251. Telegram 2695 From the Embassy in Uganda to the Department of State1 2

For Asst Secretary Newsom from Ambassador


  • The USG and the Asian Expulsion Activities of GOU


  • USUN 2946 State 151787

1. We recommend that the USG maintain a strict policy of no public comment in regard to the Asian expulsion activites of General Amin.

2. In this very moving human tragedy it is practically guaranteed that there will be additional events that, like the primary act itself, will be in violation of human rights. Any action by the USG in commenting or taking the leadership in statements and/or activities condemning these activities would be misinterpreted as an act of intervention in the internal affairs of Uganda. Our relations for the moment are fragile and such an action would certainly complicate them. Furthermore any such action would be counterproductive.

3. Let us hope that African leaders who do not hesitate to take advantage of every opportunity to attack South Africa and Rhodesia for their violation of human rights and who also attack the US and UK for alleged violations of human rights will have the courage to take the leadership in any UN or international effort to end the violation of the human rights [Page 2] of Asians of various nationalities living in Uganda. President Nyerere has already spoken. A prominent African church group and several East African newspapers have criticized some aspects of Aminʼs expulsion order. Perhaps others will follow and take the matter to the UN. If they do, this will help to restore the prestige of the UN in America and Western eyes because the past decade it seems that the UN will only attack Western countries but does not dare to look into the violation of human rights occurring in non-Western countries.

4. One way for us to help Asians—if a decision is taken to do this—would be to find an Arab leader who, like the President of Sudan, could approach Amin. I do not rpt not recommend that we do this. We are cultivating our Embassy contacts with the Sudanese and Libyans for future use when the need arises. We want to preserve whatever credits we have to serve more concrete bilateral concerns.

5. I feel best efforts we could make on humanitarian side, without ill effect to our bilateral relations, would be, in line with State 154457, para 3, to offer special immigration to small group of expellees who will be, for all practical purposes, stateless. I can assure you that this gesture—however nominal—would be well received by the British and Indian High Commissions in Kampala and I would believe also by their governments.

6. I have asked all members of the American Embassy and all agencies— USAID, USIS and Peace Corps—to refrain from making any remarks on the Asian expulsion order to anyone outside of the US official family. We are regarding it as an internal matter, although all of us are deeply moved by the daily manifestations of inhumanity.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 23–10 Uganda. Confidential. Repeated to USUN.
  2. Ambassador Melady deplored the Asian expulsion activities of Ugandan President Idi Amin, but recommended a strict policy of no public comment. He suggested offering special immigration to a small number of expelled individuals.