Attachment: Roy Fox's Survey

 

 

FCO Ref: FSP U1    FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE PRINT

9 April, 1960

 

PROSPECTS IN EAST PAKISTAN

 

Bri't'ish High Commissioner In Pakistan To The Secretary Of State For
Foreign And Commonwealth Affairs

 

SUMMARY

 

This initial survey by the British Deputy High Commissioner in Dacca of the political scene in East Pakistan was completed in November 1968. In it he argued economic and social conditions at the time for a dangerous political situation. (Paragraphs 1-3).

     2. In November President Ayub seemed firmly in the saddle and the political opposition ineffective. But Ayub is now ready to negotiate with the Opposition; this will inevitably affect inter-wing relations, since there will be a growing need to conciliate the Bengalis. This will adversely affect both the economic climate (especially in the fields of investment and industrialisation) and standards of administration in East Pakistan. (Paragraphs 4-8).

     3. There is danger to British economic and commercial interests. Moreover a revolutionary situation is likely to develop which would give opportunities to the Chinese and so increase the dangers to world peace. (Paragraphs 9-10).

     4. Our economic stake is now more vulnerable but, more than any other country, we could exercise a stabilising and constructive influence in East Pakistan; for political and economic reasons can we afford to neglect the opportunity to do so? (Paragraph 11.)

 

Rawalpindi, 19 February 1969

 

Sir,

 

When Mr. Fox took over as Deputy High Commissioner in Dacca in September. [ instructed him, especially since his previous experience in Pakistan had been largely with trade and economic matters, to give first priority in his first few months in Dacca to a survey of the political scene and to do his best to get on terms with the political leaders of East Bengal. In an election year it seemed to me imperative for him to do so since we would need constantly to be coming to judgment about political developments and their effect on our interests.

     2. Mr. Fox completed his survey at the end of November. It was forwarded separately to your Department and was the subject of discussion during your visit to Dacca in December. I now have the honour to attempt an assessment of the significance of Mr. Fox's survey (of which I attach a copy for ease of reference) in

the light of the political developments to which I referred in my despatch of 12 February.

     3. Mr. Fox argues that progress in raising the standard of living of the people of East Pakistan has been painfully low. Over recent years they have been exposed to the miseries of flood and hurricane and little has yet been done in the way of flood control to mitigate the effects of such calamities. Population still increases rapidly and there is not much optimism that their meagre diet will be significantly improved in the immediate future. Industrial progress is slow and capital is scarce. The East Pakistanis complain that East Pakistan does not receive its fair share of the nation's financial resources, and complaints about disparity and corruption are made with increasing bitterness. Mr. Fox argued last November with some presence that all the conditions designed to produce unrest and even revolt and riot were either present or not very far away; and that the situation was economically extremely difficult and, partly because of this, politically dangerous. He was concerned at the opportunities offered to Chinese influence, and concluded that if East Pakistan is to be saved from Communism there is little time in which to work.

     4. Three months ago, however, President Ayub appeared to be firmly in the saddle despite the emergence of Mr. Bhutto as a political leader. Mr. Fox thought that it was difficult to believe that any coherent political opposition could rally to any specific focal point. Now, however, we have reached the point where the President has agreed to negotiate with the Democratic Action Committee (DAC) of fundamental changes of the Constitution. Whatever the outcome, there will be drastic changes which cannot fail to affect the relations between the two wings of Pakistan.

     5. I have submitted separately to your Department a paper on the Radical Left in Pakistani politics. The students in East Pakistan are now established as a political force, which may not remain coherent, but which cannot now be suppressed, except at the cost of an impossible strain on the fabric of Pakistan. If we reject the possibility that the present political agitation in Fast Pakistan could be contained for more than a short time by martial law and armed force, the only alternative is further action to meet the political aspirations of East Bengal. Whether the President achieves a compromise with the DAC or not; whether the students accept such a compromise or not, inevitably we must expect to see policies in East Pakistan being increasingly determined by the necessity to conciliate Bengali opinion.

