689.90D/4–1950: Telegram

The Ambassador in the United Kingdom ( Douglas ) to the Secretary of State


2129. As Department may by now have learned, Foreign Office has sent instructions to missions in Washington, Paris, Rome, Cairo, Ankara, Jidda, Amman, Baghdad and Tehran (capitals of governments which have diplomatic representatives in Kabul) to inquire of respective governments whether they would be prepared emphasize individually to Afghan Government their grave concern over deterioration of Afghan-Pakistan relations as result of border dispute and urge Afghans try reach peaceful understanding with Pakistan on issues in conflict. According to Scott and Fry,1 who discussed this matter with Embassy officer yesterday, Foreign Office does not intend that there should be a joint approach (which might backfire), but thinks a “series of more or less serious warnings” might have desired effect in bringing Afghans to adopt more temperate and conciliatory stand. In representing its own concern to Afghans, UK would probably point out its view that Durand Line is international frontier, that Pakistan has succeeded to responsibility of British Government in area, that tribes have already expressed desire remain within Pakistan and that Pakistan has indicated its willingness discuss with Afghanistan economic issues and any other problems of common concern which do not affect its internal administration (i.e., Pakistan’s side of Durand Line).

In view different lines of attack on problem which Department and UK appear be undertaking independently, Embassy took occasion to mention to UK officials on strictly confidential basis possibilities Department was now considering for action by UN SYG under broad powers available him or by using inquiry and conciliation procedure of GA (Deptel 85 to Kabul, April 7). Foreign Office officials found these possibilities interesting and worthy of exploration but said that in considering whole problem they had been inclined feel that if time does come for using facilities of UN, International Court was organization to which border dispute, which is at heart of trouble, would have be referred. It was justifiable issue facts of which are available and which was simply and solely matter for legal determination.

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They emphasized their concern that airing dispute in UN might lend substance to Afghan claims, might result in decision which Afghans would refuse accept and might give opportunity for Soviets, interfere. Embassy pointed out that Department too questions wisdom taking case to SC or GA and had in mind using UN procedure, which would avoid reference of problem to these bodies but which in Department’s view might go long way in easing tensions and leading way to some understanding.

Sent Department 2129, repeated Kabul 3, Karachi 38, New Delhi 31; pouched Paris, Moscow.

  1. Robert H. Scott, Head of the Southeast Asia Department of the British Foreign Office, and Leslie A. C. Fry, member of the ILK. High Commission at New Delhi, presumably on temporary duty in London.