29. Letter From Pakistani President Yahya to President Nixon1

Dear Mr President,

In my pre-occupation with events and developments at home, I have not so far been able to acknowledge your letter of March 3, 1971,2 with which I received a copy of your valuable and comprehensive report to the Congress of the United States on American Foreign Policy. I take this opportunity of thanking you for your letter and for your very kind expression of sympathy for me and the people of Pakistan in this hour of crisis. I share your hope, Mr President, that, with the restoration of normal conditions in East Pakistan, saner councils in that province will emerge to assist in the resumption of the interrupted task [Page 73] of democratic processes and a peaceful transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people.

I trust that you have had an opportunity of seeing the message3 which I had instructed my Ambassador in Washington to convey to you on March 30, 1971. I am conscious of the pressure of public opinion in the United States much of it based on unauthenticated, and in some cases biased, reports inspired by the Indian Government—which has created an impression quite different from the true state of affairs in Pakistan. No one is more pained than I am, Mr President, about the events leading to the breakdown of law and order in East Pakistan. During the eleven days which I spent in Dacca last month, my efforts were directed solely towards the achievement of a workable constitutional arrangement which would ensure the integrity, sovereignty and progress of Pakistan. It is indeed tragic that my efforts were thwarted by a group of unpatriotic elements.

In order to acquaint you more fully with the background of the events of the last three months, following the general elections and with my plans for the future, I am sending Mr M. M. Ahmad, my Adviser for Economic Affairs, to Washington to convey to you personally all relevant information. I hope you will be good enough to find the time to receive him and provide him the opportunity to explain to you my present endeavours and future plans.

At this time of painful and anguished crisis in Pakistan, I am deeply gratified that your Government has made it clear, to all those who have raised the question, that the United States recognises the current events in East Pakistan as an internal affair, for whose solution the responsibility rests with the Government of Pakistan.

May I avail of this opportunity, Mr President, of expressing to you my appreciation of the understanding and cooperation which we have received from your Administration, especially from your esteemed Secretary for State, the Honʼble Mr William Rogers, and the officials of his Department.

I am happy to know also that the alternative arrangements which we made for the evacuation of American nationals from Dacca by Pakistan International Airlines, as a substitute for the requested use of United States Air Force aircraft, were so readily accepted and that these arrangements have been satisfactorily completed.

In conclusion, may I reiterate what I said in my letter of March 30 that it continues to be my endeavour to resume the interrupted process of transferring power to the elected representatives of the people at the very earliest date. Now that the situation in East Pakistan is rapidly [Page 74] returning to normalcy, I intend to announce shortly, as a first step, my plan for the induction of provincial governments on the basis of elections held in December. It is my earnest hope that this will create appropriate conditions to enable me to proceed to the next stage of dealing with the constitutional issues at the national level.

With warmest personal regards,


A.M. Yahya Khan
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 755, Presidential Correspondence File, India (1971). Mistakenly filed under India. No classification marking. The letter was presented to President Nixon on May 10 by M. M. Ahmad, President Yahyaʼs Adviser for Economic Affairs; see Document 44.
  2. Not found.
  3. Dated March 31; see Document 16.