11. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Morocco 0

1031. Following based on uncleared Memcon and Noforn. Amb. Bengelloun in call on Secretary today1 presented GOM case: (1) Moroccan efforts to negotiate border problem long rebuffed, (2) posts unquestionably Moroccan were wrested from it Oct. 8, (3) re-taken by RMA Oct. 14, and (4) Iche attacked by Algerians Oct. 17 thus gravely risking turning frontier war into a generalized ideological military conflict. Dangerous for Algeria’s neighbors and since it involves another “Castro-like experience” in a sensitive part of world, dangerous for US as well. OAU of limited appeal to GOM since likely to be used by UAR and in any event not yet organized for conciliation work. U Thant’s offer to help personally was of interest and GOM UN representative indicated willingness accept with “certain conditions” but GOA had not yet responded.

GOM most anxious avoid extension of conflict, attributes Ben Bella’s performance to internal stresses. Also transformation from border to ideological conflict highlighted by Boumedienne’s recent statement to press that Algerian revolution should not be limited to Algeria.

Secretary, emphasizing U.S. concern, over present situation and prospects urged we be kept fully informed. Secretary advised Bengelloun he did not wish make any formal proclamation now but we wished see fighting stopped. We would follow situation closely and hoped talks could be started again possibly through encouragement of Haile Selassie or SYG.

Rusk
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR. Confidential. Drafted by McClintic, cleared by Marvin, and approved by Hooper. Repeated to Algiers, Tunis, Paris, and Madrid.
  2. A memorandum of this conversation is ibid.