278. Memorandum of Conversation0

SUBJECT

  • Presentation of Credentials to the President by the New Ambassador of the Somali Republic

PARTICIPANTS

  • The President
  • Omar Mohallim Mohamed, Somali Ambassador
  • Angier Biddle Duke, Chief of Protocol
  • Henry J. Tasca, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs

After the usual opening pleasantries, the President referred to United States interest in Somalia and limitations on United States aid [Page 440]arising from the balance of payments position. He stressed the large and continuing drain which had resulted from our aid program over the years. The President underlined the importance of continued aid from Italy and Great Britain.

The Somali Ambassador expressed his gratitude for United States aid to date and requested the President to urge the Italians to continue their aid and to pay the amounts promised for budgetary support. In reply the President promised we would urge the Italians to take appropriate action. He remarked that Italy’s gold and balance of payments position made this quite feasible, particularly, since Italy was doing nothing elsewhere of this kind in the field of direct aid. It was noted that the United States was not in a position to provide budgetary support.

In this connection, the Ambassador referred to the Soviet offer to finance certain items which are included in the United States plans for the second phase of Chisimaio. He said that the Somali Government would turn down the Soviet offer. However, they would wish the second phase to be financed by United States grants, not loans. The President stated it was unwise to mix Soviet assistance with ours. The Congress does not like this.

The Ambassador then raised the question of United States military aid to Ethiopia. In reply the President noted (a) our aid was for internal security purposes; (b) it began in 1952, long before Somalia’s independ-ence; (c) we counted on the Italians and British to provide aid in this field to Somalia.

In closing the meeting the President said that the United States would address itself again to Italy requesting it to provide aid to Somalia.

  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Somalia, 1/62-10/62. Official Use Only. Drafted by Tasca.