279. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Somalia0

40. Embtel 52 to Dept, rptd London 13, Rome separately by Dept; Embtel 53 to Dept, rptd London 14, Rome 23.1 You should inform Prime [Page 441]Minister in response your tels 52 and 53 that although USG desires help Somalia and has shown unfailing good faith in this respect, our ability to continue to do so has been increasingly handicapped by repeated instances of his Govt’s simultaneously dickering with both US and USSR in same or related fields. Sometimes we have learned of prior commitments to Soviets only after negotiations with US well advanced. While we have endeavored where possible to provide Somalia with Western alternatives, in notable recent instances our efforts have been rewarded by Somali decision to accept Soviet offers.

Reftel 53 indicates Minister of Interior and Soviet Economic Counselor already discussing Soviet aid for Somali national airline. USG can not deliver DC-3 aircraft and provide training for 8 pilots previously offered, to be incorporated in Soviet-managed airline. Therefore, in context above paragraph, you are requested inform Somali Govt as follows: USG will offer following package to GSR on clear understanding latter not accept Soviet offer re aviation training (civil or military) and airline management or assistance: USG will provide three DC-3s as formerly discussed with GSR plus training 15 civilian pilots and 20 mechanics if Italian Govt does not meet its portion previous proposal, together with management assistance for purpose establishing internal airline system. Rejection of any one of these three parts (aircraft, training, or management) by GSR will be considered rejection total package. In presentation to Somali Gov’t officials you should make clear this does not mean open end provision of funds by USG for all expenses required to operate an airline.

FYI. Dept still considering whether or not recommend invitation Prime Minister for Presidential visit. Outcome likely depend upon negotiations aviation problem Mogadiscio. End FYI.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 777.5/8-962. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Adams on August 10; cleared by Witman, Troxel, Hamilton (AID) in draft, Snowden, FitzGerald, and Hunt; and approved by Witman. Repeated to Addis Ababa, London, and Rome.
  2. Both dated August 9. (Ibid.)
  3. Telegram 58 from Mogadiscio, August 14, reported that General Abscir said that although it was the firm policy of the Somali Government not to accept military assistance from the Bloc, the “Defense Establishment” had persuaded the Prime Minister that accept-ance of training did not violate this policy. (Ibid., 775.5/8-1462) On August 15, the Department instructed the Embassy in Mogadiscio to make the package offer as directed. (Telegram 44 to Mogadiscio; ibid., 777.5/8-1562) Telegram 66 from Mogadiscio, August 17, reported that after learning that the three DC-3s previously offered would be withdrawn if Somalia sent pilots and mechanics to the Soviet Union for training, the Prime Minister rejected the U.S. package. (Ibid., 777.5/8-1762)