97. Telegram 248532 From the Department of State to the Embassy in Morocco1

248532. Subject: Spanish Sahara. Ref: (A) Tosec 160053 (B) Secto 16044.

1. In light of ICJ advisory opinion, report of UN Commission, and subsequent developments, notably King Hassan’s announcement of planned civilian march on Sahara and Spanish request for UN Security Council meeting, which has been set for 11:00 a.m. October 20, Department has decided to make simultaneous approaches to King Hassan, Foreign Minister Cortina, and UN SecGen Waldheim urging that precipitous action be avoided and diplomatic initiatives be explored with view to attaining mutually acceptable and peaceful solution in Sahara. See septels for messages to Madrid and USUN.

2. Embassy requested deliver following message from Secretary to King Hassan: Begin text: Your Majesty: His Excellency, Ambassador Boutaleb, called on me October 17 to personally deliver your response to my message of October 4 expressing my concern over the developments in the Sahara. I was gratified by your frank exposition of your government’s position on the issue and by your reassurances that Morocco is not contemplating military action.

3. I am aware of Your Majesty’s speech and I have noted your intention to organize a civilian march into the Sahara. Particularly in view of the ICJ opinion and the UN fact-finding mission report, I wish to restate my conviction that this is a problem which lends itself to resolution through diplomatic means. To reiterate what I said to Ambassador Boutaleb on October 17, as you consider your plans for a march, I hope you will allow a reasonable period of time to explore all opportunities for a settlement which will avoid military or political confrontation.

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4. As I informed Ambassador Boutaleb, we are making a similar approach to Madrid. My personal emissary, Assistant Secretary Atherton, will be in Morocco on October 23–24, at which time I hope he will have the opportunity to discuss this matter with Your Majesty in a frank and constructive manner. Warm regards. Henry A. Kissinger

  1. Summary: The Embassy was instructed to deliver a message from Kissinger to King Hassan, expressing U.S. concern over the proposed civilian march into the Spanish Sahara. Kissinger asked that King Hassan explore diplomatic measures to resolve the conflict and avoid a confrontation in the region.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated to the mission to the UN, Madrid, and Tunis (Eyes Only for Assistant Secretary Atherton). Drafted by Escudero; cleared by Saunders, Barbour, Buffum, Covey (by phone), and Sisco; and approved by Johnson. In telegram 248533 to Madrid, October 19, the Embassy was instructed to inform Cortina of U.S. support for Spain’s request for a Security Council meeting, and a diplomatic settlement of the Spanish Sahara issue. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, CL 206, Geopolitical Files, Sahara, October–November 1975)