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US unfurls Bangladesh minutes: Aug 15: Untold story
August 19, 2009, 10:24 am
Filed under: Bangladesh, India, USA

US unfurls Bangladesh minutes: Aug 15: Untold story

The New Nation – August 17, 2009

After killing of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on August 15, 1975 Khandoker Mushtaque Ahmed government was worried about possible Indian military intervention in Bangladesh. David Corn US Consul General posted in Calcutta was instructed by US secretary of state Dr. Henry Kissinger to keep watch on General Jacob, the chief of the Indian Eastern Command. US Ambassador in Dhaka Davis Booster said, US Calcutta-based Consul General David Corn was adequately briefed in this regard.

The minutes of the US staff meeting on Bangladesh situation released recently said, the coup in Bangladesh had met a very little resistance. There is no sign of counter rebellion in any part of the country. The US had obtained the information from their separate network which was run by the aid workers. Booster said, it was imperative to let India know that Bangladesh was not declared Islamic republic as it was earlier presumed. Seventy-nine years-old Corn is now leading a retired life in Washington.

 

The just-released Bangladesh minutes of the US Foreign Ministry revealed that in a meeting in Calcutta on August 16, 1975 Gen Jacob asked US Consul Corn what more he had on the Bangladesh situation? Corn said, coup in Bangladesh was successful. Gen Jacob retorted, he had information that there were some disturbances outside Dhaka. Jacob said, Bangladesh had least chance of attaining stability adding there was still a possibility of counter-coup. He expressed his concern over declaration of Bangladesh as Islamic republic. When Gen Jacob was asked whether there was exodus of minority Hindus from Bangladesh, he parried the question and said they were watching the situation. David Corn said, he again met Jacob on August 24 at Fort William, the headquarter of Eastern Command.Jacob said, the Bangladesh situation appears to be peaceful. But he hastened to add that he had no source other than the media. When asked about movement of Indian troops around Bangladesh border he said, they were not regular troops. They are border security forces, he said. India has no concern on internal situation in Dhaka. India will be concerned if communal divide persists in Dhaka and there was fresh exodus of Hindus from Bangladesh. He ruled out any military intervention in Dhaka unless there was exodus of minority people from Bangladesh.Jacob told Corn that then President of Bangladesh Khandoker Mushtaque was known in India as pro-Pakistani and pro-Chinese.
William B Saxby, a former US senator and US ambassador in India, in his letter said, the situation in Bangladesh in any way should not be construed as a flick. Indian Press was barred from printing editorial on Bangladesh situation. Ninety three years old Saxby is living in Washington. Saxby wanted to know Indian stand on Bangladesh. Indian reply to Saxby’s query was that Mushtaque wanted to have some sort of adjustment with Pakistan during the liberation war. Now he will undoubtedly try to improve relation with Pakistan, the Indian reply said.
US said, the foreign policy of Bangladesh will remain mostly unchanged. India, Bangladesh and Pakistan can collectively contribute to restore peace in the sub-continent.Earlier India had apprehension that there would be a coup in Bangladesh. Even an Indian diplomat tried to ascertain that it could have been in August. He named a group of ‘disgruntled’ politicians led by Mushtaque behind the plot. He also named a sacked military official who could be Major Dalim behind the conspiracy.Dr Kamal Hossain, former foreign minister of Bangabandhu’s cabinet, in a recent TV interview said, the Bangabandhu was alerted by the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on the sideline of NAM summit in Jamaica that there might have been destabilisation move in Dhaka and he may be the target. He brushed off the idea and said there was none in Dhaka who can kill him.
A minute of US staff meeting led by Kissinger revealed the US was aware of the plot to kill Mujib. They also alerted Mujib against the sinister move. Atherton, US Assistant Secretary said, the US had lot of indications in March that some quarters were plotting to kill Mujib. But he was little concerned about it. Kissinger remarked he was one of the world’s prize fools.
Atherton naming new Bangladesh leaders said, they are less pro-Indian unlike their predecessors. They did not change the name of Bangladesh as Islamic republic. But they had dropped securalism as state pillar.
Indian foreign minister Y B Chavan had a meeting with US secretary of state Kissinger on October 6 in 1975. Chavan told Kissinger that they were worried about the anti-Indian posture of Bangladesh. Kissinger wanted to know whether Bangladesh Army is anti-Indian. Chavan said, there was some anti-Indians in Bangladesh Army. India expressed her concern that China which had recognised Bangladesh for the first time after killing of Mujib may exploit the new situation in its favour. Chavan sought Kissinger’s good offices to put the thing on right tract. India also told Kissinger that they don’t want to have any exclusive relation with Bangladesh. But they will oppose a move to give Bangladesh an Islamic twist.Henry Byroad, the US Ambassador in Pakistan, in his update to Washington said, Pakistan seems to be over-enthusiastic in recognising the new government in Bangladesh. It was Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto who quickly secured Pakistani and Chinese recognition for the new government of Bangladesh.
US Ambassador Booster said, Mujib was getting isolated from the people very fast. People’s euphoria with the great leader seemed to be over. His telegrams to the State Deptt appear to have been carefully planned so that the course of events of the August 15 coup was not obstructed. Mujib’s regime began to suffer from despotic symptoms. Dynastic reasons were also attributed to his fall.
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