60. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Tunisia0

515. Procedure re messages Deptel 4419 to Paris rptd Tunis 5071 superseded by following:


President has approved following stand-by oral personal message to be delivered by Ambassador Walmsley to Ben Khedda2 on occasion of cease-fire:

President welcomes conclusion of cease-fire agreement for Algeria as a great and historic accomplishment. He expresses his sincere gratification for the wisdom and statesmanship which you and your colleagues brought to bear in helping to achieve it. He believes the opportunities it provides for a friendly and fruitful relationship between Algeria and France should prove to be of profound benefit to all concerned. He sincerely hopes that it will assure a future for Algeria toward which all residents will contribute constructively.

President feels that Algeria now stands at the threshold of a bright new future. He says that we Americans can from our own heritage appreciate the great tasks and opportunities that lie ahead for the people of Algeria as they prepare to build a new nation and in this we wish them well. He wishes to assure you that we look forward to establishing friendly relations, of benefit to both of our nations and peoples.

Delivery of foregoing message should be effected by Ambassador Walmsley (personally if possible) at such place and in such manner as he deems most appropriate, but only upon the receipt of further specific instruction from Dept which will be sent as soon as cease-fire has been officially announced.3
Ambassador should make following additional points as USG position separate from President’s personal message: [Page 89]
USG looks forward to increasingly meaningful informal contacts now and to the day when these can be formalized by recognition of an independent Algerian government.
Appropriate USG officials will be willing explore with Algerian leaders during course such informal conversations ways and means in which USG might assist in solution economic, education, administrative and other problems which Algerians foresee in connection coming independence.
During transition period USG will of course have to conduct official actions vis-à-vis Algeria in accordance provisions Franco-Algerian agreement.
USG considers it important for all concerned despite possible obstacles that provisions of agreement concerning European minority be put effectively into practice.
Upon receipt above-mentioned action instructions and time permitting GOT may be informed just prior delivery that Amb intends deliver congratulatory message, but fact that it is presidential message should not be disclosed.
Avoid press attention of meeting to extent feasible. If queried suggest you merely say conversation informal and there is no change your status which solely that of Amb accredited GOT.
You should advise Ben Khedda that President’s message personal and not intended for publication. You may say that if queried by press we will reply that President asked our Amb in Tunis express President’s gratification to Ben Khedda about conclusion of cease-fire agreement. You may suggest to Ben Khedda he may wish handle similarly.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/2-2362. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Witman on February 22; cleared by Imhof, Tyler, Fredericks, Rowan, Manfull, Davies, and Smith (White House); and approved by McGhee. Also sent to Paris and Algiers.
  2. Not printed. (Ibid., 751S.00/2-1562)
  3. Benyoussef Ben Khedda was head of the PAG.
  4. In telegram 555, March 18, the Department of State informed the Embassy in Tunis that it should carry out the instructions in telegram 515 and that the President asked the Ambassador to emphasize to Ben Khedda the friendly personal character of his message. (Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/3-1062) On March 19, Walmsley reported that he had delivered the President’s message to Ben Khedda, who had asked him to express his deep appreciation for the personal message. Ben Khedda had also said that U.S. support and understanding would be invaluable to the Algerian people and noted that the present Algerian leadership intended to work out cooperative arrangements with the French Government. (Telegram 946 from Tunis; ibid., 751S.00/3-1962)