     6. East Pakistan has to no small extent depended for the last two decades on West Pakistani expertise and West Pakistani capital however inadequate it may have been. There is little evidence that sufficient East Pakistanis are yet capable administrators and managers, or that they can generate from their own resources the capital necessary for their development. Nor do I believe that the substitution of one lot of political masters for another, or that changes among the administrators will of themselves solve the problem of corruption.

     7. Whatever criticism there may be of the present regime, as I pointed out in my despatch No. 2 of 18 March, 1967,t they have had their successes in the field of food production and they have set up a comprehensive scheme for family planning. In the economic field they have followed, at least in the recent past, sensible development

policies. I see little prospect of any alternative regime in the immediate future following equally coherent and decisive policies. Although a more nationalist Bengali regime may be able to harness enthusiasm for social causes, I fear that there will be a deterioration of the administration, and it may well be that those who object to family planning will have greater scope. There have already been reports of mobs burning land records and attacking officers working in the thana headquarter. One circle officer was killed earlier this week. In fact, even if current developments lead to some alleviation of the short-term political problem, the long-term problems of East Pakistan are not likely to become less acute, and indeed will be exacerbated.

     8. This is especially so in the field of investment and industrialisation. I would expect West Pakistan businessmen to make every effort to disinvest in East Pakistan-­some have already begun the process. Foreign capital will certainly not be attracted. I do not doubt that the East Bengalis will nevertheless have no hesitation as to their own capacity to carry through a policy of nationalisation, which is included in the Eleven Points of the Students' Action Committee.

     9. 1 shall be addressing you separately about the effect of these policies on British interests. Certainly there is a danger of banks being nationalised; British agency houses being squeezed out; tea estates being Bengalised; and remittances being stopped.

     10. But more important than the immediate threat to our interests is the danger of a deterioration of the whole fabric of East Pakistan life and its threat to the peace and stability in that part of the world. If no effective action is taken to increase and diversify food production, to limit population or to develop job opportunities for the increasing number of landless labourers moving into towns, an increasingly revolutionary situation will develop in which the Chinese will make full use of their opportunities. This cannot fail to be related to developments in West Bengal and will lead to increasing dangers to world peace.

     11. In this situation we, together with the Americans, will need to review our policies towards Pakistan as the political situation develops. Our economic stake in Pakistan is now much more vulnerable than before; and we must consider what policies to pursue in order to safeguard it. We probably have, more than any other country, opportunities of exercising a stabilising and constructive influence in East Pakistan, if we wish to do so. Such leaders as Nurul Amin, Justice Murshed and even Sheikh Mujibur Rahman are all in varying degrees likely to be responsive to our sympathetic handling. 1 would not despair of the possibility of getting on terms with other leaders who have not yet emerged. We shall need to consider whether, both for economic and political reasons, we can afford to neglect these opportunities.

     12. I am sending copies of this despatch to Her Majesty's Ambassadors al Washington, Kabul and Tehran, Her Majesty's Charge d'Affaires at Peking, the High Commissioner at Delhi, and the Deputy High Commissioners at Karachi, Lahore and

 

Dacca.

I have, & c. C.S. Pickard

 

 

Distribution .4

Annex

 

PROSPECTS IN EAST PAKISTAN

 

East Pakistan suffers from a number of fundamental deficiencies. There is the climate and its "disease of indolence." Productivity will always be lower than that of other climes and perhaps even that of the West Wing because of this depressing influence. The diet of the people is far from satisfactory. An article written recently by a Government official said "...mostly our village population live on rice and common salt. Few of them can afford to get proteins, vitamins, minerals and salts needed for the maintenance of proper health." The ravages of floods, population explosion, lack of capital and skills, educational backwardness and ever increasing corruption complete this unfortunate hypothesis.

