Afghanistan news was scarce in 1945. The United
States Minister, a veteran diplomat, was replaced by Mr. Elbert E.
Palmer. The United States Treasury removed Afghanistan from the
category of "enemy territory." Hardly more than this was offered to
the world. Yet this 270,000 square mile country with its seven to
twelve million Moslem population of Durani and Tajik stock offered
possibilities to Russia and Britain, the United States and China.
From 1939 through 1943 considerable news came
out. In 1944 the Afghans signed their first treaty of amity with
China. In 1945 silence closes around the heights of the Khyber and
Missed by many commentators, a geographical fact offers room for
conjecture. Pear-shaped Afghanistan has a stem; it is a direct
narrow corridor over the roof of the world at 17,000 feet elevation
leading straight into China's western-most province. An airline from
the Mediterranean would find it the shortest route across Asia to
the Pacific and it would traverse no colonial satellite of any great
power. An American airline from the Atlantic coast would find
Afghanistan strategically placed and would accentuate America's
interests in the explosive, Moslem, aspiring Middle East.