75. Memorandum From the Director of the Office of Northern African Affairs (Witman) to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Williams)0


  • Your Appointment with Ambassador Achilles and Mr. Kraft

Attached are two memoranda on Algeria prepared by Ambassador Achilles, who headed the U.S. Delegation to the Algerian Independence Day ceremonies, and by Mr. Joseph Kraft, a member of the Delegation.1

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Ambassador Achilles notes that the political and economic situation in Algeria is bad and will likely deteriorate. He recommends, among other things, that we should show patience and understanding of Algerian aberrations, e.g. Cuba, and not stop our current relief efforts. He further states that the U.S. should encourage France and Algeria to come together since French capital and skills offer the only hope for economic salvation.

Mr. Kraft, on the other hand, remarks that the important political fact in Algeria is the existence of an opposition which because of its maturity and experience would likely adopt more reasonable foreign and domestic programs, if it came to power. Kraft characterizes the Ben Bella regime as being made up of persons who either spent most of the war in prison or were largely symbolic figure heads. They are following chauvinistic policies and playing East against West. Like Achilles, Kraft sees a key role for France and recommends that if France decides to continue support of Ben Bella, we should undertake modest food for work programs on a government-to-government basis. However, if France discontinues its aid, we should follow suit for we cannot alone avert the crisis and we may be weakening the opposition.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 751S.00/11-762. Confidential. Drafted by Gonzalez.
  2. Attached to the source text but not printed. The Algerian independence celebration was held October 31-November 1. A note dated November 17 to McGhee from a member of his staff indicated that S/S wanted to remind the Under Secretary of the interest the White House had exhibited in downplaying U.S. representation in Algeria and noted that the choice of Ambassador Achilles as the head of the delegation to the Algerian Independence Day ceremonies had reflected the President’s annoyance with Ben Bella’s statements about Cuba. The note was attached to a memorandum from Williams to Secretary Rusk, which discussed the possibility of a visit by Williams to Algeria as part of a trip to Europe and North Africa later that month. (Ibid., 110.15-WI/11-1662) The proposed visit to Algeria did not take place.