310. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1


  • Information Items

India-Pakistan Situation: The proposal of the Pakistani commander in Dacca for a ceasefire2 was passed to Delhi last night, but we are aware of no Indian response yet (8:00 a.m.). Consultations on the UK-French draft Security Council resolution are scheduled to continue this morning.

Foreign Minister Bhutto declined to pass General Niaziʼs ceasefire proposal to the Indians in New York, so our UN mission was instructed to communicate it to Foreign Minister Singh, and subsequently Ambassador Keating was instructed to pass its text to Mrs. Gandhiʼs secretary, Haksar. In this as in the negotiations on the Security Council resolution, Bhutto is apparently being careful to sidestep onus for the surrender of East Pakistan. Meanwhile, latest Indian reports indicate that Dacca is receiving heavy artillery fire, and three Indian columns have advanced to within a few miles of Dacca where they are preparing for attack.

Despite initially favorable reactions to the first UK draft Security Council resolution, positions on both sides hardened as they became aware of the rapid deterioration of the Pakistani military position in Dacca.

  • —The Indians are being tough on aspects of the transfer of East Pakistan governmental functions to a new civilian government. They have submitted their own draft which includes the following: “Recognizes that simultaneously with the ceasefire in East Pakistan power shall be transferred to the representatives of the majority party elected in December 1970.”
  • —The Pakistanis have shown a new turn of attitude. They now seem to feel that, since East Pakistan is lost, a UN resolution which “legitimizes” the Indian seizure may be unacceptable. His [Bhuttoʼs?] greatest concern now is a ceasefire in the West.

British consultations will continue this morning, but these views may set the stage for a simple ceasefire resolution which also calls on all parties to safeguard the lives of civilians and captured soldiers.

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On the West Pakistan military front, heavy fighting continues in Kashmir, but the principal Pakistani drive appears to have been blunted. According to a [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] report, one Indian reserve division was airlifted from the Calcutta area to an undetermined location on the western front.

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] a Chinese delivery of additional MIG–19ʼs to West Pakistan may be underway. An undetermined number of MIGʼs were noted flying in the direction of an airfield that has been used in the past as a base for onward flight to Pakistan. In a separate development, [1 line of source text not declassified] the Pakistani UN representative has said that China would make “an important military move” on December 15. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] no evidence of Chinese troop deployments in preparation for military moves.

Since late November, there have been numerous reports that other Moslum countries had sent or were planning to send military equipment to Pakistan. The countries involved include Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Egypt. Most of the reports concern shipments of jet fighters and spare parts for these and Pakistani aircraft. There is no firm evidence [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to corroborate any of the reports that this equipment has actually been transferred.

Our carrier task force is transiting the Straits of Malacca and should arrive at a point near the center of the base of the Bay of Bengal this (15 Dec) evening. Rumors about this move are already widespread in the area where they are being combined with stories that the US is considering military assistance to Pakistan. In this connection, Ambassador Keating reports that these stories are spuring increasingly anti-US rallies and press attacks. The Ambassador says that he would be “deeply concerned and anxious” about the lives and welfare of Americans in India if the US were directly or indirectly to support Pakistan with US arms or equipment and would want to recommend at least partial evacuation if this is under serious consideration.3

The British are also moving some naval vessels into the area—a commando carrier and a frigate off the southern coast of Ceylon. Soviet task force, consisting of a guided missile cruiser, an oiler and a diesel powered submarine continues to steam through the South China Sea toward the Indian Ocean where if it continues on that course it [Page 828] should arrive in about three days. The Soviets have 12 other naval ships in the Indian Ocean, but none of these is in or known to be heading for areas near the Indo-Pakistani conflict.

[Omitted here are summary reports on foreign policy issues unrelated to South Asia.]

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 37, Presidentʼs Daily Briefs, Dec 1–Dec 16, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword. A stamp on the memorandum indicates that the President saw it.
  2. See Document 300.
  3. In expressing his concern, Keating also asked for an assurance that the United States did not intend to support Pakistan with U.S. arms or equipment. (Telegram 19203 from New Delhi, December 14; National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 573, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 12/14/71–12/16/71)