315. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: Mr. President.

P: Henry, I was in the state of play. I just got out of the water.

K: Isnʼt that great. You certainly need it. I never had a chance to give you a report from Vorontsov. I gave him a draft letter2 to Kosygin asking for joint action to stop the fighting. I told him we put it forward to not get any additional confrontations. I also said they could [should?] support the British Resolution which is really at the very edge, well beyond the edge of what is tolerable.

P: Oh, I see.

K: Now the Indians are unbelievable. The Indians are demanding the UN agree for the turnover of authority to the Bangla Desh. Now [Page 836] that would make the UN an active participant in aggression. I donʼt think we can agree to this.

P: No.

K: Now the Soviets have just told the British they would veto the British Resolution. If this plays out that way we may really have to ask ourselves what the Soviets are up to.

P: That could be. Although they just may have a very, very hot potato on their hands with the Indians.

K: That could be but the political outcome would be the same either way. They have already humiliated the Chinese beyond expression and they will humiliate us but we donʼt have to face that yet.

P: Yes.

K: We did get a message from the Germans urgently asking to examine the West situation and that fighting must be brought to a stop.

P: And now we have a veto of the British Resolution.

K: It hasnʼt been done yet.

P: Well, that lines up the British on our side.

K: Cromer showed me a message he sent to Mrs. Gandhi and it was really tough.

P: Good. We shouldnʼt be too discouraged in some sense.

K: John Chancellor3 told me that he would feature the Pakistani side tonight. I think Bhutto made a very moving speech in the Security Council.

P: Yes, I heard about that.

K: Cromer is delighted by what we did in the Azores. He said it is one of the greatest steps forward we did. A great act of statesmanship.

P: He did. Good. Incidentally the meeting with the leaders went very well and they are all happy. They were totally acquiescent so Connally has a complete running room to negotiate over the weekend.

K: Well, you did a great job, Mr. President.

P: So the letter4 to the Soviets really didnʼt settle the thing then as far as you are concerned?

K: No and that is what is so revolting; that is what we have to ask ourselves. Now I agree they may have a bear by the tail and that is what we have to be concerned about. All they promised is no attack on West Pakistan, but that does not include Kashmir. I talked to Maury Williams [Page 837] today who is South Asia for AID and who is on the Indian side, but he said if Pakistan loses its part of Kashmir and [sic] it is really the end.

P: Well, the Indians have got to consider very seriously now; they may take this but if they do they will have …

K: We cannot turn around.

P: Well, letʼs just wait now. We have no choice but to just wait. It is in the Soviets hands. We can do nothing with the details.

K: [2 lines of source text not declassified]

P: [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]

K: Yes, but that might be overtaken by events.

P: Well, we shall have to see but the thing is we have to assume it is never as bad or as good as it seems. But at this time you just wonder. When should there be an answer?

K: Tomorrow.

P: OK, Henry.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking. The President traveled to Key Biscayne, Florida, on the afternoon of December 15 and remained there through December 16; Kissinger was in Washington.
  2. See the attachment to Document 312.
  3. Chancellor was a correspondent for the National Broadcasting Company.
  4. Reference is to the draft letter cited in footnote 2 above.