     2. On your last visit you queried whether an improvement in the standard of living of the villagers would produce votes for Ayub. Although I have not yet seen enough of the rural areas we usually hear the party line when we visit them and even though one can see the people and their living conditions it is not easy to get at the real truth. Nor are statistics necessarily reliable as you well know. But when the Chairman of the E.P.A.D.C. avers, rather than admits, that agricultural statistics and stories of successes are intended for popular consumption and are simply untrue I believe him. Although he, for instance, is proud of the increase in fertiliser distribution from 107,000 tons in 1965-66 to 211,000 tons in 1967-68, he adds that this only covers about 10% of the cropped land in East Pakistan. (That he has dismissed 165 officials is indicative of the efforts of some hard working civil servants---he is a particularly good example---but I have little doubt that he will expect to dismiss more in the next three years). On the assumption that 11,000 low lift pumps will be delivered in 1969, the total number in action will be 21,000. These would cover adequately about 1.4m acres of cropped land out of a total of 28m acres, i.e. about 6%. Distribution of fertilisers, he added, was patchy and whereas in Bogra district 17,000 tons were taken up for 900,000 acres of land only 5,000 tons were used in Sylhet for 2.2m acres of land. There was still a big educational task ahead; farmers were not always happy to take more credit or spend more money if income is low. Not surprisingly he contrasted slow progress in irrigation with other countries and regretted the existence in East Pakistan of small two-acre parcels of land which can be worked only at low efficiency. From these and other comments I have good reason to believe that the bulk of villagers can see little or no improvement in their standard of living. The Pakistan Observer argues that per capita income in East Pakistan has increased by 1% in the last three years. It may well be right. Moreover whatever amelioration there might have been of the lot of the masses may well have been more than eroded by three factors.

     3. The first is the cost of living. There has been a steady rise in the past year, presented by a rise in earnings. This could be illustrated by quoting the cost of living indices for middle class and industrial workers in various parts of the country which show small rises month by month, but these statistics may be unreliable and do not

tell the whole truth. What the man in the street or the villager knows is that in October 1967 he was paying Rs. 6.50 per four gallons of kerosene and today he pa\ Rs. 7.50; the price of coarse rice is 20% up; the ration of sugar at Rs. 1.65 per seer has been recently halved to 1/2 lb. and the unrationed sugar which was selling at a price only slightly more has moved up to Rs. 2.25 to Rs. 2.50 per seer in urban areas and to Rs. 3.50 to Rs. 4 in the mofussil. Clothing is about 5% up. These are comparisons between 1967 and 1968 but in between there have been heavy increases in time of flood when, for instance, the price of kerosene rose to Rs. 9.50 for four gallons; and here we are considering essentials. Even the Government paper Morning News stated recently that "...prices of essential commodities are going up by leaps and bounds in Rajshahi town and the adjoining villages.. .after the floods..." Kerosene was said to have almost disappeared from the market and to be available only at Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 for four gallons without container. Green vegetables were said to be utterly beyond the reach of the common man while sugar could not be bought under Rs. 4 per seer even when available.

     4. The second is flooding itself. Again it is impossible to be sure of figures and estimates of crops destroyed have varied between 8°% and 20% of the total. But it seems reasonably accurate to say that over 12,000 square miles out of 54,000 have been flooded this year. Even if, as I believe, the percentage of crops destroyed is of the order of 10% only, there is consequently an alarming degree of misery super­imposed on the bare lives of a poor population. Two lakhs of houses were destroyed this summer in the Chittagong district alone along with other properties in addition to crops. The Secretary of Basic Democracies told me he thought that the average income of the mass of the villagers is probably about half of that in the whole of Pakistan, i.e. that the average villager in West Pakistan may be as much as 50% better off than his counterpart here. The secretary admits there can be little if any improvement happening to the standard of living at present and most others, apart, for instance, from civil servants like the Commissioner at Chittagong who you will remember did not really seem to know the answers, are entegoric in their assertions that standards are not improving. The Secretary, a very intelligent man, will say in private with some bitterness that the Centre ought to have tackled flood control long ago. He admits as does Shafiul Azam Additional Chief Secretary (Planning) that the Bengalis have not prepared their development plans as energetically and followed them up as comprehensively and with the same drive as has been shown in West Pakistan. But he and others clearly deplore the starting of Tarbela following quickly on Mangla and say this is indicative of the lack of true interest in one of the greatest of all Pakistan's problems-flood control in the East. The loss to the Province''; income he regards as almost catastrophic affecting as it does the whole economy in addition to the areas directly involved. The Chairman of E.P.A.D.C. asked me if people in the Western World realised that 5,000 people had been killed in India just across the border from Dinajpur in the October floods. While regretting, as do many with more bitterness, the cutting of aid from the West, he yet deplored East Pakistan's own inefficiency and made it clear he had no time for the E.P.W.A.P.D.A. Chairman who "... seems to have little interest in anything but himself ..."

