25. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, July 1, 1976, 1 p.m.1 2


  • Secretary’s Luncheon Meeting with Afghanistan Special Envoy Mohammad Naim


  • Afghanistan:
    • Special Envoy Mohammad Naim
    • Ambassador to the United States Malikyar
    • Minister of Planning Ali Ahmad Khurram
    • Mr. Samad Ghaus, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
    • Mr. Abdul Ali Sulaiman, Assistant Chief of Protocol
    • Mr. Abdul Ahad Naser Ziayee, Assistant Director Secretariat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • US:
    • The Secretary
    • Senator Charles Percy
    • Congressman Clement Zablocki
    • Mr. Brent Scowcroft, NSC
    • Mr. Daniel Parker, Administrator, AID
    • Ambassador Theodore L. Eliot, Jr.
    • Mr. Stuart W. Rockwell
    • Mr. Adolph Dubs, Deputy Assistant Secretary, NEA
    • Mr. Robert A. Peck, NEA/PAB (Notetaker)


Memorandum of Conversation

DATE: July 6, 1976

DATE, TIME AND PLACE: July 1, 1976; 1:00 P.M., Secretary’s Office

DISTRIBUTION: S (Aherne), S, S/S, WH(Rodman), NEA (Atherton)

The Secretary: Have you been satisfied with your visit here?

Mr. Naim : It has been a great opportunity for me.

The Secretary: I appreciate very much the talks we had yesterday.[to Scowcroft] I would like to see you for five minutes before the meeting with the President.

Senator Percy: Mr. Secretary, there are two major problems which have over the years caused difficulties between Afghanistan and its immediate neighbors. One is the division of the Helmand River waters with Iran. This issue appears well on its way to being resolved amicably. The second concerns the problems with Pakistan in regardto the Pushtun People who live on both sides of the border. As you [Page 2]know, Prime Minister Bhutto and President Daoud met recently in Kabul and apparently made tremendous progress in their discussions.

The Secretary: This is an impressive achievement. Mr. Naim told me about the talks with Bhutto. I think they made great progress.

Mr. Naim : There remains this internal question for Mr. Bhutto. We hope he will try to have a more balanced policy toward his people.

The Secretary: Did you discuss this with Mr. Bhutto?

Mr. Naim : [inaudible]

The Secretary: [to Scowcroft] We were talking yesterday about how we should have more visible activities in Afghanistan in the economic field. I have been talking to the Deputy Secretary about this. We told Mr. Naim that we agree in principle. We are for greater cooperation, if we can get some projects developed Mr. Naim is going to look into this when he returns to Afghanistan. Chuck is the expert in getting projects developed which others have to pay for. That is an in-house joke. We talked about some possibilities in the mining industry, especially steel production. Is Rogers here?

M.. Rockwell: No.

Senator Percy: You know we have a very visible airport project there. It was built to attract international flights between New Delhi and Tehran back in the days of prop aircraft, but was finished just as jets came into service. Now they all over fly Afghanistan.

The Secretary: Where is it?

Senator Percy: Kandahar.

The Secretary: Was it unknown to AID that jet aircraft were being developed? This of course was before Dan Parker took over.

Mr. Naim : The work was finished just as we entered the jet era.

The Secretary: Why would they ever have had to stop over in Afghanistan. Tehran is nearby.

Senator Percy: In the piston era they needed to refuel between New Delhi and Tehran.

[Page 3]

The Secretary: I must look at a map.

Senator Percy: Mr. Naim had a good meeting with several important Senators, Mr. Secretary. Hubert Humphrey’s eyes glistened when he heard how our new aid projects in Afghanistan are going. We are building schools in rural areas—and other projects—but only after the schools are constructed and in operation do we actually pay the Afghan Government.

Mr. parker: This is called fixed amount reimbursement. We are trying this in the Philippines and in Indonesia as well.

The Secretary: Can we do anything additional in Afghanistan? If not, we will need a new AID Director. Remember, Chuck, I told you once that I kept asking my lawyers a question and they kept giving me the same answer? You told me to get a new lawyer.

Mr. parker: Many of our programs in Afghanistan are just beginning to come to maturity.

The Secretary: We are interested for many reasons to increase our activities in Afghanistan if the Government of Afghanistan can come up with projects.

Ambassador Eliot : Also a number of projects are being developed with assistance from the OPEC countries in which American firms can participate.

The Secretary: [to Robinson] Chuck, can you take a look at some of these projects?

Mr. Robinson: I am already looking into the question and have talked with Director PARKER.

The Secretary: Also get Bill Rogers involved. [to Senator Percy] How did you get interested in Afghanistan?

