Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting. Officer in Charge of Pakistan–Afghanistan Relations (Gatewood)


Subject: Terms of Pakistan’s Reply to United States Approach of November 6 Re Afghan-Pakistan Differences

Participants: Mr. Mohammad Ali, Secretary General to the Pakistan Government
Mr. M. O. A. Baig, Pakistan Chargé d’Affaires
Mr. McGhee—NEA
Mr. Gatewood—SOA


To persuade the Pakistan Government to reply favorably to our November 6 approach.

[Page 1958]

Action required:

To obtain a text of the Pakistan reply that conforms to our original proposals.

Action assigned:


Mr. Mohammad Ali called at Mr. McGhee’s request to discuss the terms of the Pakistan reply to our November 6 approach.

Referring to the urgent Pakistan desire for a settlement of the Kashmir issue (see a separate memorandum of conversation on this subject of today’s date),1 Mr. McGhee remarked that Pakistan had an excellent opportunity of demonstrating its willingness to reach reasonable solutions to vexing international problems by accepting our November 6 approach. After pointing out that the Pushtoonistan issue was a mere offshoot of the Kashmir problem, Mr. Mohammad Ali said that a Pakistan reply would soon be forthcoming which would attempt to meet the United States approach on all points, indicating that the reply would request a clear understanding that Afghan propaganda for Pushtoonistan should cease and would propose, following an exchange of Ambassadors, that the Government of Pakistan might hold a conference with the Government of Afghanistan to discuss matters of mutual interest, provided such a conference appeared to offer some hope of success.

Mr. McGhee pointed out that our approach had specified that all types of propaganda should cease and said that he did not think the Government of Pakistan was now unwilling to accept the substance of our approach, despite some confusion of thought over the exact functions of the new Afghan Ambassador (i.e., who might be the sole Afghan representative for “informal exploratory discussions” or who might be authorized to discuss the agenda of a future Afghan–Pakistan conference). Mr. McGhee urged Mr. Mohammad Ali to consider that Afghan suspicions would be disarmed if only the Pakistan reply were phrased in the exact terms of our original approach.

Mr. Mohammad Ali promised to cable his government immediately, endorsing Mr. McGhee’s suggestion. He explained that the Government of Pakistan wished to agree on some procedure that would result in improved Afghan–Pakistan relations; that it was fearful of building up public confidence in results that might never be achieved; and that, though still doubtful of Afghan willingness to recede from their present stand on Pushtoonistan, he would accept Mr. McGhee’s estimate of the conciliatory Afghan attitude.

[Page 1959]

Mr. McGhee replied that he might be wrong in his estimate of Afghan intentions, but he had conveyed to the Pakistan Prime Minister the remarks of the Afghan Foreign Minister indicating the hope that beneficial results might be obtained from informal discussions, even though all issues were not resolved. He said that time appeared to have worked for Pakistan and, as only the USSR could benefit from continued Afghan–Pakistan differences, he was hopeful that the two governments could reach some measure of agreement.

  1. Not printed.