WASHINGTON: The United States ... announced yesterday [May 26] it was ready to send a total of 520,000 tons of foodgrains to East Pakistan as soon as the port and communications conditions in the area make their distribution possible.

The announcement was made by the State Department after the Pakistan Ambassador to the United States had informed Secretary-General U Thant of his Government’s assistance needs ... in East Pakistan. The US Government also said it was prepared to send on a high priority basis coastal vessels to be used to transport foodgrains. It also offered to dispatch to East Pakistan a specialist of the Department of Agriculture to survey the improvement of the off-loading and handling capability of grains in the area’s two main ports Dacca and Chittagong. … The United States already has allocated 2,500,000 dollars ... in relief aid for East Pakistan. Of this amount, 500,000 dollars ... is immediately available, officials said. — Agencies

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Islamabad,] A Foreign Office spokesman today [May 27] accused the Indian Government of “deliberately pursuing dilatory tactics” on the question of repatriation of the personnel of Pakistan and Indian missions in Calcutta and Dacca, respectively, and said this had “compelled” Pakistan Government “to conclude that East Pakistan personnel of its mission at Calcutta are being held against their wishes”.

He said “the Government of Pakistan has taken a serious view of this unprecedented situation in which the Indian authorities are holding Pakistani officials hostages and are not allowing them to return to Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan, he added, had been approached by the families of a number of East Pakistani officials of its mission in Calcutta asking about their welfare and return to Pakistan. But Pakistan Government could not provide any satisfactory information to these families....

Not only that, Mr Mehdi Masud was being prevented from meeting them to ascertain their wi­­shes but the West Pakistan personnel of the mission were also not being allowed to met their East Pakistani colleagues.…

… If the Indian claim that East Pakistani officials of the mission had defected was correct then it should not have been difficult at all for these officials to meet Mr Mehdi Masud separately and inform him of their wishes. ...

[Meanwhile, as reported by agencies in Cairo] US support of Israel is spoiling peace efforts and pushing the Middle East towards an explosion of which no one can estimate the consequences, President Anwar Sadat declared here.

Speaking last night [May 26] at a banquet for visiting Soviet President Nikolai Podgorny, President Sadat said that despite his knowledge of American-Israeli relations, the UAR had not rejected recent US peace efforts. But we want everybody to know, he said, that we shall not compromise either as regards our territories or our right in exchange for an empty mirage.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2021

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