     5. The third, of course, is that every day there are more mouths to feed. One American forecast gives a doubling of the population from 75m in 1970 to 152m in 1990. To say that children must have shelter and food, employment for subsistence and education in addition is to state the problem starkly enough. It bears to be repeated in another way that the population will increase by 4,000,000 per year. It may be that any increase in agricultural production, unfortunately confined in the main as it is at present to rice, could not cope with this explosion and this is talking only in terms of bare subsistence. Moreover the population increase will bring untold medical problems unless and until diets are improved. Increased production for cereals alone will not do this. Nor will there be large increases in cash income to spend on other things as rice does not give the farmer such a good return and exports will become more difficult as other countries expand their own production. And boro production needs irrigation--a more expensive process. Some experts are optimistic about increased production of edible oils, vegetables and poultry and dairy products. But I am amongst those who fear that progress cannot be made quickly enough to cope with the population rise. Even if the pass can be held at subsistence level it will surely need a fortunate break such as an oil strike to provide the foreign exchange needed to pay for debt interest, raw materials for industry, large projects such as flood control prevention to say nothing of needs of health and education. This is a problem of Pakistan as a whole but the East Wing will suffer in greater measure as is seen in paragraph 11.

     6. Progress in agriculture will depend on availability of funds. Presumably priority will be given to allocations for further purchases of pumps and fertilisers even though the World Bank representatives would prefer a more fundamental approach to water and irrigation problems including comprehensive research into the whole flood control and irrigation field rather than a continuing influx of thousands of pumps. Money for flood control will have to be found and it is is to be hoped that World Bank will provide this. At least the urgency seems to be more appreciated each week. But the disappearance of PL.480 counterpart funds will impose yet another burden on the Central exchequer for rural works programmes. Capital formation simply does not happen on any scale with the present subsistence farming level and this situation can hardly improve much in the next five or six years.

     7. On the industrial side East Pakistan suffers from its inadequate base at partition. The Memons and Parsees, for example, who moved north from the Bombay areas to Karachi took with them according to Abdus Salam, Editor of the Pakistan Observer, more than 200 crores of rupees which started the establishment of industries in West Pakistan. Most of the money for the early jute mills came over from West Pakistan. As a result industrial progress in East Pakistan is slow and laborious especially as foreign firms are still wary of investing in industry here. And it is only very slowly that West Pakistanis are venturing into the far-off and sinister East Wing. Here comes the vicious circle that whereas large investments of capital and consequent increases in purchasing power feed on each other the reverse is the case when little capital formation exists. Thus the middle class is still small and new sources of capital very limited in practical terms.

     8. As a result the East Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation has tried to fill the gap by starting its own industries. Some of these have been prestigiou-s ventures such as the Chittagong steel mill which runs on a very uneconomical basis and produces steel at a much higher prices than obtains in other countries. But some factories are succeeding and it is particularly tragic that aid from the West Pakistan has been reduced at a time when E.P.LD.C. was starting to make progress. It is not surprising that the truth of a wretched situation is now being revealed in the shape of a recent statement from E.P.I.D.C's Chairman that work on ten of their main projects will have to be stopped because of a lack both of foreign exchange and rupees. I found Mr. Musa to be a very gloomy man indeed. The head of Binnie and Partners in Dacca incidentally is being paid only half his salary because W.A.P.D.A. cannot afford to pay him any more at present; there are many similar examples. Indeed the Enemy Property Board tried to screw a large sum from an "enemy firm" to finance a new venture the funds for which had dried up. This lack of capital will in turn affect commerce and there are signs that buildings may tend to be left unfinished or remain unoccupied because rents are too high for all but the wealthy families.

