Department of State

 

TELEGRAM

CONFIDENTIAL 371

 

DACCA 02804 3112002 16

ACTION NEA-15

INFO   OCT-01 CIAE-00 DODE-00 PM-05 H-02 INR-08 L-04 NSAE-00 NSC-01 P-03

RSC-01 PRS-01 SS-20 USIA-12 AID-28 E-15 RSR-01 /126 W

            036124

R 3012502 DEC 70

FM AMCONSUL DACCA

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 2523

INFO AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD

AMCONSUL KARACHI

AMCONSUL LAHORE

AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI

AMCONSUL CALCUTTA

CONFIDENTIAL DACCA 2804

CORRECTED COPY (CORRECTIONS THROUGHOUT ENTIRE TEXT)

SUB:    CALL ON SHEIKH MUJIBUR RAHMAN

 

1. DPO Carle and I called on Sheikh Mujib this morning to extend our congratulations and those of Embassy and Ambassador on election victory, as well as our best wishes for success in coping with problems ahead. I explained that Ambassador presently in U.S., but upon return would no doubt with to call on Sheikh to convey his best wishes.

 

2. Sheikh was very much "in cat-bird seat," exuding composite aura of confidence in his star, hard-nosed determination to brook no obstructions to his program, charm and friendliness, and residual suspicion of MLA and West Pakistan "vested interests".

 

3. Sheikh emphasized that AL with mandate of people behind it, was now more determined than ever to push through its program. He warned that any attempt to delay or thwart wishes of the people would be resisted to bloody end. He spoke heatedly of twenty-three years of colonial exploitation and said no power can prevent his party from putting an end to this. The Sheikh was particularly bitter over economic exploition of Bengal and mismanagement of its resources. He observed that normal trade with India was vital and that joint Indo-Pak approach on flood control was not only necessary but feasible. He cited example of the Indus water settlement which took place despite existence of Kashmir problem.

 

4. Turning to current political scene Mujib observed that National Assembly could meet late January or early February. He stipulated that it must meet in JGMCA. He predicted that constitution which would call for a parliamentary form of government, more or less on British lines, would be framed in less than one month. In response to our query, the Sheikh said he would definitely seek the cooperation of other political groups in constitution-making as long as they were willing to work within framework of the Six Points. He added that if such cooperation were not forthcoming, majority (i.e., AL) would proceed to pass its own constitution which was already drafted.

 

5. Mujib was not specific about AL constitution except to say President would have no more power than President of India and that AL draft called for continuation of institution of provincial governors, to be nominated by Prime Minister and

exercising only ceremonial functions.

 

6. Queried about press reports that West Pakistan leader Bhutto planned visit, Sheikh replied, "of course, what else can he do?" He added that Bhutto would be most welcome, as would any other political leaders.

 

7. Throughout conversation, Mujib reiterated his determination to carry out mandate which he believes has been conferred upon him. He warned that frustration of AL program would lead rather quickly to Communism in East Bengal. He repeatedly denounced neglect by West Pakistan and cited cyclone disaster as case in point, claiming that "my people in disaster area" would have starved had not friendly foreign countries come immediately to their aid. De Apso observed that counsel of friendly foreign countries (by implication U.S. Included) had encouraged GOP to carry through with elections. Mujib also waxed somewhat gyrical about his earlier visit to U.S., his love of San Francisco, his warm friendship with Burton Marshall, and generally his warm feelings for U.S.

 

8. The Sheikh observed that future foreign aid relations would be different. He claimed that in the past less than 20 percent of all foreign aid ever reached East Pakistan. Henceforth, he said, dealings on economic aid matters will be carried out directly between Dacca and Washington without any intermediary. Mujib also said he would set up a separate planning board for East Pakistan he noted in passing that Dave Gordon of World Bank had called on him earlier that day and Sheikh had advised Gordon to have Mr. McNarmara pass through East Pakistan some time in March when presumably government will be organized.

 

9. Mujib introduced to us newly elected MNA Syed Nazrul Islam of Mymensingh, AL Vice-President, whom he said was his Chief Lieutenant and had presided over AL during Sheikh's most recent jail term. (Comment: we still believe that the Sheikh has no deputy in a real sense, and that his flattering treatment of Islam in our presence was for the latter's benefit. Nevertheless, Islam will probably figure prominently in any AL Government.)

 

10. Sheikh told us that AL rally scheduled for January 3 on Dacca Race Grounds, in addition to an oath-taking ceremony for newly elected MNA's and MPA's, would be occasion for formal AL policy statements on economic and political matters. He noted that since the elections he, unlike Bhutto, has made no official statements on policy matters and that it would be appropriate to do so now. GP-3.

 

Blood

 

 

Source: The American Papers- Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1965-1973, The University Press Limited, p.445-446