Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation, lot 64 D 199

Memorandum of Conversation, by the Acting Officer in Charge of Pakistan–Afghanistan Affairs ( Metcalf )

secret

Subject:

  • U.S.-Afghan Relations

Participants:

  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Mohammad K. Ludin, Ambassador of Afghanistan
  • SOA—Mr. Metcalf

The Ambassador said he had been called home for consultation and inquired whether the Secretary had any message which he could take to Kabul with him. The Secretary asked how Afghanistan’s relations with Pakistan were faring. The Ambassador replied that there were no new developments in that respect.

The Ambassador remarked that recently he had put to Mr. Byroade the hypothetical question of the U.S. attitude to an Afghan request for American military aid. Mr. Byroade said that the matter had been under study but that there was no answer.1 The Secretary said that he thought Afghanistan should proceed slowly in this matter. We were anxious to see real strength develop in the Middle East that would command the respect of others. Moreover we wanted to see that strength develop naturally and not artificially with the appearance of outside pressuring. The Secretary noted that some of the more immediate imponderables in considering military aid for Afghanistan were the nature of the aid program for the coming year, the character of our current commitments, and future contingencies such as the implementation of the Geneva Agreement on Indochina.

Meanwhile the U.S. appreciates the potential role of Afghanistan in [Page 1481] the Middle East because of its geographical location and its friendship with non-communist nations. The Secretary asked the Ambassador to convey this Government’s warm regard for the Prime Minister and the Government of Afghanistan.2

  1. See the memorandum, supra .
  2. U.S. officials increasingly considered the question of U.S. arms aid to Afghanistan in relation to various issues between Afghanistan and Pakistan; for documentation on that subject for the remainder of 1954, see pp. 1414 ff.