32. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

K: The Indians have just declared a unilateral ceasefire in the West.2 We have made it.

P: What’s it mean?

K: Ordered forces to stop fighting.

P: What’s territory? From what you said yesterday—taken Kashmir?

K: In West have [taken?] some desert and Pakistanis have taken a bit of Kashmir. Major [objective?] is to stop defeat of Pakistan army.

P: What’s the source?

K: Official announcement.

P: It’s the Russians working for us. We have to get the story out.

K: Already a call from State. Until this morning we were running the UN thing. Now they are and say they will go over resolution. They are pulling off the British Resolution. You pulled it through and should take credit. I will give a backgrounder tomorrow afternoon.

P: Get people in and set story for the weekly news magazines.

K: Can’t do it today. We have to clean it up.

P: Any other thing—in view of Time Man of the Year thing get [Jerry] Schechter in. He will understand it. Or who at Time would know more about this subject?

K: I will start with Schechter. He has been decent.

P: Time might write best analysis of crisis. You really feel that they mean—let me come back to it. You were bearish last night.

K: I felt nothing [would] happen until Dacca fell. Soviets were dragging their feet because Indians took longer on taking Dacca then they figured. So this morning I said next 24 hours will tell.

P: If Soviets have cooperated on this I think we have got to play on an arms-length deal.

[Page 104]

K: We have to get straight what they did.

P: What they did in ′67 June war.

K: 60% instead of 100%.

P: June war.

K: Except they lost.

P: They got credit for bringing peace to the M.E. Agreed to peace after defeat of their army. And they were responsible for the war. Not a public statement but internal relations with Soviets. You handle that. [Omission in the source text.] You agree?

K: Absolutely. So far they have not done anything. Indians did official doing. But I am sure it’s Soviets that produced it.

P: On unilateral ceasefire what?

K: UN resolution making it official. When in [omission in the source text] for weeks they want to come out and mastermind it. We have agreed to the British. Chinese are set with it. I will say I have talked with you and it is what you want done.

P: The President is committed to it. We have told the British and Chinese. Will the Russians accept it?

K: Probably.

P: Might not. If they do it’s done.

K: One way or other there will be a resolution to put it together. State is trying to scavenge on your agony. Put it together with a UN resolution.

P: The average person doesn’t understand about this. Pick the real movers and shakers. Ask [John] Scali and let him sit in. Ask him who and Ziegler. Make it small enough to be powerful. I don’t care if they are friends or enemies. Maybe [Joseph] Kraft. It’s very important to do Time people and maybe a couple of network people.

K: [John] Chancellor.

P: Anybody. You sit down there. Work it out. Get hold of Scali. A cold, blooded deal. On other levels let Scali carry the line. And Ziegler.

K: That would be good.

P: It’s good to hear.

K: The record will show again that you were ready to go the whole way this morning.

P: I almost called at midnight last night to say to Russians we are putting the summit on the line.

K: India would have taken Kashmir and [omission in the source text].

P: Shastri got India’s victory wings. Only 30% of them.

K: 30% more than we expected.

[Page 105]

P: You think the Russians did it? India would not have done it for us.

K: For us they would have done it (?).

P: I want strictest—President make own decision. Hannah, Sisco, Rogers. I don’t want Indian aid to leak out but I will decide it. Shultz to examine budget and no Indian aid in it.

K: $300 million for S. Asia. $200 million to Pakistan and rest we will hold.

P: Give it to Ceylon.

K: Then we don’t get argument we are cutting it. We can give agricultural stuff to India for economic relief.

P: They have to pay for aid.

K: Congratulations, Mr. President. You saved W. Pakistan.

P: Go off to other. No backgrounder until tomorrow.

K: As soon as it’s cleaned up. I will get on it.

P: Don’t do it pre-maturely.

K: Get Sunday papers.

P: Time and networks.

K: Congratulations!

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File. No classification marking.
  2. On December 16 at 2:30 p.m. Indian local time, India announced the surrender of Pakistan forces in Dacca and a unilateral cease-fire to take place in the West the following day. India also indicated that it had “no territorial ambitions in the conflict” and expected an immediate response from Pakistan.