Afghanistan, 1969-1972


324. Memorandum From the Political Counselor of the Embassy in Afghanistan (Naas) to the Ambassador to Afghanistan (Neumann), Kabul, February 13, 1969

NAAS recalled the assurance Neumann had received from King ZAHIR that Afghanistan did not plan military expenditures large enough to trigger congressionally mandated constraints on economic assistance to Afghanistan.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA/PAB Files: Lot 75 D 129, AID 1–1, Conte–Symington amendments 1969. Secret. Neumann’s meeting with King ZAHIR on December 30, 1968, was reported to the Department on January 4 in telegram 42 from Kabul. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 1 AFG) The Conte–Long amendment was section 119 of the Foreign Assistance and Related Appropriations Act of 1968. The amendment directed the President to withhold economic assistance in an amount equivalent to the amount spent by any underdeveloped country other than Greece, Turkey, Iran, Israel, the Republic of China, the Philippines, and Korea for the purchase of sophisticated weapons systems. (PL 90–249; 81 Stat. 936) The Symington amendment was section 620(s) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1967. The amendment required the President to withhold economic assistance if in his view the recipient country excessively and unnecessarily diverted resources to military expenditures. (PL 90–137; 81 Stat. 445)


325. Telegram 2080 From the Embassy in Iran to the Department of State, May 26, 1969, 1620Z

Secretary of State Rogers reported on his conversations with Afghani King ZAHIR and Prime Minister Etemadi on May 25.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, ORG 7 S. Confidential; Priority. Also sent to Rawalpindi. Repeated to Kabul, London, Moscow, Ankara, and New Delhi. Also sent as Secto 115. Secretary Rogers visited South Asia following his participation in the SEATO meetings in Bangkok, May 19–23, and prior to his participation in the CENTO meetings in Tehran, May 26–27. He stopped in New Delhi May 23–24, in Lahore, Pakistan May 24–25, and in Kabul May 25. A fuller account of Rogers’ conversation with Etemadi was sent to the Department on June 2 in airgram A–84 from Kabul. (Ibid., POL AFG–US)


326. Country Policy Statement on Afghanistan, Washington, August 6, 1969

The country policy statement, approved by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia, outlined U.S. policy and programs in Afghanistan.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Box 591, Country Files, Middle East, Afghanistan. Secret. According to an attached cover sheet, signed by Sisco as Chairman of the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Near East and South Asia, and also signed by Country Director Spengler, and Sober, as Staff Director of NSCIG/NEA, the group approved the statement and issued it "for the guidance of all concerned with United States policy and programs in Afghanistan.” A table of contents was also attached but not printed. Sober drafted the policy statement. Richardson sent an advance copy of the statement to Kissinger. (Ibid.)


327. Information Memorandum From the Acting Country Director for Pakistan and Afghanistan (Spengler) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Davies), Washington, August 27, 1969

Spengler noted that Afghanistan had recently purchased three fighter-bombers from the Soviet Union, and he pointed to the problems the purchase could pose for U.S. assistance programs for Afghanistan because of the stipulations of the Conte and Symington amendments.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA/PAB Files: Lot 75 D 129, AID 1–12 Conte/Symington–SU–7s 1969. Secret. Drafted by Walter G. Ramsay. A copy was sent to Rockwell.


328. Telegram 146191 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan, August 28, 1969, 2238Z

Ambassador Neumann was instructed to seek clarification from the Afghan Government as to whether the purchase of SU–7 fighter-bombers from the Soviet Union violated the stipulations of the Conte amendment.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–6 USSR–AFG. Secret. Joint State/AID message. For the Ambassador. Drafted by Ramsay (NEA/PAF); cleared by Rockwell, Richard C. Matheron (J/PM), and with DOD/ISA, AID/NESA, AID/GC, and AID/PPC; and approved by Spengler.


329. Letter From the Country Officer for Afghanistan (Ramsay) to the Political Counselor of the Embassy in Afghanistan (Naas), Washington, August 29, 1969

Ramsay wrote to NAAS to express his misgivings about the effect the Afghan purchase of fighter-bombers from the Soviet Union might have on the U.S. ability to continue to provide economic assistance to Afghanistan in light of the strictures established by the Conte amendment.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA/PAB Files: Lot 75 D 129, AID 1–12 Conte/Symington–SU–7s 1969. Secret; Official-Informal. The letter is an unsigned copy. NAAS’ August 21 letter to Ramsay is ibid.


