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

110978. Subject: Communication concerning recognition of Bangladesh.

Department has received document2 dated “Mujibnagar”, April 24, 1971, addressed to President. Document requests immediate USG recognition of “sovereign independent Peopleʼs Republic of Bangladesh” and establishment of diplomatic relations between USG and Bangladesh Government which it says “exercising full sovereignty and lawful authority within the territories known as East Pakistan prior to March 26, 1971.” Document signed by Syed Nazrul Islam, “Acting President,” and Khandakar Moshtaque Ahmed, “Foreign Minister.” Also attached are “Proclamation of Independence” dated April 10, 1971, proclamation by “Acting President” Islam continuing East Pakistan laws in force in “Bangladesh”, and purported cabinet of Bangladesh Government including “President” Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Document mailed regular international air mail from West Berlin, postmarked May 26, 1971 with no return address.
Method of transmittal naturally raises question, but if document genuine (and we have no reason to think it is not) it is first formal request from officials of Bangladesh movement for USG recognition and has sensitive political implications. US of course continues to consider East Pakistan part of State of Pakistan which we recognize, and to counsel GOP with whom we maintain diplomatic relations to develop political solution to present troubles. Document, however, makes it difficult for us to continue to take public line that we have never received any request for recognition of State of Bangladesh.
Department is taking following actions: (a) no acknowledgement will be made of document; (b) document will be recorded by Records Services Division, OPR/RS, which routinely logs all communications received in Department; this step involves no determination of nature of communication by Department; (c) NEA/PAF will retain document routinely in office files; (d) we will continue to say “We consider the territory of East Pakistan to be part of the State of Pakistan”; [Page 194] (e) if we are asked whether we have ever received a request to recognize Bangladesh, we would answer: “We have received through international air mail a letter mailed from Berlin without return address which purported to ask for recognition of the Peopleʼs Republic of Bangladeshʼ. It would be inappropriate for us to take any action with respect to it since we consider the territory of East Pakistan to be part of the State of Pakistan.”
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15 PAK. Confidential; Limdis. Drafted by G. Jonathan Greenwald (L/NEA) on June 17; cleared by Spengler, Deputy Legal Adviser J. Edward Lyerly, and Donald J. Simon (A/OPR/RS); and approved by Van Hollen. Repeated to New Delhi, Calcutta, Dacca, and Karachi.
  2. Not found.