17. Minutes of Senior Review Group Meeting1


  • Greece and Pakistan


  • Chairman—Henry A. Kissinger
  • State
    • Mr. U. Alexis Johnson
  • Defense
    • Mr. David Packard
    • Mr. James S. Noyes
  • JCS
    • Lt. Gen. Richard T. Knowles
  • CIA
    • Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
    • Mr. David Blee
  • VP Office
    • Mr. Kent Crane
  • NSC Staff
    • Col. Richard T. Kennedy
    • Mr. Keith Guthrie


[Omitted here are conclusions relating to Greece.]


1. The SRG briefly reviewed current developments in East Pakistan.

[Omitted here is discussion relating to Greece.]


Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Johnson) Can you give us a two-minute rundown on Pakistan?

Mr. Johnson: You probably know more than I do. We are approaching the Pakistanis about getting planes in to evacuate our people. As the story [of what is happening in East Pakistan]2 comes out, [Page 41] we are going to face a sort of Biafra situation. You might be interested in the Secretaryʼs [Rogersʼ]3 comment: “Sentiment in India may force the Indians to be the first to recognize unless Ambassador Keating beats them to the punch.”

Lt. Gen. Cushman: That [what Mr. Johnson reported]3a is about all we have. The Pakistani situation is posing a problem for India by raising the question of whether they should try to help the Bengalis.

Dr. Kissinger: India is the one country that would suffer from the establishment of an independent East Pakistan.

Mr. Packard: How much fighting is there?

Lt. Gen. Cushman: Dacca is quiet.

Mr. Blee: Chittagong has been hit badly. The Indians are having a problem with East Pakistani refugees.

Dr. Kissinger: What is our judgment on the countryside generally? Can 30,000 troops do anything against 75 million people?

Lt. Gen. Cushman: It could be very bloody.

Dr. Kissinger: Unless it turns out that with the cities under control of the government, the countryside will be indifferent.

Mr. Blee: The Bengalis may be pretty indifferent if they think they really arenʼt in a position to fight.

Dr. Kissinger: Is the countryside politically conscious?

Mr. Blee: The Bengalis are extremely politically conscious, but they are not fighters.

Mr. Johnson: In the long run, it will be difficult for 35,000 troops to maintain control over 75 million people.

Mr. Blee: In the long run there will be pressure. The Bengalis may seek help from the Indians.

Dr. Kissinger: Will the Indians provide it?

Mr. Blee: Four hundred Indian parliamentarians signed a statement in favor of recognizing East Pakistan.

Lt. Gen. Cushman: If India doesnʼt provide support, the Communist Chinese will.

Mr. Blee: The Communist Chinese are on the other [West Pakistani]3b side right now, but they could change.

Dr. Kissinger: Does the government have Mujibur Rahman?

Mr. Blee: They captured him. Presumably he is in West Pakistan, perhaps in Quetta.

[Page 42]

Dr. Kissinger: Will they execute him?

Mr. Blee: The [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reports we have been getting indicate they might do so. It would be more sensible for them to keep him comfortable in captivity in order to use him as a pawn.

Lt. Gen. Cushman: Yahya accused him of treason. Possibly he has been shot already or was shot inadvertently.

Dr. Kissinger: Are we going to keep VOA quiet about reports coming from our Consul?

Mr. Johnson: That was not VOAʼs fault. It was Charlie Brayʼs.4 Frankly, we slipped on this. VOA just picked up what Charlie said at the briefing. Charlie talked on the basis of his daily report. No one had briefed him on the sensitivity of the Consulate communications.

Dr. Kissinger: I didnʼt know about that either until I saw Farlandʼs blast.5

Mr. Blee: If the Indians recognize the Government of Bangla Desh, the Pakistanis might recognize Kashmir. However, this doesnʼt look probable.

Dr. Kissinger: There is no government to recognize in East Pakistan.

Mr. Blee: There is a radio [that purports to speak for the government of East Pakistan].6

Dr. Kissinger: Where is it located?

Mr. Blee: Probably in one of the small towns.

Dr. Kissinger: Did they kill Professor Razak? He was one of my students.

Mr. Blee: I think so. They killed a lot of people at the university.

Dr. Kissinger: They didnʼt dominate 400 million Indians all those years by being gentle.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–112, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret; Nodis. No drafting information is indicated on the source text. The meeting was held in the Conference Room at the Western White House in San Clemente, California.
  2. Brackets in the source text.
  3. Brackets in the source text.
  4. Brackets in the source text.
  5. Brackets in the source text.
  6. Spokesman of the Department of State.
  7. On March 27 Ambassador Farland reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had registered a complaint about a report broadcast by the Voice of America, All India Radio, and the BBC, which cited Consul General Blood as the source of a report that heavy fighting was taking place in Dacca and that tanks were being used. Farland noted that, despite the fact that communications between Islamabad and Dacca had been severed, he had denied that Blood was the source of the report. He also said that he had counseled against spreading incendiary rumors. (Telegram 2770 from Islamabad; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9)
  8. Brackets in the source text.