689.90D3/4–651: Circular airgram

The Secretary of State to Certain Diplomatic Offices 1

secret

Reference is made to Recommendation No. 2 under Item III (“Afghan-Pakistan Dispute”) considered at the South Asia Regional Conference,2 which reads as follows:

“The US should not make any explicit statements, either now or later, with regard to the validity of the Durand Line, or give any [Page 1954]secret assurances thereon. If Pakistan should fail to give an affirmative answer to the present proposals of the US looking toward settlement of the dispute, the latter should not feel compelled to take any further steps in the matter with the parties in the near future.” (Underscoring inserted.)

It would appear that the Department might find it suitable and feasible at some future time to make some explicit statement concerning the validity of the Durand Line under certain circumstances (such as intensification of Afghan propaganda regarding the Pushtoonistan question, a particularly serious border incident, or a determined Afghan effort to bring the dispute before an international body, possibly the SC or the ICJ). It woud therefore be appreciated if the Embassies, perhaps after mutual consultation, would inform the Department whether or not the consensus of opinion at the South Asia Regional Conference was definitely opposed to either a formal or informal expression of the Department’s opinion concerning the validity of the Durand Line in the indeterminate future. If this question is answered affirmatively, the Department would likewise appreciate a careful review of the reasons supporting this conclusion.

Acheson
  1. Sent to the Embassies in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and Ceylon.
  2. For the full text of the agreed conclusions and recommendations of the Conference, see p. 1664.