219. Memorandum From the Deputy Secretary of State (Irwin) to President Nixon1 2

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Burundi.]

4. Burundi Political Crisis—The Burundi Government has been under attack from insurgents supported by outside forces who may have entered the country from Tanzania or Zaire and joined with local tribesmen.

President Micombero remains in command of the Government and the army, but his forces have not been able to regain complete control of parts of the Bururi Province in southern Burundi where some fighting continues, hundreds of people reportedly have been killed and large areas devastated.

There are no reports of Americans or Europeans having been harmed in any of the violence. Our Embassy has advised the 125 Americans, mainly missionaries, residing in Burundi to exercise extreme prudence and remain close to their missions since there were rumors of American involvement stemming from missionary contacts with tribesmen.

In response to Micomberoʼs request for international assistance for the refugees, Ambassador Melady has offered foodstuffs from Catholic Relief Service supplies stored in Bujumbura and plans to make additional purchases utilizing disaster relief funds.

Except for the potential danger to American citizens residing in Burundi, no American interests are threatened.

John N. Irwin II
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 41, Presidentʼs Daily Briefs. Confidential. The memorandum is stamped: “The President Has Seen.”
  2. Irwin informed the President that the Burundi Government had been attacked by insurgents, but President Micombero remained in command. No Americans or Europeans had been harmed, but the 125 Americans, mainly missionaries, had been asked to exercise prudence. Ambassador Melady had offered Catholic Relief Service supplies and would use disaster relief funds in response to Micomberoʼs request for international assistance.