689.90D/4–1251: Telegram

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

confidential
priority

942. For McGhee. Prime Minister1 asked me last night to see him in presence Ikramullah for discussion of Pak-Afghan relations ref Deptel 632 Apr 6, 8 p. m. my 933 Apr 9 and Kabul’s 312, 5 p. m., April 12 [9] to Dept.2

1.
PM asked why there was confusion concerning his attitude on US démarche of Nov 6 as he expressed in his conversation with McGhee and then reiterated that his attitude is unchanged. He said “he is prepared (a) cease attacks on Afghan provide they do same, (b) name an Amb provided they do likewise and (c) place no restriction on Afghan Amb’s freedom of discussion on points of difference between two countries, but with prior understanding of US that if Afghan Amb raises subj of Pushtoonistan, the Paks will not discuss it with him nor with any other Afghan rep or reps because Liaquat and his govt consider the Durand line the frontier and tribal admin on the Pak side a matter of exclusively domestic concern”.
2.
I replied that Mr. McGhee in his tele exchanges on Pushtoonistan since his conversation with the PM has raised the question why Pak considers it necessary to impose a prior condition eliminating Pushtoonistan from any discussion when the language of our démarche did not mention issue nor have Afghans mentioned it in their indication, of its acceptance. The PM said he desired to make position of his country unequivocally clear to US because Pushtoonistan is only real issue between the two countries and then added “this is my personal attitude. It may well be that in our reply to your démarche, which I hope to give you Friday 13th after receiving Zafrullah’s comments on suggested language of reply sent him last Saturday3 at Lake Success, there will probably be no ref to Pushtoonistan”. [Page 1957]
3.
I then referred to forthcoming convs at Jalalabad this weekend between Col. Shah as rep of the Paks and Faiz Mohd an unofficial rep of the Afghans and inquired if PM could tell me what instrs he had given Col. Shah. He said Col. Shah had no auth make any commitments, but is instructed to engage in informal and exploratory convs with Faiz Mohd, whereupon I observed that although the PM has expressed his inability to accept the language of point 4 of our démarche, has in fact, not only accepted, but implemented the point 4 undertaking in almost identical instrs to his rep at weekend convs. He replied that my observation required his further thinking and that he wld take it under consideration in framing of his promised reply on Friday to our Nov 6 démarche. He then instructed Ikramullah to take note of this point and they both said it wld be considered by their govt.
4.
When I inquired how long the conversation at Jalalabad might last, the PM said Col Shah, who left Karachi by train for Afghan the night before, wld probably meet Faiz Mohd on 13th. He added that as both men are naturally cautious, he expected convs wld last several days. He said there wld be no publicity about them and intimated he hopes that US, whatever its attitude, may be on Pak reply to our démarche wld not give any immed publicity because of its possible harmful effect on progress of convs. I recommend to Dept that we abstain from any immed publicity even if we consider Pak reply not entirely acceptable.
5.
My gen impression as the result of an hour’s conv with PM and Ikramullah is that they are seeking language in their reply that will be acceptable to us and at same time will not involve Pak in any interpretation of acquiescence in any future international discussion of Pushtoonistan. Their basic fear appears to be that Afghan, in the event the current efforts to reach a settlement between the two countries shld fail, may try to capitalize on US démarche in possible future reference of Pushtoonistan issue to UN.

Dept pass London; sent Dept 942, rptd info Kabul 46, London 59.

Warren
  1. Liaquat Ali Khan.
  2. Telegram 312, from Kabul, April 9, not printed, described a discussion of April 4 in Kabul among Kennedy, Jandrey, and the Acting Prime Minister, Ali Mohammed. The latter, with reference to the third point of the U.S. approach of November 6, which called for an exchange of ambassadors, stated that he considered such an exchange inadvisable unless exploratory discussions of designated representatives had proceeded favorably. He stated that he desired to avoid the embarrassment which would result from withdrawing the Afghan Ambassador again if the talks were unsuccessful, implying that such withdrawal would be necessary if the Government of Pakistan refused to discuss the Pushtun question. (689.90D/4–951)
  3. April 7.