350. Telegram Secto 157 From Secretary of State Rogers to the Department of State, New York, October 14, 1971, 1924Z1 2

[Page 1]

Department of State

Telegram

R 1419242 OCT 71

FM USMISSION USUN NY

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8008

INFO AMEMBASSY KABUL

AMEMBASSY MOSCOW

USUN 497

SECTO 157

MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION:

FM SHAFIQ (AFGHANISTAN)

OCTOBER 13, 1971

9:30 A.M. 35A WALDORF

1.
PARTICIPANTS: AFGHANISTAN-FON MIN SHAFIQ, AMBASSADOR MALIKYAR; U.S.-THE SECRETARY, MR. SISCO, MR. NAAS(REPORTING OFFICER), MR. BRAY.
2.
SUMMARY. THE SECRETARY AND SHAFIQ HELD A CORDIAL,WIDE-RANGING DISCUSSION ON THE AFGHAN ECONOMY/DROUGHT, DEBT RESCHEDULING AND DRUG PROBLEM. THE SECRETARY NOTED THAT WE WILL WISH TO TALK FURTHER WITH THE RGA CONCERNING A COOPERATIVE EFFORT ON DRUGS. SHAFIQ ASSURED THE SECRETARY OF THE PGA’S FULL COOPERATION IN THIS MATTER. END SUMMARY.
3.
THE SECRETARY OPENED CONVERSATION BY RECALLING WITH PLEASURE HIS VISIT TO AFGHANISTAN A FEW YEARS AGO. SHAFIQ IMMEDIATELY SAID A SECOND VISIT AT ANY TIME WOULD BE MOST WELCOME. SHAFIQ THEN EXPRESSED THE DEEP GRATITUDE AND APPRECIATION FOR U.S. PAST AND CURRENT ASSISTANCE. HE SAID IT WAS GOOD TO KNOW THAT A POWERFUL COUNTRY FAR AWAY IS SHARING AFGHANISTAN’S PROBLEMS. [Page 2]HE CALLED ATTENTION TO THE CURRENT DROUGHT WHICH IS AFFECTING ALL PRINCIPAL AREAS OF AFGHAN ECONOMY AND SAID THAT, SINCE DROUGHTS ARE USUALLY IN A TWO OR THREE YEAR CYCLE, AFGHANISTAN MAY HAVE ANOTHER BAD YEAR. THE PRESENT WATER TABLE IS AT LOWEST LEVEL IN LIVING MEMORY.
3A.
SHAFIQ EMPHASIZED THAT IT WAS NOT ONLY AMERICA’S ASSISTANCE WHICH BROUGHT THE TwO COUNTRIES TOGETHER BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANT WAS FACT THAT TWO COUNTRIES SHARED PRINCIPLES OF FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE AND WERE DEVOTED TO DEMOCRATIC METHOD. HE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS OF VALUE TO THE U.S. THAT AFGHANISTAN DESPITE ITS DIFFICULT GEOGRAPHIC POSITION HAS MAINTAINED ITS INDEPENDENCE, ITS CULTURE AND SPECIAL IDENTITY, SECRETARY AGREED.
4.
IN RESPONSE TO SECRETARY’S QUESTION SHAFIQ BRIEFLY SUMMARIZED AFGHANISTAN’S NATURAL RESOURCES AND, WITH RESPECT TO FOREIGN PRIVATE ENTERPRISE, SHAFIQ SAID AFGHANISTAN HAS DIFFICULT PROBLEM OF BALANCING WHICH COMPANIES ARE INVITED INTO AFGHANISTAN. ALTHOUGH COLD WAR IS NO LONGER, AFGHANISTAN’S LONG BORDER WITH SOVIETS STILL MAKES NATIONALITY OF FREE ENTERPRISE A DELICATE MATTER. RECENTLY THE AUSTRIANS HAVE INDICATED INTEREST AND IN VIEW OF TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS WERE CONCENTRATING ON EASY TO SHIP SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES AND PRODUCTS.
5.
SECRETARY THEN DEFTLY TURNED TO DRUG QUESTION BY ASKING WHETHER HIPPIES CONTINUED TO POSE A PROBLEM FOR AFGHANS. SHAFIQ REPLIED THAT YEARS AGO THERE WAS LITTLE DRUG PROBLEM IN COUNTRY AND FOREIGN VISITORS DID NOT CAUSE CONCERN. HOWEVER, IN RECENT YEARS LARGE NUMBERS OF YOUNGSTERS OF MANY NATIONALITIES HAVE BEEN OVERSTAYING AND ENGAGING IN "PRACTICES" HARMFUL TO THEIR HEALTH AND AFGHANS WERE CONCERNED. SECRETARY SAID THAT A NATION CAN EASILY DEVELOP A PARTICULAR IMAGE TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD BY ATTITUDES TO CERTAIN PRACTICES. FOR EXAMPLE, TURKEY FOR A LONG TIME DID NOT HAVE A GOOD IMAGE DUE TO THE POPPY CULTIVATION WHICH MADE TURKEY THE CENTER OF THE ILLICIT DRUG BUSINESS. HE SAID THAT WE WILL WISH TO TALK FURTHER WITH THE RGA CONCERNING A COOPERATIVE EFFECT ON DRUGS. HE NOTED THAT WE MADE CONSIDERABLE PROGRESS ON OUR PROGRAMS WITH TURKEY AND INDO-CHINA, BUT THAT IF WE ARE SUCCESSFUL [Page 3]IN TURKEY THERE COULD BE A TENDENCY TO LOOK MORE TO AFGHANISTAN AS A SOURCE OF POPPY.
