Foreign Relations, Foreign Relations, 1969-1976, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972
Released by the Office of the Historian



November 22, 1972




SUBJECT:   Bangladesh Debate in UNGA


The Bangladesh membership issue could come up for debate in the UN General Assembly on Friday. As it now shapes up:

--The Indians are backing and have asked us to co-sponsor a Yugoslav resolution calling for the Security Council to admit Bangladesh to the UN. Ambassador Jha has put the issue in terms that our agreeing to co-sponsor "would be giving right signals to India on a whole gamut of things" and our opposition would be interpreted as the US joining forces with China against India's interests. The Yugoslav resolution will probably win a strong majority.

--The Paks will attempt to amend the Yugoslav resolution to link Bangladesh membership with fulfillment of the UN resolutions during the India-Pakistan war last December (essentially at this point return of prisoners and withdrawal of Indian forces from Pak territory). This amendment has little or no chance of passing, although the Chinese will vote for it. We voted for a similar "linkage" amendment in the Security Council in August and then, when that was defeated, went on to vote for a simple Yugoslav-type amendment.

--A third alternative will be a separate resolution not directly linking Bangladesh admission with implementation of the UN resolutions but "associating" the two questions by treating them in the same resolution. This could take the form of an amendment
to the Yugoslav resolution. Either way, this would be unsatisfactory to the Paks and Chinese.

There is no issue about our vote on the Yugoslav resolution as such since it is entirely consistent with the low-key position we have taken all along favoring Bangladesh admission. To co-sponsor, however, would probably be more exposure than we would want. Nor would we have any problem with a resolution or amendment "associating" but not "linking" Bangladesh membership with fulfillment of previous UN resolutions. It might even be preferable if there were support.

The only real issue, therefore, is how we want to vote on the "linkage" amendment that the Paks and Chinese are promoting. We voted for an amendment like this, which failed, in the Security Council last August and if we need to remain consistent we should do so again. The question is whether the passage of time, our having met whatever our initial agreement with the Chinese was, and our present interest in modest improvements in relations with India in any way changes the situation. As I see it, the one real question now is whether we would abstain rather than voting for a "linkage" resolution. Thus, in the end, the issue boils down to your judgment of the value of sending a positive signal to the Indians by abstaining or voting against linkage versus remaining in a consistent position relating to the Chinese (and to a lesser degree the Paks).

Recommendation: That you indicate below your preference.

Vote for "linkage" again _____

Abstain on "linkage" this time _____
Vote against "linkage" this time _____