11. Telegram 1717 From the Embassy in Afghanistan to the Department of State, March 20, 1974, 1115Z.1 2

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INFO OCT-01 ISO-00 AID-20 IGA-02 PC-10 CIAE-00 DODE-00 PM-07 H-03 INR-10 L-03 NSAE-00 NSC-07 PA-04 RSC-01 PRS-01 SPC-03 SS-20 USIA-15 EUR-25 CU-04 EB-11 AGR-20 OMB-01 TRSE-00 COME-00 DRC-01 SAM-01 IO-14 /196 W

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R 201115Z MAR 74

FM AMEMBASSY KABUL

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7236

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 1 OF 2 KABUL 1717

PASS ALSO AID AND PEACE CORPS

E.O. 11652: GDS

TAGS: PFOR/ EAID, AF, US

SUBJECT:

  • CONVERSATION WITH NAIM ON AFGHAN-US RELATIONS

SUMMARY: LONG CONVERSATION WITH DAOUD’S BROTHER NAIM MARCH 20 PROVIDED AN OPPORTUNITY TO BRIEF HIM AND SOLICIT HIS ASSISTANCE ON A NUMBER OF BILATERAL PROBLEMS, PARTICULARLY PEACE CORPS. MEETING DEVELOPED INTO A DIALOGUE ON OVERALL US-AFGHAN RELATIONSHIP, WITH NAIM EXPRESSING HOPE US WOULD MAINTAIN STRONG INTEREST AND PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN AND WOULD CONCENTRATE ITS ASSISTANCE IN THE HELMAND VALLEY. HE ADMITTED THAT SOME “YOUNG LEFTISTS” IN THE REGIME TRY TO CAUSE TROUBLE BETWEEN US EVEN THOUGH THEIR ACTIONS ARE NOT CONSISTENT WITH WHAT THE SOVIETS SAY THEIR POLICY IS. CONVERSATION ALSO TOUCHED UP NAIM’S FORTHCOMING VISITS TO IRAQ, LIBYA, EGYPT AND IRAN AND ON AFGHANISTAN’S RELATIONS WITH PAKISTAN.

THE NEXT CONVERSATION OF THIS KIND FOR ME WILL BE WITH DAOUD WITHIN THE NEXT TWO WEEKS.

1. I MET ALONE FOR ONE AND A HALF HOURS MARCH 20 WITH PRESIDENT DAOUD’S BROTHER AND CHIEF ADVISER NAIM. THE BACKGROUND TO THIS MEETING WAS A MEETING I HAD WITH DEPUTY FONMIN ABDULLAH ON MARCH 18. AT THAT MEETING I DESCRIBED IN DETAIL TO ABDULLAH CONFIDENTIAL

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SOME OF THE RECENT PROBLEMS WE HAVE BEEN HAVING AND WHICH HAVE BEEN REPORTED SEPARATELY WITH RESPECT TO THE PEACE CORPS, THE AMERICAN FIELD SERVICE EXCHANGE PROGRAM, AND SPECIFIC QUESTIONS INVOLVING THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNICATIONS. AFTER HEARING ABOUT THESE PROBLEMS AND CLEARLY CONCERNED THAT THE GOA WAS GIVING ME THE WRONG SIGNALS, ABDULLAH ARRANGED FOR ME TO SEE NAIM.

2. NAIM BEGAN THE CONVERSATION BY SAYING THAT HE HAD HEARD THAT I HAD SOME PROBLEMS AND GRIEVANCES. HE THEN SPENT 15 OR 20 MINUTES REVIEWING THE HISTORY OF US-AFGHAN RELATIONS DURING THE TIME WHEN HE WAS FOREIGN MINISTER. IT WAS CLEAR FROM HIS DESCRIPTION OF THIS PERIOD THAT HE, AND NO DOUBT HIS BROTHER ALSO, CONTINUE TO HARBOR DISAPPOINTMENT ABOUT OUR PAST SUPPORT FOR PAKISTAN AND WHAT HE TERMED OUR LACK OF SUPPORT FOR AFGHANISTAN. AS FOR THE PRESENT, NAIM STATED THAT THERE CONTINUES TO BE DOUBT AND SUSPICION IN AFGHANISTAN ABOUT THE DEGREE OF AMERICA’S INTEREST IN AND SUPPORT FOR AFGHANISTAN. HE SAID HE REALIZES AFGHANISTAN IS A SMALL COUNTRY MANY THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY FROM THE US AND HE COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THE US MIGHT NOT BE INTERESTED IN AFGHANISTAN. IF THE US IS NOT INTERESTED IN AFGHANISTAN, HE CONTINUED, HE SAID THAT WE SHOULD LET THAT BE KNOWN SO THAT AFGHANISTAN COULD DRAW ITS OWN CONCLUSIONS AND ACT ACCORDINGLY. NAIM ADDED THAT THE GOA IS ITSELF INTERESTED IN A STRONG AMERICAN PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN NOT ONLY BECAUSE THE US CAN ASSIST AFGHANISTAN ECONOMICALLY BUT ALSO BECAUSE A STRONG US PRESENCE ASSISTS AFGHANISTAN POLITICALLY.

