Washington, August 11, 1974, 1512Z
- Secretary Kissinger Meets OAU Chiefs of Mission
- Secretary met with thirty-one Ambassadors and Charges d’Affaires representing OAU states at Department 9:00 a.m. August 10 as part of series of meetings with heads of all Washington diplomatic missions. Following summary of meeting is based on uncleared memcon:
- Secretary expressed pleasure with this first opportunity to meet with OAU Ambassadors as group. He said he was doing so at request of President Ford on occasion of his assumption of office. President wished him to emphasize to them personally what he had already stressed publicly, that there would be continuity in policies followed by previous administration. Secretary said he would continue to function in dual capacity as Secretary of State and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs. [Page 2] U.S. policies with which Chiefs of Mission were already familiar will be continued and day-to-day procedures to which they were accustomed here would remain unchanged.
- Secretary recalled that within week of assuming office he had met with African Foreign Ministers and Permanent Representatives in New York and had told them he hoped soon to visit Africa and to acquaint himself more widely with African questions. Within two weeks of that time Middle East crisis occurred and other events followed of which they were aware, but he nevertheless wished to assure Chiefs of Mission that he took Africa and its problems seriously. U.S., he stressed, was encouraged by recent developments in Portuguese African territories. It would, he said, be our policy to continue to work with African governments as they pursued their struggle for freedom, dignity and national self-respect.
- The last few months, Secretary continued, had been difficult ones for America but he said Chiefs of Mission could be sure that Americans would come out of this experience stronger than ever. President Ford, he said, has strong congressional base of support and will have wide public support in presidency.
- Secretary assured audience that U.S. would continue its aid programs in Africa and, in particular, aid we are providing to drought-affected states. He again expressed pleasure at opportunity to meet with African representatives and hoped it would soon be possible to reassemble same group for more substantive discussions. He assured his listeners he would always reserve some part of his energies to devote to matters of concern to them.
- Ambassador Peal (Liberia), Dean of African diplomats, thanked Secretary for finding time amid busy events of this week to meet with OAU representatives. We congratulated Secretary on their behalf on past [Page 3] achievements and wished him continued success in creating new opportunities for greater peace in world. He realized African concerns were not high on list for Secretary’s attention at this time but assured Secretary of readiness of OAU Ambassadors to discuss substantive questions with him whenever time permitted. African Embassies are here, Peal said, to lend Secretary all support he needs in search for greater peace and cooperation in world. They would await his call.
- Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 1, Africa General, State Department Telegrams. Confidential; Exdis. Also sent to Luanda, Lourenco Marques, Paris, and USUN. Drafted by Mulcahy; cleared in S/S and S; approved by Easum.↩
- The Department reported on a meeting between Secretary of State Kissinger and OAU chiefs of mission in Washington.↩