1. Telegram 612 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, January 26, 1973, 0325Z1 2

SUBJECT:

  • CONVERSATION WITH PRIME MINISTER MUSA SHAFIQ

TELEGRAM

Department of State

KABUL 0612

14

ACTION NEA-12

INFO OCT-01 EUR-20 IO-13 ADP-00 OMB-01 T-03 AID-20 CIAE-00

DODE-00 PM-08 H-02 INR-09 L-03 NSAE-00 NSC-10 P-03

RSC-01 PRS-01 SS-14 USIA-12 RSR-01 /134 W 044093

R 260325Z JAN 73

FM AMEMBASSY KABUL

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 1779

INFO AMEMBASSY ANKARA

AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD

AMEMBASSY MOSCOW

AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI

AMEMBASSY TEHRAN

USMISSION USUN

USMISSION GENEVA

KABUL 0612

SUMMARY: NEW PM STRESSED TO AMBASSADOR HIS DETERMINATION CEMENT ALREADY CLOSE TIES TO US, CARRY OUT MAJOR PREORGANIZATION AND REVITALIZATION AFGHAN GOVERNMENT, AND ASK GREATER SACRIFICES FROM AFGHAN PEOPLE IN ORDER “CORRECT DEVIATE TRAJECTORY” OF AFGHAN PUBLIC LIFE SINCE PROMULGATION OF CONSTITUTION. END SUMMARY

