Documents | The Daily Star

Documents from different local and international sources concerning the 1971 Liberation War

The Document of Surrender
The Document of Surrender

The brutality the Pakistan army showed while trying to crush Banglaees’ resistance to their massacre and struggle for independence in 1971 resulted in the world’s one of the worst genocide. While carrying out the bloodbath in the then East Pakistan, the Pakistan government kept the people of West Pakistan totally in dark about the macabre butchery. As a result, when a judicial commission formed by the Pakistan government after its 93,000 soldiers sent to crush the Bengalis surrendered to the Allied Forces on December 16, 1971 expressed its very critical opinion of the Pakistan's military interference and pointed out the misconduct of the politicians, the Pakistan government had reasons not to make the report public. It is only after an Indian magazine ‘Indian Today’ published the report of Hamoodur Rahman Commission, in 2000, that Pakistani newspaper Dawn reproduced it on August 14 the same year. The Pakistan government apparently declassified the report in December that year letting its people know for the first time ever what brutal role its military played for silence its own people back in 1971 and how heartlessly the politicians who endorsed the genocide.  

While India played a very supportive role sheltering the refugees and training Bangladesh’s freedom fighters, the world superpowers aligned themselves in line with their own interests with both the United States and China backing Pakistan.

Archer Blood
Archer Blood

In doing so, the two major powers in a way gave their approval for what Archer Blood, the then US Consulate General in Dhaka, termed as “genocide” in his cables to the US State Department. Blood’s dissent cables later became famously known as "Blood Telegram".

Declassified US government documents and audio clips regarding US policy towards India and Pakistan during Bangladesh’s 1971 Liberation War detail how US policy, directed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, followed a course that became infamously known as "The Tilt" and show the brutal details of the genocide conducted in the then East Pakistan.

As we keep on enriching this repository on the 1971 Liberation War, we will gather more documents that can give an idea of the events relating to what Bangalees now cherish as their glorious struggle for independence.

If you have any such documents or know about online resources where we can find so, please let us know by emailing us at

Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report

The Hamoodur Rahman Commission was a judicial inquiry commission constituted "to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the atrocities and 1971 war", including the "circumstances in which the commander of the Eastern High Command, surrendered the Eastern contingent forces under his command laid down their arms."

The report published by Indian magazine India Today
and reproduced by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper

Justice Hamoodur Rahman Photo: Wikipedia
Justice Hamoodur Rahman Photo: Wikipedia

Its primary conclusion was very critical of the role of Pakistan's military interference and misconduct of politicians as well as intelligence failure of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Federal Investigation Agency permitted the infiltration of Indian agents all along the borders of East Pakistan.

Originally, there were 12 copies of the report based on extensive interviews and testimonies. Many say all the copies were destroyed, excepting one kept with the then President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto whose government did not allow disclosure of the content. However, Maj-Gen Rao Farman Ali Khan, a former political adviser to the East Pakistan governor, told Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper on August 13, 2000 that it would be wrong to say that all copies of the report had been destroyed.

The report was leaked eventually in 2000 and Indian magazine India Today published it. Dawn, Pakistan oldest English newspaper, reproduced the India Today report on August 14, 2000. In December 2000, the Pakistan government declassified the report, with additional reports concerning the year of 1971.

Justice Hamoodur Rahman handing over the commission's report to President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Photo: Wikipedia
Justice Hamoodur Rahman handing over the commission's report to President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Photo: Wikipedia

According to Rao Forman Ali, two of the 12 copies of the report had been taken by then president Bhutto and one copy was taken back when the military raided his Larkana residence following the 1977 takeover.

Talking on whether the report was genuine, Rao Farman said the Indian magazine report seems genuine as it contains all what he had said before the Hamoodur Rahman Commission. There was no reason to say that the report was fake, he added.

Meanwhile, in a rare interview in December 2001—two years and three months before his death, disgraced Gen AAK Niazi, who surrendered before the Indian army in Dhaka on December 16, accused ZA of for modifying 35 pages of Hamoodur Rahman Commission report for clearing his name in his capacity as the prime minister.

Related articles:

  • 28/12/2000

    Government declassifies Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report


    Government declassified a controversial report on the dismemberment of the country's eastern province that became Bangladesh in 1971.

