862.20290H/6: Telegram

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

107. My 90, April 29, 11 a.m.34

Last month Afghan Government arrested about 25 Bokharan refugees including son-in-law of ex-Amir of Bokhara because it discovered a plot to create disturbances in northern Afghanistan directed against Soviet Russia. Leaders are believed to be connected with German intelligence service in Central Asia which was established in 1941 to organize anti-Soviet uprisings in Russian Turkestan [Page 36] and to prepare a pan-Turanian movement which was later to have received the active support of Turkey. See paragraph 4 of my telegram 74, September 15, 1942.36 Some of these intelligence agents have been operating in Northern Afghan[istan]37 among refugees who have for over 10 years been drifting south with harrowing tales of alleged Russian oppression and brutality. Recently Nazi propaganda has also made much capital out of the so-called Soviet atrocities in Persia, and with German help these refugees and their Afghan sympathizers would undoubtedly be prepared to start a revolt in Turkestan, see also my despatch from Tehran series 52, January 10, 1938.36
The Afghan Government has tried hard to prevent news of these arrests from becoming generally known but the British Government has decided to take advantage of the situation to put a stop to Axis intrigues also on the Indian border (see paragraph 7 of my telegram 59, August 27, 1942, and my despatch 170, April 30, 194338). British Minister39 has therefore been instructed to demand the arrest of three Afghans and the strictest surveillance of 33 more—all of whom the British suspect of being in the pay of the Axis Legations to stir up trouble in Waziristan and other tribal areas under the influence of [the Faqir of Ipi].
Sir Francis Wylie is further to suggest that the personnel of the Axis Legations be reduced to a Minister and one Secretary each and to offer diplomatic safe conduct home for the others.
British authorities have also made available to the Soviet Government a list of some 60 Axis agents in Northern Afghanistan and the British Minister has been authorized to support the Russian Embassy if the latter desires to ask for their arrest too.
Should the Afghan Government decline to comply with the above demands or suggestions the British Minister is to state that his and the Soviet Governments would confer as to what further steps might become necessary. I assume it would be a demand for the expulsion of the Axis Legations.
Sir Francis has requested an audience with the Prime Minister40 to present the above to him and he will inform me of the results.
Although the British have proof that the Chief of the King’s Secretariat,41 who has also been arrested, was the principal schemer in the Bokharan plot it is not believed that either the King42 or members of his parties, had any knowledge of it.
[Page 37]

Please see in this connection my despatch No. 33 September 16, 1942,43

Repeated to Moscow.

  1. Ante, p. 22.
  2. Not printed.
  3. Bracketed insertions based on paraphrase of this telegram in Kabul Legation files.
  4. Not printed.
  5. Neither printed.
  6. Sir Francis Wylie.
  7. Mohamed Hashim Khan.
  8. Mohamed Haidar Khan.
  9. Mohammad Zaher Shah.
  10. Not printed.