218. Memorandum of Conversation1 2


  • Security Help to Sudan


  • The President
  • Sudanese Minister of National Reform Abdel Rahman Abdulla
  • Sudanese Ambassador Abdel Aziz Al Hasri Hamza
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, The White House
  • Assistant Secretary of State David D. Newsom

Minister Abdulla conveyed to the President on behalf of President Nimeri the sincerest condolences of the Sudan Government and people over what the Minister called a criminal and brutal act. The Minister assured the President that it was the Sudan Government’s intention to see that justice was done and to brook no interference from outside. A special commission had been formed under three Ministers to make an investigation after which the matter would be put before a military court.

The Minister said that this would be a very difficult period for the Sudanese and he anticipated that there would be efforts at retaliation by the Black September Organization and perhaps other organizations. President Nimeri had therefore asked him to request the assistance of the U.S. in equipment, expertise and training to assist the Sudan Government in meeting the threat of retaliation.

President Nixon expressed appreciation that President Nimeri had sent the Minister and for the expressions of condolences which he conveyed. The Sudan Government, said the President, was in effect accidentally involved. This could have happened anywhere. Yet the Sudan Government stepped up to the problem and dealt effectively with it despite heavy pressures upon it. Movements of this kind become monsters which can devour all [Page 2] those around them if they are not brought under control. The President assured the Minister that the U.S. would to the fullest extent possible cooperate in responding to the request for security help. The U.S. is of course limited in what it can do outside the U.S. by the sovereignty of other countries. It is the hope of the U.S. that other countries will be equally concerned. Specifically the U.S. will be prepared to exchange information with the Sudan Government on these movements. The U.S. also has covert means applicable to such problems. He told Minister Abdulla that he could inform President Nimeri that the U.S. will work out a plan and will, make an early response to the Sudanese Government. The President also directed that there be an extra detail assigned to the Sudan Embassy in Washington.

Discussing the recent events in Khartoum, the President reiterated that the U.S. could not submit to extortion of this kind without giving encouragement to further efforts. Some newspaper people had suggested that the U.S. should have encouraged Jordan to give up prisoners in order to save the lives of the Americans. The U.S. cannot force Jordan to make such a decision and even if it did the Black September would strike again to get more prisoners released.

The President emphasized the recognition that the Sudan Government could not be expected to deal firmly with this problem unless it were backed up in its efforts. The President assured the Minister that the U.S. would back it up.

In departing, the Minister mentioned that the incident in Khartoum had come just at the time when Khartoum was celebrating one year of peace in the south but that nevertheless the President had cancelled many of the events which had been scheduled. This made the impact of these events all the greater in the country.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–1973, POL 13–10. Secret; Exdis
  2. Sudanese Minister of National Reform, Abdel Rahman Abdulla, conveyed President Nimeiri’s condolences for the deaths of two American officials. Abdulla requested security assistance to defend against BSO retaliation. President Nixon said that Sudan was only accidentally involved in the assassinations and promised cooperation.