  • 10/09/2000

    Gen Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan – 3


    TO the credit of the man, it must be said that Yahya Khan never denied responsibility for the part he played in the dismemberment of Jinnah's Pakistan. He made this admission on many an occasion, as well as to the Hamoodur Rahman Commission. The final sentence of Major-General Rao Farman Ali Khan's book 'How Pakistan Got Divided' reads: "A far as Yahya was concerned, the Commission stated that he had accepted responsibility for everything."

  • 17/09/2000

    Gen Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan - 4


    THIS newspaper of record did us a great service by publishing the full text of the 1974 Supplementary Report of the Hamoodur Rahman Commission the day after it was released in the Indian press. We subsequently read that our government intended to publish the 1972 Main Report of the HR Commission, but this was swiftly denied. End of story.

  • 17/12/2013

    ZA Bhutto had changed 35 pages of Hamood Commission report

    The News

    ISLAMABAD: As fall of Dhaka still haunts the memories of Pakistanis, disgraced Gen AK Niazi, who surrendered before the Indian army accused Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for modifying 35 pages of Hamoodur Rehman Commission report for clearing his name in his capacity as the prime minister.

Declassified US Cables

On the 31st anniversary of the creation of Bangladesh, Washington-based National Security Archive on December 16, 2002 published 46 declassified US government documents and audio clips concerned with US policy towards India and Pakistan during the 1971 Liberation War.

'Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy', the then US Consulate General wrote to Washington expressing his dissent towards US policy regarding Bangladesh and Pakistan.

The documents, declassified and available at the US National Archives and the Presidential Library system detail how US policy, directed by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, followed a course that became infamously known as "The Tilt".

The documents show the brutal details of the genocide conducted in the then East Pakistan in March and April of 1971.

One of the first "dissent cables" questioning US policy and morality at a time when, as the Consulate General in Dhaka Archer Blood writes the State Department, "unfortunately, the overworked term genocide is applicable”. Known as the "Blood Telegram," low classification (Limited official use) of Document 8 led to its high dissemination among government officials.

The role that Nixon's friendship with Yahya Khan and the China iniative played in US policymaking leading to the tilt towards Pakistan, George Bush Senior's view of Henry Kissinger, illegal American military assistance approved by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger to Pakistan following a formal aid cutoff by the US and Kissinger's duplicity to the press and towards the Indians vis-à-vis the Chinese.

Click the links below to read the individual cables:

  • Document 1: March 28, 1971: Selective Genocide (PDF)

    Consul General Archer Blood reports of "a reign of terror by the Pak Military" in East Pakistan. Blood indicated that evidence is surfacing suggesting that Awami League supporters and Hindus are being systematically targeted by the Martial Law Administrators.

  • Document 2: March 28, 1971: Situation in Pakistan

    Memorandum for Dr. Kissinger

    NSC official Sam Hoskinson tells Kissinger that events in East Pakistan have taken a turn for the worse. More significantly, this memorandum acknowledges both American recognition of the "reign of terror" conducted by West Pakistan, and the need to address the new policy issues that have been created as a result of the terror.

  • Document 3: March 29, 1971: Selective Genocide

    U.S. Embassy (New Delhi) Cable

    Ambassador Keating expresses his dismay and concern at repression unleashed by the Martial Law Administrators with the use of American military equipment. He calls for the U.S. to "promptly, publicly, and prominently deplore" the brutality. Washington however, never publicly spoke out against West Pakistan.

  • Document 4 : March 30, 1971: Killings at University

    U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable

    Blood reports an American's observation of the atrocities committed at Dacca University. The observer indicates that students had been "shot down in rooms or mowed down when they came out of building in groups." In one instance, the MLA set a girls dormitory on fire and then the girls were "machine-gunned as they fled the building."

  • Document 5: March 31, 1971: Extent of Casualties in Dacca

    US Consulate (Dacca) Cable

    Blood reports that an estimated 4-6,000 people have "lost their lives as a result of military action" since martial law began on March 25. He also indicates that the West Pakistani objective "to hit hard and terrorize the population" has been fairly successful.

  • Document 6:  March 31, 1971: Army Terror Campaign Continues in Dacca; Evidence Military Faces Some Difficulties Elsewhere

    U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Sitrep:, Confidential, 3 pp.

