Dhaka: America`s role in opposing the 1971 emergence of Bangladesh was a "tragic mistake", a top US envoy has said.
"Senator Kennedy helped my country to correct the mistake back in 1971 and we expressed that by quickly recognising Bangladesh," US Ambassador in Dhaka James F Moriarty said while speaking at a memorial meeting on Edward Kennedy at the Liberation War Museum here yesterday.
"I think we expressed that view by very quickly recognising Bangladesh after the end of the war. I think you all will recall that we were one of the first countries to
recognise Bangladesh," Moriarty said.
The then US administration under President Richard Nixon and secretary of state Henry Kissinger sided with Pakistani military junta during the nine-month Liberation war, crucially backed by India.
The US media largely, several influential US senators including Kennedy widely supported the Bangladesh’s cause when Washington preferred to support Pakistan as Kissinger was engaged in a reconciliation dialogue with Communist China with
active mediation of Islamabad.
Several state department officials in Washington, Dhaka and New Delhi too tended to support Bangladesh but several of them was exposed to wraths of Kissinger while one of them Archar Blood, the then US consular general in Dhaka eventually lost his career for his role in support of Independence struggle at that time.
But Moriarty said his country now wanted to look at each country individually and "We don`t look at you as a former part of Pakistan or Bangladesh and Pakistan as former parts of India".
Recalling Kennedy`s visit to refugee camps in West Bengal, Moriarty said Kennedy drew the attention of the world to the humanitarian disaster for the first time.
"Senator Kennedy`s visit and continued support for Bangladesh`s independence has a great impact on public opinion. I have no doubt that his efforts led to the early recognition of Bangladesh by the US," Moriarty added.
He said Ted Kennedy`s visit to Dhaka in February 1972 was one of the first visits to an independent Bangladesh by an international leader.
"The events, as we have seen this week, bonded Ted Kennedy with the people of this country in a deep way and Senator Kennedy will live on in the hearts of the people of Bangladesh," Moriarty said.