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United States Department of State / Foreign relations of the United States diplomatic papers, 1937. The British Commonwealth, Europe, Near East and Africa

Afghanistan,   pp. 597-614 PDF (6.5 MB)

Page 605

    Memnoranduqm by the Chief of the Division of Near Eastern
                        Affairs (Murray)
                                     [WASHINGTON,] June 22, 1937.
  Mr. John M. Lovejoy, President of the Seaboard Oil Company,
accompanied by Mr. Frederick G. Clapp who is associated with that
company, called on me today prior to an appointment to see the Sec-
retary, regarding recent concessions acquired by subsidiaries of the
above-mentioned company in both Afghanistan 7 and Iran.8
  The principal purpose of the call from the two above-mentioned
officials appears to have been to press upon the Department of State
their desire for the establishment of resident diplomatic representa-
tion in Kabul. Mr. Clapp conveyed to the Secretary a personal mes-
sage from the Prime Minister of Afghanistan expressing the earnest
hope that an American legation would soon be established in the
Afghan capital and stating that an appropriation had been carried
for some time in the Afghan budget for the establishment of an
Afghan legation in Washington.
  Messrs. Lovejoy and Clapp were informed that the Department
had been giving consideration to the question of its representation in
Afghanistan for some time but that no early decision could be taken.
It was pointed out that at the present time American interests in
Afghanistan would hardly warrant the great expense that would be
incurred in establishing any appropriate form of diplomatic repre-
sentation in Kabul. It was made clear to the two officials that in-
adequate representation would be far worse than none at all and
the Department was fully informed of the extensive outlay that would
be necessary in case of affirmative action in this matter. As a great
power represented in Kabul, where we have no political interests
whatsoever and where economic interests are only just beginning to
develop, we should have to maintain an establishment comparable to
that of the British Government which has a vital political interest in
all that happens to Afghanistan. It is known to the Department
that in view of the primitiveness of the country the British Legation
has to maintain several trucks plying constantly between Afghanis-
tan and India in order to obtain the necessary supplies. There is
the further question of protection for an eventual American diplo-
matic mission in Afghanistan, and this is a question which, in view
7 See pp. 597 ff.
'See pp. 734 if.

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