94. Telegram 237194 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Morocco1

237194. Subject: Spanish Sahara. For Chargé from Secretary.

1. You should convey following message to King Hassan from me.

2. Begin message:

Your Majesty:

As you know, we believe an important step was taken toward a just and lasting peace in the Middle East when the new agreement between Egypt and Israel was signed. We have pledged our energetic efforts to maintain the momentum of diplomatic progress. We have always appreciated Your Majesty’s understanding of our efforts.

There are a number of matters on which I have wanted to have an exchange with you and have been thinking, if it would be convenient, [Page 269] of sending a representative to Rabat in the next few weeks for this purpose.

In the meantime, I want to share with Your Majesty my concern over some reports that I have seen recently which, if true, suggest that a situation could develop in your part of this important area which would be of concern to all who are working to bring greater stability to the Mediterranean area. These reports suggest that the Government of Morocco may be contemplating imminent military action in the Spanish Sahara situation. I hope these reports are erroneous but felt I should communicate urgently with you to convey my strong advice that, should they be correct, Morocco not take such action. I think you should know of our estimate that Moroccan military operations against Spanish Sahara could lead to severe military and political disadvantages for Morocco. Among other things, we would expect Spanish to appeal to the Security Council in circumstances where many members of the Council would find it difficult to defend any such military initiative.

You know from our past conversations that we have followed the dispute over the Sahara closely and have always sought to be helpful where we could without ourselves seeking to become a party to this dispute. We will continue to do so. I shall be seeing Spanish Foreign Minister Cortina here in Washington today, and this will provide an excellent opportunity for me to speak directly to him about the situation in the hope that some mutually satisfactory solution can be found.

Again, Your Majesty, I would welcome the opportunity for an exchange of views on the important issues for which we share concern. My emissary could review these with you at a mutually convenient time.

Warm regards, Henry A. Kissinger

End message.

3. FYI for Rabat: In any conversation following delivery of above message, be certain nothing is said which could give Hassan impression that U.S. is prepared to become mediator in this dispute.

4. For Madrid: The foregoing is strictly FYI and you should say nothing about this to GOS.

  1. Summary: The Chargé was instructed to convey a message from Kissinger to King Hassan expressing concern over reports of imminent Moroccan military action in the Spanish Sahara. Kissinger advised against it and noted that any such action would lead Spain to appeal to the United Nations Security Council.

    Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 4, Morocco, State Department Telegram, From SecState—NODIS. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis; Eyes Only. Repeated to Madrid. Drafted by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs Alfred L. Atherton, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research Harold H. Saunders; cleared by Director of the Office of Western European Affairs Robert E. Barbour, and Hoganson; and approved by Kissinger.