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  1945: Afghanistan

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 the Pamir.

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.

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