118. Telegram 49943 From the Department of State to the Embassies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Iran, March 17, 1973, 2044Z.1 2

SUBJECT:

  • FIRST CALL ON PRIME MINISTER GANDHI

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64

ORIGIN SS-10

INFO OCT-01 ADP-00 ( ADP ) R

66632

DRAFTED BY: NEA/ PAB: JHHOLMES

APPROVED BY: NEA/ PAB: LBLAINGEN

NEA/ IRN: MMICHAUD

NEA: RGOOLD

S/ S- O: W NEWLIN

——————————- 084167

R 172044 Z MAR 73

FM SECSTATE WASHDC

TO AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD

AMEMBASSY KABUL

AMEMBASSY DACCA

AMEMBASSY TEHRAN

S E C R E T STATE 049943

EXDIS

FOLLOWING IS REPEAT NEW DELHI 3013 DATED 15 MAR 73 SENT ACTION

SECSTATE INFO BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS

QUOTE. S E C R E T NEW DELHI 3013

EXDIS

E. O. 11652: GDS

TAGS: PFOR, MASS, IN, PK, US

SUMMARY: I MET THIS AFTERNOON WITH PRIME MINISTER GANDHI FOR
HALF AN HOUR. THE MEETIMG WAS CORDIAL — CERTAINLY SO BY CONTRAST
TO THE GENERAL UPROAR HEREABOUTS. END SUMMARY.

1. I HAD PREPARED THE FOLLOWING TALKING POINTS WHICH I READ
WITH ONLY SLIGHT VARIATIONS:

A. I HAVE A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT WHICH YOU MAY WISH TO
TAKE A MOMENT TO READ. —- HE IS DEEPLY SERIOUS IN WHAT HE WRITES.
HE WOULD NOT HAVE ASKED ME TO COME BACK INTO GOVERNMENT IF THIS
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WERE NOT SO. HE WISHES TO BE IN MUCH CLOSER CONTACT WITH YOU
THAN HE HAS BEEN. MY JOB WILL BE TO REPORT TO HIM WHAT YOU
THINK, AND IN TURN TO REPORT TO YOU WHAT HE THINKS.

B. THERE IS ONE CENTRAL CONCEPT IN HIS THINKING AT THIS TIME.
THIS IS THAT A “NEW SITUATION” HAS EVOLVED IN SOUTH ASIA SINCE
THE EVENTS OF MID-1971. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THIS NEW SITUATION
ARE CLEAR TO US, AS THEY WOULD BE TO ANY OBJECTIVE OBSERVER.
WE SEE NO PROSPECT THAT THEY WILL CHANGE, NOR HAVE WE ANY
DESIRE THAT THEY SHOULD DO SO.

C. WE WISH NOW TO RESUME RELATIONS THAT WERE INTERRUPTED IN
MID-1971 ON THE BASIS OF THIS NEW SITUATION. AS I EXPLAINED TO
THE FOREIGN SECRETARY YESTERDAY, THIS MEANS CLEARING UP A FEW
PAST UNDERTAKINGS ABOUT WHICH WE FEEL WE MADE FIRM COMMITMENTS,
AND THEN GETTING ON WITH THE FUTURE. THESE COMMITMENTS WERE
BOTH TO INDIA AND PAKISTAN.

