290. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy0

Military aid to Somalia. When Abdirascid was here last November, you told him we were willing to discuss how we could help Somalia in a limited way. State amplified that we would consider supplementing UK and Italian aid if the Somalis promised not to use it for aggression. Somalis agreed that we might help their military contribute to economic development.

Ambassador Torbert mentioned our offer to Abdirascid early this month. The Somalis last week agreed to our sending a survey team by mid-March. We have in mind very limited civic action and internal security support.

We’re still not sure why Sunday’s demonstrations in Mogadiscio rubbed off on us. However, Somalia hadn’t announced our offer (PM intended to include it in a recent speech then got sick), so most Somalis still think of us as the guys who arm their enemies, the Ethiops. Our embassy stands only a block from Ethiopia’s and a small goon squad could easily have diverted the main anti-Ethiopian demonstration. We think we ought to go ahead with the team anyway, as our aim is to forestall Somalis turning to Bloc and UAR for a lot more hardware.

R. W. Komer
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, President’s Office Files, Staff Memoranda, Robert W. Komer. Confidential.