from the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to President Nixon/1/
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 715,
Country Files, Europe, USSR, Vol. XIV, 1 Jun-31 Jul 71. Secret;
Limdis. Sent for
information. A stamp on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
Soviet Attitude on South Asia
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reports/2/ provide some
insight into Soviet attitudes toward India and Pakistan.
See Document 87.
know, Indian Foreign Minister Swaran Singh visited
Moscow on this way to
Washington. [1 line of source text
not declassified], his discussions there, especially with Kosygin, concerned
Soviet assistance on the issue of East Pakistan. According to one
report, Kosygin agreed immediately to provide small arms for the
Indian-supported guerrillas operating in East Pakistan./3/ Singh also asked for
a guarantee of Soviet military protection if the Chinese made any threatening
gestures to dissuade India from intervention in East Pakistan. Kosygin seemed
favorably inclined, although he reportedly asked that Mrs. Gandhi make a formal
underlined this sentence from the word "provide" to the end and wrote
in the margin: "K If this is true-Keating is to be ordered to protest
strongly (privately at first)."
reports are a bit surprising since the Soviets have traditionally seen their
interests in South
best served by stability, or at least they have not encouraged dramatic
instabilities. They may well, however, have concluded that a divided Pakistan is no longer viable and
that they may as well be on the side of "new realities." Soviet
policy in South
has always been to support India, and since 1965 to gain
a foothold in Pakistan. They may calculate
that this balance is no longer tenable, and that in a crisis Moscow would have to oppose Pakistan. Assurances on the
Chinese threat could be viewed as mainly psychological, if the Soviets share
our judgment that the Chinese probably would not go beyond threatening noises
and border incidents in support of the West Pakistanis.
disturbing aspect of this report is that, if Kosygin does come through with
some guarantee against China, the Indians will feel much less inhibited about
military intervention in East Pakistan./4/
highlighted the first sentence of this paragraph and wrote in the margin:
"Warn them that if they intervene RN will personally cut off all aid to India."
all their brave talk about being able to defend against the Chinese and
fighting on two other fronts against Pakistan, the Indians are still
haunted by the 1962 humiliation. This could be why Foreign Minister Singh is
reported to regard his Moscow visit as "a major
political development" and Mrs. Gandhi is said to also be pleased.
bear in mind that these reports may be intended as psychological pressure to
persuade us and Pakistan of Soviet support for New Delhi. It would be a major
and radical break in Soviet policy to issue the Indians a blank check.
86, volume XI, South Asia crisis 1971, Department of State.