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

161. Following is summary discussions with Somali Prime Minister and party in Washington November 27-28 based on uncleared memcons. Prime Minister and party met with President November 27 and 281 and with Secretary November 28.2AID Acting Administrator Coffin present at all meetings.

Abdirascid expressed gratitude for US interest and support and expressed need for help. Then followed exposition Somali desire for reunification and expression concern over difficulties with Ethiopia and US military assistance to Ethiopia.

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President explained problem US arms for Ethiopia was difficult one similar to those faced by US in certain other areas in which we endeavor prevent use of US equipment by one nation against another. Recognizing complications in Ethiopian-Somali relations and long history US assist-ance to Ethiopia unrelated to Somalia, US could only try minimize differences and keep balance. President noted large US economic assistance to Somalia in addition to Italian and UK obligations and expressed desire see problems between Somalia and Ethiopia settled. US would do what it could.

Prime Minister mentioned Somali need for arms. President said he would be prepared see how US could be of assistance. Secretary separately enunciated further US agreement in principle study Somalia’s genuine security needs and to consider supplementing efforts other Western powers. Prime Minister expressed satisfaction with changed US position and expressed hope for vehicles and equipment and training for both Army and police. He agreed with suggestion security forces could play useful role in economic development as well as security field. He stressed Somalia’s needs were strictly for internal security and defense and promised any assistance provided would not be used for offensive purposes. Prime Minister also stressed fact Somali Government committed by Constitution to pursue its national goals only by strictly legal and peaceful means.

President presented case for long-term low interest loan on second phase Chisimaio with ten-year grace period. Somalis did not press for grant. Prime Minister outlined points dissatisfaction with aid program including slowness execution projects and high administrative costs. Details various aid problems were later reviewed in separate meeting Coffin and Muller of AID and Abdinur and Ali Sheikh.

US opposition to commingling was stressed. Prime Minister said Somalia constitutionally neutral but fundamentally pro-Western and would not go to Soviet Union for essential needs if they could be obtained in West.

Prime Minister asked US put in good word for Somalia with IBRD. Noted 5-year plan would be ready in next few months and indicated Somali intention seek support for plan from EEC, US, and international agencies. He stated IBRD had approved November 27 proposal to send IBRD survey team to study projects.

President concluded that visit useful in focussing attention on Somali needs. Somalis must recognize difficulties US has in meeting Somali needs, but assured Prime Minister US anxious do best it can and is very sympathetic to Somalia’s difficulties.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.7711/11-3062. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Newsom on November 29; cleared by Coffin (AID), Whitfield (OSD), Little, Tasca, and Bromley Smith (White House); and approved by Witman. Also sent to Addis Ababa, Rome, Bonn, and London.
  2. These discussions were recorded in four memoranda of conversation. (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Somalia) See also Document 285.
  3. These discussions were recorded in four memoranda of conversation. (Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330)