9 October 1971
From: Secretary State
To: Amconsul Calcutta
Subject: Bangla Desh
1. Commend Calcutta's able and
discreet handling of first contact with Bangla Desh "Foreign Minister" Mushtaq
Ahmed. We also appreciate detailed report Congen has
provided of Mushtaq's views. While much of substance
of what Mushtaq had to say, particularly with reference to
expectations of what US could or should do in present crisis, was
fatuous or naive, we nevertheless believe it worth- - while
to give him response, with intent of developing some momentum in moving BD reps toward talks.
2. You should, therefore, seek appointment with Mushtaq to report back
views of USG. You should tell him that USG has no desire place itself between GOP and BD reps or to enter
into merits of positions of either side. USG therefore has no substantive
comment to make on points raised by Mushtaq. We would
urge, rather, that the BD reps seek earliest opportunity to present views directly
to GOP reps, in effort explore
possibility of negotiated settlement. We would hope that both sides could come to such meeting prepared to discuss
whole range of issues that divide two sides, but without any preconditions. We have already discussed possibility of
such meeting with President Yahya and he has
indicated his interest. USG willing assist in passing messages back and forth that might lead to meeting, but we are not rpt not interested in
playing transmission belt for "demands"
or "positions" of one side or other.
3. To Mushtaq's probable reiteration of BD "desires"
you should suggest to him that BD reps present these directly to GOP in talks and not
to us. Only by engaging in talks can two sides hope to find ways toward early
end of violence, killings, and other hardships that now afflict
people of East Pakistan. Alternative that we see is escalation violence, and
possibly war, with further tragic consequences for entire
subcontinent. In our view those who refuse to participate in unconditional
talks may have to assume responsibility for continued loss of life and for loss
of "opportunity" to achieve constructive outcome.
4. We wish to
keep our options open for contacts with other elements of BD leadership,
although this will continue to be controlled from Washington. Hence while we
assume that Mushtaq may remain principal channel for
future communications, we do not wish to give him impression that he will
necessarily be only channel. For example, we obviously might be in touch with BD
delegation in New York which presumably
sent to this country for purpose of contacting foreign officials,
including US. Therefore you should inform Mushtaq at
your discretion that we intend to maintain some contact with other BD reps if occasion
arises. We are confident this will not cause serious problems for BD,
since we are not "negotiating" with any of reps and assume they will
keep each other informed of contacts with USG reps.
5. For Islamabad: Believe you need not rpt not go any
further than you already have (Islamabad 9962) in informing Yahya of state of play on
BD contacts. Your next step with Yahya, if you
believe it might be productive,
should be to suggest that GOP simultaneously look for ways establish its own direct contact with BD reps in N.Y.,
London or elsewhere.
Such contact could provide opportunity for w GOP signal to BD type of settlement it
may be willing to negotiate. Such signals at this stage could help pave way for
substantive negotiations. You might also probe with Yahya
whether Soviets have played any role to date in seeking to advance GOP-BD
drafted prior receipt Calcutta 2605. However,
believe latest meeting with Qaiyum does not rpt not
indicate alteration these instructions.
Source: Bangladesh Liberation War and the
Nixon White House 1971, p.247 - 249