Department of State
INFO : OCT - 01 /046 W 042373
251200Z FEB 71
SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7077
SUBJ : MY FEB. 25 SESSION WITH YAHYA: INTERNAL
DELIVER ACTION OFFICER OOB FEB.
Having arranged meeting with President Yahya on military supply matters
(septel), I first presented him with President Nixon's signed photograph which
was much appreciated. Conversation subsequently turned to domestic political
For first time in my experience with him, Yahya was clearly worried about, next
steps on difficult road towards representative government. He seemed
disheartened by impasse between Mujib and Bhutto regarding constitution. He
recalled all the various hard things he had done to bring political process
along this far. His remarks indicated that while his regard for Bhutto was
still low, he thought Bhutto did have a point in insisting on some give by
Mujib re Six Points. Yahya said he had twice invited Mujib to confer with him
here, and Mujib had twice declined. Now President was proceeding to Karachi this afternoon
(Feb. 25) to have another talk with Bhutto. He confided that, in event
Bhutto-Mujib impasse was not somehow resolved before March 3, he was
considering deferral "for week or two" or later than that if need be
of his own appearance at National Assembly in Dacca (which Yahya implied would delay
opening of Assembly). Yahya did not indicate what he thought might happen if
impasse not broken fairly soon. But he spoke in a tone of despair of
"blood and chaos" which might ensue.
I re-affirmed our respect for all that Yahya had done thus far towards transferring
power to representatives of the people. I stressed that U.S. policy re integrity of Pakistan remained precisely as I
had previously confirmed to him as well as to Bhutto. I said I had been
considering going to Dacca very soon to see
Mujib, whom I had not encountered during the last year, and making sure that he
also comprehended our concern about Pakistan's future; however, on
balance I had decided that my seeing Mujib at this particularly sensitive
juncture would likely be subject to considerable public misunderstanding. Yahya
acknowledged that there was widespread suspicion that U.S. favored separation of East and West Pakistan. He said reports continued to reach him
that Congen and USAID officials in Dacca were giving Awami League contacts
impression that USG favored separation, and latter were spreading the word. It
had further been reported to Yahya that when I was last in Dacca
on my return from U.S.
(in January) I had seen Mujib. I assured him I had not. Yahya said that he
himself was convinced that U.S.
policy in support of unity of Pakistan
remained as I had ennunciated it to him previously. He would not rpt not
misunderstand my seeing Mujib during next few days. On contrary, President
urged me to go to Dacca
tomorrow, Feb. 26, and see Mujib as soon as possible.
I am now scheduled depart Islamabad at noon Feb.
26 for Dacca
and have requested our Consul General seek early meeting with Mujib.
The American Papers- Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh
Documents 1965-1973, The University Press Limited, p.494-495