Pakistani Foreign Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto addresses the UN Security Council on 15 December 1971
We have met here today at a grave moment in the history of my country and I would request the Council kindly to bear with me and to hear the truth, the bitter truth. I know the United Nations; I know the Security Council I have attended their sessions before. The time has come when, as far as Pakistan is concerned, we shall have to speak the truth whether members of the Council like it or not. We were hoping that the Security Council, mindful of its responsibilities for the maintenance of world peace and justice, would act according to principles and bring an end to a naked, brutal aggression against my people. I came here for this reason. I was needed by the people of Pakistan, and when I was leaving Pakistan I. was in two minds whether: to go to the Security Council to represent the cause of my country, to represent the cause of a people that had been subjected to aggression, or to remain with my people, by their side, while they were being subjected to attack and violence. However, I felt that it was imperative for me to come here and seek justice from the Security Council. But I must say, whether the members like it or not, that the Security Council has denied my country that justice. From the moment I arrived we have been subjected to dilatory tactics.
It will be recalled that when the Indian Foreign Minister spoke and I spoke after him, I said that filibustering was taking place. That was my immediate observation. The Security Council, I am afraid, has excelled; in the art of filibustering, not only on substance but also on procedural matters. With some cynicism, I watched yesterday a full hour of the Security Council’s time wasted on whether the members of the Council would be ready to meet at 9.30 a.m. or that bed and breakfast required that they should meet at 11 a.m.
The representative of Somalia referred to the population of East Pakistan as 56 million, but later on he corrected himself to say that the population of Bengal—of Muslim Bengal—was 76 million. If he had waited for a few more days he need not have corrected himself because millions are dying, and it would have come to 56 million if the Council had kept on filibustering and discussing whether it should meet today or tomorrow or the day after tomorrow—whether the lines of communication between New York and Moscow and Peking and other capitals would permit the members to obtain new instructions. Thus, we could have gone on and on. That is why I requested you, Mr. President, to convene a meeting of the Security Council immediately and I am thankful to you for having convened this meeting, because precious time is being lost. My countrymen, my people, are dying. So I think I can facilitate your efforts if I speak now. Perhaps this will be my last speech in the Security Council. So please bear with me because -I have some home truths to tell the Security Council. The world must know. My people must know. I have not come here to accept abject surrender. If the Security Council wants me to be a party to the legalisation of abject surrender, then I say that under no circumstances shall it be so. Yesterday my eleven year old son telephoned me from Karachi and said “Do not come back with a document of surrender. We do not want to see you back in Pakistan if you do that.” I will not take back a document of surrender from the Security Council. I will not be a party to the legalisation of aggression.
The Security Council has failed miserably, shamefully. “The Charter of the United Nations,” “the San Francisco Conference,” “international peace and justice”—these are the words we heard in our youth, and we were inspired by the concept of the United Nations maintaining international peace and justice and security. President Woodrow Wilson said that he fought the First World War to end wars for all time. The League of Nations came into being, and then the United Nations after it. What has the United Nations done? I know of the farce and the fraud of the United Nations. They come here and say, “Excellence, Excellence, comment allez-vous?” and all that. “A very good speech—you have spoken very well, tres bien.” We have heard all these things. The United Nations resembles those fashion houses which hide ugly realities by draping ungainly figures in alluring apparel. The concealment of realities is common to both but the ugly realities cannot remain hidden. You do not need a Secretary-General. You need a chief executioner.
Let us face the stark truth. I have got no stakes left for the moment. That is why I am speaking the truth from my heart. For four days we have been deliberating here. For four days the Security Council has procrastinated. Why? Because the object was for Dacca to fall. That was the object. It was quite clear to me from the beginning. All right, so what if Dacca falls? Cities and countries have fallen before. They have come under foreign occupation. China was under foreign occupation for years. Other countries have been under foreign occupation. France was under foreign occupation. Western Europe was under foreign occupation. So what if Dacca falls? So what if the whole of East Pakistan falls? So what if the whole of West Pakistan falls? So what if our state is obliterated? We will build a new Pakistan. We will build a better Pakistan. We will build a greater Pakistan.