    Blood indicates that Martial Law Administrators are now focusing on predominantly Hindu areas. "Congen officer heard steady firing of approximately 1 shot per ten seconds for 30 minutes." Cable also reports that naked female bodies found "with bits of rope hanging from ceiling fans," after apparently being "raped, shot, and hung by heels" from the fans.

  • Document 7: April 6, 1971: USG Expression of Concern on East Pakistan

    U.S. Department of State Cable

    During a conversation with Assistant Secretary Sisco, Pakistani Ambassador Agha Hilaly asks that "due allowance be made for behavior of Pak officials and others during what had amounted to civil war for a few days," because the "army had to kill people in order to keep country together." Expressing concern over the situation and bloodshed as well as use of U.S. arms in repression, Sisco observed that the US is "keenly sensitive to problems and feelings on developments [in East Pakistan]."

  • Document 8: April 6, 1971: Dissent from US Policy Toward East Pakistan

    US Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Confidential, 5 pp. Includes Signatures from the Department of State.

    In one of the first "Dissent Cables," Blood transmits a message denouncing American policy towards the South Asia crisis. The transmission suggests that the United States is "bending over backwards to placate the West Pak [sic] dominated government and to lessen likely and deservedly negative international public relations impact against them." The cable goes on to question U.S. morality at a time when "unfortunately, the overworked term genocide is applicable."

  • Document 9: April 28, 1971: Policy Options Toward Pakistan

    Memorandum for the President, Includes Nixon's handwritten Nixon note

    Kissinger presents Nixon with U.S. policy options directed towards the crisis in East Pakistan. Nixon and Kissinger both feel the third is the best as it, as Kissinger writes, "would have the advantage of making the most of the relationship with Yahya, while engaging in a serious effort to move the situation toward conditions less damaging to US and Pakistani interests." At the end of the last page Nixon writes, "To all hands: Don't squeeze Yahya at this time."

  • Document 10: May 10, 1971: Memorandum of Conversation (Memcon) MM Ahmad, Agha Hilaly, Henry Kissinger and Harold H Saunders

    US and Pakistani officials discuss the potential for a political solution in East Pakistan. Kissinger indicates Nixon's "high regard" and "personal affection" for Yahya and that "the last thing one does in this situation is to take advantage of a friend in need." He also offers American assistance so as to not compound "the anguish" that Pakistan "is already suffering," as a result of the repression in East Pakistan.

  • Document 11: May 10, 1971: Memcon The President, M.M. Ahmad, Agha Hilaly, and Harold H. Saunders

    Nixon and Pakistani officials discuss a potential political solution in East Pakistan. Nixon expresses sympathy for Pakistan by indicating that "Yahya is a good friend," and seemingly in response to the genocide like repression in the East, says he "could understand the anguish of the decisions which [Yahya] had to make." Nixon also declares that the U.S. "would not do anything to complicate the situation for President Yahya or to embarrass him."

  • Document 12: May 26, 1971: Possible India-Pakistan War

    Department of State, Memorandum for the President

    As early as May 1971 the State Department became aware that a war was possible between India and Pakistan. This memorandum denotes three causes that may lead to an India-Pakistan war: (1)continued military repression in the East, (2) the refugee flow into India, and (3) Indian cross-border support to Bengali guerillas (the Mukti Bahini).

  • Document 13: June 3, 1971: Memcon Kenneth Keating, Henry Kissinger, and Harold Saunders

    Kissinger, Keating, and Saunders discuss the situation in Pakistan and American military assistance. Kissinger indicates that Nixon wants to give Yahya a few months to fix the situation, but that East Pakistan will eventually become independent. Kissinger points out that "the President has a special feeling for President Yahya. One cannot make policy on that basis, but it is a fact of life."

  • Document 14: July 7, 1971: Memorandum for RADM Daniel J. Murphy, Dr. Kissinger's Reports of Conversations in New Delhi

    Top Secret/Sensitive/Eyes Only, 4 pp.

    Relaying his impressions of his visit to India, Kissinger describes the strong feelings about the heavy burden placed upon India by the refugees from East Pakistan. In his meetings with Indian officials, Kissinger discussed the East Pakistan situation, military assistance to Pakistan, and China. He assures the Indians that the U.S. "would take the gravest view of any unprovoked aggression against India."

  • Document 15: July 7, 1971: Memcon, Dr. Sarabhai, Dr. Haksar, Dr. Kissinger, Mr. Winston Lord

    Secret/Sensitive, 4pp.

