59. Memorandum by the Officer in Charge of Algerian Affairs (Hooper)0


This paper is an outline of action which it is proposed should be taken during the next few months, given the continuing validity of the indicated assumptions for which current prospects appear favorable. Bracketed sections indicate action already taken or now in process.


Franco-Algerian agreement will be achieved and announced simultaneously with cease-fire during the next two to four weeks. After a brief concerted insurrection the OAS will be checked. A provisional interim Franco-Algerian regime under continuing French sovereignty will be established by early March to secure internal order, conduct a referendum and prepare transfer of governing authority. The joint administration will face considerable economic stress in the form of shortages of food and basic supplies, and heavy unemployment as the flow of refugees and displaced persons from Morocco, Tunisia and internal detainment camps converges on Algerian villages and cities. Algeria will become independent on relatively amicable terms with France by next September.

Recommended actions:

After announcement of cease-fire and successfully concluded negotiations:

Congratulatory message from President to De Gaulle on successful conclusion of negotiations. [Already drafted and approved.]1
Press statement welcoming agreement. [Draft being reviewed.]
Short of official recognition of the PAG, pursue active contact with FLN leadership at all levels in order to prepare the way for future friendly relations and to obtain more precise knowledge of current and projected policies of Algerian leadership. [There has been considerable contact with FLN leaders at Tunis, Rabat, USUN and in Washington outside the Department over the past few months. However, this has not [Page 85] included Ben Khedda, it has excluded reception of PAG representatives in the Department, and interviews have been restrained by the hitherto over-riding policy of avoiding discussion which might be disruptive to delicate Franco-Algerian negotiations.]
In renewed approach to French, referring to our earlier exploratory inquiries, we should seek candid discussion of both short-run and longer range Algerian economic problems. French should be reassured we seek minimum involvement, but in anticipation of problems during transition and in future of nature which Communist Bloc might exploit, we wish to be helpful where we can. Explore with French possible emergency aid requirements (food and basic supplies) and also discuss ways and means of projecting long-term developmental assistance to Algeria with maximum feasible adherence to a multi-lateral Western arrangement in which France should play a major role. [We have suggested to the French, in three separate conversations since last November, the advisability of discussing post-independence Algerian aid problems. On January 26, Labouret informed Lyon that French might be ready to do so in a few weeks.]2
Through appropriate Chief of Mission in Tunis or Algiers deliver informally (in such a way as to preclude interpretation that diplomatic recognition is involved) a message from the President to Ben Khedda expressing:
appreciation for FLN statesmanship in concluding negotiated settlement;
looking forward to increasingly meaningful contacts on an informal basis now and to the day when these can be formalized by recognition of an independent Algerian Government; and

expressing willingness to discuss ways and means in which USG might help in solution of economic, educational, administrative and other problems which Algerians foresee in connection with coming independence.

[Draft under consideration in Department. Policy difference to be resolved as to whether it should be written personal message, which Protocol and Legal experts agree can be done without any recognition problem, or oral. Former would have greater impact on Algerians.]

Inaugurate new programs and sharply increase those already under way for training Algerians in the United States in technical, administrative, labor and other skills essential to Algerian self-government. [With eight new arrivals this month there will be 46 Algerian students here under [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] private auspices and Department’s (CU) exchange program. Latter have Tunisian [Page 86] or Moroccan passports. Plans under way to expand these programs and add AID technical training effort as soon as possible. FLN leaders have indicated strong interest.]
Proceed immediately with implementation of interim administrative plans (already prepared or now in process) to elevate CG Algiers to Embassy—building lease, staff and equipment. [Tentative staffing pattern approved in Department and Algiers. Gradual staff build-up in next few months is required, but present funding problem not yet resolved. FBO projected Embassy building would not be completed before 1964 or 1965. Funds for interim lease of large enough building to house Embassy, Attaches, AID and other agency officials will be required. Problem currently under active review. Plans for early opening two small consulates at Oran and Constantine are ready for implementation as soon as expected French approval received.]
Advance preparation of political and protocol arrangements for recognition, diplomatic relations, delegation to independence, gifts.

Timely selection of U.S. Ambassador.

After OAS subdued and joint provisional administration is established and operating:

As follow-up to earlier conversations with GOF and FLN, consult Franco-Algerian Provisional Executive re USG offer to assist with food-relief, food-work and other emergency programs. An economic team of State and AID officers from Washington, Rabat and Tunis should be selected in advance to pursue this. [Economic paper prepared by study group with refinements now in process will serve as basic paper for short-range aid planning. Separate longer range paper now in process. Contact with PAG economic planners, interested in US AID program and methods, has just been established by Embassy Tunis. Department approved last month a Ford Foundation project to sponsor private economic adviser to PAG. Advance assignment of one or two US AID officers to Algiers is being prepared.]
Earmark an advance provisional amount of $50,000,000 in FY’62 and ’63 funds for emergency assistance. [AID has noted and will take necessary action.]

Review with French the longer term internal security situation and suggest minimum US military aid and police training assistance as agreed Western alternative to what otherwise might be semi-reliance on Communist Bloc.

[In response to Department’s request JCS has prepared preliminary study of possible US military aid to post-independence Algeria accompanied with suggested “impact package” of items likely to be of immediate usefulness and subject to rapid delivery with appropriate priority. This included 64 cargo trucks, 2 L-19A aircraft, 2 C-47’s, 3 picket boats, spare parts and auxiliary equipment at a cost of $1.4 million. Its contents [Page 87] could be adjusted to more immediate Algerian requirements when known and when and if it were decided to make any such offer.]


Notify FLN leadership at appropriate point before independence that USG is prepared to enter into diplomatic relations with new Algerian Government on independence day or as soon thereafter as is mutually convenient.

On and after Independence Day

Ambassador-designate and designated US AID Director should participate as members of USG delegation to ceremonies.

Above two officials should remain in Algeria, and assisted by appropriate economic and military survey teams as needed, should make early appraisal of Algerian economic and security plans and requirements with view to early US assistance as counter to expected immediate Communist Bloc initiatives.

[Other preparations under way to cover the above and less favorable contingencies include:

Labor and manpower requirement studies being prepared in the Department of State and Labor, the latter emphasizing possible expansion of US labor union liaison.
State Department intelligence studies re:
Consequences of a French decision to partition Algeria,
Prospective policies of an independent Algerian state, and
The probable effects on North African (Maghreb) relations of Algerian independence.]3

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S Policy Guidelines: Lot 67 D 396, Algeria. Secret. A cover sheet indicates that the memorandum was being submitted to an NSC Standing Group meeting on February 9 for purposes of discussion, and had been generally approved in the Department of State but had not yet received final approval from Secretary Rusk. (Ibid.)
  2. All brackets (except those in paragraph (6)) are in the source text.
  3. Reported in telegram 3632, January 27. (Department of State, Central Files, 611.51S/1-2762)
  4. On February 9, during a briefing session held prior to the NSC Standing Group meeting, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs George McGhee asked that two additional points be added to the Algeria paper. U.S. representatives should stress to the FLN “the importance of honoring in practice the agreed guarantees to the European community in Algeria,” and a few representatives of that community should be included in future expanded U.S. training programs. Later that day, McGhee presented the paper to the NSC Standing Group, which discussed it and approved it “in general.” (Ibid., S/S-NSC Files: Lot 70 D 265, NSC Standing Group Meeting, February 9, 1962)