711.90H/40: Telegram

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

984. I have received a note from the Afghan Minister in reply to mine of October 2914 based on the Department’s cable No. 438, October 26, 1 p.m., a translation of which reads as follows:

“Pursuant to your letter dated October 29, I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that there does not exist between the Afghan Government [Page 564] and any other country a commercial treaty or accord containing the most-favored-nation clause.

It is well understood that in case a commercial treaty or accord is concluded between my Government and another country containing the most-favored-nation clause, the same treatment will be applied as regards the Government of the United States of America.

I would be happy to proceed to the signature of the treaty in course of negotiations between our two countries on a date to be fixed by Your Excellency.”

I have twice explained to the Afghans our willingness to reconcile the wording that they request with the sense that we feel must be the basis of any commercial agreement. In fact, on one occasion they were persuaded to retire the note above quoted for reconsideration. However, apparently they seem to feel that their instructions do not permit them to go further although it has been made clear that their note as it reads practically finishes negotiations and makes the conclusions of an agreement well nigh impossible.

Despatch follows.

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