50. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Satterthwaite) to Secretary of State Herter0


  • Horn of Africa: NSC Consideration of OCB Report dated July 13, 19601

The OCB Report dated July 13, 1960 on U.S. Policy Toward the Horn of Africa (NSC 5903) recommends that NSC 5903 (approved by the President March 2, 1959)2 be reviewed at an appropriate time in the near future. This review is deemed necessary for two main reasons: (1) developments consequent to Ethiopia’s acceptance in 1959 of a $100 million Soviet credit, and (2) the changing situation in the Horn resulting from the independence on July 1, 1960 of the Somali Republic (a union of the former British Somaliland Protectorate and the former Italian Trust Territory of Somalia).3 A new government has just been formed in the Somali Republic, but numerous constitutional details remain to be worked out. The aggressiveness with which the Somalis will press their expansionist aims (involving French Somaliland, part of Kenya and a large part of Ethiopia) is not yet clear.

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We are about to agree to increased military assistance to Ethiopia in an effort to improve Ethiopian attitudes, limit Soviet penetration and obtain agreement to additional military facilities. With a view to providing as great an impact as possible, Ambassador Richards’ instructions (Tab A)4 also include authority to reveal economic aid already programmed for Ethiopia. Estimates of cost are contained in Mr. Penfield’s memorandum to Under Secretary Dillon (Tab B) of July 27, 1960.5 On July 19, the President was given a brief report on the proposed instructions to Ambassador Richards (Tab C).6

The Ambassador’s presentation of our response to Ethiopian requests is expected to be made shortly after his arrival on August 10. While we hope for improvement in our position in Ethiopia as a result of the Ambassador’s presentation, it is unlikely that Ethiopian reaction can be accurately assessed before early September and it would therefore seem reasonable to commence the policy review in early October. By this time also the character and policies of the new Somali Republic should be discernible.


That you outline to the NSC the status of our proposed additional aid to Ethiopia and recommend that the policy review be scheduled to begin in October with a view to NSC consideration in November or December 1960.7

  1. Source: Department of State, S/SNSC Files: Lot 63 D 351, NSC 5903 Series. Secret. Drafted by Officer in Charge of Northeast Africa Affairs Arthur B. Allen.
  2. Entitled “Report on the Horn of Africa (NSC 5903).” (Ibid., Lot 62 D 1, NSC 5903)
  3. Document 44.
  4. See Document 62.
  5. Not printed. Airgram G–1 to Addis Ababa, July 28, authorized Ambassador-designate Arthur L. Richards to inform the Emperor in an early audience of the U.S. responses to his requests.
  6. Not printed.
  7. Tab C, a brief, unsigned memorandum, dated July 19, reads in part as follows: The President observed that it was in the US interest to do what we could promptly to meet within reason the Emperor’s wishes, especially in view of the less stable situation in most of the rest of Africa. The importance of maintaining an atmosphere in Ethiopia which would assure continued unimpaired use of the key facilities at Kagnew was also remarked upon.
  8. The National Security Council considered the OCB at its August 12 meeting. The brief discussion focused on Ethiopia’s interest in engaging an American expert to assist in the operation of its banking system. (Memorandum of discussion by NSC staff member Charles A. Haskins, August 16; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records) In NSC Action No. 2279, the Council noted that the NSC Planning Board would undertake a review of NSC 5903 at an early date. (Department of State, S/SNSC (Miscellaneous) Files: Lot 66 D 95), Records of Action by the National Security Council)