161. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Tunisia0

1139. We aware Algerian developments will be profoundly disturbing to Bourguiba and GOT, and are actively considering what political and other measures we can usefully take in circumstances.

If you receive a request for US military support in context Eisenhower-Bourguiba talks December 1959, you should reply that you will of course transmit request to Washington. At same time you should say, making clear you speaking personally, that you sure US watching situation carefully and that you confident US will not shrink from taking whatever measures might be appropriate to prevent spread of rebellion beyond Algeria’s borders and to assist De Gaulle to ensure its collapse.1 You should discourage any request for expedited arms deliveries to Tunisia pointing out that a few additional rifles and mortars unlikely help in controlling situation but could actually be interpreted by Algiers regime as provocation.

In any case Embassy should seek impress on GOT at all available levels importance maintaining calm and demonstrating confidence De Gaulle will speedily bring mutiny under control.

That Bourguiba might desire to remain Tunis during obviously critical period (Embtel 1246)2 is entirely understandable and you should inform GOT that we will of course be entirely guided by his wishes.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/4-2461. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Chase; cleared by Brown, Collopy, and Fredericks; and approved by Witman.
  2. Circular telegram 1673, April 25, quoted the Department press officer’s statement that the United States would “become directly concerned should the insurrection spread beyond the borders of Algeria and threaten the peace of the area.” (Ibid., 751S.00/4-2561)
  3. Not printed. (Ibid., 772.11/4-2361)