India and Pakistan: Crisis and War, March-December 1971


123. Memorandum From the Staff Secretary of the National Security Council (Davis) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Packard), Washington, March 3, 1971

Davis circulated to members of the Senior Review Group the response to NSSM 118, a contingency study that examined the policy options available to the United States in the event of a move by East Pakistan to secede.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–053, SRG Meeting, Pakistan, 3/6/71. Secret; Exdis. Keith Guthrie signed for Davis. Also sent to Irwin, JCS Chairman Moorer, and CIA Director Helms. A copy of the contingency study in the Department of State files indicates that it was prepared by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia and forwarded to Kissinger on March 2 by Sisco, who was serving as chairman of the group. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 PAKUS) The Senior Review Group meeting scheduled for March 3 was held on March 6.


124. Telegram 697 From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State, March 10, 1971, 1205Z

Awami leader Mujibur Rahman sent a message to the Consulate General to ask if the U.S. would be willing to indicate to Pakistani President Yahya its preference for a political solution to the crisis.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, London, Karachi, Lahore, New Delhi, and priority Bangkok for Farland.


125. Telegram 959 From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State, March 28, 1971, 0540Z

The Consulate General in Dacca began its report on the crisis on March 28 as follows: “Here in Dacca we are mute and horrified witnesses to a reign of terror by the PAK military.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 PAK. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis. Also sent to Islamabad. Repeated priority to London, Bangkok, New Delhi, Karachi, Lahore, Calcutta, CINCSTRIKE, CINCPAC, and MAC.


126. Telegram 978 From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State, March 29, 1971, 1130Z

The Consulate General reported on the continuing “crackdown” in Dacca by Pakistani army units, which seemed targeted in particular upon Hindus.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 PAK. Confidential; Priority. Also sent to Islamabad. Repeated priority to Bangkok, New Delhi, London, Karachi, Lahore, Calcutta, CINCPAC, CINCSTRIKE, and MAC.


127. Telegram 986 From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State, March 30, 1971, 0905Z

The Consulate General’s report on the crisis on March 30 described the killing of students and faculty at Dacca University.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 PAK. Confidential; Priority. Also sent to Islamabad. Repeated priority to Bangkok, London, New Delhi, Calcutta, Karachi, Lahore, CINCPAC, CINCSTRIKE, and MAC.


128. Telegram 2954 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, March 31, 1971, 1245Z

The Embassy analyzed the crisis in East Pakistan for historical perspective and concluded: “deplorable as current events in East Pakistan may be, it is undesirable that they be raised to level of contentious international political issue.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–9 PAK. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Calcutta, Colombo, Dacca, Kabul, Karachi, Lahore, London, and New Delhi.


129. Telegram 58039 From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Dacca, Washington, April 7, 1971, 0014Z

This telegram, drafted by Assistant Secretary of State Sisco and cleared by the senior leadership of the Department of State, USIA, and AID, responded to the charge made by the staff of the Consulate General that the U.S. had failed to condemn what it viewed as atrocities in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted on April 6 by Sisco; cleared by Irwin, U. Alexis Johnson, Eliot, Macomber, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Press Relations Robert J. McCloskey, Deputy Director Henry Loomis (USIA), and Maurice Williams (AID); and approved by Rogers. Repeated to Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore.


130. Telegram 1249 From the Consulate General in Dacca to the Department of State, April 10, 1971, 1508Z

The staff of the Consulate General expanded on their objections to the U.S. response to the crisis in East Pakistan first outlined on April 6 in telegram 1138 from Dacca.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Sent with a request to pass to Islamabad.


131. Special National Intelligence Estimate 32–71, Washington, April 12, 1971

SNIE 32–71 assessed prospects for Pakistan in light of the emerging civil war.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, NIC Files, Job 79–R01012A. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was prepared by the CIA and the intelligence organizations in the Departments of State and Defense, and NSA. All members of the U.S. Intelligence Board concurred in the estimate except the representative of the FBI, who abstained because the subject was outside of his jurisdiction.


132. Paper Prepared by the National Security Council’s Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia for the Senior Review Group, Washington, undated

The paper assessed the crisis in East Pakistan and its impact on U.S. relations with Pakistan. It also weighed U.S. interests in South Asia and outlined policy options for dealing with the crisis.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–054, SRG Meeting, Pakistan and Ceylon, 4/19/71. Secret. On April 16 Sisco sent this paper under a covering memorandum to Kissinger in his capacity as chairman of the NSC Review Group for use by the Senior Review Group at its April 19 meeting. (Ibid.)


133. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Eliot) to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, May 25, 1971

Eliot conveyed to Kissinger, for circulation to the members of the WSAG, a contingency study prepared in the Department of State assessing the policy options for dealing with the escalating crisis in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1–1 INDIA–PAK. Secret. This memorandum and, apparently, the attached study, were drafted by Quainton and cleared by Schneider and Sisco.


134. Memorandum From Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, May 26, 1971

Hoskinson summarized Indian policy toward the crisis in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–082, WSAG Meeting, India-Pakistan, 5/26/71. Secret; Exdis.


135. Conversation Between President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, May 26, 1971, 10:38–10:44 a.m.

Nixon and Kissinger discussed a letter that had been received from Indian Prime Minister Gandhi and another to be sent to Pakistani President Yahya.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation between Nixon and Kissinger, Oval Office, Conversation No. 505–4. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the portion of the conversation published here specifically for this volume.


136. Conversation Between President Nixon and his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, June 4, 1971, 9:42–9:51 a.m.

Nixon and Kissinger discussed Ambassador Keating and his view of India and the building crisis in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation between Nixon and Kissinger, Oval Office, Conversation No. 512–4. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the portion of the conversation published here specifically for this volume.


137. Conversation Among President Nixon, his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), and the Ambassador to India (Keating), Washington, June 15, 1971, 5:13–5:40 p.m.

Keating gave Nixon and Kissinger his appreciation of the developing crisis in South Asia in the course of briefing them on their impending meeting with Indian Foreign Minister SINGH.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation among Nixon, Kissinger, and Keating, Oval Office, Conversation No. 521–13. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the portions of the conversation published here specifically for this volume.


138. Conversation Among President Nixon, his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), the Indian Foreign Minister (Singh), and the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco), Washington, June 16, 1971, 2:58–3:41 p.m.

In a discussion of mounting tensions on the subcontinent, SINGH sought to emphasize the “tremendous problem” created for India by the influx of refugees from East Pakistan. Nixon counseled patience while the U.S. provided additional funds to deal with the refugees and used quiet diplomacy to try to mediate a settlement in Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation among Nixon, SINGH, Kissinger, and Sisco, Oval Office, Conversation No. 523–2. No classification marking. Ambassadors Keating and Jha were also present.


139. Memorandum of Conversation, New Delhi, July 7, 1971

President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger and Indian Defense Minister Jagjivan Ram discussed Ram’s perception of the threat posed by China to India. Kissinger said that the U.S. would take a “grave view” of any Chinese move against India. The conversation concluded with a discussion of what might be done to improve relations between the U.S. and India.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA–US. Secret; Exdis. Drafted on July 12. Published from an unsigned copy. The meeting was held in Ram’s office. Kissinger left Washington on July 2 for what was publicly described as a fact-finding trip to South Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Pakistan. The trip included secreta secret visit to China, undertaken during Kissinger’s visit to Pakistan, following his stop in India. He returned to Washington on July 11.


140. Study Prepared in Response to National Security Study Memorandum 133, Washington, July 10, 1971

In response to NSSM 133, the study assessed U.S. policy options in South Asia in light of the crisis in East Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–058, SRG Meeting, South Asia, 7/23/71. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Quainton. A cover sheet bears the date July 9, but drafting information indicates that it was drafted on July 10. The study was drafted for the Senior Review Group and approved by a State/Defense/CIA ad hoc committee. The cover sheet and a table of contents are not published.


141. Conversation Among President Nixon, his Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), and the Ambassador to Pakistan (Farland), Washington, July 28, 1971, 4:21–4:54 p.m.

Farland briefed Nixon and Kissinger on the developing crisis in Pakistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation among Nixon, Kissinger, and Farland, Oval Office, Conversation No. 549–25. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the conversation published here specifically for this volume.


142. Paper Prepared for the Senior Review Group, Washington, July 29, 1971

This “Scenario For Action In Indo-Pak Crisis” was prepared in the Department of State in response to an instruction from the Senior Review Group.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H–058, SRG Meeting, South Asia, 7/30/71. Secret; Exdis. This scenario was prepared in response to an instruction to the Department from the Senior Review Group on July 23 to draft a paper outlining what the U.S. perceived as a desirable outcome to the crisis developing in East Pakistan. The instruction called for a paper that could serve as “a scenario for discussions with the Pakistanis, the Indians and possibly the Russians.” (Ibid., Box H–112, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1971) Drafted by Quainton and used by the Senior Review Group at their meeting on July 30. Because of a typographical error, the drafting date on the paper is given as June 29. The attached paper on humanitarian relief, cited in the scenario, is not published.


