Memorandum of Conversation, by LeRoy F. Percival of the Office of South Asian Affairs



  • Afghan Interest in US Informal Good Offices in the Pushtunistan Issue


  • Mr. Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Afghanistan
  • NEA—Mr. Byroade
  • SOA—Mr. Percival

In the course of a conversation regarding the visits of military officers from Pakistan and Iran to the US, Mr. Maiwandwal expressed the hope that the United States was still willing to use its informal good offices to improve relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are still beclouded by the Pushtunistan issue. In reply to a suggestion, he said that Afghanistan was always willing to send an ambassador to Karachi provided, however, that the ambassador was assured that he could discuss “Pushtunistan” with Pakistan Government officials. He added that he thought that the new cabinet in Afghanistan1 might take a new look at Afghanistan–Pakistan relations.

Mr. Byroade said he believed that the assignment of an ambassador would be helpful as an ambassador’s job was to discuss all problems [Page 1403] extant between his government and the government to which he was accredited. He added that sometimes there are political problems outstanding between countries which may not be immediately resolveable in a manner agreeable to both parties. However, there are other aspects of relations upon which a meeting of the minds is possible, and that a practical approach to these problems through normal diplomatic channels often results in their resolution and leads toward a solution of the main political issue. He felt that it was unfortunate that many countries concentrate all their energy and effort upon what they consider to be the major external political problem instead of utilizing their efforts to increase their economic strength, to develop their stability, and to improve relations with their neighbors insofar as practicable. He stated that the United States has always been interested in the Pushtunistan problem and in the improvement of Afghan–Pakistan relations. This US interest is a continuing one and the US would be willing to use its informal good offices to help the two countries to improve their relations when an opportunity to be really helpful presents itself.

  1. On Sept. 6, Prime Minister Shah Mahmud Ghazi resigned and Mohammad Daud formed a new government in which the former Ambassador to the United States, Mohammad Naim, became the Foreign Minister.