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

After meeting this morning in New York with Bhutto,2 Raza and Shahi we have concluded that the proposal we have been considering (contained in my message of December 93 and paragraph 3 of your [message number not declassified])4 has been overtaken by events and is too complicated to succeed here. Therefore, we have agreed to following scenario:

Government of Pakistan will obtain third-country support to introduce resolution in Security Council which will include provision for both ceasefire and withdrawal.
It is likely that such a resolution would be vetoed. We would then move to accept simple ceasefire without any linkage to the Soviet formulation which would seek political negotiation.
While remaining adamant in step (2) that ceasefire alone is essential first step, we would express willingness to include political negotiation following establishment of ceasefire.

Were we to follow any other course, it would look like complete collapse. Furthermore, should we start Security Council action with step (2) above, there is strong possibility that step (2), itself, might be vetoed if it were presented as initial position. Its chances of succeeding on second round are greatly enhanced by moving with step (1) first, recognizing that step (1) will probably not succeed.

Please meet with President Yahya urgently and explain foregoing and urge upon him essentiality of sticking with the procedure and of [Page 768] avoiding initially any indication that proposals short of step (1) might be acceptable.5 Pak delegation here is prepared to do same.

Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only; Flash. No time of transmittal is indicated on the message.
  2. Bhutto was named Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in the civilian government formed by Yahya Khan on December 7. Yahya remained as President and Nural Amin became Prime Minister. On December 8 Yahya sent Bhutto to the United Nations to join Ambassador Shahi in mustering support for Pakistan in its conflict with India. (Telegram 12215 from Islamabad, December 8; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 PAK) A handwritten record of Kissingerʼs conversation with Bhutto, prepared by Haig, is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 999, Haig Chronological File, Haig Memcons To Be Done [1 of 4].
  3. Document 259.
  4. See Document 271.
  5. Farland responded on December 12 that he had discussed with President Yahya the UN scenario laid out in Kissingerʼs message and Yahya had “expressed his full accord with the procedures suggested.” Yahya indicated that Ambassador Shahi would be instructed accordingly. (Backchannel message from Farland to Kissinger; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages 1971, Amb. Farland, Pakistan)