    Just days before Kissinger's secret trip to China, Indian and U.S. officials discuss numerous issues, including the Soviet Union, the situation in East Pakistan, arms transfers to Pakistan, and China. During the conversation, Kissinger assures the Indians that "under any conceivable circumstance the U.S. would back India against any Chinese pressures." He also states that "In any dialogue with China, we would of course not encourage her against India."

  • Document 16: July 15, 1971: Indo-Pakistan Situation

    Department of State, Cable, Secret, 7 pp.

    Indian Ambassador to the United States L.K. Jha and Acting Secretary John Irwin discuss the East Pakistan situation, a possible political solution, American military assistance to Pakistan, and the role of the UN in refugee camps.

  • Document 17: July 19, 1971: Memorandum for Dr, Kissinger, Military Assistance to Pakistan and the Trip to Peking

    Secret, 2 pp. Includes handwritten Kissinger note on bottom of second page.

    Saunders discusses US Aid to South Asia, specifically noting the connections between U.S. military assistance to Pakistan and Pakistan's role in the China initiative. Kissinger writes, "But it is of course clear that we have some special relationship to Pakistan."

  • Document 18: July 28, 1971: Memorandum for the Presidents File, President's Meeting with Ambassador Joseph Farland

    Secret, 5 pp. Attached to Cover Memoranda

    Nixon expresses his concern over the South Asian conflict to Ambassador Farland, "not only for its intrinsic tragedy and danger, but also because it could disrupt our steady course in our policy toward China."

  • Document 19: July 30, 1971: NSC Paper, South Asia: Cutting of Military and Economic Assistance

    The NSC staff discusses Congressional reaction to the conflict in East Pakistan and American military assistance. The Administration has chosen quiet diplomacy as means to motivate Yahya to avert famine and create conditions in which the refugees may return from India. "We have not openly condemned Yahya. He appreciates this."

  • Document 20: August 7, 1971: Handwritten Letter from President Nixon to President Yahya

    Nixon writes to personally thank Yahya for his assistance in arranging contacts between the US and China. At a time when West Pakistani troops were engaging in a repression of East Pakistan, Nixon told Yahya that "Those who want a more peaceful world in the generation to come will forever be in your debt."

  • Document 21: August 11, 1971: Memorandum for the Record: The President, Henry Kissinger, John Irwin, Thomas Moorer, Robert Cushman, Maurice Williams, Joseph Sisco, Armistead Seldon, and Harold Saunders

    The NSC Senior Review Group discusses the situation in East Pakistan and increasing tensions between India and Pakistan. The President indicates that "the big story is Pakistan," and he expresses his concern from the standpoint of human suffering. While Nixon suggests that some Indian and Pakistani interest might be served by war, it is not in American interests as "the new China relationship would be imperiled, probably beyond repair." While stating that the Indians are more "devious" than the "sometimes extremely stupid" Pakistanis, the U.S. "must not-cannot-allow" India to use the refugees as a pretext for breaking up Pakistan. Despite the conditions in the East, which Ambassador Blood described as "selective genocide," Nixon states that "We will not measure our relationship with the government in terms of what it has done in East Pakistan. By that criterion, we would cut off relations with every Communist government in the world because of the slaughter that has taken place in the Communist countries."

  • Document 22: August 14, 1971: Letter from Prime Minister Gandhi

    Department of State Cable, Secret, 4 pp.

    Indira Gandhi, in a letter to President Nixon, notes that the refugee flow has not slowed, and has reached approximately seven million. She questions U.S. efforts to work towards a political solution in East Pakistan as well as American arms transfers to Pakistan.

  • Document 23: August 16, 1971: Memorandum for the President, My August 16 Meeting with the Chinese Ambassador in Paris

    Top Secret/Sensitive/Eyes Only, 16 pp. Includes Memorandum of Conversation between Huang Chen, Tsao Kuei Sheng, Wei Tung, Henry Kissinger, Vernon Walters, and Winston Lord Dated August 19, 1971.

    Kissinger in a memorandum to Nixon describes his talks with the Chinese Ambassador in Paris. Kissinger explains to the Chinese that the U.S. is prevented from giving any military assistance to Pakistan because of Congress, but supports Chinese assistance by stating that the U.S. would "understand it if other friends of Pakistan will give them the equipment they need." He also declares that the U.S. "will do nothing to embarrass the government of Pakistan by any public statements."

