295. Message From the Soviet Leadership to President Nixon1

The Soviet leaders believe that further aggravation of the situation on Indian subcontinent demands that urgent measures be taken. That is precisely how we act trying to create a turn from war to peace in the development of events there and to ensure just and stable settlement.

In all this case there are many complexities. The character of the current events demands that all circumstances should be taken into consideration in order to make a really correct decision. That is why a calm, weighed approach is needed. We would like to see our exchange of opinion to be conducted in such a spirit.

In your letter of December 102 you proceed from a necessity of ceasefire between India and Pakistan with a simultaneous solution of the political settlement based on the recognition of the will expressed by the East Pakistan population. Thus we have now between us a considerable rapprochement of points of views on the ways of reestablishment of peace on Indian subcontinent.

It also follows from your letter that it was not without the influence on the part of the United States that certain suggestions by General Farman to the UN representative in Dacca have appeared on December 10,3 which in our opinion lead in general to the right direction.

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We are in constant contact with the Indian side. One of the results of these very contacts was the message transmitted to you on December 124 that India has no intention to take any military action in connection with West Pakistan. We have firm assurances by the Indian leadership that India has no plans of seizing West Pakistan territory. Thus as far as intentions of India are concerned there is no lack of clarity to which you have referred.

In the course of consultations the Indian side has expressed the willingness to ceasefire and withdraw its forces if Pakistani Government withdraws its forces from East Pakistan and peaceful settlement is reached there with the lawful representatives of East Pakistani population, to whom the power will be transferred and conditions will be created for return from India of all East Pakistani refugees. At the same time the Indians have no intentions to impose their will on the East Pakistani people who themselves will determine their fate.

Then there is a necessary basis for an immediate cessation of the conflict and this opportunity should be used.

We noted with satisfaction that your letter contained an agreement with the approach of the Soviet side to the questions of political settlement. This allows to act appropriately. We believe that it will be only a gain if in our exchange of opinion a confidential agreement does not differ from public positions.

It is even more difficult for us to understand how is it possible to combine striving for a constructive peaceful settlement of the problem by collective efforts of our countries with such unilateral actions like demonstrative movements of naval forces and so on. Suppose the other side will also embark on the path of taking similar measures—what then will be the net result?

We think that after having now reached a rapprochement of our opinions as to how to approach the task of elimination of the conflict, it is desirable to convert this into appropriate agreed actions. And here it is necessary first of all to exert influence on the Pakistani Government. It would be good if the American side on its part also stressed to the Pakistani Government the necessity of embarking on the path towards political settlement in East Pakistan on the basis which is now rather clear.

We on our part intend to continue doing all that depend on us and will continue to maintain closest contacts with you, Mr. President, through the established confidential channels. Now there is a basis for the solution and we must seize this opportunity.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 497, Presidentʼs Trip Files, Exchange of Notes Between Dobrynin and Kissinger, Vol. 2. No classification marking. A handwritten note on the message indicates it was delivered by Vorontsov to Haig at 3 a.m. on December 14. The message is handwritten in English and apparently was prepared in the Soviet Embassy.
  2. Document 269.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 263.
  4. Document 284.