176. Telegram 12414 From the Embassy in Pakistan to the Department of State 1 2

[Page 1]


  • Meeting With Pres. Yahya December 12


  • State 2227031: State 223266
I met with Pres. Yahya Khan in his residence at 10:30 hrs local December 12. The Foreign Secretary, Sultan Khan, was present during the entire meeting. The President appeared tired and somewhat strained, but exhibited more morale than I would have anticipated.
The conversation began with a general discussion of the military situation in both East and West Pakistan. The President said that Pakistani troops had been forced back toward and into Dacca, where, unless a ceasefire was agreed upon, they would have to stage a last-ditch defense. In West Pakistan, he said, the general situation, was static. Although they had experienced several limited successes in Kashmir. He added that the air force continued to quote serve magnificently unquote.
Moving to the subject of a ceasefire, I then referred to State reftel 223266 (also reported Islamabad 12355), and asked Yahya if he could give me an explianation why General Faman Ali’s ceasefire offer had been replaced by less comprehensive offer from Governor Malik. [Page 2] The President, after looking hard at the Foreign Secretary, said that there had been a breakdown of communications and apparently some qte general misunderstandings unqte. He added that the Foreign Secretary was rectifying this situation. (This matter had obviously flapped and further inquires seemed inappropriate.)
Also on the matter of a ceasefire, I asked Yahya if he would care to give me his view thereon. Yahya said that he was prepared to do qte anything reasonable under the circumstances unqte. He went on to say that today’s Pakistan Times carried a Foreign Office spokesman’s statement qte that Pakistan had accepted the General Assembly resolution in its totality unqte. He added that, in view of the fact that 104 nations had supported the General Assembly resolution, presumably this position should be considered a reasonable one.
Conversation concluded with my statements that we would like to be helpful vis-a-vis the UN with communications, and otherwise to do what we can to bring about an end to the conflict and to preserve Pakistan territorial integrity and armed forces in the west.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 27 INDIA–PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Dacca, New Delhi, and USUN.
  2. Ambassador Farland asked Pakistani President Yahya to clarify Pakistan’s position with respect to a cease-fire.