1.
I HAD FIRST OPPORUTNITY FOR EXTENEDED CONVERSATION WITH PRIME MINISTER SINCE NEW GOVERNMENT TOOK OFFICE WHEN HE ASKED TO SEE ME JANUARY 9. CONVERSATION ALMOST ENTIRELY DEVOTED TO EXPLANATION OF HIS “FUNDAMENTAL PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT,” HIS ANALYSIS OF CLOSELY PARALLEL INTERESTS BETWEEN OUR GOVERNMENT, AND HIS ANALYSIS OF PAST AFHGAN GOVERNMENT WEAKNESSES AND HIS PLANS FOR OVERCOMING THEM. HE STRESSED THAT HE HOPED FOR FREQUENT INFORMAL DISCUSSIONS WITH ME ON VARIOUS PROBLEM AREAS AND WOULD WELCOME MY CANDID ADVICE, COMING FROM REPRESENTATIVE OF NATION WITH WHICH HE BELIEVES HE CAN CONSULT WITH COMPLETE FRANKNESS AND WITHOUT SUSPICION OF ULTERIOR MOTIVES.
2.
MUSA SHAFIQ STATED HE VERY PLEASED BY TONE OF CONGRATULATORY MESSAGES FROM PRESIDENT NIXON, SECRETARY ROGERS, AND SEVERAL OTHER AMERICAN OFFICIALS. HE ASKED ME TO TELL THE PRESIDENT, SECRETARY, AND ASSISTANT SECRETARY SISCO HOW MUCH HE FELT STRENGTHENED BY TONE AND CONTENTS OF THEIR MESSAGES. RETURNING TO THEME HE HAS OFTEN EXPRESSED HERE AND DURING HIS VISITS TO US, HE SAID HE FELT STRONGLY THERE EXISTED A FIRM BASIS OF COMMON INSTUTITUIONS AND IDEALS BETWEEN OUR COUNTRIES DESPITE THE ENORMOUS GEOGRAPHICAL DISTANCE BETWEEN THEM, AND THAT HE SAW EVERY REASON WHY AFGHAN-AMERICAN TIES SHOULD BE CONTINUALLY STREGTHENED.
3.
IN REFERRING TO HIS RELUCTANCE TO BECOME PM, HE SAID THAT ONCE THE JOB HAD BEEN PLACED ON HIS SHOULDERS, AS A DRAFTER OF THE CONSTITUTION HE BELIEVED IT WAS HIS DUTY TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE IN WHAT IS PERHAPS THE LAST CHANCE TO MAKE IT WORK. SINCE THE CONSTITUTION WAS PROMULGATED, AFGHAN PUBLIC LIFE HAS RESEMBLED A ROCKET WHICH DEVIATED FROM ITS PROGRAMMED PATH. THE FIRST PRIROTY OF GOVERNMENT WAS TO CORRECT THE TRAJECTORY AND THEN IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER COME TO GRIPS WITH MORE BASIC CAUSES OF THE MALFUCTION.
4.
MUSA SHAFIQ CHARACTERIZED AGHANISTAN AS A SOCIETY IN WHICH EVERYONE PURSUES HIS OWN INTERESTS, OBLIVIOUS TO THE FACT THAT INDIVIDUALS GAIN MOST AS PARTS OF A PROSPEROUS AND PROGRESSIVE NATION. HIS COUNTRY WOULD BE IN GRAVE DIFFICULTY IF IT HAD “BAD NEIGHBORS.” FORTUNATELY, HE SAID, AFGHAN RELATIONSHIPS WITH ITS NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES WERE GOOD. HE WAS FULLY AWARE OF THE FACT THAT ANY TROUBLES WITH NEIGHBORS WOULD START WITHIN AFGHANISTAN ITSELF: NEIGHBORS WOULD MAKE REAL TROUBLE ONLY IF “WE COLLAPSE INTERNALLY.” FOR THIS REASON, IT WAS ALL THE MORE IMPROTANT TO PUT OWN HOUSE IN ORDER.
5.
THE PM STRESSED HIS TOTAL DECIATION TO HIS TASK. HE SAID HE HAD ABANDONED ALL PRIVATE LIFE TO WORK FROM EARLY MORNING UNTIL 11 OR 12 AT NIGHT, SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. HE ASKED ME TO TELL MY GOVERNMETN AND PEOPLE THAT HIS CABINET WAS NOT JUST ANOTHER “RESHUFFLED GROUP” MAKING HOPEFUL NOISES WHICH WOULD THEN MERELY LAPSE INTO CUSTOMARY STAGNATION. HIS GOVERNMENT HAD A “DO OR DIE” DETERMINATION TO TACKLE THE COUNTRY’S ILLS ON A SYSTEMATIC, LOGICAL BASIS. A TRAGEDY OF PAST [Page 3]GOVERNMENTS HAD BEEN THAT THEY HAD NOT DEMANDED MORE OF THEMSELVES AND OF THE AGHAN PEOPLE, FOR BOTH THE PEOPLE AND THEIR KIND HAD BEEN PREPARED FOR MUCH MORE SACIFICE. HE RETURNED AGAIN TO STRESS HIS HOPE THAT THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT WOULD UNDERSTAND A TURNING POINT IN HIS COUTNRY HAD BEEN FINALLY REACHED, AND THAT THERE WAS NOW AN OPPORTUNTIY FOR MANY IDEALS SHARED BETWEEN THE AMERICAN AND AGHAN PEOPLE TO FIND ROOT AND PROSPER HERE.
6.
