242. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1 2


  • US Aid Phase-out in Uganda

As a result of the further deterioration of the security situation in Uganda, the Department of State wishes to complete the phase-out of American assistance. The internal situation in Uganda continues to be marked by violence. This has led to a serious deterioration in security and resulted in the disappearance or flight of many of Uganda’s educated people. Even some of General Amin’s civilian Ministers are getting out of the country, fearful that Amin’s unruly army will turn on them next. So far, Westerners have generally escaped harm, but many fear that sooner or later Amin will be assassinated, unleashing bloodshed from which foreigners will find it difficult to escape. The modern sector of the economy is also in a shambles, as a result of the expulsion of Asians and Europeans and ongoing nationalizations.

Ambassador Thomas Melady believes that the situation in Uganda has now reached the point where we should reduce our presence and programs as quickly as possible. Melady feels that as long as Amin controls the army, which he apparently does at the present time, he can remain on top unless an assassination occurs. State agrees with Ambassador Melady and wants to proceed with the phase-out of our bilateral AID program, hoping to complete it by July 1.

Our Ambassador was recalled as a result of an unwarranted cable sent to you by Amin after the signature of the Peace Agreement. Amin’s cable (Tab A) accused us of being the aggressors in Vietnam and said that we had to rebuild North Vietnam. State recommends sending Melady back to supervise our AID withdrawal and to encourage Americans to leave. Furthermore, his return would lessen the negative impact on General Amin of the paring down of our presence. After the AID phase-out is completed, however, State will probably recommend that our Embassy in Kampala be headed by a Charge. With the withdrawal of AID personnel, [Page 2] the U.S. presence in Uganda will be do from 1,000 Americans there last summer to under 450, which includes 400 private citizens, mainly missionary families.


That you approve Ambassador Melady’s returning to Uganda to oversee the phasing out of bilateral aid program.


  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 746, Uganda, Vol. 1. Secret. Sent for action. A notation on the memorandum reads: “The President has seen.” Nixon circled the number 450 in the last sentence of the memorandum and added a handwritten notation that reads: “absolutely not—cut to 100 maximum for all govt. agencies.” He also highlighted the recommendation with a handwritten notation that reads: “No; Let the chargé do it—no appeal.” Tab A, the text of a telegram to the President from General Amin on the signing of the Vietnam Peace Agreement, was not attached.
  2. Kissinger informed Nixon that the Department of State wished to phase out all USAID programs in Uganda because of deteriorating internal security. He recommended approval of Ambassador Melady’s return to Kampala to oversee the phase out. Nixon disapproved the recommendation.