78. Memorandum From the Presidentʼs Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon 1
- Military Supply for Pakistan
Attached is a study covering a recommendation from Secretary Rogers 2 that all shipments of military equipment be temporarily suspended until it can be determined what remains in the pipeline. This recommendation is in reaction to press stories and Congressional criticism of shipments that have left the US in recent days.3 One more ship is known to be loading.[Page 195]
The Secretary poses three options:
- Continue present policy. This would retain under administrative hold those items still under US Government control but would allow to continue shipments of items which have already passed to Pakistani control or which were licensed before the outbreak of fighting in East Pakistan.
- Suspend further export of all military items. This would, in effect, be a formal embargo, and no one urges this now.
- Suspend all shipments temporarily while we review items still in the pipeline. The purpose would be to screen out those items which could have military significance in East Pakistan or cause trouble on the Hill.
Secretary Rogers recommends Option 3. The attached study recommends Option 1—continuing present policy—with an urgent study of what is in the pipeline and an accurate explanation to the Congress of what our policy is.
The rationale for this recommendation is that a temporary suspension would convey the wrong political signal to the Pakistanis—it would look like an embargo. Also, temporary suspensions have a way of becoming permanent, and we could become locked into a full embargo. Approving this recommendation would require meeting critics head-on with the argument that a total suspension would be counterproductive in our effort to work with Pakistan in helping to resolve the present problem. The recommendation is spelled out on the last pages of the attached.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 574, Indo-Pak War, South Asian Military Supply, March 25–August 26, 1971. Secret. Sent for action. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.↩
- A June 23 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon was attached but not printed.↩
- On June 22 The New York Times reported that two Pakistani freighters were preparing to sail from New York with cargos of military equipment for Pakistan. Ambassador Jha called on Under Secretary Irwin on the same day to warn that if the report were true, the shipment of arms to Pakistan would have an unfortunate impact upon relations between the United States and India. Irwin replied that no export licenses for military equipment had been issued since March 25. He speculated that the ships carried arms and munitions authorized before March 25. (Telegram 112954 to New Delhi, June 24; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, DEF 12–5 PAK) The Embassy in New Delhi reported on June 23 that news of the arms shipments had come to Foreign Minister Singh as a “shock and surprise” after his trip to Washington. (Telegram 9984 from New Delhi; ibid.) News of the arms shipments prompted angry scenes in both houses of the Indian parliament. (Telegram 10110 from New Delhi, June 25; ibid.) On June 27 the Indian Embassy delivered a note to the Department of State formally protesting the shipments and urging that steps be taken to prevent the shipments from reaching Pakistan. (Telegram 10211 to New Delhi, June 27; ibid.)↩
- Secret; Exdis. Sent for action. The attachment is dated by hand and is not signed.↩
- June 22.↩
- Not found.↩
- President Nixon initialed his approval of the recommendation.↩