fifty years ago July 30, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (July 30, 1971): Pakistan rejects Thant’s suggestion

The Pakistan Government has rejected a proposal made by the United Nations Secretary-General, U Thant, that the East Bengal problem be referred to the Security Council for a solution [Islamabad, July 29]. U Thant had made the proposal to Pakistan’s President, Gen. Yahya Khan, as the escalation of tensions between Pakistan and India is threatening the security of the sub-continent, and could lead to a great power confrontation. He thinks the question of East Bengal refugees in India, the border clashes and the whole range of problems in that region merit the consideration of the Security Council. In saying “no” to U Thant, Pakistan has pointed out that the Secretary-General’s other proposal — the posting of U.N. observers on both sides of the East Bengal border to encourage the return of the refugees — is an adequate solution. India has, however, turned down this suggestion. According to Indian sources here, the posting of U.N. observers sidesteps the major issue of a political settlement in East Bengal that would satisy all sections of its population and enable all categories of refugees to return.

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