221. Memorandum for the President’s File1 2


  • Your Meeting with U.S. Ambassador to India, Kenneth Keating, on Thursday, February 3, 1972


  • The President
  • Ambassador Keating
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger

President Nixon: You have been through a tough time.

Ambassador Keating: I had a good talk with Dr. Kissinger about it. I am tough.

President Nixon: Neither country should be a country. They are too poor, too bloodthirsty.

Ambassador Keating: Yes, there should be a regional solution, like the EEC.

President Nixon: India shouldn’t waste its substance fighting Pakistan. China is their problem.

Ambassador Keating: I agree.

President Nixon: Let me give you my view. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I am afraid they’ll leak it, so of course we can’t announce it. Let me tell you where we went wrong. I was too soft on Mrs. Gandhi. When she was here. I led her on. If we were going to restrain them at all we should have been tougher. I am not mad at Mrs. Gandhi. She has not had a better friend in this office than me. I have taken the line that India should have to compete with the PRC. I have always defended India.

Ambassador Keating: They could stop this press campaign against us, if it weren’t for their spokesman, Kaul, a slippery customer.

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President Nixon: I want to confirm the backchannel arrangements we have. You communicate directly with me. India has a friend in the White House. They should know this. We are going to China for reasons of our own. We took action on India because our law requires it. In reality we are India’s best friend. Right, Henry?

Dr. Kissinger: That is true. But we must move at a measured pace.

Ambassador Keating: They are going to try to make a political issue out of it. State made me do it. I can’t deny my cables.

President Nixon: Put yourself in the position of India. She needs relations with the three great nations, if she wants a viable foreign policy. The United States is the only one that has no design on her.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Special Files, President’s Office Files, Box 87, Memoranda for the President, Beginning January 30, 1972. Top Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Prepared but not initialed by Kissinger.
  2. In a conversation with Ambassador Keating, President Nixon told him to tell the Indian Government that “India has a friend in the White House.” The President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs Kissinger added: “But we must move at a measured pace.”