Memorandum for the Record/1/


/1/ Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 US/KISSINGER. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Nodis. Prepared by Kissinger. Sent by Haig to the Department of State's Acting Executive Secretary, Robert C. Brewster, under cover of a July 8 memorandum stating that it was for the exclusive use of Secretary Rogers, and that a copy had been sent directly to Rogers at the Western White House in San Clemente, California, where he was then staying. Another copy of the memorandum in the Kissinger papers shows a drafting date of July 7. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Top Secret Chronological File, Box TS 4, 1971 July) On July 8 Haig sent the memorandum to President Nixon, under cover of a memorandum summarizing the report. (Ibid., Geopolitical File, Box TS 58, Trips: HAK, Chron File July 1971)


New Delhi, undated.


1. In my first twenty-four hours in India, I have had full exposure to the strong Indian feelings about the heavy burden imposed by the refugees and against what they regard as continued US support for Pakistan. Most are still talking about the importance of a political settlement in East Pakistan, but I sense an increasing judgment that Yahya does not have the capacity to bring this off, certainly not on his present course. There seems to be a growing sense of the inevitability of war or at least widespread Hindu-Muslim violence, not necessarily because anyone wants it but because in the end they fear they will not know how to avoid it.


2. With Foreign Minister Singh, I began the conversation by saying I felt I owed him as a point of honor an explanation of developments in regard to arms shipments for Pakistan since his visit to Washington. I explained the evolution of our position since March 25. Only recently did it become apparent that there was one category of equipment not covered under these steps. I said that a list of this equipment was now being prepared and would be ready next week. We would review this. Singh asked that I convey to the President his strong urging that our arms policy be reviewed with an eye to ending all shipments. The Indians view these as prejudicial to their interests.


Singh then asked for a description of our view of US interests in South Asia today. To provide some measure of reassurance that we take India seriously, I drew this perspective: India is one of the pivotal countries of the world because of its size, position, form of government, example to developing nations and potential contribution to peace and stability beyond its region. Pakistan, which we have a special relationship with on several issues, is a regional country of more special character. I concluded by saying that our commitment to the vitality and cohesion of India is substantial.


As for our policy in the present situation, I said the President felt that an Indo-Pakistani war would be a disaster for both countries and would create the risk that the subcontinent would become an area for conflict among outside powers. The President has felt that he had certain influence in Pakistan which could be used to encourage the Pakistani Government to encourage political solution. We recognized that the Indians would prefer US to cut off assistance for the shock effect of that step, but the President had felt that we should do enough to maintain our influence.


To this, Singh responded that he felt that President Yahya's statement of June 28 had snapped the last chances for a political settlement. He is very doubtful that a political settlement is still possible. From reports he has from the British, he does not believe Yahya is being given the full facts about the situation and therefore does not have a realistic picture of what will be required for a genuine settlement. I said I had no judgment on this since I had not been to Pakistan but that I planned to make clear that the US favored a political settlement.


In a brief private session, he told me that India would not insist on a settlement involving the jailed East Pakistani leader, Mujibur Rahman, but would be satisfied if Pakistan could come up with a solution that is non-military and non-communal; i.e., is not biased against the Hindus.


3. With the Prime Minister, I took the same general line on India's importance without going into as much detail on the arms shipments. She explained her political problems: she does not want to use force and is willing to accept any suggestions. It is a question of how the situation develops and what can be done practically. She is concerned about Chinese influence growing in East Pakistan. I assured her the whole point of our policy has been to retain enough influence to urge creation of conditions that would permit the refugees to go back, although we would not promise results. I asked how much more time she thought there was before the situation became unmanageable, and she replied that it is unmanageable now and that they are "just holding it together by sheer willpower."


4. With both Prime Minister Gandhi and the Foreign Minister, I took a few moments privately to explain the background of the President's policy toward China over the past two years and to lay the groundwork for increasing contacts. I felt this was essential in avoiding future charges that, on an issue of vital concern to them we had not at least confided our general intent. In each case, I made clear that our moves closer to China derived from the President's sense of what was necessary for world peace, was in no way directed at India, and would in the long run benefit India. Nevertheless, we would, I said, take the gravest view of any unprovoked Chinese aggression against India. Singh sought assurance that the US would provide equipment in event of attack.


5. Indian press had emphasized demonstrations on arrival. Incidents minimal and isolated and Secret Service reports situation generally quiet. Any reports of conversations you see in press are from Indian sources. I have talked to no members of the press.



Source: Document 94, volume XI, South Asia crisis 1971, Department of State.