35. Minutes of the Secretary of State's Staff Regional Staff Meeting, Washington, April 10, 1974, 3:10 p.m. 1 2

SECRETARY'S STAFF CONFERENCE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10, 1974 - 3:10 P.M.

PRESENT:

  • The Secretary of State— HENRY A. KISSINGER
  • Mr. Rush
  • Mr. Sisco
  • Mr. Donaldson
  • Mr. SONNENFELDT
  • Mr. Easum
  • Mr. Kubisch
  • Mr. INGERSOLL
  • Mr. HARTMAN
  • Mr. Davies
  • Mr. Vest
  • Mr. LORD
  • Mr. McCloskey
  • Mr. Buffum
  • Mr. Hylan
  • Mr. Buffum
[Page 2]

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Bangladesh]

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Okay. Roger, what about the subcontinent summit?

MR. Davies: Mr. Secretary, the Delhi Agreement, among Bangladesh, Pakistan and India winds up the major issues left over from the 1971 war, in that the Bangladesh Government has agreed to return 195 prisoners of war that were being held for trial, for war crimes. And the Pakistanis have agreed to review their position on the numbers of Biharis to return to Pakistan. Inter alia, AZIZ AHMED, who was the Pakistani representative in Delhi, is cited in the communiqué as saying that the Government of Pakistan condemns and regrets any crimes that have been committed in connection with the fighting in '71; that Bhutto will visit Bangladesh, and that Bhutto appeals to the people of Bangladesh to forgive and forget. And for his part, Mujib says that his people should forget and make a fresh start with Pakistanis.

Now, this agreement clears the way for progress in the next phase of a similar process which began in '72.

So we would anticipate that there will be progress on resumption of trade among the three countries, resumption of diplomatic relations by India and Pakistan, and initiation of relations in Dacca and Islamabad, and restoration of communications, including over-flights.

So the outlook, as we see it, is for slow but continuing progress on this front, until the basic issue of Kashmir hit, where we may come to a grinding halt.

The immediate implications seem to us to be that China will not oppose Bangladesh's entry into the United Nations. We would speculate that the Chinese might very well seek to establish influence Bangladesh to compete with the Soviets and the Indians. And the agreement provides a basis for improvement in China-India relations and Pakistani-Soviet relations.

It has seemed to us, Mr. Secretary, that our basic direct interests in the sub-continent are not major, as far as our U.S. interests are concerned. We are interested in stability, social and economic progress, [Page 3]and seeing that the other power bloc does not exercise a predominant influence there.

So that this process seems to be in our interests and to point towards a continuation of our policy of encouraging normalization while sitting on the sidelines, and trying to stay out from in between.

While the prognosis on the political side may be favorable, we look at the economic side with some concern. The demographic problem, which probably brought the split off of the Eastern Province from Pakistan, subsequent to the cyclone and the ineptitude of the West Pakistan Government dealing with the consequences, the shortage of resources, all point to the population resource balance as being the major source of instability in the years ahead.

MR. SISCO: Could I raise one point. I will be seeing Moynihan on Friday. You will recall before you left he was waiting your go-ahead on whether he can open these discussions with the Indians. I think it would be very timely to tell him to go ahead when he goes back, Mr. Secretary. I know you are familiar with the substantive issue. SECRETARY KISSINGER: When is he going back?

MR SISCO: Sometime next week.

[Page 4]

SECRETARY KISSINGER: Maybe I can see him before he goes back.

MR. SISCO: Sure.

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Bangladesh]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Transcripts of Secretary of State Kissinger's Staff Meetings, 1973-77, Entry 5177, Box 2, Secretary's Analytical Staff Meetings. Secret.
  2. Secretary of State Kissinger, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Rodger Davies, and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Sisco discussed the prospects for improved relations on the subcontinent in the wake of the agreement on POWs and the recognition of Bangladesh.