Skip to comments.Soviet vetoes blamed by US for Pakistan's 1971 division
Posted on 02/28/2005 1:36:19 AM PST by CarrotAndStick
WASHINGTON, Feb 27: The United States believed that an overwhelming majority of UN members were against the division of Pakistan in 1971 but Russian vetoes prevented the world body from playing any role in the crisis.
This assessment is included in a set of classified documents the US State Department released this week to the media on US relations with the United Nations from 1969 to 1972.
Summing up the UN role during the 1971 crisis, the US permanent mission at the United Nations informs the State Department: "On Dec 7, the UN General Assembly, acting under the Uniting for Peace procedure, recommended by an overwhelming majority a cease fire and withdrawal of troops to their own territories and the creation of conditions for voluntary return of refugees." These were Bengali refugees who had fled to the Indian state of West Bengal after the 1971 military action in former East Pakistan.
As many as 104 member states voted for the resolution, 10, including India and the former Soviet Union, voted against it and 11 abstained. "The vote showed the strong sentiment in the United Nations against the use of military force to divide a member state," the US mission observes.
In a separate memo assessing the proceedings of the 26th General Assembly which dealt with the 1971 crisis, the US permanent mission writes: "The overwhelming majority (voted) for a resolution calling for a cease fire and withdrawal of troops in the Indo-Pakistan war (but) the Security Council was prevented from acting by Soviet vetoes."
Despite the world body's failure to enforce a cease fire, the US mission says that "in the India-Pakistan crisis, the General Assembly showed its utility. Early attempts by Secretary General U. Thant to persuade the permanent members of the Security Council to address the crisis over East Pakistan had foundered mainly on Soviet objections."
The memo points out that in December 1971, following the outbreak of hostilities, the US had brought the dispute before the Security Council but repeated Soviet vetoes blocked action.
"The Security Council belatedly adopted a resolution endorsing a cease fire and pointing toward withdrawal of troops, political accommodation, and humanitarian relief under UN auspices," says the internal memo.
In an earlier memo sent to the US permanent mission at the UN on Sept 3, 1971, the State Department predicts that the 26th UNGA could well be "a turbulent one" and the situation in Pakistan, "fraught with danger of conflict, could also lead to heated debates."
The memorandum suggests that the then US Secretary of State William Pierce Rogers "should give major emphasis to South Asia" in his address to the 26th General Assembly, underlining the dangers of war in the area, and especially focusing "attention on the humanitarian problem in India and East Pakistan".
"The secretary should underline the UN role of leadership in dealing with these problems and should provide vigorous support to the secretary-general's appeal for contributions and support from the world community," the memo says.
The memo urged Mr Rogers to include the following points in his speech: a) the threat to peace poses dangers not only to India and Pakistan but to the world community, b) the threat of famine in East Pakistan and the problem posed by the influx of refugees into India must also concern the international community, c) the international community, and India and Pakistan, have a responsibility for ensuring the peace, for averting famine and relieving human misery, d) we look to the UN to continue asserting vigorous leadership and coordination of efforts to deal with the food situation in East Pakistan and refugee relief in India.
We intend continuing our support for these efforts, e) we recognize that the political problems in Pakistan must be resolved by the Pakistanis themselves, f) we trust both India and Pakistan will avoid actions which can increase tensions and will also be alert to the opportunities for dealing with the refugee problem so as to reduce tensions.
Mr Rogers, who died at the age of 87 four years ago, delivered his speech on Oct 4, 1971, focusing on the points suggested by his aides. Another State Department memo, written after the speech, says that both Indian and Pakistani representatives (Agha Shahi) commented that the speech was clear and balanced.
"Naturally Indians would have preferred greater stress on political settlement in East Pakistan and Pakistanis less, but in general their reactions were decidedly favourable."
Here's an interesting article:
COLD WAR GAMES
© Naval War College Press
Vice Admiral Swaraj Prakash (Retd.), NCC Class of 1965
I graduated from the Naval Command Course (NCC) at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1965. On my return to India, I reported at Naval Headquarters New Delhi for an appointment at sea. As a matter of protocol and having undergone training abroad, I was required to call on the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) to apprise him of my assessment of the NCC course. I briefly narrated the curriculum, concluding that it was a wholesome course promoting understanding amongst the international naval community. After carefully listening, the Chief shot a straight question back at me: "Do you believe this training in the USA is of any value to the Indian Navy or a prop to your personal career?" I was taken aback a bit, but collecting my wits, I replied that such an exposure as in the NCC should help one to contribute to the interests of the Navy in the long run, and that my career was only a side issue. He gave an enigmatic smile. To date I have not been able to figure out whether the Chief thought that I believed in what I said.
