228. Memorandum From Fernando E. Rondon of the National Security Council Staff to the Presidentʼs Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2
- Burundi Policy
As you recommended in your memorandum at Tab 2, the President agreed that relations with Burundi should be minimal but he added: “K—also see the Burundi Ambassador.” The purpose of this memorandum is to get those instructions conveyed to State either orally, as we would suggest, or in written form as provided for in Tab 1.
In addition to informing State about our minimal relationship, the Department would be asked to call in the Burundi Ambassador and tell him that as a result of the systematic killings which took place in his country we cannot consider our relations to be normal. This line would anger the Burundi Government but probably not lead to a break in relations or to an ouster of our mission there. Such an ouster would not be in our interest because of our desire (State and CIA feel strongly about this) to monitor potential anti-Zairian activity in Burundi. (As African maps indicate, Burundi is the back door to the traditionally most restive part of Zaire (Congo). If the PRC or USSR wanted to stir up trouble in Eastern Zaire, Burundi would be the ideal basing point for rebels.) Otherwise, our interests in Burundi are minimal.
Some further thoughts on our future Burundi policy are contained in the brief paper written by our Ambassador to Burundi at Tab 3. The Ambassador agrees that we should have a minimal presence in Burundi but wants to have the leeway to make small gestures to the Burundi Government in order to: (1) encourage reconciliation, (2) lessen the risk that Burundi will think the West is abandoning it—as Belgium slowly reduces its presence—, and (3) maintain our ability to monitor PRC and USSR activity, particularly if it is directed against Zaire.[Page 2]
We recommend that as outlined at Tab 1 the Presidentʼs instructions be conveyed orally to the Department of State, preferably by General Haig to Ted Eliot, to avoid any possible leakage of the Presidentʼs feelings on this matter. If not, questions might be asked about why it took us so long to convey our outrage to Burundi. If you disagree, and want the record to show our reaction, a memorandum for your signature to the Secretary of State is at Tab 1.
That General Haig orally convey the contents of the memorandum at Tab 1 to Ted Eliot.
Agree [checked]. [handwritten note]
Disagree, I will sign the memo at Tab 1____.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 735, Country Files, Africa, Burundi, Vol. I. Confidential; Eyes Only; Nodis. Sent for action. Kissinger checked “Agree” and wrote “done” next to it.↩
- Rondon discussed the Presidentʼs instructions on policy toward Burundi and how to convey them to the Department of State. He also forwarded Ambassador Yostʼs memorandum on Burundi developments, which recommended retaining the greatest possible flexibility in U.S. policy toward Burundi.↩