Editorial Note

The United States had on November 6, 1950, simultaneously approached the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan with an expression of concern over the tension between the two, which it felt was impeding economic and social progress and creating a situation favorable to Soviet intrigue. The United States offered to serve as an informal “go-between” in seeking agreement by the two governments to the following four points:

To cease attacks upon one another by officials or through official channels and to use their best efforts to prevent such attacks in the press or from other non-official sources.
To use their influence to prevent incidents among the tribes which were likely to affect good relations between the two governments. The two governments would further agree that if, despite their efforts, incidents did occur, they would consult together through diplomatic channels and avoid public statements on such incidents.
To exchange ambassadors within two months.
To designate representatives to meet within three months for informal, exploratory discussions of their differences without a previously agreed agenda or stated preconditions. The two governments would further agree that there should be no publicity concerning these discussions without prior agreement between them.

In instructing the Embassies at Kabul and Karachi to make the above approach, the Department of State asked that care be taken to avoid giving the impression that the United States would act as a mediator. The United States role was to be limited to bringing the parties together. If a third party to the discussions proved essential, a small neutral state or outstanding individual should be sought.

The Department’s instructions concerning this approach were made in telegram 117, to Kabul, November 2, 1950, repeated to Karachi as telegram 228; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1950, volume V, page 1455.

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The four points were accepted with minor alterations by the government of Afghanistan on November 13, 1950, but a response had not yet been received from the government of Pakistan as of the beginning of the year 1951.