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The Minister in Afghanistan (Engert) to the Secretary of State No. 577

KABUL, November 11, 1944.

[Received December 1.] Sir: In amplification of the final paragraph of this Legation's despatch No. 566 of October 27, 1944,12 I have the honor to report the results to date of the efforts of the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, and India to supply to Afghanistan its minimum essential import requirements in time of war.

It will be recalled that the immediate objective which led the three supplying countries to agree upon a policy favoring the release from their war-restricted stocks of the minimum needs of Afghanistan was the prevention of internal disturbances in this country which might result in tribal uprisings along the Northwest Frontier of India. This objective has been achieved. Disturbances within the country have not exceeded the usual outbreaks of normal times, and the BritishIndian authorities have been gratified by the absence of serious troubles on the Frontier.

This satisfactory situation must in large part be credited to the arrival in Afghanistan of gasoline and other supplies and equipment which permitted the maintenance of minimum transportation facilities, of textiles, tea, sugar and other essential consumers goods, and of industrial supplies and equipment which enabled Afghanistan's own productive plant to continue in operation. These imports, while far from lavish, prevented the average Afghan from falling to a level of privation which would have induced him to heed the promptings of malcontents urging revolt against the established regime. Moreover, the strength and prestige of the regime has been enhanced by its ability successfully to negotiate with foreign governmentssuccess in this instance being tangibly attested by the importation of urgently needed goods. It would be difficult, for example, to estimate the bolstering which the present Afghan Government will receive from the appearance throughout the country of 648 new trucks, distinctively finished in the military drab of the American and British armies.

The Afghan Government has not failed to appreciate the prestige value of its successes in obtaining supplies, as evidenced by two articles which appeared in the Kabul newspaper Islah on October 1 and 7, 1944. Translations of these articles are enclosed.13 The first reports the acquisition of 648 trucks from the United States, and the second gives details with respect to textiles, gasoline, and other essential imports received under quota from India. It is understood that similar articles on subsequent imports will be published from time to time.

12 Not printed. 13 Neither printed.

As the enclosed articles reveal, the policy adopted by the supplying countries has had the further result of measurably improving relations between Afghanistan and India, and between Afghanistan and the British generally. This development, to some extent attributable to the joint American-British requirements procedure, is very gratifying. In the long view, the stability and progress of Afghanistan are dependent upon its establishing and maintaining amicable relations with its immediate neighbors. If supply assistance during wartime should prove to be a source of continuing better relations between the Afghans and the British, it will have been a major contribution to the stability of Central Asia.

Afghan gratitude toward India and the British has not developed at the expense of the United States. The Afghan Government regards the United States as the prime source of its requirements, despite the fact that much the greater share of its needs are in fact supplied from India. Requirements problems are almost invariably discussed with this Legation in the first instance, regardless of the probable source of supply. Even after it has been determined that India or the United Kingdom will supply, this Legation is too often embarrassed by requests—usually unnecessary-from Afghan officials to intercede with the British Legation on Afghanistan's behalf. There can be no doubt that our present policy is laying a firm foundation for cordial post-war relations between the United States and Afghanistan in the general political sphere, as well as in economic and commercial fields.

If the results thus far achieved are to be lasting, it is, of course, important that our present policy be maintained throughout the war and in the immediate post-war reconstruction period. I am somewhat concerned lest Afghanistan's needs may be lost sight of in the latter period, and I respectfully urge the Department, and other interested agencies in Washington now planning for that period, to bear in mind that this small country has an important strategic position in the Middle East, apart from its influence as an independent Mohammedan power. Respectfully yours,


890H.24/9-2544 The Assistant Adviser, War Supply and Resources Division (Farriss)

to the Chief of the Afghanistan Section, Foreign Economic Administration (Meeker)

WASHINGTON, December 18, 1944. . MY DEAR MR. MEEKER: Because of a re-assignment of responsibility for Afghan economic matters in the Office of Wartime Economic Affairs, we have delayed answering your letter to Mr. Merchant of September 25.

