84. Memorandum From Fernando Rondon of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1 2
- NSSM on Horn of Africa
Recent developments in the Horn of Africa make it desirable that we take a new look at our policies toward Ethiopia, Somalia and the French Territory of Afars and Issas (Djibouti).
- — USG Closure of Kagnew. Because of budgetary restraints, the Department of Defense has decided to phase out Kagnew Station’s naval communications operations. The Navy wishes to withdraw from Kagnew by June 30, 1974, and concentrate on the completion of alternative facilities at Diego Garcia. This decision will come as a shock to Ethiopia, which benefits from the contribution Kagnew’s 2,000 Americans make to the depressed local economy. It will also weaken the case in Congress for US military assistance to Ethiopia, which has averaged $12-$13 million yearly, and has been viewed as the quid pro quo for Kagnew.
- — Selassie’s Succession. In January, 56-year old Crown Prince Asfa Wossen suffered a brain hemorrhage from which his full recovery is in question. This could tempt Ethiopia’s other princes to contest the throne thereby provoking turmoil in Ethiopia—as predicted in a February Estimate put out by CIA. The estimate also foresees the possibility of a Somali move against claimed parts of Ethiopia, as well as renewed insurgency in Eritrea if there is a succession struggle.
- —Soviet Activities in Somalia. In the past year, the Soviets have implemented major arms agreements with Somalia in return for naval, air and communications facilities. While neither State, Defense nor CIA believe that Somalia poses a direct threat to Ethiopia, the jump in military deliveries to Somalia, as well as in Soviet advisors in the military, intelligence and economic fields, have made the Ethiopians uneasy.
- —Falling MAP Levels. US military assistance to Ethiopia has declined from $12 million in Fiscal 1972 to $9 million this year. This has added to Ethiopia’s sense of insecurity. Our economic assistance levels have, on the other hand, been maintained.
Since 1948, Ethiopia has been a major focal point of our activity in Africa. It has received $280 million in economic aid and $180 million in military aid. Such assistance has most often been justified in terms of our support for the Emperor and need for Kagnew. This rationale will not be tenable much longer. We can continue to point out, however, that our aid contributes to stability in the potentially volatile Horn of Africa.
The draft NSSM at Tab A requests a review of our interests and policy options in the Horn of Africa in light of post-Kagnew, post-Selassie conditions. The study calls for an analysis of the effect any change in our policies would have on this unstable region. It further calls for a review of Soviet policy in the Horn and how it relates to their interests and objectives in the Arabian Peninsula, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.
A memorandum requesting the President’s approval of the suggested NSSM is at Tab I.
That you initial the memorandum for the President requesting that he direct a NSSM study on the Horn of Africa, as outlined at Tab A.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-200, NSSM 184. Secret. Sent for action. Cleared by Kennedy, Saunders, and Hyland. Kissinger initialed his approval. On the first page, Kissinger wrote: “Brent-Send out the NSSM in usual way-Pres. is too preoccupied now. I would like to review Kagnew decision.” An attached handwritten note from Scowcroft to Kennedy reads: “NSSM is approved for State/DOD coordination and issue. Note HAK wants to review the Kagnew decision. Why not crank that into the NSSM-if it could become an issue?” Tab I, Suggested memorandum for the President, with proposed NSSM request for approval, is not published.↩
- Rondon summarized recent developments in the Horn of Africa and recommended that Kissinger approve an attached NSSM to review U.S. interests and policy options. Kissinger approved the NSSM.↩