The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. Those regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1992 and 1993, which was signed by President George H. W. Bush on October 28, 1991, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series must include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This electronic-only volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administration of Richard M. Nixon. This is the third Foreign Relations volume to be published in a new format, that of electronic-only publication. 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. The decision to institute this change was taken in full consultation with the Department’s Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, which was established under the Foreign Relations statute. The advantages of this new method of presenting documentation are evident in this volume: the format enables convenient access to more key documentation on a broader range of issues, all or any portion of which can be easily downloaded. Annotation—the value added element of documentary editing—is still present in limited form, but not to the scale of a Foreign Relations volume. This electronic-only publication results in substantial savings in cost and time of production, thus allowing the series to present a fuller range of documentation, on a wider range of topics, sooner than would have been possible under a print-only format. These advantages compensate for the fact that this Foreign Relations volume is not an actual book bound in traditional ruby buckram. The Department of State, the Historian, the General Editor, and the Historical Advisory Committee are all dedicated to publishing the great majority of the volumes in the Foreign Relations series in print form; these are also posted in electronic format on the Department of State’s website. While the future of research in documentary publications is increasingly tied to the ease of use and availability of the Internet, the Department of State will continue to use both print and electronic-only versions to make the Foreign Relations series available to the widest audience possible. In that sense, this innovation is in keeping with the general principles of the series begun by President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward and continued by subsequent presidents and secretaries of state for more than 140 years.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume E–5, Part 2

This volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon administration toward North and sub-Saharan Africa and with the exceptions of the Republic of South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Rhodesia, and Namibia, which are covered in print volume Foreign Relations 1969–1976, Vol. XXVIII, Southern Africa, 1969–1976. This volume does not attempt to cover all countries in sub-Saharan or North Africa, but instead concentrates on those areas where U.S. interests and concerns were greatest. The chapters on general U.S. policy toward Africa and North Africa provide the widest scope of coverage.

The largest chapter, comprising more than half the sub-Saharan section of the volume, documents the Nigeria civil war and its aftermath. While the United States did not recognize the rebellion in Biafra and followed a policy of non-intervention, it was heavily involved in providing humanitarian relief mainly through the International Committee of the Red Cross and Joint Church Aid. President Nixon appointed a Special Coordinator on Relief to Civilian Victims of the Nigerian Civil War to provide guidance and direction to relief operations and to deflect some of the domestic criticism of the U.S. policy of non-intervention. Nixon himself was sympathetic to Biafran aspirations and the suffering caused by the civil war, and complained about, but did not to change, the Department of State policy of refusing to recognize Biafra as a belligerent.

The second great humanitarian crisis covered by the volume relates to the 1972 massacres of Hutus by Tutsis in Burundi. Again the Department of State followed a low-key, non-intervention policy and the Nixon administration did not make any effort to prevent the brutality and massacres beyond again expressing private dismay.

Chapters on Congo and the Horn of Africa highlight the growing U.S relationship with President Joseph Mobutu of Zaire and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia as the Nixon administration attempted to create strong, pro-American governments in those two key African countries, especially through military assistance and sales of military equipment. On the other hand, in the Horn of Africa chapter, the volume documents the deterioration of U.S. relations with the Somali Republic and the virtual breakdown of U.S. relations with Uganda under the erratic leadership of President Idi Amin is documented in the Uganda chapter.

There are four chapters on U.S. bilateral relations with North Africa—Algeria, Libya, Morocco, and Tunisia. In Algeria and Libya, the United States faced radical governments with strong pro-Palestinian leanings. Algeria did not have diplomatic relations with the United States, but commercial and economic ties remained strong. The overthrow of the Libyan monarchy in September 1969 by young military officers forced the Nixon Administration to reconsider its relationship with Libya. The documentary records indicates that in the end the Nixon administration decided to maintained diplomatic relations with Libya and use its economic connections in the hopes of influencing the new military government towards a more pro-Western stance. The documentation on relations with staunch U.S. allies Morocco and Tunisia are highlighted by high-level visits of leaders, mutual assurances of support, and military aid. In all four chapters, there is documentation indicates that each of these governments, in its own way, attempted to influence the United States to pressure Israel towards a Middle East settlement conducive to Palestinian interests.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations electronic-only volumes follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. The original text is reproduced exactly, including marginalia or other notations, which are both visible on the facsimile copy of the document and described in the source note. There is also a text version of the document. The editors have supplied a heading, a summary, and a source note with additional relevant information, as required, for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected in the text file. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the text, and a list of abbreviations, persons, and sources accompanies the volume.

Bracketed insertions in roman type are used on the facsimile copy and in the text file to indicate text omitted by the editors because it deals with an unrelated subject. Text that remains classified after declassification review is blacked-out on the facsimile copy and a bracketed insertion (in italic type) appears in the text file. Entire documents selected for publication but withheld because they must remain classified are accounted for by a heading, a source note, and a bracketed note indicating the number of pages not declassified. These denied documents are listed in their chronological place in the volume.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Historical Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Historical Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary, to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and related implementing public access regulations require NARA to notify formally the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of all the documents published in this volume. The review was undertaken in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information, and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State and other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government. The final declassification review of this volume, which began in 2000 and was completed in 2005, resulted in the decision to withhold 4 (this might change if any N. Afr. denials) documents in full, to excise a paragraph or more in 9 (plus N. Afr. excisions) X documents, and to make minor excisions in 22 (plus N. Afr excisions) documents. The editors are confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that this volume is an accurate record of the foreign policy of the first Nixon administration toward sub-Saharan and North Africa between 1969 and 1972.


The editors wish to acknowledge the assistance of officials at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland, Sandra Meagher of the Department of Defense, who facilitated access to Defense records, and historians at the Center for the Study of Intelligence, who assisted in access to relevant records of the Central Intelligence Agency. The editors also wish to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential recordings, and the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace for facilitating that access.

Joseph Hilts did the research, initial selection, and initial annotation of the sub-Saharan sections of the volume. Upon his retirement, David C. Humphrey revised the volume and reorganized it to make it conform to the new electronic-only format. Monica Belmonte did the research, selection, and annotation of the chapters on North Africa. Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, reviewed the volume.

For Part 1, Documents on sub-Saharan Africa, Susan C. Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division, and Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review. Chris Tudda compiled the list of sources. Carl Ashley, Renée A. Goings, Keri Lewis, and Jennifer Walele performed the copy and technical editing. For Part 2, Documents on North Africa, Susan Weetman and Dean Weatherhead coordinated the declassification review. Keri Lewis performed the copy and technical editing. Carl Ashley, Stephanie Hurter, Chris Tudda, and Joe Wicentowski assisted with the scanning, proofreading, and electronic publication of the volume.

Marc J. Susser
The Historian
Bureau of Public Affairs
October 2005 and September 2007