9.46 POLITICAL AFFAIRS IN EAST PAKISTAN: AMERICAN CREDULITY IN EAST PAKISTAN

 

 

Public Record Office

 

REF: DO 196/319

 

19 May, 1966

 

R.J. Stratton, Esq.,

Rawalpindi

 

Political Affairs in East Pakistan

 

You will have received a copy of Crook's letter to me, 1-DAC 6/36/1 of 18 May about the situation in East Pakistan, and the somewhat alarming opinions of the American Consul-General in Dacca.

 

2. There is one further point which emerged from my discussions with Crook which is, I think, worth adding to his statement of the case. This concerns paragraph 5 of the brief which was prepared for me, and forms the enclosure to his letter.

 

3. The brief says that the Americans in Dacca "tell us of contacts being made with them by all sorts of groups". I understand from Crook that, so far as his office is aware, officials of the American Consulate-General seldom tour outside Dacca and seem to make surprisingly little use of the large number of contacts which would be available to them in the more remote parts of the East Wing if they kept in touch with various American experts, voluntary workers, etc. Consequently the judgment of the Americans in Dacca seems likely to reflect opinion in that big city and not opinion in the rest of the province. I gather the further impression that the Americans tend to sit with their ears wide open and almost inviting people to supply them with information. If they do behave in that way, then naturally their ears will get filled with what various interested Pakistanis want them to hear: in particular they are likely to get exaggerated reports of the strength of the Opposition. It does not follow that the information which the Americans acquire in this way is necessarily true. For this reason, I think it is all the more important that we should beware of attaching too much weight to the American report.

 

4. Copy goes to Crook, and to the other recipients of copies of his letter to me.

 

(E.L. SYKES)

 

 

Source: The British Papers Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1958-1969, Oxford University Press, p. 539.