Senator Percy: My brother-in-law was stationed in Kabul as Peace Corps director. We went over to visit him for two weeks, traveled within Afghanistan, then went on to Hunza in Pakistan. That is how my interest in the two countries developed. I wanted to see if there was some way that tension could be reduced. I suggested a moratorium on hostile propaganda. A date was set, but then the date passed and nothing happened.

Mr. Naim : I remember that we tried [inaudible].

[Page 4]

Senator Percy: It failed at first. The problem was one of simultaneity. But there was great progress indeed on this point in the recent talks in Kabul. Mr. Secretary, you should know that I asked my friend the Ambassador from Afghanistan if I could invite the Pakistani Ambassador to dinner with Mr. Naim. Mr. MALIKYAR said it would be a good idea. YAQUB KHAN later told me how very much impressed he was by the spirit with which Mr. Naim greeted him.

The Secretary: Will President Daoud be going to Pakistan?

Senator Percy: Yes.

The Secretary: Bad relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan undermines the security of the whole region. [to Naim] To what language is yours most similar?

Mr. Naim : It has the same philological root as Persian, but in ancient times they diverged. Now there are two separate languages. It is also related to Sanskrit.

The Secretary: When I was in Kabul they played a game of buzkashi. They play with the body of a calf. It requires tremendous horsemanship. They play with their bare hands and the other team tries to tear the calf away.

Senator Percy: The Ford Administration is thinking of sending a player over this fall to compete—Ronald Reagan. He is one of our great horsemen.

The Secretary: [to Percy] Are you up for reelection this year?

Senator Percy: I am still a statesman. I am up for reelection in 1978.

The Secretary: It is a weird year. I have never seen the polls fluctuate so widely.

Senator Percy: I wonder if Mr. Naim would care to comment on India. Obviously things have changed a great deal in recent months with the exchange of ambassadors with China and an improvement of relations with Pakistan.

Mr. Naim: [inaudible]

The Secretary: It is a good thing India is a pacifist country; otherwise its neighbors would be in serious trouble.

[Page 5]

Mr. Naim : The tension between India and Pakistan is not in anybody’s interest. Relations went sour over a small piece of territory. The Bangladesh people saw that they were not gaining anything and [inaudible]. Bangladesh is afraid.

Senator Percy: Bangladesh is very concerned about India as Chuck Robinson will find out. I had a one and one-half hour meeting yesterday with Admiral Khan of Bangladesh.

The Secretary: Who is this man?

Senator Percy: He is one of three military men running Bangladesh.

The Secretary: It is very strange when world leaders visit Washington and I do not even know they are here. Brent, did you know this man was in town?

Mr. Scowcroft : No.

Mr. Robinson: I am seeing him later this afternoon.

Mr. Peck : He is here to attend the International Naval Review.

Senator Percy: The problem concerns a dam the Indians have built there to take care of silting on the Hooghly River. Bangladesh had observers there to check the water flow. Suddenly the observers were sent home. It is causing grave damage to areas of Bangladesh downstream. I checked into it to see if the World Bank has any leverage, but found that it was strictly an Indian project. There is no international leverage. As you know, our delivery of enriched uranium to the Indian Tarapur reactor is up for renewal. At least we ought to talk with the Indians to make sure that they don’t…

The Secretary: [to Naim] Do you think they are overly concerned or do they have reason to be concerned?

Mr. Naim : It is my impression that it is somewhat real. India is not very [inaudible].

Senator Percy: India may want to give a signal as to what it can do to them if they want to.

Mr. Naim : [inaudible]

[Page 6]

The Secretary: In 1971 I was convinced that sooner or later Bangladesh would get into trouble with India. [Raising his glass] Mr. Naim, I want to tell you how delighted I am to have you here with us. We hope you will be nice to Mr. Reagan when we send him to you in October. But in all seriousness, I have valued our discussions greatly. We are prepared to improve our relations further, and we will welcome efforts from your side to this same end. I want to propose a toast to friendship between the Afghan and American people.

Mr. Naim : I want to express my gratitude for your hospitality, Mr. Secretary. We wish to see ever closer relations between the American and Afghan peoples. We will work with honest sincerity to create a concrete basis for cooperation between our two countries. I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to see your great country again and for fruitful discussions with many Congressmen and Senators. This was not only a great honor for me, but I feel it will be of final benefit for my country. Let Me propose a toast to the American people and to friendship between our two countries.

Senator Percy: The Ambassador speaks excellent English. The problem is to encourage him to speak in English. You speak French too?

Mr. Naim : Yes.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Confidential; Nodis. It was drafted on July 6 by Robert Peck (NEA/PAB); and approved in S on July 20. The meeting took place in the Secretary’s Office. All brackets in the original.
  2. Secretary of State Kissinger lunched with Special Envoy Mohammad Naim and discussed aid to Afghanistan.