  • Document 24: August 18, 1971: Memorandum for the President, Implications of the Situation in South Asia

    Kissinger discusses the developments in South Asia including Yahya's stand to not grant independence in the East, the serious insurgency movement underway in East Pakistan, and the continued flow of refugees into India. He suggests that American strategy give Yahya a face-saving way of taking the political steps necessary to re-establish normal conditions. While Kissinger wrote in his memoirs, "We had no national interest to prevent self-determination for East Pakistan," the documents show he believed otherwise. In this record, at a time when rapprochement with China was in the national interest, Kissinger suggests that "a U.S. effort to split off part of Pakistan in the name of self-determination would have implications for Taiwan and Tibet in Peking's eyes."

  • Document 25: September 17, 1971: Arrests of East Pakistan Intellectuals

    US Embassy (Islamabad), Cable, Confidential, 3 pp.


    Indicates that repression of intellectuals in the East continues, but on a reduced scale. Ambassador Farland advises that the best policy is to continue the current practice of "persistent but quiet pressure on GOP toward better treatment of East Pakistanis in all categories."

  • Document 26: November 15, 1971: Memorandum for General Haig, Pakistan/India Contingency Planning

    Secret/Eyes Only, , 3 pp. Includes JCS Cable.

    The US disguising the movement of the nuclear aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise into the Bay of Bengal for evacuation purposes, gladly lets the ship movement represent possible American involvement in the conflict, especially if it expanded to a superpower confrontation. Admiral Welander from the NSC Staff indicates that the JCS has approved, for planning purposes only, the CINCPAC concept to ready a USS attack carrier to dissuade "third party" involvement in the South Asia crisis.

  • Document 27: November 18, 1971: Pakistan Crisis

    United States Embassy (Islamabad) Cable, Secret, 9 pp. Attached to Presidents Saturday Briefing and includes United Stated Embassy (New Delhi) Cables Dated November 15 and 16, 1971.

    Keating suggests that Gandhi is trying to "cool" the political climate in India while continuing to exert pressure on Pakistan. The Presidents Briefing indicates however, that India is stepping up its support for the guerillas fighting in East Pakistan, action that could "goat" the Pakistanis into a full scale war.

  • Document 28: December 4 and December 16, 1971: White House, Telephone Conversations (Telcon)

    Dated 11 pp. Includes Cover Sheet Dated January 19, 1972

    These telcons show Nixon and Kissinger's knowledge of third party transfers of military supplies to Pakistan. Haig summarizes the Telcons to Kissinger by writing that the telcons, "confirm the President's knowledge of, approval for and, if you will, directive to provide aircraft to Iran and Jordan," in exchange for providing aircraft to Pakistan. The telcons also show that Kissinger and Nixon, following the advice of Barbara Walters, decide to put out a White House version of the facts involved with the South Asian crisis through John Scali. Nixon express his desire to, "get some PR out on the- - put the blame on India. It will also take some blame off us."

  • Document 29: December 7, 1971: National Security Council Memorandum for Henry Kissinger, Jordanian Transfer of F-104's to Pakistan

    Secret, Includes State Department Cable to Jordan, State Department Memo to Kissinger, and United States Embassy (Amman) cable. First page has handwritten Kissinger note in which he, in reference to the title and secrecy of the issue, suggests "that title should have been omitted."

    Saunders discusses Yahya's request for military equipment from the U.S. and other sources, specifically Jordan. He also observes that "by law," the U.S. "cannot authorize" any military transfers unless the administration was willing "to change our own policy and provide the equipment directly." This would rule out any transfer of American military equipment for Pakistan, supplied by the U.S., or any third party.

  • Document 30: December 7, 1971: Background Briefing with Henry Kissinger

    As a result of American media criticism towards the U.S. position on the India-Pakistan conflict, Kissinger in an attempt to straighten the record conducts a "background" press briefing. Kissinger presents the U.S. position using many questionable facts.

  • Document 31: December 8, 1971: US Public Position on Road to War

    United States Embassy (New Delhi) Cable, Secret

    Responding to a news story based on Kissinger's background briefing, Keating argues that many of Kissinger's statements cannot be supported. Specifically, Keating questions Kissinger's reference to Indian requests for a relief program, the Pakistani offer of amnesty to Awami Leaguers, and his claim that Washington has favored autonomy for East Pakistan.

