248. Memorandum From Helmut Sonnenfeldt of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1


  • Malta—Mintoff Sends Message to President

Prime Minister Dom Mintoff has asked Embassy Valletta to transmit the following letter to the President with the utmost urgency and to inform Mintoff when the letter has reached the President.2 The text of the letter is as follows:

“Dear Mr. President:

Prior to the agreement we made with Britain in March this year,3 the United States Government had conceded to send an economic mission to Malta which would submit recommendations for your decision. [Page 785] On June 20 I was assured by our mutual friend, Mr. Robert Ellsworth, that the team’s report was then being reviewed within the U.S. Government and that the United States Government’s responses stemming from the team’s visit to Malta will be transmitted as soon as possible. Considering the urgency of the matters which have been reviewed by the team I would appreciate your personal intervention for a quick decision.

With cordial greetings,

Yours very sincerely,

Dom Mintoff

You have a joint memorandum from me and Dick Kennedy (Log 4912 of July 7)4 forwarding a recommended US bilateral assistance package for Malta for decision by the President. As noted in that memorandum, Mintoff’s patience is about to wear out, and unless we inform him quickly of our aid offer we can expect a new crisis. I urge action on the Malta assistance package as soon as possible.

In a related message from Embassy Valletta, Ambassador Getz has stressed Mintoff’s desire to be notified when his message has reached the President.5 In order to keep this issue moving at a controlled pace, and unless this gives you a problem, I would like to advise State on Thursday, July 13, to inform Embassy Valletta that the message has been received.


1. Action on Log 49126

2. OK to tell State Mintoff’s letter received7

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 758, Presidential Correspondence, Malta Prime Minister Mintoff. Confidential. Sent for very urgent action.
  2. Mintoff’s request together with the text of his letter were forwarded to the Department of State in telegram 1246 from Valletta, July 12. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 MALTA)
  3. On March 26 in London, the United Kingdom and Malta signed a 7-year agreement allowing for the United Kingdom’s continued use of military facilities in Malta in exchange for a $37 million yearly payment, of which the United Kingdom would pay approximately one-third. Malta agreed that neither Soviet nor Warsaw Pact forces would be allowed to establish stations on Malta or use its military facilities. The agreement was summarized in “Britain and Malta Agree on Price for Use of Bases,” New York Times, March 27, 1972, p. 1.
  4. Not found.
  5. Telegram 1247 from Valletta, July 12. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 15–1 MALTA)
  6. A handwritten note reads: “Has been forwarded to President 7/14/72”.
  7. A handwritten note reads: “Yes—Clift advised 7/13/72”.