329. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1


  • Information Items

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

India-Pakistan Situation: Several hours after taking over as President and Chief Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan, Bhutto went on the air yesterday for a “heart-to-heart talk to my people.” In an apparent bid to rally the country around his leadership, Bhutto announced that:

  • Yahya and several other senior officers had “retired” and Lt. General Gul Hassan had been named the new Commander-in-Chief of the Army.
  • —“East Pakistan is an inseparable and indissolvable part of Pakistan.” He was, however, prepared for talks with East Pakistani leaders within a Pakistan that could be a “loose arrangement”, but that first “Indian troops must vacate my motherland … and East Pakistan.”
  • —A new constitution will be promulgated and democracy will be restored.

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Prior to the broadcast, Bhutto called in Ambassador Farland.2 He succinctly characterized the situation by saying: “We are in one hell of a mess.” Bhutto went on to say he sincerely trusted that the United States would do all within its capacity to assist him with the monumental effort which lay ahead. If at all possible, he would attempt to reconcile and reunite both wings of Pakistan within some loose federation. Bhutto also revealed that he might soon travel to Peking, since “China had not fulfilled its obligations to Pakistan as promised.”

Meanwhile, there is still considerable public resentment about the way the war ended. In Karachi, for example, bands of demonstrators have been roving in and out of the major business and residential areas setting fires and causing disruptions. Many educated Pakistanis are still openly attacking Yahya and saying that the people will never allow the return of a military government under any circumstances. At the same time, even those who oppose and distrust Bhutto seem inclined to give him a chance.

The situation is still fluid in the East. The Indian Army seems to be gradually restoring a minimum of law and order in Dacca and reorganizing the administrative apparatus. The “Bangla Desh” cabinet, however, has still not arrived from Calcutta, although there are reports that it may proceed to Dacca by mid-week. The Bangla Desh “Prime Minister” is quoted by Dacca Radio as saying that there is a great need for foreign aid but that they will “not touch” any part of U.S. aid because of the “hateful and shameful” policy that the U.S. has followed toward the Bangla Desh “freedom struggle.”

There are also reports that the Indians have removed the two top Pak military officials in the East to Calcutta and are making preparations to move all Pak POWs and civil servants to detention camps in India. What could be shaping up is protracted bargaining between the Paks, Indians and Bangla Desh representatives involving repatriation of the POWs, the release of Mujib (Bhutto said nothing about him)3 and the transfer of the Bengali population in West Pakistan and minority groups in the East.

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

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 38, Presidentʼs Daily Briefs. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword.
  2. See Document 328.
  3. See footnote 4, Document 328.