Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Volume XI, South Asia Crisis, 1971
Released by the Office of the Historian


Letter From President Nixon to Pakistani President Yahya/1/


/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 759, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan (1971). No classification marking.


Washington, July 1, 1971.


Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your two recent messages/2/ expressing your concern over indications of a mounting threat to peace in the sub-continent and stressing the importance of clarifying the stance of Aid-to-Pakistan Consortium countries toward future economic assistance to Pakistan.


/2/ Documents 76 and 82.


I am very pleased that Dr. Kissinger will have an opportunity to discuss with you in Islamabad/3/ a number of questions that concern us both. He will deliver to you this letter responding to both of your recent messages.


/3/ Kissinger left Washington on July 2 for what was publicly described as a fact-finding trip to South Vietnam, Thailand, India, and Pakistan. The trip included a secret visit to China, undertaken during Kissinger's stop in Pakistan with the collaboration of Yahya Khan. Kissinger returned from Pakistan on July 11. Documentation on the China portion of the trip is in Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, volume XVII, China, 1969-1972.


Your message of June 18 conveying your apprehension of a growing threat to the peace of your region of the world has received my most serious consideration. This trend is of grave concern to all friends of Pakistan and India alike, and I sincerely trust that any such development can be averted through the exercise of good will and the forebearance by all concerned.


As you know, Foreign Minister Singh recently visited this country. He reflected deep concern over the rising refugee problem India faces and the burden which this problem is placing on the Indian economy and people. It remains our earnest hope that you and your government will succeed in your efforts to enable these refugees to return to their homes. For our part, we continue to urge the Government of India to exercise restraint, as we have in our discussions with you.


Your several recent statements welcoming the return to East Pakistan of all the refugees irrespective of caste, creed or religion and promising them full protection provide a necessary foundation along with the steps you have taken to facilitate their return and rehabilitation. We recognize, too, the significance of your initiative in seeking the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Your address to your countrymen on June 28/4/ setting forth the framework within which you propose to proceed in restoring constitutional government and returning political power to the elected representatives of your people is also an important step.


/4/ See Document 84.


The misunderstanding that has arisen over the meeting of the Aid-to-Pakistan Consortium in Paris on June 21 is regrettable, and the anxiety which it has caused in your country understandable. I sympathize with the statement you made in your address of June 28 disapproving of foreign aid if political strings are attached.


The Consortium meeting was an informal one. No decisions with respect to economic aid to Pakistan were sought, and none were reached. Furthermore, a common position was not developed whereby all members of the Consortium would jointly suspend future aid or withhold already committed assistance. The Consortium members are now awaiting the final reports of the World Bank and Fund Missions and also the completion by your government of a revised national development plan. As soon as resumption of national development programs is possible, we expect that a formal meeting of the Consortium, with Pakistani participation, will be called to review new aid requirements.


We wish to proceed with new agreements, subject to U.S. legislative criteria, as soon as adequate grounds are established for a resumption of economic development throughout Pakistan. In the meantime, we are extending new humanitarian relief aid to East Pakistan within the framework of the UN-coordinated program, and are urging others to contribute as well.


Please continue to let me know of any ways in which you feel we can help promote our common interests in safeguarding the peace of your region and the welfare of its people.


With personal regards,

Richard Nixon



Source: Document 85, volume XI, South Asia crisis 1971, Department of State.