76. Letter From the Secretary of State to the United States Representative at the United Nations (Lodge)1

Dear Cabot: Thank you for your letter of January 20, reporting your talk with the Afghan representative to the United Nations.2 Because of my vacation, this is the first opportunity I have had to reply and to bring you up to date on our thinking in this regard. Since we last exchanged views, however, you have received the recent NSC policy paper on Afghanistan.3

I share your concern over the Afghan situation. I do not, however, share the views of the Afghan government that the way to strengthen Afghanistan is to side with it against our ally Pakistan. To support the government in Kabul on the Pushtunistan issue would mean, in the last analysis, to abet the partition of another friendly country. Instead, we believe that the only sound basis for improving the situation is to foster cooperation between Afghanistan and its southern neighbor. This view, which is based on the NSC decision of last December, was given to the Afghans in an aide-mémoire which I am enclosing for your information.4 The initial Afghan reaction has not been favorable. However, the urgency of the problem requires that we consider providing assistance to cooperative economic projects which would draw the two countries together, strengthen Afghanistan’s ability to resist Soviet enticements, and in this way bring Afghanistan closer to the West. To this end we are considering a $30 million program for which we might be able to draw on the proposed foreign aid contingency fund. We have, however, turned aside for the moment the Afghan request for military aid, since it would probably create more problems vis-à-vis the Soviet Union than it would solve.

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While we do not wish at this time to incur the risk of a strong Soviet reaction in Afghanistan nor to back the Afghans against the Pakistanis, we are most interested in drawing Afghanistan closer to the free world and intend to seize every reasonable opportunity for real progress in that direction.

Sincerely yours,

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/1–2055. Secret. Drafted by Fred L. Hadsel and approved by Allen.
  2. In this letter, Ambassador Lodge reported that during a courtesy call, Abdul Hussein Aziz, the Afghan Minister, informed him that the Afghans “could make good use of any American help, that they could work out a settlement of the Pushtunistan question effectively and that, of course, the Soviet influence was a constant threat and pressure.” Lodge emphasized to Dulles that he continued “to be impressed with the urgent nature of the situation in this part of the world.” He suggested that a solution to the Pushtunistan question “would be of such magnitude as to make it a gamble which might well be worth taking.” (Ibid.)
  3. The exchange of letters between the Secretary of State and Ambassador Lodge on November 8 and 22, 1954, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. XI, Part 2, pp. 1430 and 1433, respectively. The revised NSC policy statement of December 14 (NSC 5409) is printed ibid., p. 1089; it was sent to Ambassador Lodge on January 11, 1955. (Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/1–455)
  4. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. XI, Part 2, p. 1443.