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

233072. Subject: President Bhuttoʼs Letter to President. Ref: State 233015.2 For Ambassador Farland.

Septel contains text letter to President from President Bhutto delivered Dept by Ambassador Raza December 21.
You should make oral response to letter, indicating that President has received it and is deeply appreciative of concerns raised in letter. You should put your response in context our own concerns which we have expressed publicly and privately on several occasions in recent past, in UN and elsewhere, regarding general humanitarian problems growing out of hostilities East Pakistan. You will want to point out what we have already done in support of Pak approach to ICRC and Swiss Government concerning West Pak and civilian officials East Pakistan. We have also made clear to Indian Government our view that [Page 874] Indian Army has heavy and continuing responsibility help insure security of minorities and others East Pakistan in current unsettled security situation there.
You should then go on to say that we stand ready to assist ICRC and other international organizations in whatever ways that might be practicable in alleviating present human suffering East Pakistan. In doing so you will want to recall a) Bhuttoʼs indication to Secretary December 183 that he understood why US would wish to provide humanitarian assistance in East (subject to understanding that this not be done in way there be any implication of recognition Bangla Desh); and b) call in Security Council Resolution adopted December 214 for international assistance in relief of suffering and rehabilitation of refugees and authorization for Secretary General to assist in this regard.
You should say to Bhutto that in view of these considerations we are indicating to UNSYG that USG stands ready to assist in such humanitarian relief operations as may be requested of UN in the East Pakistan area and which it feels it has the capacity to undertake.5 We want Bhutto to understand, however, that our doing so will depend on a broad range of international support, pursuant to the SC resolution, and that we will look to the UN for leadership in such an effort. FYI: What we have in mind for our part is the considerable amount of foodgrains previously in pipeline for East Pakistan in tranches appropriate to situation as it develops. We intend hold up any commitments on administrative costs at this time. End FYI.
You may also inform President Bhutto that President has authorized that negotiations begin with GOP for a new PL–480 Title I Agreement of 300,000 tons wheat and 25,000 tons edible oil (these authorizations having values of approximately $25 million and $10 million respectively). These actions reflect not only awareness of pressing food requirements West Pakistan but also are evidence of desire this Government to assist GOP in difficult tasks overall it now faces in beginning lengthy process of recovery from tragic events of recent weeks.6
PL–480 negotiating instructions will follow septel.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 PAK. Confidential. Drafted on December 27 by Laingen; cleared by Schneider and Davies, in substance by Orson Trueworthy (S/R), in IO by Deputy Assistant Secretary George A. Von Peterfly and Director of the Office of United Nations Political Affairs John A. Armitage, in AID by Williams and MacDonald, and at the White House by Saunders; paragraph 5 was cleared with Agriculture and OMB; and approved by Acting Secretary Johnson. Repeated to New Delhi, Tehran, London, Calcutta, Dacca, and USUN.
  2. See Document 330 and footnote 1 thereto.
  3. See footnote 2, Document 327.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 332.
  5. In telegram 232870 to USUN, the mission was instructed to inform the United Nations that the United States was prepared to participate in humanitarian relief operations in East Pakistan subject to the conditions outlined in this paragraph. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 BANGLA DESH) Telegram 232870 is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E–7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–1972, Document 197.
  6. Deputy Chief of Mission Sober conveyed the U.S. response to Bhuttoʼs letter to Foreign Secretary Sultan Khan on January 3, 1972. (Telegram 61 from Islamabad, January 4; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 PAK)