136. Conversation Between President Nixon and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2

Nixon: I told Keating that I would see him—he was there last night at this little party we had—and I told him I would see him when he came back, late and in the middle of June, just before the Foreign Minister came. And I think we’ll just have him for a half hour and then have him—

Kissinger: I saw him leaving.

Nixon: I also told him that, I said the problem here is that we just got to be sure we don’t get involved in an internal conflict, be pulled one way or another, so forth and so on.

Kissinger: He’s almost fanatical on this issue.

Nixon: Well what the hell does he think we should do about it?

Kissinger: Oh he thinks—I tell you, he thinks we should cut off all military aid, all economic aid, and in effect help the Indians to push the Pakistanis out of—

Nixon: Push—I don’t want him to come in with that kind of jackass thing with me.

Kissinger: Mr. President, actually we’ve got to keep Yahya, we have to keep Yahya [unclear] public executions for the next month.

Nixon: Look, even apart from the Chinese thing, I wouldn’t do that to help the Indians, the Indians are no goddamn good. Now Keating, like every Ambassador who goes over there, goes over there and gets sucked in. He now thinks the—

Kissinger: Those sons-of-bitches, who never have lifted a finger for us, why should we get involved in the morass of East Pakistan? All the more so, I quite agree with the point, if East Pakistan becomes independent, it is going to become a cesspool. It’s going be 100 million people, they have the lowest standard of living in Asia—

Nixon: Yeah.

Kissinger: No resources. They’re going to become a ripe field for Communist infiltration. And then they’re going to bring pressure on India because of West Bengal. So that the Indians in their usual idiotic way are playing for little stakes, unless they have in the back of their minds that they could turn East Pakistan into a sort of protectorate that they could control from Calcutta. That they may have in the back of their mind.

Nixon: Oh, what they had in the back of their mind was to destroy Pakistan.

  1. 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.
  2. Nixon and Kissinger discussed Ambassador Keating and his view of India and the building crisis in East Pakistan.