9. Memorandum From Secretary of State Kissinger to President Nixon 1 2


  • Emergency Disaster Relief for Sahel Africa

Maurice Williams, your Special Coordinator for American Assistance to the West Africa Drought Disaster, has submitted his second progress report on U.S. efforts to provide relief to the victims. (Tab A)

This latest report draws primarily on Williams’ trip to the area September 8–21. His findings are as follows:

  • —The devastation and dislocation caused by the drought have been immense.
  • —Emergency assistance from all sources has risen to about $154 million, of which the United States has contributed over $47 million.
  • —Without our help millions would have died of starvation.
  • —From Presidents to individual nomads, there is sincere gratitude for American help and the knowledge that the United States was in the forefront in the timeliness and magnitude of its assistance.
  • —The Sahel countries will continue to need help on an urgent basis for at least the coming year. We will know the precise scale of these needs after completion of a field assessment now underway in cooperation with the Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • —Nutritional problems, particularly for women and children, are a growing concern and more needs to be done in this area.
  • —Mr. Williams met with the governments of the six affected states in Upper Volta in September. Their focus was on recovery and [Page 2] development efforts and Mr. Williams pledged in particular that the United States would engage its best scientific capacities to work with the Sahel Governments on their water and arid land problems.

A copy of Mr. William’s latest report has been made available to Mrs. Nixon.

  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 747, Country Files, Africa, General, March 1970-. No classification marking. Sent for information. The attached report of September 27 from Maurice Williams is not published here. It was printed in the Department of State Bulletin, Vol. LXIX, No. 1796, November 26, 1973, pp. 669–73.
  2. Kissinger summarized and attached a progress report from Special Coordinator Maurice Williams based on his September 8–21 trip to the Sahel. Williams said that the Sahel countries would need urgent food aid for at least a year, and that plans were needed for the larger problem of recovery.