186. Editorial Note

President Nixon met at the White House on the afternoon of November 15, 1971, with Pakistani Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan. Nixon briefed Sultan Khan on his conversations with Prime Minister Gandhi, assuring him that “we talked very directly” with her. With regard to United States policy in dealing with the developing crisis in South Asia, Nixon said: “What we are trying desperately to do is not to allow this terrible tragedy, the agony that youʼre going through, [to] be a pretext to start a war.” “The important thing,” he added, “is we know, I know, that this is one of those terrible problems that, frankly, must be solved [Page 519] by political solution, it must not be solved by force. We simply want to play a role that will be helpful. We will try to restrain to the extent that we have any influence the Indians. We will do everything we can to try to help you in your cause.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of conversation between President Nixon and Foreign Secretary Sultan Mohammed Khan, November 15, 1971, 4:31–4:39 p.m., Oval Office, Recording No. 617–17)

Sultan Khan also met with Secretary of State Rogers on November 15. A summary of their conversation was transmitted to Islamabad on November 17 in telegram 208999. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 PAK)