Memorandum from the President's Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Haig) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/1/


/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 626, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. VII, Sep-Oct 1971. Secret; Nodis.


Washington, September 1, 1971.


Attached is a memo from Saunders which deals with the subject the Secretary has been talking to you about personally and which confirms what Sisco indicated to me last week. You will note that Yahya is sending over a personal emissary/2/ to discuss with Sisco the actual status of items remaining in the pipeline as a further refinement of the proposal.


/2/ Major General Inam-ul Haq, Director General of Defense Procurement in Pakistan's Ministry of Defense. On September 3 Kissinger sent a special channel telegram to Farland instructing him to make certain General Haq understood that he should contact Kissinger personally to obtain an accurate appraisal of President Nixon's thinking with respect to arms shipments. (Ibid., Box 643, Country Files, Middle East, India/Pakistan, July 1971)


As you know, Secretary Rogers has done this on his own despite contrary hints. Very few people in the Department are aware of the project according to Eliot. I told Eliot that this project could upset the President a great deal and that it would be well for us to take stock of the situation in the light of Yahya's response and his obviously cooperative but apparently concerned attitude. I believe you will want to focus on this as soon as possible before it progresses any further./3/ The real problem is the large number of unfilled military requests which have been stonewalled by Defense.


/3/ Kissinger responded in the margin with the following handwritten note: "Al-They cannot play fairly. Make sure we are cut in & that Paks know what must be done." Haig added a handwritten note in the margin that reads: "Saunders will be sure Pak General sees HAK."


Memorandum From Harold Saunders and Samuel Hoskinson of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)/4/

Washington, September 1, 1971.


/4/ Secret; Nodis. Sent for information.


Sisco-Hilaly-Yahya on the Military Aid Pipeline

Ambassador Farland has cabled to you Yahya's reaction to a recent conversation between Assistant Secretary Sisco and Ambassador Hilaly in which Sisco indicated that the possibility of the stoppage of economic aid to Pakistan could be averted if the arms flow were shut off. We have no record of the Sisco-Hilaly talk-although the Paks have now provided us with the text of Hilaly's report/5/-and were not previously informed about this approach.


/5/ Ambassador Farland reported on September 1 that Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan had made available Hilaly's account of his recent conversation with Sisco. (Telegram 8934 from Islamabad; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK) Because of the practice of reducing the size of telegrams by eliminating words considered to be obvious, Farland's report of receiving Hilaly's account on August 23 was taken to mean that the conversation was held that day. The conversation between Sisco and Hilaly took place on August 20; see Document 131.


Sisco's Proposition

According to Hilaly, Sisco called him in on August 23 and made the following major points:

-the question of arms shipments had become an important internal political issue in the US with the passage of the Gallagher amendment./6/ There was every likelihood that the Senate would pass a similar restriction which would also insist on the stoppage of economic aid until there is a satisfactory political settlement in East Pakistan.


/6/ See footnote 7, Document 105.


-The possibility of such a stoppage of economic aid could be averted if the Administration agreed to cut off military supply to Pakistan. If the delivery of some of what little remained in the pipeline could be speeded up and the Paks agreed to sacrifice the remainder, the Administration could then placate the Senate by saying the pipeline had been closed and that "no Defense stores whatsoever would move to Pakistan in the future."

-Pakistan's stake in the "immediate resumption" of economic aid from the consortium was much longer than its stake in the small amount of arms remaining in the pipeline.

-It was a mutual problem and both governments needed to help each other and devise a political strategy that could ensure the resumption and increase of economic aid. Sisco, "confidentially and unofficially" suggested that both governments sit together secretly as friends to look at what remained in the pipeline with a view to "announcing" its final close.


Yahya's Response

According to Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan, Yahya instructed Hilaly to inform Sisco/7/ that (1) the gesture of initiating prior unofficial and confidential consultation on this matter of "vital importance" is appreciated; (2) he agreed that this was a mutual problem which required a common political strategy.


/7/ Yahya's reaction was reported in telegram 8934, cited in footnote 5 above.


Yahya then went on to ask that President Nixon be informed that:

-"We" would do well to consider the effect a public announcement of the kind suggested by Sisco would have on Pakistan internally and externally and on the image of US-Pak relations. Internally, it would be a "setback" to the "strengthened good feeling toward the Nixon Government" in Pakistan. Externally, other states might also cut off military supply and the impact would "merit very serious consideration."

-Pakistan's difficulties with India would be "compounded." It is for "serious consideration" whether it would not be in the US interests in South Asia to prevent development of a "precarious imbalance" between India and Pakistan.

-Then (almost as an afterthought in his instructions to Hilaly) Yahya added that the President be informed that he "in no way wishes to weaken the position of the Nixon Government. Therefore, should President Nixon feel that the proposed announcement would enable him to defeat the Democratic designs to make the existing position a political issue for the Presidential election, Pakistan will accept it despite the sacrifices it involves." If this is the case, then Yahya would at least hope that the announcement would say "shipments of military stores to Pakistan have terminated, and their resumption will depend upon the improvement of the situation in East Pakistan," and he would hope that under these circumstances "essential supplies" could later be "quietly resumed."

-Finally, Yahya "notes with deep appreciation" the assurances that the cut off would help the Administration to (1) save economic aid for Pakistan (2) take a stronger line with Congress for resumption of economic aid to Pakistan and (3) to take the lead in the consortium for immediate resumption of international aid to Pakistan.


Unless you have talked to Sisco or Secretary Rogers had the permission of the President, Sisco has been free-wheeling again. We had no idea until this cable was received from Islamabad today (September 1) that he had made this approach on August 23.

That issue aside, however, Yahya's response raises some important substantive questions.

1. Yahya realizes that there is very little (about $2.6 million) in the pipeline and that there is virtually no chance with Congressional pressure that more will be made available in the foreseeable future. This being the case he may well see this as a unique opportunity to trade virtually nothing in military supply for vital US economic aid and leadership in the consortium.

2. Resumption of economic aid to Pakistan and US pressure on the consortium governments to resume aid raises bureaucratic, Congressional and policy problems. As Sisco indicates, we might save the possibility of resuming aid by cutting off military supply but we will be right back in the soup again with Congress if we do this without first having some sort of national development plan such as the Congress expects. Taking the lead in the consortium raises the same problem and it is doubtful we could achieve much anyway in the consortium without such a plan. Finally, AID is no more aware of this approach than we. Sisco has promised much more than we may be able to deliver soon.

-A cut-off of military supply to Pakistan might gain us some points in India but we have already been so damaged there on this issue that a cut-off when the pipeline is almost dry will not recoup much. Moreover, there is some question whether we really want to send the Indians this kind of a signal now.

In short, Sisco is talking about a trade-off that might make sense when the Senate reconvenes. But he has raised it with the Paks without authority, without much sense of what it would take to resume aid and over-arousing Pak expectations about resumption.



Source: Document 138 , volume XI, South Asia crisis 1971, Department of State.