13. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy0
As Moroccan/Algerian fracas becomes less a border dispute and more a struggle between BB and Hassan, we’ve gotten the latter’s inevitable request for military aid (Rabat 693 and 694 attached).1
Hassan alleges Soviet and UAR aid to Algeria, which is true, though it is not clear how much this is mostly new aid or material UAR gave Algerians earlier.
In either case we feel that for us to aid Hassan just now would simply cause BB to lean even farther east. Result would be a new East/West confrontation with UAR and Soviets backing Algeria, while French and ourselves are pressed (especially by Spain) to back Hassan. Our best bet is to stay loose while discreetly backing every effort to find a cease-fire and negotiation formula. Meanwhile we propose to stall on Moroccan arms request.2
- Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Algeria, 10/63. Secret. A handwritten notation by Komer to Bundy in the margin of the source text reads: “MAC—this is way of informing JFK that we’re being solicited, and that we propose to stall.”↩
- Attached to the source text are telegrams 693 and 694 from Rabat, October 20, which transmitted reports from Ambassador John H. Ferguson on his separate conversations that day with King Hassan and General Oufkir at Marrakech, focusing on Morocco’s request for U.S. military assistance. The King and the General had insisted that Morocco needed arms because Algeria was receiving substantial aid from the United Arab Republic and had made an arms deal with the Soviet Union. The King said that Morocco had no aggressive intentions and remained ready to discuss the frontier problem before any international body. Ferguson said he had explained the U.S. difficulty in taking sides in the present dispute, but noted that he must be in a position to make some response within a few days. (Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR)↩
- On October 22, the Department instructed Ferguson to tell King Hassan that the United States was seriously concerned that provision of extensive additional U.S. military assistance to one side could gravely threaten current efforts to limit and halt the conflict, which were in the best interest of the future of Morocco. It would also provide justification for increased UAR and Soviet involvement on the side of Algeria. (Telegram 1049 to Rabat; ibid.)↩
- Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.↩