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890H.24/6-3044 : Telegram

The Minister in Afghanistan (Engert) to the Secretary of State

KABUL, June 30, 1944-11 a. m.

[Received July 48:16 a. m.] 104. I should appreciate learning outcome of conversations referred to in second section of your 48, May 10.

Since then I have had several talks with the British Minister and I know he has definitely recommended to his Government that a separate tonnage quota for American exports to Afghanistan be granted. We are in complete agreement that such quota would be desirable provided our two Legations continued to screen global Afghan requirements as to source of supply and urgency. Subject to this screening and selective licensing by FEA, the Afghans would be permitted to make their own priority rating within the quota. It is also assumed that War Shipping Administration would review Afghan cargo lists to prevent misuse of shipping space.

It would have to [be] made clear to Afghans that if they wasted quota on nonessentials they could not expect to obtain additional tonnage for essentials.

Quota of 300 tons per quarter should be adequate for the present but space for motor vehicles should be allocated in addition and as special case.



The Minister in Afghanistan (Engert) to the Secretary of State

No. 525

KABUL, August 25, 1944.

[Received September 9.] Sir: [Here follows section recapitulating the visit to Kabul in January 1944, of Dr. Eric Beecroft, and describing certain changes effected in the Afghan Ministry of National Economy relative to the problem of Afghan supply requirements.]

The procedure adopted for the handling of 1945 requirements is explained in detail in an attached memorandum? prepared by Mr. Mathews. It is only necessary to add here that this procedure provides an excellent basis for the establishment of a separate tonnage quota for American exports to Afghanistan. By January 1, 1945, there should be received in Washington a complete list of Afghanistan's total import requirements from which a program of exports from the United States could be derived. A tonnage quota adequate

? Not printed.
* Elbert G. Mathews, Second Secretary of Legation.

for this program could then be determined and allotted to the Afghans. (Reference my telegram No. 104, June 30, 11 a.m., 1944.)

One possible reservation with respect to the completeness of the Afghan requirements lists must be noted. These lists may not include certain requirements which the Afghans hope to obtain, or have reason to believe they can obtain, from or through Russia. However, at the present time imports into Afghanistan from Russia are negligible.

The difficulties connected with requirements work here can be succinctly summarized as lack of information from Washington, London, and New Delhi. On the one hand, the British Legation has been unable to obtain from London or New Delhi any definite or comprehensive indication of the products which can, or cannot, be supplied from the United Kingdom or India. Moreover, unreasonable delays are encountered when inquiries are sent to the Government of India requesting information concerning the Indian supply position with respect to specific commodities. On the other hand, this Legation has never been able to obtain any information from Washington with respect to Lend-Lease shipments to India, total quarterly allocations for exports from the United States to Afghanistan (with the exception of allocations for one quarter which were provided), or actual exports from the United States to Afghanistan. (Reference my despatch No. 468, June 14, 1944 °). In the absence of the foregoing information, it is difficult for the two Legations to make intelligent recommendations as to the source of supply of Afghan requirements, or accurate evaluations of the urgency and extent of Afghan needs for 1945. I venture once again to express the hope that the Department, the Foreign Economic Administration, or some other United States agency will find it possible to provide this Legation with some reasonably current data on American exports to Afghanistan, both projected and actual.

The importance of providing Afghanistan's minimum essential import requirements is inherent in its geographic position as a Middle Eastern country. A cessation of imports would affect most seriously certain segments of the Afghan economy. The resulting difficulties might rouse the turbulent Afghans to widespread disturbances directed against the existing Government. Such disturbances would almost certainly affect the tribal areas abutting on India and result in border incidents which, in turn, would necessitate military action against the tribes by the Government of India. Moreover, trouble in Afghanistan might have repercussions throughout the Middle and Near Eastern area, from Iran to Saudi Arabia. Afghan requirements are not large, and to supply them at the present time could therefore be regarded as a small premium to insure against an annoying distrac

Not printed.

tion while the war is still in progress, and a focus of Moslem disaffection in the post-war period. Respectfully yours,



890H.24/9 The Chief of the Afghanistan Section, Foreign Economic Admin

istration (Meeker), to the Chief of the Eastern Hemisphere Division (Merchant)

WASHINGTON, September 25, 1944. DEAR MR. MERCHANT: It seems desirable to review the general procedure for screening Afghan import requirements in order to be certain that F.E.A. handling of such requirements is in accordance with State Department policy.

It is our understanding that Afghanistan's total import requirements are submitted simultaneously to the British and American Legations in Kabul for their joint decision as to sources of supply under the present wartime conditions. Those requirements which it is agreed should be exported from the United States are then transmitted to the F.E.A. by your Department in the form of lists broken down by Afghanistan Governmental departments or by Governmentsponsored “projects”.

