71. Memorandum From Clinton E. Granger of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Deputy Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

SUBJECT

  • Moroccan Tanks

We have delivered 28 M48A3 tanks to Morocco as part of the Moroccan force modernization program. The tanks are currently located at Casablanca. Recently the Moroccans, who do not have tank transporters, requested our aid in moving the tanks to Oujda in the northeast of the country near the Algerian border. State was about to agree when the Moroccans suddenly changed the desired destination of the tanks to Ksah el-Souk, 200 km southeast of Casablanca.

In this location the tanks would not be available for use in Spanish Sahara, but would be strategically located to prevent possible Algerian incursion into Morocco. However, State feels that the strategic niceties of the situation would be lost on international opinion, and if we acceded to the Moroccan request to move the tanks south we would be [Page 188]portrayed as giving aid and encouragement to Moroccan plans to take the Spanish Sahara by force.

Accordingly, State plans to refuse the Moroccan request, but to delay refusal until after the visit of Assistant Secretary Atherton to Morocco on October 23.

  1. Summary: Granger informed Scowcroft of the delivery of tanks to Casablanca, and Moroccan desires to have the tanks moved to another location. He noted that State planned to refuse the Moroccan request.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 4, Morocco (2). Confidential. Sent for information. A copy was sent to Bob Oakley of the National Security Council Staff. Scowcroft wrote on the memorandum: “How would we help anyway?”