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

2124. For Ambassador Rountree:

At earliest appropriate time and in phraseology you consider most likely to be effective you should inform President Ayub substantially as follows. In doing so you may wish leave Aide-Mémoire drawing upon following points:

USG concerned over recent propaganda exchange between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Recognize Afghan Pushtunistan propaganda has continued unabated for prolonged period and, until recently, Pakistan has shown commendable restraint. USG nevertheless convinced propaganda exchanges will imperil Pak-Afghan relations and make accommodation more difficult. USG making similar representations re propaganda to RGA.
USG considers recent Pakistan Radio attacks on Afghan Royal Family particularly dangerous. USG believes they will tend strengthen extremest elements in ruling group and result in situation which Soviets could exploit.
USG seriously concerned over apparent divergence U.S. and GOP policies toward Afghanistan. USG firmly believes “tough” policy by GOP will only drive Afghans more firmly into Soviet fold. USG recalls that previous attempt in 1955 by GOP to bring Afghans to heel through economic pressure failed and was followed by Afghan acceptance large scale Soviet economic and military aid, including new transit route through USSR which greatly increased Afghan dependence on Soviets. GOP and USG thereafter cooperated in effort give RGA sense of security and in programs such as Transit Project to prevent excessive dependence by RGA on Soviets. Recognize results this policy not entirely satisfactory but some progress was being made in achieving East-West balance in Afghanistan. GOP decision abandon this moderate approach could, in short time, nullify five years patient cooperative labor by GOP and USG.
USG hopes above assessment will cause GOP carefully restudy policy towards Afghanistan in order channel U.S. and Pakistan efforts along established constructive cooperative lines. Suggest GOP may wish follow-up discussions with Turks who have in past favored restraint in dealing with Afghanistan (Ankara’s 1352 to Department2 and Karachi’s 2005 to Department,3 71 to Ankara). As first step, USG hopes GOP as the much stronger power could consider offering RGA ninety day propaganda truce during which discussions for permanent cessation could be held.

For Ambassador Byroade:

You should in manner you deem most appropriate make oral presentation to P.M. Daud and at your discretion leave Aide-Mémoire drawing on following:

As friend both countries, USG concerned that press and radio in Afghanistan and Pakistan continue inflame passions and increase tensions between both countries.
USG does not condone, much less approve, attacks by Pakistan Radio on Royal Family. RGA should realize its Pushtunistan broadcasts very offensive to GOP and it only human nature to wish to strike back. Should be noted GOP has in past restrained its press and radio during period Afghan propaganda continued unabated.
USG does not take sides or assess blame either side. Important point is that propaganda war will probably lead to further deterioration Pak-Afghan relations with resulting isolation Afghanistan from its Muslim neighbor and free world. Should recall that 1955 “flag incident” which had serious consequences developed from inflammatory radio broadcasts of type similar those heard now.
USG making similar representations re propaganda to GOP. USG hopes RGA will take initiative, suggesting to GOP both countries agree on 90 day radio and press truce during which discussions could lead more permanent agreement.

For Ankara, Teheran, and London:

Inform respective Foreign Offices substance above démarches and request support USG initiative if approached by GOP or RGA. Turks particularly might be helpful since they have previously advocated restrained approach to Afghan problem and more specifically in view talks between Esenbel and Ambassador Rountree (Karachi’s telegram to Department 2005 repeated Ankara 71). Inquire whether they would be willing offer services to RGA and GOP to arrange suggested 90 day truce.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 689.90D/2–2960. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Poullada and approved by G. Lewis Jones. Also sent to Kabul, Ankara, Tehran, and London and repeated to New Delhi and Moscow.
  2. Dated December 9. (Ibid., 789.00/12–959)
  3. In telegram 2005, February 27, Ambassador Rountree reported on several conversations with Turkish officials, including Melih Esenbel, Secretary General of the Turkish Foreign Office. Rountree noted that the Turkish position on the Pushtunistan dispute was similar to the U.S. position and the Turks intended to urge the Pakistanis to adopt a moderate attitude toward Afghanistan, (Ibid., 689.90D/2–2760)
  4. In telegram 836 from Kabul, March 6, Byroade reported that he met with Daud that day and presented him with an aide-mémoire. Daud reacted negatively to the U.S. suggestion for a propaganda truce, emphasizing that until Pakistan acknowledged that the Pushtunistan problem existed nothing could be accomplished. (Ibid., 689.90D/3–660)

    Rountree spoke with Ayub on March 5 and left an aide-mémoire with him. Ayub agreed with the U.S. suggestion for arranging a propaganda truce and repeated his government’s willingness to cease all propaganda if Afghanistan agreed to do the same, either permanently or for 90 days. (Telegram 2069 from Karachi, March 6; 680.90D/3–660)

    The Embassies in Ankara, London, and Tehran reported that the Governments of Turkey, the United Kingdom, and Iran would support the U.S. proposal. (Telegrams 1937 from Ankara, March 4; ibid., 689.90D/3–460; telegram 4368 from London, March 7; ibid., 689.90D/3–760; telegram 2075 from Tehran, March 10; ibid., 689.90D/3–1060)