Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger and a Forgotten Genocide
Gary J. Bass
2014 Pulitzer Prize Finalist
The Blood Telegram is an unprecedented chronicle of a pivotal but little-known chapter of the Cold War. Gary J. Bass shows how Nixon and Kissinger supported Pakistan’s military dictatorship as it brutally quashed the results of a historic free election. The Pakistani army launched a crackdown on what was then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), killing hundreds of thousands of people and sending ten million refugees fleeing to India — one of the worst humanitarian crises of the twentieth century.
Driven not just by Cold War realpolitik but by a bitter personal dislike of India and its leader Indira Gandhi, they silenced American officials who dared to speak up, secretly encouraged China to mass troops on the Indian border, and illegally supplied weapons to the Pakistani military — an overlooked scandal that presages Watergate.
Drawing on previously unheard White House tapes, recently declassified documents, and extensive interviews with White House staffers and Indian military leaders, The Blood Telegram tells this thrilling story for the first time. Bass makes clear how the United States’ embrace of the military dictatorship in Islamabad would mould Asia’s destiny for decades, and confronts for the first time Nixon and Kissinger’s hidden role in a tragedy that was far bloodier than Bosnia. This is a revelatory, compulsively readable work of politics, personalities, military confrontation, and Cold War brinksmanship.