3. I BEGAN MY RESPONSE BY REPEATING TO NAIM WHAT I HAD TOLD DAOUD LAST NOVEMBER, NAMELY THAT THE US HAS A STRONG INTEREST IN AFGHANISTAN’S INDEPENDENCE AND INTEGRITY AND ALSO IN AFGHANISTAN’S ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT. I SAID THIS HAD BEEN A CONSISTENT POLICY OF OURS OVER MANY YEARS AND CONTINUES TODAY. I ADDED THAT THE US ALSO ATTACHES GREAT IMPORTANCE TO REGIONAL STABILITY AND THAT IN THIS CONNECTION WE WERE PLEASED WITH AFGHANISTAN’S POLICY OF IMPROVING ITS RELATIONS WITH INDIA AND IRAN.

4. I THEN REVIEWED FOR NAIM THE VARIOUS PROGRAMS OF MUTUAL COOPERATION THAT EXIST BETWEEN OUR TWO GOVERNMENTS. I MENTIONED THAT I HAD WITHIN THE LAST FEW WEEKS SIGNED THREE NEW AID AGREEMENTS WITH HIS GOVERNMENT. I SAID THAT BECAUSE OF NEW AID LEGISLATION OUR ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN WOULD IN

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THE FUTURE CONCENTRATE MORE ON DIRECT AID TO THE PEOPLE IN THE AREAS OF HEALTH, AGRICULTURE AND EDUCATION AND LESS ON CAPITAL PROJECTS. WE WOULD EXPECT THE LATTER TO BE FINANCED LARGELY BY THE ADB AND THE IBRD TO WHICH WE WERE OF COURSE MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS. I ALSO REVIEWED IN GENERAL TERMS OUR CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL EXCHANGE PROGRAM, STRESSING MY CONVICTION THAT TRAINING PEOPLE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF OUR ASSISTANCE TO AFGHANISTAN. NAIM NODDED HIS AGREEMENT TO THIS LATTER POINT. I MENTIONED THAT WE ARE ALSO CONTINUING, WITH HIS GOVERNMENT’S AGREEMENT (HE NODDED AGAIN) OUR MILITARY TRAINING PROGRAM.

5. I THEN REVIEWED IN DETAIL THE PROBLEMS WE HAVE HAD WITH OUR PEACE CORPS PROGRAMS IN THE FIELD OF TUBERCULOSIS, AGRICULTURAL EXTENSION AND, MOST RECENTLY, ENGLISH TEACHING. I SAID THAT I HAD NO “GRIEVANCES” BUT THAT I SAW THREE ASPECTS OF THIS MATTER WHICH REQUIRE SOLUTIONS. THE FIRST IS THE FUTURE OF THE ENGLISH TEACHING VOLUNTEERS WHO HAVE BEEN SUDDENLY REMOVED FROM ANY PRODUCTIVE JOBS IN AFGHANISTAN. SECONDLY, I SAID THAT WE NEEDED TO KNOW WHETHER IT WAS THE POLICY OF THE GOA NOT TO HAVE FOREIGN TECHNICIANS WORKING IN PROVINCIAL AREAS. IN THIS CONNECTION, I REFERRED NOT ONLY TO THE PEACE CORPS BUT TO THE RECENT DECISIONS OF THE GOA TO WITHDRAW AMERICAN MEDICAL TEAMS FROM THE HAZARAJAT AND JALALABAD. FINALLY, I SAID THAT WE NEEDED A DECISION AS E E E E E E E E

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OCT-01

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PC-10

AID-20

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CIAE-00

DODE-00

PM-07

H-03

INR-10

L-03

NSAE-00

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AGR-20

OMB-01

TRSE-00

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DRC-01

SAM-01

IO-14 /196

W ——————————- 026119

R 201115Z MAR 74

FM AMEMBASSY KABUL

TO SECSTATE WASHDC 7237

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 2 OF 2 KABUL 1717

PASS ALSO AID AND PEACE CORPS

6. NAIM TOOK NOTES ON MY PRESENTATION AND SAID HE WOULD REPORT WHAT I HAD TOLD HIM TO HIS BROTHER. HE ASKED FOR DETAILS ON WHEN AND BY WHOM THE PEACE CORPS PROGRAMS HAD BEEN REQUESTED. HE THEN REPEATED WHAT HE HAD SAID EARLIER ABOUT THE GOA’S DESIRE FOR A STRONG AMERICAN PRESENCE IN AFGHANISTAN. HE ALSO SAID THAT AFGHANS AND AMERICANS SHOULD GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER BETTER. HE ADDED THAT THERE ARE, HOWEVER, PEOPLE, YOUNG PEOPLE IN PARTICULAR, IN AFGHANISTAN WHO ARE IMBUED WITH LEFTIST IDEAS AND WHO IN ORDER TO PROMOTE THEMSELVES ATTEMPT TO STIR UP DIFFICULTIES BETWEEN AFGHANISTAN AND THE US. (COMMENT: THIS WAS ONE OF THE CLEAREST ADMISSIONS I HAVE HAD THAT DAOUD AND NAIM HAVE NOT YET BROUGHT THE YOUNG FIREBRANDS IN THEIR REGIME FULLY UNDER CONTROL.) HE SAID THAT THESE PEOPLE DO THIS EVEN THOUGH THE SOVIETS HAVE MADE CLEAR TO THE GOA THAT THEY WANT HARMONY AND STABILITY IN THIS REGION. NAIM SAID THAT HE HOPED I WOULD TAKE THE PROBLEM OF THESE PEOPLE INTO CONSIDERATION IN JUDGING THE ACTIONS OF THE GOA.

