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

Foll for Dr. Henry Kissinger from Ambassador Farland:

Have reported results of my conversation Nov. 18 to State through Islamabad 11484.2 It reflects that Yahya is determined to proceed on his own political plan of action for a ‘political solution’ between East and West Pakistan. He considers he has a viable plan of operation going for him. Will convene Assembly Dec. 27 and expects to turn power over to civilian government within about two weeks thereafter. He gave me the impression he was zealously anxious to extricate himself from a deteriorating situation by stepping down, thus accomplishing his prime objective, i.e., the transfer of power. From our conversation I seriously question if he will deviate from what he has as his blueprint.
As reported reftel, Yahya is not interested in discussing political settlement with Mujibʼs designee, but continues to be interested in talks as reported paragraph 6 Islamabad 10927.3
I have definite impression that Yahya is beginning to feel cornered. For the first time he was somewhat testy during our conversation. He reaffirmed fact that he would not institute war with India, but we are dealing with a military man whose reactions have been preconditioned. Therefore I sincerely hope that Mrs. Gandhi be cautioned to the fullest by all interested governments, and that as a result of these admonishments she will prevent her generals from instituting any further incursions into Pak territory. Otherwise this thing could blow.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971. Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. The text of this message was conveyed to Haig in a November 19 memorandum. (Ibid.)
  2. Telegram 11484 from Islamabad, November 19. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 PAK) The telegram is summarized in Document 193.
  3. In telegram 10927 from Islamabad, November 2, Farland reported on a conversation he had with President Yahya that day. Paragraph 6 outlined Yahyaʼs conditions for meeting with a leader of the Bangladesh rebels. Yahya said he would grant “white flag” passage to and from West Pakistan, but he would not meet with a Bangladesh representative who had been judged guilty of a major crime. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 32–1 PAK)