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October 10, 1975: Pentagon Report Supports Resettling Chagos Inhabitants

The Pentagon provides Congress with a “Report on the Resettlement of Inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago.” The 10-page report, drafted in response to congressional inquiries, asserts that prior to the “resettlement” of the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago, the islands “were sparsely populated, essentially by contract workers and their dependents who bad been brought to the islands to work in coconut plantations.” Pressing its case that the islanders were not permanent inhabitants of the islands, the report claims there was “little evidence of any real sense of a distinct community evolved by the special local environment,” and adds that “any attachment to the locale could be attributed to the easy-going ways of the old plantation company rather than to sentiments regarding the islands themselves.” Without any supporting evidence, the report claims that “it appeared that the transfer of the inhabitants of the Chagos Archipelago would be feasible and that the persons then working on the islands would accept employment under suitable conditions elsewhere.” According to the Pentagon, the inhabitants left the island without protest. “We understand from the British that although there was some initial reluctance on the part of the older people to move, all went willingly,” the report says. “No coercion was used and no British or US servicemen were involved.” The Pentagon report concludes: “United States and [British] officials acted in good faith on the basis of information then available to them, with respect to the issue of resettling the people of the Chagos Archipelago.” [US Department of Defense, 10/10/1975]

Timeline Tags: US-Britain-Diego Garcia (1770-2004)

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