219. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan 1

218346. Subject: Letter from President Yahya.

Following is text of letter to President from President Yahya delivered to White House December 2:2

“Dear Mr. President,

I write to thank you most sincerely for your letter of November 273 which was delivered to me by Ambassador Farland. I deeply appreciate the measures taken by you to counsel restraint and to promote a withdrawal of forces. I especially take note of your kind offer to consider suggestions from my government and to discuss with you measures that will help reduce the risk of further conflict in South Asia. It is in this spirit that I address these few lines to you now.

As you are aware, I have done my utmost to resolve the problem with India peacefully. I have gone more than half way. I have done my best to keep the clashes localised and confined to East Pakistan. Ambassador Farland and Raza are being kept informed of developments and the evolving military situation. Unfortunately India has chosen the path of war, aided and abetted by Soviet Union, in a bid to break up my country. Time is fast running out and the choice before me has, indeed, become very limited.

I have, therefore, been seriously considering to make an approach to you for a final attempt to avert the impending catastrophe. I do so now.

The advice given to the Indian Prime Minister and indications of the U.S. opposition to any rash actions by India have apparently proved futile. Gesture such as the stoppage of two million dollars worth of arms supplies to India or delay in the signing of PL–480 and development loans are unlikely to change the Indian attitude at this stage. Therefore, I request for urgent consideration, Mr. President, the following measures:

issuance of a personal statement by you, condemning Indiaʼs aggression, aided and abetted by the Soviet Union, and calling for an [Page 606] immediate end to hostilities and withdrawal of opposing forces to safe distance behind their respective borders;
issuance of a statement by you strongly advising Soviet Union to desist from militarily supporting India in its aggression against Pakistan;
your agreement to my invoking Article I of the Pakistan–United States Bilateral Agreement of Co-operation signed on 5th March 19594 and meeting my request for military assistance in accordance with the provisions of this Agreement.5

Mr. President, Pakistan is determined to resist aggression launched by India which has enormous superiority of arms and equipment over us. The Russian involvement consisting of massive supplies of sophisticated arms to India has made our task much more difficult. Pakistan must, therefore, enlist powerful and tangible support of its friends in keeping with the solemn agreements signed with them, to meet this formidable challenge.

I shall be most anxiously awaiting your reply.

With warm personal regards, Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan.”

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Top Secret; Immediate;Nodis. Drafted by Laingen on December 2, cleared by Saunders, and approved by Van Hollen. Repeated to New Delhi and USUN.
  2. A copy of the letter was conveyed to the Department of State on December 2 under a covering letter from Kissinger to Rogers requesting that a draft reply be prepared on an urgent basis. (Ibid., POL PAKUS)
  3. See Document 206.
  4. See footnote 9, Document 218.
  5. Kissinger discussed Yahyaʼs request to invoke the terms of the 1959 treaty in a telephone conversation with Nixon on December 2. Nixon said: “We have a treaty and we have to keep it. That makes it imperative to cut off aid to India.” (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File)