689.90D/4–750: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan 1


85. 1. Dept believes Afghan-Pak dispute at point where some concrete steps other than unilateral representations shld be taken with view effecting settlement or at least reducing tension. FYI Dept continues question wisdom taking case to SC or GA; however this is question which Dept believes shld be decided by parties themselves and in accordance US policy we wld not wish to take position urging them against it. The UN might however be used in other ways in helping solve problem which if used wld have probable effect of eliminating pressure to bring matter before SC.

2. Use of UN offers several possibilities:

Dept cld endeavor utilize broad pol powers given SYG in Charter and ask SYG if he thinks can be of aid in situation and wld be willing offer services to parties. SYG can act in various ways ease or help solve problem.
He cld discuss situation with Afghan and Pak UN Reps to clarify issues and ascertain more concretely actual position both Govts. Action impartial world pol figure like SYG bringing parties together for discussion at UN might ease situation.
If parties so desire, SYG cld dispatch Rep to field to ascertain facts re “Free Pushtoonistan” and ancillary issues vexing both govts (inflammatory propaganda, incitement, transit trade problems etc.) and report finding to SYG. This might have salutary effect on rising tensions. Dept believes most immed inflammable matters are ancillary issues which susceptible easing under pressure discussion or observation by impartial third party of SYG’s stature.
SYG might suggest a method or procedure for parties to continue their efforts to reach settlement by direct negotiation or otherwise, in accordance with their obligations under UN Charter to seek a solution by peaceful means of own choice, and to refrain from actions likely to further aggravate situation.
SYG cld be available, if parties desire, to provide his services or suggest others as conciliator, arbitrator, or in any other role involving peaceful means agreed upon by parties.
Another possibility offered by UN is use of inquiry and conciliation procedure authorized by UNGA in Res 268(III), Apr 28, 1949. Conciliation panel has been established and 17 states, including US, have nominated members of panel. Also possible that SYG wld recommend its use.

3. Among foregoing Dept is of opinion use of Fact-Finding (2A (2)), or UN inquiry and conciliation procedure (2 B) probably represent most workable approach, though other procedures not ruled out. Dept wld hope that exercise SYG’s discretionary authority as outlined wld be effective within limits fact-finding and conciliation. Dept believes emphasis shld be on conciliation rather than arbitration because latter may unduly imply substance in Afghan claim.

4. Dept assumes if Afg Govt’s expressed interest in some sort of third-party intervention is genuine one or more of these suggestions wld be welcomed. Dept likewise believes that short of accepting arbitrator GOP shld be willing to cooperate.

5. Dept wld appreciate Emb’s views foregoing soonest.2 Meanwhile, believes desirable Embs Kabul and Karachi using their discretion as to manner of approach sound out respective Govts informally re above possibilities.

  1. Repeated to Karachi 257, New Delhi 341, London 1582, Moscow 298, and USUN 155.
  2. In reply, Ambassador Avra M. Warren in his telegram 292 from Karachi of April 10, not printed, reported that Liaquat Ali Khan told him there were no differences between Pakistan and Afghanistan that could not be settled directly between them and that any referral to a third party of Afghan’s espousal of the Pushtunistan concept would cloak a fiction with some garb of reality (689.90D/4–1050).

    Dreyfus, in his telegram 99 from Kabul of April 11, not printed, said the Embassy felt there would be unusual difficulties for a fact-finder such as described in 2 A(2), said it regarded arbitration to be the least desirable method of settlement, and concurred in the belief that UNGA resolution 268 held out the greatest hope of success (689.90D/4–1150).

    Ambassador Lewis W. Douglas in his telegram 2193 of April 21 from London, not printed, reported that the U.N. Political Department of the British Foreign Office questioned the authority of the U.N. Secretary-General to exercise the powers suggested in telegram 85 and in any case believed that if he exercised such powers he would set a dangerous precedent (689.90D/4–2150).