6.
SHAFIQ REPLIED THAT CULTIVATION OF HASHISH AND OPIUM ARE PROHIBITED UNDER ISLAMIC LAW SINCE THEY ARE INTOXICANTS BUT HE ADMITTED THAT THESE PROHIBITIONS HAD NOT ALWAYS BEEN ENFORCED. NOW THE DEMAND OF FOREIGN TOURISTS AND OTHERS HAD ACCENTUATED THE DRUG PROBLEM IN AFGHANISTAN AND IT WAS DIFFICULT TO ENFORCE THE LAWS, PARTICULARLY IN THE REMOTE MOUNTAINOUS AREAS WHERE MOST OF THE DRUGS ARE GROWN. HE WISHED TO AFFIRM, HOWEVER, THAT AFGHANISTAN SHARES THE U.S. CONCERN, IT IS THE DUTY OF ALL NATIONS TO COOPERATE IN THE CONTROL OF DANGEROUS DRUGS. HE THEN REPEATED HIS ASSURANCE OF AFGHANISTAN’S FULL COOPERATION. AMBASSADOR MALIKYAR INTERJECTED THAT IN THE POOR AND ISOLATED AREAS OF AFGHANISTAN THE POPPY PROVIDED A GOOD CASH CROP AND AFGHANISTAN HAS THE PROBLEM OF FINDING A SUBSTITUTE SOURCE OF INCOME FOR THE PEOPLE AFFECTED.
7.
SHAFIQ THEN SAID THAT HE WAS UNDER INSTRUCTION FROM HIS PRIME MINISTER TO RAISE TWO MATTERS WITH THE SECRETARY. THE FIRST WAS THAT OF DEBT RESCHEDULING DUE TO THE GREAT LOSS OR FOREIGN EXCHANGE EARNINGS BECAUSE OF THE DROUGHT. HE SAID AFGHANISTAN HAS NEVER DEFAULTED ON DEBTS AND DOES NOT WISH TO HAVE ITS REPUTATION IN INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL CIRCLES HARMED. BUT, AFGHANISTAN DOES NEED HELP NOW ON RE-SCHEDULING. HE SAID THAT SINCE THE SOVIET UNION WAS NOT A MEMBER OF THE IBRD IT WAS NOT IMMEDIATELY CONCERNED IN THE EFFORTS BEING MADE HERE WITH THE IMF AND THE IBRD. ALSO, AFGHANISTAN IS IN A PECULIAR POSITION WITH RESPECT TO SOVIET UNION AND IT DOES NOT WISH TO BE FURTHER INDEBTED TO SOVIETS BY ASKING FOR SPECIAL HELP ON THIS MATTER. PRESENT GOVERNMENT WISHES TO CUT DOWN ON ITS DEBTS TO SOVIET UNION. THE SECRETARY REPLIED THAT WE ARE SYMPATHETIC TO AFGHANISTAN’S NEEDS BUT THE ARGUMENT USED BY THE FOREIGN MINISTER CONCERNING THE SOVIETS CUTS BOTH WAY. AMERICAN PEOPLE WOULD WANT TO KNOW WHY WE WERE BEING HELPFUL WHEN A CLOSE FRIENDLY NEIGHBOR IS NOT BEING ASKED FOR THE SAME KIND OF ASSISTANCE. SHAFIQ REITERATED THAT THERE WAS A SENSITIVITY OF [Page 4]PERMITTING SOVIETS TO BECOME TOO DEEPLY INVOLVED IN AFGHANISTANS ECONOMY WHEREAS THE AFGHANS DID NOT FEEL THE SAME TOWARD U.S. FOR EXAMPLE, AFGHANISTAN FOUND NO PROBLEM IN LETTING U.S. REVENUE EXPERTS DIG DEEPLY INTO AFGHANISTAN’S ECONOMY FOR THERE WAS A SPECIAL INTIMACY WITH U.S. WHICH WAS A FAR AWAY FRIEND WHEREAS THE SOVIETS WERE VERY CLOSE AND SAME INTIMACY COULD NOT BE PERMITTED. SHAFIQ NOTED THAT THE PROBLEM OF RESCHEDULING HAS BEEN DISCUSSED AT DIFFERENT LEVELS AND A REPAYMENT IS DUE IN OCTOBER. AFGHANISTAN WOULD LIKE A DELAY IN THIS PAYMENT WHILE NEGOTIATIONS ON RE-SCHEDULING ARE GOING ON. SECRETARY AGAIN SAID THAT WE WERE UNDERSTANDING OF AFGHANISTAN’S PROBLEMS AND ADMIRE THE AFGHANS FOR THEIR PRESENT AND PAST POLICIES.
8.
IN CONCLUSION SHAFIQ SAID THAT SECOND MATTER WAS THAT HE WISHED TO REITERATE STRONGLY IMPORTANCE OF U.S. TO AFGHANISTAN. FRIENDLY RELATIONS SHOULD NOT ONLY CONTINUE BUT SHOULD BE STRENGTHENED AND RGA WILL SEIZE UPON ANY OPPORTUNITY FOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS OF CURRENT COOPERATIVE RELATIONS AND WOULD BE OPEN MINDED TO ANY SUGGESTION WHICH WE MIGHT HAVE ON THIS.
9.
SECRETARY CONCLUDED BY CONVEYING HIS THANKS AND REGARDS TO HIS MAJESTY, THE KING, AND PRIME-MINISTER AND SAID HE SAW NO REASON WHY RELATIONS BETWEEN THE TWO COUNTRIES COULD NOT CONTINUE ON A FRIENDLY BASIS.

GP-3.

ROGERS
  1. 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.
  2. Secretary Rogers and Foreign Minister Shafiq discussed the Afghan economy as affected by drought, debt rescheduling, and the problem of illegal drugs.