193. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Information Items

[Omitted here are summary reports on foreign policy issues unrelated to South Asia.]

Yahyaʼs Views: Ambassador Farland has met with Yahya to brief him on the results of Mrs. Gandhiʼs visit here. Yahya made the following major points:

  • —He expressed appreciation for the U.S. efforts to lessen the tensions that were daily becoming greater.
  • Mujib was not the key to negotiations but rather Indira Gandhi held “both the key and the lock.”
  • —He expressed disinclination to permit Mujib to designate a Bangla Desh representative who could speak on his own behalf and negotiate for the Bangla Desh movement with the Paks. On the other hand, his government would be happy to meet with Bangla Desh representatives under other conditions as he had said before.
  • —He sketched his scenario for a political settlement through promulgation of a constitution in mid-December, convening the National Assembly on December 27 and transfer of power “several weeks” thereafter. Then the new civilian government could, if it wished, deal with Mujib and Bangla Desh.
  • —He reaffirmed his decision to avoid war if at all possible and said that he would not start war.
  • —He is thinking of a plan which would turn over completely to the UN the administration of camps for returning refugees.

Farland had the impression that Yahya believes he is being boxed in by numerous pressures that are being exerted on him at home and abroad. For the first time he sensed “agitation” in Yahya. He thinks that Yahya had decided that his political plan is his only means of extricating himself from an untenable military and economic situation inflamed and fueled by India.

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 [Page 529] 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, continues 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.

[Omitted here is a summary report on a foreign policy issue unrelated to South Asia.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 37, Presidentʼs Daily Briefs. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.