It was exactly six years after the NCC experience, in 1971, that I had the privilege of commanding the only aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, INS Vikrant. The tension between India and Pakistan was building up. The USA/Soviet Union cold war was at its height, with the famous U.S. tilt against India. A good deal is on record as to how the nuclear carrier task force led by USS Enterprise (the 'Big E') was sailed from the Far East to create a presence in the Bay of Bengal to influence the outcome of the Indo-Pakistani conflict. INS Vikrant Task Force, comprising the carrier and three anti-aircraft/anti-submarine frigates, was deployed in the Bay of Bengal with a directive to establish a Zone of Command to ensure that there was no outside interference from the sea with the advancing Indian Army in the erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). In the execution of its aim the Indian Task Force had in a short time captured about forty foreign and Pakistani ships attempting to break the blockade to reach East Pakistan ports, carrying reinforcements and supplies for the beleaguered Pakistani Army. By 12 December 1971, the fighting on land had entered the final phase in favour of the Indian Army.
INS Vikrant was on patrol north of Andaman Islands blocking the approaches to Chittagong when, on December 15th, late in the evening, the BBC announced the entry of the 'Big-E' task force in the Bay of Bengal. The broadcast added that the U.S. task force was to make for Chittagong to evacuate the stranded American citizens. This was a bolt from the blue. I conjured up a situation of a direct confrontation. I waited for instructions from the Naval Headquarters but none arrived. It was later at night that I decided to proceed south anyway, to intercept the 'Big-E' before she could enter the war zone. It was near midnight when the Midshipman on Watch approached me on the bridge and sought permission to ask a question. I nodded, and he said, "Sir, what would you do when you sight the Big-E?" This question was no doubt uppermost on my mind, but without any hesitation I replied, "You do not have to worry, young man. America is a friendly country, so I would wish the captain of the 'Big E' a good morning and ask him what I could do for him." The midshipman was not convinced and added, "What if the 'Big-E' opened fire against us?" I replied, "I have been educated in the Naval War College, and I understand the American psychology well. If the 'Big-E' attacks us, Abraham Lincoln would be turning in his grave."
Throughout that night INS Vikrant continued her sortie south, and our air recce covered an area to a depth of 500 miles. There was no sign of the U.S. task force, so in the absence of any instruction from the Naval Headquarters I turned back north to rejoin my patrol area. As the day dawned, BBC broadcast amplified its earlier report: that having entered the Bay of Bengal from the Malacca Straits, the U.S. task force had proceeded west instead of going north to Chittagong. On reflection I felt that my reactions in the warlike situation proved the value of my tenure at the NCC. As a postscript to this anecdote, soon after the victory of the Indian Armed Forces, one of the foreign celebrities that visited India was the renowned naval leader Admiral S.G. Gorshkov, Chief of the Soviet Navy. During his visit to Bombay he came onboard INS Vikrant. I had known the Admiral well earlier during my tenure in Moscow as the Indian Naval Attaché. The Admiral congratulated me and asked, "Were you worried about a battle against the American carrier?" He answered himself: "Well, you had no reason to be worried, as I had a Soviet nuclear submarine trailing the American task force all the way into the Indian Ocean."
I thought to myself, it is not easy to convert a cold war into a hot war. Cold war is brinkmanship and only posturing. When the chips are down, you do not play cat and mouse games but come prepared to hit hard to vanquish your adversary.
Copyright © Naval War College Press. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Naval War College Press is prohibited.
How, may I ask, was America "well justified" to act the way it did then? And what was special about the circumstances?
Remember Bangladesh, which won independence due to India's intervention is a far moderate country than Pakistan, which is now a Jehadi hellhole.
The independence of Bangladesh was good. The dissolution of West Pakistan would be better.
We had a whole world to save. I'm sorry we didn't do exactly what India wanted us to do at that exact moment. Too bad, eh? Remember, you're either with us or you're against us. When global communism or global jihad is the threat, there's really no other way. Not choosing is choosing.
The US under Nixon made a mistake tilting towards pakiland.
I think the point is that things like India backing Bangladesh or Israel bombing Iraq's reactor may be illegal, immoral and fattening even if they benefit the whole world. Bad people are very good at putting you in the position of having to take the first shot and taking a propaganda beating. That's why foreign policy handlers should not learn their morality from old "B" westerns. (Instead see how Judge Bean (Paul Newman) handled Bad Bob in the movie. The bad guys don't deserve a chance.)
