88. Editorial Note

At a meeting of the National Security Council on May 5, Allen Dulles raised the subject of deteriorating relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan:

“The Director of Central Intelligence then proceeded to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis had delivered an ultimatum to the Afghan Government. The Afghans, through their Foreign Minister, had requested the United States to mediate the quarrel. In addition, the press ticker carried the news that the Afghans have mobilized. They are supposed to have an army of about 42,000 and in addition had called up three reserve classes. In point of fact, however, Mr. Dulles doubted whether Afghanistan could mobilize more than 28,000 men in the period D-plus-30. Accordingly, he doubted whether they could successfully attack Pakistan, although they might indulge in border raids.

“All in all, Mr. Dulles indicated the CIA view that the Afghan mobilization was something of a face-saving device which was unlikely to lead to war.

“Commenting on the Afghan request for U.S. mediation, Secretary Hoover indicated that the State Department was not inclined to undertake this responsibility, and was looking for a well disposed Moslem country to undertake this task.

“Governor Stassen said he was quite sure that the Soviet Union was involved in what was occurring in this area. Secretary Hoover agreed with him, and the Vice President added that he believed that Nehru was even more involved than the Soviets. Admiral Radford commented that more than anyone else the Indians have been responsible for keeping the Pushtunistan dispute alive. Secretary Hoover agreed, and said that the Indian Embassies in all of these countries of the Middle East area were the single most unsettling influence in them.

“Governor Stassen said that he was by no means sure that the United States ought not to accept the request for its mediation, and pointed out how useful a role we had played in the Trieste negotiations. Secretary Hoover replied that there was no objection whatever to proffering our good offices, but that formal mediation by the United States would evoke troublesome problems. He added that of course we had not formally mediated the Trieste dispute, but had worked behind the scenes through normal diplomatic action.” (Memorandum of discussion at the 247th meeting of the National Security Council, by Gleason, May 6; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)