12. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)0


JFK might be interested in Algiers 802 attached,1 which shows invite to BB served its purpose. Also 680 to Algiers2 which is one evidence of drumfire we’ve kept up on allegations US helping Moroccans.

More important what began as a minor border fracas is now well on the way to becoming a major Algerian effort to overthrow Hassan. We’ve got to get this damped down before it reaches point where Soviets, Chinese, and UAR are actively backing BB, while Spanish are screaming for us to join them in backing Hassan (French have same problem we do—desire to stay on good terms with both).

Best way to avoid having to choose is to get a cease-fire pronto. But Hassan’s price is that BB agree to arbitrate border. Since Hassan is the likely loser if this affair escalates, I’m arguing we ought to urge prudence on him. We can’t mediate, however; our best bet is to get UN, OAU, Arab League or some other impartial third party in the act. We’re trying.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Algeria, 10/63. Secret.
  2. Telegram 802 from Algiers, October 18, reported that the President’s invitation to Ben Bella had apparently mollified Algerian feelings. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR)
  3. Telegram 680 to Algiers, October 19, asked Ambassador Porter to seek the earliest opportunity at a high level to urge the Algerian Government to issue a statement accepting U.S. denials that the United States had been assisting Moroccan troop movements. (Ibid.)