280. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) and Deputy Prime Minister Bhutto 1

HAK: Mr. Bhutto. I have talked to the President and here is our view on the subject. First, in the light of all we have done, it is absolutely essential that we are not exposed to Chinese charges that we are not doing enough. Because if that is going to be the charge why should we do anything? I mean we are standing alone against our public opinion, against our whole bureaucracy at the very edge of legality.

Bhutto: Uh huh, I realize that fully.

HAK: So the Chinese just have to be made to understand what we are doing.

Bhutto: They will ….

HAK: Now secondly, if we do not hear from the Soviets tomorrow by tomorrow morning in reply to the presentations we have made to them, we will then go to the Security Council with a strong statement that a continuation of the war would be a naked case of aggression, and we would support our original resolution. I mean we will make the public statement, in that case there can be no doubt where we stand.

Bhutto: Yes.

HAK: Now after our original resolution is defeated, however, Mr. Minister, then I think you have to decide whether you want to go to a simple ceasefire resolution, because it isnʼt that we donʼt want to help you, it is that we want to preserve you. It is all very well to stand for principles, but finally we have to assure your survival. And that is the Chinese problem. We are heartbroken about what has happened, but our immediate problem now is what I told you this morning to assure your survival, so what we will do is first thing by tomorrow noon, [if] we have not an agreement on this procedure which we discussed this morning, then we will go to the Security Council (I mean we havenʼt put that procedure to the Russians, but if you do not get a satisfactory reply from them about ending the war) in any event we will go to the Security Council.

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Bhutto: That meets tomorrow evening or Monday.2

HAK: We will say tomorrow afternoon and we will go to them along the lines of our discussion this morning supporting a withdrawal part of a resolution.

Bhutto: I follow.

HAK: If after that is defeated, we should decide what you want. But we will make clear public statement tomorrow either at the Security Council or from the White House, depending on how it is played about Indian aggression. So your Chinese friends and our new Chinese acquaintances will have no reason to question where we stand.

Bhutto: No, but I hope you donʼt misunderstand.

(Call is interrupted by Haig—HAK tells Haig heʼll call back.)

Bhutto: But when the Ambassador mentioned it to you, I then took up the phone again. I impressed on them that we are completely satisfied—

HAK: No, no I am not complaining about—look you are in a very sad situation, and you are coming in at a late moment and we have all the sympathy for you, but one way you can help us is to make clear to the Chinese that we have been strong supporters.

Bhutto: I will make that abundantly clear.

HAK: Also, our Fleet will be crossing the Straits of Malacca tomorrow night, and then it will be partly visible.

Bhutto: I will make it abundantly clear to them tomorrow as (tape is blank at this point) … I want you to know that it is deeply appreciated what you are doing and we are eternally beholden.

HAK: Well, we are doing it for ourselves too.

Bhutto: You will see the affects of that when this crisis is over how we will express our appreciation.

HAK: No you donʼt have to worry about that, Mr. Prime Minister. We know where our friends are and you have been a loyal friend.

Bhutto: And you see the question is all that I said was we never want to think of bypassing you nor do we want to think of bypassing them.

HAK: No, you must be honest with both of us. My remarks were directed to them, not to you.

Bhutto: Yes, but I also want you to be clear in your mind, please as far as we are concerned, we know you have helped us and that in this crucial and critical hour, you stood by us. That to us means a great deal.

HAK: And we will continue to help and we do more tomorrow.

Bhutto: Fine, thank you so much.

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HAK: Goodbye and the best to you.

Bhutto: Hello, hello, hello. Gen. Raza says he is coming to Washington tomorrow and would like to see you tomorrow.

HAK: Well, yes, he should call me in the morning. It will be a hectic morning, but I will see him.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. No time is on the transcript. Kissinger was in Washington; Bhutto was in New York.
  2. December 13.