31. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

65773. Subject: Provisional Government of Bangla Desh.

Pakistan Ambassador Hilaly told Van Hollen on instructions April 16 that Government of Pakistan wished to bring to USGʼs attention possible approach by representatives alleging to represent “Provisional Government of Bangla Desh.”
Hilaly said India had permitted establishment provisional government on its territory and was providing financial support. In GOP view, such provisional government exists only in GOIʼs imagination, is designed to justify Indian intervention, and to aggravate already serious situation.
Hilaly said GOP understands that several representatives of so-called Provisional Government already have gone abroad to seek support. One such representative, Zakaria Choudhury, has already arrived in London. According Reuter news report London, April 15, he has held press conference and has been interviewed on BBC, claiming that Bengali separatists control three fourths of East Pakistan. Same news report states that FCO has refused receive Choudhury.
Hilaly concluded by saying that it was probable that another representative of Bangla Desh would come to Washington in effort see USG officials. In anticipation of this possibility, he had been asked formally to advise USG that GOP considered establishment of Provisional Government as essentially Indian-sponsored action. Representatives of [Page 76] Bangla Desh, who have been charged with treason, have no right to speak regarding Pakistan.2
For London: Would appreciate any information re activities Zakaria Choudhury, including any efforts he may have made to approach FCO.
For Dacca: Do you have any data on Choudhury?
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 PAK. Confidential. Drafted and approved by Van Hollen and cleared by Spengler (NEA/PAF). Also sent to London and Dacca and repeated to New Delhi, Calcutta, Bombay, Lahore, and Karachi.
  2. On April 13 a representative of the Awami League called on the British Deputy High Commissioner in Calcutta and indicated that “Bangla Desh Prime Minister” Tajuddin Ahmed wanted to meet with U.S. and British officials. (Telegram 641 from Calcutta, April 13; ibid., POL 23–9 PAK) The Consulate General in Dacca confirmed that Ahmed was a key figure in the Bengali resistance and would probably emerge as political head of the resistance movement. (Telegram 1297 from Dacca, April 14; ibid.) Although British officials agreed to meet with Ahmed, the Department instructed the Consulate in Calcutta to decline to do the same. The Department felt that such a meeting arranged through the British raised questions about the organization Ahmed represented and could have implications regarding recognition of a government of Bangla Desh. The Department did not preclude, however, future meetings with Ahmed or other representatives of the Awami League. (Telegram 62715 to Calcutta, April 14; ibid)