286. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Ethiopia 1

709. Please deliver the following message from President Johnson to the Emperor:

Your Majesty:

Since Your Majesty’s most considerate and deeply appreciated visit to the United States at the time of President Kennedy’s funeral, I have wanted to exchange thoughts with you on several matters of common interest. I regret that the present occasion for doing so is one involving a dispute between two African nations.

I have followed with deep concern recent events in the Horn of Africa affecting Somalia and Ethiopia. I want to assure you that the United States remains, as stated to Your Majesty in the past, fully sympathetic with Your Majesty’s desire to maintain the integrity and security of Ethiopia. I have personally emphasized to the President of the Somali Republic that we will fully support efforts to find peaceful and mutually satisfactory solutions to problems such as those now disturbing the Horn, but that we cannot be sympathetic with efforts to employ force in territorial disputes.

In the past two weeks, our primary objective has been to encourage efforts to bring about a cessation of hostilities. The continuation of armed conflict not only drains vitally needed resources, but gives opportunities to those who would undermine leadership friendly to peace. We were gratified that means were found through African intervention to bring about a cease-fire. We hope that the Lagos meeting of the OAU Foreign Ministers may find further means to decrease the tension in the Horn of Africa area, although we recognize that the seriousness of the problems in the area makes for no easy solution.

During this difficult period, I wish to assure you of my continued personal interest in Ethiopia and in Your Majesty’s health and welfare. We deeply value our relations with Ethiopia and the opportunity to cooperate in furthering its security and development. We will remain sympathetic and give full support to efforts to find mutually agreeable solutions to the problems of the Horn of Africa.

The American people have been particularly impressed with your great efforts toward the establishment of peace in the conception and [Page 500] founding of the OAU—a step of historic importance. We have welcomed, more recently, your successful effort in the Moroccan-Algerian problem.

You may be assured, Your Majesty, of my continued personal interest in the furtherance of our close and friendly relations.2

  • Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Ball
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 32–1 ETH–SOMALI. Secret; Immediate; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Newsom and Post on February 20, cleared by Brubeck and Harriman, and approved by Tasca.
  2. In telegram 814 from Addis Ababa, February 22, Korry reported that he had delivered President Johnson’s message that morning to Haile Selassie, who asked him to convey his appreciation to the President. The Ambassador said that he had also raised the question of Ethiopian use of U.S.-supplied planes over Somalia, but that the Emperor denied any such use, saying that if Ethiopia were going to use an air assault, it would be accompanied by an all-out land attack. (Ibid.)