U.S. National Archives

June 30 1971

Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco) to Secretary of State Rogers

Pakistan: Yahya’s June 28 Address on Political Formula

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

By Joseph Sisco


Yahya’s formulation for a political accommodation is highly conditional and its time-frame is imprecise. Its disqualification of many of the 440 Awami League members-elect and its probable unacceptability to most of the others means that most of those seats would have to be filled through by-elections in East Pakistan. A new political campaign in the East Wing will require adroit handling if existing tensions are to be reduced and a viable political settlement achieved. It is doubtful that promises of maximum provincial autonomy will be enough to satisfy the Bengalis, who have in effect again been reminded that their earlier electoral decisions are not acceptable to the West Pakistan establishment. Thus genuine political accommodation remains the crux of Pakistan’s internal crisis and Yahya’s speech offers little basis for optimism over his chances of early success under the terms and conditions he has prescribed.


2 Sisco added a handwritten marginal comment at this point that reads: “Banning Awami League makes political accommodation almost impossible.”


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