'Richard Nixon supported Pak in 1971 war because of animosity towards Indira Gandhi'

Richard Nixon

As he asked his administration to support Pakistan against India in the 1971 war, the then US President Richard Nixon had faced a virtual revolt from his diplomats with the entire State Department team based in Dhaka writing the so-called Blood telegram, which was supported by Secretary of State William Rogers, a new book has claimed.

While his diplomats were calling for a different approach a policy that stops massacre of innocent people and supports democracy Nixon's direction to his administration to support Pakistan in this 1971-conflict was mainly driven by his animosity with then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and his secret desire to open up with China, for which he was seeking help from the Pakistani leadership, argues Bruce Riedel in his latest book 'Avoiding Armageddon: America, India, and Pakistan to the Brink and Back'.

Riedel, a former CIA official, is now a scholar at the Brookings Institute - a prestigious US think-tank, based in Washington.

"Acting under the President's guidance, Henry Kissinger ordered the American government to "tilt" toward Pakistan and Yahya. Many in the bureaucracy resisted. At one National Security Council meeting, Kissinger, exasperated by the pushback from the regional specialists, exclaimed, 'The President always says to tilt toward Pakistan, but every proposal I get is in the opposite direction. Sometimes I think I am in a nut house'," he wrote in the book.

The American diplomats on the scene were appalled at their country's policy, Riedel writes adding that in 1971, virtually the entire country team in Dhaka signed a dissent cable.

"Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens [dual nationals of the US and (East) Pakistan] while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pakistan dominated government and to lessen likely and deservedly negative international public relations impact against (it)," the cable said.

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