363. Telegram 4008 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State1 2


  • Secretary Connally Travel: Memcons From Meetings in Kabul


  • Conto 272 (Tehran 4111)
Draft uncleared memcons of Secretary’s conversations with FonMin Shafiq and His Majesty follow for approval.
Conversation with FonMin Shafiq (Ambassador Neumann present):
FonMin Shafiq stated RGA and he personally determined “kill this evil” (narcotics), he himself was particularly firm, and he would pursue this struggle “whether he was Minister or not.” Fight is to be directed not only against narcotics grown in Afghanistan but also in transit (smuggling). Afghan authorities are up against complex of economic and social factors and he is aware of fact that negotiations about combatting narcotics have raised “hidden expectations”.
Social structure of Afghanistan also affected by fact that it was adjacent to giant neighbor and by its ability to preserve its independence; but its determination to do so naturally brought Afghanistan closer to us. After dramatic visit of Buloanin and Kosygin in Afghanistan, there were concerns in US that Afghanistan might become Soviet satellite; but Afghanistan was able to preserve its full independence.
On basis of these experiences RGA therefore feels that its relations with USSR and PRC are stable and will remain so as long as Afghan internal stability is preserved; that depends of course on Afghans themselves. It is easy enough for dangerous elements to exploit internal upheaval and any failure of RGA to meer basic demands of people, which must be satisfied. Economic difficulties and inefficiency in administration contribute to plight of Afghanistan. British left administrative structure in India but this was not case in Afghanistan. US has been very generous and, by helping Afghanistan, US has defensed its own ideals.
Secretary Connally responded he was glad to know US has been able help Afghanistan master its internal and external problems. However, in times of strain, parliamentary mechanism has to be responsive to problems of country. Delays also constitute action, but negative action. Other countries are willing to help Afghanistan, but their agreements have not been ratified by parliament. Government must take leadership to propel Parliament into action. This is true in all countries and is as necessary in US as in Afghanistan. However, he wanted make it clear that US wants to help, not interfere in internal affairs of country. Shafiq commented that delays in action were indeed dangerous to Afghanistan and RGA was hoping to cope with problem. Secretary Connally then referred to President’s trip to Soviet Union and related that USSR leaders know clearly that they have not made enough domestic progress and that they want US enterprise and investment; but they also want US to finance all this, which is not acceptable. Shafiq then reiterated his appreciation for US understanding of present very critical times in Afghanistan.
Conferees were then joined by Minister of Planning Sarabi and Minister without Portfolio Wakil. Wakil made point that there had indeed been shortcomings in distribution of food including food-for-work and that inaccessability of certain parts of country were particularly difficult. Therefore principal priority ought to go to road building under food-for-work auspices. Minister Sarabi stressed more general need for US aid for four year plan.
Conversation with His Majesty: [Page 4]
His Majesty met with Secretary Connally at palace. FonMin Shafiq and Ambassador Neumann also present and shared between them interpretation into Farsi and French. His Majesty said he and RGA appreciated greatly high level visits from America. Demonstrating continued interest of US in Afghanistan. He mentioned former President Eisenhower, then Vice President Nixon and visits of Secretary Rogers and Vice President Agnew now followed by important visit of Secretary Connally. King also recalled his own visit to Washington and his meeting with President Kennedy—last such state visit before late President’s assassination. Secretary Connally then transmitted greetings of President Nixon to His Majesty and gave King short review of President’s Peking and Moscow trips. One point of special interest to King was Secretary’s contrasting of personalities of [Page 5] Chou En-Lai on one hand and Brezhnev and Kosygin on other. King replied this was also his own impression and that of FonMin, but he thought that perhaps there was in Chou something of old Chinese culture of politeness and diffidence. He had not expected any final settlements from those summit meetings but considered them most useful for future solution of problems, and had said so to Ambassador Neumann when later first briefed him on meetings. King said he highly appreciative of President’s message and reiterated his profound friendship for US. Even before diplomatic relations were established between US and Afghanistan there were friendly relations especially through many Afghans students studying in America. America’s ideals of independence and freedom were models and values for all people of world.
Unfortunately Afghanistan had throughout its history been subject to many attacks and had to conduct three wars with major power. Other areas colonialism despite its ravages had left positive heritage of achievements, infrastructure building, civil service and like. In Afghanistan, however, colonialism had only left heritage of attack. It was only after these attacks finally stopped in 1919 that modernization of country could begin. This meant very late start. All this made development more difficult for Afghanistan than had been case elsewhere.
King then said Afghanistan still has to fight for its national identity which it determined to preserve. In this, vital help has been given by US for which King is deeply grateful. All this, and especially wheat deliveries during drought had been stabilizing and had helped country defend its national existence. Actions had also shown deep understanding of US for problems of Afghanistan for which King is grateful because it helped Afghanistan against both its outside and inside problems. US by this help has made possible that a balance be struck and this again is a monument to US deep understanding of Afghan political and economic structure as well as realities in area.
King stated creation of democratic system was perhaps premature; it was unfortunate also that serious economic crisis after two years of drought followed only six or seven [Page 6] years after beginning of democratic experiment. Here again help of US was vital in stabilizing problem; and king is determined to persevere and overcome it.
Secretary Connally then related other parts of his trip after King had expressed his interest, especially concerning his meetings in India and Pakistan as well as in Dacca. Secretary expressed some concern over seemingly inflexible attitude of Mujibur Rahman regarding trial of war criminals which he thought would spoil chances for success in negotiations between India and Pakistan. King responded he hoped leaders of two major countries next to him could compose their differnces and would finally come to recognize political realities. He felt that Bhutto had capacity to be realistic. However in relations beetween Bangladesh and Pakistan there were deep emotional issues and trial of war criminals is most emotional of all. Moreover, Mujibur Rahman has to endure pressure by more radtcal elements and youth in his own country.
Afghanistan is always deeply affected by all events in Pakistan. Anything which affects Pathan population of Pakistan in particular is of deep concern to Afghanistan and therefore, because upheaval can go further than just one or two countries, it is danger to world peace. King expressed hope solutions might be found.
At luncheon at palace King and Secretary Connally were joined by FonMin, Min Planning Minister without Portfolio, Dr. Karim (MFA), Dr. Ghaussi (MFA), Ambassador Neumann and Messrs. Van Hollen, Donley and Hoskinson. Table conversation which was interpreted by Ambassador Neumann and Chief of Protocol Ghaussi, produced little of substance.
Septel on visit follows.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/Connally. Confidential; Limdis. Sent to the Department with a request that it be forwarded to the White House for Jeanne Davis and to the Treasury for Leonard Dixon. John Connally resigned as Secretary of the Treasury on May 16. Thereafter he visited a number of countries around the world at President Nixon’s request to review with host governments matters of mutual interest. Included on his itinerary were stops in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. He made a 1-day stop in Kabul on July 7 following his visit to Pakistan. Additional documentation on the trip is ibid. During his conversation with Shafiq, Connally was handed a paper that outlined economic problems for which the Afghan Government was seeking U.S. assistance. The text of the paper was transmitted to the Department on July 13 in airgram A-84 from Kabul. (Ibid.)
  2. Former Treasury Secretary Connally discussed U.S. relations with Afghanistan with King Zahir and Foreign Minister Shafiq on July 7.