25. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Mali 0

58. Following message from President should be delivered earliest to Emperor Haile Selassie:

“Your Majesty:

I welcome the key role you are currently playing in the Algerian-Moroccan conflict and wish every success to the Bamako meeting.

[Page 31]

In the spirit of our conversations in Washington and with full appreciation of the desire for an African solution, I have asked Ambassador Handley to present informally to your Foreign Minister some ideas relating to the problems faced at the Bamako Conference. From what we hear a crucial need is for some give on both sides. Their initial declared positions would appear to thwart progress towards an end to the fighting. Our thoughts are of course in confidence. If they should in any way prove useful to your estimation, please advance them as your own, rather than as official views of the United States, adapted to the circumstances as you see fit.

I believe, as I feel certain you do, that the results of the present conference will have an important bearing on the welfare of the peoples of Algeria and Morocco, as well as on the future peace and stability of that key region of Africa.

John F. Kennedy

For Ambassador Handley

Request you seek earliest opportunity deliver foregoing message to FonMin Yifru for Emperor and simultaneously pass following ideas orally to Yifru, making it clear these have no standing other than private suggestions from a long distance for whatever use they may be to Emperor:

Possibility of compromise cease-fire agreement based on full or partial (e.g. from Tindouf region and either Hassi Beida or Tinjoub) withdrawal Moroccan forces in return for firm Algerian commitment discuss both geographic and economic approaches to solution of border problem.
Possibility of temporary cease-fire pending arbitration by international commission acceptable both sides. Consideration of stationing neutral observers in disputed areas during arbitration.
Possibility joint withdrawal by both sides from disputed areas accompanied by agreed moratorium on all claims and establishment of neutral zone embracing areas agreed by both sides to be parts of Morocco and Algeria. Another feature might be agreement to review prospects joint economic exploitation with advice of economic experts of appropriate international financial organization.

FYI. We realize difficulty of delivering message to Emperor in Bamako and possible problem of misunderstanding by Keita and parties to dispute should U.S. role become known. Strongly hope matter can be handled in way which will minimize risk disclosing U.S. hand. To this end, emphasize to Emperor or his representative this be entirely confidential with him. Knowledge of overt U.S. role could be counterproductive. End FYI.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Hooper; cleared by Newsom, Connett, and Komer; and approved by Secretary Rusk. Fredericks is also indicated as an approving officer. Repeated to Rabat, Algiers, and Paris.