225. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and His Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

RN: Upon studying these reports2 on Pakistan—the main thing that needs to be done is the public relations side of it. As far as the White House, we are weaker than we should be. I want it to be a necessity to get Scali turned loose on what we are doing—what we have done and blame India. The “Libs” can say we brought this on by the arms support to Pakistan. That will be their argument. India will be doing “PR” to make Pakistan look like it caused it. Get the point?

HAK: Yes.

RN: Be sure to give Scali free rein. He must understand it.

HAK: I am setting out to do some background.

RN: Let him be responsible about [for?] it. State should be pitching it.

HAK: They are being very even handed—they are more interested in how they look.

[Page 628]

RN: Well, I understand. When [omission in the source text] thought the Russians were responsible they were loving it. The Indians are picking up on Chinaʼs faults.

HAK: This is the worse setback for two weeks. We have known what is needed and couldnʼt get it down [done?] We should have [omission in the source text] when they started two weeks ago.

RN: Going from here, this couldnʼt or canʼt go on long.

HAK: India is now waging a full-scale war on East Pakistan. India will be then moving in on West Pakistan.

RN: What other lines can we go—what about the Security Council.

HAK: At the Security Council, the Indians and Soviets are going to delay long enough so a resolution cannot be passed. If it was, the Soviets would veto. UN will be impotent. So the Security Council is just a paper exercise—it will get the Post and Times off our backs. And the Libs will be happy that we turned it over to the UN. The damage wonʼt show up for a few years. At the moment we retrench around the world, this proves that countries can get away with brutality.

RN: Now, what else?

HAK: I think we should get [hold?] off [on?] letters of credit worth 99M—that is underway. We should not be giving any economic aid in India. We gave 60% to [of] economic development to India.

RN: Say I want Scali to blame India.

HAK: Iʼll get Scali.

RN: Letʼs get some PR out on them—put the blame on India. It will also take some blame off us. Our story about getting off militarily didnʼt get much play. They will feel the economic one. We have got to help rebuild Pakistan.

RN: [HAK?] Sure—major economic development for Pakistan in a month when the smoke clears.

RN: The U.S. cannot be responsible for maintaining peace every place in the world. We can use our influence, but may not always be successful. American public will welcome that.

HAK: We wonʼt get blamed. Walters (Barbara) was in the other day and she asked about India/Pakistan and I gave her some facts. She said why not put it out, for godʼs sake. I couldnʼt get any of the bureaucrats to do it. We will put out the facts, Mr. President.

RN: Meantime, we assure that things will continue.…

HAK: If war does continue, give aid via Iran.

RN: Good, at least Pakistan will be kept from being paralyzed.

HAK: It is the PR that is the important thing—Scali, Bush. We will put in a resolution asking for withdrawal and ceasefire.

[Page 629]

RN: How about sanctioning.

HAK: No before we get it—we wonʼt get it thru at all—the Soviets will veto if it gets a majority. Now that India will occupy all of Pakistan we will see their real motives. If the East Bengalis get [omission in the source text], if they think Pakistan is brutal, wait till India gets them. India will push the Moslems into a much narrower area than they already have. For all those reasons, the Indians will not run like injured victims in six months.

RN: Will the press get [the?] point—to talk as though the Indians are the aggressors? Call Sisco and tell him to do the background and I expect to see it in the news summaries this evening.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. The President was in Key Biscayne, Florida; Kissinger was in Washington.
  2. Not further identified.