323. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

226610. 1. Indians have agreed to a ceasefire both in East and West. Its announcement2 today included following phrase: “It is our earnest hope that there will be a corresponding immediate response from the GOP.”

2. This statement has been repeated in the Security Council by the Indian Foreign Minister. In New York, we are seeking to get a resolution adopted to which Government of Pakistan can respond affirmatively. This resolution has just been tabled by Ambassador Bush3 and it calls for a ceasefire on both fronts to remain in effect “until operations of disengagement take place, leading to prompt withdrawal of armed forces from all the occupied territories.” Paks want such resolution since apparently they find it less difficult to respond to such a UN resolution than to the statement in the Indian announcement today. This is consistent with Yahyaʼs speech today, in which he reiterated GOPʼs willingness “honor any decision of the United Nations to bring about an honorable solution of the crisis, consistent with our national interests.”

3. However, kind of Security Council resolution we are trying to get adopted has run into continuing delay tactics from both the Indians and the Soviets. Danger is that longer Yahya delays responding directly to the Indian ceasefire announcement today, the greater the risk that this could be used by the Indians as a pretext to continue the war against Yahya in the West.

4. Farland should discuss the current situation immediately with Yahya with a view to bringing up the risks and hopefully getting him to take a decision on his own to respond affirmatively and on a bilateral basis to the Indian ceasefire announcement of today. If he needs UN fig leaf in his response, he can always justify it on ground he accepted the ceasefire contained in GA resolution adopted other day.4 We [Page 850] recognize that it would be preferable from his standpoint to be in a position to respond affirmatively to a Security Council resolution, but we believe that the likelihood of this kind of a resolution being adopted promptly is rapidly diminishing because of Soviet-Indian delay tactics.5

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Flash; Nodis. Drafted by Sisco, cleared by Haig, and in substance by Rogers, and approved by Sisco. Repeated to New Delhi, Dacca, USUN, London, and Moscow.
  2. See Document 320.
  3. The draft resolution introduced by Bush on December 16 was cosponsored by Japan and circulated as UN doc. S/10459. The text was transmitted to the Department of State on December 17 in telegram 5108 from USUN. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK)
  4. See footnote 11, Document 248.
  5. When Farland saw President Yahya on the morning of December 17 and urged him to accept the Indian cease-fire offer, Yahya took the position that he had previously indicated his willingness to accept a cease-fire in accepting the resolution adopted by the General Assembly on December 7. He did not see the necessity to reiterate that position and respond to what he referred to as Mrs. Gandhiʼs dictates. Upon further urging from Farland, he agreed to consider responding to the Indian offer. (Telegram 12681 from Islamabad, December 17; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK) In taking leave of Yahya, Farland said that if Yahya decided not to accept the Indian cease-fire offer, he felt it would be imperative to arrange for the evacuation of all U.S. citizens in Pakistan who were not essential to the minimal operation of the Embassy. (Telegram 12682 from Islamabad, December 17; ibid.) At 3 p.m. local time on December 17, Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan brought Farland the news that Yahya was prepared to accept the Indian offer publicly. (Telegram 12700 from Islamabad, December 17; ibid.)