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158. Transcript of Telephone Conversation Between Secretary of State Rogers and the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, December 3, 1971, 3:45 p.m.1 2

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R: On Pakistan Ambassador. Has no instructions but thought a good idea. Communications slow from here to his government so working out an arrangement for him to send through our channels. He feels sure they wil not oppose. They feel same thing in UN.

K: I think we should wait until we hear from them. We can wait until tomorrow morning.

R: There’s a lot of criticism on why we don’t do something. Ambassador had a press conference today and a lot of press critizing US for not taking action. Otherwise if we don’t do it someone else will.

K: As soon as we hear from the.[?] If we can get an answer tonight, sure.

R: Sooner we have the monkey off our back so the President can say he has acted.

K: The President does want to act. Wants to take a line to condemn the Indians.

R: It’s not a matter of condemning or blaming. It’s trying to stop it. If we blame India a general war will break out.

K: In the subcontinent.

R: We are short-sighted if we think our general approach is castigating India. It’s to bring a ceasefire.

K: And withdrawal.

R: If we say let’s condemn India, what does that do? We are trying to bring about ceasefire.

K: That’s what we want to do but in order to get that we have to make clear who started action.

R: That’s in the Security Council. If we don’t take lead for in the security council in for action then first we have lost the opportunity because someone else will and no advantage for railing against India now if we have Security Council -

K: I mean before the Security Council.

R: Right.

K: I think we should get the Security Council in a way that’s not offensive to Pakistan if it can be done. So what if the Belgians go to the Security Council?

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Rogers/ Kissinger 3:45 p.m. 12/3/71

R: The President said don’t let them blame me and people will. Church saying we are not doing a thing.

K: We should hit back.

R: How can we?

K: We have done a lot. Neglect India on refugee thing. He will hit at US no matter what we do.

R: If war breaks out and we do not move quickly to bring it to the Security Council in conjunction with others, the President will be blamed for inaction.

K: As soon as we know they don’t object.

R: This fellow doesn’t and getting in touch with ambassador in NY who has been in touch with his government. I don’t think we should wait until tomorrow.

K: Let’s talk again in a couple of hours.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 370, Telephone Conversations, Chronological File, 1–5 December 1971. No classification marking.
  2. Kissinger and Rogers discussed whether to place the blame for the conflict on India.