248. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Newsom) to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Johnson)1 2


  • Normalization of Relations with The New Ugandan Government-ACTION MEMORANDUM


Since the January 25 military coup in Uganda, we have gradually expanded our working relationship with the new government of General Idi Amin Dada but have made it clear we do not yet regard our relations fully normalized. It had been our intention to follow the African lead. We hoped the OAU Ministerial Meeting held in Addis Ababa at the end of February would clarify the African position, but the Meeting adjourned without seating the Amin delegation. The issue was instead referred to the OAU Summit scheduled in June.

A considerable time has now elapsed since the coup. The Amin Government is in full control and has promised to honor the international obligations of its predecessor. Moreover, since the OAU Ministerial Meeting, a growing number of African states, including Congo (K), Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, have indicated through remarks or actions—although generally not through formal statements of recognition—that they intend to do business with the Amin Government.

[Page 2]

We have a number of matters to carry forward in Kampala. We believe that further delay in normalizing relations is not only unnecessary, but will be resented by the Amin Government. We therefore wish to instruct Ambassador Ferguson to move an AID bilateral and a Development Loan Agreement forward for signature, two actions that will effectively normalize our relations with the new government.


That you sign the attached telegram to Kampala.

[Page 3]


Draft Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Uganda





  • Kampala 874, 875, 876 (NOTAL); State 38065

1. After some of ProAgs covered State ref have been finalized, agree that desirable next step will be to obtain GOU agreement on final draft bilateral. If, during your discussions with ForMin and Attorney General, question of signature arises, you can respond that, assuming GOU proposes no further changes US draft, you prepared sign bilateral. Would hope signing could be accomplished with little or no publicity. FYI: If bilateral is signed, we would be prepared to respond to any queries by saying we consider we have normal relations with GOU. If [Page 4] pressed if this means we recognize GOU, we would respond in affirmative without identifying any act or time. END FYI.

2. Moreover, believe we should also at same time move PTTC loan agreement forward, submitting it to GOU if you have not already done so and indicating USG readiness to sign, again without publicity. GOU should understand that execution loan agreement obligates USG provide only up to $3.2 million for project with GOU to finance remainder. Septel follows on question possible increased costs.

3. At appropriate point you should indicate to MinEd and other pertinent officials our hope that GOU will reciprocate USGʼs responsiveness by registering Lincoln School in order to permit its construction program to go forward as soon as possible.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL Uganda-US. Confidential. A handwritten note on page 2 of the memorandum states, “tel sent—see attached LDX slip.”
  2. Newsom recommended normalizing relations with Uganda through an Agency for International Development (AID) bilateral and a Development Loan Agreement—there would be little or no publicity. Reference telegrams are not published.