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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 609

foreigners enjoy there no capitulatory rights and are subject to
Afghan laws and justice, such as they are. There have been tragic
instances in recent years of foreigners falling into the toils of Afghan
law-an Italian in one case and a German in another-in which their
governments were powerless to accord them adequate protection.
  In view of the above circumstances, I think this Government has
been well advised in the past to refrain from establishing diplomatic
and consular representation in Afghanistan, which would have has-
tened the entry of American interests into that precarious region of
the world. However, now that such interests have entered the
Afghan field without any encouragement on our part, and in view
of the fact that a certain number of American citizens will in all
likelihood be proceeding to that country by another year, I feel that
we must face the realities of the situation and consider the advisability
of a suitable increase in our representation there.
What Forim of Representation Is Desirable
  In view of the foregoing it seems hardly necessary to emphasize
the necessity of selecting with the greatest care the diplomatic repre-
sentative of the United States in Afghanistan. The post at Kabul will
be a very delicate one and is most emphatically not one to be en-
trusted to an amateur if possible disaster in the future is to be avoided.
  I am firmly of the opinion that the best interests of this Government
would be served by sending to Kabul a Minister Resident rather than
a Minister Plenipotentiary for the reason that Ministers Resident
are selected from the most experienced and competent senior officers
of the American Foreign Service.
  Bearing in mind all the circumstances of the situation I am con-
vinced that it would be wise to consider the eventual assignment of
Mr. Cornelius Van H. Engert as Minister Resident at Kabul. Mr.
Engert is now assigned as Counselor of Legation at Teheran and in
the event that our relations with Persia should continue to improve, as
seems quite possible, the need for Mr. Engert there would have ceased
and he might then appropriately proceed to Kabul. As you may
know, Mr. Engert is not a stranger to Afghanistan since he was sent
there by the Department on a special mission in 1922 and prepared
what is still the authoritative government handbook on that country.
  Even if it should be decided not to utilize Mr. Engert in the above-
mentioned capacity, it should be remembered that no Minister Pleni-
potentiary could be sent to Afghanistan in the absence of an appropria-
tion by Congress for the Minister's salary and could only be accom-
plished at the earliest by July 1, 1938. Appropriate recommenda-
tions have been made to the Budget Office for inclusion in the budget
proposals for the fiscal year 1938-39 of a recommendation for the
establishment of a Legation at Kabul.

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