97. Telegram From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State1

366. In lengthy conversation this morning, at his request, Foreign Minister Naim disclosed following:

GOA sent to Ambassador Ludin “some days ago” special message from King to President Eisenhower,2 calling attention to deteriorating Pak–Afghan situation and inviting US intervention. He did not know what effect President’s illness3 would have on delivery this message.
Naim’s purpose in lengthy talks here has been to assure that USG has full understanding GOA views, including view that only hope for Afghan’s future lies in USG assistance in solving “vital” Pushtunistan question. Although he had made GOA’s views known to Secretary and through various other channels, Naim wanted recapitulate them for USG to consider before replying to King’s message.
Three main objectives of GOA foreign policy to which Naim draws USG attention (Embdes 92)4 are: [Page 194]
Satisfactory solution of Pushtunistan question and enduring friendly relations with Pakistan. GOA objectives noted in Embtel 334.5 He insisted GOA “means no harm whatsoever” to Pakistan. On contrary the solution of question to which GOA would agree will strengthen both countries.
Some form of GOA association with “free world”, form depending on USG wishes. He said he does not ask USG to arm Afghan, for role this country can play must be determined by higher “free world” policy.
Development of Afghan, from economic-security standpoint. Country, he said, can no longer remain “dead body” as it has in past century.
In response to “one unit”,6 GOA is withdrawing Charge in Karachi, “because his mission has failed.” Afghan Embassy there will be left in charge of First Secretary. Question of relations with Pakistan will now be considered “national question”, to be turned over to Parliament and probably “Loe Jirgah”, (tribal conclave). He has no idea when Loe Jirgah would take place. It is up to GOP to determine whether measures such as border blockade are re-imposed. If blockade re-imposed, GOA has already had experience and does not fear it.
Maiwandwal7 (Deptel 2098 and Embtel 3549) went to Cairo to consider means of securing more favorable publicity for Afghan cause in Arab world. While there he took initiative “to call on his old friend Byroade”. He will visit Turkey also.
In response to USG expression of concern re possible disturbances (Deptel 203),10 Naim expressed surprise USG would base its “judgments” on “rumors” and also attacked as he usually does USG reiteration of policy of “non-interference” in Pakistan-Afghan dispute. Disregarding distinctions between “interference”, “mediation”, and “helpfulness”, Naim contended vigorously that USG is only [Page 195] agency which can secure solution to Pakistan-Afghan issue re Pushtunistan.

Comment: Somewhat desperate because of predicament in which it finds itself following its futile public opposition to “one unit”, and further stirred by increasing East-West attention to this country particularly following announcement of Iran’s intention to adhere to Baghdad Pact, GOA is once again seeking involve USG in its dispute with GOP and exerting maximum effort to do so. During conversation Naim remained totally unmoved by arguments such as increased danger of Soviet threat, need to continue on conciliation course with Pakistanis, simplicity of breaking impasse by holding Prime Minister talks which Pakistanis have happily approved, USG continuing helpfulness to both sides, etc. His mind was on one track—USG is sole agency which can arrange Pushtunistan solution.

Hopes for fruitful Pakistan–Afghan relations thus again look gloomy. However, to throw up our hands would in Embassy’s opinion only benefit cause of Soviets who continue to profit from unfortunate Afghan attitude. At moment, Embassy sees three possible courses of action:

Message from Secretary to Naim, perhaps as reply to King’s message to President, urging meeting of Prime Ministers as had been planned, and adding appropriate expressions of USG active friendship. While this measure runs risk of injecting US into issue, it need not do so irrevocably or too deeply. By providing something in writing from top USG authority, this measure might give GOA basis needed for face saving purposes to engage in talks with Pakistanis.
Take advantage of Turk interest in situation by encouraging Turks to mediate between two countries. Maiwandwal’s visit could provide opportunity for Turks to make move.
Stand by for few weeks until after Loe Jirgah and see whether GOA has “cooled off” sufficiently to initiate friendly efforts then to bring two sides together again. This measure leaves field to Soviets in meantime.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/10–1555. Secret; Priority. Repeated to Karachi, London, and Ankara; passed to the Army and Air Force.
  2. See infra.
  3. President Eisenhower had recently suffered a heart attack.
  4. Dated October 17, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 661.89/10–1755)
  5. Dated October 9, not printed. (Ibid., 689.90D/10–855)
  6. Pakistan was scheduled to implement the One Unit Plan officially on October 14.
  7. Mohammed Hashim Maiwandwal, Afghan Minister of Information.
  8. Dated October 13, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/10–1255)
  9. “It is not improbable,” Ambassador Ward reported in telegram 354, October 14, that “Egyptians with or without connivance of Soviets are using prospects of arms from Soviet bloc to dissuade GOA from thoughts of association with its northern tier neighbors.” He also noted that the news of Iran’s intention to adhere to the Baghdad Pact “can be expected have acute repercussions on Afghanistan.” As a result, he suggested, “it is also probable that we shall witness intensified Soviet efforts to prevent Afghan alignment with northern tier countries, since it is obvious Afghanistan is only missing link geographically.” (Ibid., 780.5/10–1355)
  10. In telegram 203, October 12, ICA and the Department of State authorized the Embassies in Afghanistan and Pakistan to approach the governments of those countries regarding a proposed U.S. economic package designed to bring Afghanistan and Pakistan closer together. (Ibid, 689.90D/10–1255)