174. Briefing Prepared for President Nixon 1
PRESIDENTʼS SATURDAY BRIEFING
Indo-Soviet Relations: From all indications, the Soviets appear to be keeping an unusually close watch on the situation in South Asia. At the end of last week, Deputy Foreign Minister Firyubin made a hurriedly arranged trip to New Delhi apparently to get a fresh reading on the situation. Then yesterday a military delegation, headed by the [Page 483] commander of the Soviet air force and including representatives of the other services, arrived with little advance preparation.2
If nothing else, this is a graphic demonstration of the consultation clause in the new “friendship” treaty. It also would seem to reflect Soviet concern that the Indo-Pak military confrontation could blow up into full scale fighting.3 By visibly demonstrating their support for India, the Soviets may hope to deter the Paks from taking any rash actions.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Indo-Pak Crisis, Withdrawn Files, Boxes 570–573. No classification marking. Prepared on October 29 by Hoskinson and Saunders for an October 30 briefing of the President. The memorandum does not indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by Kissinger.↩
- Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Firyubin visited New Delhi October 22–27. The military delegation, which arrived in New Delhi on October 28, was headed by Marshal Pavel Kutakhov, Deputy Defense Minister and Chief of Staff of the Soviet Air Force. An analysis prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research on November 3 concluded that Firyubin assured India of continued Soviet support in the event of hostilities and Kutakhov conveyed a Soviet willingness to discuss an emergency military supply program for India. (Intelligence Note; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA–PAK)↩
- An intelligence report circulated on October 15 indicated that the Soviet Union had assured India that in the event of a war between India and Pakistan, India “would not be alone.” (Intelligence Information Cable TDCS DB–215/06104–71; ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 597, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. IV, 1 Jul– 30 Nov 71)↩