Ch. 2. Algeria


13. Summary of Airgram A-102 From the Interests Section in Algeria to the Department of State, April 7, 1969

The Chief of the Interests Section documented the trends affecting U.S.-Algerian relations in the past year. Algeria's stabilizing political situation enabled the Boumediene Government to focus its attention on domestic programs to boost industrial development and enact agricultural reform. Given these changes, the summary predicted that the chances for renewal of diplomatic relations between the United States and Algeria were nearly even.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 1 ALG-US. Secret. It was repeated to CINCEUR, Bamako, Cairo, London, Paris, Rabat, Tripoli, Tunis, and US NATO. Drafted by Galanto, Hoffacker, and Morin; cleared by POL, CONS, and USIA; and approved by Hoffacker.


14. Airgram A-115 From the Interests Section in Algeria to the Department of State, April 14, 1969

Hoffacker analyzed the Algerian Government's motivations in its conduct of the trial of famed revolutionary Belkacem Krim and its predicted impact on U.S.-Algerian relations, given that the United States had been accused of supporting Krim in his attempts to conspire against the Algerian Government.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 29 ALG. Secret. It was repeated to Paris, Rabat, Tunis, and Tripoli. Drafted by Galanto and approved by Hoffacker. Enclosures 1 and 2 are not printed. A summary of the trial can be found in the April 11 Intelligence Note No. 268. (Ibid.)


15. Intelligence Memorandum, Washington, August 19, 1969

This 17 page report, titled “Algeria: Troubles Ahead?”, outlined the country's relationship with the Soviet Union and its important economic connection with France, then analyzed the ways in which a shift in that balance could end in favor of closer relations with Moscow.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, NIC Files, Job 79-R00967A, Box 1, O/NE Memorandum, 1969, May-August. Secret. Prepared in the Office of National Estimates, and discussed with representatives of the Office of Current Intelligence and the Office of Economic Research, who were in general agreement with its judgments.


16. Telegram 174764 From the Department of State to the Interests Section in Algeria, October 15, 1969, 1901Z

This telegram transmitted a memorandum of a conversation between the Secretary of State and Algerian Foreign Minister Bouteflika. Over the course of the meeting the two men discussed improving U.S.-Algerian relations, Algeria's relationship with the other major powers and the possible course its new economic programs would follow.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-1969, POL 7 ALG. Secret; Priority; Limdis. It was repeated to Paris, Rabat, and Tunis. Drafted by Lowrie and approved by Bray. The septel was telegram 176130 to Algiers, October 17, in which the Department expressed gratification at the improved tone in U.S.-Algerian relations, but regretted that it stopped short of full diplomatic resumption. It also advised the Interests Section that Acting Director of AF/N Charles Bray would be the official Algerian contact in Washington. (Ibid., POL 17 US-ALG)


17. Memorandum of Conversation, New York, October 20, 1969

U.S. representatives met with the Head of the Algerian Delegation to the UN to discuss a rapprochement between Washington and Algiers. Specifically, the group discussed the three key impediments to the U.S.-Algerian relationship—the U.S. war in Vietnam, Algeria's role in the Maghreb, and the protection of the Palestinians in the Middle East.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-1969, POL ALG-US. Confidential; Exdis. Drafted by Bray. The conversation took place in New York City. In telegram 2288 from Algiers, December 29, the Interests Section recorded a similar conversation with an advisor to President Boumediene, who noted that Algeria “needs ‘opportune moment' for renewal [of relations.] Although US is on right track in Vietnam, progress is too slow to provide right occasion. Some step on Middle East issue would be more appropriate.” (Ibid.)


18. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary (Eliot) to the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger), Washington, October 27, 1969

Eliot forwarded an October 24 memorandum that outlined the implications of President Boumediene's reorientation of Algerian foreign policy on the United States. The memorandum highlighted the positive impact of Boumediene's emphasis toward getting Algeria's economic and financial situation in order.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 735, Country Files, Africa, Algeria, Vol. I. Secret.


19. Telegram 166 From the Interests Section in Algeria to the Department of State, February 5, 1970, 1830Z

Requesting aid to finance a natural gas project, Bouteflika made clear to Chief of the Interests Section Eagleton that, while not prepared for full diplomatic relations, the Algerian Government hoped to extend economic ties with the United States.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL ALG-US. Secret; Limdis. It was repeated to Paris, Rabat, and Tunis. In telegram 32269 to Algiers, March 5, Rogers noted the complexities of responding to Bouteflika's request for financing, urging that the Algerian Government expand its Interests Section in Washington to facilitate the request. (Ibid.)


20. Telegram Secto 36/581 From Secretary of State Rogers in Morocco to the Department of State, February 11, 1970, 2130Z.

The telegram summarized the substance of Rogers' meeting in Rabat with the Algerian Ambassador to Morocco at which Rogers articulated the desire of the U.S. Government to renew diplomatic relations with Algeria and emphasized the U.S. opposition to Israel's expansionism.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, ORG 7 S. Secret; Exdis. It was repeated to Rabat.


