285. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Somalia1

Please deliver following message from President Johnson to President Aden:

Dear Mr. President:

I have followed with deep concern events in the Horn of Africa during the past two weeks.

I have been very disturbed to learn that these events may have created misunderstandings in the Somali Republic regarding the position of the United States.

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We have, as you know, a long history of friendship with Somalia. We value that friendship. We continue our interest in the independence, development, and democratic institutions of your country. Suggestions to the contrary come only from those who seek to disrupt our relationship. The fact of our friendship with Ethiopia in no way lessens our desire for continuing friendship and understanding with you and the Somali Republic.

We have expressed strongly to your government our hope for an early end of the hostilities in the Horn. We have made equally strong expressions to the Government of Ethiopia. We are gratified that, through the efforts of other African governments, an approach to peace has been made. We hope that the Lagos meeting of the OAU Foreign Ministers will result in the establishment of a still firmer basis for understanding.

I am fully conscious of the serious problems which disturb the peace of the area. We are sympathetic and we will give our full support to sincere efforts to find peaceful and mutually satisfactory solutions to these problems in order to make possible concentration on development of the area in ways that truly benefit the peoples of the region.2

Please accept my personal good wishes during these difficult times and my strong hope that we may increase that understanding which is the key to friendly relations between nations. I should be pleased to have your further thoughts on these matters and on the means through which your interested friends might assist in furthering the peace and welfare of this region.3

Lyndon B. Johnson.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32–1 ETH–SOMALI. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Newsom, cleared by Harriman and Brubeck, and approved by Tasca.
  2. Telegram 434 to Mogadiscio, February 22, instructed the Ambassador to insert at this point a sentence reading: “We cannot be sympathetic with efforts to employ force in territorial disputes.” (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 586 from Mogadiscio, February 22, Torbert reported that he had delivered the President’s “most helpful message” to President Aden Abdullah that morning, and that Aden had asked him to express his great appreciation to President Johnson and to state that Somalia would welcome any form of international inspection or presence along the border. (Ibid.) In telegram 597 from Mogadiscio, February 27, Torbert reported that he had delivered the revised version of President Johnson’s message with the additional sentence personally to President Aden that morning. (Ibid.)