330. Telegram 4515 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, September 4, 1969, 0835Z

Ambassador Neumann reported that, as instructed, he had met with Afghani Deputy Foreign Minister Farhadi and raised the issue of the purchase of the SU–7s and the possible impact on U.S economic assistance to Afghanistan. Neumann asked for details concerning the purchase.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–6 USSR–AFG. Secret. Repeated to DIA.


331. Telegram 5090 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, October 6, 1969, 1150Z

Afghani Deputy Foreign Minister Farhadi assured Ambassador Neumann that the SU–7s were purchased as replacement aircraft, and that the agreement to do so was negotiated before January 2, 1968. Therefore, the Conte amendment should not come into play.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–6 USSR–AFG. Confidential.


332. Telegram 5218 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, October 14, 1969, 0815Z

King ZAHIR reviewed for Ambassador Neumann the recent history of his government’s military acquisition policy and noted that the agreement to purchase SU–7s from the Soviet Union was signed in November 1964.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, DEF 19–6 USSR–AFG. Confidential. Repeated to DIA for DIACO.


333. Telegram 24 From the Consulate in Auckland, New Zealand, to the Department of State, January 16, 1970, 0600Z

Vice President Agnew met with Prime Minister Etemadi in Kabul on January 7 and reviewed U.S.-Afghan relations.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 US/AGNEW. Secret; Priority; Nodis. Sent with a request to pass to Kabul. Also sent as VIPTO 21. Agnew visited Afghanistan January 6-7, 1970, as part of a 3-week tour of Asia, which included stops in the Philippines, the Republic of China, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal, South Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. Additional documentation on Agnew’s visit to Afghanistan can be found ibid., Conference Files, 1966-1972, Entry 3051B, Box 508, Lot 70 D 387, CF 425. Documentation on the entire trip can be found ibid., Boxes 506-510. During Agnew’s visit to Kabul, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs presented the Vice President with an aide-mémoire outlining the effort Afghanistan was making to deal with its development problems, and another which put forward requests for additional funding of the AID program in the Helmand valley. The texts of the two documents were transmitted to Washington on January 17 in airgram A-06 from Kabul. (Ibid., Central Files 1970-73, E 5 AFG)


334. Memorandum From Vice President Agnew to President Nixon, Washington, January 21, 1970

Agnew reported on his January 7 conversation with King ZAHIR.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 591, Country Files, Middle East, Afghanistan. Secret; Nodis; Eyes Only. On January 21 Agnew also sent Nixon a brief summary of his conversation with Prime Minister Etemadi, noting that it had been reported in greater detail earlier. (See Document 333) He sent copies of both memoranda to Kissinger, who forwarded them to Nixon on January 26, under cover of a memorandum summarizing them. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 591, Country Files, Middle East, Afghanistan)


335. Letter From the Afghan Minister of Planning (Sarabi) to the Ambassador to Afghanistan (Neumann), Kabul, July 20, 1970

Because of drought conditions in Afghanistan, Sarabi sent an urgent request to Neumann for 100,000 tons of wheat under the PL-480 program.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID(US) 15-8 AFG. Unclassified. Sent to the Department on September 2 as an attachment to airgram Kabul Toaid A-375. Published from a copy that indicates Sarabi signed the original. Public Law 480 was the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 as amended. PL-480 was a program of agricultural subsidies to developing countries popularly known as the Food for Peace Act. (68 Stat. 454)


336. Telegram 6242 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, October 8, 1970, 0810Z

The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs inquired about the status of the request for 100,000 tons of PL-480 wheat.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID(US) 15-8 AFG. Limited Official Use. Sent as a joint Embassy/AID message. On October 24, the Department authorized the Embassy to negotiate an agreement for 50,000 metric tons of wheat. Budgetary limitations precluded an agreement for the full amount requested. (AID airgram 2370 to Kabul; ibid.) The PL-480 agreement was signed in Kabul on March 27, 1971. (Telegram 2125 from Kabul, March 27; ibid.) The text of the agreement was transmitted to the Department on March 31 in airgram A-33. (Ibid.)


