161. Memorandum for the Record1 2


  • Wednesday Morning Staff Meeting

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Nigeria.]

2. Roger Morris gave a run-down on the Biafran situation. He reported that the military situation is acute, the federal forces are still firing and fighting, and many of the relief operations are being black listed.

Concerning the $10 million emergency aid we have offered, General Gowon has told Newsom that nothing is being done with it yet, while the Federal government assesses needs. A message has come in this morning from Prime Minister Wilson to the President, saying that we face a critical period ahead and this is the time for some discreet pressure. Hunt, a special envoy for the British, is on his way to Lagos.

Rogers noted that a wrap-up report is due from State today. Kissinger said he wanted a covering two-page memorandum to [Page 2] the President which would discuss what has happened, who has said what and what the consequences are. The State memo can be forwarded as an attachment to this.

Concerning our public position, Kissinger said we must maintain our morale stance. We cannot accept the concept that whatever Lagos does is right. For press briefing purposes, we must say that the Nigerian government can have no doubt about the depth of our concern. We have offered support and we hope they inform us as to their needs. But the important point is that at every occasion we must stress our concern.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 314, NSC 14, Meetings Staff Meetings 1969–1971. Secret.
  2. Morris reported to the NSC Staff that many relief operations in Nigeria had been blacklisted. Kissinger wanted to maintain a moral stance and stress our concern. The United States could not accept the concept that whatever Lagos did was right.