Department of State

 

TELEGRAM

 

SECRET 165

 

 

ISLAMA 01660 251323Z

42

ACTION SS-45

INFO   : OCT - 01 /046 W 042373

P 251200Z FEB 71

FM AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD

TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7077

INFO AMCONSUL DACCA PRIORITY

SECRET ISLAMABAD 1660

EXDIS

SUBJ   : MY FEB. 25 SESSION WITH YAHYA: INTERNAL POLITICAL CRISIS

              DELIVER ACTION OFFICER OOB FEB. 25.

 

1. 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 crisis.

 

2. 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.

 

3. 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.

 

4. I am now scheduled depart Islamabad at noon Feb. 26 for Dacca and have requested our Consul General seek early meeting with Mujib.

 

FARLAND

 

 

Source: The American Papers- Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1965-1973, The University Press Limited, p.494-495