  • Document 32: December 10, 1971: Event Summary by George H.W. Bush

    UN Ambassador Bush describes the December 10 meeting between Kissinger and the Chinese delegation to the United Nations. While discussing the India-Pakistan crisis, Kissinger reveals that the American position on the issue was parallel to that of the Chinese. Kissinger disclosed that the U.S. would be moving some ships into the area, and also that military aid was being sent from Jordan, Turkey, and Iran. Some of this aid was illegally transferred because it was American in origin. Bush also reports that Kissinger gives his tacit approval for China to provide militarily support for Pakistani operations against India. Bush expresses his personal doubts in the administration's "Two State Departments thing," and takes issue with Kissinger's style, in one instance calling him paranoid and arrogant.

  • Document 33: December 8, 1971: NSC List, Courses of Actions Associated with India/Pakistan Crisis

    Top Secret/Sensitive, Source: NPMP, Country Files: Middle East, Box 643.

    Possible American courses of action with regards to the India/Pakistan crisis included notification to China that the U.S. would "look with favor on steps taken" by Beijing to "demonstrate its determination to intervene by force if necessary to preserve the territorial integrity of West Pakistan to include subtle assurance the Government of the United States will not stand by should the Soviet Union launch attacks against the PRC."

  • Document 34: December 9, 1971: Pakistan Request for F-104's

    Department of State Cable, Secret, Source: NPMP, NSC Files, Indo-Pak War, Box 573.

    The transfer of F-104 planes to Pakistan from both Jordan and Iran is under review at "very high level of USG."

  • Document 35: December 9, 1971: Defense Intelligence Agency Intelligence Appraisal, Communist China's Capability to Support Pakistan

    The DIA assesses the limits and possibility of Chinese support to the Pakistanis. It opines that while Chinese support will be limited to political, diplomatic, and propaganda for the time being, the PRC could initiate small attacks in the high mountainous areas in the East, and therefore occupy Indian troops without "provoking Soviet retaliatory moves."

  • Document 36: December 12, 1971: Memcon, Huang Ha, T'ang Wen-sheng, Shih Yen-hua, Alexander Haig, Winston Lord

    Top Secret/Sensitive, Exclusively Eyes Only,

    In a discussion of the India-Pakistan situation, Haig declares that the U.S. is doing everything it can do to facilitate transfers of fighter planes and military supplies from Jordan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

  • Document 37: December 14, 1971: Carrier Deployment in Indian Ocean

    Department of State of Cable, Secret

    Indian Ambassador Jha expresses his concern over American deployment of a Nuclear Carrier in the Indian ocean.

  • Document 38: December 14, 1971: Situation in India-Pakistan as of 0700 hours (EST)

    Department of State, Situation Report #41, Secret,, 4 pp.

    The State Department sees the possibility of a ceasefire in the East; Notes that Eleven Jordanian F-104 fighter aircraft have possibly been sent to Pakistan.

  • Document 39: December 15, 1971: Situation in India-Pakistan as of 0700 hours (EST)

    Secret, Department of State, Situation Report #44,

    Heavy fighting is turning in favor of the Indians, while cease-fire plans continue to be in the works. A controversy is brewing with regards over the U.S. decision to send a nuclear carrier into the Bay of Bengal.

  • Document 40: December 15, 1971: United States Embassy (Islamabad) Cable

    Top Secret/ Exclusive Eyes Only

    The present trickle of Mig-19's and F-104's will not hold off the Indians. Handwriting next to Mig-19's notes "China" and next to F-104's notes "Jordan."

  • Document 41: December 15, 1971: Deployment Carrier Task Force in Indian Ocean

    United States Embassy (New Delhi), Cable, Secret, 2 pp.

    Keating describes his difficulty in explaining the rationale behind the deployment of a carrier task force. He also suggests that the decision to send the task force into the Indian Ocean has only encouraged Yahya to continue the Pakistani military effort.

