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

No. 69

The Secretary of State transmits herewith as of possible interest to the Legation a copy of a memorandum of conversation28 which recently took place between the Minister of Afghanistan in Washington and an executive officer of the Department.

Some difficulty has been experienced in identifying the treaty to which the Afghan Minister referred in so far as the Lake Victoria–Taghdumbash line is concerned, but research indicates that it is the treaty of March 21, 1905 (the Treaty of the Mole)29 which confirmed certain arrangements made in 1895 with the Amir of Afghanistan.

It may be added that subsequent to the conversation reported in the attached memorandum, the Afghan Minister reaffirmed to other officials of the Department his opinion that the only issues at present existing between Afghanistan and Russia or between Afghanistan and Great Britain which are not capable of settlement by compromise are those affecting the frontiers. He maintained that in his personal opinion any attempt to settle these questions in a manner contrary to Afghan wishes would result in immediate military action by the Afghans. He added that the Afghan-Indian frontier presented no problem in so long as the British remained in India, but that the Government of Afghanistan would never permit that the Afghan tribesmen along the present northwest frontier of India should be subject against their will to the control of the Indians.

The Minister concluded his remarks with the interesting observation that if the tribesmen in question should by any chance prefer to remain with the Mussulmans of India, Afghanistan would come to them. It is not known whether the Minister intended to indicate by this remark [Page 35] that Afghanistan would not be averse to confederation in some such union of Moslem areas as is envisaged in Mr. Jinnah’s30 Pakistan scheme.31

  1. Dated October 22, p. 29.
  2. Treaty between Great Britain and the Amir of Afghanistan continuing the engagements concluded with the late Amir, signed at Kabul, March 21, 1905, British and Foreign State Papers, vol. xcviii, p. 36.
  3. Mahomed Ali Jinnah, President of the Muslim League.
  4. See section entitled “Interest of the United States in the Situation in India; Mission of William Phillips as Personal Representative of the President,” pp. 178231 passim.