90. Editorial Note

At a meeting of the National Security Council on May 12, Allen Dulles led off his survey of key world developments affecting United States security with a discussion of the Pushtunistan crisis:

“The Director of Central Intelligence pointed out that the ultimatum which Pakistan had sent to Afghanistan would expire this coming Sunday. The ultimatum indicated that if Afghanistan had not made restitution for the attack on the Pakistan Embassy in Kabul, Pakistan would take ‘the necessary measures’. The Minister of the Interior of Pakistan had indicated that ‘the necessary measures’ might include the rupture of diplomatic relations with Afghanistan and the imposition of an economic blockade. The effect of the latter move would be bad from the U.S. point of view, since it would increase the already serious dependence of Afghanistan on the USSR.

“At this point the Acting Secretary of State, Mr. Hoover, informed the Council that he had learned just before coming to the meeting that Pakistan and Afghanistan had accepted an offer of mediation by Iran, Iraq and other Arab states, and that Pakistan had accordingly cancelled its ultimatum.

“Mr. Allen Dulles then indicated that the main problem centered around Prince Daud, the Prime Minister of Afghanistan, who had initially got himself far out on a limb and did not now know how to get himself off the limb without serious loss of face. This mediation might save the situation. After all, Pakistan did not really want war, and the Afghan mobilization was something of a farce. In short, no real military forces were confronting each other at the borders of the two countries.” (Memorandum of discussion at the 248th meeting of the National Security Council, by Gleason, May 13; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)