689.90D/12–1654: Telegram

The Acting Secretary of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan 1


186. FYI. Following revised U.S. policy towards Afghanistan: 1) encourage closer economic political relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan thus creating conditions favorable settlement Pushtunistan and strengthening Afghanistan to better resist Soviet penetration 2) U.S. would assist Afghanistan strengthen its ties with Pakistan by: providing technical and economic assistance, by supporting sound development loan applications by Afghanistan to international lending institutions and by supporting inclusion Afghanistan in Colombo Plan as feasible 3) U.S. would consider encouraging and assisting confederation only if two governments demonstrate convincing desire for its realization 4) U.S. will not for present extend military aid to Afghanistan. However upon attainment improved Afghan relations with Pakistan and Iran consider extending military assistance 5) avoid giving impression U.S. favors participation Afghans in regional defense arrangements at this stage without foreclosing possible participation at later date. End FYI.

Ludin has questioned Department re progress our thinking points raised by Naim his talks with Secretary2 and others. He informed we believe confederation concept somewhat premature since Pakistan in throes its own internal political reorganization and confederation of two countries might bring strongly unfavorable Russian reaction. Ludin informed amount military aid which we could in light our other commitments deliver Afghanistan would not be sufficient strengthen Afghanistan point where it could resist outside attack. U.S. arms delivered to Afghans might simply create complications with Soviets and impose increased burden on Afghan budget.3 On other hand we believe much merit in working for gradually strengthened PakAfghan ties through development closer economic relations. We interested [Page 1498] in practical steps bring Afghanistan closer to West through improving its now inadequate communications with Pakistan and development other mutually beneficial economic interchanges such as delivery Warsak power to Jalalabad area. U.S. would have an interest in assisting through loans or perhaps grants such developments although it was stressed to Ludin that no funds in Fiscal year 1955 available and 56 appropriations still in planning stage. Ludin’s preliminary reaction not favorable.

Department believes if you deem appropriate above should be communicated Naim as our present thinking. Stress should be laid fact U.S. does not now have available funds for such plans. Believe it important you emphasize also that while U.S. hopes two governments will continue efforts to reach mutually acceptable settlement of disagreements, possible course action described above does not represent U.S. effort persuade Afghanistan accept any given settlement with Pakistan nor U.S. desire establish political preconditions for any possible U.S. assistance.

FYI. Executive branch not yet agreed upon inclusion or amount economic aid in FY 56 budget for projects type described above.4

Report Afghan reaction.

  1. This telegram was repeated (by pouch) for information to Tehran, New Delhi, Moscow, London, Karachi, and Lahore.
  2. For the memorandum of conversation held between the Secretary and Ambassador Ludin on Oct. 8, see p. 1420.
  3. For the memorandum of Jernegan’s conversation held with Ambassador Ludin on Dec. 13, see p. 1435.
  4. For the memorandum of Dulles’ final conversation of the year held with Ambassador Ludin on Dec. 28, see p. 1442.