311. Telegram From the Embassy in India to the Department of State 1

19280. Subj: Indian Response to Niazi Ceasefire Proposal.

Haksar, Secretary to Prime Minister, called in DCM at 1800 hours local and handed him text of response from General Manekshaw to General Niazi.
Haksar said GOI was conveying response to Niazi through U.S. since we had been good enough to pass on original Niazi proposal. He described reply as a “carefully considered and sincere response” and called particular attention to cessation air attacks which took place at 1700 hours December 15.

Text of message which GOI requests be transmitted urgently to Niazi is as follows:

“For Lt. Gen. Niazi From Sam Manekshaw, Chief of the Army Staff India

  • Firstly—I have received your communication2 re a cease fire in Bangla Desh at 1430 hours today through the American Embassy at New Delhi.
  • Secondly—I had previously informed General Farman Ali in two messages that I would guarantee (a) the safety of all your military and paramilitary forces who surrender to me in Bangla Desh. (b) Complete protection to foreign nations, ethnic minorities and personnel of West Pakistan no matter who they may be. Since you have indicated your desire to stop fighting I expect you to issue orders to all forces under your command in Bangla Desh to cease fire immediately and surrender to my advancing forces wherever they are located.
  • Thirdly—I give you my solemn assurance that personnel who surrender shall be treated with the dignity and respect that soldiers are entitled to and I shall abide by the provisions of the Geneva Convention. Further as you have many wounded I shall ensure that they are well cared for and your dead given proper burial. No one need have any fear for their safety no matter where they come from. Nor shall there be any reprisals by forces operating under my command.
  • Fourthly—Immediately I receive a positive response from you I shall direct General Aurorea the commander of Indian and Bangla Desh forces in the Eastern theatre to refrain from all air and ground action against your forces. As a token of my good faith I have ordered that no air action shall take place over Dacca from 1700 hours today.
  • Fifthly—I assure you I have no desire to inflict unnecessary casualties on your troops as I abhor loss of human lives. Should however you do not comply with what I have stated you will leave me with no other alternative but to resume my offensive with the utmost vigour at 0900 hours Indian Standard Time on 16 December.
  • Sixthly—In order to be able to discuss and finalise all matters quickly I have arranged for a radio link on listenint watch from 1700 hours Indian Standard Time today 15 December. The frequency will be 6605 (6605) KHZ by day and 3216 (3216) KHZ by night. Callsigns will be CAL (Calcutta) and DAC (Dacca). I would suggest you instruct your signallers to restore microwave communications immediately.”

DCM assured Haksar message would be transmitted immediately.
Assume Department will authorize Dacca delivery.3
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Flash; Exdis. Repeated to USUN, Islamabad, Calcutta, and Dacca.
  2. See Document 300.
  3. The Department instructed the Consulate General in Dacca to pass Manekshawʼs message to Niazi immediately. The Consulate General did so, and the Embassy in Islamabad passed a copy of the message to Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan. (Telegrams 225341 to Dacca, 5659 from Dacca, and 12593 from Islamabad, all December 15; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27–14 INDIA–PAK)