U.S. National Archives

May 22 1971

Telegram From the Consulate General in Karachi to the Department of State

Subj: East Pakistan Refugees in India

Foreign Relations of the United States
Volume X1
South Asia Crisis, 1971

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Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, REF PAK. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Repeated to Islamabad, Lahore, Dacca, New Delhi, Calcutta, USUN, and US Mission Geneva.

Karachi, May 22, 1971, 2050Z.

1186. From the Ambassador. Subj: East Pakistan Refugees in India. Ref: State 085973,(2) Islamabad 04872(3) (Notal); State 87878;(4) State 089635(5) (Notal).

1. I met with President Yahya Khan at the President’s house in Karachi on Saturday, May 22 at 1830 hours. During hour and half long conversation which ensued, I discussed with Yahya, among other subjects which are reported by septels, the urgent matter of East Pakistan refugees in India.

2. This subject was introduced by my comments to the effect that the continuing influx of refugees from East Pakistan into India currently appeared to be the single most likely cause of escalation of Indo-Pak tensions. I pointed out that GOI’s current estimates indicated that there were now over two and a half million East Pakistani refugees in India and that the total was being swelled by approximately one hundred thousand additional refugees per day. I noted that, while these figures might well be subject to further scrutiny, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees representative, having recently completed survey of the refugee situation, had termed the refugee problem as he saw it to be “monumental” and one which required a major international relief effort.

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