- Kagnew Station Withdrawal
- A decision has now been reached that DOD will withdraw most of its activity from Kagnew by the end of FY 74. Embassy should request appointment for Ambassador Adair with the Emperor to inform HIM of this decision as soon as possible after Ambassador’s return to Addis September 19, guidance for Ambassador follows.
- You should remind the Emperor that, as he may recall, Acting Secretary Rush mentioned during His Majesty’s recent visit to Washington that the future of Kagnew was then under review but that a decision had not yet been made, you learned during consultations in Washington that decision has now been reached which calls for withdrawal of most USG activities from Kagnew by June 30, 1974.
- The USG plans to continue to operate limited communications activities involving approximately 100 US civilian personnel at Kagnew for at least one year after the withdrawal of the basic naval communications station. We plan to act in closest coordination with the IEG in determining the disposition of installations we no longer need.
- You should state, as the Acting Secretary also explained to him, that withdrawal from Kagnew is related solely to changing US military needs and economic factors. Withdrawal has been brought about by both technological advances and tight defense budget, which has led to the closing of scores of military installations in the US and abroad.
- You should stress there are no political implications whatsoever in withdrawal. To the contrary, the President has instructed you give the Emperor his personal assurances that the withdrawal in no way should be interpreted as affecting the long-standing friendship between our two countries, our continued support for Ethiopia and responsiveness to its needs subject to available resources, or our desire to maintain the excellent relations we enjoy with Ethiopia. The USG fully appreciates the outstanding cooperation and steadfast support of His Majesty and the IEG from the time Kagnew was first established in Asmara.
Begin FYI: We realize that His Majesty might ask further clarification of our position on the IEG’s recent dols 457 million shopping list and ongoing discussions between the Ministry of Defense and the country team. As you are aware, we are still considering ways in which we can respond to the IEG’s shopping list. We hope to be able to provide soon some indication as to how we plan to respond to the IEG security requirements. Cable on this subject is well along in clearance procedure. Present plans call for continued planning at about the level requested for FY 1974 (dols 12 million in map and dols .8 million in training). In addition, credit assistance is to be planned to supplement grant military assistance which is made available. End FYI
Therefore, if His Majesty raises the matter, you should refer to a continuing review by the Country Team and the IEG Joint Priority Committee, indicate that the Embassy has been in communication with the Department and Washington agencies which are considering what resources might become available, mention limits on our ability to respond to the Ministry of Defense’s requests and state that it is not yet clear the extent to which the USG might be able to help with the Ministry of Defense’s requirements. Further, His Majesty should be aware that no final decision on the FY 74 program can, of course, be made until Congress has completed action on appropriations.
- For Asmara: Once the Emperor has been told of our intentions, Consul General should also inform the Governor General of Eritrea or, in his absence, the Vice Governor General.
- We will provide the Embassy and Consulate General in Asmara additional information on milestones for the 74 withdrawal in order to permit early processing of termination of leases for tracts not required for activities remaining at Kagnew. We will also provide a proposed press release on the withdrawal. [Page 4]for London
- As soon as possible after Addis notifies His Majesty, request that you inform the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on a close-hold basis of the decision regarding the phase down at Kagnew. You should assure the FCO that we will concert closely with HMG on Diego aspects of the Kagnew phase down, to include notification of our formal approach to the Congress for funding and upgrade of Diego communications facility (in which the Navy would cite our prior consultation with the UK and UK’s approval) and development of contingency press guidance regarding planned Diego expansion.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 736, Country Files, Africa, Ethiopia, Vol. II. Secret; Exdis. Also sent to Asmara and London. Repeated to CINCEUR, NAVCOMMSTA Asmara, CINCUSNAVEUR, CINCPAC Honolulu, and CINCPACFLT. Drafted by LTC. William Step (DOD/ISA) and Coote; cleared by AF/E, EUR/NE, PM/ISO, PM/PA, AF/RA, PM/ISP, S/S, and Kissinger; approved by Ross (AF).↩
- The Department instructed Ambassador Adair to inform Haile Selassie of the U.S. intention to withdraw most activity from Kagnew Station by the end of FY 1974, and provided guidance regarding the decision.↩