890H.24/172a: Telegram

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

48. Part I. The Department informed the India Supply Mission of recommendation contained in Legation’s no. 19 of February 11 with request that recommendation be implemented. Mission replied that it would request instructions from the Government of India and now states that a telegram has been received to effect that proposal made by you which “originated with the Afghans” has been dropped as it would not facilitate procurement which is principal problem at present.

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In practice the Afghans are having no difficulty in securing shipping space at present and requests for allocations are made in each instance by them to an American agency rather than to the India Supply Mission. This arrangement is, of course, more acceptable to the Afghan representatives in this country than was the former which required that each request be transmitted in the first instance to the India Supply Mission. It may be, however, that the Afghans realize that actually the India Supply Mission still controls the allocations and hence that the existing agreement is also distasteful to them.

The Department does not entirely understand the basis for the opposition of the Government of India to this proposal and is prepared to insist that a specific tonnage allocation be allocated for Afghan requirements if circumstances so warrant. Before taking further action, however, an expression of opinion from the Legation is desired.

As there are a limited number of American flagships proceeding from the United States to India and as WSA4 is understood to be extremely sympathetic to the proposal, it is believed that a specific tonnage allocation for Afghanistan could be established irrespective of opposition by the Government of India.

Part II. Subsequent to the drafting of the aforegoing, Department has been informed by WSA that informal conversations on this subject have taken place between WSA and MWT.5 Results of these talks will be communicated to you.

  1. War Shipping Administration.
  2. British Ministry of War Transport.