6. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon1 2[Page 1]
- West African Drought Disaster
UN Secretary General Waldheim has appealed to all permanent representatives of the United Nations for further assistance in the international relief effort in the West African drought disaster. Secretary Rogers and Ambassador Scali recommend that you respond positively to Secretary General Waldheim’s appeal (Tabs B and C).
The drought affected area, with a population of 26 million, stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to Chad. The region is suffering the consequences of a disastrous drought, the cumulative effect of a series of very dry years. Crops have failed and livestock is sustaining catastrophic losses. Some starvation deaths are being reported and malnutrition is widespread.
A large-scale international relief effort is underway to prevent widespread starvation and save surviving livestock:
- —A total of 600,000 tons of grain have been pledged, including 400, 000 tons by the European Common Market. The U.S. has pledged 156,000 tons worth $19 million and half of this has been delivered to West African ports.
- —France is providing special grant assistance to Mali, Niger, and Chad.
- —We have lent three C–130 aircraft to distribute relief supplies. The USSR, France, Belgium, and Germany have also lent aircraft.
Secretary Rogers and Ambassador Scali recommend that you respond to Secretary General Waldheim’s appeal with a letter making known the considerable role we have already played in the international relief effort and expressing your willingness to continue assistance. Secretary Rogers also recommends that:
- —Your letter be brought to the attention of the Chiefs of State of the six African countries directly involved (Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, Upper Volta, Niger, and Chad) so our contribution in the relief effort will be widely known.
- —You name Maurice J. Williams, Deputy Administrator of AID, as special coordinator for the U.S. effort in this emergency. (Williams already is coordinating our efforts. )
- —You approve AID seeking special authorization for additional funds as emerging needs are identified.
I believe that Secretary Rogers’ proposals represent both a useful way to highlight our on-going efforts, thereby evidencing our concern, and to enhance the effectiveness of our response. As to approval for AID to seek special authorization as needs emerge, your approval seems premature until the needs are defined and State presents a specific proposal to you.
The letter to Secretary General Waldheim at Tab A would express your concern, outline U.S. efforts to date, and name Maurice J. Williams as coordinator of the U.S. effort. Release of the letter to the press would both demonstrate your concern and describe the U.S. efforts.
The draft letter has been cleared with Dave Gergen’s office. Roy Ash and Bill Timmons concur.
- That you sign the letter to Waldheim at Tab A, and approve releasing it here and in New York.
- That you. approve announcement of Maurice Williams as coordinator of the U.S. relief effort.
- That you authorize me to inform Secretary Rogers that you will consider a specific proposal from him when the needs are more clearly defined.
- Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 297, Geopolitical Files, Memoranda to the President, June 1973. No classification marking. Sent for action. A notation on the memorandum reads: “The President has seen.” No action indicated, but Tab A, the attached proposed letter to Waldheim, was signed in nearly unchanged form on June 20 and is printed in the Department of State Bulletin, Vol. LXIX, No. 1776, July 9, 1973, pp. 66–67. Tab B, the June 8 memorandum from Rogers to Nixon, was Limited Official Use. Rush signed for Rogers. In addition, Williams was appointed drought coordinator on June 20. Tab C, the telegram from Ambassador Scali, is attached but not published.↩
- Kissinger outlined the international relief effort underway and transmitted a memorandum from Secretary of State Rogers to Nixon proposing that Nixon support U.N. efforts against the Sahel drought and that he appoint Deputy AID Administrator Maurice Williams as U.S. special drought coordinator.↩