185. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Soviet Union1

91597. Subject: Secretary’s Demarche to Dobrynin on Afghanistan. Ref::.

1. (S-Entire text)

2. During a meeting with Ambassador Dobrynin April 11, the Secretary made the following demarche concerning Soviet accusations of U.S. support for the insurgency in Afghanistan.

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3. The Secretary made the following points:

—The United States is not interfering in the internal affairs of Afghanistan and is in no way responsible for the current unrest in that country. This was made clear to the Soviet Government in repeated US public statements2 and in a private demarche delivered by our Embassy to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.3

—At the same time, the United States has made clear that we categorically reject the baseless allegations made by Soviet media of US involvement in Afghanistan’s internal affairs.4

—Despite this, accusations continue to appear in Soviet media. Given similar statements by high Soviet officials we assume these media reports are inspired by the Soviet Government.

—One particularly objectionable example was the April 10 Pravda article by one A. Petrov. This article makes unfounded allegations against Deputy Secretary Warren Christopher and purports to give the names of “US experts in subversive activity.”

—These reports that the United States is responsible for anti-government activity by various Afghan groups are completely false and do not serve the interests of US-Soviet relations or stability in an unsettled area of the world.

—Our two countries can surely agree that the present period is characterized by various tensions and instability in South Asia and the Persian Gulf. Our respective interests should be directed toward insuring peace and stability in these troubled regions, and we believe that an important step in this direction is the avoidance of provocative recriminations and unfounded allegations of outside interference.

—Continued untrue accusations of involvement of the United States can affect the safety of American citizens in Afghanistan. Moreover, steps which inflame regional tensions can lead governments of the region to call for greater involvement of both our countries, a development which would make the instability of the area more dangerous to international peace and security.

  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Cyrus R. Vance, Secretary of State—1977–1980, Lot 84D241, Box 9, Vance NODIS MemCons, 1979. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Drafted by Robert Perito (EUR/SOV); cleared by Gary Matthews (EUR/SOV), James Collins (NEA), Ronald Lorton (NEA/PAB), Jack Perry (S), Jack Miklos (NEA) and Curtis Kamman (S); approved by Barry. Sent for information Immediate to London, Beijing, Jidda, New Delhi, Kabul, Islamabad, and Tehran.
  2. In telegram 72878 to multiple posts, March 23, the Department transmitted excerpts from the March 23 Department press briefing on this subject. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790135–0457)
  3. For the text of the démarche, see telegram 81696 to multiple posts, April 11. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D790150–0644)
  4. In telegram 69537 to multiple posts, March 21, the Department responded to Soviet media accusations that the United States was responsible for the insurgency in Afghanistan. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Cables File, State Department Out, Box 115, 3/17–21/79)