The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. Those regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series must include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg in 1928: the Foreign Relations series is guided by historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The 1991 statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This electronic-only volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administration of Richard M. Nixon. This is the first Foreign Relations volume to be published in a new format, that of electronic-only publication. Approximately 25 percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969–1976 subseries, covering the Nixon and Nixon–Ford administrations, will be in this format. The decision to institute this change was taken in full consultation with the Department’s Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, which was established under the Foreign Relations statute. The advantages of this new method of presenting documentation are evident in this volume: the format enables convenient access to a large amount of key documentation on a broader range of issues, all or any portion of which can be easily downloaded. Annotation—the value added element of documentary editing—is still present in limited form, but not to the scale of a Foreign Relations print volume. This electronic-only publication results in substantial savings in cost and time of production, thus allowing the series to present a fuller range of documentation on a wider range of topics sooner than would have been possible under a print-only format. These advantages compensate for the fact that this Foreign Relations volume is not an actual book bound in traditional ruby buckram. The Department of State, the Historian, the General Editor, and the Historical Advisory Committee are all dedicated to publishing the great majority of the volumes in the Foreign Relations series in print form; these are also posted in electronic format on the Department of State’s website. While the future of research in documentary publications is increasingly tied to the ease of use and availability of the Internet, the Department of State will continue to use both print and electronic-only versions to make the Foreign Relations series available to the widest audience possible. In that sense, this innovation is in keeping with the general principles of the series, which was begun by President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward and continued by subsequent presidents and secretaries of state for 140 years.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–7

This e-volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon administration toward South Asia, 1969–1972, and should be read in conjunction with Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971, which covers in depth the period from March to December 1971. Together, these two volumes provide full coverage of U.S. policy toward the larger countries of South Asia. For the period January 1969 to February 1971 and all of 1972, the e-volume provides full coverage of U.S. policy toward India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the newly created state of Bangladesh. The e-volume also contains documentation that supplements the print volume XI. These additional documents on India and Pakistan for the period March to December 1971 include intelligence assessments, key messages from the U.S. Embassies in Islamabad and New Delhi and the Consulate General in Dacca, responses to National Security Study Memoranda, and full transcripts of Presidential tape recordings that are summarized and excerpted in editorial notes in volume XI. Documentation on Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan is not included in the e-volume.

Even before the “tilt” toward Pakistan during the war, the Nixon administration concluded that peace and stability in South Asia could only be maintained by aiding Pakistan against a stronger India, which was receiving military aid from the Soviet Union. In addition, Pakistan was serving as a secret conduit on behalf of Nixon and Kissinger in their attempts to open contacts with the People’s Republic of China. A major theme of this volume is the Nixon administration’s policy of so-called one-time only exceptions of arms sales to Pakistan, a policy that reversed the Johnson administration’s moratorium of lethal military sales to both countries after their 1965 war. When over the objections of Secretary of State William Rogers, Nixon released for sale to Pakistan 100 U.S. tanks (formerly the property of the Turkish armed forces), U.S.-Indian relations, which had not been good, deteriorated even further. India responded by closing some United States Information Service (USIS) cultural centers.

After the conclusion of the 1971 war, the major theme of the volume is the U.S. adjustment to a new balance of power in South Asia. The Nixon administration offered substantial economic aid and limited military aid to Pakistan under its new civilian president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Pakistan did not consider the military aid sufficient, but relations between Pakistan and the United States were generally good. U.S. relations with India showed some improvement, as Washington responded cautiously to overtures from India for better bilateral relations. There was, however, the realization among the U.S. intelligence community and the Washington bureaucracy, that India had the potential to produce nuclear weapons.

The themes of the Afghanistan and Bangladesh chapters are relatively straightforward. The United States was prepared to use diplomacy, aid, and cultural programs to offset Soviet influence in the Afghan kingdom. The issue of whether Afghanistan was spending too much on sophisticated military equipment was a complicating factor to aid programs that were designed to counter Afghanistan’s general economic backwardness, government inefficiency, and extended drought. The questions of the size and uses of Afghanistan’s opium production constitute a major theme, as they do in the coverage of Pakistan, especially after the Nixon administration embarked on a program of attacking the sources of illegal drugs. A final theme is political instability in the government in Kabul, amid signs that the monarchy was in danger.

The main theme of the Bangladesh chapter is U.S. recognition of the country as an independent state. Such a decision was taken in the context of Pakistan’s desire that recognition not be “premature” and the timing of President Nixon’s historic trip to China. The extent and timeliness of U.S. food aid and credits to Bangladesh is another theme. Such aid was given amid persistent criticism of the U.S. motives by many of Bangladesh’s political leaders and students.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations electronic-only volumes follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. The original text is reproduced exactly, including marginalia or other notations, which are both visible on the facsimile copy of the document and described in the source note. There is also a text version of the document. The editors have supplied a heading, a summary, and a source note with additional relevant information, as required, for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected in the text file. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the text, and a list of abbreviations, persons, and sources accompanies the volume.

Bracketed insertions in roman type are used on the facsimile copy and in the text file to indicate text omitted by the editors because it deals with an unrelated subject. Text that remains classified after declassification review is blacked-out on the facsimile copy and a bracketed insertion (in italic type) appears in the text file. Entire documents selected for publication but withheld because they must remain classified are accounted for by a heading, a source note, and a bracketed note indicating the number of pages not declassified. These denied documents are listed in their chronological place in the volume.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary, to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and related implementing public access regulations require NARA to notify formally the Nixon Estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which staff members were participants or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Project are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of all the documents published in this volume. The review was undertaken in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State, other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government, and the appropriate foreign governments. The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 2004 and was completed in 2005, resulted in the decision to withhold 2 documents in full, to excise a paragraph or more in 4 documents, and to make minor excisions in 20 documents. The editors are confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described, that this volume is an accurate record of the foreign policy of the first Nixon administration toward South Asia for the 1969 to 1972 period.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editors also wish to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access.

Louis J. Smith did the research, made the selection, and prepared the annotation for the volume under the supervision and direction of the General Editor, Edward C. Keefer. Craig A. Daigle and Richard Moss prepared the transcripts of the Nixon Presidential tape recordings.

Susan C. Weetman and Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review. Kristin L. Ahlberg, Renée A. Goings, Florence M. Segura, and Jennifer R. Walele performed the copy and technical editing of the list of documents, summaries, and annotation. Kristin Ahlberg edited the lists of abbreviations, persons, and sources. Edmond Pechaty and Artemy M. Kalinovsky scanned the documents and helped prepare them for on-line publication.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
June 2005