At present, these lists are examined by F.E.A., in the light of supply conditions in the United States, and the Legation in Kabul is notified through your Department in cases where it is not possible to supply the commodities required. Those lists of commodities which can be supplied then constitute final approved programs of Afghanistan export requirements from the United States.

Export license applications covering those commodities which are included in approved programs may then be accepted by F.E.A. However, the application must, in all cases, show that the requirement is for use in the specific government department or “project” for which it has been approved. If commodities for which an export license is requested are not listed in the program, the license is rejected even though the materials included are in free supply. Commodities under general license or otherwise not under license control are, of course, not included in the foregoing procedure.

I should be grateful if you would let me know whether this method of handling exports to Afghanistan is in accordance with your understanding and with the procedure agreed upon by the United States and British Legations in Kabul. Sincerely yours,

KENNETH MEEKER 890H.24/9-2544 Memorandum by the Chief of the Division of Middle Eastern

Affairs (Allen) to the Chief of the Eastern Hemisphere Division (Merchant) 10

[WASHINGTON,] September 26, 1944. I am not able to say precisely whether the attached letter 11 from FEA describes correctly the procedure with regard to screening exports to Afghanistan, but it seems to set forth the situation as I understand it.

There are certain features of the arrangement, however, which we have never liked and which I would be very glad to see revised: Perhaps the present is a good time to do so.

In the first place the Afghan Minister in Washington has always objected strenuously to the arrangement by which Afghan requirements must be submitted simultaneously to the British and American Legations in Kabul. The particular feature of this arrangement to which he objects is the fact that the British authorities are permitted to determine which Afghan requirements can be supplied from British or Indian sources. Those requirements which are left over are referred to the United States. The arrangement gives the British the refusal of all of Afghanistan's foreign trade, regardless of any preference which Afghanistan may have in the matter. I concur with the Minister that this is an entirely undesirable situation both from the point of view of Afghanistan and the United States. If importers in Afghanistan prefer for reasons of their own to trade direct with the United States, I think some arrangement should be possible for them to do so. I am aware that the present situation grew out of the shortage of shipping space, but I do not believe this shortage is nearly as strenuous at present as it once was (we recently had a report from our Consulate at Tehran that cargo space from the Persian Gulf was not being fully utilized, and we know that available cargo space from the United States to the Middle East has been less than 25% utilized during the past quarter).

Since there is now an Afghan Legation in Washington and an Afghan Consulate and trading organization in New York, I would suggest the discontinuance of the present system and the establishment of an arrangement by which the Afghans would determine themselves whether they desire to purchase from the United States. If so, they should submit their American requirements solely to the American Legation in Kabul. Our Minister there should subject the requirements to the appropriate screening tests and forward them to the Department with his recommendations. FEA could then determine whether appropriate export licenses should be issued.

10 Marginal notation by Mr. Merchant: "These objections seem cogent to me.”

u supra.

I think an arrangement reported in the following sentence in the FEA letter of September 25 is particularly objectionable: "If commodities for which an export license is requested are not listed in the program, the license is rejected even though the materials included are in free supply”. We recently had a striking example of the difficulty caused by this system. The Afghan Government desired to purchase a number of school laboratory supplies in the United States, totaling in value something over $800.00. We forwarded the export applications of the Afghan Government to FEA recently with a recommendation that they be approved despite the fact that the supplies were not included in a program for Afghanistan. It is almost impossible for forward programs to take care of numerous small items of this kind, and if the articles are a [in] free supply and there is shipping space, I see no reason in the world why the export licenses should not be issued.


8901.24/10-2344 Memorandum of Conversation, by the Director of the Office of Near

Eastern and African Affairs (Murray)

[WASHINGTON,] October 23, 1944. The Afghan Minister called at his request upon Mr. Murray. The Minister made the following observations.

[Here follow discussions of miscellaneous matters.] 4. He understood that there are an increasing number of American flag ships on the United States-India run. He felt, therefore, that this might be a suitable time to establish a separate Afghan shipping

a quota.

5. He hoped that something could be done to lessen the difficulties being experienced at present in securing shipping space and import licenses for items of Afghan produce.

6. His Government urgently needs certain supplies of paper for which export licenses have been submitted to FEA. These licenses have not yet been issued and the Minister hoped that they might be in the near future.

Mr. Murray replied that the several matters mentioned by the Minister would be looked into with a view to corrective or helpful action where possible. [Here follows further discussion of unrelated matters.]

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