689.90D/1–1151: Telegram

The Ambassador in Pakistan (Warren) to the Secretary of State


623. Yesterday in a general conversation with Zafrulla, we discussed the present status of Pakistan-Afghan relations. I had asked for his comment on the statement made by the Afghan Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs1 to our Chargé at Kabul,2 alleging Pakistan has budgeted 500,000 RS to be spent in stirring up the tribes of the Afghan side of the border. Zafrulla pointed out that the only money spent by Pakistan is the continuance of the annual subsidy paid Pakistan tribesmen as a responsibility inherited from the British. He then referred to his conversation of November 16 (reDeptel 375, 9th) and gave me the impression that while not refusing the Department’s overture he still expects a statement from the Department on the legitimacy of the Durand Line3 similar to the British attitude as a prior condition to entering into discussions with the Afghans.

Repeated information Kabul 26.

  1. Abdul Samad Khan.
  2. Fred W. Jandrey.
  3. The boundary line between British India and Afghanistan drawn up by a British mission under Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and agreed to by Amir Abdur Rahman, Khan of Afghanistan, on November 12, 1893. For the text of the agreement, see British and Foreign State Papers, vol. 95, 1901–1902, p. 1049; or India, Foreign and Political Department, A Collection of Treaties, Engagements, and Sanads Relating to India and Neighbouring Countries (Calcutta, Government of India Central Publication Branch, 1933), vol. xiii, p. 256. The Pakistani representatives had in their conversations at the Department of State with Assistant Secretary McGhee and Secretary Acheson on November 17 and 27 pressed for a statement that the United States would support the Durand Line as the valid international boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan; see telegram 280 to Karachi, November 28, 1950, in Foreign Relations, 1950, vol. v, p. 1457.

    An aide-mémoire sent to Ambassador Ispahani on November 29 at his request following the conversation of November 27 with McGhee contained the following four points:

    • “(1) The United States Government believes that it would be inappropriate for it to make an explicit statement regarding the validity of the Durand Line at this time, before the beginning of any informal talks between the Governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan (as suggested by the United States approach of November 6, 1950).
    • “(2) If the United States is to maintain its posture of impartiality it cannot at this stage give commitments to either Pakistan or Afghanistan with respect to the talks it has proposed between them.
    • “(3) As regards the Durand Line, the United States considers that its position is implicit in the prompt recognition accorded the Government of Pakistan in 1947 and in the attitude which the United States Government has adopted toward the Afghan–Pakistan dispute since its inception.
    • “(4) In the unhappy event that the Afghan–Pakistan talks proposed by this Government should break down over the issue of the validity of the Durand Line, the United States would then give consideration to making its position explicit.” (689.90D3/11–2950)