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Statement About Additional Funds for Humanitarian Relief and Refugee Rehabilitation in South Asia

October 01, 1971

I AM today requesting the Congress to appropriate additional funds to meet human needs in South Asia. The United States has been deeply concerned over the situation in South Asia, both on humanitarian grounds and because of the implications for peace.

Recent events in East Pakistan, compounding the destruction from natural disasters, have led to widespread human suffering. Unchecked, this situation could drift toward greater disaster in the form of famine or even war. It is a primary objective of the Administration to relieve suffering and help avert such a situation.

Acting on its mandate as the conscience of the world community, the United Nations, under the leadership of the Secretary General, has focused concern on the plight of those who are caught in this situation. Through its special missions in Dacca and New Delhi, the United Nations has also provided the operational framework for channeling relief supplies to the millions who need them both in India and in East Pakistan.

Many countries and private donors are responding to this enormous challenge. The United States has already provided substantial amounts of food and foreign exchange to support the programs of the United Nations in aid of the millions of refugees in India and the millions who could face starvation in East Pakistan.

But more needs to be done by the United States and by other donors. The costs of dealing with this problem through this fiscal year are expected to be over a billion dollars far beyond the means of India and Pakistan. The House of Representatives early recognized the need for unusual humanitarian relief for South Asia and on August 3, 1971, authorized $100 million in additional funds under the Foreign Assistance Act. Since that time, however, the magnitude of the need has grown. It is also important that we be able to play our proper role promptly if contingencies in the relief operation arise.

I therefore urge that, in addition to completing action on the House initiative, the Congress authorize and appropriate an additional sum of $ 150 million for the relief and rehabilitation of refugees from East Pakistan and for humanitarian relief in East Pakistan under the Foreign Assistance Act. Together with food supplied under Public Law 480, these funds will enable us to do our share in mitigating the effects of this human crisis, and thus help avert the deeper tragedies that all too easily could follow.

Note: The statement was released at Key Biscayne, Fla.
A White House announcement of the creation of an Advisor), Panel on South Asian Relief Assistance and designation of the Panel's membership was released by), the White House on August 21, 1971, and is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 7, P. 1208).

Richard Nixon, Statement About Additional Funds for Humanitarian Relief and Refugee Rehabilitation in South Asia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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