Department of State








INFOR      AmConsul DACCA

              AmConsul KARACHI

              AmConsul LAHORE

                  Amembassy NEW DELHI

                  AmConsul CALCUTTA

              AmEmbassy LONDON

                 U.S. Mission USUN NEW YORK

                 U.S. Mission GENEVA




SUBJECT : Call by M. M. Ahmad on Secretary



1. M.M. Ahmad, Economic Advisor to President Yahya, called on Secretary May 12 accompanied by Ambassador Hilaly and DCM Farooqi. Dept' Asstt Sect' Van Hollen, Spengler and Fuller (NEA/PAF) sat in.


2. After amenities (exchanges personal greetings from and to Yahya), Ahmad opened by stating President Yahya had been anxious have emissaries explain to friendly governments actions which Martial Law Administration had taken in East Pakistan and its plans for future. President wished Ahmad particularly to express thanks to USG for showing "understanding" toward Pakistan despite contrary "pressures".


3. Ahmad reiterated familiar GOP position re events leading to military crackdown, emphasizing that "extremist elements got upper hand in Awami League and left its leader helpless". Yahya through Legal Framework Order had provided for maximum provincial autonomy as long as national unity preserved. Awami League, however, had gone beyond autonomist mandate received in election and put forth demand for confederation, and later separation. Large-scale lawlessness and atrocities perpetrated against West Pakistanis before March 25 had been deliberately kept from press. Ultimately GOP had been obliged take military action.


4. Ahmad stressed that "President Yahya was anxious for political settlement, not military solution". Asserted Yahya's aim remains transfer political power to elected representatives and that "as soon as present phase is over" Yahya will present "political package for East Pakistan" based on Awami League Six Point program. In


response to Secretary's question as to character of contemplated federal system, Ahmad stated foreign affairs, defense, "some elements of finance" and coordination of international economic relations would remain with central government.


5. Ahmad said new election would not be held since December elections had been contested essentially on individual basis. "Majority" of elected East Pak members of Provincial and National Assemblies, Ahmad thought, would participate new government. Provincial legislatures would be established first with national Constituent Assembly coming later. Hilaly interjected that legislators would be required renounce membership in Awami League and swear loyalty to Pakistan. Asked by Secretary who would be leading East Pakistan political figure under such an arrangement, Ahmad said he could not say for certain but might be Nurul Amim.


6. Ahmad foresaw "interim constitution" which would rally moderates in East Pakistan. Observed "Our actions not directed against popular will but only against extremist elements". Pointed out problem posed by continuing Indian intervention. Hence GOP desired its friends to use influence to restrain India.


7. In response to Secretary's question re present situation in East Pakistan, Ahmad stated economy had "taken jolt" but law and order restored except in Sylhet and area across from Agartala in northeast. Emphasized army manpower thin in those regions - as was case even in Chittagong at beginning of fighting there, when 300 West Pakistanis faced 8000 hostile East Pak troops. These limited numbers of West Pakistani forces underscored fact that President Yahya did not work out careful advance plans for military takeover.


8. Ahmad acknowledged some of population of cities had fled, but claimed now 50% of Chittagong port labor force had returned. Referred to transportation problems, noting two bridges destroyed on Chittagong-Dacca rail line. Cited current need to improve water transportation which could be used in lieu of railroads to move foodstuffs. Ahmad admitted famine could occur because of disruption of distribution system and weakening of rural purchasing power. "You can have famine in country despite availability of stocks." Referred to GOP efforts to revive Rural Works Projects to pump money into rural economy. Asserted food supply situation adequate, however, with 200,000 tons of grain "in the pipeline," 150,000 tons of cyclone relief wheat and rice to be delivered, and additional grain to be shipped from West Pakistan.


9. Ahmad emphasized Pakistan would like to receive international assistance for East Pakistan and was now assessing needs. Said army had been forced to take stern action in East Pakistan and image needed to be improved. Army had, however, done "lot of good work" in cyclone disaster relief and Yahya felt it should also assume responsibility now for relief and reconstruction activities. Ahmad indicated Government willingness develop relief/rehabilitation plan "in coordination with international organization" and hoped to elaborate on Yahya's "positive" response to U Thant's offer of international relief assistance during visit to UN May 17.


10. After exchange regarding Soviet reaction critical of military action in East Pakistan, Secretary said there had been some suggestions that USG should make stronger public statement but we had wanted maintain friendly attitude toward Pakistan and avoid involvement in country's internal affairs. Our policy is to do what

we can to support Pakistan's continued unity and help prevent country from being divided.


11. Secretary referred to adverse American press and Congressional reaction to events in East Pakistan and observed GOP not getting its story across. Emphasized importance of publicizing apparent reasonableness in present GOP position re East Pakistan and willingness accept outside relief. Discussion then ensued of possibility of M. M. Ahmad appearing on TV and meeting informally with members Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Ahmad had been invited for full hearing before SFRC and staff but Hilaly had declined out of concern that implication might be drawn in Pakistan that Ahmad "summoned" to report to Senate.


12. Economic assistance subjects not discussed for lack of time, though Hilaly put last minute request that U.S. take lead in support of Pakistan in current deliberations by IBRD and IMF on future aid.