Memorandum by the Secretary of State to President Truman

Subject: Proposal to Raise the Status of the American Diplomatic Mission in Afghanistan from Legation to Embassy.

Our Minister at Kabul is of the opinion that the Afghan Government would welcome a change in the status of our mission from Legation to Embassy.

As a consequence of the participation of an American engineering firm and American technicians and teachers in the development of the country, the American community in Afghanistan is now larger than that of any other foreign state. A growing tendency on the part of Afghanistan to look to the United States for assistance in many fields is reflected by visits during the past year of two Prime Ministers and the Minister of Public Works, who have discussed Afghan problems with officials of this Government. As a member of the United Nations and an increasingly active participant in international conferences, Afghanistan, subject to the difficulties implicit in its contiguity to the Soviet Union, endeavors to align itself with the western democracies.

This Government has now exchanged ambassadors with practically all countries in the area from Iraq to Siam, and it is believed that our interests in Afghanistan warrant the extension of ambassadorial representation to that country on a reciprocal basis. A number of countries, including the Soviet Union, have embassies in Kabul, and France is currently considering making its Legation an Embassy.

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It would be appreciated if you would advise me whether you agree in principle with the recommendation that this Government raise the status of its Legation in Afghanistan to that of Embassy.1

G. C. Marshall
  1. Source text bears handwritten notation in the margin: “Approved, Harry S, Truman.” The United States mission at Kabul became an Embassy on June 5, 1948. The Afghan Legation at Washington was elevated to Embassy status on November 23. For the Department’s press release on these matters, issued on November 24, see Department of State Bulletin, December 12, 1948, p. 746.