141. Memorandum From Robert Maxim of the Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs to the Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (Derian)1


  • AID and Implementation of Section 116 (e) of the Foreign Assistance Act: Derian-Moose Meeting with Governor Gilligan

The following are suggested talking points for your meeting today with Governor Gilligan:2

—To date there has not been one single project implementing Section 116 (e) of the FAA for Fiscal Year 1978 which provides for $750 thousand to be spent in development assistance programs “which will encourage or promote increased adherence to civil and political rights”. A record of non-accomplishment that is potentially highly embarrassing for an Administration that has placed human rights at the center of its foreign policy. (About $100–200 thousand will be given to a South African legal defense fund but this is not an AID-originated activity.)

—After weeks of discussion a request for ideas was sent out on April 22 (attached)3 by AID’s African bureau. We are unaware if other geographic bureaus did even this much. Although this message did endorse an Embassy Gaborone (Botswana) it was a proposal submitted months ago.4

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—The basic problem seems to be that here, and in the field, AID’s second-level leadership and below are either uneasy with or opposed to an explicit human rights aspect to development assistance.

—Apparently it is either feared that recipient countries will object or that this kind of focus is alien to AID’s operations. (The latter is as much an obstacle as pointed up by AID inaction on a Rwandan Government proposal for AID training of judiciary cadres (low level magistrates). Embassy Kigali has stressed repeatedly the importance of responding to something proposed by, not imposed upon, Rwanda.)5

—While AID now seems to be looking at ideas, given the time consumed by actual project formulation it may well mean that we reach the end of the Fiscal Year (September 30) without more than a token project or two, if any, having been actually implemented.

—The language of 116 (e) is broad enough to cover a broad range of possible activities, but they should have at least an indirect or contributory bearing on civil and political rights. It would not be appropriate to label a refugee assistance or other economic-social assistance activity as filling the bill.

—You would appreciate Governor Gilligan checking into this personally in view of the congressional interest in the matter.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Bureau of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Chron and Official Records of the Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Lot 85D366, AID. Limited Official Use. A handwritten notation at the top of the memorandum reads: “Monday, May 1, 12:15.”
  2. Minutes of this meeting have not been found.
  3. Attached but not printed is telegram 102727 to multiple African diplomatic posts, April 22.
  4. Reference is to telegram 3067 from Gaborone, December 5, 1977, wherein the Embassy transmitted various proposals “to accord positive recognition to Botswana for its outstanding human rights record,” including an invitation from Carter to President Khama to visit the United States in 1978; a visit to Botswana from a “well-known USG official or legislator;” the endowment of chairs in political science and law at universities; establishment of scholarships at American universities for students from Botswana; procurement of funds to purchase a “mobile movie theater and library” dedicated to showing human rights films; an endowment to establish a room at a local university “equipped and staffed to assist in study” of civil and political rights; funding of a human rights lecture series; and financing of a study group of citizens from Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa charged with devising a human rights-based curriculum development project. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770453–0249)
  5. An unknown hand added the period at the end of the sentence and the closed paren.