Dacca, March 10, 1971, 1205Z
- Pak Political Crisis
- Islamabad 1975, 1976
- Alamgir Rahman (protect) came to see me this morning with what he said was message from Mujib. According Alamgir, Mujib had wanted Yahya to come to Dacca for talks and I was greatly relieved at news that Yahya was in fact coming. Mujib wanted very much to work out with Yahya some political settlement that would avoid bloodshed, satisfy Bengali aspirations, and preserve some vestige of link with Pakistan. Alamgir opined that it’s now too late to talk in terms of six-point constitution but perhaps some solution can be found along lines of confederation, with separate constitutions for East and West Pakistan, and one army and one Foreign Ministry.
- Mujib’s question, said Alamgir, was “does the United States want to see military confrontation with [Page 2] the prospect of eventual communist domination of Bengal or would it prefer a political solution to the current crisis?” I told Alamgir that Mujib’s question, put that way, was easy to answer. We naturally hoped for a peaceful political solution in lieu of bloodshed: we were gratified to learn that Mujib is also thinking in these terms, and we interpret Yahya’s willingness to come to Dacca as evidence he too is desirous of achieving a peaceful solution. We hope both sides would approach talks in the spirit of compromise.
- Alamgir then said Mujib wanted to know if United States would be willing to indicate to Yahya our hopes for political solution to current crisis. I said I did not know if this thought had been conveyed to Yahya in Islamabad but I would undertake to suggest to Charge that, if appropriate occasion presented itself before Yahya’s departure he might note to Yahya our hopes for political solution to problems facing Pakistan.
- Comment: I recognize, of course, that expression of hope for “political solution” as distinct from “peaceful” solution carries implication that we would not be happy about military repression as MLA solution to crisis. Nonetheless, given urgency of situation I would hope we could be somewhat more positive in this regard.
- Our analysis of prospects for political compromise solution will follow by septel.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL PAK. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, London, Karachi, Lahore, New Delhi, and priority Bangkok for Farland.↩
- Awami leader Mujibur Rahman sent a message to the Consulate General to ask if the U.S. would be willing to indicate to Pakistani President Yahya its preference for a political solution to the crisis.↩