Be sure to genuflect to Kissinger when China and US go to war.
Whatever you think is right, the fact remains India did more than fine with the Soviets, and Pakistan collapsed siding the US. And about your opinion on India being on the wrong side, how conviniently you've forgotten America's tacit strategy in siding and going kissy-kissy with the Chinese back in the '70s(remember Kissinger?).
And look now, with all that US aid to China, which directly resulted in China's rise as a major power America is now having a China problem cooking up right next to its @ss!(forgive me for lack of better words).Why, did you forget that forced naval plane incident around '00?
Same with aid to the Pakistanis who in turn aided the Jehadis and who directly caused 9-11.
So, who was on the wrong side now?
Anyway, things are going just fine between America and India, and the alliance will be an insurance against any future Chinese threat, as long as it continues to grow.
And this happened only under Bush. Thank him for saving the world.
The left always blames the Machiavellian choices America and its allies have been forced to make on some moral inferiority on our part. They always forget the forces with which we have been dealing -- and how hard they have been to defeat.
India just chose the wrong path, as expedient as it may have been. We've forgiven, but we sure haven't forgotten.
Yes, I know about the blowback issue and 9/11. Don't blame Kissinger for that. Monica Lewinsky probably had more to do with that than he did. While India was trying to deal with its own problems, we've had a world of issues to handle.
Maybe India will get its act together and work with the west to support global democracy. Or maybe not. Meanwhile, don't complain to me about a single thing we did during the Cold War. India chose wrong, and the consequences hurt.
Both sides made mistakes during the cold war. It is an overstatement to say that only India showed a lack of judgement.
What you are talking is plane old B*LLSH*T!
Take a hike! We dont owe you any apologies for siding with the Soviets. We did what was necessary for our security. To me "Henry Alfred Kissinger" was/is a war criminal. As simple as that! It was he who had given Gen Yahya Khan the tacit approval of carrying out the sub-continents worst genocide. He is responsible for siding with a tyrant and has his hands soaked in blood of 20 Million Bengalis.
As a fellow Bengali I find it appalling that Henry Kissinger, a Jew, could side with a General who could carry out one of history's worst genocides.
Sorry but...... I wasn't India that chose the worng path of allowing Gen Yahya Khan to kill another 20 million more Bengalis. Whatever we did under those circumstances was perfectly alright to me. Big deal if America didn't like it. They couldn't stop us anyway.
And once again its WE who forgive you. You dont forgive US!
Finally, the delusional anti-Nixon rantings of leftist blow-hards have been thoroughly debunked.
Yes, perhaps the United States could have done more to ensure that the fundamental human rights of the persecuted Bengalis were protected, but that doesn't negate the extraordinary efforts made by our our State Department, at the time.
Nor does it mean that that Nixon administration was cozying up to the brutal Pakistani regime of Mr. Khan.
I hope these revelations will be digested by Chistopher Hitchens, before he finally issues an apology to former Sec'y of State Kissinger.
Winning the Coldwar using China & Islamic fundamentalism(as seen in Afghanistan in the 80s) has created many a new headache for the US.
There is evidence to prove that Nixon was personally concerned about Yahya & wanted India to take the pressure off & he with Kissinger were willing to tie up with Mao,who mobilised a few divisions on the Indo-Sino border(which were deterred by Soviet warnings).Nixon's personal affiliation towards India is not too pleasing as well-There are reportedly transcripts where he made fun of the "reproductive habits" of Indians & Indira Gandhi's stubborness,which was more than revealed in the 1974 nuclear test,India's first.
There were comments made by Nixon-while he was still in office-that many would construe as being grotesquely antisemitic.
Yet, this man-a devout Quaker-had some of his closest personal and political relationships-throughout his career in public service, and beyond-with Jews, and was one of the staunchest defenders of the state of Israel ever to occupy the Oval Office.
America's longstanding-if turbulent-relationship with Pakistan is something that predates Nixon, and which has existed, in one form or another, since the Eisenhower administration.
To paint India-which was governed, for much of this period, by a nationalist, Communist-affiliated dictator, who did not respect the essential human rights of religious minorities within her own nation-in a completely benign light is as ridiculous as whitewashing the sins of Pakistan.
Yep the same "communist dictator" you talk about would have been forced to tilt towards the West if the Johnson administration had acted with common sense w.r.t the subcontinent.FYI,the UK,France & US were India's largest arms suppliers till Johnson came into the picture.Things went further downhill with Indira & Nixon.
If Indira didn't show a bit of respect to the rights of India's minorities,India would have ceased to exist over 20 years back.That's not been the case.
