U.S. National Archives

September 15 1971

Subj: Refugee and East Pakistan Relief

Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India

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

By William Rogers

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2. At Under Secretary Irwin’s request, Indian Ambassador Jha called September 13 to discuss famine situation in East Pakistan and relief needs. Jha accompanied by Minister Rasgotra and First Secretary Verma. AID Deputy Administrator Williams, Deputy Assistant Secretary Van Hollen and Quainton of NEA/INC also present.

3. Under Secretary began by emphasizing common USG and GOI interest in working toward goal of averting famine in East Pakistan. USG, he said, recognized excellent job which India had done in organizing refugee relief. We also recognize political and economic pressures which refugees represent. As we see it, however, most immediate issue is famine which will come unless active measures taken to avert it. This will require energetic, extensive and effective UN effort. We hope this effort will be supported and accepted by GOI and Bangla Desh (BD) leaders. If relief effort is disrupted, famine is likely and refugee flow will be increased. Greatest present danger is guerrilla attacks on relief assistance. Guerrillas have been most active all along East Pakistan’s eastern border with India and have successfully disrupted rail line along eastern border. Only shipping remains and if that is attacked as well, it will destroy whatever relief effort we can make.

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