82. Memorandum From the Secretary of State’s Special Assistant for Intelligence (Armstrong) to the Secretary of State1


  • … Pakistan–Afghanistan Situation

. . . . . . .

The present high state of tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan unquestionably presents a situation open to exploitation by the USSR. The Soviets by backing the Afghans on the Pushtunistan issue, and by covertly providing them funds and arms can: (1) intensify Afghan intransigence on the issue; (2) encourage the Afghans to step up their anti-Pakistan campaign both propagandawise and in further belligerent gestures; and (3) further increase Afghan’s dependence on the USSR. We have so far no positive information that the USSR has taken such steps. While it is not clear that the USSR would actually intervene in the event of a … coup, it can certainly be expected to exploit the situation to the fullest in the UN [Page 173] and before world public opinion to the detriment of the US, and might even threaten to invoke the Afghan-Soviet treaty of June 19312 under which the USSR has the legal obligation not “to tolerate on the part of anybody whatsoever any act which might inflict political or military damage” on the Kabul Government.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/8–1555. Secret. Drafted by Charlton Ogburn, Jr., Chief of the Division of Research for the Near East, South Asia, and Africa, OIR; cleared by Jones of SOA and Alfred T. Wellborn of U/OP.
  2. Treaty of Neutrality and Non-Aggression, signed at Kabul on June 24, 1931. The text is printed in League of Nations Treaty Series, vol. 157, p. 371.