246. Telegram 33749 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Uganda1 2


  • GOU/USG Relations


  • Kampala 770, 772, 778, AND 779

In manner you deem appropriate request you discuss with General Amin our views his several proposals as follows:

1. Several requests reported Kampala reftels from General Amin put USG at this time in difficult position. We desire to be responsive to overtures of friendship. At same time we avoid direct involvement in primarily African issues and in actions concerning security of African states. We have sought to avoid involvement in secession problems (Nigerian civil war and southern Sudan) which plague African states and we have respected Africansʼ opposition to any possible break up of a fellow African nation. Moreover we are restrained by our own laws and our limited resources from inauguration of new military assistance programs or even, since congressional amendment last year, from offering military training in U.S.

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2. Given the underlying principles of our policy, we can not rpt not give any encouragement to General Amin that we will be able to satisfy his wishes for U.S. military equipment under MAP or FMS. (Septel follows.)

3. However, we recognize his needs and we appreciate the proposed orientation of his new government. We are prepared, therefore, if General Amin understands our very real limitations to initiate requested liaison and to provide technical assistance in internal security field as will be explained more fully in septel. Further, we prepared to approve commercial purchase by GOU of types of dual-purpose military equipment explained in additional septel.

4. In light situation para 2 we would be thoroughly understanding if Amin felt it imprudent to move against Soviet advisors at this time or to cut himself off from access to spares for Soviet origin military items. Amin in better position to judge than we but we suggest that if Soviets have not clearly determined their position towards his regime there may be merit in avoiding action which would lead Soviets to encourage those in Khartoum or Dar who might be attracted by extreme moves against his regime.

5. Apparent that what new Ugandan Government does is own business, but would suggest that Amin regime acceptance by moderate African states likely be considerably more difficult if it initiates actions against its neighbors.

6. Finally, we have strongest reservations toward any effort involve southern African regimes in disputes between black African states. We cannot see this as being helpful either to African states involved or to longer range efforts reduce prospects violent confrontation between black and white-dominated Africa.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 746, Country Files, Africa, Uganda, Vol. I. Secret; Exdis; Immediate. Drafted by Beyer (AF/E) and Newsom, approved by Johnson, Eliot and Wright.
  2. Responding to several requests from Ugandan President Amin, the Department instructed the Embassy to tell Amin that the U.S. Government desired to be responsive to overtures of friendship, but wanted to avoid direct involvement in primarily African issues. Therefore, it was not possible to provide military training or equipment. However, the U.S. Government appreciated the orientation of Aminʼs government, and therefore was prepared to provide technical assistance and approve commercial purchase of dual-purpose military equipment.