49. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Bangladesh1

52939. For the Ambassador. Subject: Demarche to BDG on Unsatisfactory Role in Iranian Crisis. Refs: (A) Dacca 672;2 (B) Dacca 461;3 (C) Dacca 413.4

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1. (C–Entire text)

2. You should seek an appointment at an appropriately high level in the BDG to discuss BDG’s performance on the hostage issue and to respond to President Zia’s November 12 letter to the President.5 You should make clear that this demarche constitutes our reply to Zia’s letter. Talking points are as follows:

—President Zia’s letter of November 12 to President Carter which outlined Bangladesh’s development plans received careful consideration. The U.S. will continue to have great sympathy for Bangladesh’s development needs.

—President Zia’s request has come at a particularly difficult time in view of the need for budgetary restraint in the U.S. We intend, however, to continue to play an important role in supporting Bangladesh’s development programs through the provision of economic assistance and food aid.

—At the same time I have been instructed to reiterate the deep disappointment we felt that Bangladesh was unable to stand with the majority of the Security Council on December 31 and January 13 in supporting the resolutions calling for economic sanctions against Iran. The holding of 50 American hostages at our Embassy in Tehran continues to be a matter of grave concern to the American people and we hope that we can count on the support of Bangladesh in bringing about a peaceful solution to this serious problem.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800102–0184. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Sent for information to USUN. Drafted by Benedict; cleared in IO, EUR/SOV, S/S, and S/S–O and by Peck, Coon, and Thornton; approved by Saunders.
  2. In telegram 672 from Dacca, February 2, Schneider requested information on U.S. policy toward Bangladesh in the wake of Bangladesh’s abstentions in the UNSC votes on Iranian sanctions. Schneider reported that he expected to meet with Zia within the week. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800058–0017)
  3. See Document 47.
  4. Telegram 413 from Dacca, January 22, summarized the diplomatic efforts that the Bangladeshi Government was undertaking with Iran regarding the hostage crisis, noting that the Bangladeshis “had on several occasions informed Iranian Government that it believed release of hostages could not be made conditional on establishment of or outcome of UN commission or investigation.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D800049–0521, D800037–0057)
  5. See footnote 5, Document 47.