155. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Rogers and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, November 23, 1971, 10:55 a.m.12[Page 1]
10:55 a. m. 11/23/71
K: I just wanted to tell you we had a call here from Brandt to the President which we thought concerned the meeting. But the President doesn’t want to talk because doesn’t want to get involved in scheduling of announcements. But it was about India/Pakistan. He asked what the attitude would be. I will send you a memo. I said we will ask for restraint. He asked about the UN and I said if it went to the UN we would urge lend of military operations and opportunity for refugees to return. Drawn from the cable.
R: Can’t beat that. What is he going to do?
K: He agreed with that. I said it wouldn’t hurt that if people who are friendly with India said that military action would be hard to understand and he said he would and that they would urge restraint on Pakistan.
R: If it continues to build and I think it will then exhortations will not help and the UN is the only way out.
K: Let’s not kid ourselves — that means Pakistan will get raped.
R: They will if the fighting doesn’t stop.
K: India is outrageous.
R: I think in the UN Pakistan will come out better then India and Pakistan has no other way out.
K: I am in favor of going to the UN if it continues another day.
R: We don’t do it.
K: No someone else.
R: I think we have positioned ourselves well. We have asked restraint on both sides and humanitarian assistance. Yahya’s position is more tenable then Mrs. Gandhi. She doesn’t want UN or observers or a representative group. Yahya does. So he has quite an advantage and I see no way out for him but that.
K: It’s part of the Soviet strategy to humiliate the country that helped the UN and China.
R: And it looks like they will succeed.
K: I think we should cut off military pipe line.[Page 2]
10:55 a. m. 11/23/71
R: It’s not substantial. The principle reason it continues is the intelligence facilities we thought it was important. ? ? ? ? ? ? over a period of time. If we decide it’s of no consequence we will break ties with India. No military significance. If we do it it will get attention. On ammunition and such we should but our radar equipment I think we should wait.
K: I don’t have a staff paper. Could we get recommendations?
R: It’s so small it doesn’t have significance except symbolic. I think we should be sure to stay out of it. Get someone else to stop fighting and its going on in 3 places now and fairly substantial. Brandt going to talk with the President?
K: No. I think he did it as a grandstand play. I wasn’t prepared for this subject. I thought he would bitch about the separate announcement.
R: Have you talked with the German Ambassador?
R: Maybe I should call him in and say Brandt called the President and touch base with him.
K: I think there’s a shade of difference between State’s and the President’s view. He would like to tilt towards Pakistan and not India and your people go the other way.
R: I don’t see that. I don’t think it’s right. Does he think that?
K: No because I didn’t go into it with him. He wants tough cables to go out. I haven’t gone into that because it’s not my job to make difficulties. But he told them in a WSAG meeting 3 months ago what he thought.
R: We all favor Peking but we have to be realistic and Pakistan will be leaked unless big powers go in.
K: Question all along we are lax if we tell India we will give anything which or if we give humanitarian or they want military things.
R: They don’t rely on US for military things.
K: No but ? ? ? ?.
R: Is that what the President wants?
K: No, not for a couple of days.[Page 3]
10:55 a. m. 11/23/71
R: I don’t think it serves the President well. I don’t think we should say the President wants US to kick India.
K: If one is asked what to do then one says release Mujib. That’s what India wants.
R: Who said that? Did we?
K: I don’t want to go into it. It’s a speech that was made yesterday.
R: It’s not what we have urged.
K: I thought this morning we were together. No disagreement this morning.
R: I think we should talk with the President about it. If there’s any difference of opinion then he should know about it but I don’t think so.
K: I think we are substantially in accord. It’s a question of nuance and if ? ? ? its telling India to go ahead.
R: I don’t think we should try to settle it politically or militarjly. We can cut off economic assistance to India but at the moment I don’t think so. Perhaps next week.
K: It shouldn’t be done until after the extent of fighting is known.
R: I think perhaps we should get together with the President so he knows what my position is. I will call the President.
- Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 15–23 November 1971. No classification marking. The omissions are in the original transcript. The announcements referred to in the conversation are apparently the projected announcements of Nixon’s scheduled meetings in December with West German Chancellor Willy Brandt, French President Georges Pompidou, and British Prime Minister EDWARD HEATH. The cable referenced in the conversation is apparently telegram 212549 to Islamabad, November 23. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA–PAK)↩
- Kissinger and Rogers expressed some differences over the U.S. response to the escalation of fighting in East Pakistan.↩