19 May 2007 04:15

SOMALIA WATCH

 
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  • Title: [SW Country](LBJohnson Library) De-Classified Documents
  • Posted by/on:[AMJ][Wednsday, November 29, 2000]

 
  
Department Seal FOREIGN RELATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES
1964-1968, Volume XXIV
Africa

Department of State
Washington, DC

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346. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Katzenbach) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 12, 1968.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Somalia Republic, Visit of Prime Minister Egal, 3/14-15/68. Confidential. A handwritten notation in the margin reads: "Orig. was attachment to WWR memo 3/13." Rostow's memorandum is Document 347. Attached talking points are not printed.

SUBJECT
Your Meeting with Prime Minister Mohamed Ibrahim Egal of the Somali Republic, March 14, 1968; 12:00 noon

Prime Minister Egal

Egal, 39, took office last summer. He speaks English fluently and, though a Muslim, enjoys a drink. He is a pragmatic African moderate and is pro-West. He has few interests outside politics.

Egal has completely reversed Somalia's policies in the last nine months. Somali irredentism dominated past Government policies. Egal seeks peace and cooperation with neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia. He is pushing for greater economic development at the military's expense.

Somali Republic

Somalia is a semi-arid land--much like our South-West. Poor in resources, it has gone in primarily for raising livestock. However, uranium and itrium have just been found near Mogadiscio. If there are large reserves of these metals, as an American company now claims, they could have an enormous effect on the economy.

Somalia is one of the few democracies in Africa. Governments and presidents have changed normally since independence in 1960. The country's tragedy is that European-drawn frontiers have divided the Somali people. Its population is two and a half million; an additional one million live outside the borders, in eastern Ethiopia and northeastern Kenya. Somali irredentism has accordingly plagued the stability of the Horn of Africa.

Somalia has a non-aligned foreign policy. Because of U.S. military aid to Ethiopia, it has leaned in the past somewhat to the USSR, which has supplied large amounts of military and economic assistance.

What Egal Wants

U.S. help with Ethiopia and Kenya in getting them to be more responsive to his efforts to improve relations with them.

More U.S. economic assistance in general and designation of Somalia as an AID emphasis country in particular.

(Both of these he feels are needed in order to prove the soundness of his new policies to the Somali electorate.)

What We Want

To strengthen his position and encourage his policies. (His efforts toward regional peace and economic development, at the expense of the military, exceed our most optimistic expectations, and have won more support within Somalia than appeared possible. We should do all we can to assist this most encouraging development.)

To demonstrate our interest in one of the few African democracies.

Assistant Secretary Palmer will accompany the Prime Minister on his call on you, and Ambassador Thurston will be available at the White House during the meeting.

Nicholas deB. Katzenbach

 

347. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 13, 1968, 6 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, Walt W. Rostow, Vol. 66. No classification marking. Drafted by Edward Hamilton and Roger Morris.

SUBJECT
Your Meeting with Prime Minister Egal (A-Gal) of Somalia
Thursday, March 14--12 Noon

Schedule:

11:30 AM: Arrival at diplomatic entrance (arrival statements and full military honors)

12:00 Noon: Alone (Egal is fluent in English) advisors standing by in Cabinet Room

8:00 PM: White House Dinner

Papers

At Tab A is Katzenbach's briefing memo./2/

/2/Document 346.

At Tab B are State's Talking Points./3/

/3/Not printed; briefing material for Egal's visit is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Somali Republic, Visit of Prime Minister Egal, 3/14-15/68 and Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 SOMALI.

At Tab C is biographic information on Egal./4/

/4/Not printed.

Setting

Somalia is a poor dry country on the upper east coast of Africa between Kenya and Ethiopia--the "Horn" that juts out into the Indian Ocean just below the mouth of the Red Sea. It became independent in 1960. It is, despite its economic backwardness, a model democracy by African standards.

The major factor complicating U.S.-Somalia relations is the very serious tension and arms race between Somalia and Ethiopia, as well as a milder form of the same problem with Kenya. We are prime arms suppliers to Ethiopia. The Russians supply Somalia. Until Egal's election last July, both sides rattled sabers with abandon. The basic problem is tribal irredentism; more than one million Somali tribesmen live in Ethiopia and Kenya. Somalia's traditional policy has aimed at annexing all areas populated by ethnic Somalis--by force if necessary.

How Egal handles the border problem will make or break his political future. He has put his chips on a turnaround from belligerence to detente with Ethiopia and Kenya. Over the past few months, with our quiet applause, Egal has begun peace talks with Haile Selassie and Jomo Kenyatta, pulled back the Somali guerrillas raiding the border areas, and cut his military spending. With each of these steps he is walking on eggs in his Parliament. Everybody in Somalia has some clan relative living on the other side of the border. If the detente doesn't blossom, or if Egal stumbles, the dispute will slip back into the old bitterness--probably all the worse for the failure of this effort.