The Security Council has acted short-sightedly by acquiescing in these dilatory tactics. You have reached a point when we shall say, “Do what you like.” If this point had not been reached we could have made a commitment. We could have said, “All right, we are prepared to do some things.” Now why should we? You want us to be silenced by guns. Why should we say that we shall agree to anything? Now you decide what you like. Your decision will not be binding on us. You can decide what you like. If you had left us a margin of hope, we might have been a party to some settlement.
But the Indians are so short-sighted. Mr. President, you referred to the “distinguished” Foreign Minister of India. What may I ask is so “distinguished” about a policy of aggression he is trying to justify. How is he distinguished when his hands are full of blood, when his heart is full of venom? But you know they do not have vision.
The partition of India in 1947 took place because they did. not have vision. Now also they are lacking in vision. They talk about their ancient civilisation and the mystique of India and all that. But they do not have vision at all. If I had been in his place, I would have acted differently. I extended a hand of friendship to him the other day. He should have seen what I meant. I am not talking as a puppet. I am talking as the authentic leader of the people of West Pakistan who elected me at the polls in a more impressive victory than the victory that Mujibur Rahman received in East Pakistan, and he should have taken cognizance of that. But he did not take cognizance of it. We could have opened a new page, a new chapter in our relations.
As I said, if the French and the Germans can come to terms, why cannot India and Pakistan come to terms? If the Turks and the Greeks can still talk sensibly as civilised people over Cyprus, why cannot India and Pakistan do likewise? If the Soviet Union and the United States can open a new page in their history, if China and the United States can open a new page in their history, why can we not usher a new era in. our relations? We could have done so. But as it was said about the 1967 Arab-Israel war, the military victory of Israel made it more difficult for Israel and the Arabs to reach a settlement. If you want to subjugate Pakistan militarily, you will find it more difficult to bring peace. I say that the choice for us is either to accept living in the-same subcontinent and co-operating for peace and progress, or to be implacable enemies of each other forever.
The Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union does not like my reference to the Roman Empire. I do not know what objection he has to it, unless he sees some similarity between his empire and the Roman Empire. I do not really see why he had any objection to that. But I shall again refer to the Roman Empire, and I hope that the Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union will have no objection to it because we want to have good relations with the Soviet Union and we want to open a new chapter with the Soviet Union because we are neighbours. I go back to the Roman Empire and I say what Cato said to the Romans, “Carthage must be destroyed.” If India thinks that it is going to subjugate Pakistan, Eastern Pakistan as well as Western Pakistan—because we are one people, we are one state— then we shall say, “Carthage must be destroyed.” We shall tell our children and they will tell their children that Carthage must be destroyed.
So please, Mr. President and members of the Security Council, realise the implications. The Pakistani nation is a brave nation. One of the greatest British generals said that the best infantry fighters in the world are the Pakistanis. We will fight. We will fight for a thousand years, if it comes to that. So do not go by momentary military victories. Stalingrad was over whelmed. Leningrad was besieged for a thousand days. People who want to be free and who want to maintain their personality will fight and will continue to fight for principles.
