Press Release

Office of the Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
United States Department of State
October 27, 2005

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–5, Documents on Africa, 1969–1972, as an electronic-only publication. This volume is the latest publication in the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Volume E–5 is the third Foreign Relations volume to be published in this new format, available to all free of charge on the Internet. Approximately 25 percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969–1976 subseries, covering the Nixon and Nixon-Ford administrations, will be in this format.

This volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon administration toward Sub-Saharan Africa, 1969–1972, with the exception of Southern Africa, which will be covered in a Foreign Relations print volume to be published later. The largest chapter in this volume deals with the challenges faced by the Department of State and the Nixon administration during and after the Nigerian civil war. The principal issue was how to channel humanitarian aid to Biafrans, without undermining the U.S. policy of non-intervention in the civil war. Included in this chapter are documents that illuminate President Richard Nixonʼs personal views on the humanitarian crisis there. The second largest chapter is on the Horn of Africa and U.S. relations with Ethiopia and the Somali Republic. The United States became increasingly identified with Emperor Haile Selassieʼs Government and U.S. relations with the pro-Soviet Union Somali Republic deteriorated markedly. The chapter on Burundi highlights another humanitarian crisis: the large-scale massacres of civilians condoned by the Burundi Government in late 1972. The Department of State and the Nixon administration were slow to realize the nature of this tragedy. Given a policy of non-intervention, and the fact that the massacres were drawing to a close when the tragic nature of the events were brought to its attention, the Nixon administration decided that realistically there was little that it could do to ameliorate the situation. The downward spiral of U.S. relations with Uganda and its erratic President, Idi Amin, is covered in a separate chapter. Zaire and its President Mobutu, who was then considered by Washington a staunch friend in a key central African country and a relative success story in Africa, has its own chapter. U.S. relations and policy toward other sub-Saharan African countries not mentioned above, if significant, are covered in the first chapter on general African policy.

The volume, including a preface, list of names, abbreviations, sources, annotated document list, and this press release, is available on the Office of the Historian website ( For further information contact Edward Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663–1131; fax (202) 663–1289; e-mail