349. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Somalia 1
Washington, March 16, 1968, 0123Z.
131425. Subject: Egal Visit Washington.
- Following is summary of Secretary’s talk with Somali Prime Minister Egal March 15:
- Detente in Horn of Africa: In response Secretary’s expression interest current developments, Egal stated progress continuing particularly with Kenya. Somalia still waiting for Ethiopians cancel security measures Ogaden. Establishment joint border commissions with both Ethiopians and Kenyans highly significant.
- US AID: Egal made strong pitch on both political and economic grounds for U.S. contribution to Juba River Project and construction road linking Addis-Nairobi highway with Port of Chisimaio. Said indication of favorable U.S. decision essential for him politically as well as for his efforts obtain Italian and West German participation these projects. Egal stated he had held up discussing road link project with Kenyans until he got U.S. reaction, but sure Kenyans would be in favor. Secretary stated USG interested Somali economic development and cited PL–480 agreement to be signed today but pointed out Administration’s difficulties with Congress as well problem of Congressional limitation on number AID recipient countries. Believed Somalis would do well look to international institutions particularly World Bank, as well Europeans, for assistance. However suggested Egal discuss further with AID Deputy Administrator.
- East African Community: In response Secretary’s question whether Ethiopia and Somalia would join, Egal said Somalis definitely [Page 598]would, although there would have to be transitional period of economic reorientation. Community had just appointed negotiating team for discussions with Somali Government. Secretary expressed hope in development regional community whereby national political controversies could be readily resolved or disappear as now case in Western Europe with old issue of Ruhr.
- U.N.: Secretary stated USG valued active Somali participation in U.N. affairs and opined that Somali delegation in most instances demonstrated moderation and constructive action.
- Middle East Crisis: Secretary believed formula developed by Ambassador Jarring could be accepted by both sides but feared present delay did not serve peace. Egal stated Somalia supported Arabs and emphasized main obstacle to settlement was question prestige. Irrespective substance, formula would have to appear give concessions to Arabs in light their great humiliation and reluctance any one of Arab leaders make first compromise step. Suggested unconditional Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories. Egal fairly sure USSR not urging Arabs reject any settlement. Stated Somali economy had suffered at outset from Suez closure but fairly satisfactory readjustment had since been made, thanks to Italian help.
- Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 7 SOMALI. Confidential. Drafted by Looram; cleared by Palmer, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Lucius D. Battle, Ambassador Thurston, and Steigman; and approved by Looram. Repeated to Addis Ababa, Nairobi, Asmara, and USUN, and by pouch to Paris, Rome, and Bonn.↩