We were told about the realities; to accept the realities. What are the realities? Realities keep changing, the Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union knows that once the reality was that the Nazis were out side the gates of Moscow, but you fought valiantly, bravely, and the world saluted the Soviet Union for having resisted the realities that were sought to be imposed on it. The reality was that China was under the occupation of Japan, that Manchuria was taken—half of China. That was the reality. Since the Opium War, China has seen reality. The reality for France was that it was under occupation. But there were great men like President de Gaulle who left France and fought from across the seas. Ethiopia was under Fascist domination. But the Ethiopians fought. The Emperor of Ethiopia left his country and sought asylum in Britain. Ethiopia is free today. The realities that matter are those which are not temporary phenomena which are rooted in historic principles. The principle is that Pakistan is an indepen dent, sovereign state which came into being because of the volition of its people. That is the basic reality which has existed for 24 years. Pakistan would not have faced dismemberment like this if it had not been attacked by another country. This is not an internal movement. We have been subjected to attack by a militarily powerful neighbour. Who says that the new reality arose out of free will? Had there been the exercise of free will, India would not have attacked Pakistan. If India talks about the will of the people of East Pakistan and claims that it had to attack Pakistan in order to impose the will of the people of East Pakistan, then what has it done about Kashmir? East Pakistan is an integral part of Pakistan. Kashmir is a disputed territory. Why does India then not permit it to exercise its will?
But yesterday I saw how the Security Council was pandering to India. Even the great powers are pandering to India, saying to us, “Do not misunderstand,” “Would you please let us know” and “Would you please answer the following questions; I am not insisting on those questions, but if you do not mind.” India is intoxicated today with its military successes.
I told the Indian Permanent Representative in 1967 that we wanted good relations between the two countries—but based on principles, based on justice, based on equity, not based on exploitation and domination, because such relations cannot be lasting. What we want is a lasting, a permanent solution. I do not say this just today; I said that in 1967 to their Permanent Representative who was then the High Commissioner of India to Pakistan. I said that to the Foreign Minister of India when we were negotiating on Kashmir, “Let us settle this problem on the basis of equity and justice, so that we can live as good neighbours.” And I add today: we can still live as good neighbours, as friends. Do not wipe out that possibility by military conquest and military power.
This has been the worst form of aggression, of naked aggression. Even Poland was not invaded by Germany in this fashion. Even in that case there were some pretences, some excuses that were made. Here the excuse was, “We have refugees, so we must invade another country.” We said, “We are prepared to take those refugees back.” If we had said, “We arc not prepared to take them back,” then you could have said, “Well, you will be sunk.” India’s population rises by 13 million a year. The number of refugees was alleged to be 9 million, 10 million. According to our estimate they were 5 million. But that is not important; figures are not important. The point is that we were prepared to take them back. If India’s population can grow by 13 million a year, then with all the aid and assistance that India was getting for the refugees, it could have held on for a short period till Pakistan had a civilian government to negotiate the return of the refugees. I told the United States Ambassador in Pakistan that once a civilian govern ment came into power in Pakistan, was prepared to go to the refugee camps myself to talk to them. But India pre-empted it all because the refugee problem was used as a pretext to dismember my country. The regfuee problem was used as a pretext, an ugly, crude pretext, a shameful pretext to invade my country, to invade East Pakistan.
The great powers will forgive me. I have addressed them in this moment of anguish, and they should understand. The great powers or the super powers—the super-duper-powers, the razzling-dazzling powers—the super powers have imposed their super will for the moment. But I am thankful to the people and the Government of the United States among the super powers, for the position it has taken. The people of the United States, to some extent have been misled by massive Indian propaganda. Because we had no paraphernalia of popular administration and government in Pakistan, there was a political vacuum. The Indians took advantage of that political vacuum and they spread out fast to project their point of view. As a result, American public opinion and public opinion in Great Britain and France and other countries was influenced. Unfortunately, nothing was said of the massacres that took place between 1 March and 25 March. No doubt there were mistakes on our side. I said yesterday that mistakes were made, and the Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union said that I had admitted mistakes. Well, that is not a sign of weakness, is it? Do we not all make mistakes? Are India and the Soviet Union the only two countries that have never made mistakes? I have made mistakes personally. But mistakes do not mean that my country must be destroyed, that my country must be dismembered. That is not the consequence of mistakes of government. Which government does not make mistakes? But if some government has made a mistake, does it-follow that the country itself must be dismembered, obliterated? Is that going to be the conclusion of the Security Council if it legalises Indian aggression on the soil of Pakistan?