21. Telegram 64991 From the Department of State to the Interests Section in Algeria, April 30, 1970, 0138Z

While the Department favored the expansion of commercial relations with Algeria, it noted that progress was impeded by outstanding disputes between that country and American individuals and corporations.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL ALG-US. Confidential. Drafted by Lowrie on April 28; cleared by E/ORF/FSE, L/AF, E/IMA/FOD, L/C, L/E and AF/N; and approved by Smith. In telegram 652 from Algiers, May 6, Eagleton reported that he had discussed with Algerian officials the fact that Algerian disputes with American oil companies could affect Federal Power Commission (FPC) consideration of the El Paso gas deal. (Ibid.)


22. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, October 14, 1970

Kissinger relayed to Nixon that presidential emissary and astronaut FRANK BORMAN had enjoyed a warm reception in Algiers during his Vietnam POW mission to world capitals. During his time in Algeria, Borman reported that U.S. presence was needed to offset Soviet intrusion into the area and that Boumediene expressed his hope that the economic cooperation between the United States and Algeria would continue. Kissinger goes on to discuss U.S.-Algerian relations in more depth.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 748, Presidential Correspondence, 1969-74, Algeria, Col. Houari Boumediene. Confidential. Sent for action. Kissinger approved for the President. The letter, not printed, was sent on October 16.


23. Telegram 204757 From the Department of State to the Interests Section in Algeria, December 17, 1970, 0012Z.

The Department forwarded a record of Secretary of State Rogers' conversation the previous day with new Minister Counselor of the Algerian Interests section Bousselham, in which the latter had stressed the common interests of both countries despite their policy differences.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 17 ALG-US. Confidential. Drafted by Blake; cleared by NEA/UAR, S, and AF; and approved by Eliot. In a December 14 memorandum from Moore to Rogers, Moore had relayed Bousselham's request for an appointment. Updating the Secretary on the status of expropriation negotiations between Algeria and American firms, Moore concluded, “We want to respond to these Algerian actions to assure them that we share the desire for improved relations. The rather unorthodox gesture of your receiving Bousselham at this time would give such a signal. We urge, therefore, that you agree to see him for a 10 minute courtesy call before December 19.” (Ibid., POL 15-1 ALG) In telegram 205697, December 18, the Department reported on Bousselham's talks on economic relations with Deputy Under Secretary Samuels and Assistant Secretaries Newsom and Trezise. (Ibid.)


24. Telegram 58412 From the Department of State to the Embassy in France, April 7, 1971, 1955Z

This 5 page telegram transmitted Secretary Rogers account of the April 6 meeting between Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs David Newsom and French Ambassador Lucet at which Lucet inquired as to U.S. relations with Algeria. Lucet was particularly interested in the U.S. importation of Algerian liquefied natural gas.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL ALG - US. Secret. It was repeated to Algiers. Drafted on April 6 by Blake (AF/N); cleared by EUR/FBX, E/ORF/FSE, and AF; and approved by Blake. As a series of documents indicates, Paris, still in negotiations with Algiers over post-independence expropriations, was not eager to see the United States act on the El Paso Company's proposed deal with SONATRACH. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials Project, NSC Files, Boxes 677-678, Country Files, Europe, France) In telegram 65768, April 17, the Department sent an oral message from Nixon to President Pompidou indicating that the United States had no desire to impede France in resolving its problems with Algeria, and that there was time for French-Algerian negotiations to be completed before the natural gas deal was finalized. The restoration of political relations with Algeria, Nixon emphasized, would benefit all in the West. (Ibid., Box 678, Country Files, Europe, France, Volume VIII, 4/71-12/71)


25. Airgram A-11 From the Department of State to the Interests Section in Algeria, June 16, 1971

This Airgram transmitted a Policy Planning Paper for Algeria. The paper highlighted the geographic, economic, and political importance of Algeria and outlined U.S. interests and objectives in the African nation over the course of the next five years, Algeria's objectives with respect to the United States, and concluded with a 6 part recommended course of action. The Paper was approved by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Africa.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 1 ALG-US. Secret; Noforn. Telegram drafted by Edward Holmes (AF/NSC-IG) and approved by Carter. Attached but not printed at Annex A is documentation on U.S. agency expenditures in Algeria; at Annex B is background information; and at Annex C is a list of approved policy guidance papers.


26. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to Secretary of State Rogers, July 13, 1971

With this memorandum Kissinger conveyed the President's authorization to respond favorably to the Federal Power Commission's request for the administration's views on the importation of gas from Algeria and transmitted a memorandum detailing the Algerian expropriation of United States and French property.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 735, Country Files, Africa, Algeria, Vol. I. Secret. While the tabs are not printed, Tab B is summarized in the footnote to Document 24.


27. National Intelligence Estimate 62-71, Washington, July 31, 1971

This 15 page report analyzed Algeria's international relations, noting that Algeria remained non-aligned with other countries and was skillful at playing the big powers off against each other while retaining its own independence of action. Moreover, Algeria would continue to exploit its natural gas reserves as a means for funding the expensive development projects the Government had undertaken.

