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

627. Kabuls 6962 Karachi’s 2020.3 Department reluctant urge Pakistanis make important concessions to reach agreement with Afghans since: 1) It is US as well as Pak interests to see Daud replaced. 2) If Paks abandon efforts bring about Daud’s removal and settle present dispute on basis permitting him remain, they would tend hold US responsible all future difficulties with Afghans as long Daud continues in power. 3) Our urging Pak concessions at this particular moment may be taken as lack support for Pakistan and affect adversely Pak inclination adhere Turco-Iraqi pact.4

In Afghan situation most important single present consideration is need for preventing Afghans falling under Soviet control. While noting signs Afghan eagerness seek Soviet aid,5 Department aware USSR may well disappoint Afghans or latter may recoil from stringent Soviet terms. Department would appreciate from Kabul most careful reappraisal chances Afghanistan sliding into Soviet orbit through necessity relieving economic pressures applied by Pakistan. Should this seem real possibility US should then consider urging Pakistanis make concessions Afghans at risk incurring disadvantages such as 2) and 3) above.

[Page 188]

In addition Department would appreciate Kabul’s appraisal likelihood Daud’s downfall view current lack substantial evidence any weakening Daud’s position, lack of probable successor and lack evidence real determination of King to replace him. Has Kabul any indication current attitudes two royal uncles?6

London in its discretion seek Foreign Office views current Pak-Afghan situation.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/6–2255. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Thacher, cleared with EE, and approved by Jernegan. Also sent to London and Karachi and repeated to Dacca, Ankara, Lahore, and New Delhi.
  2. In telegram 696, June 20, Ambassador Ward pointed out that while the Embassy sympathized with Pakistan’s reluctance to reopen its consulates as long as Afghanistan continued its “anti-Pakistani religious propaganda,” it believed that the recent transit and trade negotiations with the Soviets seemed to indicate that Daud was trying to counteract Pakistani economic pressure by seeking to substitute the Soviet Union as a trade route. As a result of this development, the Embassy feared that Afghanistan might “make irretrievable commitments to Soviets.” Accordingly, it believed that Pakistan “should accede reopening consulates and trade agencies on condition GOA abandon anti-Pakistani religious propaganda and vilification GOP.” (Ibid., 689.90D/6–2055)
  3. In telegram 2020, June 22, Ambassador Hildreth reported on the continuing impasse in Prince Musaid’s mediation efforts due to disagreements between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the reopening of the consulates and the flag ceremonies. (Ibid., 689.90D/6–2255)
  4. The Baghdad Pact, a Pact of Mutual Cooperation signed by Iraq and Turkey on February 24, 1955. For text, see United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 233, p. 199. Pakistan signed the Pact on September 23, 1955.
  5. In telegram 655 from Kabul, May 31, Ward reported that an Afghan economic delegation had recently departed for Moscow to discuss a Soviet offer to provide transit facilities and other economic assistance to offset Pakistani economic pressure. (Department of State, Central Files, 661.89/5–3155)
  6. In telegram 711 from Kabul of June 27, Ambassador Ward asserted that while there was no current reliable evidence regarding the attitude of the King, the Embassy believed that “there is at least 50 percent chance downfall Daud if GOP remains firm in settlement discussion.” Concerning the attitude of the King’s two uncles, the Ambassador reported that both Shah Wali Khan and Shah Mahmoud earnestly hoped that Pakistan “would stand firm on its position in present Afghan-Pakistan crisis forcing removal ‘lunatic’ Daud.” In reply to the Department query about Soviet activities in Afghanistan, Ward commented that there was presently no evidence that the Afghans and Soviets had reached an agreement on transit and trade terms. Even if an agreement were reached in the near future, he pointed out, Soviet transit and trade facilities could not replace those of Pakistan within the next two or three months; the Embassy, accordingly, doubted whether Afghanistan would “irretrievably commit self to Soviet Union.” (Ibid., 689.90D/6–2255)
  7. In telegram 5652 from London, the Embassy reported that British officials had informed Pakistan on June 25 that, in light of the important concessions already made by Afghanistan, it “would be well advised to reach settlement more or less on basis of present terms.” The British Foreign Office believed that Pakistan “would probably not gain additional concessions by continuing intractable”; Pakistan had been presented with an essentially acceptable solution, and any remaining disagreements on minor details were “insufficiently important to warrant prolongation of present unsatisfactory and potentially dangerous situation.” (Ibid., 689.90D/6–2855)