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69. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Deputy Secretary of Defense Meeting with King Hassan’s Special Emissary (U)

PARTICIPANTS

  • Morocco
  • Colonel Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Intelligence Chief
  • Abdelhadi Boutaleb, Ambassador to the U.S.
  • LTC Kaddour Terhzaz, Military Attaché
  • 1LT Diane, Aide-de-Camp
  • U.S.
  • Honorable William P. Clements, Jr., Deputy Secretary of Defense
  • Honorable Robert Ellsworth, Assistant Secretary of Defense, International Security Affairs
  • LTG H.M. Fish, Director, Defense Security Assistance Agency
  • Mr. James H. Noyes, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Near Eastern, African and South Asian Affairs
  • Mr. George W. Bader, Director, Africa Region, OASD/ISA
  • Colonel Arvid N. Skogerboe, Deputy Director, Africa Region, OASD/ISA
  • LTC P. Dawkins, Military Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense

(C) After the amenities, Col Dlimi said that King Hassan had sent him to discuss the problems created by the long lead-times for the equipment requested for the Moroccan Armed Forces. The GOM believed that the lead-times should conform with those provided in the Partain Report and, as a manifestation of our close relationship, hoped that this could be agreed.

(C) Mr. Clements said that the U.S. shared Morocco’s desire for good relations and saw no reason that they would not continue in the future. Morocco continues to give us what we want, and likewise we want to be as responsive as we can to Morocco’s request.

(C) Ambassador Boutaleb said that both sides seem to agree in principle in the desire for our new expanded relationship, but there are some specific problems to be solved. The GOM has money and is asking for equipment from Washington because of our political ties. The GOM had not gone elsewhere because only Washington could pro[Page 181]vide what the GOM really wanted. In reply to Mr. Clements’ request for specific problems, Col Dlimi said that the GOM wanted all of the equipment delivered within 36 months. The Letters of Offer that had been provided indicated lead-times that were considerably beyond that period.

(C) Mr. Noyes suggested that we would have some happy news on some items very soon. LTG Fish said we were trying to make improvements on lead-times and was optimistic that some items could be improved. For example, we hope to provide rebuilt M–48A3s, as well as rebuilt and upgunned M–48A5s. Col Dlimi noted that Morocco already has 26 M–48A3s and that it wanted to avoid that experience by getting new equipment; consequently, they needed M60s. LTG Fish explained that M60s have a much longer lead-time, up to five years. M–48A5s were considered prime assets and interchangeable or on par with M60s. They would be completely reworked and modernized.

(C) At this point, Secretary Schlesinger came in and said to Col Dlimi that we will attempt to solve the supply problem and hoped that his best wishes would be given to King Hassan. The Secretary then left the room.

(S) In reply to Mr. Clements’ query on the threat, Col Dlimi said that Morocco’s military equipment is obsolete. The Soviet attempt at infiltration and influence is very great in North Africa today. Countries such as Algeria and Libya cannot use all the equipment they are obtaining from the Soviets. Morocco has problems with Spain over the Sahara, and Algeria is not supporting the Moroccan position, apparently more interested in its own aims for the Sahara. Morocco is concerned that Algeria may take some initiative and wants to be ready. The GOM is concerned that Algeria wants its own direct access to the Atlantic. The Soviets are also involved in other countries in Africa, for example, Guinea. Moroccans are, after all, Africans and want that part of the world free from Soviet intimidation and penetration. As a demonstration of the Moroccan awareness of the threat to the area and the Moroccan desire to have a U.S. commitment, the King had authorized him to extend for subsequent consideration the offer of USAF and Navy bases in Morocco.

(S) Mr. Clements said that the King’s offer was most pleasing. We could have problems with our negotiations for our bases in Spain and the Moroccan offer was most helpful. There might be circumstances where such an offer might be considered.

(C) Col Dlimi then presented to Mr. Clements copies of a plan for the phased acquisition of equipment calling for all deliveries to be made within 36 months and designating annual increments for 1975, 1976, and 1977. LTC Terhzaz said that the GOM was also waiting for answers on tanks and TOW.

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(C) Mr. Clements said we were optimistic that we would be able to improve some delivery times and asked LTG Fish whether this information could be developed by the end of the week. LTG Fish said the list was terribly long, but we would work out what we could with LTC Terhzaz. Ambassador Ellsworth agreed but said we would also want to send a message to our Ambassador in Rabat for his follow-on discussion, as well. LTG Fish noted that we have a new problem in that we have to notify Congress for a 20-day period on such sales, but we would be prepared to give tentative answers before then. Mr. Clements then summarized the understanding that we would provide answers by the end of the week.

  1. Summary: Clements discussed Moroccan concerns over delivery of military equipment with Boutaleb and Dlimi. Dlimi informed Clements that King Hassan had offered U.S. Air Force and Navy bases in Morocco.

    Source: Washington National Records Center, OSD Files: FRC 330–780038, Box 21, Morocco. Secret. Drafted by Bader; and approved by Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert Ellsworth. The meeting took place in Clement’s Pentagon office.