337. Letter From the Ambassador to Afghanistan (Neumann) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco), Kabul, December 29, 1970

Neumann assessed the role played by King ZAHIR in Afghan politics and weighed the prospects for using the limited U.S. presence in Afghanistan to offset the preponderant Soviet influence.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA Files: Lot 73 D 69, Afghanistan. Confidential. Sisco added a handwritten note on the first page which reads: “DM I could not get thru the length of this. JJS” It is not clear to whom the note was addressed. Neumann sent a copy of this letter to Kissinger. On February 17, 1971, Kissinger responded with a letter to Neumann in which he praised Neumann’s "perceptive" assessment and noted "I found your description of the King’s balancing act a useful approach to the kind of political situation you are watching.” (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 591, Country Files, Middle East, Afghanistan) Sisco sent a telegram to Neumann on January 26, 1971, in which he indicated that it would not be possible to schedule a visit by King ZAHIR during the coming year. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 AFG)


338. Telegram 4311 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, July 12, 1971, 1020Z

The Embassy supported an urgent request from the Afghan Government for 100,000 tons of wheat under PL-480.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AID(US) 15-8 AFG. Limited Official Use; Priority. Sent as a joint AID/Embassy message. The Afghan request was conveyed to the Embassy by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an aide-mémoire on June 14. (Telegram 3767 from Kabul, June 15; ibid., AID(US) 15-9 AFG) On July 31 AIDauthorized the Embassy to begin negotiations for a PL-480 agreement for the requested amount of wheat. (AID airgram A-1632 to Kabul; ibid., AID(US) 15-8 AFG)


339. Intelligence Note Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Washington, July 29, 1971

The intelligence note assessed the prospects for success of the ZAHIR ministry.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 AFG. Confidential. On May 16, the Government of Nur Ahmad Etemadi resigned as a result of an impasse with the Parliament. (Telegram 3229 from Kabul, May 17; ibid.) On June 8 King ZAHIR appointed his "long-time friend and confidant" Dr. Abdul Zahir as Prime Minister and asked him to form a government. Dr. ZAHIR, who had a long career as a public servant, was educated as a physician in the United States. The Embassy in Kabul judged that ZAHIR’s strengths as Prime Minister derived from his knowledge of the Afghan Parliament and the fact that he enjoyed the King’s confidence. (Airgram A-69 from Kabul, June 19; ibid.)


340. Telegram 4745 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, August 2, 1971, 0946Z

Ambassador Neumann met with King ZAHIR and pointed up the problems he felt the new Government would have to address, particularly with regard to the economy.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 AFG. Confidential. In telegram 4797 from Kabul, August 4, Neumann reported that he raised the same issues in his initial conversation with Prime Minister ZAHIR. (Ibid.)


341. Telegram 4851 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, August 7, 1971, 1345Z

Ambassador Neumann urged a prompt response to the Afghan request for emergency assistance to deal with the effects of drought.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, AID (US) 15–8 AFG. Confidential. Sent as a joint Embassy/USAID message. Sent attention for the Disaster Relief Coordinator. Repeated to Ankara, Bonn, Canberra, Islamabad, London, Moscow, Ottawa, USUN, Brussels, Tehran, and Rome for FODAG.


342. Information Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Van Hollen) to Acting Secretary of State Johnson, Washington, August 9, 1971

VAN HOLLEN briefed Johnson on the severe impact of drought on Afghanistan. The sale of 100,000 tons of wheat under PL–480 had been approved recently, and VAN HOLLEN alerted Johnson that the U.S. could expect an Afghan request for an additional 100,000 tons.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA Files: Lot 73 D 69, Memoranda to the Secretary, July to Aug 1971. Confidential. Drafted in NEA/PAF by Robert A. Flaten, and cleared by Laingen and VAN HOLLEN. On August 9 Eliot sent a copy of this memorandum to Kissinger. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 AFG)


343. Letter From the Ambassador to Afghanistan (Neumann) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (Sisco), Kabul, August 12, 1971

Neumann explained the part his Embassy played in prompting the Afghan Government to respond vigorously to the impact of the drought, and he advocated that the U.S and other creditor nations offer debt relief and long-term economic support to Afghanistan.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, NEA Files: Lot 73 D 69, Afghanistan. Confidential. Copies were sent to Secretary of Agriculture Hardin, McDonald (AID), Russell S. McClure of the Operations Appraisal Staff in the Auditor General’s Office in AID, and Laingen (NEA/PAF).