About Israel,let's face the fact-If the US didn't resupply the Israeli military with conventional arms,they would have unleashed their 13 nukes on the Arab hordes-including ones like Saudi Arabia(American ally since 1945) for good measure.
"Winning the Coldwar using China & Islamic fundamentalism(as seen in Afghanistan in the 80s) has created many a new headache for the US."
*yawn* How often do we need to debunk this lie?
Nobody referred to OBL anywhere.But the CIA DID help out Pakistan set up training centres in it's territory to train "Freedom fighters"-what does the US call those folks now??& who supplied Stinger missiles to those freedom fighters to take out Soviet helos & jets???
Are you forgetting the authorised armssales to the PRC from the late 70s till Tianammen????If im not mistaken,Bill Clinton was a nobody back then & republican presidents held the White House for a good chunk of that period.Sales of items like torpedoes(check out China's current ASW torp),helos,LM-2500 gas turbines,avionics & dual use systems took place during that period.It was around the sametime that Deng XioPing realised the pathetic state of the PLA & saw the sore need for modernisation.So was the US & Europe(yep France,Britain,Germany all had their pies too) responsible in part for helping in the start of the modernisation of the PLA???It's something a lot of folks won't like to ponder over.
However, supplying arms to a nation that is led by an aspiring despot is another matter altogether.
The relationship between India and the United States only began to truly solidify under the leadership of Rajiv Gandhi, who was a pro-Western, democratic, anti-terror ally.
Non-sequitur. Big difference building competitors to the Soviet Union and continuing to build them after the Soviet Union. Also, when people you aid later turn on you, the treachery and ingratitude also changes the equation. We have been fortunate that for the last 100 years recipients of aid, Russia, Germany, Japan, China, the mujahadeen, have all been stupid enough to act or telegraph their real or new intentions before gaining a decisive advantage.
Still, knowing you are being followed is not quite the same as having a lock on your quarry's noisy propeller.
You forgot Reagan who had a great personal equation with Rajiv!!!His first words when he met Indira Gandhi were "let's put the past behind us".Reagan was a person who mixed pragmatism with values-hence he was both considered as an adversary to the USSR & yet could be seen as an understanding friend.Nixon doesn't come anywhere near him.
PS-Nehru enjoyed a pretty good rapport with Eisenhower & to a lesser extent with Kennedy.
Differences exist only because we want to see it that way.China armed folks like (Mullah infested) Iran & communist rebels in Africa while the USSR was still around.
The US support to the PRC during the Soviet years made an cripple capable of walking on it's own.Anyone aware of the PLA's progress will know that it started in the late 70s.To blame it all on Clinton is just childish.
However, the one-party, socialist model that he embraced-like that of his Mapai/Labor counterparts in the early days of Israel-forced his country to squander numerous opportunities for prosperity and growth.
If Jawaharlal Nehru had been able to divest himself of his timeworn socialist nostrums, perhaps India wouldn't have had to wait until the mid-90s in order to experience an economic and political renaissance.
Nope!!I have a rather different take on it.A lot of economists(including "rightist" types) say that Nehruvian socialism was understandable & in some cases,necessary for India till the 70s-it set India on the path to industrialisation,agro-self sufficiency & indegnious science & technology initiatives(if you remember a lot of countries,including Britain had similar policies then).If India had begun liberalising the 70s instead of the late 80s,she would'nt be far behind the PRC.But not only did Indira do nothing,she made the socialist setup entrenched.
You brought up China. How much of the Soviet-India 'alliance' of that period was due to the border war fought between India & China? Perhaps the Soviets were a more effective counter to Chinese territorial ambitions in the Himalayas? Don't know myself. Just asking.
It's so pathetic to see you try to justify your affinity with the Soviet Union during the darkest depths of the Cold War. It's also quite revealing of India's lack of moral clarity. Keep it up, though. Don't let me discourage you at all.
During the 62 war,India was allied to the US,which infact supplied weaponry to India.The Soviets appeared to stay "neutral" as they were allied to the PRC & actively wooing India.This continued till upto around the middle of 1965,when the equations was reversed-the Soviets started squabbling with the PRC & India felt snubbed by the US & UK at the expense of Pakistan & on the issue of armssales.This brought India close to the USSR,which was a big deterrent against further Chinese ambitions,while Pakistan chipped in by helping out on US-China relations.
Allying with folks like Imperial Iran & Pakistan was not exactly moral clarity on America's part.Let's face it,if you want to get things done,you have prepared to get into bed with scumbags.India & America have both done it.
