103. Telegram 7618 From the Embassy in Spain to the Department of State1
7618. Subj: Spanish Sahara—Message for the Secretary from Foreign Minister Cortina. Ref: State 258841.
1. Cortina has just called me to request that I pass to the Secretary the following.
2. GOS has tried through all possible means to reach agreement with Morocco. When “Green March” announced, GOS had endeavored to find ways to remove this point of friction. However, Moroccans insisted that substance of Sahara problem must be resolved along lines desired by Morocco and maintained “Green March” not negotiable.
3. Moroccans have proven themselves impossible to deal with since their idea of negotiation is that other side must accept Moroccan demands or no agreement possible. GOS has exhausted its possibilities.
4. GOS has now received information which it considers accurate that amongst “Green Marchers” there are 25,000 men who are members of Royal Moroccan Army and who have their weapons concealed. This group constitutes a “Trojan Horse” and GOS is convinced that once across Saharan border these soldiers will then take up their arms and military invasion will be on.
5. GOS has already informed Security Council that Spanish armed forces in Sahara have been given orders to resist any efforts to invade the territory. Hassan is playing with his throne by using Sahara to dis[Page 287]tract Moroccan public opinion from domestic problems. However, Spain does not intend to pay for Hassan’s errors.
6. Cortina believes US can play a most important role in making Hassan understand that route he is following is not the one which will get him what he wants. It will only radicalize problem and produce a conflict we all want to avoid.
7. Security Council resolution, particularly one shortly to be adopted, can provide cover for démarche to Hassan. Perhaps US could stress again that armaments which US has provided to Hassan are for fight against common enemy, but not for a fight which will involve Western countries. Thus, while Security Council may have adopted resolutions, each country should be able to interpret to Hassan its views on how best to achieve objectives of these resolutions which, quite correctly, have not pushed Hassan to wall by condemning Morocco. He was convinced new resolution by itself would have little effect on Rabat. Cortina gave me to understand that he would also be approaching French and Italians to make representations in Rabat.
8. Cortina said grave urgency of problem lies in fact that “Green March” with its “Trojan Horse” is due to cross into Sahara on Tuesday, November 4. He appealed to Secretary to do whatever he can to avoid the tragic consequences which will be inevitable if the march proceeds. He concluded by repeating two points: A) as he had promised Secretary, GOS had made every effort to negotiate, but had now exhausted its possibilities; and B) “Green March” is nothing more than a cover to place the Moroccan Army in the Sahara and thus to invade this territory militarily.
9. I told Cortina that I would pass above immediately to Department. I also told him that I had tried unsuccessfully to reach him yesterday to pass on contents of reftel. Cortina expressed appreciation for these efforts, but repeated he placed great confidence in what Secretary might still be able to do to help at this most dangerous moment.
Summary: The Ambassador delivered a message from Cortina informing Kissinger of the failure of negotiations to halt the Moroccan Green March. Cortina expressed concern that soldiers would accompany marchers and attempt a military invasion of the Spanish Sahara. Cortina asked Kissinger to send a démarche to King Hassan advising against precipitous actions.
Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 12, Spain, State Department Telegrams, To SecState—NODIS (2). Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis.↩