187. Backchannel Message From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to the Ambassador to Pakistan (Farland)1

To be delivered opening of business November 15, 1971.

The President would appreciate it if you could give us in this channel your personal assessment of the situation in South Asia. We are receiving conflicting views as to the situation and how it is perceived by Yahya Khan. Some say he is desperate and cannot continue for long to control situation and therefore he would welcome our pressing him to a political solution. Others doubt this view.
Would appreciate your assessment of how seriously Yahya views the three proposals which he discussed with you and how he sees their relative priority.2 State, for example, thinks that the third proposal, i.e., agree to talk with anyone chosen by Mujib, is a [Page 520] serious one which we can pursue. Is this assessment accurate in your judgment?
The Presidentʼs views have not changed. He does not want our pressure to be added to that of India, but does wish to be helpful to Yahya. If you feel any instructions you receive go beyond our discussions in July, you should seek guidance directly in this channel before taking any action.
We are counting on you in this delicate situation to keep us fully informed, to give us your candid assessments of developments and to keep the lid on impetuous moves.

Warm regards

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages, 1971, Amb. Farland, Pakistan. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only.
  2. Reference is to proposals affecting a possible political settlement put forward by Yahya in his conversation with Farland on November 2. Yahya indicated that he was willing to consider revision of the constitution to restructure the relationship between the two wings of the country. He also said that he did not view the Awami League as a “nefarious institution.” If purged of its “secessionist leaders,” he saw “no obstacle to its revalidation by the forthcoming civilian government.” Finally, Yahya said that he was willing to engage in substantive discussions with Bangladesh representatives who were in a position to act constructively. (Telegram 10964 from Islamabad, November 3; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 29 PAK)