292. National Intelligence Estimate1

NIE 75/76–64


The Problem

To examine the current disputes involving Ethiopia, the Somali Republic, French Somaliland, and Kenya; to consider the nature of Soviet and Chinese policies toward them; and to assess the implications for US interests.


The Somali Republic’s campaign to bring under its rule the half-million Somalis in Ethiopia and Kenya has embroiled it in controversy with these two states. Within the past year the situation has worsened as insurgency, border incidents, and propaganda attacks have intensified. (Para. 1)
In Kenya’s Northeastern Region, Somali tribal dissidence, thus far kept under tolerable control, may become increasingly troublesome if, as now intended, the UK withdraws backing for Kenyan security forces. In the Ogaden region of Ethiopia, Somali insurgency, encouraged and supported from Mogadiscio, has more serious implications. The Ethiopian army is finding it difficult to cope with the rebels, and Haile Selassie faces the dilemma that failure to take firm action would encourage disaffection both among Ethiopia’s many disparate tribal groups and within the army, while a buildup of the army’s capability and prestige would strengthen a force that could threaten his regime. Prolonged and intensified insurgency in the Ogaden could endanger the Emperor’s political position. In the best of circumstances the Horn is likely to remain a trouble spot for many years. (Paras. 17, 19, 21)
The Soviets, by agreeing to supply the Somali Republic with some $35 million of military aid, have partially supplanted Western influence in Mogadiscio and are increasing their presence in the Horn in a way which may be useful to them as future opportunities arise. Moscow will probably urge restraint on any large-scale Somali adventure; if open war should develop, it will probably seek to avoid actively taking sides. (Paras. 9, 22)
Haile Selassie regards the US communications facility at Kagnew as his prime bargaining counter to gain US support for Ethiopian policies. We do not believe that the Emperor will seriously press for US evacuation of Kagnew, but will use African sentiment against foreign military bases to bargain for greater US military and economic assistance. (Para. 23)

[Here follows the body of the report.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79–R01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the source text, the estimate was submitted by Director of Central Intelligence John A. McCone and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on April 29.