53. Memorandum From Harold H. Saunders of the National Security Council Staff to the Director of the Office of Northern African Affairs (Witman)0
Bob Komer left before your note1 arrived. However, I believe my comments reflect his views.
We were pleased with the start made in Deptel 2432 to Paris.2 We agree we must do everything we can to influence the PAG to stay with negotiations this time until they reach a settlement. Their outcome, of course, will shape our long range problem.
The urgent question in our minds is whether we could provide any inducements for PAG reasonableness. We are “intensifying regular contacts,” but do we have anything to offer except advice? Is there any way we can increase the weight of our advice without upsetting the negotiating balance?
We feel it’s very important to study possible post-independence aid programs now in order (1) to be prepared for quick movement and (2) to discover areas for helpful pre-independence discussion. Admittedly, we can’t make final decisions until the situation clarifies, but we can’t afford not to move decisively when it does. More immediately, we might find some way of adding substance to our present contacts with the PAG. If independence emerges from partition, the need for imaginative U.S. action will be even greater than if a settlement is negotiated.
We see two related but separate problems: (1) planning our long range approach to independent Algeria and (2) discovering ways to increase our leverage now for insuring successful negotiations. If you set up a study group, perhaps its work might be divided with these distinct problems in mind. Needless to say, we would welcome the chance to sit in on any such deliberations.