     9. East Pakistan has suffered too in comparison with the West Wing because of a shortage of workers with any mechanical skill whatever. At least in the west Wing there was initially a traditional limited knowledge of machines because of the large numbers of army personnel in that area. A proportion of skilled workers now trained in East Pakistan will have to spend their time training others in towns and union councils to the disadvantage of efficiency and the general rate of productivity in the short term.

     10. Education suffers along with, and worse than, other aspects of the economy from chronic money shortage. Literacy is said not to have exceeded 25% so far in Pakistan as a whole and in contrast to other countries--Iran, for instance where the figure has risen to about 80%--it must be feared that progress will be desperately slow; the population increase factor makes any other conclusion look somewhat naive. The Finance Minister told me that there should be a move from quantity to quality! This can hardly be anything but an acceptance of illiteracy for the masses for years to come. But his "quality" division is suffering also and the latest results of the activities of pro-regime students are not only to close the university but to make parents anxious to move their children to overseas courses or even West Pakistan. This is not only because of disruption of courses but because of fear of physical damage. I mention this now as there will follow a retardation of training which is vital to produce workers who can take over the functions hitherto performed by expatriates; to say nothing of the men needed to train workers to maintain pumps and other machines which will be used on the land.

     11. There can be no doubt about the strength of feeling on "disparity" here. It exists amongst the officials. You will recall that when the East Pakistan Reflnery manager, Charles McFarlane, was eventually instructed by the Central Finance Minister to sign a contract with Dawood for the supply of crude oil, the Chief Secretary was so annoyed that he asked McFarlane to prepare a detailed account of what had happened between the East Wing and the Centre. There is an utter disbelief

amongst the public of the statistics of distribution of investment capital between the two wings. In any case, they argue, there is Tarbela and many other schemes in West Pakistan outside the scope of the plan. Only a third of PL.480 aid has come to the East Wing. The cost of power in East Pakistan is 40% higher than in the West and it is argued that power costs should be subsidised by the Central Government. East Pakistan has now to pay nearly three times as much for its coal from Europe as it formerly paid to India because of "... the Centre's preoccupation with Kashmir." Many say that Pakistan is run by Punjabi officials. They had brought in the military in 1958 and they simply have little interest in the East Wing except in so far as exports are produced here. Yet even though talk of secession is heard I do not find this is widely desired. Rather is a recognition by the Centre required that this Province has had a raw deal in the past and should now actually be given more help than the West Wing. Only such a distribution of funds available can ultimately keep the two wings together and counter-balance the deplorable effects of past neglect in the Province and people's feelings. Suffice it to say that the latest figures 1 have seen of per capita income give Rs. 348 in 1966-67 for the East Wing as against Rs. 467 in the West.

     12. The final problem is corruption. Even Nawab Askari, newly appointed Chairman of East Pakistan Muslim League, told me: "We are all hypocrites: everyone is working for himself instead of the country. The level of honesty of the B.D's is frightful; we have to get better men." Mr. Justice Murshed has told you how elections were and will be rigged. The leader of the Opposition in the Provincial Assembly says he was only elected because he had a little money, some influence and was fairly well known. The Nawab says a Minister "...bribed everyone within sight" while he himself refused to do so. The Governor is said to have made a public statement in Feni that because the people of that constituency did not vote for the regime's representative, they would get no cyclone relief money. The Editor of "Holiday" told me how the Governor's son controls the University by equipping of his student cronies with rifles, knives, a telephone and other useful weapons; how the Vice Chancellor has stooped so low in acquiescence to the rowdies that he could not go any lower and offered his resignation. The Chancellor, who is the Governor, refused to accept it. Admission to the University is now not quite so easy unless potential students support the Government. Others have given details of the granting of licences, land, money and other favours on an increasing scale similar to the licence Dolly Azad, M.N.A. obtained from the Centre for a textile mill in Karachi which she is now said to have sold for Rs. 12 lakhs to Mian Mohammed Bashir. It would be pointless to go on for you know enough already. It is simply true to say that corruption has now reached the stage where everyone is sick to death of it.

