191. Briefing Prepared for President Nixon1


Situation in India: Ambassador Keating reports that since Mrs. Gandhi has returned to New Delhi most observers feel that she is attempting to lower the political temperature there for the time being at least. She seems to be telling the Indian people and the world that, while she has no intention of reducing the pressure on Pakistan by withdrawing Indian troops from the frontiers or reducing support to the guerrillas, she is prepared to wait for some unspecified period to see whether the international communityʼs efforts to get Yahya into a dialogue with the Awami League are successful before initiating more decisive action. A frequent comment from Indian and foreign observers is that Mrs. Gandhi remains, as before her trip, less hawkish than the country as a whole and that she apparently continues to work to avoid a major war.

The above is the positive side of the picture. Our intelligence indicates that complementing this public posture is continuing planning for possible military intervention in East Pakistan and serious incidents, reflecting an aggressive Indian posture in support of the guerrillas, continue to flare up along the East Pakistan border. It is also worth noting that some official U.S. observers believe that the Indian and guerrilla pressures on the Pak forces could be gradually building up to a point at which the Paks could be goaded into counteractions which could precipitate a full-scale war.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, Oct 25–Nov 22, 1971. Secret. Prepared on November 19 by Hoskinson and Saunders for a November 20 briefing. The memorandum does not indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by Kissinger. A note indicates that the information was distilled from telegram 11476 from Islamabad, November 18; telegrams 17736 and 17805 from New Delhi, November 15 and 16, respectively; and CIA telegram TDCS DB–315/06847–71, November 16; copies of which were attached.