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160. Telegram From the Central Intelligence Agency to the White House Situation Room, Washington, January 14, 1970, 2026Z1 2

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1970 JAN 13 2122Z
[text not declassified]
BACKGROUND USE ONLY CITE TDCS DB-315/00173-70 (ADVANCE)

COUNTRY:

  • NIGERIA/GABON/IVORY COAST/FRANCE

DOI:

  • 13 JANUARY 1970

SUBJECT:

  • 1. WHEREABOUTS OF BIAFRAN SECESSIONIST LEADER GENERAL ODUMEGWO OJUKWU
  • 2. THE EARLY RESPONSE OF THE FRENCH GOVERNENT TO THE FALL OF BIAFRA

ACQ:

  • [text not declassified]

SOURCE:

  • [text not declassified]

1. BIAFRA SECESSIONIST LEADER GENERAL ODUMEGWU OJUKWU HAS BEEN STAYING IN A PRIVATE VILLA IN LIBREVILLE SINCE HIS DEPARTURE FROM BIAFRA. [text not declassified] TO THE FRENCH GOVERMENT OJUKWU SAID THAT HE WAS DEPARTING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE WISHES OF HIS GENERAL STAFF AND TO SPARE HIS PEOPLE FROM EXTERMINATION. CHRISTOPHER ONYEKWELU, BIAFRAN FINANCE MAN IN EUROPE AND BROTHER-IN- LAW OF OJUKWU, WAS GIVEN A ROUND-TRIP TICKET TO LIBREVILLE ON 13 JANUARY BY THE FRENCH GENERAL SECRETARIAT FOR AFRICAN AND MALAGASY AFFAIRS IN PARIS AND WILL JOIN OJUWKU IN LIBREVILLE ON 14 JANUARY. C.C. MOJEKWU, BIAFRAN REPRESENTATIVE IN LISBON, HAS ALSO DEPARTED BY AIR FOR LIBREVILLE. FRENCH SECRETARY GENERAL FOR AFRICAN AND MALAGASY AFFAIRS JACQUES FOCCART HAS LEFT YAOUNDE WHERE HE WAS ATTENDING CAMEROONʼS TENTH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS TO MEET WITH OJUKWU IN LIBREVILLE. BIAFRAN MINISTER OF JUSTICE MBANEFO HAS REMAINED IN BIAFRA.

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2. ON THE EVENING OF 13 JANUARY 1970 FOCCARTʼS DEPUTY JEAN MAURICHEAU-BEAUPRE WENT TO SEE FRENCH MINISTER OF NATIONAL DEFENSE MICHEL DEBRE. DEBRE AND MAURICHEAU-BEAUPRE DECIDED TO HAVE THE STOCK OF FRENCH-SUPPLIED ARMS REMOVED [text not declassified] AND DIVIDED BETWEEN THE FRENCH BASES AT DOUALA AND ABIDJAN. MAURICHEAU-BEAUPRE SAID THAT FRANCE HAD SENT $30,000,000 IN MATERIAL TO BIAFRA, LENT IVORY COAST PRESIDENT HOUPHOUET-BOIGNY $3,000,000 FOR BIAFRAN OPERATIONS, AND FACES A DEBT OF CIRCA $400,000 FOR [text not declassified] SERVICES.

3. THERE ARE AT PRESENT NO PLANS FOR FRENCH SUPPORT TO BIAFRAN GUERRILLA RESISTANCE. THE RATIONALE FOR THIS POSITION AS EXPRESSED BY MAURICHEAU-BEAUPRE TO INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED WITH EXECUTING BIAFRAN OPERATIONS WAS AS FOLLOWS: “FRANCE SUPPORTED BIAFRA BECAUSE OF THE OIL AND ERAP, BUT NOT THE IBO REVOLUTION. THE SUPPORT WAS ACTUALLY GIVEN TO A HANDFUL OF BlAFRAN BOURGEOISE IN RETURN FOR THE OIL. THERE IS NO POPULAR SUPPORT IN BIAFRA FOR A GUERRILLA WAR NOW. THE REAL IBO MENTALITY IS MUCH FARTHER TO THE LEFT THAN THAT OF OJUKWU AND EVEN IF WE HAD WON, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN THE PROBLEM OF KEEPING HIM IN POWER IN THE FACE OF LEFTIST INFILTRATION.”

4. DISSEM: NONE [text not declassified]
GP-1
520

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials,NSC Files, Box 742, Country Files, Africa, Nigeria, Vol. I. Secret; Noforn Dissem; Controlled Dissem. The telegram was forwarded to Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Haig by his secretary under cover of a January 14 memorandum which stated that DCI Helms had called and left the following message for Haig: “It seems to me that this item, although raw intelligence, shows such cynicism on the part of the French, Dr. Kissinger might want to bring it to the attention of the President.”
  2. Director of Central Intelligence Helms forwarded an intelligence report that he believed showed “such cynicism on the part of the French” that Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Kissinger might want to bring it to the attention of the President. The report stated that there were no plans at present for French support to Biafran guerrilla resistance. The rationale, it was reported, was that the French supported Biafra because of oil, not the Ibo revolution.