With reference to the question of general procedure raised in the penultimate paragraph of your letter, it is our understanding that all export license applications should indicate that the commodities covered are for use in the specific Government Department or project for which they have been approved. If the commodities, however, are not included in the approved program but have received the approval of the Department of State, the Foreign Economic Administration may validate the export license if the supply situation permits. It is also our understanding that the commodities under general license, even though not included in the program, may be shipped to Afghanistan.

At the present time, we are discussing with the British the question of permitting licensing of materials in free supply in excess of the program, or items not included in the program. This problem is. related to the availability of shipping.

We shall inform you as soon as a reply is received from the British. Sincerely yours,




The Chargé in Egypt (Jacobs) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, June 8, 1944–11 a. m.

[Received June 9—11:45 a. m.] 1551. With reference to post-war aviation development in the Middle East, Legation learns from usually reliable source of detailed proposal for construction and equipment by Royal Air Force of large modern airport at present Almaza Field near Cairo.

Project is said to comprise two parts (1) a civil airport to cost about half million pounds to be borne by the Egyptian Government, the RAF providing material and transport at lowest available prices and (2) a military airport to cost 80,000 pounds at expense of RAF to revert to Egypt after hostilities cease in all theatres. The proposed airdrome is to be large enough to take and service virtually unlimited number of largest planes. Project will take about 18 months and the RAF would use and control the airport for the period of hostilities

Project is reputed to have already been approved by Technical Committee of National Defense Committee which has a 3-year plan for approximately same development against half that period by RAF.

With this project there is reported to have been presented to Council of Ministers another proposal for creating an Egyptian Ministry of Aviation to begin as a Sub-Secretariat for Air under but relatively independent of Ministry of National Defense. According to the report these proposals were discussed at a secret meeting of Council of Ministers on June 6th lasting until 2 a. m. June 7th. I am trying to obtain confirmation and further details.


For correspondence regarding civil and military aviation interests of the United States in Iran and in Saudi Arabia, see pp. 486 ff. and 661 ff., respectively. See also vol. II, section entitled “Preliminary and exploratory discussions regarding international civil aviation; conference held at Chicago, November 1-December 7, 1944.”

883.7962/52: Telegram

The Chargé in Egypt (Jacobs) to the Secretary of State

CAIRO, June 13, 1944 4p.m.

[Received 4:22 p. m.] 1602. With reference to telegram 1551, June 8, 11 a. m., Legation is informed that no decision on airport project was adopted by Council of Ministers but that it will be discussed at another subsequent meeting. Contacted Commercial Counselor? of the British Embassy who has promised to furnish further information.


883.7962/52: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Chargé in Egypt (Jacobs)

WASHINGTON, June 22, 1944–11 p. m. 1564. Department desires that you follow closely development of proposals described in your 1551, June 8, 11 a. m. and your 1602, June 13, 4 p. m. with respect to the civil airport to be constructed in Egypt. In your discussions with British and Egyptian authorities, please take a suitable occasion to express our confidence that duly authorized American air services will be entitled to use all such facilities on a national and most-favored-nation basis.


883.7962/6–2944: Telegram

The Minister in Egypt (Tuck) to the Secretary of State


CAIRO, June 29, 1944—8 p. m.

[Received 9:04 p. m.] 1840. Reference Department's No. 1564, June 22, 11 p. m. I have left an aide-mémoire with the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs : along the lines of the Department's telegram under acknowledgment. I was today informed by that official that the matter has been referred to Nahas Pasha, the Prime Minister, and that a reply will be forthcoming within a week's time.

I consider it advisable not to approach the British authorities again on the subject until I learn what the attitude of the Egyptian Government may be. I am following the matter closely and will report telegraphically when information becomes available.


Charles Empson. * Sallah ed Dine.


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