81. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan1

397. Embtel 437.2 Department concurs your recommendation for approach to King. We are inclined to think cumulative effect of [Page 171] separate démarches would be most effective means of presentation and would avoid dangers of adverse reactions to joint approach. However if you and your Turkish and British colleagues feel differently simultaneous presentation authorized.

You are authorized to seek audience with King under instructions from your Government. You should tell the King substantially as follows:


US sincerely desires continuance and strengthening of its ties of friendship and common purpose with Afghanistan. It is deeply interested in economic development, and broad general progress of the Afghan people and believes US actions in past provide convincing evidence of that interest.

It is as a friend, faced by common danger that Government of US finds itself compelled to instruct its Ambassador to lay before His Majesty certain views which it considers of sufficient importance to justify His Majesty’s personal consideration. US has observed with greatest concern recent signs of deterioration in relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan both of which are subject to the threat of communist imperialism. US believes that Government of Afghanistan has very real responsibility to restrain those elements within its country who would attempt settle disputes with Pakistan by threats and actual violence. Particularly the US has been disturbed and shocked by the indignities and damages suffered by diplomatic and consular establishments of Pakistan in Afghanistan which the Afghan Government failed to suppress. The hopes of the Afghan Government for economic development and material improvement of its people must depend in large degree on the expansion of its commerce with Pakistan and the other nations of the free world. It is hoped that every effort will be made by the Government of Afghanistan to make suitable amends to the Government and people of Pakistan. His Majesty is undoubtedly aware of the uneasiness caused among the diplomatic community of Kabul and the necessity for taking all measures to prevent the recurrence of recent disturbances.

Over the past year the US has observed the development of closer economic relations between Afghanistan and the Soviet Union through acceptance of Soviet loans entailing commitments for delivery of Afghan products in the payment of such loans. Those actions have facilitated the Soviet Union’s penetration of Afghanistan and the US has observed Soviet penetration elsewhere has proved conducive to a variety of difficulties and in some instances has led to loss of independence.

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The US is fully confident His Majesty will see that proper steps are taken to direct the trend of events in his country in the direction which will assure its growth and prosperity. Without such beneficial direction the US Government fears that conditions would develop which would threaten the people and welfare of the general area. (End of Statement)

You are further authorized in your discretion and in concert with your British and Turkish colleagues to refer specifically to Prime Minister Daud in the manner you believe would be most productive if the trend of conversation with the King leads you to believe such reference would be useful. London and Ankara should discuss with respective Foreign Offices and express our hope instructions similar to this message be sent their representatives in Kabul.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/4–1255. Secret. Drafted by Thacher, Smith, and Jones and approved by Jernegan. Also sent to Ankara and London and repeated to Karachi, Lahore, New Delhi, and Tehran.
  2. In telegram 437, April 10, and in telegram 428, April 9, Ambassador Ward reported two discussions with the Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan, Colonel A.S.B. Shah. During the first conversation, Shah explained that Anwar Sadat, Egyptian Minister of State, had proposed that a public ceremony be held in Kabul at which Sadat would raise the Pakistani flag with full military honors, followed by a similar ceremony to raise the Afghan flag in Peshawar. Pakistan, however, had rejected this Egyptian effort at conciliation. During the second conversation, Shah stated that while he was convinced that Sadat’s proposal could ease the present crisis, it would be treating symptoms and not the disease itself, which was Daud. Ambassador Shah continued that he hoped for U.S. and British support to force the dismissal of Daud and thus create an atmosphere where the overall solution of Pakistan–Afghanistan problems was possible. Accordingly, he suggested that the U.S., British, and Pakistani Ambassadors speak with the King of Afghanistan, Mohammed Zahir Shah, and point out that the continuance of present Afghan policies was intolerable and the only solution was a drastic change in government. In commenting upon these discussions, Ambassador Ward endorsed Shah’s proposal. “In my opinion,” he emphasized, “situation sufficiently serious warrant our direct action and therefore recommend Turkish and British Ambassadors (with whom I have not discussed this recommendation) and I be instructed present ourselves collectively to King.” (Ibid., 289.1122/4–955 and 289.1122/4–1055, respectively)