63. Telegram 1665 From the Embassy in Morocco to the Department of State1
1665. Subject: Secretary Newsom and King Hassan Discuss US-Moroccan Relations and Events in Algeria and Libya.
1. Summary. King seeks cooperation with US like that existing between US and Iran and Saudi Arabia; needs justification for US military presence which security risk for him; wants US help to expand Moroccan influence in Muslim Black Africa; discusses Moroccan relations with Algeria and Libya. End summary.[Page 168]
2. On April 10 King Hassan received Secretary Newsom and me for cordial meeting which lasted an hour.
3. King began by expressing thanks for fine atmosphere surrounding Foreign Minister Benhima’s visit to Washington. He particularly grateful for friendly attitude toward himself personally which FonMin had reported.
4. King said he sought cooperation between US and Morocco such as existed between US and Iran and US and Saudi Arabia. He thought same kind of problems existed in all three regions. Iran faced problem of subversion from Iraq and Soviet pressure; Saudi Arabia had its problems with radical Arabs and effects of Middle East conflict; Morocco faced subversion by Libya and uncertainty concerning Algeria’s intentions. US had “crossroads” in Tehran and Riyadh; he would like it to have similar “crossroad” in Rabat.
5. He had told Ambassador Murphy that US and Morocco could be casual acquaintances, friends, or associates and that he greatly preferred latter. Murphy had said he had no authority but was sure President preferred latter category as well.
6. Turning to US military facilities in Morocco, King said he was not among those who say “go home” to Americans. Nonetheless he had nothing to justify to Moroccan man in street US military presence, which did not benefit Morocco directly. If this presence could be related to meaningful global aid program, man in street might even say give American more bases if they want. As it was, however, facilities were “security risk” for King.
7. King went on to say he did not wish Morocco to remain in present “narrow jacket.” Moslem countries of Black Africa had religious interest in Morocco and in him personally. He would like to expand Moroccan influence in those countries to counter colonialist French influence and that of Algeria. He would like to send books, doctors and teachers. If he had forty years of peace and the money that Algeria had, he could transform Moslem Black Africa into area which would look toward Morocco, a development which he believed would be in US interest. However, he did not have resources for this enterprise and wanted US help.
8. King said he realized Executive Branch had problems with Congressional restrictions but believed President could divide total amount of funds provided by Congress for foreign assistance as he saw fit.
9. Newsom said he grateful to King for receiving him. Reception we had given Benhima in Washington and Newsom’s presence here revealed our continuing support for King Hassan and our best wishes for his efforts in promoting development and stability of Morocco. Our attitude toward Morocco arose from past tradition of friendly relations, [Page 169]from Morocco’s strategic location, and from our general accord with the policies of King Hassan.
10. USG had sought through recent contacts, including Murphy Mission and Benhima’s visit Washington, to reinforce ties and to clarify Moroccan views concerning relationship. We now understood King wanted “global” approach rather than concentration on arrangements at Kenitra. We accepted this, however we had limitations on our resources and certain major priorities such as Viet-Nam and establishment of peace in Southeast Asia. Despite this, President does not want to neglect our other friends, especially those in such important part of world as North Africa. In this context we wish to discuss how we can strengthen our cooperation with Morocco. Military assistance is a real problem, but we will do our best. We will hope to do more in context five year plan. Newsom stressed to King that Congress does make specific allocations of aid which cannot be substantially altered by Executive Branch. Nonetheless he assured King of US interest in his success, in stability of Morocco, and of our understanding of his problems.
11. King said that Morocco approved of US policy toward Algeria. “It would be easier to capitalize Algeria than to socialize Morocco.” The more Algeria became concerned with economic development, the less would be its interest in adventurism. Therefore El Paso Agreement was fine, “but please don’t forget Morocco.”
12. King said he wished ask President Nixon to request “that madman” Qadafi of Libya to be less crazy. US should tell Qadafi it is with its money he is working and not to work against friends of US. King asserted Libya training opposition subversives for operations against Algeria, Tunisia, Senegal, Iran, Sudan and Jordan. He has budgeted $40 million for this work. King was certain Libya would not nationalize US oil interests since it could not operate oil industry by itself. He said Libyans were employing Greek and French mercenaries. Libyan subversion was cause for real concern.
13. Referring to Algeria, Newsom said King helped start process of bettering US-Algerian relations three years ago when he facilitated Secretary Rogers’ meeting with Algerian Ambassador in Rabat. We are seeking positive elements for effective relationship with Algeria such as Gass Agreement but have many more areas of understanding with Morocco than with Algeria. We would not forget Morocco.
14. Newsom said Libya also causes US grave concern. Problem was as King had described—returns from US private investment were being used to provide Qadafi with extraordinary power. US ability act extremely limited. He asked King whether he thought Libyan policy was personal with Qadafi or reflected sentiment of his collaborators. King said Qadafi only had support of Jallud and Haweidi—all other members of RCC wanted to return to Maghrebian cooperation. King re[Page 170]ferred to agreement to resume normal relations with Morocco which had been reached with Al Huni via Moroccan Ambassador to Rome, only to be reversed by Qadafi.
15. Newsom asked if King thought Boumediene was resisting Libyan efforts to work against Morocco. King said Boumediene had refused several Libyan requests to cooperate against Morocco but nonetheless arms had crossed Algeria into Morocco. Either Boumediene knows or he doesn’t know. First instance would be grave for Algeria and Morocco; second would be graver for Algeria since arms for use against Boumediene might also be circulating. Future of Morocco’s relations with Algeria uncertain. If Algeria proves sincere, border agreement signed by King will be ratified by Moroccan parliament. If Algeria proves hostile, King will sacrifice a dam and some economic development and re-arm to defend his country.
Summary: The Embassy summarized the discussion between King Hassan and Newsom regarding U.S.-Moroccan relations. King Hassan sought greater economic and military assistance from the United States and expressed concerns about Algeria and Libya.
Source: Washington National Records Center, ODS Files: FRC 330–800024, Box 2, Morocco, February 1973–December 1977. Secret. Repeated to Algiers, Tripoli, Tunis, and Paris.↩