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

1835. Department considers desirable warn Pakistanis clearly of dangers we see in their proposed course action described Embtel 1668.2 Thus you requested in your discretion inform Prime Minister soonest your Government requested you express following views: [Page 178]

US deeply concerned present trend Pak-Afghan relations may if continued lead to outbreak of hostilities or at the least creation conditions from which it will be most difficult restore cooperation and friendly atmosphere needed for welfare of two important friendly Muslim nations of free world. In addition US constantly aware and assumes GOP is also of danger of Afghans seeking Soviet assistance against Pakistan or of creation conditions of chaos in Afghanistan which would tempt Soviets extend influence southward.
We realize multiplicity difficult problems confronting Pakistan leaders at present and assure them continuance our friendship and understanding. Our sympathy for Pakistan in connection present crisis demonstrated by expression US views to Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Prime Minister and more recently to King. To latter our Ambassador in Kabul urged every effort reach settlement with GOP. Likelihood Afghans will adopt more conciliatory attitude this matter would be increased by avoidance public utterances on Pakistan-Afghan situation which tend further arouse Afghan national sentiments and make more difficult for GOA make amends without further loss face.
We respect patience and restraint demonstrated thus far by GOP in dealing with present crisis. However US fearful course now being considered by Pakistan (severance of diplomatic relations, economic blockade etc.) may precipitate dangers described in (1) above. We recognize Pakistan national honor and prestige involved. However Pakistan already has taken certain retaliatory measures. We would urge most careful consideration before taking further steps which might be construed in friendly countries as out of proportion to the original offense and in addition which risk bringing about conditions in Afghanistan as might ultimately redound to Pakistan’s own disadvantage. End.

Having expressed foregoing views you might add you would appreciate further information from GOP re nature differences still unsettled in current dispute with Afghanistan. We noted Prime Minister’s May 1 statement that GOA had offered full amends with exception redress for dishonor to flag. While recognizing such matters must be decided in accordance Pakistan’s own standards national honor, we have observed other states suffering similar injury to flag have accepted formal apology from host government as sufficient amends.

Report outcome interview soonest.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/5–255. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Thacher, cleared with L/NEA, and approved by Jernegan. Repeated to Kabul and to London, New Delhi, and Lahore by air pouch.
  2. In telegram 1668, May 2, Ambassador Hildreth reported that the Pakistanis were contemplating severing all diplomatic relations with Afghanistan and closing the frontier between the two countries unless Afghanistan complied by May 15 with Pakistani proposals for settling the present crisis. (Ibid.) A copy of the Pakistani note of May 2 to the Afghan Government, in which these proposals were set forth, was transmitted to the Department of State as enclosure 7 to despatch 709, May 5. (Ibid., 601.90D89/5–555)
  3. See Document 89.