91. Memorandum of a Conversation, San Francisco, June 24, 19551


  • Afghan Foreign Minister’s Interview with the Secretary


  • H.R.H. Sardar Mohammed Naim
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Mohammad Kabir Ludin, Ambassador of Afghanistan
  • The Secretary
  • NEA—Mr. George Allen

Prince Naim recalled his discussion with the Secretary a year ago2 and said he regretted to have to say that Afghan–Pakistan relations had deteriorated since that time. His particular interest, however, in talking with the Secretary was because of his desire to understand the US Government’s attitude toward Afghanistan. He said that until very recently, the United States had maintained a neutral position on the Pushtunistan issues but that a few weeks ago, when Afghanistan asked the United States to mediate its current critical dispute with Pakistan, the American Ambassador in Kabul had informed King Zahir Shah that the United States considered the Pushtun question an internal Pakistani matter. This had come as a considerable shock to Prince Naim and his brother Prime Minister Daud.

Prince Naim declared that Afghanistan’s long-range interests were entirely similar to those of the United States. He recognized that the greatest overall danger to Afghanistan was from the North. It was therefore of the highest importance that Afghan-Pakistan relations be friendly. Afghanistan did not ask for one inch of territory from Pakistan and would be quite satisfied if the Pakistan Government would make it clear that at some future date, perhaps ten years off, the eight million Pushtuns in Pakistan would be given an opportunity to decide their own fate. If they voted freely to adhere to Pakistan, Afghanistan would not raise the issue again.

As evidence of Afghanistan’s high regard for the United States, he recalled that Afghanistan had asked us for military assistance two or three years ago, despite the strongly adverse reaction such assistance would arouse in the USSR. Our refusal to grant military aid [Page 186] and our refusal to mediate the Pushtunistan dispute for the reason we gave left the Afghans in a quandary as to the American Government’s attitude towards them.

The Secretary said he welcomed Prince Naim’s explanation of the Afghan position and his desire for friendly relations with the United States. This desire was fully reciprocated. The Secretary concurred in the high importance of good relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said he was not informed in detail on the Pushtunistan question, but he would like to urge Prince Naim again to assert his influence toward calming the atmosphere. He said the United States always stood ready to take appropriate steps towards improving relations between neighbor countries in the Free World. He understood that efforts at mediation were being made by fellow Moslem states.

Prince Naim said that Afghanistan had accepted in full the recommendations of the Uncle of the King of Saudi Arabia but that Pakistan had refused and was carrying out what amounted to an economic blockade of Afghanistan.3 This could only make Afghanistan dependent on the Soviet Union, which Afghanistan did not desire.

The Secretary said he would like to look into the question at the earliest opportunity. The conversation which lasted about forty minutes was terminated at this point since the Secretary had another pressing engagement.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/6–2455. Secret. Drafted by Allen. This conversation took place at the U.N. Tenth Anniversary Commemorative Ceremony in San Francisco.
  2. A memorandum of this conversation of October 8, 1954, is printed in Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. XI, Part 2, p. 1420.
  3. On June 28, Prince Musaid, the Saudi mediator, announced that his mediation efforts had failed. He stated that the program for the flag ceremonies was complete and ready to be implemented, but the “side issue” of reopening the consulates had blocked a settlement. (Despatch 836 from Karachi, June 28; Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/6–2855)