282. Letter From Secretary of State Muskie to Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko1

Dear Mr. Minister:

Since our meeting in Vienna,2 I have given a great deal of thought to your views on the situation in Afghanistan and to our own concerns about events there. I noted your indication of an interest in continuing an exchange on this issue and on the importance of improving relations between our two countries.

It is the position of the United States that any viable solution to the problem of Afghanistan must be based on the principles of non-intervention and non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign nations. Accordingly, with the prompt withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the United States will be prepared to join in assurances and arrangements to establish a truly independent and non-aligned Afghanistan, administered by a government acceptable to the Afghan people.

The United States has no interest in interfering in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. We will not endorse arrangements designed to perpetuate a government imposed upon Afghanistan through foreign arms. Nor could we agree to conditions which affect adversely our own vital interests in the area or those of Afghanistan’s neighbors.

If the foregoing approach is accepted by the Soviet Union, the United States would be prepared to explore some transitional arrangement, to be implemented along with the prompt withdrawal of all Soviet troops from Afghanistan, for the purpose of ensuring that peace and tranquility are restored in Afghanistan. The creation of an international peacekeeping force could be considered in this connection.

It is the US view that a solution based on such principles would facilitate the restoration of more cooperative relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.


Edmund S. Muskie
  1. Source: Department of State, Office of the Secretariat Staff, Special Adviser to the Secretary (S/MS) on Soviet Affairs Marshall Shulman—Jan 21, 77–Jan 19, 81, Lot 81D109, Box 5, Muskie/Gromyko Letter, 6/5/80. Secret; Sensitive.
  2. Document 278.