     13. Thus all the conditions designed to produce unrest and even revolt and riot are either here or not very far away. Can there really be a country with more daunting problems than this province of East Pakistan? The G.N.P. World League Table shows Pakistan at US$85 per capita in 1965, Afghanistan, Burma, Tanzania and one or two others are lower. But no country lower in the table has a population of more than the 25 million of Burma except Nigeria which is now a special case. The

important comparison is surely a weighting of the G.N.P. figure with population and size of land available. Here there is nothing to touch the abysmal Pakistan combination and as the West Wing is clearly better off than the East, the conclusion is obvious. In a large number of my talks and interviews I have been told not only by people in opposition to the regime but also by civil servants that "... the country is in a mess." I believed that inefficiency, corruption, lack of capital, ravages of floods, population explosion and the apathy and unrest created by all this will keep the standard of living dreadfully low. What then will be the consequences?

     14. 1 am coming to the conclusion that even though a common religion must have some effect, the bond which has kept the two wings together is not necessarily Islam; but rather President Ayub. Throughout my talks this was a repeated refrain. The President was said to have a standing and prestige even in the East Wing which could not be passed onto anyone also. The idea of his son succeeding is treated with some amusement here. After Ayub has gone I doubt very much whether Islam could really be an adhesive factor. The masses will continue to be under the grip of the mullahs but I gather from my discussions that there will be a tendency for the rising middle classes to be less attentive to religion as their standard of living improves and particularly if repressive political forces are loosened. East Pakistan is in the vice­like grip at the moment of the Governor and all his henchmen. But the disappearance of Ayub may well loosen this grip, particularly as the Governor, who is now positively hated, would not survive Ayub's demise. Moreover there must be a possibility that Ayub himself will have to get rid of a man who has done little but say "yes." It could of course be argued that the military will continue to exercise the same control and the present conditions will be perpetuated by Ayub's successor. But I have been told more than once that the Bengali can be pushed a long, long way but that there will come a time, e.g. the language question, when he will take no more. Perhaps Ayub's departure would stiffen resistance amongst the masses to, for instance, the recent granting of increased powers to B.D's which will presumably result in greater corruption and repression. It was noticeable that a revolt did occur some months ago when tampering with food had reached scandalous proportions and a few people died. Intense annoyance caused swift reaction.

     15. But this was an anarchical movement and not one inspired by politicians. This despatch has been written partly at a time when West Pakistan has been in some turmoil because of the activities of Mr. Bhutto. I could not help wondering what might what have happened in East Pakistan if a leader of this stature with an appreciable following had been present. It may well have happened that the masses and more dissatisfied members of the middle class would have shown their teeth. I suppose that what really has prevented the Bengali from reacting is that his traditional political dabbling has been of the fratricidal kind, i.e. party or personal squabbling. There has not been enough cohesion or logical thought to overcome the personal or party struggle for power. Even the Six-point Plan would really improve only the lot of the middle or lower middle classes by getting more jobs for people in these categories. There would be nothing in it for the peasants.