Talking Points

1. Border Problem--You might open by telling Egal how much we admire his courageous efforts to reduce tension with his neighbors, and ask for his views on the prospects for the detente.

He will probably give you a lengthy rundown on what he has done and how hard it has been to carry along his own people. He may ask us to work on the Ethiopians and Kenyans. And there is likely to be a strong hint that we make things tougher for him by continuing to supply arms to the Emperor.

You might reply that:

--We understand his problems. Vice President Humphrey put in a good word for Egal's policy when he saw the Emperor and Kenyatta in January.

--We will continue to give discreet encouragement to all sides.

--But only the parties themselves can solve this dispute. Our influence as an outsider is very limited, and a push by us might even be counter-productive.

--We don't think the Emperor has aggressive designs on anybody. We'd hope that the detente will eventually lead to an agreement to limit arms in the area. In the meantime, we are very pleased with the cuts in military spending that Egal has made.

2. Aid--Egal is concerned about our aid cut-back in Africa. Somalia is not one of our concentration countries. Bilateral U.S. aid is scheduled to phase out over the next four years in favor of multilateral and regional projects. This will not affect food or the Peace Corps.

Egal may make a strong pitch that he needs aid more than ever to hold the line against his hawks by presenting a credible development alternative.

You might say:

--We are not withdrawing from Africa in general or Somalia in particular. Congress willing, we hope to put more--not less--aid into Africa in the future than in the past.

--We have put more than $70 million in Somalia since 1960, almost $20 million last year alone.

--We hope Somalia will join with her neighbors to put together regional projects which will be eligible under our new policy. We know this is tough. But we think it is terribly important.

--In any event, the new policy will not affect food aid, the Ex-Im Bank, the Peace Corps, or projects done jointly with other donors.

--We are delighted to inform the Prime Minister that we are now ready to sign a $1.1 million PL-480 agreement. This is evidence of our concern.

3. Vietnam (Egal has been silent.)

W.W. Rostow/5/

/5/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.

 

348. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, March 14, 1968, noon.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Somalia, Vol. 1, 1/64-5/68. Confidential. Drafted by Looram. The conversation was held at the White House.

SUBJECT
Summary of discussions between the President and Prime Minister Egal of the Republic of Somalia

PARTICIPANTS
United States
The President

Republic of Somalia
H.E. Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, Prime Minister of the Republic of Somalia (Continued on Page 2)

(This conversation followed a private talk between the President and Prime Minister Egal.)

The President said that the Prime Minister and he had discussed a number of things together, including developments in the Horn of Africa. He had expressed to the Prime Minister his pleasure at the reception given the Vice President in Mogadiscio and his pleasure that the Prime Minister had been able to come over to visit this country. He had also asked the Prime Minister to extend his warm regards to the President of Somalia. They had discussed, the President stated, the questions of AID and the Peace Corps. He had told the Prime Minister of his problems with the Congress with regard to AID and the continuation of bilateral assistance. He had noted, however, that, if funds were available, the United States Government was interested in assisting regional projects. Moreover, we were prepared to conclude a PL-480 agreement with the Somali Government.

The President went on to say that the USG was discreetly supporting efforts to achieve a detente in the Horn of Africa, although this was best handled by the parties directly concerned. We were most interested in the Prime Minister's constructive work. We appreciated that some difficulties remained, and we were following these developments closely.

Prime Minister Egal stated that he had wanted to give an overall picture to the President and not bother him with details. He planned to take up more detailed matters with the Secretary and Mr. Palmer.

United States Participants:

The Honorable Raymond L. Thurston, American Ambassador to the Somali Republic
The Honorable Joseph Palmer 2nd, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
The Honorable James W. Symington, Chief of Protocol of the U.S.
Mr. Edward Hamilton, White House Staff
Mr. Matthew Looram, Country Director, Northeastern African Affairs

Somali Participants:

H.E. Haji Farah Ali Omar, Minister for Foreign Affairs
H.E. Ali Omar Shego, Minister of Agriculture
The Honorable Haji Mussa Samantar, Undersecretary of Public Works
H.E. Yusuf O. Azhari, Ambassador of the Somali Republic
H.E. Abdulrahim Abby Farah, Permanent Representative of the Somali Republic to the United Nations
Mr. Abdurahman Abby Farah, Chief of Cabinet
Colonel Abdillahi Farah Ali, Aide-de-Camp to the Prime Minister
Mr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud, Director, Planning Department, Ministry of Planning and Coordination
Mr. Omar Mohallim Mohamed, President, Omar Mohallim and Company
Mr. Ali Sheikh Mohamed, President, Ali Sheikh and Company


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