159. Letter From President Carter to Pakistani President Zia ul-Haq1

Dear Mr. President:

The overthrow of the Afghan Government and occupation of that country by Soviet military forces represents a profoundly disturbing threat to the stability of the region and, most directly, to the security of Pakistan.

In these circumstances, it is essential that there be no misunderstanding as to the commitment of the United States to the security and territorial integrity of Pakistan. The 1959 Agreement for Cooperation between the United States and Pakistan represents a firm commitment between our two governments which remains fully valid. Its provisions are directly relevant to a Soviet threat via Afghanistan. I want you to know that the United States intends to stand by its commitments under this Agreement.

I am particularly concerned with the crescendo of charges and threats emanating from certain quarters regarding the presence in your country of hundreds of thousands of unfortunate refugees fleeing oppression and violence in Afghanistan. In these circumstances, the United States reiterates that it considers the Durand Line to be the international frontier between Afghanistan and Pakistan and that our actions under the 1959 Agreement will reflect that fact.2


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Trip File, Box 41, Brzezinski, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia: 2/1–5/80: Briefing Book II. No classification marking.
  2. On the original U.S. policy regarding the Durand Line, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. VIII, South Asia, Documents 103, 112, 114, 117, and 120.