332. 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: In West Pakistan, Bhutto is moving to consolidate his position. The list of generals “retired” along with Yahya includes virtually all of his close inner circle and the only top officers [Page 868] remaining—Acting Commander of the Army Gul Hassan and Commander of the Air Force Rahim Khan—both had lines out to Bhutto before the war and have not been seriously tainted by the outcome. Bhutto, however, is keeping the Defense portfolio for himself. Bhutto is also retaining the External Affairs portfolio and has appointed a man he trusts over Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan.

On the political front, Bhutto has said that Mujib will be released from prison soon and put under some form of house arrest. This is, of course, only a gesture but it could be important for setting the tone for the dialogue that must soon ensue with the Indians and Bangla Desh leaders involving Mujibʼs release and the fate of the POWs and other West Paks in Indian custody.

There is a great deal of speculation in New Delhi about the shape of the emerging India-Bangla Desh relationship. Our Embassy has been able to confirm that a treaty has been signed providing for economic assistance, especially aimed at helping the refugees return, and that planning is going forward in the trade field. There may also be provisions for security arrangements along the lines of the Indo-Soviet friendship treaty.

At the UN, the Security Council was finally able to agree on a resolution last night by a vote of thirteen to nothing with the Soviet Union and Poland abstaining.2 The operative paragraph in effect formalizes the cease-fire and demands that it “remain in effect until withdrawals take place, as soon as practicable, of all armed forces to their respective territories and to the cease-fire line supervised by UNMOGIP.” This latter clause on the UN Military Observer Group for India and Pakistan is intended to imply full withdrawal in Kashmir and we have made it clear in our explanation of the vote that this is our understanding. This is not everything that we initially wanted, but it is the lowest common denominator that both the Indians and the Paks will agree on and as such the only alternative to a continuing Security Council deadlock. It provides a firm basis for strong multilateral démarches for full Indian withdrawal.

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

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Box 38, Presidentʼs Daily Briefs. Top Secret; Sensitive; Codeword. Printed from an uninitialed copy.
  2. The resolution adopted by the Security Council on December 21 was sponsored by Argentina, Burundi, Japan, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, and Somalia. (UN doc. S/RES/307 (1971))