     16. Thus it has been difficult to believe in the past few weeks that any coherent political opposition could rally to any specific focal point. The only Presidential opposition candidates whose names have been put forward in my discussions have been Mr. Bhutto, Mr. Justice Murshed and Nurul Amin. Amin told me this week that he was aged and not very well. He looks both and although he said he would do his duty if necessary it is clear to me that he could not sustain any sort of satisfactory campaign in the country. Mr. Bhutto has now been arrested and there do not appear on the scene any young, energetic and capable leaders who could be his counterpart in West Pakistan. This is thought to be simply because they are almost certain to suffer the same fate as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. I view Mr. Justice Murshed with some dubiety and I do not believe that you were impressed with him as a serious Presidential candidate despite his ability and standing. But he did imply in our talk that he may have to do his duty if necessary and so far I have really seen no other possibility. I have not been able to delve deeply into the activities of the various parties but I have picked up no clue whatever that anyone else is on the horizon and I have asked the question repeatedly. Moreover, any potential candidate in any of the existing parties is bound to meet with much opposition from members of other parties.

     17. But the latest news of the emergence of Asghar Khan could make a significant difference. The effect at first will clearly be much greater in West Pakistan but such a man who is widely respected could, if pursuing a vigorous campaign, have the effect in this wing of encouraging more dissatisfied able men to risk the wrath of the authorities. The prosecution of the lawyers this week was a symbolic gesture of puny proportions but the effect could mushroom and at this moment reports are reaching me of a sizeable student gathering in Dacca at which three anti-Government speeches have already been made. The majority of the moneymakers and intelligentsia of the upper and middle classes will no doubt sit on that side of the fence nearer to the regime but there are signs that some of these are now thinking that to be identified more with the rank and file Bengalis or to show themselves as no supporters of the regime will be better for them in the long run.

     18. My considered view is that it is a matter of a short time only before the present regime will be forced at the Centre to yield to East Wing demands not for secession but for a much better share of Pakistan's money, jobs and development. I do not believe that the present state of affairs could continue beyond Ayub's reign and I think that if these demands are not met even while he is in power, more serious moves may well be made for greater autonomy with all the disruption that could entail. The mood, the conditions are there; a catalyst or spark could cause much commotion. I suppose the best that could happen after Ayub would be that the army remained in control as only a new leader of great stature could possibly pull the political strands of East Pakistan together. But the lid will have be lifted a little to release the bubbling emotions here. If that were done and East Pakistan got the vital aid necessary to keep the Province alive there would, in my view, be little clamour for secession. No Muslim here is prepared to live with the Hindu and there seems nowhere else to go.

     19. I must, however, express an uneasy feeling about the Chinese. Although Pakistan is using China for her own ends the Chinese embrace may not be easy o break and some communistic propaganda is bound to flourish in the fertile soil Opposition leaders argue that regimentation of the right is not far from that of' the left. More and more visits are made backwards and forwards and the Chinese Consul here seems to get an enthusiastic greeting from all and sundry. The propaganda flow is increasing slowly. And the mid-seventies could see China in a better position to help Pakistan. Of the present generation of students some China oriented Bengalis will be more politically active in their post university days by that time. If there is no adequate help for the Province and the standard of living makes no improvement on the land the Chinese influence could expand greatly.

20. I conclude that the present situation here is economically extremely difficult and partly because of this politically dangerous. There is an urgent need for understanding and assistance. Flood control should be tackled comprehensively and total research should start immediately. Capital is badly needed for agricultural and industrial development. West Pakistan and foreign investment should look to the East as well as staying in the West. Above all the World Bank has to step in a large scale. On the other hand the Bengalis themselves have to face the fact that foreign investment has a price and therefore a place in their thinking. They also have to appreciate realities and be prepared to work with the Taylor Woodrows of this world and not viciously against them. Above all corruption must be reduced and an example set from the top. Is it too much to hope, Sir, that before he goes the President attack this monster which saps the efforts of sincere and able men and because of its greater than marginal effect, more than negatives marginal growth'? For us, I think, the lesson is clear. If East Pakistan is to be saved from communism there is little time in which to work and all our influence and effort is needed to make the world and our own people realise this.

 

                                                                                        (Roy Fox)

20 November, 1968                                         Deputy High Commissioner

 

 

Source: The British Papers – Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1959-1969, Oxford University Press. P. 854-864