40. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Acting Secretary of State Irwin1


  • Letter to President Yahya

In response to the suggestion in the Acting Secretary of Stateʼs memorandum of April 27 that the President review the substance of the paper prepared on Pakistan for the Senior Review Group,2 the President has reviewed the options and approved the attached letter3 to President Yahya.

As a result of this review, he has decided that our posture should be one of making a serious effort to help President Yahya bring an end to civil strife and achieve a peaceful settlement of the political problems which triggered it. While adjustments in some of our programs will be necessitated by the situation, these will be for development reasons only and not as a facade for application of political pressure. He recognizes that the only long-term prospect of restoring normal life in East Pakistan may be under conditions of greater East Pakistani autonomy, but he would prefer to see West Pakistanis reach that conclusion, if it is valid, for themselves. The U.S. position for now, therefore, will be to give President Yahya time to follow through his efforts to work out his own arrangements transitional to greater East Pakistani cooperation or autonomy.

The President also requested that the foregoing guidance be passed by the Department of State to Ambassador Farland in a restricted channel.

Haig 4
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971). Secret; Nodis. Copies were sent to the Secretary of Defense, the Director of Central Intelligence, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Under Secretary Irwin was Acting Secretary of State while Secretary Rogers was on a 2-week trip beginning April 26 to attend a SEATO meeting in London and a CENTO meeting in Ankara.
  2. Irwinʼs April 27 memorandum to Nixon is ibid., Box 625, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. IV, 1 Mar–15 May 1971. For a reference to the paper on Pakistan that Irwin called to the Presidentʼs attention, See footnote 3, Document 28.
  3. Document 41. A draft of this letter was attached to Irwinʼs memorandum to the President.
  4. Haig signed for Kissinger above Kissingerʼs typed signature.