288. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Italy0

1035. Department November 29 handed representatives UK and Italian Embs following memorandum re military aid for Somalia:

“During the visit of Prime Minister Abdirascid Ali Scermarche of Somalia to Washington November 27 and 28, he raised with United States officials the question of military assistance to the Somali Republic.

The United States stated its readiness to talk with the Somalis regarding a coordinated program supplementing assistance being received from Italy and the United Kingdom. Presumably such discussions will take place in Somalia at some appropriate time after the Prime Minister’s return.

In advance of any such discussions, the United States would welcome the views of the Governments of Italy and the United Kingdom on the matter and the details of their current program which would be helpful to the United States in assessing supplemental requests from Somalia.

The United States decision represents a further expression of the importance with which we regard the maintenance of a Western position in this area and a further indication of our desire to support, to the fullest extent possible, the assistance being rendered Somalia by Italy and the United Kingdom.”

In presenting memoranda to UK and Italian representatives Dept added orally U.S. had raised question military assistance Somalia with Emperor of Ethiopia who did not like idea but said he would not oppose. Dept also stressed hope expressed to Somalis that arms program could serve dual purpose of military needs and civic action. Finally, Dept expressed earnest desire that U.S. willingness contribute to program would not cause cessation or diminution military aid from UK and Italy. Re discussion with Somalis, Department noted new U.S. Ambassador Somalia expected arrive Mogadiscio January or early February.

Rome and London may give memo and background to Foreign Offices.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 777.5/11-3062. Confidential. Drafted by Newsom on November 29; cleared by Kyle (AID), Junkermann (OSD/ISA), Stout, and Burke; and approved by Witman. Also sent to London and repeated to Addis Ababa, Mogadiscio, and Bonn.
  2. On December 12, the Embassy in Rome reported that the Italian Government intended to maintain economic assistance to Somalia at the current level. (Telegram 1181 from Rome; ibid., 877.0000/12-1262)