194. Telegram 19600 From the Embassy in India to the Department of State, December 23, 1971, 1035Z 12[Page 1]
- PRIME MINISTER GANDHI ON INDO-US RELATIONS
FM AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4908
WE ARE ADVISED ON STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL BASIS THAT MRS. GANDHI TOLD NEWSMAN IN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW DEC 22 THAT:
(A) INDO-AMERICAN RELATIONS CAN GET BACK TO NORMAL TODAY IF US WANTS. INSOFAR AS I'M CONCERNED, THEY ARE PERFECTLY NORMAL, I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST US. I'M DEEPLY GRATEFUL TO PEOPLE OF US. I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF LETTERS I HAVE RECEIVED FROM EMINENT PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT FIELDS OF ACTIVITY IN US RIGHT DOWN TO SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THIRD, FOURTH, FIFTH AND SIXTH GRADES. I'VE BEEN VERY GREATLY TOUCHED BY THEIR SENTIMENTS.
(B) AS TO MISUNDERSTANDING BY PRESIDENT NIXON OF INDIA'S CASE. IT'S NOT JUST A QUESTION OF INDIA'S CASE INSOFAR AS BANGLA DESH IS CONCERNED. IT'S A QUESTION OF RECOGNIZING WHAT INDIA IS, WHAT INDIA STANDS FOR AND WHAT INDIA WANTS TO DO. WE HAVE NEVER ACCEPTED THEORY OF BALANCE OF POWER, AND WE HAVE NO INTENTION DOING IT NOW.
(C) THERE IS FANTASTIC NONSENSE BEING TALKED ABOUT IN US ABOUT OUR HAVING RECEIVED PROMISES FROM THE SOVIET UNION (I.E., CONCERNING SOVIET INTERVENTION AGAINST 7TH FLEET AND AGAINST CHINA). I ASSURE YOU THAT THESE MATTERS WERE NOT TALKED OVER WITH SOVIETS AND IF AFTER ALL THIS US REFUSES TO RECOGNIZE WHAT SORT OF PERSON I AM AND WHAT SORT OF COUNTRY INDIA IS, THEN, I'M AFRAID., I CAN'T SAY WHAT WILL HAPPEN AND WHAT SORT OF RELATIONSHIP WE WILL HAVE. YOU MUST BE ABLE TO JUDGE A PERSON AND KNOW WHAT THEY'RE LIKE.
(D) AS TO THE ECONOMIC CONSEQUENCES OF WAR, [Page 2]WE'LL HAVE SOME HARDSHIP BUT WE ARE USED TO IT AND CAN BEAR IT. WE ARE ALSO DETERMINED TO CUT DOWN ON ALL FOREIGN AIDE NO MATTER WHAT CONSEQUENCES WILL BE. THIS REGARD, WE WANT TO BE AS SELF RELIANT AS POSSIBLE, FROM ALL SOURCES, INSOFAR AS POSSIBLE.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 573, Indo-Pak War, South Asia, 12/17/71–12/31/71. Confidential; Limdis.↩
- The Embassy reported on an interview Indian Prime Minister Gandhi gave to a journalist in which she said U.S.-Indian relations could return to normal if the U.S. was prepared to recognize India's predominant position on the subcontinent.↩