March 26, 1971: Memorandum from Kissinger to President Nixon

A memorandum from the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon on the subject of situation  in Pakistan.

Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon/1/


Washington, March 26, 1971.


/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files, Middle East, Pakistan, Vol. IV, 1 Mar 71-15 May 71. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. A handwritten notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.


Situation in Pakistan


The West Pakistani army has moved to repress the East Pakistan secession movement. Our embassy believes that the military probably has sufficient strength to assert immediate control over Dacca and other major cities, but is not capable of maintaining control over an extended period. This raises two immediate problems for us: (1) the safety of official and private Americans, and (2) the U.S. role, if any, in a peacemaking effort. I have called a WSAG meeting for 3:00 p.m. today and will provide recommendations after that.


Safety of Americans


There are at present some 850 Americans, including 250 U.S. officials and dependents, in East Pakistan. State’s plan is to make no immediate move to evacuate these people since they could be in greater danger on the streets and we have no information yet as to the situation at the airports. Our consulate, however, is seeking the protection of the local authorities, and evacuation plans-worked out earlier in the present crisis-are being reviewed for both East and West Pakistan. Military aircraft from Southeast Asia could be made available on short notice for the purpose of evacuation.


No reports have been received so far of injuries to Americans or any other foreigners in East Pakistan.


U.S. Peacemaking Role