Mr. Alfred Atherton,
Assistant Secretary for Near East and South Asian Affairs
Mr. David Passage, notetaker
Ambassador YAQUB KHAN
Iqbal Riza, Minister
Amir Usman, Counselor
Distribution: S, S-RWAherne, NSC-Peter Rodman
Kissinger: Mr. Ambassador,
welcome, I wanted to talk about our favorite subject. Do you want to do
it in a group this large or would you prefer a smaller group.
YAQUB: This will be alright, I suppose. Atherton represents the “New York Times.”
RIZA: And I represent “Le Monde.”
Kissinger: Do you still have
Kissinger: They used to take me
apart until some order was restored. I went to India in the 1960's as an
advisor to the last Democratic administration. It was at a time when
India had Galbraith as the American Ambassador and Pakistan had a career
man. So the Pakistanis felt aggrieved as it was.
Galbraith, of course, was having heart attacks at the thought of my
wandering around unescorted. The first time I had a press conference, I
was asked whether or not I thought Pakistan would attack India in order
to solve the Kashmir dispute. I said I didn't think Pakistan would be so
foolish as to do anything like that. Notwithstanding the fact that it
was complimentary to Pakistan, the fact that I mentioned Pakistan and
foolish in the same breath lead to an uproar in the Pakistani press. So
I traveled the remainder of the time in India as a national hero while
the Pakistan press was beating me to death. Three days later I was with
Ayub Khan and I said: “I didn't think you'd receive me after the scandal
in the press.” He smiled. Then at dinner later that evening when I got
up to give the toast, I forgot momentarily that the Ayub/Kennedy letters were secret and I
mentioned them saying that they represented an example of the best of
diplomacy. Ayub almost dropped his glass. But I give them great credit.
Not a peep appeared in the Pakistani press. A day later I was touring in
Kashmir and I received a message from Bundy saying that the President
had ordered him to wire me: “If you open your mouth once more, I will
push the recall button.”
Well, I wanted to talk very briefly, Mr. Ambassador, about the subject
you and I know so well. Hank will be going back on Monday. The message
he all carry is one that your Prime Minister can think about. Frankly, I
can't add to our last conversation. It is very important, I think,
however, to stress that the French would not be heartbroken if there
were a cancellation or a delay in the implementation of the nuclear
reprocessing agreement. I think I can assure you that the new American
administration will make a massive effort toward this end, and they
would like nothing better than to have somebody to make an example of.
There is no leader to whom I feel personally more attached than your
YAQUB: (murmers suitable reciprocity)
Therefore, what we need to do is find a formula which avoids causing him
a personal problem and yields him the greatest possible tangible
benefit. I would like to note at this point that we have given no
publicity to the matter and we will give no publicity to it; we will not
cause a public issue which will embarrass the Prime Minister. If
cancellation is a problem for you, let me suggest that perhaps delay or
postponement be used as an explanation. On our side, I can assure you
that we will come up with a military package including A-7's, perhaps a
reactor — even a French reactor — possibly with United States credit. I
would also pledge to you to make an effort to get Carter and Vance signed up before this
comes about. I know you have no instructions and I also assume that we
agreed that if we both knew two years ago what we now know, we would not
be meeting here. But when you see an express train coming down the
track, it seems only prudent to get out of its way. I would hate very
much to see Pakistan become the first object of a desire by a new
Administration to score something. But I want to make absolutely clear,
if the Prime Minister turns us down, we will do nothing and I emphasize
nothing to embarrass Pakistan. There will be no big headlines. We will
not use this to build public pressure against you.
YAQUB: Well, Mr. Secretary, I know you appreciate the sensitivity that
this causes us. I would like to suggest that perhaps we try to defer
this (referring to trying to find a solution) until after Pakistan's
Kissinger: When will they be?
YAQUB: Before August. Perhaps before April. The Prime Minister's
thinking is that this is on the verge of becoming a major political
problem or him and he wants to avoid that type of situation.
Kissinger: I'm sure Carter would
be delighted if we handed him a package in March.
YAQUB: The Prime Minister can say: “let's take a look at it. Let's look
at a formula"… mind you I'm surmising now… we could only give a response
after our elections.
Kissinger: I'll give you my phone
numbers for after January 20.
YAQUB: We are also particularly sensitive with respect to the French
reaction. I know you have always honored this and I want you to know we
appreciate it. Now that I have a fifth columnist in our Paris Embassy
(nodding toward Riza — who will be going off to Pakistan's Embassy in
Kissinger: Well, I want you to
know we're talking about the two leaders with whom I have the best
relations. We have told the French exactly what I agreed with your Prime
Minister. At some point, if it would be helpful, in response to a
proposal from us, if both of you could accept … no, that might make it
YAQUB: Yes, that could only make things worse. The Prime Minister's
reaction is very clearly that postponement would be virtually tantamount
to cancellation. Therefore, it is not likely. Islamabad will answer your
question. The Prime Minister will speak but we have always appreciated
your concern for our differences.
Kissinger: We have no
YAQUB: The personal dimension of course is so important. It is very
delicate. As you rightly said my government will want to consider
carefully your proposal.
Kissinger: You could consider
holding action or a package. My own view is that the problems will only
become more and more evident as time goes on.
YAQUB: Yes, I have so wired my government. When does your new Congress
Kissinger: Early in January and
it will be a new administration which was elected on a plank of
non-proliferation. And I think I can assure you that it won't avail
itself of escape clauses, or Symington amendments.
YAQUB: We're locked into a pretty firm position. We can't cancel.
Kissinger: How about joint
YAQUB: If the French were to break their agreement, I'm afraid we just
Kissinger: What should we
announce to the press?
YAQUB: I will simply say that I came in to discuss a variety of matters
(At 4:00 p. m. the Secretary indicated the others should leave the room
while he and Yaqui) Khan met privately for five
1Source: Library of
Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 348, Memoranda of
Conversations, Internal, December 1976. Secret; Sensitive; Nodis. The meeting took place in the
Secretary's office. Kissinger's meeting with Yaqub followed immediately