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

163. Embtel 263.1Dept appreciates your full report Ambassador’s initial meeting with Bourguiba. Although occasion was one which obviously in Bourguiba’s interest make good impression, we believe his description Tunisian role vis-à-vis West, Bloc and “neutral world” is generally accurate in light objective evidence.

We find Bourguiba’s not unexpected evocation aid problems noteworthy for what appears to be lack appreciation imperatives behind our policies in defense of dollar, and setting forth AID criteria. We hope there will be opportunities bring about fuller understanding by Bourguiba of these policies and of assistance we hope will be forthcoming from our friends, in spirit free cooperation, toward successful implementation these policies.

Would appreciate further Embassy comments re Bourguiba recommendation for grant military assistance. Do you believe Bourguiba’s [Page 275] broaching this subject foreshadows formal GOT proposal re past and future programs? No encouragement of course should be given to Tunisian hopes for cancellation obligations on equipment which, it might be well recall if subject raised again at Tunisian initiative, has been provided under pricing and payment arrangements quite favorable to Tunisians.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 773.11/10-1762. Confidential. Drafted by Stackhouse, cleared by Whitfield (DOD) and Ellis (AID), and approved by Witman.
  2. Telegram 263, October 17, reported on Ambassador Francis H. Russell’s first meeting with Bourguiba, during which Bourguiba had said that Tunisia had always been on the side of the West even when it was struggling against colonialism. Bourguiba said he thought everything would be settled soon with France. He noted that U.S. aid to Tunisia had to be real aid and complained that currently it was subject to conditions, such as transportation in American bottoms, that greatly reduced its value. He also emphasized the desirability of helping Tunisia develop its army through U.S. gifts of military equipment. (Ibid.)
  3. On October 26, Russell reported that in talks with Tunisian officials he emphasized that the U.S. desire to see Tunisia succeed in its economic development plan was illustrated by the fact that Tunisia was one of only five countries selected for long-term, multi-annual U.S. aid. He had also explained that restrictions such as expenditure of aid in U.S. funds and shipping in American bottoms were necessitated by the need to protect the soundness of the dollar, which was in the interest of the entire free world economy. (Airgram A-231 from Tunis, October 26; ibid., 772.5/10-2662)