7. IN RESPONSE I TOLD NAIM THAT MY APPROACH HAD BEEN AND WOULD CONTINUE TO BE NOT TO ACT ON A DECISION OF ANY INDIVIDUAL MEMBER OF THE GOA WITHOUT MAKING CERTAIN THAT SUCH DECISION REFLECTED THE WISHES OF THE GOVERNMENT AS A WHOLE.

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8. WITH RESPECT TO US ASSISTANCE, NAIM ONCE AGAIN MADE A STRONG PLEA THAT WE CONCENTRATE ON THE HELMAND VALLEY, THAT WE SHOULD NOT “SCATTER OUR SHOTS” AND THAT IF WE WERE TO COMPLETE THIS PROJECT SUCCESSFULLY, BOTH ON A BILATERAL BASIS AND THROUGH THE ADB AND THE IBRD, THIS WOULD NOT ONLY BE OF GREAT BENEFIT TO AFGHANISTAN BUT WOULD ALSO DO MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE WE COULD DO TO ENHANCE THE REPUTATION OF THE US IN AFGHANISTAN. I TOLD NAIM OF THE CURRENT ASSESSMENT OF THE HELMAND WHICH USAID AND HAVA HAVE UNDERTAKEN AND THAT I WOULD BE VISITING THE HELMAND AGAIN MYSELF NEXT WEEK (MARCH 28-30).

9. CONCLUDING THIS PART OF THE CONVERSATION, NAIM ONCE AGAIN INQUIRED AS TO WHETHER THE US IS TRULY INTERESTED IN AFGHANISTAN. I REPEATED WHAT I HAD SAID EARLIER, ADDING THAT I COULD SAY IT AGAIN SEVERAL TIMES IF HE WISHED BUT HOPED OUR ACTIONS WOULD SPEAK LOUDER THAN OUR WORDS. THIS DREW ONE OF THE FEW SMILES FROM HIM IN AN OTHERWISE SERIOUS CONVERSATION.

10. AS I WAS LEAVING, I EXPRESSED MY HOPE THAT HE WOULD HAVE A SUCCESSFUL TRIP TO NORTH AFRICA. HE SAID THAT HE WOULD BE LEAVING MARCH 26 FOR IRAQ, LIBYA AND EGYPT, BUT THAT THE ALGERIANS ARE SO BUSY, PRESUMABLY WITH THE NON-ALIGNED CONFERENCE, THAT HE MIGHT NOT VISIT ALGERIA. HE SAID THAT HE WOULD BE VISITING IRAN IN EARLY MAY AND SPOKE OPTIMISTICALLY ABOUT AFGHANISTAN’S RELATIONS WITH IRAN. PICKING UP MY EARLIER REMARKS ABOUT REGIONAL STABILITY, NAIM SAID THAT HE WISHED AFGHANISTAN COULD ALSO IMPROVE ITS RELATIONS WITH PAKISTAN BUT THAT HE FOUND THE GOP INCREASINGLY MORE DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH. IN THIS CONNECTIONS HE SAID THAT AFGHANISTAN HAS NO DESIRE TO SEE PAKISTAN DISINTEGRATE.

11. I USED THIS OPPORTUNITY TO BRIEF NAIM PER STATE 54992 ON THE MIDDLE EAST SITUATION, FOR WHICH HE WAS GRATEFUL.

12. IN CONCLUSION, NAIM SAID THAT HE BELIEVES IT WOULD BE VERY USEFUL FOR ME TO HAVE A SIMILAR CONVERSATION WITH DAOUD AND THAT HE WOULD TRY TO ARRANGE FOR SUCH A CONVERSATION AFTER MY RETURN FROM THE HELMAND, PRESUMABLY THE WEEK OF APRIL 1.

23. COMMENT: AS VARIOUS MATTERS HAD BEEN COMING TO A HEAD, THIS WAS A GOOD OPPORTUNITY TO START LANCING THE BOIL.

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14. DEPARTMENT REPEAT ELSEWHERE AS DESIRED.

ELIOT

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  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential.
  2. Ambassador Elliot reported on a March 20 conversation with Mohammad Naim, who embarked on a tour d’horizon regarding Afghan-American relations.