285. Memorandum of Conversation1



  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    Richard Helms, Director, CIA
  • John N. Irwin II, Under Secretary of State
    U. Alexis Johnson, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
    Joseph J. Sisco, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs [Page 790] Maurice Williams, AID
  • Admiral Moorer, Chairman, JCS
  • Warren Nutter, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs

Kissinger: Let me give you the Presidentʼs decisions:

  • Bush will go to the Security Council.
  • Ziegler will put out the following statement. [He reads the White House statement.]2
  • —We want on record the strongest possible statement calling for an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal.
  • —If this is vetoed, we must call this aggression.
  • —Instructions are to go to Bush; the timing is today.
  • —There will be no backgrounding. There must be a united government for the next 72 hours.

Irwin: Bush is to introduce this resolution?3

Kissinger: Either we do it ourselves or we get some others to do it, for example, Somalia. The resolution should be based on the General Assembly Resolution. Bush should work with Bhutto to get the strategy clear. After this, if itʼs vetoed, we may be able to fall back if Bhutto wants it. We have no indication of this. In first round we must be very firm.

[Page 791]

Sisco: Tell him to put a resolution together and consult with Bhutto.

Kissinger: The President wants all our officers to emphasize how important and serious this is, and edge toward calling it aggression.

The Fleet is to go.

Moorer: The plan is to move through the Straits4 and then into the Indian Ocean. In 45 hours they can move where we want them. Itʼs a carrier, 4 destroyers, an oiler and amphibious force (the Tripoli) with three destroyers—all set to go at daylight Monday, their time.

Kissinger: Send it where there are Americans—say, Karachi. Defense can comment that theyʼre sent to help in a possible evacuation.

Irwin: Will we announce it?

Kissinger: Wait for a question. Are there any Americans in West or East Pakistan?

Irwin: Yes, in both.5

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–083, WSAG Meeting, Pakistan, 12/12/71. Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the memorandum.
  2. Brackets in the source text. The text of the statement released by the Office of the White House Press Secretary on December 12 reads as follows: “On December 7th the General Assembly by a vote of 104 to 11 with 10 abstentions called on India and Pakistan to institute an immediate cease-fire and to withdraw troops from each otherʼs territory. Pakistan has accepted the resolution. India has refused. In view of Indiaʼs defiance of world opinion expressed by such an overwhelming majority the United States is now returning the issue to the Security Council. With East Pakistan virtually occupied by Indian troops, a continuation of the war would take on increasingly the character of armed attack on the very existence of a member state of the U.N. All permanent members of the Security Council have an obligation to end this threat to world peace on the most urgent basis. The United States will cooperate fully in this effort.” (Circular telegram 223703 to New Delhi, Islamabad and 15 other posts, December 12; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK)
  3. Instructions concerning the draft resolution Ambassador Bush was to introduce in the Security Council were sent to USUN in telegram 223687, December 12. (Ibid., POL 27–14 INDIA–PAK/UN) The Security Council convened at the request of the United States on December 12. (UN doc. S/10444) Bush reviewed the evolution of the crisis to that point, pointed to the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on December 7 which had called for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of forces, and noted that Pakistan had accepted the terms but India had not. Bush charged India with responsibility for broadening the crisis and for obstructing, with Soviet support, United Nations efforts to facilitate a solution. He said the Security Council had a responsibility to demand that India comply with the Assemblyʼs resolution. (UN doc. S/PV.1611) Bush introduced a resolution which, in its operative paragraphs, called for an immediate cease-fire, the withdrawal by India and Pakistan of their armed forces from each otherʼs territory, and the creation of conditions necessary to safeguard the lives of civilians and to facilitate the safe return of the refugees to their homes. (UN doc. S/10446 and Rev. 1) The Security Council voted 11–2 in favor of the resolution, with 2 abstentions. The resolution was not adopted because of the negative vote of the Soviet Union.
  4. Reference is to the Malacca Straits separating Malaysia and Indonesia which the carrier force that had been stationed off Vietnam was expected to traverse the evening of December 12, Washington time. The force was anticipated to arrive off East Pakistan by the morning of December 16. (Note on information concerning U.S. Naval forces; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 642, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan)
  5. This is the extent of the record that has been found for this meeting.