359. Memorandum of a Conversation, White House, Washington, October 15, 1959, 11:30 a.m.1


  • The President’s Meeting With the Prime Minister of Morocco


  • The President
  • Moroccan Prime Minister Ibrahim
  • Moroccan Ambassador Ben Aboud
  • Assistant Secretary of State Satterthwaite (AF)
  • Colonel Walters (Interpreter)

The Prime Minister received a sincere welcome from the President and the conversation between the two gentlemen lasted for half an hour. The Prime Minister transmitted a message to the President from King Mohamed2 recalling the long friendship between our two countries and the warm reception he had received in the United States in [Page 792] 1957. The President in turn asked the Prime Minister to convey his personal greeting to King Mohamed and to tell him that he also had happy memories of King Mohamed’s visit.

Two matters of substance were discussed, first the bases, and, at the close of the conversation, Algeria. On the bases the President stated that he knew there were a number of problems between us and understood that the Prime Minister would be seeing the Secretary of State at luncheon, at which time the problem could be discussed in detail. The Prime Minister made the point that even between the best of friends there are often problems which have to be solved and said that he believed it was in the interest of common friendship to solve such problems. The President agreed.

On the problem of Algeria the Prime Minister said that while General De Gaulle had made a positive contribution to the solution of this problem, he had surrounded his offer of free elections with so many conditions that he was afraid it would be difficult to find a solution.3 The President in reply made the point that President De Gaulle was the first French leader who had had the courage and strength to offer the Algerians the possibility of deciding their own fate. He mentioned the long friendship between France and the United States arising from the historical fact that France had been our first ally and helped us to gain our independence. But, he added, we also have great friendship for the people on the south shore of the Mediterranean. He strongly recommended that the two sides should make every effort to minimize the differences remaining in order that a just solution might be found. The President said he thought it very important that the free world should settle disputes of this kind among themselves in order to show a united front against the dangers from the East.

During the course of the conversation the President also asked a number of questions about agricultural and mineral developments in Morocco. He was especially interested to learn from the Prime Minister that the Moroccan Government has instituted a program of plowing land for the small land owners in order to help the farmers to improve their agricultural methods. He also expressed interest in and asked a number of questions about the Arabic language and the extent to which it is used in the world.

At the conclusion of the conversation the President invited the photographers to come in to take a few photographs, to the pleasure of the Prime Minister. The latter also appeared pleased to find a number of correspondents waiting to interview him on his departure. He answered their questions deftly, emphasizing that his conversation with [Page 793] the President had been exceptionally cordial. When asked whether he had discussed the question of the bases with the President, he said that he could only say that there had been a general exchange of views.4

  1. Source: Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, Eisenhower Diaries. Confidential. Drafted by Satterthwaite. Ibrahim was in the United States to attend the 14th Session of the U.N. General Assembly.
  2. Not found.
  3. For text of De Gaulle’s September 16 address on the future of Algeria, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1959, pp. 1096–1099.
  4. Ibrahim and Herter discussed Algeria and U.S. bases in Morocco during a working luncheon at the Department of State. A memorandum of their conversation on Algeria is in Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. A memorandum of their conversation on the bases is ibid., Central Files, 711.56371/10–1559. Following the luncheon, Ibrahim continued discussing the bases with Satterthwaite; a memorandum of their conversation is ibid.