344. Telegram 5041 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, August 16, 1971, 1002Z

Afghanistan requested a moratorium on the repayment of debt owed to the United States.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, FN 14 AFG. Limited Official Use. Repeated to Bonn, Islamabad, London, Moscow, Manila, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Tehran, Tokyo, and the US Mission to the European Community in Brussels. Also repeated to the US Asian Development Bank representative in Manila.


345. Telegram 5067 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, August 17, 1971, 0933Z

Because of the impact of drought, Afghanistan increased its request for U.S. wheat to 250,000 tons and asked for it on a grant basis.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 AFG. Limited Official Use. Sent as a joint Embassy/USAID message. Repeated to Islamabad, Moscow, and Rome for FODAG. A PL–480 agreement for 100,000 tons of wheat was signed in Kabul on August 23. The text of the agreement was transmitted to Washington on September 27 as an attachment to airgram A–110 from Kabul. (Ibid., AID (US) 15–4)


346. Telegram 166666 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan, September 10, 1971, 2109Z

The Embassy was instructed to inform the Afghan Government that the United States could not agree to a unilateral moratorium on debt payments.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, FN 14 AFG. Confidential. Drafted in E/IFD by Albert C. Cizauskas and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Sidney Weintraub, cleared in NEA/PAF, in substance with Treasury, E/IFD/ODF, IBRD, and in information in IMF. Repeated to Moscow, Bonn, London, and Tokyo.


347. Telegram 5641 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, September 13, 1971, 1305Z

The Embassy supported the Afghan request for an additional 150,000 tons of wheat.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 10 AFG. Limited Official Use; Priority. Sent as a joint AID/Embassy message.


348. Telegram 6010 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, September 28, 1971, 0755Z

Ambassador Neumann informed Foreign Minister Shafiq that the U.S. was prepared to provide an additional 100,000 tons of wheat to Afghanistan on a grant basis. The two then discussed the Afghan proposal for a debt moratorium.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 10 AFG. Confidential.


349. Telegram 6169 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, October 4, 1971, 1150Z

Prime Minister ZAHIR expressed appreciation for the grant of wheat, and Ambassador Neumann explained the U.S. position on the proposed debt moratorium and offered advice on the management of Afghanistan’s debt problems.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, FN 14 AFG. Confidential.


350. Telegram Secto 157 From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State, New York, October 14, 1971, 1924Z

Secretary Rogers and Foreign Minister Shafiq discussed the Afghan economy as affected by drought, debt rescheduling, and the problem of illegal drugs.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 AFG. Confidential. Also numbered USUN 3497. Repeated to Kabul and Moscow. Rogers was in New York for the autumn meeting of the UN General Assembly.


351. Telegram 7282 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, December 4, 1971, 1230Z

Ambassador Neumann reported that King ZAHIR and Foreign Minister Shafiq shared the U.S. concern about the flow of illegal narcotics from Afghanistan and were "taking the subject very seriously.”

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, SOC 11-5 AFG. Confidential. Repeated to Ankara and Paris.


352. Telegram 7281 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, December 4, 1971, 1235Z

Ambassador Neumann discussed Afghanistan’s reaction to the crisis occurring in Pakistan with King ZAHIR and Foreign Minister Shafiq.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 27 INDIA-PAK. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Belgrade, Islamabad, London, New Delhi, and Tehran.


353. Telegram 616 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, February 1, 1972, 0600Z

In his year-end assessment of the situation in Afghanistan, Ambassador Neumann reported favorably on the performance and prospects of the ZAHIR Government. He observed that U.S. relations with Afghanistan were good, and he recommended U.S. initiatives that could be undertaken to support the ZAHIR Government.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15 AFG. Secret. Repeated to Islamabad, New Delhi, and Tehran.