54. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Somali Republic 0

174. Following based on uncleared memorandum of conversation:1

Italian Foreign Minister Segni and Director General Political Affairs Straneo called on Merchant October 12. Straneo stated GOI feels it very important continuing effort be made keep Somali Republic economically and politically stable. Italy willing help but surprised at recent GSR claim for 37 million Somalos to cover pre-independence deficit. GSR also asking for considerable additional aid.

Straneo referred to US difficulty in connection budget support and asked whether, if UK and Italy shared budget deficit, US would be willing divide total aid burden equally with UK and Italy, each providing one-third.

Merchant referred to importance getting facts from three Ambassadors in Mogadiscio and then holding tri-partite discussions on aid. Mentioning Guinea as example decisive nature transition period immediately after independence, he said USG extremely disturbed by reports apparent financial condition GSR—not only bankrupt but with inheritance unpaid bills—and said we had received impression Italian [Page 198] aid to GSR being held up pending Somali signature bilateral agreements. Agreed we would talk further with UK and Italy after facts clearer.

Straneo stated definitely Italian aid continuing.

Merchant also asked status UK-Italian plans help Somali Army.

Straneo said UK and Italy agreed on sending military mission but provided no details on status matter with GSR. Goal is to satisfy Somalis but provide only defensive arms. Suggested tripartite talks include military aid as well as economic aid. Merchant made no comment.

Pointing out indirect aid also important, Segni stated banana monopoly had recently increased Somali quota.

Straneo asked that GOI be informed nature aid request by Abdullahi Issa (who visiting Department October 13)2 and nature US response. Merchant agreed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 777.5–MSP/10–1260. Confidential. Drafted by Allen, cleared by Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs Edward T. Long and in draft by Samuel W. Lewis of the Office of Western European Affairs, and approved by Director of the Office of Northern African Affairs William Witman, II. Repeated to Rome and London.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid.)
  3. In a meeting with Acting Secretary Dillon on October 13, Somali Foreign Minister Issa stressed the urgency of the Somali need for foreign assistance. Dillon told him that U.S. assistance for development projects was more feasible than for budget support and suggested that the U.S., British, and Italian Ambassadors in Magadiscio might consult with Somali officials, in order to avoid wasteful duplication of effort. (Memorandum of conversation by Allen; ibid., 777.5–MSP/10–1360) A memorandum of a conversation between Issa and Secretary Herter in New York on October 6 is ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199.