206. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

214925. For Ambassador Farland. Subj: Presidential Message to President Yahya. Ref: State 212620.2

This cable contains Presidential letter to Yahya for delivery soonest.
As you will see from septels3 President has written to Mrs. Gandhi and PM Kosygin to urge that India agree promptly to talks with Pakistan looking towards mutual withdrawal of forces. In presenting Presidentʼs letter to Yahya, you should stress that we have urged GOI to name a representative promptly who could talk to a representative named by Yahya on how to achieve mutual withdrawals. You should also tell Yahya that we have also indicated to GOI willingness of Yahya to take first step in this regard, provided there is assurance of an Indian response. You will also want to tell President Yahya that we are informing Mrs. Gandhi of willingness expressed to you by Yahya in your conversation November 26 (Islamabad 11710)4 to consider UN observers on Pak side of East Pak borders.
For your information we believe GOI and GOP high level military representatives are best way to proceed; we do not want to get into middle of trying to work out details of disengagement. This has to be done on ground by military reps of two governments.

Text of letter to Yahya follows:

“Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter of November 22 in which you describe the deepening conflict along your countryʼs eastern borders with India. I am grateful to you for the continued friendship and candor in our relationship which your letter represents. You know the importance I attach to this.

[Page 568]

I am especially gratified to have reaffirmation of your strong desire to avoid what you so wisely say would be a senseless and destructive war with India. I have asked Ambassador Farland to convey to you directly what we have been trying to do recently, as friends of both Pakistan and India, to counsel restraint, to accomplish a withdrawal of forces, and to contribute to a lessening of tensions. I have made clear to the Government of India that the people and government of this country would not understand it if Indian actions led to broad scale hostilities. We are also continuing to make our views known on this to the Soviets, at the highest level.

Mr. President, my government intends to continue as a concerned friend of Pakistan to act in ways that hopefully might help prevent war between your country and India.

I have asked Ambassador Farland to keep in closest touch with you and your associates in the days ahead. We will welcome any suggestion your government may wish to discuss with us that will help reduce the risk of further conflict in South Asia.

With warm regards,

Richard M. Nixon

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Laingen on November 25; cleared by Van Hollen, Sisco, and Kissinger; and approved by Acting Secretary Irwin. Repeated to New Delhi, Moscow, London, USUN, Tehran, Calcutta, and Dacca.
  2. Telegram 212620 to Islamabad, November 23, transmitted the text of the letter from President Yahya to President Nixon, which was received at the White House on November 23; see footnote 4, Document 196.
  3. Document 205 and 207.
  4. Dated November 26. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA—PAK)