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 administrations of Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. This is the latest 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–8

This e-volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon-Ford administration toward South Asia, 1973–1976, and should be read in conjunction with Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, and Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971 (GPO: Washington, March 2005; ISBN 0-16-072401-5). Both of these volumes document in depth the period of the Nixon administration, including the pivotal months of the India-Pakistan conflict of 1971 and its aftermath. Taken together, these three volumes provide comprehensive coverage of U.S. policy toward India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. In contrast with the previous volumes on South Asia during the Nixon administration, which were focused more tightly on the subcontinent’s crises, volume E–8 also provides detailed coverage of the smaller South Asian states of Nepal, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka, and the Indian Ocean region, including the Republic of the Maldives. Read in conjunction with Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXIV, 1969–1972 (GPO: forthcoming), this volume will also provide comprehensive coverage of U.S. Indian Ocean strategy during 1969–1976.

The India-Pakistan War of 1971 cast a long shadow and defined the relationship of the United States to both countries for the Nixon-Ford administration, additionally complicated by the explosion of an Indian nuclear bomb in 1974. The documents on India and Pakistan for this e-volume are combined into two chapters covering U.S. relations with both countries, with the landmark Indian nuclear weapons test in May of that year serving as the point of division. The chief concerns of the United States were the enforcement of the 1972 Simla Agreement and the re-establishment of normal relations between Islamabad and New Delhi. Bilateral relations with India improved considerably from their 1971 nadir until the 1974 Indian nuclear test. Nixon’s appointment of Daniel Patrick Moynihan as ambassador to India in 1973 resolved several long-standing economic and political tensions, although New Delhi continued to object to U.S. favoritism toward Pakistan, as well as frequently alleging a U.S. role in its domestic instability. The 1974 nuclear test disturbed relations considerably, serving to amplify U.S. concerns about Indira Gandhi’s close relationship with the Soviet Union, her declaration of martial law in 1975, and her decision to develop nuclear technology while still dependent on U.S. food aid.

Relations between the United States and Pakistan were generally good during this period, with President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visiting Washington in February 1975. Nevertheless, U.S. policy makers remained anxious about Pakistani instability following the 1971 War and especially about Bhutto’s viability as a leader, even as he attempted to establish his legitimacy as a nationalist and populist reformer. Washington’s suspicion foreshadows the 1977 coup and his execution two years later. U.S. diplomats were also concerned about Bhutto’s attempts to quell domestic regional disturbances, particularly in Pakistan’s western frontier provinces. Nevertheless, President Nixon’s military and economic support of Pakistan remained U.S. policy during the Ford administration. Pakistan’s envoys constantly pressed Nixon, and then Ford, to increase U.S. commitments to military aid. Although hesitant to establish a new round of arms sales, Nixon agreed in 1973 to release all non-lethal military aid purchased by Pakistan up until the 1971 India-Pakistan War.

The themes of the Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Indian Ocean chapters expand on those developed in previous volumes on South Asia. From 1973–1976, U.S. foreign policy adapted to several changes in the regional power structure, not just in India and Pakistan, but in the smaller states as well. In Afghanistan, the major event was the dissolution of the monarchy in 1973 and its replacement by Mohammad Daoud’s republican government. The change in regime did not cause an alteration in U.S. policy, which, as in the past, attempted to offset Soviet influence in Afghanistan with diplomatic support and development assistance. The Nixon administration quickly recognized the new Afghan government and continued to provide it with quiet diplomatic support, development aid, and opium eradication assistance, while mediating Kabul’s continual dispute with Pakistan over both countries’ Pushtun borderlands.

In Bangladesh, the United States also sought to establish solid diplomatic relations with a new government, that of Mujibur Rahman (Mujib), while seeking to limit the influence of other regional great powers over the desperately impoverished country. Washington’s willingness to provide desperately-needed food and development aid, and its overall relationship with the Dhaka government, was tempered by Bangladeshi suspicion of U.S. motives and resentment against the relationship with Pakistan. It was further tested by the 1975 overthrow and murder of Mujib, followed by the establishment of a military regime.

In Nepal, Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka, political instability was not as evident as in Afghanistan or Bangladesh, but these lesser-developed countries’ desperate need for U.S. development assistance during and after the oil crisis of 1973 raised Washington’s awareness of the tenuous stability of these regional regimes and their growing importance to U.S. strategy in the Indian Ocean region. In other ways, coverage of these smaller countries reflects the themes established in previous Foreign Relations volumes. In addition, the Himalayan states looked to the United States for diplomatic reassurances after the Indian annexation of Sikkim. In the Indian Ocean, The Nixon-Ford administration found its already complex relationship with critic and potential partner, Sri Lankan prime minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike, complicated by the latter’s presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as her continued attempts to establish an Indian Ocean Peace Zone and her opposition to the U.S. expansion of the British base at Diego Garcia. Despite regional opposition from Sri Lanka and other countries, the United States determined that Diego Garcia was of critical importance in assessing the expanding Soviet presence in the Indian Ocean, and containing its threat.

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.

Paul J. Hibbeln and Peter A. Kraemer did the research, made the selection, and prepared the annotation for the volume under the supervision and direction of Middle East and Africa Division Chief Laurie West-Van Hook and the General Editor, Edward C. Keefer. Craig A. Daigle and Richard Moss prepared the transcripts of the Nixon Presidential tape recordings.

Dean Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of the Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division, Susan C. Weetman. Keri E. Lewis compiled the document list and edited the lists of abbreviations, persons, and sources. Stephanie Hurter, Joe Wicentowski, and Carl Ashley performed the copy and technical editing of the electronic files. Caroline Sapp and Chris Tudda scanned the documents and prepared them for on-line publication.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
December 2007