So you will see now: this is not the end of the road, this is the beginning of the road; this is not the end of the chapter, a new chapter has begun a new page has been written in international relations. This is gunboat diplomacy in its worst form. In a sense, it makes the Hitlerite aggression pale into insignificance because Hitlerite aggression was not accepted by the world. If the world is going to endorse this aggression, it will mean a new and most unfortunate chapter in international relations. A new chapter may have begun in India and Pakistan, but please do not start a new dreadful chapter in international relations. For us, it is a hand-to-hand, day-to-day, minute-to-minute fight. But do not do that to the rest of the world. Please do not permit this kind of naked, shameful barbaric aggression to hold sway. In the old days great warriors swept over the world—Changiz Khan, Subutai Khan, Alexander, Caesar, coming down to the great Napoleon. But this is worse, this is much worse than all that was done by the great conquerors of the world in the past. If the United Nations becomes a party to this kind of conquest, it will be much worse than all that has been done in the past. You will be turning the medium-sized and the small countries into the harlots of the world. You cannot do that. It is against civilised concepts: it is against all the rules of civilisation and of international morality and justice.
The United States Government was criticised for supporting the position of Pakistan. What crime has the United States Government committed? It has taken a position identical to that of the whole world on the India-Pakistan conflict. That position was supported by 105 countries—it was 104 officially, but it was really 105 because one representative did not press the right button. That was the voice of the world. It was an international referendum. You talk about the election of 1970. Well, I am proud of the election of 1970 because my party emerged as the strongest party in West Pakistan. But here was an international poll and India flouted it. With such an attitude towards international opinion, how can India pretend to be sensitive to a national election in another country? The same India that refuses to hold a referendum in Kashmir?
The Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union talked about realities. Mr. Permanent Representative of the Soviet Union look at this reality. I know that you are the representative of a great country. You behave like one. The way you throw out your chest, the way you thump the table. you do not talk like Comrade Malik; you talk like Czar Malik. I see you are smiling. Well, I am not because my heart is bleeding. We want to be friends, but this is not the way to be friends when my country is decimated, sought to be destroyed, wiped out.
Why should China and the United States be criticised when the whole world is for Pakistan? You know that we have won a great political victory. We might have suffered a military defeat, but a political victory is more important than a military defeat because political victory is permanent while military defeat is temporary. The United States Government has acted according to its great traditions by supporting Pakistan, and I. will go to the people of the United States before I return home and tell them the truth. The United States has stood by the traditions of Jefferson, Madison. Hamilton, right down to Roosevelt and Wilson by supporting Pakistan as an independent state, its national integrity and its national unity. What wrong and crime has the United States committed? Why is the Indian delegation so annoyed with the United States? The Indian delegation is annoyed with U.S.—can you imagine that? If it had not been for the massive food assistance that the United States gave to India, India would have had starvation; its millions would have died. What hope will India give to the people of East Pakistan? What picture of hope is it going to give when its own people in Western Bengal sleep in the streets, where there is terrible poverty, where there is terrible injustice and exploitation, when the parlia mentary rule in West Bengal has been superseded by presidential rule? Is India going to do better for East Pakistan, for Muslim Bengal, than it has done for West Bengal? Thousands of West Bengali people sleep in the streets of Calcutta. The people of West Bengal are the poorest. India goes hat in hand to the United States for six million tons of food. If they are going to impose presidential-rule in West Bengal, in their Bengal, how can they do any better in our Bengal? They will not. And time will show that they will not.
