, Pakistan, and US?
Swaran Singh replied GOI did not have sufficient influence with Bangla Desh. Bangla Desh has independent finances brought out of East Pakistan and collected abroad. Furthermore, it is displeased over Indiaʼs failure to recognize Bangla Desh. Also Bangla Desh reps would suspect GOI of trying to divide them if Indians suggested leaving aside upper layer of leaders and starting dialogue. It was not that GOI opposed dialogue, but Mujib was important to it.
Secretary said dialogue below Mujib would not mean he had been abandoned. Discussion should be started to see what could be accomplished. Swaran Singh replied that US has contacts with Bangla Desh. It could try to start talks since it had greater influence. Secretary repeated that India had greater leverage.
Indian Perm. Rep. Sen restated US suggestion saying we proposed lower echelon discussions between Bangla Desh and GOP. Sisco replied there no lack of senior Bangla Desh people, including “foreign minister”. He was not proposing discussions between lower echelon people on either side. Said he did not accept FonMinʼs view that GOI lacked influence with BD. Sisco replied to doubts expressed by Sen regarding GOP willingness to talk and said we have not found any reluctance to open dialogue on part of GOP. Secretary concluded this part of conversation saying we would do what we could with GOP to get talks started with Bangla Desh. He hoped India would help.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Also sent to Islamabad, New Delhi, and Calcutta. Secretary Rogers was in New York for the autumn session of the UN General Assembly.
  2. A summary of Siscoʼs discussion with Jha on September 27 was transmitted to New Delhi on September 29 in telegram 178939. (Ibid., POL 27 INDIA–PAK)
  3. Earlier in the conversation Swaran Singh said that an average of 33,000 refugees were crossing from East Pakistan into India every day, exacerbating an already grave situation. He stated that humanitarian efforts to deal with the problem were only a palliative and emphasized that a political settlement was essential. India had no particular solution to propose but felt that the United States should use its leverage with Pakistan to bring about a solution. Rogers agreed on the need for a political settlement but he did not accept Swaran Singhʼs suggestion that the United States had the necessary leverage to promote a settlement. The United States would do what it could to help with the problem and would provide humanitarian relief, but Rogers said that it was not a U.S. problem and it was wrong for India to look to the United States for a solution. (Telegram 3062 from USUN, October 2; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, October 1–24, 1971)