214. Letter From the Pakistani Ambassador (Raza) to Secretary of State Rogers1 2

I have been commanded by the President of Pakistan to convey the enclosed message to His Excellency the President of the United States of America. It is requested that this message be presented to His Excellency the President.

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Message from Pakistani President Bhutto to President Nixon


Dear Mr. President,

For some years the rice shortage in East Pakistan has been met by exports from West Pakistan. This year’s rice crop totalling about 400,000 tons is similarly available for East Pakistan. Unfortunately, because of tragic political and economic situation, which I have inherited, it is beyond my country’s means to send this rice to East Pakistan in the normal manner. I, therefore, proposed to Ambassador Farland just before he proceeded to the United States that if your Government could assist by under-writing the export of this rice to East Pakistan, it would give me an opportunity, which would have very desirable political impact in East Pakistan and would be of great help to me in creating a climate of confidence there for pursuing the larger political objectives with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. At some suitable time in future, I would acknowledge publicly this contribution of the United States in helping Pakistan and for contributing to the restoration of permanent peace in the subcontinent.

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I appreciate, Mr. President, that there are demands in the Congress to sell US rice abroad and that the United States has not undertaken this kind of economic assistance until now. My reason for approaching you personally is that we are facing an extraordinary situation and if some way can be found to meet my request, it will have electrifying effect on public opinion in East Pakistan.

I earnestly hope that some procedural method can be found to meet this request.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 760, Presidential Correspondence File, Pakistan, President Bhutto. Most Immediate. The attached letter is undated and bears an unsigned typed signature. Kissinger’s handwritten notation on Raza’s letter reads: “Al–Make sure this receives urgent attention.” Haig, in turn, wrote on the letter: “Saunders Rush.” The text of Bhutto’s letter was transmitted to Islamabad on January 29 in telegram 16993. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, INCO–RICE 17 BANGLA DESH–US)
  2. Raza transmitted a letter to Nixon from Pakistani President Bhutto in which Bhutto asked the United States to underwrite the sale of rice by Pakistan to what he continued to refer to as East Pakistan.