101. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

1158. Department interested in reiteration by Mirza of GOP offer hold talks with Afghans (Kabul 5352 repeated Karachi 209) as it considers direct talks give best hope progress toward solution dispute. Understand chief obstacle to such talks has been Pakistan insistence Afghans agree prior to initiation talks that Pushtunistan would not be discussed. It thus appears that perhaps only way initiate talks would be to leave question Pushtunistan open. We therefore hope Pakistanis will find it possible not to insist that it be specifically excluded.

FYI only, consideration being given to desirability indicating in President’s reply to King’s message (Kabul 5283 repeated Karachi 205) US support to idea holding Pakistan-Afghan discussions. Meanwhile, however, suggest you discuss problem with Mirza or other Pakistani officials basing your approach on Mirza’s statement in order lose no opportunity foster idea desirability early initiation direct talks. In particular you might point out US belief that urgent [Page 202] steps called for, especially by Baghdad Pact countries, to counter growing Soviet threat to Asia through Afghanistan.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/11–2755. Secret. Drafted by Thacher, Jones, and Rountree and approved by Rountree. Repeated to Kabul, London, New Delhi, Tehran, Ankara, Lahore, and Dacca.
  2. In telegram 535, November 28, Ambassador Ward reported that Radio Kabul quoted Pakistan’s Governor General Mirza to the effect that it would be necessary for Pakistani and Afghan authorities to hold a roundtable conference and make increased efforts for solving their differences. (Ibid., 689.90D/11–2855)
  3. In his letter to President Eisenhower, dated November 27, transmitted in telegram 528, King Mohammed Zahir proposed that Pakistan and Afghanistan hold direct negotiations in order to solve the differences separating the two countries in regard to the Pushtunistan issue. He expressed the hope that the “friendly initiative” of the United States would prepare the ground for these negotiations. (Ibid., 689.90D/11–2755)
  4. In telegram 1036 from Karachi, December 2, Ambassador Hildreth summarized recent conversations with the Pakistani Governor General and Prime Minister. In his talk with Mohammed Ali, the Prime Minister emphasized that Pakistan was not interested in a direct meeting with Afghanistan until it was officially advised of the U.S. position on the Durand Line. He pointed out that the objectives of excluding Soviet influence in Afghanistan and maintaining friendly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan “were utterly impossible as long as Daud was Prime Minister and to have a direct meeting, whether successful or unsuccessful might only strengthen Daud’s position and defeat said long range objectives.” Hildreth suggested to the Department that it take an affirmative stand on the Durand Line issue in reply to the King’s letter to the President. “To do otherwise,” he argued, “just prolongs agony of Afghans as our interests Pakistan will eventually require US support their territorial claims which have legal basis.” (Ibid., 689.90D/11–2755)