Source: Central Intelligence Agency, NIC Files, Job 79-R01012A, Box 420. Secret; Controlled Dissemination. The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Department of State, Defense, and NSA participated in the preparation of this estimate. The director of CIA submitted this estimate with the concurrence of all members of the USIB with the exception of the representatives of the AEC and FBI who abstained on the grounds that it was outside their jurisdiction.


28. Telegram 113 From the Interests Section in Algeria to the Department of State, January 21, 1972, 1420Z.

The Interests Section warned the Department that, owing to the continued delay in FPC approval of the El Paso project, the momentum generated by improving U.S.-Algerian relations was slowing and that the delay could cause disillusionment in Algeria.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL ALG-US. Secret. It was repeated to Cairo, Khartoum, London, Paris, Tripoli, Tunis, and Rabat.


29. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, undated

Kissinger noted that the Algerians had recently approached Raytheon about purchasing an air defense communications network and presented the President with the arguments for and against allowing Raytheon to sell radar equipment to Algeria.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 735, Country Files, Africa, Algeria, Vol. I. Secret; Exdis. Sent for action. The attached February 8 memorandum from Rogers is not printed. Saunders sent the memorandum to Kissinger on March 1 and recommended that he send it to the President for approval. Haig approved the recommendation on behalf of the President.


30. Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon, Washington, March 11, 1972

Kissinger recommended that Nixon sign a letter of greeting to President Boumediene, to be delivered in Algiers by visiting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs David Newsom.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 748, Presidential Correspondence, 1969-74, Algeria, Col. Houari Boumediene. Confidential. Sent for action. Tab B, dated March 7, is not printed.


31. Telegram 540 From the Interests Section in Algeria to the Department of State, March 28, 1972, 1333Z.

In a meeting with President Boumediene, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Newsom stressed U.S. initiatives in the international field as well as in U.S.-Algerian relations, and expressed the hope that diplomatic relations might soon be resumed.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, ORG 7 AF. Secret; Priority. It was repeated to London, Paris, Rabat, Tripoli, and Tunis. In the septel, telegram 547 from Algiers, March 29, Newsom urged the Department that “We have opportunity in Algeria for major export gain and for strong economic relationship based on our need for gas. Our recent international initiatives have improved political atmosphere. Complications and delays in approving El Paso, however, still major impediment to our success and resumption relations here. Action requested: we need find urgently possible major economic actions which can demonstrate our interest and maintain our momentum here. I suggest meeting pertinent agencies following my return.” (Ibid.) According to telegram 118270 to Djakarta, June 30, the Federal Power Commission gave its general approval of the El Paso importation of Algerian LNG on June 28. (Ibid., ORG 7 S)


32. Telegram 1171 From the Interests Section in Algeria to the Department of State, July 2, 1972, 1245Z

As instructed, Deputy Chief of Mission of U.S. Interests Section William Eagleton proposed to Deputy Secretary-General Smail Hamdani that the United States and Algeria resume relations, adding that Secretary of State Rogers could come to Algiers himself at the end of his current trip to make the announcement.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL ALG-US. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. In telegram 119670 to Algiers, July 1, Assistant Secretary Newsom had advised Eagleton that since Yemen had restored relations with the United States, and favorable action had been taken by the FPC on the El Paso-SONATRACH agreement, several preconditions to U.S.-Algerian resumption had been met. (Ibid.) In telegram 1200 from Algiers, July 7, Hamdani advised Eagleton that Algeria could not receive the Secretary and renew relations in the present unsettled atmosphere. (Ibid.)


33. Memorandum of Conversation, Washington, July 31, 1972

In an official démarche, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Newsom discussed with Minister Abdelkader Bousselham the hijacking of a Delta Airlines aircraft by members of the Black Panthers, who had been paid a million-dollar ransom.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, AV 12 US. Confidential. Following his 1968 flight from the United States to avoid imprisonment for an assault conviction, Eldridge Cleaver, Minister of Information for the Black Panthers, founded a headquarters in Algeria. On June 3, two Black Panthers had demanded and received $500,000 in ransom after hijacking a Western Airlines flight, a sum which the government of Algeria returned to the airline. The Government then released the hijackers to the Black Panthers in Algiers.


34. Telegram 188030 From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations and the Interests Section in Algeria, October 14, 1972, 1933Z

The telegram transmitted an October 12 memorandum of conversation between Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Bouteflika and Secretary of State Rogers, who summarized the positions of their respective governments on matters of common interest, including the Middle East and hijacking.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 7 ALG. Confidential; Priority. It was repeated to Paris. Drafted by Lane and approved by Newsom.


35. Memorandum of Conversation, October 20, 1972, 3 p.m.

Minister Bousselham and Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Newsom discussed a range of issues, notably hijacking, the Middle East, Vietnam, and the El Paso deal.

Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL ALG-US. Confidential. Drafted by Lane and cleared by Newsom. The meeting took place in Newsom's office.