299. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom0

1935. Ref: Mogadiscio’s 242 to Dept (copy pouched London) and previous;Deptel 1821 to London.1 Recent Embassy Mogadiscio telegrams, sent info London, have highlighted difficult situation which Somali officials believe confronting their country and resultant pressures building up on GSR to turn to Communist China or Soviet Union for arms assistance. Mogadiscio’s 224 to Dept rptd London 802 gives particularly vivid account Ambassador’s encounter with Somali Prime Minister following latter’s return from Peking.

Department believes seriousness of situation in Somalia makes it all the more important for US, FRG and Italy to move ahead with western military aid program in interest strengthening and encouraging moderate elements opposed to extension of bloc influence in military field.

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As parallel to Department’s contacts with UK Embassy officials here, we would appreciate Embassy London discussing situation with Foreign Office. We would be especially interested in:

British views on possible Soviet or Chinese Communist arms assistance to Somalia.
British assessment of Kenyan reaction to such assistance.
British thoughts on possible courses of action to forestall Soviet or Chinese Communist efforts at supplying Somalia with arms aid.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, DEF 12 SOMALI. Confidential. Drafted by Galanto, cleared by Judd and O’Neill, and approved by Newsom. Repeated to Mogadiscio, Nairobi, Bonn, Rome, and Addis Ababa (by pouch).
  2. In telegram 242 from Mogadiscio, September 20, Ambassador Torbert described his conversation with Foreign Minister Abdullah Issa on September 19, during which he emphasized the positive aspects of U.S.-Somali relations and asked the Minister to consider whether turning elsewhere for military help, which would weaken Somalia’s ties with the West, would actually strengthen Somali security or the reverse. (Ibid.) Telegram 1821 to London is not printed. (Ibid., POL 7 SOMALI)
  3. Not printed. (Ibid., POL 32-1 ETH-SOMALI)