293. Backchannel Message From the Presidentʼs Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the Ambassador to Pakistan (Farland)1

We have just learned that Bhutto approached Bush in New York2 with suggestion that following amendment to our SC resolution3 be discussed with Soviets in effort to get compromise:

Calls upon the GOP to take effective action towards a political settlement in East Pakistan giving immediate recognition to the will of the East Pak population within the framework of one Pakistan.

This as you know marks departure from game plan4 and we are concerned that introduction of this type of clause, particularly at this point, could lead to quick dissolution of our position. Soviets would veto on one-Pakistan grounds and then would be locked into a position on political issue. Debate on political question would inevitably [Page 800] ensue and hope for quick ceasefire evaporate. For our part we want to stick with game plan.

Would appreciate knowing soonest whether Bhutto proposal represents instruction from Islamabad and if so what basis for proposal may be.5 Warm regards.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan. Top Secret; Flash; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Haig signed for Kissinger; there is no indication on the message that Kissinger cleared it. The time of transmission is from an attached note.
  2. This exchange between Bush and Bhutto was reported in telegram 4979 from USUN, December 13. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK)
  3. See footnote 3, Document 285.
  4. See Document 276.
  5. Farland took up the proposed amendment with Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan who consulted with President Yahya and reported back that, assuming the revised resolution provided for an immediate cease-fire, Yahya approved the amendment proposed by Bhutto. Sultan Khan emphasized the importance of an immediate cease-fire in order to stop what he characterized as the slaughter in East Pakistan. (Backchannel message, 1089 from Islamabad (Farland to Kissinger), December 13; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 426, Backchannel Files, Backchannel Messages 1971, Amb. Farland, Pakistan)