When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, in tears, stormed out of the U.N. Security Council

The Security Council met in a designated chamber in the United Nations Conference Building in New York City, U.S. on December 15, 1971, to discuss the war between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Zulfikar All Bhutto, his face streaked with tears, walked out of the Security Council after accusing it of “legalizing aggression.”


Outside the chamber, he said: “I hate this body. I don’t want to see their faces again. I’d rather go back to a destroyed Pakistan.”

Then, followed by seven grim‐faced members of his delegation, including the regular representative, Agha Shahi, Mr. Bhutto strode down the carpeted main hall past milling groups of surprised diplomats and was driven off in a misty rain.

Mr. Bhutto did not specify the immediate reason for his action. But, in referring to “dilatory tactics” and “filibustering,” he appeared to allude to successive vetoes by the Soviet Union — a supporter of India — of resolutions calling for troop withdrawals.

Mr. Bhutto’s parting words to the Council, before he ripped up his notes, pushed back his chair and rose, were these:

“Mr. President, I am not a rat. I’ve never ratted in my life. I have faced assassination attempts, I’ve faced imprisonment. 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. Impose any decision, have a treaty worse than Versailles, legalize aggression, legalize occupation—I will not be a party to it. We will fight. My country harkens to me.

“Why should I waste my time here in the Security Council? I will not be a party to the ignominious surrender of part of my country. You can take your Security Council; here you are. I am going,”

The Debate Resumes

The delegates around the circular table looked on expressionless as he left the chamber. A few moments later the Council President, Ismael B. Taylor Kamera, gave the floor to Rachid Driss of Tunisia and the debate droned on as it had yesterday and the day before.

On his march through the corridor, Mr. Bhutto said that Pakistan was not breaking relations with the Council or the United Nations.

“Ambassador Shahi will be available,” he said.

At first, it appeared that Mr. Bhutto left in anger over the British‐French Initiative. During the Council meeting, he hurled an implied charge of cowardice at the two delegations, which had abstained previously on all resolutions calling for cease‐fire and withdrawal.

“Gallic logic and British experience, whatever it is,” he scoffed. “Remember that there is no such thing as a neutral animal. I respect the Russians for having a clear position.” But after his walkout, Mr. Bhutto said that his delegation had not rejected the British-French draft.

His voice often breaking, Mr. Bhutto told the Council that his 11‐year‐old son called him from Pakistan to say, “Don’t come back with a document of surrender.”


original source: nytimes

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