"Nobody referred to OBL anywhere.But the CIA DID help out Pakistan set up training centres in it's territory to train "Freedom fighters"-what does the US call those folks now??& who supplied Stinger missiles to those freedom fighters to take out Soviet helos & jets???"
I'll assume that by "Pakistan" you meant "Afghanistan".
The answer to your first question - "What does the US call those folks now??" - is the "Northern Alliance", who sided with us when we deposed the Taliban.
Given that, the answer to your 2nd question doesn't matter much.
Well put. It's not so sad that online spokesmen for India would be frustrated about our decisions with respect to Pakistan and the split. What's really sad (and revealing) is that they'll continue to justify India's love affair with Stalinists instead of pledging "never again." I wonder how closely this matches official Indian attitudes?
If I were Nepalese, I'd be very worried about Indian communists supplying the Maoist guerillas today. Maybe the problem isn't so "historic" after all?
We won the Cold War with the help of Pakistan. That's more than we can say for India. Now we have new problems. We'll have to deal with them, too. Where is India with respect to our war on terror, namely on Iraq? Don't answer, because I already know: useless if not worse. Just hating and wanting us to denuke Pakistan does not make a helpful strategy. As usual, India is looking out for itself and itself only. When India grows up and starts thinking about defending the freedom of the whole world instead of just its own people, then it can start criticizing the US. Meanwhile, it's just pathetic to see you ranting about Pakistan. But hey, I bet the Russians would keep working with you today if you ask.
Pfooey! The Northern Alliance were Afghan resistance fighters, armed and trained solely by the Russians and Indians, they had pretty much nothing to do with the US. In fact, the US was going wink-wink at the Pakistan in all the years the Pakistanis were Propping them up.
Make no mistake, the "Mujaheddin" later formed the Taleban that the Americans vanquished in 2001-02. And the Northern Alliance were pro-India, pro-Russia. Although I must admit that a few Mujaheddin did turn around to join the Northern Alliance. Can you be so naive to think that an army that had led to the fall of the USSR (Mujaheddin with US aid) could turn the tables and become friendly with their greatest foes, like how you suggest that the Mujaheddin became the Northern Alliance? A simple google search with "northern alliance russia india" will get you results from pretty reliable sites. Do try it.
No,I mean't Pakistan alone-take a look at the maps of Pakistan's frontier regions near Peshawar.
Ever heard of Mullah Mohammad Omar,the one-eyed creep??Gulbuddin Hekmatyar??Both of those folks weren't part of the Northern Alliance till 5 pm today & GWB is spending millions to finish off folks like them.
The Northern Alliance existed till November of 2001,because countries like Uzbekistan,Iran,Russia & India funded the disparate Shiite,Uzbek & Tajik militias which now compose the N.A against the Pakistani & Saudi backed Taliban.
It's so pathetic to see you try to justify your affinity with the Soviet Union during the darkest depths of the Cold War.
Affinity or whatever you call it we did what was necessary for our security. You find it pathetic? Chill.
It's also quite revealing of India's lack of moral clarity.
Moral clarity? What moral clarity did the US have when it supported a regime that carrying out a genocide? Oh yeah you were saving the "World" right?
Remember, favours must always be reciprocal.
& who will help India fight the terrorists who recieving funding & help from American allies like Pakistan,Saudi Arabia(who have just been offered PAC-3 missiles) or the UAE.If you forgot,It has been fighting the scum you face now for over 20 years.
About denuking Pakistan,well it's not my fault,that they use AMERICAN BUILT C-130s to fly nuclear parts all the way to North Korea & proliferate to international celebrities like Gadhafi.
I think that a lot of so-called developing nations have confused the expedient policy of corporatism with the systematic philosophy of capitalism.
The free market-left as unfettered as is humanly possible-will always produce better results than a command and control economy, both domestically and abroad.
Nixon's tilt towards Pakistan even as the latter killed about a million of its own citizens in East Pakistan would rank as one of the lowest points in the history of American diplomacy. And it was all unnecessary IMHO.
"What does the US call those folks now??" is the "Northern Alliance", who sided with us when we deposed the Taliban.
-----Wrong answer. The CIA trained the Mujahideens later joined groups such as Gulbudin Hekmatiyar faction, the Hizbul Mujaheedijn and of course the *TALEBAN*. Northern Alliance was armed and helped by Russia, India and Iran.
The second question:
If you dont like to answer the second question, let me help you.
who supplied Stinger missiles to those freedom fighters to take out Soviet helos & jets???"
*I was the US of A that supplied Stinger missiles to those freedom fighters to take out Soviet helos & jets.*