143. Memorandum From the Deputy Administrator of the Agency for International Development (Williams) to Secretary of State Rogers, Washington, September 3, 1971

Williams reported to Rogers on his trip to Pakistan and offered his recommendations.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 PAK. Secret. Rogers transmitted the memorandum to Nixon on September 13 under a covering memorandum. (Ibid.) Tabs A–D are not published.


144. Memorandum Prepared in the Office of National Estimates, Central Intelligence Agency, Washington, September 22, 1971

The memorandum assessed the first 6 months of the crisis in South Asia and suggested possible outcomes.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 570, Indo-Pak Crisis, South Asia, 1/1/71–9/30/71. Secret. SNIE 32–71 is Document 131. The May 28 memorandum cited in footnote 2 has not been found.


145. Telegram 9833 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, September 28, 1971, 1039Z

Ambassador Farland made the case that the U.S. policy of seeking to maintain leverage with the Government of Pakistan had helped to “defuse or ameliorate the crisis.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 PAKUS. Secret; Exdis. Repeated to Karachi, Dacca, and Lahore. Sent with a request to repeat to other posts as desired.


146. Conversation Among President Nixon, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), British Foreign Secretary Douglas-Home, and the British Ambassador to the United States (Cromer), Washington, September 30, 1971, 4:10-5:31 p.m.

Nixon, Kissinger, and DOUGLAS-HOME shared their assessments of developments on the subcontinent and agreed to maintain close contacts in dealing with Prime Minister Gandhi concerning the crisis.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation among Nixon, Kissinger, DOUGLAS-HOME, and Cromer, Oval Office, Conversation 582–9. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the portions of the conversation published here specifically for this volume.


147. Telegram 10043 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State, October 4, 1971, 1230Z

The Embassy reported that the combined efforts of the Government in Islamabad and the army in East Pakistan had “failed to halt anarchy in the countryside, to undercut support to Mukti Bahini, or to restore East Pakistan government to its pre-March level of muddling-through incompetency.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL PAK. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Bombay, Calcutta, Dacca, Kabul, Karachi, Kathmandu, Lahore, London, Madras, New Delhi, Tehran, USUN, and the US Mission in Geneva.


148. Telegram 186578 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan, October 12, 1971, 1837Z

Secretary of State Rogers commended Ambassador Farland on his assessment of the developing crisis in Pakistan. Rogers suggested that Farland continue to stress to Pakistani President Yahya the importance of dealing leniently with MUJIB.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 1 PAKUS. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted on September 29 by Laingen; cleared by VAN HOLLEN, Sisco, and Irwin; and approved by Rogers. Repeated to Dacca, Lahore, and Karachi.


149. Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, November 4, 1971

Advisers to President Nixon and Indian Prime Minister Gandhi discussed the building crisis in South Asia while Nixon and Gandhi met Assistant Secretary of State Sisco said Yahya Khan had accepted the idea of a unilateral military withdrawal and was prepared under certain conditions to open a dialogue with Bangla Desh representatives. T. N. Kaul responded skeptically to both suggestions.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 919, VIP Visits, India, PM INDIRA GANDHI Visit, Nov. 1971. Secret. Sent for information. Saunders initialed for himself and Hoskinson. A notation on the memorandum indicates that Kissinger saw it.


150. Conversation Among President Nixon, the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), and the President’s Assistant (Haldeman), Washington, November 5, 1971, 8:51–9:00 a.m.

Nixon, Kissinger, and Haldeman discussed Nixon’s conversation the previous day with Indian Prime Minister Gandhi, and agreed on the approach to take in the meeting he was scheduled to have with her later in the day.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Recording of Conversation among Nixon, Kissinger, and Haldeman, Oval Office, Conversation 615–4. No classification marking. The editor transcribed the conversation published here specifically for this volume.


151. Memorandum for the President’s File, Washington, November 5, 1971

President Nixon and Indian Prime Minister Gandhi discussed international developments but not the crisis in South Asia.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 2, Memoranda for the President, Beginning October 31, 1971. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only. Apparently drafted by Kissinger. The meeting was held in the Oval Office at 11:20 a.m.