93. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Pakistan1

74. For Ambassador from Secretary. I have become increasingly concerned re deterioration of relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and at danger of creating situation which might endanger Afghan ability to resist Soviet penetration. Afghanistan’s inland position makes it almost inevitable that Afghans would turn north-ward [Page 189] for aid if access to south continues to be cut off. If this should occur, Pakistan would be in much worse situation than at present.2

Moreover our Ambassador in Kabul confirms view that closing of border is not sufficient to force Daud’s ouster.

US Government appreciates serious concern of Pakistan authorities over anti-Pakistan policy and public statements of Afghan Prime Minister and press. Moreover, we have consistently taken position with Afghans that unified West Pakistan administration is internal Pakistan matter. However, question arises whether continuance of Pakistan embargo has become counter-productive.

Please present my views to appropriate Pakistan authorities urgently. I am especially concerned that embargo should be lifted on shipments needed by Morrison–Knudsen to enable it to carry on its contract and on export of fresh fruits from Kandahar area. Latter relaxation could be permitted on grounds that GOP does not wish to work hardship on Afghan farmers.

Morrison–Knudsen Corporation activities in Afghanistan must be discontinued in near future if embargo of their shipments continues. This company is one of chief influences which maintains Afghan connections with West. Its departure would create vacuum which Soviets would be anxious to fill.

Please approach Pak authorities urgently with request that Morrison–Knudsen shipments be permitted to go through.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/7–1255. Secret. Drafted by Allen and approved by Dulles. Repeated to Kabul.
  2. In telegram 20 from Kabul, July 7, Ambassador Ward reported that Afghanistan had recently completed a transit agreement with the Soviet Union which, in the event of a Pakistani blockade, would permit nearly all Afghan goods to move through the Soviet Union. This agreement, Ward emphasized, “reveals GOA willingness accept closest economic ties with USSR as solution present impasse and Embassy unable predict at what point these commitments will result irretrievable Afghanistan drift into Soviet orbit.” (Ibid., 461.8941/7–775)
  3. In telegram 81 from Karachi, July 15, Ambassador Hildreth reported that he had communicated to Rahim and Baig the requests contained in this message. (Ibid., 689.90D/7–1555)