D. I AM ASKED TO MAKE ONE POINT MOST EXPLICITLY, WHICH IS
THAT THE PRESIDENT' S DECISION TO CLEAR UP THE BOOKS ALSO
INVOLVED A CONSCIOUS DECISION ON HIS PART NOT TO OPEN UP A MILITARY
SUPPLY LINE TO PAKISTAN, BUT MERELY TO CLEAR UP THE BOOKS.
THERE WERE NO AIRPLANES, NO TANKS, AND NO ARTILLERY INVOLVED.
THE REMAINDER OF THE “ONE- TIME EXCEPTION” OF 1970 IS REGARDED
AS HAVING LAPSED. OUR POLICY HENCEFORTH WILL BE NOT TO SUPPLY
LETHAL ARMS TO ANY NATION OF THE SUBCONTINENT. WE BELIEVE
WE ARE THE ONLY MAJOR ARMS SUPPLIER IN THE WORLD WHICH HAS SUCH
A POLICY. CLEARLY THE EXISTING MILITARY RATIOS ON THE SUBCONTINENT
CAN NEVER BE ALTERED AS A RESULT OF ANY AMERICAN ACTION UNDER
THIS POLICY. THE FOREIGN SECRETARY, SPEAKING FOR YOU AND FOR THE
MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, EXPRESSED TO ME THE GRAVE
CONCERN OF THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AT THE ACTIONS MY GOVERNMENT
HAS TAKEN, AND I IMMEDIATELY, OF COURSE, RELAYED THIS CONCERN
TO WASHINGTON. AND YET I DO HOPE YOU WILL SEE THAT THE NEW
SITUATION IN SOURTH ASIA HAS NOT CHANGED, AND WILL NOT CHANGE
AS A RESULT OF AMERICAN POLICIES.

E. THE UNITED STATES NOW HOPES TO DEVELOP A NEW RELATIONSHIP
BETWEEN OUR NATIONS ON THE BASIS OF MUTUAL RESPECT FOR EACH
OTHER' S INTERESTS. INDIA AND THE UNITED STATES ARE BOTH WORLD
POWERS AND THAT MEANS A HEAVY AND CONTINOUS SET OF RESPONSIBILITIES
AND CONCERNS. IT PROBABLY MEANS WE WILL NOT ALWAYS SEE MATTERS

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IN PRECISELY THE SAME PERSPECTIVE. AND YET WE ARE NATURAL FRIENDS
AND HAVE NO CONFLICTING INTERESTS BETWEEN US. WE FOR EXAMPLE
VERY MUCH HOPE THE SIMLA ACCORDS WILL MOVE FORWARD. WE HAVE
RECOGNIZED BANGLADESH, AND ARE PROVIDING A GREAT DEAL OF AID TO
THAT NATION, AND EXPECT IT WILL CONTINUE TO NEED SUCH AID FOR
A CONSIDERABLE WHILE. WE HOPE THERE WILL BE A BILATERAL SOLUTION
TO THE PRESENT SITUATION. IN A WORD, WE HOPE FOR A NORMAL
RELATIONSHIP WITH INDIA AS OF ONE WORLD POWER TO ANOTHER.
WE EACH SHARE THE FUNDAMENTAL INTEREST OF OTHER WORLD POWERS
IN PEACE AND A RISING DEGREE OF COOPERATION,

F. I WOULD LIKE TO RAISE ONE SUBSTANTIVE MATTER. AS A RESULT
OF AID WHICH THE UNITED STATES PROVIDED INDIA WHEN IT WAS A
NEW NATION, AND FURTHER AID THAT CAME ABOUT IN THE AFTERMATH
OF SERIOUS DROUGHTS IN THE 1960S, THE UNITED STATES HAS ACCUMULATED
A VERY LARGE SUM OF SO- CALLED PL 480 FUNDS. THE UNITED STATES
ACCOUNT PRESENTLY AMOUNTS TO SOME 685 CORERES OF RUPEES (DOLS
914 MILLION), AND WILL RISE TO 4,200 CRORES ( DOLS 5.603
BILLION). THIS IS AN UNNATURAL CONDITION TO EXIST BETWEEN
TWO WORLD POWERS. IT IS AN INEVITABLE SOURCE OF ANXIETY AND
STRAIN, NOT LEAST BECAUSE THE UNITED STATES USES THESE RUPEES
FOR LOCAL EXPENDITURES OF THE US EMBASSY IN INDIA. FINANCE
MINISTER CHAVAN HAS SAID THAT THIS ARRANGEMENT CANNOT GO ON
INDEFINITELY. WE AGREE. AND WE WOULD ALSO AGREE WITH HIS
STATEMENT THAT “ IF A SATISFACTORY SOLUTION IS NOT FOUND TO THIS
PROBLEM, PERHAPS IT MAY REMAIN WITH US FOREVER.” WE THINK A
SATISFACTORY SOLUTION CAN BE FOUND IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF
INDIA WOULD AGREE TO PROVIDE FOR OUR LOCAL EXPENSES FOR A
FIXED PERIOD OF YEARS, AGREE TO DEVOTE SOME FURTHER PART OF THE
RESOURCES TO USEFUL ACTIVITIES WHICH WOULD BE CARRIED OUT
WHOLLY UNDER INDIAN DIRECTION, AND THEN WRITE THE REST OFF.
ONCE THIS AGREEMENT IS REACHED THE MATTER WOULD BE DONE WITH
FOR GOOD AND ALL. I WOULD LIKE PERMISSION TO BEGIN DISCUSSIONS
OF THIS WITH WHOMEVER THE PRIME MINISTER DESIGNATES.

