18. Memorandum of Conversation, New York, September 6, 1975, 10:30 a.m.1 2


  • Secretary’s Conversation with Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister WAHEED ABDULLAH


  • U.S.
  • Secretary Kissinger
  • SIDNEY SOBER, Acting Assistant Secretary, NEA
  • Peter D. Constable, NEA/PAB (Notetaker)
  • Afghanistan
  • Deputy Foreign Minister Waheed ABDULLAH
  • Ambassador MALIKYAR
  • UN Permanent Representative Mohammed Aziz Naim


Memorandum of Conversation

Date: September 6, 1975

Time: 10:30 a.m.

DISTRIBUTION: S- Mr. Adams, Mr. Bremer; WH-Mr. Rodman; S/S

[As the Secretary greeted the Deputy Foreign Minister, a large group of photographers entered and took pictures for a brief period.]

THE SECRETARY: What have you done to bring so many photographers in? Started a war? [Laughter]

ABDULLAH: I bring you the best wishes of President Daoud and his brother Mr. Naim.

THE SECRETARY: I have the warmest recollection of my stay in Kabul. I really did enjoy it very much.

ABDULLAH: You are most welcome anytime. Your stay was very short but I hope you enjoyed the buzkashi.

THE SECRETARY: I loved it, and I loved the spectacular scenery in Afghanistan. And I liked the people very much.

ABDULLAH: Your visit created a very great impression. President Daoud and Mr. Naim recall the talks they held with you very favorably. [Page 2]I want to congratulate you on the important agreement that was signed in the Middle East after your long personal effort. We are very pleased that it resulted in agreement. It is a good sign and we hope future efforts will bring lasting peace in the area.

THE SECRETARY: That is our intention. It is very nice of you to say it.

ABDULLAH: It is important for the world. If the Arabs don’t get united, then there can be more difficulties.

THE SECRETARY: The Arabs have to understand what is possible and not ask for the impossible. Sadat understood this.

ABDULLAH: The view among some Arabs keeps them apart from each other.

THE SECRETARY: That is a great mistake. It is playing into the hands of those who want a stalemate in the Middle East and who are against the U.S. playing a positive role there.

ABDULLAH: We were active at Lima in trying to prevent a move against Israeli membership in the UN.

THE SECRETARY: That would be a disaster. We appreciate your help. I don’t understand why North Korea was admitted as non-aligned and not South Korea. I could understand not admitting either one, but not the acceptance of one without the other.

ABDULLAH: I was very tough on the issue at the first plenary. I said we must stick with the merits and philosophy of non-alignment. We should not let in those who don’t fit the criteria. However, only Ghana supported me, but it was too late to affect the issue. What is the meaning of alignment and non-alignment if North Korea is considered non-aligned?

THE SECRETARY: I am happy to note that there are not too many problems in our relations.

ABDULLAH: Fortunately, no, there are not any. Your presence in Afghanistan is very important to us. President Daoud told you that this is the view of the Government of Afghanistan. We are expecting more in the field of economic assistance.

[Page 3]

THE SECRETARY: Is the Helmand project going forward? It is? That’s very good.

ABDULLAH: We have established a kind of joint commission to plan and review U.S. projects. Ambassador Eliot and Mr. Brown are very helpful to us and have our confidence. Now, our relations with Pakistan are not normal. President Daoud has explained this to you. We have discussed it with the Iranians and we explained it to the Chinese. I spent 45 minutes with Chou En-Lai.

THE SECRETARY: Is he sick?

ABDULLAH: Not politically.

THE SECRETARY: He doesn’t look it. The place he is staying looks like a villa, not a hospital.

ABDULLAH: Pakistan is not trying to help to improve relations.

THE SECRETARY: I have trouble grasping this issue. What do you want precisely?

ABDULLAH: We are against the disintegration of Pakistan. We have no claim against their territory, although we could have. We talked to Iran and India, and they all want us to have good relations with Pakistan.

THE SECRETARY: I know some Indians who think Afghanistan belongs to India.

ABDULLAH: You have heard this from Bhutto?

THE SECRETARY: No. From Indians.

