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India and Pakistan: Pre-Crisis, January 1969-February 1971


1. Memorandum Prepared by the National Security Council Staff for President Nixon, Washington, undated

The memorandum, prepared by the NSC staff and sent by the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Henry Kissinger to Nixon, analyzed the causes underlying the riots occurring in Pakistan and the implications for Pakistani President Ayub Khan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1, President’s Daily Briefs. Secret. The memorandum is undated but was sent to the President on January 27 by Kissinger under cover of a briefing memorandum that summarized a number of foreign policy issues. Kissinger indicated that he was forwarding the attached memorandum because of the President’s interest in Khan. Kissinger’s memorandum stated that he had prepared the analysis of the situation in Pakistan, but it was apparently prepared by members of the National Security Council staff. (Ibid.) Kissinger also attached to his memorandum copies of telegrams 284 from Dacca, January 24, 292 from Dacca, and 247 from Karachi, both dated January 25. The telegrams reported on the rioting. (Ibid.)


2. Telegram 944 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, January 29, 1969, 0824Z

The Embassy commented on the possibility that Pakistani President Ayub Khan might not stand for reelection.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis.


3. Telegram 1238 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, February 5, 1969, 1100Z

The Embassy reviewed mounting political unrest in Pakistan and concluded that Pakistani President Ayub Khan’s "eventual withdrawal from the political scene must be considered likely.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 PAK. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Ankara, Jidda, Kabul, Karachi, London, Moscow, New Delhi, Tehran, Dacca, Lahore, Peshawar, DIA, and CINCSTRIKE.


4. Intelligence Memorandum No. 612/69 Prepared in the Office of Current Intelligence, Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, February 6, 1969

The memorandum assessed the politically volatile situation in Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 623, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. I, 1 Jan 69–30 Nov 69. Secret; No Foreign Dissem


5. Telegram 19762 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan, February 7, 1969, 0126Z

In a conversation with Secretary Rogers, Pakistani Ambassador Hilaly outlined Pakistan’s concerns about reduced economic assistance from the United States and the delay in promised military supplies.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL PAK–US. Confidential. Drafted on February 6 by James W. Spain (NEA/PAF), cleared by William J. Handley (NEA), and approved for transmission by Spain. The conversation took place on February 6. Rogers reported on the conversation in a memorandum that he sent to the President on February 6. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1, President’s Daily Briefs, Feb 1–8, 1969)


6. Intelligence Note No. 82 From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, February 11, 1969

The note assessed the implications of Pakistani President Ayub Kahn’s call for the opening of a dialogue with the political opposition.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 PAK. Confidential. No drafting information appears on the memorandum.


7. Telegram 1439 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, February 11, 1969, 1058Z

Ambassador Oehlert reviewed the protracted effort to arrange for military supplies for Pakistan and urged a "prompt liberalization of policy" to expedite the process.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 INDIA. Secret;Exdis. Repeated to Ankara, New Delhi, Laird, JCS, CINCSTRIKE/USCINCMEAFSA, USCINCEUR, and CINCUSAFE. Sent with an instruction to pass to the White House.


8. Telegram 2308 From the Embassy in India to the Department of State and the White House, February 19, 1969, 1114Z

Ambassador Bowles took sharp exception to Ambassador Oehlert’s proposal to expedite military assistance to Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis


9. Intelligence Note No. 117 From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, February 20, 1969

INR assessed the situation in Pakistan, where rioting by mobs in the streets created "chaos, in many places approaching anarchy.” Pakistani President Ayub Khan’s attempt to foster a compromise with the opposition through a round table conference had apparently collapsed.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 PAK. Secret; No Foreign Dissem. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. Telegraphic reports of riots and demonstrations are ibid. Student supporters of former Foreign Minister Zulfiqur Ali Bhutto rioted in Karachi on February 17 following his release from prison. (Telegram 512 from Karachi, February 18; ibid.) The release of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from prison on February 22 had the effect of calming passions in East Pakistan and opened the prospect of reviving the round table conference. (Telegram 697 from Dacca, February 22; ibid., POL 29 PAK) President Ayub Khan’s announcement on February 21 that he would not be a candidate in the next election also facilitated the revival of negotiations with his political opponents. (Telegram 1832 from Rawalpindi, February 21; ibid., POL 15–1 PAK) The round table conference convened in Rawalpindi on February 26, and Ayub accepted demands for direct elections and a parliamentary system, but negotiations collapsed on March 13 following the withdrawal of Mujibur Rahman over the issue of autonomy for East Pakistan. Telegraphic reports on the round table conference are ibid., POL 12 PAK and POL 23–8 PAK.


