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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 08, 1980


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    CPSU CC Politburo Decision, 8 May 1980, with Politburo Commission Report, 6 May 1980, and Approved Cable to Soviet Ambassador in Kabul instruction him what to tell Karmal regarding the situation in Afghanistan
    "CPSU CC Politburo Decision, 8 May 1980, with Politburo Commission Report, 6 May 1980, and Approved Cable to Soviet Ambassador in Kabul," May 08, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD [RGANI] f. 89, per. 34, dok. 8. Obtained by Mark Kramer. Translation by Vladislav M. Zubok.
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Proletarians of the world, unite!

Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

Top Secret

No. P[olitburo session] 195/[Issue] XYIII
For comrades Brezhnev, Kossygin, Andropov, Gromyko, Kirilenko, Suslov, Ustinov, Ponomarev, Russakov, Zamyatin, Smirtyukov

Excerpt from the Protocol no. 195 of the session of the Politburo of the CC CPSU from 8 May 1980.

On the proposals for political settlement concerning Afghanistan.

1. To agree with the considerations on this issue laid out in the memorandum of the Commission of the Politburo CC CPSU on Afghanistan on 6 May 1980 (attached)

2. To approve the draft instructions to the Soviet ambassador in Kabul (attachment 1) and the Soviet ambassador in Havana (attachment 2) [not printed--ed.]


To the point XYII of the Protocol no. 195


In accordance to the decision of 10 March 1980 (Pyongyang 187/33) a common line has been worked out with the leadership of the DRA on the issue of a political settlement of the situation around Afghanistan. It was assumed in doing this, that later, particularly taking into account the implementation of the Cuban initiative of goodwill services and the overall development of the situation around Afghanistan, it will be possible to return to a more specific definition of a foundation where one could start in bringing about a political settlement.

At the present time it is advisable to recommend to the Afghan leadership to step forward with an across-the-board program of political settlement stemming from the scheme of principles which has been agreed upon ealier. Such a step would make it easier to influence the developing situation around Afghanistan in a direction favorable for Afghanistan and the USSR. It would also promote the international stature of the government of B. Karmal.

It is advisable to inform F. Castro of our recommendations to B. Karmal concerning the promotion of such a program, since the Cuban comrades need to take these recommendations into account while implementing their initiaitve of setting up talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Submitting for consideration,

A. Gromyko Yu. Andropov D. Ustinov B. Ponomarev

6 May 1980
no. 391/gs

[attachment 1]

Concerning point XVII of the
Protocol no. 195
Attachment 1


Pay a visit to B. Karmal and, referring to the order, give him the following information.

As has become known, it has been agreed in the course of the exchange of opinions with the Afghan leadership regarding the mission of goodwill services by Cuba to continue joint coordination on the issues concerning the promotion of the idea of political settlement.

The analysis of the situation reveals that at the present moment there is an ongoing divergence of approaches of various countries towards Afghanistan and what happens around it.

On one side, the USA, China, and a number of other states continue their hostile subversive activity against Afghanistan, actively strive to counteract consolidation of positions of the government of the DRA inside the ecountry and on the international arena. It is no coincidence, therefore, that Cuba's intiative to set up a dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan evoked a sharp negative reaction in those countries.

On the other side, the reaction of some other countries, particularly Arab states of the Steadfastness Front [against Israel-ed.], to the declaration of the government of the DRA in favor of a political settlement, to the clarifications made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Sh.M. Dost during his recent trip, and also to the useful efforts undertaken by Cuba concernining the mission of goodwill services, all this definitely indicates the emergence of more realistic trends. By the way, the mission of goodwill services of Cuba turned out to be undoubtedly useful for at least one reason: it became clear today who really stands for a political settlement and who would prefer to limit oneself to talks on this subject in order to mask the continuing interference into the affairs of Afghanistan.

All this testifies to the necessity of further and more intense efforts to promote the idea of a political settlement, to fill it with content corresponding with our joint interests. These interests, as we believe, will be well served if the Afghan government would promote an across-the-board program of political settlement, which would become a logical follow-up and specific development of the repeated declarations of the DRA about its readiness to normalize relations with Pakistan and Iran.

It is absolutely clear that realization of bilateral agreements between Afghanistan and Pakistan, [and] between Afghanistan and Iran, constitute an obligatory key element of a political settlement. It is no coincidence, that this principled position is consciously ignored in all kinds of Western plans, based on the intention to internationalize the Afghan issue and to resolve it without the participation of the government of the DRA and against the interests of Afghan people.

The advancement of an across-the-board program of settlement by the Afghan government would be, in our opinion, very timely today also from in view of exercising appropriate influence on the position of the countires, participants of the next session of the Ministers of foreign affairs of the Islamic states, forthcoming in May of this year.

If our Afghan friends share this opinion, [they] could publish in the immediate future a Declaration of the government of the DRA, where, in the introductory part they would formulate in a comprehensive program some specific proposals concerning a political settlement.

