“The Blood Telegram” By Archer Kent Blood

Meomoirs of an American Diplomat

The Blood Telegram (April 6, 1971), sent via the State Department’s dissent channel, was seen as the most strongly worded expression of dissent in the history of the U.S. Foreign Service. It was signed by 20 members of the diplomatic staff. The telegram stated:

Our government has failed to denounce the suppression of democracy. Our government has failed to denounce atrocities. Our government has failed to take forceful measures to protect its citizens while at the same time bending over backwards to placate the West Pak[istan] dominated government and to lessen any deservedly negative international public relations impact against them. Our government has evidenced what many will consider moral bankruptcy… But we have chosen not to intervene, even morally, on the grounds that the Awami conflict, in which unfortunately the overworked term genocide  is applicable, is purely an internal matter of a sovereign state. Private Americans have expressed disgust. We, as professional civil servants, express our dissent with current policy and fervently hope that our true and lasting interests here can be defined and our policies redirected in order to salvage our nation’s position as a moral leader of the free world.— U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Dissent from U.S. Policy Toward East Pakistan, April 6, 1971, Confidential, 5 pp. Includes Signatures from the Department of State. Source: RG 59, SN 70-73 Pol and Def. From: Pol Pak-U.S. To: Pol 17-1 Pak-U.S. Box 2535

Archer Kent Blood

In an earlier telegram (March 27, 1971), Archer Blood wrote about American observations at Dhaka under the subject heading “Selective genocide”:

1. Here in Decca we are mute and horrified witnesses to a reign of terror by the Pak Military. Evidence continues to mount that the MLA authorities have list of AWAMI League supporters whom they are systematically eliminating by seeking them out in their homes and shooting them down

2. Among those marked for extinction in addition to the A.L. hierarchy are student leaders and university faculty. In this second category we have reports that Fazlur Rahman head of the philosophy department and a Hindu, M. Abedin, head of the department of history, have been killed. Razzak of the political science department is rumored dead. Also on the list are the bulk of MNA’s elect and number of MPA’s.

3. Moreover, with the support of the Pak Military. non-Bengali Muslims are systematically attacking poor people’s quarters and murdering Bengalis and Hindus.— U.S. Consulate (Dacca) Cable, Selective genocide, March 27, 1971.

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