10. National Security Study Memorandum 26, Washington, February 21, 1969

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger directed that a study be prepared on military supply policy in South Asia.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 365, Subject Files, National Security Study Memoranda, Nos. 1–42. Secret;Exdis. Copies were sent to the Secretaries of the Treasury and Agriculture, and to the Chairman of the JCS.


11. Intelligence Note No. 190 From the Director of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (Hughes) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, March 19, 1969

INR analyzed the implications of a serious food shortage in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, AGR 15 PAK. Confidential. No drafting information appears on the memorandum.


12. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, March 20, 1969

Nixon approved a recommendation from Kissinger involving the subsidized sale of food to India.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69. Confidential. Sent for action. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. Nixon initialed his approval of the recommendation.


13. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, March 25, 1969

Kissinger informed Nixon that Ayub Khan had resigned as President of Pakistan after declaring martial law and appointing General Yahya Khan martial law administrator. The principal question, he noted, was whether the people of East Pakistan would accept the change.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 623, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. I, 1 Jan 69–30 Nov 69. Secret. Sent for information. No drafting information appears on the memorandum. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it and that a copy was sent to Richard L. Sneider of the National Security Council staff. Ayub’s resignation and the establishment of martial law were reported from Rawalpindi on March 25 in telegrams 2954, 2956, 2957 and 2958. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 PAK)


14. Letter From the Pakistani Ambassador (Hilaly) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, March 27, 1969

Hilaly transmitted a message from General Yahya Kahn to President Nixon in which he explained former Pakistani President Ayub Khan’s decision to relinquish power to Pakistan’s defense forces, and Yahya’s subsequent assumption of the position of martial law administrator. Yahya expressed his commitment to restore democratic rule and a civilian government as soon as possible.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–1 PAK. Confidential. Sent to the White House on March 29 under cover of a transmittal memorandum from Acting Executive Secretary John P. Walsh to Kissinger. Nixon returned a reply to Yahya on April 22 in which he wrote: "I wish you well in your efforts as President to restore normal conditions.” (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials,NSC Files, Box 623, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. I, 1 Jan 69–30 Nov 69)


15. Telegram 50241 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan, April 2, 1969, 2250Z

Under Secretary of State Richardson questioned Deputy Martial Law Administrator Admiral Ahsan about the restoration of normal political processes in Pakistan and indicated that the U.S. traditionally reserved judgment in its dealings with authoritarian governments.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 7 PAK–US. Secret;Limdis. Repeated to New Delhi. Drafted by Spain; cleared by Howard B. Schaffer (NEA/INC) and Joseph Sisco (NEA); and approved by Richardson. Vice Admiral Syed Mohammed Ahsan, Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani Navy and one of three Deputy Martial Law Administrators appointed by General Yahya Khan, was Pakistan’s representative at the funeral of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower. A memorandum of Ahsan’s conversation with Nixon on March 31, during which Ahsan offered the assurance that the Pakistani military forces had no desire to perpetuate themselves in power, is ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 1, Memoranda for the President, Beginning March 30, 1969. Ahsan subsequently told Spain that he "got the message" that while the U.S. might understand the necessity for martial law in Pakistan, future actions of the martial law administration in governing the country and establishing a timetable for a return to representative government would determine how helpful the United States could be to Pakistan. (Telegram 50354 to Rawalpindi, April 2; ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 23–8 PAK)


16. Telegram 4797 From the Embassy in India to the Department of State, April 10, 1969, 1049Z

Ambassador Bowles urged that positive action be taken on a proposal, which had been under consideration for several years, to establish a binational foundation in India to fund mutually agreed educational, scientific, and cultural activities. The foundation would be funded by excess U.S.-held rupees generated by loan repayments and the sale of PL–480 commodities.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69. Confidential; Exdis. Public Law 480 was the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, enacted July 10, 1954, as amended. (68 Stat. 454) PL–480 was a program of agricultural subsidies to developing countries popularly known as the Food for Peace Act.


