47. Telegram From the Embassy in Bangladesh to the Department of State1

461. Subject: Bangladeshi Abstentions on Sanctions. Ref: A) State 3337702 B) Secto 1300033 C) State 0069.4

1. C–Entire text.

2. I believe our credibility requires that we demonstrate in some tangible way to President Zia our displeasure at his failure to support US on sanctions. Deciding how to do this is complicated by our continuing interest in development and stability in Bangladesh and our interest in the continuation of Bangladesh’s moderate stance as an Islamic nation and as a participant in international deliberations. For these reasons I would not propose that aid or food levels be affected but I would suggest a rebuke in regard to another of Zia’s objective: his desire for close rapport with President Carter. Since the basis for that rapport has been destroyed, we might just as well let Zia know.

3. I propose that this be done by sending a fairly direct and sharp response to Zia’s long and excessive request to the President for various forms of aid (State 315730).5 We can’t meet his inflated requests anyway and rather than giving him a polite and indirect response, I suggest we tell him briefly we can give him no aid above planned levels and that food assistance will depend entirely on BDG performance. (We should leave ourselves leeway to support necessary food reforms.) The letter should also turn down his request for military assistance. I do not repeat not suggest that we explicitly interrelate our response with Bangladesh’s vote. The letter may circulate beyond Zia. He will nonetheless understand that the letter’s sharp and direct tone is the result of his refusal to help us on sanctions. I believe Zia is realist enough to [Page 127] respect a country which takes firm actions in accordance with its interests.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800039–0560. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis.
  2. See footnote 5, Document 44.
  3. Not found.
  4. See footnote 2, Document 45.
  5. Telegram 315730 to Dacca, December 8, 1979, transmitted the text of Zia’s November 12 letter to Carter, in which Zia reiterated his requests for more food and other types of assistance. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790566–0221) In response to Zia’s letter, telegram 321056 to Dacca, December 13, 1979, the Department informed the Embassy: “It does not appear likely however, that we will be able to respond positively in any significant way.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790573–0488)