14. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Algeria0

709. Ref: Embtel 831.1 Dept in agreement courses of action proposed para. 6 reftel. Desire you see Ben Bella at first opportunity and state:

USG neutral in current conflict. We consider ourselves friends both parties and believe any prolongation current conflict will only result in serious setback for development and progress Maghreb states.
While not judging issues involved, we warmly welcome efforts Ethiopian Emperor’s and other members OAU and hope solution can be found through African mediation.
USG has made clear to GOA fact its forces not involved in helping Moroccans. While we appreciate both sides obtain defense needs from outside we would consider military involvement of outside powers serious threat to efforts resolve question peacefully. Should foreign powers intervene directly or indirectly in manner which seems likely enlarge scale of hostilities, it will be apparent that changed and dangerous situation may result. Similar statement being made Hassan.
USG will take occasion visit Yazid stress its continued interest in Algeria. President did same to Tito in response Tito’s conveying message from Ben Bella and in extending invitation Ben Bella come to Washington. We would deplore and shall continue to work against any propaganda or circumstances threatening polarization present conflict or placing U.S. on either side.
In light these considerations, we are expressing strongly to both sides our hope that both Morocco and Algeria can find way accept such mediation as may be offered by outside powers with minimum conditions and can contribute peaceful effort by refraining from further military moves and limiting propaganda exchanges.2
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR. Secret; Priority. Drafted by Newsom, cleared by Newsom and Hilliker, and approved by Tasca. Repeated to Rabat, Cairo, and Paris.
  2. In telegram 831 from Algiers, October 22, Ambassador Porter proposed that, while waiting for the results of Haile Selassie’s efforts to bring about a meeting between Ben Bella and Hassan, he tell Ben Bella that the United States deplored intervention by certain foreign powers that was not aimed at negotiations and a peaceful solution to the conflict. (Ibid.)
  3. On October 22, Porter reported that he had carefully gone over the points in telegram 709 with Ben Bella that evening. Ben Bella had told him that he and Haile Selassie agreed that the conflict should be handled by the “Addis Ababa group.” He also had indicated that he was willing to withdraw Algerian troops from the frontier zones if Morocco would do the same. (Telegram 851 from Algiers; ibid.)