- President Ford
- Mohammad Aziz Naim, special Envoy of the President of Afghanistan
- Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
- Ali Ahmad Khurram, Minister of Planning
- Samed Ghaus, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
THE WHITE HOUSE
MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION
DATE AND TIME: Thursday - July 1, 1976 4:50 - 5:36 p.m.
PLACE: The Oval Office
President: It is a great pleasure to have you here. Please give my regards to your President. I am pleased to say that our bilateral relations are excellent. I would like to have your impression of our relations and the situation in the part of the world.
Naim : It is kind of you, Mr. President. I appreciate this opportunity to meet with you and your associates. I have enjoyed meeting as well with the Congress and Senate. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss our relations.
We feel we must have adequate means to prevent developments against our security. We need information which will help us to know what is going on. As I indicated to Secretary Kissinger, we need help in being more prepared for the future and for threats to our security. I was here as Ambassador when our military attaché prepared a modest list of armament that we needed. We wanted at least enough to give us some help and some indication that we could receive support if needed. It was refused.
When help was refused from the United States, we were completely defenseless and we contacted the Soviets for arms. They responded, and on this basis cooperation developed in other spheres of our country. [Page 2]We have sent officers to the Soviet Union to their military institutions to train. Since the help was coming from them, they said they had to train our personnel. A number of our military people have not only been trained in arms but have received political indoctrination. Numerically they don't represent a significant percent, but they are mostly in jobs which are critical. We are in a posture of visible friendship with the Soviet Union, but we don't want to get too close. We don't feel any results from US-Soviet detente. In our country, we feel the antagonism has increased, not diminished.
If we could have an invisible cooperation on intelligence work and some help with our intelligence organizations, it would be of great help.
The President: How much military aid does the Soviet Union supply?
Naim: It is not significant now. We already have the arms and our people are already trained, so it isn't as much as it was formerly.
Kissinger : I must leave, but as I told Mr. Naim, after discussing with the President we would agree in principle with intelligence cooperation and we will also work out some more visible projects of cooperation.
[Secretary Kissinger leaves]
Naim : You have received a report from Secretary Kissinger. We need assistance in intelligence about what may be going on in Afghanistan. But we also want the presence of a friendly US in Afghanistan, cooperating in development, which will benefit my people and have a symbolic meaning. Most importantly it would be helpful in agriculture—our most important industry.
My people don't want to be gripped by a small percentage of people who are in the services of a foreign power.
We hope to find with you more compassion for our problem and more compassion for our needs in development.
The President: As I recall, in the 50's when I was a Congressman we were helping build a dam. Was it ever completed?
Naim : There was a lot of work done on an irrigation project, but it was a multi-purpose project and unfortunately still isn't completed. Finishing it would give us energy we badly need and allow us to use it to process agriculture. Right now we have no means to make fertilizer.[Page 3]
The President: What are the major agricultural products?
Naim : Fruit, fresh and dried — besides food for home consumption. We need help in learning how to make our dried fruit more marketable in the U.S. I discussed with Mr. McNamara the production of steel. We are in the process of creating a network of railroads which will let us export iron ore and help us in our own consumption. Mr. McNamara promised to send people to study the projects. We thought maybe the U.S. and other developed countries could join to help us develop in these areas.
The President: I will talk with Secretary Kissinger and AID and I hope we can do something worthwhile. As for intelligence, I think we can work something worthwhile. As for intelligence, I think we can work something out but we will have to work out the details.
Naim : That is very kind of you. This kind of help for our security and development will not only help our security but will assist the future of the area where we are living. In conclusion, I am very pleased to be here when the United States is celebrating its independence. I am from a country which has always fought for its independence and it is auspicious that this is the year I am here and you are commemorating yours. I congratulate you on your celebration.
The President: Thank you very much. Please tell your President we will do our best to help in the areas we discussed. Perhaps Secretary Kissinger can visit when he is next in the area.
Naim : Thank you very much. We will warmly welcome Secretary Kissinger whenever he might be able to visit.