540. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Afghan Prime Minister’s Comment on His Talk with the President


  • His Excellency Mohammad Hashim Maiwandwal, Prime Minister of Afghanistan
  • Mr. James W. Spain, Country Director, NEA/PAF

Before Prime Minister Maiwandwal’s departure from Blair House today for his luncheon with the Secretary of State, I had the opportunity to ask him for his understanding of his discussion with the President yesterday.2 My query was prompted by some remarks the Prime Minister [Page 1073] made to me last evening which I thought suggested a possible misunderstanding. This turned out not to be the case.

The Prime Minister said that his discussion with the President had been thoroughly enjoyable and constructive. He felt that he and the President had come to grips with some major problems and understood each other very well indeed. He said that the point he had been trying to make in response to the President on Vietnam was that a number of other countries in the world, specifically including Afghanistan, did not see the Vietnam situation in exactly the same way we did. He said that he had tried to point out to the President that the United States had a tendency to be unduly concerned at different times with different problems; some years ago it had been organizing the northern tier into CENTO to defeat Communist aggression; earlier it had been the Marshall Plan and the Korean war; now it was Vietnam. The interests of Afghanistan and of other non-aligned Asian countries did not change as did those of the United States. This was the reason why they were not able to come as far as we would like them to at any given time on Vietnam, CENTO, the Korean war, etc.

On more specific subjects, the Prime Minister indicated that he had discussed the Ariana Airline request for a loan from the Export Import Bank and understood the situation as it had been explained to him by Ambassador Neumann in New York and by the President. He was content and he would wait.

On Afghanistan’s present food needs, he said that the President had told him that the U.S. would do what it could to help on as generous terms as possible, specifically that cost would be repayable in 40 years.

On the Kajakai project, he said that the President was sympathetic and had said that the papers were being prepared. He understood that the President had not made a commitment and that the President expected that he (Maiwandwal) would not discuss the matter publicly at this time.

He said that the President had also mentioned the upcoming loan for land improvement equipment in the Helmand Valley and that they both understood that action on this was virtually completed.

I asked the Prime Minister for his views as to timing of any future steps on the Kajakai project. He said that he would very much like to be able to announce it together with the next food agreement shortly after his return to Kabul, April 15. He said that if the food agreement were to be ready sooner, he would like to withhold announcement until after his return. He added that the Kajakai loan was particularly important to him personally and that he deduced from his conversation with the President that an announcement shortly after his return home would probably be possible.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Afghanistan, Vol. I, Memos and Miscellaneous, 12/63–4/68. Secret. Drafted by Spain.
  2. See Document 539.