Press Release

Office of the Historian

Bureau of Public Affairs

United States Department of State

June 5, 2006

The Department of State released today Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Volume E–6, Documents on Africa, 1973–1976, as an electronic-only publication. This volume is the latest publication in the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of the administrations of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. Volume E–6 is the fourth Foreign Relations volume to be published in this new format, available to all free of charge on the Internet. Approximately 25 percent of the volumes scheduled for publication for the 1969–1976 subseries, covering the Nixon and Nixon-Ford administrations, will be in this format.

This volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon-Ford administration towards Sub-Saharan Africa, 1973–1976, with the exception of Southern Africa, which will be covered in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXVIII, to be published later. The Africa regional chapter presents the Nixon-Ford administration approach to Africa as a whole. President Nixon’s main interest in Africa was Sahel drought relief, and he and his Special Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, resisted Department of State efforts to reappraise U.S. policy towards Africa. When Gerald Ford replaced Nixon as President, U.S. high-level interest in Africa increased dramatically. The Black Caucus in Congress put pressure on the Ford administration to focus more on Africa. As President Ford’s Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger increasingly dealt with broader African issues. The Department of State engineered interagency reviews of U.S. military assistance to Africa and general U.S. African policy. In April and May of 1976, Kissinger made his first trip to sub-Saharan Africa. The trip—and his report afterwards—make up a key section of this chapter. Another principal theme is renewed U.S. interest in the economic development of sub-Saharan Africa.

A chapter on Burundi documents U.S.-Burundi relations in the aftermath of the 1972 massacres of Hutus by Tutsis. The largest chapter in the volume covers the Horn of Africa and primarily focuses on Ethiopia and the ongoing revolution that occurred there. In 1973, Ethiopia had a traditional and conservative monarchy, closely associated with the United States. However, by the end of 1976 this was replaced by a radical revolutionary military government, which was moving towards Marxism. How the United States dealt with this extreme change is the main theme of the volume. U.S. relations with Nigeria, which were a large part of the 1969–1972 electronic volume on Africa, are documented in a small chapter, whose main focus is on U.S.-Nigerian attempts to repair relations. While U.S. policy towards the independence of the Portuguese African territories of Angola and Mozambique are scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, volume XXVIII, the Africa electronic volume released today includes a chapter in on the declaration of independence by an African nationalist resistance group in Guinea Bissau. This action complicated relations with Portugal until a new Portuguese government recognized the country’s independence and encouraged the United States to do the same. The chapter on Kenya relates primarily to the threat that that nation faced from Soviet-supplied Somalia and from an increasingly belligerent Idi Amin of Uganda. The chapter documents how the U.S. Government increased military support for Kenya and came to view it as a pro-Western bulwark against Soviet influence in East Africa. The major event that dominated U.S. relations with Sudan was the Black September killing of two U.S. diplomats in Khartoum. When the Sudanese Government commuted the killers’ sentences and released them into the custody of the Palestine Liberation Organization, the Nixon administration responded by downgrading relations. After President Nixon’s resignation, the Ford administration began a step-by-step process of normalization of relations with the Sudan, which resulted in the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in May 1976, followed by a visit by President Nimeiri to Washington. The chapter on Uganda revolves around the mercurial and increasingly erratic behavior of President for Life Idi AminN, and documents how the United States reacted by reducing its presence in Uganda without actually breaking relations, and rebuffed any Ugandan feelers for reconciliation. The final chapter, on Zaire, provides documentation on U.S. relations with the pro-American Government of President Mobutu. The principal theme of this chapter is increased U.S. support of Zaire through economic and military assistance. U.S. relations and policy towards other sub-Saharan African countries not mentioned above, if significant, are covered in the first chapter on general African policy.

The volume, including a preface, list of names, abbreviations, sources, annotated document list, and this press release, is available on the Office of the Historian website ( For further information contact Edward Keefer, General Editor of the Foreign Relations series, at (202) 663-1131; fax (202) 663-1289; e-mail