  • Document 42: December 16, 1971: India-Pakistan Situation Report (As of 1200 EST)

    Central Intelligence Agency, Intelligence Memorandum, Top Secret,

    India has ordered a unilateral cease fire upon the unconditional surrender of West Pakistani forces in East Pakistan. Despite the cease-fire, American officials in Dacca report that "no one seems to be in effective control of the situation," and that fighting continues "between Bengalis and scattered "Mujahid/Razakar/West Pakistani elements." Also, in a heavily excised paragraph, the CIA reports that a squadron of American origin, Jordanian F-104's was delivered to Pakistan on 13 December, despite an American embargo on military supplies to both India and Pakistan. This embargo includes third party transfers of American equipment to either of the parties.

  • Document 43: December 23, 1971: Supply of Third Country US Arms to Pakistan

    Department of State, Cable, Secret

    Secretary Rogers suggests that Keating neither confirm nor deny allegations that the U.S. endorsed Jordanian and Iranian transfer of American arms to Pakistan.

  • Document 44: December 29, 1971: F-5 Aircraft to Pakistan

    United States Embassy (Tehran), Cable, Secret, , 3 pp. Includes DOD cable.

    Embassy Iran reports that three F-5A Fighter aircraft, reportedly from the United States, had been flown to Pakistan to assist in the war efforts against India. A Northrop official matches the aircraft to a group of planes originally slated for sale to Libya, but which were then diverted to USG control in California. This information suggests that not only did Washington look the other way when Jordan and Iran supplied U.S. planes to Pakistan, but that despite the embargo placed on Pakistan, it directly supplied Pakistan with fighter planes.

  • Document 45: January 6, 1972: National Security Council, Notes, Anderson Papers Material

    The Nixon administration, during the East Pakistan crisis convened meetings of the Washington Special Action Group (WSAG) to discuss the situation in South Asia. Records of these meetings were kept, and somehow leaked to Syndicated columnist Jack Anderson. Anderson's articles, based on classified WSAG minutes became contentious, not only because they quoted from leaked classified material, but also for their racy content. Kissinger and others in the administration became upset at Anderson's exposure of White House policies because, among other things, it revealed the tilt towards Pakistan, despite the genocidal conditions in the East.



  1. Anderson, Jack with George Clifford. The Anderson Papers. (New York: Random House, 1973) 214.
  2. Brown, W. Norman. The United States and India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1972) 217. Other public estimates of the final death toll range from one to three million.
  3. Ganguly, Sumit. Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions since 1947. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001) 61.
  4. Anderson: 215.
  5. American military assistance was cutoff to Pakistan following the commencement of violence in East Pakistan. Then in early December 1971, when the conflict grew to an India-Pakistan war, aid to India was also suspended. See documents 23 and 29. In the former, Kissinger acknowledges that American assistance to Pakistan is forbidden by Congress, whereas in the latter Harold Saunders observes that "by law," the U.S. "cannot authorize" any military transfers, including third party transfers, unless the administration was willing "to change our own policy and provide the equipment directly."
  6. Document 8, a cable transmission from Consul General Archer Blood to the State Department has been very controversial. Known as the "Blood Telegram," its low classification (Limited official use) led to its high dissemination among government officials. The day after it was sent, the State Department reclassified the message as secret, in efforts to limit its spread. Blood's role in the transmission of this cable has been blamed for his being transferred out of Dacca by the Administration. Kux, Dennis. The United States and Pakistan, 1947-2000: Disenchanted Allies. (Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson/Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001); Blood, Archer. Oral history interview, Foreign Affairs Oral History Collection. Georgetown University Library, June 1990.
  7. See Note 5.
  8. See Also Burr, William ed. The Kissinger Transcripts. (New York: The New Press, 1998); Ganguly, Sumit. Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions since 1947. (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2001); Hitchens, Christopher. The Trials of Henry Kissinger. (New York: Verso Books, 2001); Sisson, Richard and Leo E. Rose. War and Secession: India, Pakistan, the United States, and the Creation of Bangladesh. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990); Kissinger, Henry. The White House Years. (Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1979).


Freedom in the air is a non-profit project aimed at building a rich repository for all sorts of contents on Bangladesh's Liberation War of 1971. Besides producing exclusive video interviews of war heroes and experts and a turn-by-turn daily interactive calendar of 1971, The Daily Star Online gathered very rare declassified diplomatic cables, the sensational Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report that proved genocide by Pakistan army, significant collection of rarely seen photographs and international newspaper reports. There is an exceptional collection of TV reports, video footages and documentaries which The Daily Star does not own but using with courtesy of the original owners and those who uploaded.