845.00/1952: Telegram

The Minister in Afghanistan (Engert) to the Secretary of State

101. Since my telegram No. 80, April 12, 9 p.m.,7 Kabul has also been visited by Sir George Cunningham, Governor of the Northwest Frontier; Pilditch, Director of Intelligence, Delhi, the Political Agent, Khyber; the senior Assistant Director of Intelligence, Quetta, as well as several other officers connected with the British intelligence service.

Although they were here entirely unofficially I gathered from conversations with them that they were not only very much interested in ascertaining Afghanistan’s attitude toward India but more especially in her attitude toward Russia as described in previous telegrams. They find that distrust of the Soviet Union is on the increase although it is not yet clear how seriously Afghanistan is threatened. Afghan officials seem to believe that Moscow is now or soon will be in a position to bring pressure to bear on this country even without the slightest intention of invading India. Afghanistan, therefore, cannot afford to relax her watchfulness on her northern frontier especially as she can only conjure guesses concerning known objectives of Soviet policy. At the present moment the Afghan Government would reject any proposals for the “joint defense” of Afghanistan which might give Moscow the right to establish air bases or maintain garrisons south of the [Page 25] Khyber. But the highest officials probably feel quite sincerely that once Russia has definitely defeated Germany Afghanistan’s only hope of escaping communism and of maintaining her independence lies in close friendship with Great Britain and the US.

By air to Moscow.

  1. Not printed; it reported the arrival in Kabul of Mr. O. K. Caroe, Secretary to the Government of India in the External Affairs Department, on an unofficial visit to the British Minister in Afghanistan. Mr. Engert speculated that Mr. Caroe, “only the second Foreign Secretary of India to visit Kabul”, had as the object of his visit to induce the Afghan Government to refrain from “all hostile intrigues among the tribes on the British side of the border …” (845.00/1924)