711.90H/32: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Straus) to the Secretary of State

464. Reference Department’s despatch No. 692 of January 2, 1935, concerning an agreement between the United States and Afghanistan. After prolonged negotiations the Afghan Legation here with authority from Kabul has agreed to all the articles proposed by the State Department in its draft agreement enclosed with instruction 692 with the exception of article 4. Afghanistan proposes the following wording above-mentioned article:

“Every right and concession with respect to questions affecting commerce and customs now accorded or that may hereafter for the future be accorded by the United States of America, its territories and possessions, to any third foreign country, will be also applicable to Afghanistan. In the same way every right and concession the Government of His Majesty the King of Afghanistan, with respect to questions of commerce and customs, accord or may hereafter for the future accord to any third foreign country, the said right and concession will be applicable to the United States, its territories and possessions.”

As will be seen by comparison with the Department’s wording of article 4, Afghanistan desires to leave out the most-favored-nation clause. The reason that the Afghan Minister, Shah Wali, advances for this omission is that the most-favored-nation clause was omitted by Afghanistan in its treaties with Great Britain and the Soviets and that it does not wish to involve itself later with these powers. A difference in wording will also be seen between the Department’s draft of article 4 and the Afghan version above quoted but the Embassy believes that in this as in the precise wording of the other articles Afghanistan will accept the Department’s terminology. The question now arises of the language or languages in which the agreement is to be signed. The Afghan Minister desires an English and an Iranian. I have strongly informed him that this will take endless time and that I hope that his Government will see its way clear to sign in English alone or at the outside in English and French. The Afghan Minister has informed me that he will take up this matter immediately with [Page 561] his Government while I in turn have told him that I would refer the question of the differences in article 4 to my Government. May I have the Department’s reaction to the Afghan propositions regarding article 4?

  1. Telegram in two sections.