17. Telegram 3842 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, April 16, 1969, 1050Z

Ambassador Oehlert reviewed the history of U.S. military supply policy for South Asia and argued for a revision to increase supplies to Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 623, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. I, 1 Jan 69–30 Nov 69. Secret; Exdis. Sent with an instruction to pass to the White House, Department of Defense, the Departments of the Air Force, Army and Navy, JCS, and CINCSTRIKE.


18. Telegram 4169 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, April 25, 1969, 0845Z

The Embassy outlined U.S. policy options in Pakistan and recommended increased economic and military assistance as leverage to encourage progress toward the reestablishment of civilian government and an equitable settlement of the grievances of the eastern wing of the country.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 1 PAK–US. Secret. Repeated to CINCSTRIKE,DIA, Ankara, Dacca, Karachi, Lahore, London, New Delhi, Moscow, Peshawar, Tehran, Calcutta, Hong Kong, Kabul, and Kathmandu.


19. Telegram 4275 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, April 29, 1969, 0832Z

Ambassador Oehlert reported that the Pakistani Government was offering to consider a continuation on a "smaller and less visible basis" of the U.S. use of the facilities at Peshawar.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 15 PAK–US. Secret; Exdis. Sent with an instruction to pass to the White House. The Department responded on April 30 that Oehlert should not take the initiative in discussing continuation of the operations at Peshawar, and if Yahya raised the issue, Oehlert was instructed to take a non-committal attitude and report to Washington. (Telegram 66922 to Rawalpindi; ibid.)


20. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, May 16, 1969

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger discussed economic assistance for Pakistan with M. M. Ahmad, the principal economic adviser to President YAHYA.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials,NSC Files, Box 623, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. I, 1 Jan 69–30 Nov 69. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Harold Saunders, and approved in S/S on June 1. The meeting was held in Kissinger’s office. A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: "version sent State.”


21. Telegram 7466 From the Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to the Department of State, Paris, May 21, 1969, 1750Z

The telegram reported the results of the Pakistan consortium meeting, May 19–20.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, AID 9 PAK. Limited Official Use. Joint State/AID message. Sent also to Rawalpindi. Repeated to New Delhi for Spain. The consortium of governments and institutions organized to provide development assistance to Pakistan met in Paris, May 19–20, under the chairmanship of the World Bank. The meeting was attended by representatives of Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The International Monetary Fund also sent observers.


22. Telegram 7699 From the Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to Secretary of State Rogers in New Delhi, May 23, 1969, 1922Z

The telegram reported the results of the India consortium meeting, May 22–23.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, AID 9 INDIA. Limited Official Use; Priority. Joint State/AID message. Repeated to the Department of State. The consortium of governments and institutions organized to provide development assistance to India met in Paris, May 22–23, under the chairmanship of the World Bank. The meeting was attended by representatives of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The International Monetary Fund sent observers.


23. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State, May 26, 1969, 0950Z

Rogers reported on his conversation with Pakistani President YAHYA during his stop in Pakistan on May 24.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, ORG 7 S. Confidential; Priority. Sent as Secto 111/2059. Repeated to Rawalpindi, New Delhi, Kabul, Ankara, Saigon, Bangkok, London, and the mission at Geneva. Rogers visited South Asia following his participation in the SEATO meetings in Bangkok, May 19–23, and prior to his participation in the CENTO meetings in Tehran, May 26–27. He stopped in New Delhi May 23–24, in Lahore May 24–25, and in Kabul May 25.


24. Telegram From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State, May 29, 1969, 2237Z

Rogers met with Indian Prime Minister Gandhi on the morning of May 24 during his stop in India to discuss U.S. relations with India and U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69. Secret; Exdis. Sent as Secto 143/WH 90729 with an instruction to repeat to New Delhi. Rogers sent the telegram from his plane while crossing the Atlantic Ocean from London en route to the United States. The meeting between Gandhi and Rogers took place on the morning on May 24. A copy of Nixon’s letter to Gandhi, which commended Rogers to her and emphasized the importance of India and its economic development to his administration, can be found ibid., RG 59, Conference Files, 1966–1972: Lot 70 D 387,CF 366. The Secretary’s meeting with Foreign Minister SINGH was reported to the Department on May 24 in telegram 7246. (Ibid., Central Files 1967–69, ORG 7 S)


25. Telegram 6484 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, July 2, 1969, 1100Z

The Embassy renewed its arguments for limited direct sale of lethal weapons to Pakistan and India.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 12–5 PAK. Secret; Priority; Limdis. Repeated to CINCSTRIKE/CINCMEAFSA, and New Delhi. On July 8 the Embassy in New Delhi commented on the recommendations advanced in telegram 6484 from Rawalpindi as follows: "We must emphasize that any policy change permitting direct sales to Pakistan of lethal end items—even on a severely limited basis—would evoke sharp GOI reaction and severely damage our position in India.” (Telegram 9574 from New Delhi; ibid.)


26. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, July 10, 1969, 4:37–5:15 p.m.

President Nixon and Indian Foreign Minister SINGH discussed relations between the U.S. and India in advance of Nixon’s forthcoming visit to India.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Saunders on July 12. The meeting was held in the Oval Office of the White House. The time of the meeting is from the President’s Daily Diary. (Ibid., White House Central Files) SINGH was visiting the United States in response to an invitation extended by Rogers in New Delhi on May 24. A summary of SINGH’s conversations with Rogers on July 10 and 11 was sent to New Delhi on July 11 in telegram 115492. (Ibid., NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69) SINGH also met with Kissinger on July 10. A memorandum of that conversation is ibid.


27. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, July 16, 1969

Kissinger analyzed a political crisis for Indian Prime Minister Gandhi and the possible effect on Nixon’s impending visit to India.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69. Secret. A notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. The Embassy in New Delhi reported on the political crisis on July 15 in telegram 10025, and on July 16 in telegram 10082 (both ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 12 INDIA) On July 19 Gandhi’s government issued an ordinance nationalizing 14 of the country’s largest banks. The Embassy commented: "By boldness and swiftness of her move on July 19 to nationalize leading banks, Prime Minister Gandhi has achieved leadership of Congress Party and confounded her powerful opponents within that party.” (Telegram 10333 from New Delhi, July 21; ibid.)


28. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, July 18, 1969

Nixon approved proposals put forward by Kissinger for economic assistance to India.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 595, Country Files, Middle East, India, Vol. I, Jan 69–Sept 69. Confidential. Sent for action. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it. Nixon initialed his approval of both recommendations. Attached but not published at Tab A was a July 3 memorandum to Nixon from Robert P. Mayo, Director of the Bureau of the Budget, entitled "Proposed P.L. 480 Program for India.” Attached but not published at Tab B was a June 23 memorandum to the President from Rogers, entitled "Economic Assistance to India.”


29. Memoranda of Conversation, New Delhi, July 31, 1969, 3–4:45 p.m. and August 1, 1969, 8:30–10 a.m.

U.S. relations with India were discussed on July 31 in a conversation between the advisers to President Nixon and Indian Prime Minister Gandhi, including Kissinger and Indian Foreign Secretary T. N. Kaul. On August 1 Nixon and Gandhi joined the discussion.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1320, NSC Unfiled Material, 1969, 9 of 19. Secret. Drafted by Saunders on August 1. The combined memoranda were apparently typed from notes taken by Saunders that were not refined into finished memoranda of conversation. The conversations recorded in this memoranda were also reported to the Department on August 2 in telegram 11040 from New Delhi. (Ibid.,RG 59, Conference Files, 1966–1972: Lot 70 D 387, CF 383) The conversations were held in the Panel Room of the President’s Palace in New Delhi during Nixon’s visit to India July 31–August 1. The meeting on July 31 was held from 3:00–4:45 p.m., and the meeting on August 1 was held from 8:30–10:00 a.m. Nixon was on a round-the-world trip that began on July 23 with the observation of the splashdown and recovery of the Apollo 11 spacecraft from the deck of the USS Hornet, followed by an overnight stop in Guam. He then embarked on a series of official visits to meet with chiefs of state and heads of government of the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, India, and Pakistan. The President also made an unannounced visit to the Republic of Vietnam, an official visit to Romania, and a brief stopover at Mildenhall Air Force Base in England to meet with Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The President returned to the United States on August 3.


30. Memorandum of Conversation, New Delhi, August 1, 1969, 7:45–8:30 a.m.

Before the second meeting of advisers, President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger met with P.N. Haksar, his counterpart in the Indian Government. Haksar suggested that good relations between the U.S. and India depended upon the U.S. willingness to recognize the situation on the subcontinent and cease equating India with Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 1320,NSC Unfiled Material, 1969, 9 of 19. No classification marking. Drafted by Saunders. The meeting was held in the Presidential Palace.