2. MRS. GANDHI TOOK MILD EXCEPTION TO THE DESCRIPTION OF INDIA
AS A WORLD POWER, SAYING THAT INDIA DID NOT BELIEVE IN POWER
POLITICS AND IN ANY EVENT DID NOT HAVE THE RESOURCES TO ACT
AS OTHER NATIONS HAD DONE IN THE PAST. INDIA HAD BEEN INVADED
FIVE TIMES SINCE OBTAINING FREEDOM. THIS HAD CAUSED A DESPERATE
STRAIN ON HER RESOURCES. THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT “ON THE MAT”
WITH RESPECT TO THE AMERICAN DECISION TO RESUME ARMS SHIPMENTS.

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(HERE IS NDICATED THAT SHE ASSUMED WE WERE PRESENTING THE APC' S
AS NON- LETHAL EQUIPMENT AND THAT SOMEHOW A CASE COULD BE MADE
FOR THIS POINT.) SHE SAID SHE HOPED I WOULD HAVE A “ FRUITFUL
MISSION” ALTHOUGH “ YOU HAVE NOT MADE A GOOD BEGINNING.” SHE
WAS BEARISH ABOUT THE PROSPECTS FOR A PAKISTAN- BANGLADESH
SETTLEMENT, BUT DID NOT TAKE THE LINE THAT THIS WOULD NOW BE
THE FALUT OF THE UNITED STATES. SHE EMPHASIZED THAT THIS IS
A MATTER FOR THE TWO OF THEM TO SETTLE. SHE RESPONDED QUITE
POSITIVELY TO THE PROPOSAL TO BEGIN DISCUSSION ON THE BLOCKED
RUPEE SITUATION AND I AM TO BE IN TOUCH WITH HERE SECRETARY
TOMORROW TO GET THINGS UNDERWAY.

3. A POINT OF POSSIBLE SPECIAL INTEREST: THE PRIME MINISTER
RAISED ON HER OWN THE SUBJECT OF PAKISTANI POW' S. SHE EXPLAINED
THAT IT WAS A HEAVY BUFDEN ON INDIA' S RESOURCES TO BE MAINTAINING
THEM AND THAT SHE WOULD HOPE TO SEE THEM RETURNED EVEN THOUGH
IT MEANT TURNING OVER 93,000 CRACK TROOPS.

4. COMMENT: SHE COULD HAVE MADE IT VERY DIFFICULT FOR ME AND
CHOSE NOT TO. AFTER I HAD LEFT A GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN DESCRIBED
THE TALKS AS “ PLEASANT AND FRANK.”

MOYNIHAN

UNQUOTE. ROGERS

SECRET

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. It was drafted by Holmes; cleared by NEA/IRN and NEA; and approved by Laingen. Secret; Exdis.
  2. The Department relayed a summary of Ambassador Moynihan's first official meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, covering various topics, such as U.S. arms sales to Pakistan, PL-480 food aid, and the Simla negotiations between India and Pakistan.