AS AN EXAMPLE OF HIS PRIORITIES, PM STRESSED HIS CONVICTION THAT ENTIRE GOVERNMENT STRUCTURE REQUIRED DRASTIC RECONSTRUCTION, BEGINNING WITH OFFICE OF PM. AFGHAN MINSTERS, HE SAID, HAD TRADITIONALLY PROVED INCAPABLE OF INNOVATION BECAUSE OF THEIR PREOCCUPATION WITH PETTY PERSONAL CONCERNS. PLANNING AND DIRETION MUST COME FROM THE TOP, AND HAD BEEN TOTALLY LACKING IN PAST CABINETS. HE THEREFORE WAS GIVING TOP PRIORITY TO A MAJOR OVERHAULING OF PM’S OFFICE SO THAT SUCH DIRECTION AND PRIORTY-SETTING COULD BE ACHIEVED.
7.
PM SAID HE HAD NO SPECIFIC REQUESTS TO MAKE OF US AT THIS TIME, RATHER HE WAS ANXIOUS TO REACH THE GREATEST PHILOSPHICAL UNDERSTANDING POSSIBLE WITH OUR GOVERNMENT. HE BELIEVED THAT A STRONGER AND MORE STABLE AFGHANISTAN COULD BE USEFUL TO THE US IN MANY WAYS IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD. HE SAID HE SAW NO CONTRADICITON WITH AFGHAN INTERESTS IN SAYING THIS: SINCE HE WAS CONVINCED THERE WERE NO BASIC DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES, HE HOPED THAT THE AMERICAN GOVERNMENT WOULD TRY TO THINK OF WAYS IT COULD HELP AFGHANISTAN PUT ITS HOUSE IN ORDER, EVEN TO THE EXTENT OF GOING BEYOND OUR NORMAL PROCEDURES, BUT HE ALSO HOPED WE WOULD SUGGEST WAY IN WHICH AFGHANISTAN COULD HELP US IN MATTERS OF MUTUAL INTEREST AND CONCERN. (COMMENT: THIS DELICATE MESSAGE REPEATS EARLIER COMMENTS OF MUSA SHAFIQ’S OVER PAST YEAR IN WHICH HE HAS SUGGESTED A MORE ACTIVE DIPLOMATIC ROLE FOR AFGHANISTAN COULD BE HELPFUL TO US ON SUCH THORNY DIPLOMATIC PROBLEMS AS ARAB-ISRAELI DISPUTE.)
8.
TOWARD END OF CONVERSATION PM RETURNED TO THEME THAT GOOD BEHAVIOR OF NEIGHBORING COUNTRIES COULD EASILY CHANGE IF AFGHANISTAN STABILITY AND PROGRESS WERE UNDERMINED. HE CREDITED BOTH USSR AND PAKISTAN WITH GOOD BEHAVIOR, BUT SAID THAT IN BOTH COUNTRIES, ESPECIALLY THE USSR, THERE WERE [Page 4]ELEMENTS WHO WOULD NEED LITTLE PROVOCATION TO TAKE A DIFFERENT LINE. IN THIS CONNECTION HE WAS WARY OF NEW SOVIET AMBASSADOR PUSANOV DESPITE HIS SEEMINGLY FRIENDLY EXTERIOR. SENDING A MEMBER OF THE COMMUNIST’S PARTY CENTRAL COMMITTEE AS AMBASSADOR, ESPECIALLY ONE WHO HAS SERVED ONLY IN COMMUNIST COUNTRIES, GAVE HIM FOOD FOR THOUGHT. HE WAS NOT ALTHOGETHER CERTAIN WHETHER THIS WAS GOOD OR BAD, BUT IN ANY EVENT IT MADE IT MORE IMPORTANT THAT AFGHANISTAN’S INTERNAL STABILITY BE REINFORCED.
9.
IN RESPONSE TO PM’S CANDOR, I SAID I WAS CERTAIN OUR GOVERNMENT WOULD PROVIDE EITHER FORMALLY OR INFORMALLY WHATEVER ADIVCE MIGHT BE USEFUL TO PM IN HIS EFFORTS TO REORGANIZE AND STRENGTHEN HIS GOVERNMENT. BEING THOROUGHLY AWARE OF THE DELICATE POLITICAL EXTERNAL BALANCE WHICH HAPPILY EXISTED IN AFGHANISTAN, WE WOULD WISH TO OFFER OUR ADIVCE IN AS DISCREET WAY AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID ANY APPEARANCE OF TOO PROMINENT ROLES FOR FOREGINERS. THE PM SAID HE SHARED COMPLETELY MY ANALYSIS, AND WOULD LOOK FORWARD TO FURTHER DISCUSSIONS OF THIS MATTER AND OTHER AREAS IN WHICH US ADIVCE WAS NEEDED, AS WELL AS CERTAIN ASPECTS OF OUR ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IN AFGHANISTAN WHICH REQUIRED HIS EARLY ATTENTION.

GDS.

NEUMANN
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 15-1 Afghanistan. Confidential. It was drafted by Neumann and repeated to Ankara, Islamabad, Moscow, New Delhi, Tehran, USUN, and the U.S. Mission Geneva. King Zahir appointed Shafiq’s Government in December 1972.
  2. Newly appointed Prime Minister Musa Shafiq met with Ambassador Robert Neumann on January 9, explained his future policies, the compatibility of Afghan and U.S. interests, and Afghanistan’s strategic situation. The Ambassador replied that the United States would attempt to aid Shafiq’s administration discreetly.