Prepared for President Nixon/1/
National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 575, Indo-Pak
War, South Asian Relief, 8/1/71-11/23/71. Confidential.
Prepared by Hoskinson and Saunders
for an October 28 briefing of the President. The memorandum does not
indicate who was scheduled to do the briefing, but it was customarily done by
Famine Averted for Now in East Pakistan: Maury Williams, after
an on-the-spot review,/2/ has concluded that the
widespread fam-ine-with associated deaths and an
accelerated refugee flow to India-predicted by many last summer will not occur
critical period is March. He cites the following reasons:
/2/ The briefing was based upon telegram 4614 from
Dacca, October 26, a report
from Deputy AID Administrator Maurice Williams, who was investigating the
danger of famine in East Pakistan in his capacity as coordinator of relief
assistance. A copy of telegram 4614 was attached to the briefing memorandum.
-U.S. efforts in dramatizing
the problem and in providing two-thirds of needed transport from ocean ports to
river ports, plus continuing shipment of one million tons of grain, have been a
of the East Pakistani population by the nine million (13%) more or less who
have moved to India.
-The end of
a black market flow of rice, normally one million tons annually, from East Pakistan into India as a result of border
-The UN role
in making food distribution neutral in the civil conflict.
prospect of the winter crop beginning in late November.
cautions, however, that the situation in East Pakistan is still grim and that
continuing relief assistance will be needed. There is still the likelihood that
increased guerrilla activity will make food distribution more difficult.
Serious pockets of need will continue to exist. A buildup of stocks will have
to continue against the next critical period in March, and a further
strengthening of the UN field staff remains important.
humanitarian aspect, this is also a major U.S. contribution to peace
since the avoidance of famine at this critical juncture will mean that many
millions more Bengalis will not flee to India. This will be a point
worth making to Mrs. Gandhi when she asks how our relationship with Yahya has contributed to peace. It is hard to prove, but
the situation could have been a great deal worse by now.
Source: Document 172, volume XI, South Asia crisis 1971, Department of State.