862.20290H/6: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Minister in Afghanistan ( Engert )51

63. The Department realizes that the matter reported in your telegram no. 107, May 24, is of primary concern to the British and Russians and hence that the decision as to appropriate measures must be made by them. However, previous reports from the Legation have convinced the Department that any effort to force the Government of Afghanistan to expel the Axis legations or even to force that Government to compel those legations drastically to reduce their staffs is inexpedient and would be considered by the Afghans as an unjustified infringement upon their sovereignty with resultant bitterness towards all the [Page 39] Allied Governments which would outweigh the benefits derived by the Allies and particularly by the United States Government. Hence if further representations on that subject are to be made it is desired that, with your British colleague’s cognizance, you make known to the Afghan Government the position of this Government in the matter, which may be outlined as follows: The United States naturally views as prejudicial to its interests any activity of Axis sympathizers which might retard the British and Russian war efforts through the creation of disturbances along the Russian and Indian borders. In this connection it would be glad to see the Axis legations at Kabul closed or drastically reduced as to staff. It realizes, however, that the maintenance of Axis legations at Kabul is entirely a matter for decision by the Government of Afghanistan, and while it feels that Afghanistan’s best interests are not served through the continuance of friendly relations with those countries whose disregard for right and justice throughout the world has been amply established, it does not associate itself with any effort now being made to prevail upon the Government of Afghanistan to sever relations with the Axis Powers or to reduce the staffs of the Axis legations. This attitude on the part of the United States Government is occasioned by its firm confidence in the friendship of Afghanistan and by its conviction that the Government of Afghanistan will naturally act in its own self-interest.

  1. Repeated in substance, and in parts verbatim, to the Ambassador in the United Kingdom in telegram No. 3539, June 5, 11 p.m., with appropriate prefatory explanation, and with concluding statement: “In your discretion you may make known to the Foreign Office this Government’s attitude.” (862.20290H/6)