ABDULLAH: We are not attached to the Subcontinent. We don’t consider ourselves part of South Asia. Pakistan has been intervening in our affairs. A group of terrorists affiliated with the Muslim brotherhood planned to strike against the government in Kabul and in five of our provinces. Fortunately they miscalculated and could not succeed. They planned to blow up the high tension lines but they failed. They confessed that they received training and help from the Pakistanis.

THE SECRETARY: What do you want in Pushtunistan? Self-determination?

[Page 4]

ABDULLAH: We want only legal rights for the Pushtuns and Baluchis, under the Pakistani constitution. We want Bhutto to treat them with love and affection.

THE SECRETARY: Who treats anyone with love and affection in the Subcontinent? Love and affection are not really my style, at least not politically. [Laughter]

ABDULLAH: Oh, yes. Look what you achieved in the Middle East settlement using love and affection. [Laughter] That is all we want from the Pakistanis. At the Islamic meeting in Jidda Aziz Ahmed kept avoiding me. I did finally talk to Agha Shahi. I said the same thing to him. I said, “Tell me when you are going to be politically mature enough to assess your situation realistically. Your country is shaky.”

THE SECRETARY: When you speak of Pushtunistan, do you mean Peshawar?

ABDULLAH: Peshawar, Gilgit, Chitral, the areas where the tribes live.

THE SECRETARY: Yes, I know it. It is wildly romantic. Have I told you before what happened when I was there in 1962?

[Laughs] Yes. President Kennedy sent you away.

THE SECRETARY: If we want to help, what should we tell the Pakistanis? Love and affection?

ABDULLAH: Yes. By the trial of WALI KHAN in the Supreme Court, the Pakistanis are trying to mix Daoud and Afghanistan up with Wali Khan. The future implications of this are not realized in Pakistan. They are handling the case with emotionalism and sensationalism. Bhutto always acts on this basis without realizing the effect. We have told him that we are ready for any dialogue. But the political problem must be understood in Pakistan. There is an attachment of these people to the people of Afghanistan. The future of Pakistan depends on good relations with us.

THE SECRETARY: Seriously, what could we do? Love and affection is a difficult concept to put across.

ABDULLAH: Anything you want to propose. Use your good offices as the peace-seeking Secretary. Both we and the Pakistanis are [Page 5]good friends with you. We are expecting good offices from you. We want this problem solved.

THE SECRETARY: If we can be helpful, we will be prepared to put forward any concrete ideas you may have.

ABDULLAH: This is a concrete idea.

THE SECRETARY: What if Bhutto says he is showing love and affection?

ABDULLAH: He is not. There are refugees from Baluchistan in Afghanistan. We don’t want to have to take care of refugees. If Bhutto does not solve his problem, there will be difficulties.

THE SECRETARY: There are two problems I would like to take up with you. The first is the outcome of the Special Session. We want to avoid a confrontational atmosphere. The speech which Ambassador Moynihan delivered for me was a serious attempt to make a positive contribution. We would like to see agreement on common principles at the Session and some agreement on policies. And we would like to see agreement to negotiate where we disagree. This kind of result from the Special Session will help those of us in America who want a constructive approach to these problems. Any influence you have to help us on this will be appreciated. Secondly, the Korean item will come up in two or three months in the General Assembly. We won’t accept a vote which asks us to withdraw troops from South Korea, when those troops are there on the basis of a bilateral defense treaty. The United Nations does not look at other countries where troops arestationed under bilateral agreements, and we don’t think the UN should make a judgment in this case.

ABDULLAH: We have relations with both Koreas. Our official view is to support the peaceful reunification of Korea.

THE SECRETARY: We have no problem with that.

ABDULLAH: The North Koreans have approached me on this. I say that we want to see a peaceful reunification of Korea. We abstained last year on both Korean resolutions.

[As Abdullah took leave of the Secretary he said he thought the results of the Special Session may be favorable.]

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Nodis. It was drafted by Constable (NEA/PAB) and approved in S on October 2. The meeting was held at the Waldorf Towers Hotel
  2. Secretary of State Kissinger met with Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdullah and discussed matters related to non-alignment, economic development, and Pushtunistan.