US diplomats observed 'Mujib wanted a political settlement'
Observer Online Report
On 12 March, Awami League had an instruction to its activists to form sangram committee in each union. The CSP officers and first class EPCS officers rendered their full-throated support to non-cooperation movement. The employees of government, semi government offices and of the autonomous bodies joined the movement. The cinema hall owners of East Pakistan announced to keep the cinema halls closed for an indefinite period.
Pakistan International Airlines canceling most of its international services, concentrated all available aircraft of ferrying “Government Passengers” to Dhaka. But those were the troops in civilian dress.
Yahia gives explicit warning that force would be used against any move for separation.
Asked by a foreign journalist if he planned to go for a unilateral declaration of independence (UDI), Mujib sounded ambiguous: “Independence? No, not yet.” At around the same time, when another foreign newsman questioned Mujib’s challenging of the authority of the Pakistan government in the province, the Awami League chief snapped: “What do mean by government? I am the government.”
Life in Bangladesh in March 12, 1971 continued, as usual, as the administration by people's representatives led by Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, took full de facto control of Bangladesh.
Describing the situation then US Consul General in Dhaka Archer C Blood observed "It is difficult to be completely objective in Dhaka in March when, out of discretion rather than valor, our cars and residences sport black flags and we echo smiling greetings of 'Joy Bangla' as we move about the streets.
Daily we lend our ears to the outpouring of the Bengali dream, a touching admixture of bravado, wishful thinking, idealism, animal cunning, anger and patriotic fervor. We hear on Radio Dacca (Dhaka) and see on Dacca (Dhaka) TV the impressive blossoming of Bengali nationalism and we watch the pitiful attempts of students and workers to play at soldiering".
On the same day in a separate telegram the Consul General wrote to the US State Department:
Alamgir Rahman (Protect) came to see me this morning with what he said was a message from Bangabandhu Sheikh) Mujib. According to Alamgir, (Bangabandhu Sheikh), Mujib had wanted Yahya to come to Dacca (Dhaka) for talks and I was greatly relived at (the) news ........ as (Bangabandhu Sheik) Mujib badly wanted a political settlement that would avoid bloodshed..............................Alamgir opined that it was not too late for talks................... with separate constitutions (f)or East and West Pakistan.....
2) (Bangabandhu Sheikh) Mujib's question, as said by Alamgir, was "does the United States want to see military confrontation with the prospect of eventual communist domination of Bengal or..................a peaceful solution to the political crisis..................
3) Alamgir then said (Bangabandhu Sheikh) Mujib wanted to know if the US would be willing to lean on Yahya for a political solution to which I replied that if the appropriate occasion arose we would do so.
4) Comment: Recognize of course that "political solution" as distinct from "peaceful solution" implies the use of military repression.
Given urgency of situation I would hope we could be somewhat more positive in this regard.
5) Our analysis of prospects for political compromise will follow in a septel. (Separate Telegram). BLOOD.