689.90D/2–850: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan 1


32. Fol Asst Secy McGhee’s suggestion at conclusion conversation with Naim Jan 6, Naim accompanied by Ludin2 called at Dept Feb 1 to continue discussion Afghan-Pak tribal areas dispute.

Assuring Naim he was speaking in wholly friendly manner McGhee told Naim despite careful evaluation reports from Afghan and Pak Dept still unable fully understand justification for Afghan agitation against Pak and Dept unable confirm charges of unjust imprisonment tribesmen, and eviction tribesmen from lands nor had Dept been able [Page 1449] obtain clear evidence genuine desire among tribesmen for greater independence than now enjoyed.

McGhee said Dept further unable believe tribes independence “life and death matter” for Afghans; minority elements existed in many countries but it did not necessarily fol they were in position enjoy complete independence, and if tribes were given independence there was no indication Afghan or any other country wld provide assist their state wld need.

McGhee said Afghans through propaganda seemed to stimulate very conditions they deplored and much of their propaganda seemed provocative. On other hand GOP appeared to have shown marked moderation and had not until recently taken steps clearly intended as retaliation. McGhee expressed surprise high Afghan official in Kabul had intimated to our Amb unless US gave Afghan more assist Afghans might turn to USSR. McGhee said he cld not believe statement was made seriously and since it was not US pol to “buy” any country’s friendship US cld not respond to such argument. He said Export-Import loan was evidence of US confidence in Afghan intentions.

Referring to informal suggestion made in Kabul US mediate dispute McGhee said Dept appreciated thought but felt until it understood Afghan objectives more clearly it cld not find rational “basis for mediation. He said Dept still believed dispute was one which might be settled by responsible leaders two Gvts concerned.

Ludin reiterated charges GOP had arrested thousands of innocent Congress members and evicted tribesmen from lands, and argued timber, minerals, water power and natural skills of tribesmen wld make independent state economically viable. He said Afghans owed great debt to tribesmen, who had kept Brit from extending domination beyond Khyber and amts Afghans now paying tribesmen were only small part of what Afghan owed them.

Naim expressed concern over press reports by Amer correspondent in Kabul intimating Afghan turning to USSR. Ludin said emphatically Afghans self-interest lay in coop with West.

When McGhee asked Ludin and Naim whether they seriously believed Afghan menaced by Pak, Ludin ansd in affirmative.

Memo conversation3 being pouched. Naim has requested another appt with McGhee.

In absence Ali Mohd4 Emb requested convey gist McGhee’s remarks to ranking FonOff official and in its discretion to other officials who [Page 1450] may be capable of understanding significance, such as Abdul Majid.5 While Dept realizes its views may have little effect in highly-charged Kabul atmosphere it hopes frank statement it is not impressed by extreme attitude toward Pak may possibly encourage such Afghan officials as may favor a more moderate and rational approach to problem.

  1. Repeated to Karachi 76, London 582.
  2. Mohammad Kabir Ludin Khan, former Afghan Minister of Public Works.
  3. Memorandum of conversation between Naim, Ludin Khan, McGhee, and Mathews, prepared by Weil on February 1, not printed (689.90D/2–150).
  4. Afghan Foreign Minister.
  5. Abdul Majid Khan, Afghan Minister of National Economy.