86. Letter From President Nixon to Indian Prime Minister Gandhi 1

Dear Madame Prime Minister:

Dr. Kissinger is visiting New Delhi to discuss United States relations with India and in particular to seek your views on the problem caused by the movement of millions of refugees from East Pakistan into India. As I told your Foreign Minister when I talked with him in the White House on June 16, we are concerned about this problem not only because of its humanitarian aspects, but more importantly because it is a major international issue with implications for all of us. It is because of these implications and our concern for the peace and well being of Asia that we must all devote so much attention to encouraging progress toward a solution.

I hope that the assistance which we have been able to provide in support of the refugees and which has been discussed with your Foreign Minister will help to meet your most pressing immediate needs.

With regard to the need for actions which will make possible a reversal of the refugee flow, we have continued to emphasize that a return to peace and security in East Pakistan and a viable political settlement are crucial to restoration of a more stable situation in South Asia. Dr. Kissinger will also be talking to President Yahya about this subject and will be delivering a personal message from me. I think there has been some forward movement in this regard over the past several weeks, but there is a need for more.

It is hoped that the recent difficulties over the delivery of arms ordered by Pakistan prior to March 25 will not prevent us from working together to achieve the objectives of peace and prosperity in South Asia, which are in the United Statesʼ interest as well as in Indiaʼs. I understand the nature of your Governmentʼs concern. You can appreciate the essentially restrictive nature of the interim actions we have taken since the civil strife began in East Pakistan. The United States must maintain a constructive relationship with Pakistan so that we may retain some influence in working with them toward important decisions to be made in that country, as we have in the past.

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It was a great pleasure for me to have had the opportunity to discuss these issues with your Foreign Minister last month. I very much hope that we can continue to have frank exchanges of views on these matters and that you will be entirely candid with Dr. Kissinger in telling him how my government can be of assistance in resolving such complex and difficult problems.


Richard Nixon
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 755, Presidential Correspondence File, India (1971). No classification marking.