So the United States has taken a correct and moral position. Thomas Jefferson once said, “I have sworn eternal hostility against any form of tyranny practised over the mind of man”. This is a vast form of tyranny practised over the mind of man and over the body of man. So the United States has adhered to its tradition. And if some misguided Senators were here, some young, misguided Senators who have been overtaken by Indian propaganda—and if the Permanent Representative of the United States were not from Texas—I would have told those young Senators that I was setting up the headquarters for a republic of Texas and making the former President-of the United States, Lyndon Johnson, the chief of that republic, in order to spread the cult of Bangladesh everywhere. Why can Texas not be free? Let there be a republic of Texas. We did not buy Bengal as Alaska was bought by the United States. We did not pay money to get our territory. We did not pay dollars to acquire territory. The people of the United States should appreciate the position taken by their Government.
Muslim Bengal was a part of Pakistan of its free will, not through money. We did not buy it as Alaska was purchased. Why do the people of the United States not see that? And we are beholden and thankful to the great People’s Republic of China. We shall always remain thankful for the position it has taken. It has taken a position based on principles of justice. And I thank the Third World for having supported a just cause, a right cause.
And now in the Security Council we have been frustrated by a veto. Let us build a monument to the veto, a big monument to the veto. Let us build a monument to the impotence and incapacity of the Security Council and the General Assembly. As you sow, so shall you reap. Remember that Biblical saying. Today, it is Pakistan. We are your guinea pigs today. But there will be other guinea pigs and you will see what happens. You will see how the chain of events unfolds itself. You want us to lick the dust. We are not going to lick the dust.
Britain and France have abstained from voting in order to play a role. I said the other day, with all due respect to those two great powers, that they have really exhausted their position in trying to play a role because now the only role they can play is to accept a shameless fait accompli. Britain and France abstained, and that abstention has cost us dearly. Gallic logic and Anglo-Saxon experience, whatever it is, have cost us dearly. If Britain and France had put their powerful weight behind the international community rather than sitting on the fence, the issue might have been different. There is no such animal as a neutral animal. You take positions. In that respect we admire the Soviet Union; it took a position, a wrong position, but it took a position. You have to take a position on these matters. You have to be either on the side of justice or on the side of injustice; you are either on the side of justice or on the side of injustice; you have to be either on the side of the aggressor or of the victim. There is no third road. It is a black and white situation in these matters; there is no grey involved. You are either for right or you are for wrong; you are either for justice or for injustice; you are either for aggression or for the victim. If the United Kingdom and France had earlier put their full weight behind the verdict of the inter national community, I think that we would not have reached this position. But Great Britain and France want to come back into the subcontinent as Clive and Dupleix, in a different role, the role of peacemakers. They want a foot here and they want a foot there. I know that British interests in East Pakistan required this kind of opportunistic role because in East Pakistan they have their tea estates. They want the jute of East Pakistan. So that is why they sat on the fence. And I am sorry at France’s position because with France we had developed very good relations, extremely good relations. But they took this position. And now, today, neither Britain nor France can play a role because their resolution has been overtaken by events. There is a lot of goodwill for France in Pakistan, and they will not get the same goodwill in East Pakistan because in East Pakistan already the clock is now moving in another direction. Everyday that the Indian Army of occupation stays there, it will be a grim reminder for Muslim Bengal that they are under Hindu occupation, and you will see the result of it. You will see how it will turn out. Let them stay—why not? Let them stay. Let them swagger around. If they want to take East Pakistan, let them stay as an army of occupation. They are an army of occupation; how can they be called liberators? They will stay, and they will see how the clock is going to move in a different direction.
Finally, I am not a rat. I have never ratted in my life. I have faced assassination attempts, I have faced imprisonments. I have always confronted crises. Today I am not ratting, but I am leaving your Security Council. I find it disgraceful to my person and to my country to remain here a moment longer than is necessary. I am not boycotting. Impose, Impose any decision, have a treaty worse than the Treaty of Versailles, legalise aggression, legalise occupation, legalise everything that has been illegal upto 15 December 1971.
I will not be a party to it. We will fight; we will go back and fight. My country beckons me. Why should I waste my time here in the Security Council?
I will not be a party to the ignominious surrender of a part of my country. You can take your Security Council. Here you are. (Ripping papers) I am going.