144. Memorandum of a Conversation, Washington, October 14, 19591


  • Visit of Prince Naim on the Vice President


  • The Vice President
  • His Royal Highness Sardar Mohammad Naim, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Afghanistan
  • His Excellency Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the U.S.
  • His Excellency Abdul Rahman Pazhwak, Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Nations
  • G. Lewis Jones, Assistant Secretary, NEA

Prince Naim opened the conversation by expressing great pleasure in seeing the Vice President again. The people of Kabul still remembered the Vice President’s visit.2

The Vice President said that he had very warm memories of his visit to Kabul, which was one of the cities that had most impressed him and Mrs. Nixon.

Prince Naim congratulated the Vice President on having had the “courage” to make his “pioneering” visit to the USSR.3 He said that he and all other Afghanis had followed the course of the visit with the greatest of interest and had been gratified by the followup visit to the United States by Mr. Khrushchev. Prince Naim said that there now seemed to be reason to hope guardedly that East-West tensions would be lessened. If so, the Vice President deserved great personal credit.

The Vice President said that everyone hoped the tensions would be lessened. The problem was to do this in the right manner without making false assumptions. He thought there was already some reason to believe that the attitude of the USSR towards the US was changed. Prince Naim agreed to this point and added that the attitude of Communist China was also changing. He said he had just come from that country and his conclusion was that if the United States can resolve its differences with the USSR this will strongly affect the foreign policy of the Chinese. He said that Chou En-lai had told him only a few weeks ago when speaking of Formosa that he (Chou) thought the Formosa problem could be settled without force.

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Prince Naim, using familiar terms, then described Afghanistan’s profound desire to retain its independence and the pressure upon the Afghan Government to do as much in the economic sphere to improve the standard of living of its people as the USSR was doing in its provinces north of Afghanistan.

The Vice President said that he could readily understand the necessity for development in Afghanistan. He thought that it was true throughout Asia that the people would like economic development aid cum independence. However, the need for economic development was so great in so many places that the Western world must face the fact that if they cannot have both, the backward peoples will take the economic aid and, if necessary, forego independence.

The interview closed on this note. Prince Naim was evidently delighted with his talk with the Vice President who took him into the Senate Chamber, showed him the desks, etc.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 789.11/10–1459. Confidential. Drafted by Jones.
  2. Nixon visited Kabul, December 4–6, 1953; see Foreign Relations, 1952–1954, vol. XI, p. 1407.
  3. Nixon made a good will trip to the Soviet Union, July 23–August 5.
  4. The Department of State summarized Naim’s conversations in Washington for the Embassy in Kabul in telegrams 262, October 16, and 277, October 21. (Department of State, Central Files, 789.11/10–1659 and 689.90D/10–2159)