The introductory part of the Declaration may point out that Afghan people, by proclaiming in April 1978 a national democratic revolution, made its final choice and set itself upon the path of construction of a new society in the country, based on principles of equality and fairness, while preserving its Islamic character and respecting historic and national tradition, the society that excludes exploitation of man by man. [The Afghan people] would like to build a new life for itself under peaceful conditions, developing friendly and cooperative relations with all its neighbors, with Muslim countries [and] all other states. However, it confronted brutal interference, including by military force, into its internal affairs, on the part of the imperialist and other reactionary forces.

To underline, that the people of Afghanistan is full of determination to defend the freedom and independence of its Motherland, its right to define for itself a social-political order under which it would like to live.

Then one could formulate the following specific postulates of the program of political settlement itself.

Affirming that in accordance to the basic principles of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan the international affairs of the DRA are based on the principles of peaceful coexistence and on the policy of positive and active non-alignment, the government of the DRA declares its intention to achieve a political settlement to ensure complete and guaranteed cessation of aggressive actions against Afghanistan, subversive acts and any other forms of interference from outside into its internal affairs, to liquidate the existing tension in the area and to overcome the differences through peaceful means, by means of negotiations. To this end:

1) The government of the DRA proposes to the governments of Pakistan and Iran to hold Afghan-Pakistani and Afghan-Iranian negotiations, having in mind the development of bilateral agreements about normalization of relations. Such agreements might contain commonly accepted articles concerning mutual respect for sovereignty, readiness to develop relations on the basis of principles of good neighborliness and non-interference into internal affairs, and might include specific committments to suppress military and any other hostile activity from their territory against each other.

2) The government of the DRA appeals again to the Afghans who temporarily stay, for different reasons, on the territory of Pakistan and Iran, to return to the Motherland. It confirms that they would be respected and their liberties and personal protection would be guaranteed, and they would be able to choose freely their place of residence and type of occupation. The government of the DRA appeals to the authorities in Pakistan and Iran to assist the free return of the aforementioned persons to Afghanistan. However, if any part of those Afghanis prefers to stay [abroad], then the questions concerning their presence must also be discussed during bilateral negotiations with a view to achieving appropriate agreements.

3) Upon achieving mutually satisfactory solutions to the problems indicated in points 1 and 2, and upon normalization on this basis of relations between Afghanistan and its neighbors, the government of the DRA would be ready to examine other issues of bilateral relations, including those that had long been a bone of contention.

4) Proposing to hold bilateral negotiations with Pakistan and Iran without any preliminary conditions, the government of the DRA firmly stands on the view that these negotiations are incompatible with the continuation of hostile activity against Afghanistan. Correspondingly, from the very beginning of the process of political settlement, one should pass practical measures convincingly testifying to the effecting of a cessation of military and any other kind of interference into the affairs of Afghanistan on the part of all states involved in such interference.

5) The government of the DRA considers that, besides a complex of bilateral agreements between Afghanistan and Pakistan, [and] Afghanistan and Iran, another constituent part of political settlement must be appropriate political guarantees of some other states that would be acceptable both for Afghanistan, and for all other participants of bilateral agreements. Among those, in the DRA's opinion, should be the Soviet Union and the United States. The chief meaning of the guarantees must reside in the fact that the countries-guarantors will respect themselves and by their authority will support bilateral agreements of Afghanistan with Pakistan and Iran. As to the guarantees on the part of the USA, they must include a clearly stated pledge not to conduct any kind of subversive activity against Afghanistan, including from the territory of third countries.

6) The government of the DRA declares that the issue of the withdrawal of Soviet limited military contingent from the territory of Afghanistan should be resolved in the context of a political settlement. The cessation and the guaranteed non-resumption of military incursions and any other forms of interference into internal affairs of Afghanistan would remove the causes that made Afghanistan turn to the USSR with the request to introduce the aforementioned contingent into its territory. Specifically, the issue of the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan will depend on resolution of the issue of effective guarantees to bilateral agreements of Afghanistan with Pakistan and Iran.

7) The government of the DRA favors taking into account, in the process of political settlement, military-political activity in the area of the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf by the states that do not belong to this region. While sharing the concern of other states regarding the build-up of the military presence of the USA in the Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf, the government of the DRA supports a proposal to turn this area into a zone of peace, to liquidate foreign military bases there, and to carry out other measures to reduce tension and increase security.

While putting forward proposals on a political settlement, the government of the DRA once again with all determination declares, that the questions bearing on the interests of Afghanistan cannot be discussed much less resolved without the participation of the government of the DRA and alongside it. At the same time the Afghan government considers as helpful the efforts of other states that favor a start of negotiations. In this regard it welcomes and supports the initiative taken by the Republic of Cuba in its capacity of chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement, to offer its goodwill services.

The government of the DRA expects, that the specific program of political settlement that it offers will meet adequate understanding, first of all, on the part of Pakistan and Iran, and will allow [them] to move in practical way to such a settlement through negotiations.

In the end tell B. Karmal that simultaneously with the proposal of the program of political settlement it would be good to take measures for its broad dissemination using the channels of media, as well as through Afghan embassies abroad and foreign missions in Kabul.

On our side, we will give to this initiative of Afghanistan the required political, diplomatic, and propagandist support.

Report upon delivery by telegraph.