9. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in France0

1974. With breakdown Algerian-Moroccan negotiations Marrakech yesterday and apparent determination both sides continue fighting apparently on wider front, Department concerned that limited border conflict might be expanded to war in which other powers might become involved to detriment interests US and West in area. We do not want become involved, but now actively considering possible courses action to which we could lend stimulus in effort bring about early cease fire and resumption peaceful efforts reach understanding or moratorium.

Algerians have sought assistance OAU and French Embassy here has informed Department today that Zentar Political Director of Moroccan FonOff has informed French that help from either SYG or OAU would be acceptable to GOM as means getting talks started with GOA again.

Request Embassy Paris seek contact Haile Selassie through Ethiopian Embassy during Emperor’s unofficial visit Paris Oct. 20 to 23 for purpose obtaining his views on how OAU might assist in bringing about cease fire and resumption of talks.1

We think this would be good opportunity help OAU move in direction establishing conciliation machinery envisioned in charter and that Emperor’s support of possible initial role for OAU in influencing GOM and GOA to return to conference table would be helpful.

Discussion with Emperor should be purely exploratory this stage and it should be made clear USG not intending become actively involved in any way.

FYI. As will be noted separate tels today, we also exploring possibilities that SYG himself2 or Swiss3 might serve as catalyst for resumption GOM-GOA talks and cease fire.

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Possibility of combining all three elements to some extent might be GOM-GOA meeting in Geneva with SYG or his representative assisted by selected number OAU Foreign Ministers. No objection your sounding out Emperor this sort of possibility, if conversation develops in such way as avoid implication we trying arrange it. End FYI.

Any information you able obtain incidentally re Emperor’s overall assessment of conflict and his understanding of Moroccan position resulting from talks during his Marrakech visit also of interest.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32-1 ALG-MOR. Secret. Drafted by Hooper, cleared by Sisco and Davis, and approved by Tasca. Repeated to Tunis, Algiers, Rabat, Addis Ababa, Bern, and USUN.
  2. On October 20, the Embassy in Rabat, where Haile Selassie had decided to prolong his stay, was given similar instructions. (Telegram 1032 to Rabat; ibid.)
  3. In telegram 1094 to USUN, October 18, the Department of State instructed the U.S. Delegation to the United Nations to make discreet inquiries of the Secretary-General, asking whether he was thinking in terms of any U.N. mediatory role. (Ibid.)
  4. In telegram 245 to Bern, October 18, the Department of State requested that the Embassy discreetly sound out the Swiss Government and inquire whether it was giving any consideration to the possibility of assisting a cease-fire and resumption of talks between the two sides. (Ibid.)