- Secretary’s Visit to Kabul
1. Summary: Atmosphere of talks with King Zaher and Prime Minister Etemadi May 25 was warm and friendly with emphasis on human values shared by us and Afghans and lack of problems between two countries. Afghans stressed importance to balance of power in area of continued US interest and presence. They received suggestion for improved relations from Pakistani President Yahya conveyed by Secretary in friendly manner without giving any indication their intentions re follow-up.
2. King Zaher emphasized old and close ideological ties US and Afghanistan with common interest freedom and democracy. Said he delighted President Nixon knew Afghanistan, sent best wishes his success and that of American people in coping with world problems. This all important to Afghanistan. King grateful for US econ aid but even more so for good intentions behind it. Remarked Afghan economic development had recently [Page 2] fallen behind a bit because of political problems but he not pessimistic on future. Welcomed President Nixon statement on Viet-Nam. Suggested possibilities of US-USSR cooperation seemed to be increasing. Said Afghan rels with USSR good; with Iran, excellent; with Communist China correct; with Pakistan some problems.
3. Secretary presented President Nixon’s letter, said warm feelings of President and late President Eisenhower for Afghanistan had already give him sentimental attachment for country. He glad US AID was useful and that Afghans appreciated it. Viet-Nam was very important problem; US flexible; some hope for progress; peace possible if other side willing. US is seeking to improve relations with USSR; cited Asst Secty Sisco’s talk on Near East, our hopes for arms limitations; said USSR could be helpful on Viet-Nam also; noted ChiComs had recently given USSR priority over US as number one enemy. (King said he had noticed this too.)
4. Re Afghan-Pak relations, Secretary conveyed President Yahya’s expression of interest improving relations, adding he did not wish be arbitrator. King said he also eager settle outstanding problem, and if Pakistan willing, hopes be able do so. Last thing Afghanistan wants is another quote hot spot unquote in Asia.
5. Prime Minister Etemadi, in brief exchange views before his lunch, again emphasized Afghan gratitude US AID and appreciation common human values. Twice repeated Afghan Government’s belief that continued US presence Afghanistan essential to maintenance difficult. It had to coexist with powerful neighbors; hence Kosygin’s visit next day. Lamented quote Pakistan’s introduction of Communist China unquote into area. Afghan relations with Communist China were quote not quite warm unquote. Afghanistan did not wish hurt Pakistan, willing to do ten things for every one Pakistan did to improve relations. However, Paks did not reciprocate, abused Afghanistan in President Ayub’s book, refused cooeprate in Afghan plans for regional transit arrangement among USSR, Iran, Afghanistan, and India, and denied existence of quote Pushtunistan unquote problem.[Page 3]
6. Secretary remarked President Yahya’s statements previous night about Afghanistan had been almost same in reverse. Mentioned message which he had conveyed to King, and said he thought new government in Pakistan might be ready talk. Added US understood importance which Afghanistan and other Asian nations placed on our continued interest in area, but American people were also concerned over animosities among neighbors in Asia and hoped parties concerned would do something about them. Secretary ended by reiterating purpose his visit was to demonstrate US friendship for Afghan Government and people and to hear of their economic progress. (FYI: paper on economic problems and progress which Prime Minister passed to party will be forwarded Kabul Embassy after reproduction in Washington. End FYI)
7. For Rawalpindi: You may inform President Yahya that Secretary conveyed his message to King Zaher who received it in friendly manner. (FYI: As Secretary told PM Etemadi, it appears further progress on Pak-Afghan problems may turn on quote who makes the first telephone call unquote. We believe decision on this is up to Kabul and Rawalpindi. End FYI)
- 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)↩
- Secretary of State Rogers reported on his conversations with Afghani King Zahir and Prime Minister Etemadi on May 25.↩