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Digital Archive International History Declassified

January 04, 1980


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Gromyko and Dost discuss the situation in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and foreign relations between Afghanistan and Western countries.
    "Meeting of Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and Afghan Foreign Minister Shad Mohammad Dost, 4 January 1980," January 04, 1980, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 89, per. 14, dok. 36; provided by M. Kramer; trans. by D. Rozas.
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No. P27

Top Secret



4 January 1980

A.A.Gromyko welcomed Sh.M.Dost as a representative of the new Afghanistan; informed him of the latest reports from the USSR representative at the UN, O.A. Troyanovsky.

Sh.M.Dost.  The situation in Afghanistan remains difficult. The rebels were able to capture a number of the country’s provinces, for example, Kunduz, Tokhar, Samangan, and Badakhshan. However, with the help of the Soviet Union, the armed forces of DRA were able to push the counter-revolutionaries out from the mentioned provinces.  In the northern part of the country they continue to hold only the administrative center of Badakhshan-Faizabad.

During meetings of the CC PDPA Politburo, the Revolutionary Council and the government of DRA, Babrak Karmal, continually stresses the necessity to carefully pay attention to the friendly and timely advice and wishes coming from the Soviet leaders.

Of great importance are Soviet recommendations concerning the expediency of sending messages in the name of Babrak Karmal to Khomeini and Zia-ul-Haq (they are being prepared right now), as well as the organization of meetings between the chairman of the Revolutionary Council and ambassadors from Iraq, India, and other nonaligned countries with the aim of explaining the meaning of events that took place in Afghanistan and to actively influence them to take a positive attitude towards Afghan affairs.

There was also a press conference by B. Karmal for foreign journalists which took place on the evening of January 3.

The conference was successful, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DRA has ordered all ambassadors in foreign countries to give out visas to any foreign journalists interested in visiting Afghanistan.

A.A.Gromyko.  I would like to share a few thoughts about the current situation in the Security Council as well as the character of your appearance at the upcoming session.

You, comrade minister, have every reason to appear as the accuser - not as the accused.  It seems there are enough facts for this.

It is necessary to emphasize that the deployment of a limited military contingent in Afghanistan has been undertaken by the Soviet Union as a response to repeated appeals by the DRA to the government of USSR.  These requests had been voiced earlier by Taraki during his visit to Moscow and by Amin.

It would also be useful to remind the participants at the Security Council of Article 51 of the UN Charter.

The change in the leadership of Afghanistan is solely the internal matter of Afghanistan.  The representatives of Western countries, Thatcher in particular, are trying to draw a correlation between the change in the Afghan leadership and the deployment of the Soviet military contingent in Afghanistan.  However, one should emphasize that there is no relationship here.  This is purely coincidental.

I can confidentially inform you that we have evidence that Saudi Arabia intends to get six countries bordering it to break off diplomatic ties with the DRA.

As you have requested, we have prepared for you a number of materials, in particular concerning American military bases.

These materials will be sent to New York along with V.S. Safronchyuk who is going there to assist you as you have requested earlier.

When you are assaulted [with questions] concerning the deployment of a Soviet military contingent in Afghanistan, you can parry this by exposing the aggressive politics of the USA. In Cuba, the USA, despite the constant demands of the Cuban government and people, continues to maintain its military base in Guantanamo.  This is an example of open and rude interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.

Concerning contacts with Safronchyuk and your conversations with him, it is desirable to use discretion and certain caution during conversations in New York, especially inside premises. Meetings and exchanges of opinion can be realized in turn on the premises of the Soviet representatives to the U.N. or in the buildings of the Soviet consulate-general.  It is desirable not to advertise that Safronchyuk arrived in New York to render you assistance.  Officially, he is going in the capacity of a member of the Soviet delegation to the session of the GA [General A of the UN, which, as is known, is still carrying on its work.

Sh.M.Dost.  Should I say something regarding China, and, if so, in what capacity?

A.A.Gromyko.  In the case that rude accusations and various kinds of insinuations are leveled in the direction of Afghanistan, it will be necessary to respond with a decisive rebuff.  However, in the course of the Security Council session it is hardly necessary to dwell on China, as in such an event the Chinese representative would be happy to hear it.  Do not create an advertisement for the Chinese, but certainly do give a rebuff.

Sh.M.Dost.  Concerning the propaganda campaigns carried on by the USA and other Western countries on “human rights,” shouldn’t I speak at length about the fact that after the 27th of December in Afghanistan, the new leadership of DRA has freed all political prisoners, regardless of class, religion, language, tribe or ethnicity, or political views[?]  We can, right now, invite to Afghanistan representatives from any country and show them that our jails are empty.

A.A.Gromyko.  This is a very wise and important measure on the part of the government of DRA.  You should certainly speak about it in detail.



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