March 31, 1971: Minutes of Senior Review Group meeting regarding Greece and Pakistan

Minutes of Senior Review Group Meeting/1/

San Clemente, California, March 31, 1971, 11:55 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

 

/1/ Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-112, SRG Minutes, Originals, 1971. Secret; Nodis. No drafting information is indicated on the source text. The meeting was held in the Conference Room at the Western White House in San Clemente, California.

 

SUBJECT
Greece and Pakistan

 

PARTICIPATION

Chairman-Henry A. Kissinger
State
Mr. U. Alexis Johnson

 

Defense
Mr. David Packard
Mr. James S. Noyes

 

JCS
Lt. Gen. Richard T. Knowles

 

CIA
Lt. Gen. Robert E. Cushman
Mr. David Blee

 

VP Office
Mr. Kent Crane

 

NSC Staff
Col. Richard T. Kennedy
Mr. Keith Guthrie

 

SUMMARY OF CONCLUSIONS

 

[Omitted here are conclusions relating to Greece.]

 

Pakistan

 

1. The SRG briefly reviewed current developments in East Pakistan.

 

[Omitted here is discussion relating to Greece.]

 

Pakistan

 

Dr. Kissinger: (to Mr. Johnson) Can you give us a two-minute rundown on Pakistan?

Mr. Johnson: You probably know more than I do. We are approaching the Pakistanis about getting planes in to evacuate our people. As the story [of what is happening in East Pakistan]/2/ comes out, we are going to face a sort of Biafra situation. You might be interested in the Secretary’s [Rogers’]/3/ comment: “Sentiment in India may force the Indians to be the first to recognize unless Ambassador Keating beats them to the punch.”

 

/2/ Brackets in the source text.

 

Lt. Gen. Cushman: That [what Mr. Johnson reported]/3/ is about all we have.
The Pakistani situation is posing a problem for India by raising the question of whether they should try to help the Bengalis.

 

Dr. Kissinger: India is the one country that would suffer from the establishment of an independent East Pakistan.

 

Mr. Packard: How much fighting is there?

 

Lt. Gen. Cushman: Dacca is quiet.

 

Mr. Blee: Chittagong has been hit badly. The Indians are having a problem with East Pakistani refugees.

 

Dr. Kissinger: What is our judgment on the countryside generally? Can 30,000 troops do anything against 75 million people?

 

Lt. Gen. Cushman: It could be very bloody.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Unless it turns out that with the cities under control of the government, the countryside will be indifferent.

 

Mr. Blee: The Bengalis may be pretty indifferent if they think they really aren’t in a position to fight.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Is the countryside politically conscious?

 

Mr. Blee: The Bengalis are extremely politically conscious, but they are not fighters.

 

Mr. Johnson: In the long run, it will be difficult for 35,000 troops to maintain control over 75 million people.

 

Mr. Blee: In the long run there will be pressure. The Bengalis may seek help from the Indians.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Will the Indians provide it?

 

Mr. Blee: Four hundred Indian parliamentarians signed a statement in favor of recognizing East Pakistan.

 

Lt. Gen. Cushman: If India doesn’t provide support, the Communist Chinese will.

 

Mr. Blee: The Communist Chinese are on the other [West Pakistani]/3/ side right now, but they could change.

 

/3/ Brackets in the source text.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Does the government have Mujibur Rahman?

 

Mr. Blee: They captured him. Presumably he is in West Pakistan, perhaps in Quetta.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Will they execute him?

 

Mr. Blee: The [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reports we have been getting indicate they might do so. It would be more sensible for them to keep him comfortable in captivity in order to use him as a pawn.

 

Lt. Gen. Cushman: Yahya accused him of treason. Possibly he has been shot already or was shot inadvertently.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Are we going to keep VOA quiet about reports coming from our Consul?

 

Mr. Johnson: That was not VOA’s fault. It was Charlie Bray’s./4/ Frankly, we slipped on this. VOA just picked up what Charlie said at the briefing. Charlie talked on the basis of his daily report. No one had briefed him on the sensitivity of the Consulate communications.

 

/4/ Spokesman of the Department of State.

 

Dr. Kissinger: I didn’t know about that either until I saw Farland’s blast./5/

 

/5/ On March 27 Ambassador Farland reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had registered a complaint about a report broadcast by the Voice of America, All India Radio, and the BBC, which cited Consul General Blood as the source of a report that heavy fighting was taking place in Dacca and that tanks were being used. Farland noted that, despite the fact that communications between Islamabad and Dacca had been severed, he had denied that Blood was the source of the report. He also said that he had counseled against spreading incendiary rumors. (Telegram 2770 from Islamabad; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 23-9)

 

Mr. Blee: If the Indians recognize the Government of Bangla Desh, the Pakistanis might recognize Kashmir. However, this doesn’t look probable.

 

Dr. Kissinger: There is no government to recognize in East Pakistan.

 

Mr. Blee: There is a radio [that purports to speak for the government of East Pakistan]./6/

 

/6/ Brackets in the source text.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Where is it located?

 

Mr. Blee: Probably in one of the small towns.

 

Dr. Kissinger: Did they kill Professor Razak? He was one of my students.

 

Mr. Blee: I think so. They killed a lot of people at the university.

 

Dr. Kissinger: They didn’t dominate 400 million Indians all those years by being gentle.