95. Telegram 187199 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1 2

[Page 1]


  • Presidential Message on Cyclone Disaster in East Pakistan


  • 187185

1. Please convey following message from President Nixon to President Yahya Khan:

QUOTE I have been deeply shocked and grieved to learn of the catastrophic cyclonic storm which has caused such grave loss of life and property in the coastal areas of East Pakistan. Please convey to your countrymen, and especially to those of the storm-affected area, the profound sympathy of the government and people of the United States for the tragic losses and human suffering wrought by this calamity. As in the past, the United States stands ready to render whatever assistance it can in helping to bring relief to the disaster area. UNQUOTE. We do not plan to release text to press but would have no objection if GOP desires to do so. However, please provide advance notice of public release.

[Page 2]

2. FYI: The President desires to be as helpful as possible in providing relief assistance in this disaster and to make most generous combined offer of help justified by the circumstances, within limit our resources, rather than responding piecemeal. (This should not deter your making appropriate initial monetary grant of up to $25,000 under existing authority per reftel.)

Request Mission’s best assessment of consolidated needs from USG as soon as practicable, based on GOP information.

3. You should bear in mind that because of Southeast Asian requirements and unusually high incidence of disasters this fiscal year, contingency and supporting assistance funds are extremely scarce and will remain so unless replenished by supplemental appropriation which has not yet been presented to Congress. PL–480 resources, which are probably those most needed in this case, are also quite tight. Nevertheless, you should report requirements as you see them per para 2 above. End FYI.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 PAK. Confidential; Immediate. Also repeated to the Consulate at Dacca. Drafted by Alexander Fuller and Spengler; cleared by Davies, John F. King, Deputy Director of the Office of Press Relations, David J. Waters, Assistant Chief of Protocol for Public Affairs, Saunders at the White House, and in AID by Curtis Farrar (AID/NESA), and Stephen R. Tripp (AID/PRI/DRD); and approved by Sisco. A major cyclone followed by a tidal wave struck East Pakistan on November 12. (Telegram 2116 from Dacca, November 16; ibid.) By November 25, 168,000 deaths had been recorded, and over 500,000 deaths were anticipated. (Intelligence note prepared in INR, November 25; ibid.)
  2. The telegram transmitted a message from President Nixon to Pakistani President Yahya expressing Nixon’s concern over the loss of life and property in East Pakistan as a result of a cyclone. Nixon offered U.S. assistance in responding to the disaster.