Memorandum of Conversation, by the Officer in Charge of Pakistan—Afghanistan Affairs (Thacher)



  • Sir Zafrulla Khan on Pakistan-Afghan Relations


  • Sir Zafrulla Khan, Foreign Minister of Pakistan
  • NEA—Mr. Jernegan
  • SOA—Mr. Thacher

Mr. Jernegan remarked on our concern over the increasing Russian economic penetration of Afghanistan. Sir Zafrulla said that obviously Pakistan must share this concern. However, Pakistan found that its negotiations with Afghanistan tended first to advance and then to drop back without visible progress. The Pushtoonistan question remains a seemingly hopeless stumbling block. The Afghans have, however, talked a good deal about a merger of the two countries without apparently realizing that this would have to be undertaken very gradually through customs union and other agreements. Further the Pakistanis felt that for the present Afghanistan needed continuance of its own royal regime for maintenance of stability.

Referring to a New York Times news report from Karachi which discussed the possibility of merger between the two countries,1 Zafrulla said he felt this story had been leaked to the Times representative from Sardar Atiq Rafiq, the Afghan Minister to Karachi. Zafrulla commented [Page 1417] on the somewhat curious tactics of the Afghan Minister who had suggested to Zafrulla that while discussions between them went on the press be given no indication of possible improvement in the chronic animosities of the two countries, since the Afghans felt that this might “change the atmosphere.”