328. Telegram 146191 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Afghanistan 1 2


  • Conte Amendment


  • (a) Kabul 4374; (b) NHK 3149; (c) NHK 3156
Afghanistan’s recent acquisition SU-7 jet aircraft poses question whether RGA has entered into firm arrangements with USSR, post January 2, 1968, for additions to present inventory of weapons which, in context of Conte Amendment, are sophisticated. Consequently, we must determine whether Conte Amendment is applicable in this case.
Agree (ref a) that there possible discrepancies between Farhadi’s account of SU-7 deal and information we have from other sources, and that you should seek high level RGA clarification and additional details.
In course your discussions with RGA, you should state that since January 1968, when we first informed Afghans of the obligations imposed on USG by Conte and Symington Amendments, we have hoped to establish a frank dialogue which would serve our separate national interests and our mutual interest in continuing, unimpaired, U.S. economic assistance to Afghanistan. We have hoped that this dialogue, while recognizing that [Page 2] Afghanistan as sovereign power has obvious right to determine its own security requirements, would nevertheless lead to Afghan policies and actions which would obviate any application of these U.S. legislative requirements. Unfortunately, appears Afghans have not responded as we had hoped.
You should make clear that that the RGA’s recent acquisition of SU-7’s makes it imperative that we now examine this transaction specifically in light of Conte Amendment. We obviously can be more effective in determining what must be done if we have all the facts and can thus be sure of our ground. We therefore hope that the RGA will now consent to provide information to permit 16s to meet our mandatory legislative requirements.
To determine applicability of Conte Amendment, we need to know:
When firm arrangements for acquisition of SU-7’s were made, number of aircraft involved, and whether transaction on grant, loan or cash sale basis.
If loan or cash sale, total amount of payment to be made and schedule therefor.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.