Secret Telegram

February 24, 1971

From: Consul General, Dacca

To: American Ambassador, Islamabad

Subject: Awami League Apprehensions.

 

 

 

1. Alamgir Rahman came to see me February 24 at his initiative. In rambling disjointed conversation he evidenced much of apprehension, confusion and wishful thinking which increasingly seem to characterize mood of Mujib and his party in face of growing counter-pressures from West Pakistan.

 

2. Alamgir said Mujib was placing high hopes on his anticipated forthcoming meeting with ambassador. Awami League believes US was in considerable part responsible for encouraging return of democracy to Pakistan and therefore has strong stake in seeing democratic experiment work. Alamgir said Mujib had told him he hoped ambassador might be prevailed upon to act as mediator in effort to build workable constitutional compromise between Bhutto and Mujib. In reply I said I thought it highly unlikely that ambassador would play such mediatory role which was one for Yahya to fulfil.

 

3. Alamgir opined Mujib might be willing make compromise on substance of six points but only if he could win some offsetting concession, even of gimmick nature, which he could use to justify departure from six points. In this connection Alamgir tossed up possibility of movement of capital to Dacca, making clear it was his own suggestion. I told him I thought this idea was complete non­starter.

 

4. According Alamgir, Awami League leadership had been convinced as late as yesterday that Yahya was about to announce delay in convening National Assembly for two months. Awami Leaguers are still apprehensive that Yahya, even while going ahead with  March 3 date, will move promptly thereafter to postpone further meetings for several months in view of non-attendance by West Pak MNAs and lack of consensus on constitution. Alamgir said such delay would present grave problems for Mujib because of growing pressure for secession within Awami League ranks.

 

5. Alamgir said Mujib had on February 19 asked him to check out reports that Pak army was making significant troop dispositions. He hadreported back to Mujib that he found no such evidence. Placement of anti-aircraft guns around airport and other nearby locations is viewed by Awami League as primarily psychological move to indicate to people that air of tension with India exists.

 

6. According Alamgir Mujib had been very circumspect in his February 23 conversation with new Soviet Congen, limiting himself to expression of determination to proceed with six point constitution and bland statement that blockage of constitution process would gravely disappoint Bengalis.

 

7. Mujib told Alamgir that he was considerably irritated by rumor that he, Mujib, had had recent meeting with General Westmoreland and tracked down source of rumor back to Chinese.

 

8. Comment: As March 3 moment of truth approaches, Mujib and Awami League leadership appears to be losing some of their elan and confidence. Yahya's recent actions in amending LFO to permit MNAs to resign prior to March 3 and in dissolving cabinet have clearly puzzled and worried Awami Leaguers. Mujib must know by now that he has little chance of ramming through six point constitution. On the other hand if he backs down, his authority in the party will be seriously undermined. While we remain convinced that ultimate goal of Awami League is independence, we do not believe that Mujib sees separation now in his own interest except as I somewhat desperate last effort. He and his party are casting about for alternative sources of action including, if Alamgir is to be believed, even launching of Gandhi-like non-violent movement if

constitutional process is thwarted.

Blood

 

 

Source: Bangladesh Liberation War and the Nixon White House 1971 , Page no – 70 -71, written by- Enayetur Rahim, Joyce L Rahim, Published in February 2000, PUSTAKA, Dhaka.