Memorandum of Conversation/1/
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL INDIA-US. Secret; Nodis. Drafted
by Saunders on July 12. The meeting was held in Foreign Minister Singh's
Swaran Singh, Foreign Minister of
T.N. Kaul, Foreign Secretary
Mrs. Rukmini Menon, Chief, American Division, Ministry of External Affairs
Kissinger, Assistant to the President
Kenneth Keating, US Ambassador to India
Harold H. Saunders, NSC Staff
Kissinger opened the conversation by saying, "As a point of honor, we owe
you a discussion of events since your visit to
/2/ See footnote 3, Document 78.
that it was important for the Foreign Minister to understand how the
Dr. Kissinger continued that he had not been aware of a category which included licenses issued prior to the beginning of April under which equipment had already left depots or was waiting on the docks. "None of us was aware of this category when we talked to you. We were very much surprised."
Kissinger said he was explaining this because whatever the outcome of the
present tragedy, nations must not stoop to pettiness. Whatever we do, we will
do above board with
Kissinger explained that we are now trying to get a catalogue of all pending
orders and impending shipments. We want to see if we can make a distinction
between various types of equipment, for example, equipment like aircraft
engines which belong to the Pakistanis but which are in the
Kissinger continued that the President's policy has been based on recognition
that there should be a political solution in
policy-makers had had to judge at the outset whether this objective was best
achieved by a policy of confrontation with
Foreign Minister said that, suspicions apart, what is the precise
Dr. Kissinger replied that no licenses had been issued after 1 April. He asked Mr. Saunders whether this was absolutely correct and it was agreed by all that there had been two licenses issued after that date but that they had been revoked, so the statement was essentially correct. Also, there had been no orders fulfilled on the one-time exception. Dr. Kissinger noted that this is a big step in the President's eyes because there has always been a personal relationship with the President of Pakistan and with the Pakistani people. Finally, nothing has been delivered out of US depots during this period. The only equipment available now consists of those items now in commercial channels, items which do not need licenses, items turned over to the Pakistanis before the beginning of April. The maximum possible in this category is $29 million and it is probably substantially less.
The Foreign Minister noted that Dr. Kissinger had specified that no goods had left "military depots." He asked whether there were other depots.
Mr. Saunders explained that in a number of instances, equipment provided under foreign military sales credit was provided directly by the manufacturer. There is, therefore, equipment which is provided to the Pakistani procurement mission directly from manufacturers and would go to them without going through US depots.
Dr. Kissinger noted that since April 1, the Pakistanis could not buy new equipment which required a munitions export license.
The Foreign Minister asked how far back the licenses ran. Dr. Kissinger replied that the licenses were good for one year. He noted that it is relatively easy to find out what the licenses have been issued for. But it is very difficult to find out exactly what orders have been placed under the licenses that have been issued because that is a transaction often directly between the Pakistani procurement mission and a manufacturer.
Minister Singh said that the Indian government had been under the impression
that no equipment would actually move to
Dr. Kissinger replied that he agreed. He acknowledged that "we had all handled this issue too lackadaisically." He said that he too had been under the impression that nothing could move. He had neglected to ask whether there were other categories of equipment which could move outside the scope of the administrative delays that had been applied.
The Foreign Minister asked whether the government should not have given the Secretary and the President this picture, whether or not the questions had been asked. "I would give Kaul the devil if this happened to me."
Kissinger indicated that it is no consolation to either of us that the
Foreign Minister said that all this is peripheral, it is "no embarrassment
to me," but it is a serious blow to the relationship between our nations.
We should not have to cross-examine each other on issues of this kind. Dr.
Kissinger agreed that "we have to have confidence in each other."
Singh continued that events of the past few days had been very disappointing to
him. After his meeting with the President, he said he had had a feeling that
there had been moves to help
Kissinger said that the President had felt that he and the Foreign Minister had
understood the general direction in which the
Foreign Minister said he wished to be advised what the Indian government could
say. Dr. Kissinger replied that he did not want to give a quick answer for fear
of risking further misunderstanding. What he would like to do, he said, is to
go back to
Foreign Minister asked Dr. Kissinger please to convey to the President that the
Indian Government hopes that there would be a good review of military
assistance policy. He said that the
the conversation, the Foreign Minister said that when he had talked with
Secretary Rogers, the Secretary had said it is in the
Dr. Kissinger replied, "neither do we."
Foreign Minister said that, if there is no conflict in our respective
Foreign Minister said he wished to elaborate. He said he could understand how,
at the time of US containment policy, the
Kissinger acknowledged that the Foreign Minister was asking a profound
question. After a moment of thought, he replied that the general
commitment to the cohesion and vitality of
followed at this point a digression on the question of Pak-Indian charges of
Kissinger repeated that we were not aware of any
to the main theme of the discussion, Dr. Kissinger continued, saying that the
Dr. Kissinger continued that the President believes:
1. That a
President feels he has a certain equity in
Minister Singh returned to the first point and asked what interests of the
Kissinger said that our judgment this week is that the amount of equipment in
the pipeline will not affect the military balance in
Kissinger noted that the Indians wanted us to cut off shipments for the sake of
the shock effect on
Foreign Minister said he hoped that Dr. Kissinger would examine the full
implications of President Yahya's statement of June
28. The comments on Mujibur Rahman
were not helpful. The Minister said he understood Dr. Kissinger would be
discussing a political settlement in
Foreign Minister continued, saying that the real question is whether there is a
chance for a political settlement. "I am very doubtful." The
parliamentary delegation here from the UK headed by Mr. Bottomley-whom
the Foreign Minister has known for a long time-said that it was convinced that Yahya does not know the whole story. He is not being told
the facts about the situation in
Kissinger noted that he had no judgment about whether or not President Yahya's policies were based on a
recognition of the real problems or not. This is one of the things he
expected to learn in
The meeting concluded with Dr. Kissinger and the Foreign Minister chatting briefly alone.
Harold H. Saunders/3/
/3/ Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.
Source: Document 92, volume XI, South Asia crisis 1971, Department of State.