330. Letter From Pakistani President Bhutto to President Nixon1


It is with a very heavy heart that I address this, my first message, to you for your assistance to alleviate human suffering. The news from Dacca is grim. Reports from independent sources, which must have reached you by now, speak of inhuman atrocities and mass murders of innocent people in a part of Pakistan which is now under Indiaʼs military occupation. To say that these killings and atrocities are being perpetrated by the so-called “Mukti Bahini” does not, and cannot, absolve India of its responsibility to ensure the safety of life and property of the people. The Commanding General of India has publicly stated that the “Mukti Bahini” and all other forces now in East Pakistan are under his effective command.

What is happening in Dacca is by no means an isolated affair. Reports of similar incidents are being received from other cities in East Pakistan also. News of this indiscriminate carnage has been received with the gravest concern in Pakistan, and cannot but be viewed with horror throughout the world.

I am, therefore, addressing this earnest appeal to you on behalf of the people of Pakistan and on my own behalf to use your influence with India most urgently to prevent further carnage. Otherwise that Province might soon be engulfed in a widespread blood-bath.

My Government has already approached the International Red Cross, who have sent some personnel and supplies to Dacca. The need of the hour, however, is for Red Cross presence in greater strength, for assistance by way of medicines and field hospitals in a more massive form. Apart from requesting the International Red Cross to do the needful, and in particular, to ensure compliance of the Geneva Convention, my Government has also enlisted the support of other friendly governments to lend their weight in moving the Red Cross and also to take action themselves through humanitarian organizations.

An urgent appeal to India by all permanent members of the Security Council and action by them individually in pursuance of these humanitarian objectives would go a long way in bringing peace to that strife torn land.

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I would, in particular, impress on you immediately to approach the Government of India to take effective measures, with all the means at their command, to ensure that this carnage stops without loss of time.

I avail of this opportunity to renew to Your Excellency the assurances of my highest consideration.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto 2
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 760, Presidential Correspondence File, President Bhutto. No classification marking. The letter was delivered to the Department of State on December 21 under a letter of transmittal from Ambassador Raza to Secretary Rogers. (Ibid.) The text of the letter was transmitted to Islamabad in telegram 233015, December 30. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 573, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 12/17/71–12/31/71)
  2. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.