316. Item Prepared by Marshall Wright of the National Security Council Staff for the Presidentʼs Daily Briefing1 2
Significant Development for Presidentʼs Daily Brief
US Ships Still in Somali Hands
June 13th Brief reported Somaliaʼs seizure of five American-owned vessels. Seven Americans were among the thirty US, Brazilian and German crew members involved. So far, not even our Embassyʼs most insistent efforts to achieve consular access have met with success. The Somalis claim that the ships violated their territorial waters and they claim that the vessels were not flying flags and failed to heave, to in response to international signals. The only hopeful note has been the June 20 arrival in Mogadiscio of an agent of the ship owners. He seems competent, is trying to salvage the ships, and has talked to the crew, who are apparently in satisfactory shape. Both State and our Embassy intend to keep up their urgent representations to the Somalis.
FOR HAK ONLY. The shipsʼ Houston owners are reportedly hopping mad and threatening to go to the press. They apparently believe that our Embassyʼs failure to achieve consular access represents a lack of urgency on our part. The owners have been in touch with George Bush at the UN, who in turn has been in contact with State. This is the fourth time since February 1970 that the Somalis have seized our boats. There appears to be little that we can do but grind our teeth right now. The company agent, who has just arrived on the scene, may be a little more successful.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 743, Country Files, Africa, Somalia Republic, Vol. I. Confidential.↩
- Wright reported that there still had been no consular access to the Americans on board the vessels seized by Somalia. The shipsʼ owners were “hopping mad” and believed there was a lack of urgency on the part of the United States. The owners had been in contact with George Bush at the United Nations who, in turn, had contacted the Department of State.↩