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

503. Kabul’s telegram 566 May 4.2 Following for Kabul: Department agrees your view US should not attempt role of mediator in Afghan–Pakistan dispute. You are requested at your discretion reply Foreign Minister Naim along following lines:

We welcome Naim’s expression of Afghan friendship for US and confidence which GOA shows in our fairness by its request for US mediation. We would not be worthy that confidence if we did not let him have frank and friendly expression our views.
We are not able concur in his view that solution lies in return to previous administrative status of West Pakistan. We are aware that because of racial and cultural affinities GOA has interest-ed itself in welfare Pakistani Pushtuns. At same time we consider form of administrative organization established by GOP for West Pakistan is an internal Pakistan matter in which US or other foreign government could not appropriately intervene.
We therefore consider we cannot accede to Afghan Government’s request for our mediation.
US is deeply concerned over recent sharp deterioration in relations between two Muslim brother states. It has urged in past and will continue in future urge moderation both sides.

Following for Karachi:

You are authorized inform GOP our intention refuse Afghan request for mediation. At same time you are requested at your discretion make following points: [Page 180]

Department would appreciate clarification GOP objectives in present dispute. We are particularly concerned indication (Embtel 1467)3 one objective GOP might be removal present Royal Family. In our opinion ouster Royal Family without alternative regime might well lead chaos throughout country with consequent temptation Soviets actively intervene.

US particularly anxious for GOP avoid any action which might justify accusation that Pakistan which is recipient US military aid has acted in aggressive manner.

If you believe GOP may be considering change in present disposition of forces you may make additional comment as follows: We recognize that unrest, tribal or troop movements in Afghanistan may lead Pakistan to strengthen its frontier positions. In so doing we believe Pakistan should make every effort avoid border incidents. We would hope that any announcements of military movements which GOP might possibly issue would therefore make abundantly clear they are defensive in nature.

If situation deteriorates further we think may be desirable suggest other means settling dispute arising from March 30 and subsequent incidents. Therefore are considering possible desirability suggesting request be made that fellow Muslim state or UN mediate in dispute. Our position would be that any such mediation should be limited dispute arising March 30 and subsequent incidents only and not include question of Pushtunistan.

Report soonest result your interview.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/5–455. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Jones and Allen and approved by Jernegan. Also sent to Karachi and repeated to Ankara, Cairo, London, New Delhi, and Lahore.
  2. In telegram 566, Ambassador Ward reported that the Afghan Government requested him to inform both the President and the Secretary of State that it desired U.S. mediation in the Pushtunistan dispute. Ward commented that Afghanistan “will probably attempt use mediation to inject US into Pushtunistan controversy as it has attempted do in the past.” In addition, he cautioned that Afghanistan was now seeking to place the burden for any further deterioration in Pakistan–Afghanistan relations on the United States. U.S. mediation, moreover, would likely give Daud a “new lease on life.” The Ambassador concluded this message with the following appraisal:

    “In light above I believe actual US mediation probably unwise but refusal to attempt mediation would undoubtedly have serious repercussions US–Afghanistan relations particularly if Daud survives. Judging by temper Pakistan Ambassador and staff here, I believe GOP not likely accept offer US mediation, particularly if handled as pro forma matter and we do not press acceptance. If so US offer mediate would not amount to more than friendly gesture to GOA. If GOP refuses offer, US could suggest to GOA mediation by one or more friendly Muslim powers.” (Ibid.)

  3. See footnote 3, Document 83.
  4. In telegram 1723 from Karachi, May 8, Hildreth reported that the Pakistani Prime Minister informed him that Pakistan did “not have objective of removal of royal family” but sought only the “removal of Daud.” (Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/5–855) In telegram 584 from Kabul, May 10, Ambassador Ward reported that he had informed Foreign Minister Naim that the United States could not accept Afghanistan’s request that it mediate the current dispute with Pakistan. In reply, Naim referred to Pakistan’s “ultimatum” of May 2 and explained that his government now expected the following: 1) a Pakistani act of armed aggression; 2) a Pakistani economic embargo against Afghanistan; 3) the closure of the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul and a request for the closure of the Afghan Embassy in Karachi; 4) rupture of Pakistani-Afghan relations. In closing the conversation, Naim stated that “my government has now no alternative but to await developments.” (Ibid., 689.90D/5–1055)