POLITICAL AFFAIRS IN EAST
CREDULITY IN EAST
Public Record Office
REF: DO 196/319
19 May, 1966
R.J. Stratton, Esq.,
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.
Source: The British
Papers – Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh
Documents 1958-1969, Oxford
University Press, p. 539.