3. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Somalia1

40108. Subject: Letter From Ambassador Young to President Siad. Ref: Lagos 1461.2

1. Following letter is from Ambassador Andrew Young to President Siad. While we would normally suggest it be delivered through the Foreign Office under cover of a diplomatic note, we wish to avoid it arriving on Siad’s desk with Soviet-written addenda attached. Please, therefore, arrange its transmittal in an appropriate channel which will convey the message directly to the President.

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2. QTE Dear Mr. President:

I consider it to have been fortunate that our meeting in Zanzibar provided an opportunity for contact between our two governments so soon after the installation of the new U.S. administration. I appreciate your willingness to give me the benefit of your forthright views on Somali policy, the situation in the Horn of Africa, and the factors affecting relations between our two nations.

3. I am confident that you will find that the new U.S. administration will not approach African problems with pre-conceived ideas of how they should be solved but will, instead, make an effort to seek out the views of African leaders in the first instance and to give those views full weight in developing U.S. attitudes and policies toward those problems. We recognize fully that solutions imposed by extra-continental powers can have no lasting beneficial effect, and that a proper American role is to support peaceful solutions to African problems acceptable to Africans.

4. In the light of your desire for improved relations with the United States, I want to assure you that friendship between our two nations and peoples need not be obstructed by honest differences of views between us, or by our respective adoption of differing ideologies. It remains our policy to maintain good relations with non-aligned countries, and our friendly relations with a number of non-aligned states bears witness to this fact. Somalia’s friendship with the Soviet Union need not in itself be a bar to improved U.S.-Somali relations. However, you acknowledged to me your recognition of the fact that the U.S. has international responsibilities. In gauging the extent to which an improvement can be achieved in U.S.-Somali relations, which the U.S. administration desires, you will surely understand that we have to take into account the degree to which the relationship enjoyed by the Soviet Union with Somalia impinges upon U.S. international strategic responsibilities.

5. I am confused by your mention that the U.S. refused to help Somalia during a serious drought. On my return to the United States, I asked for an investigation of this matter, and I find that, in response to an appeal to our Ambassador by Vice President Kulmiye on December 7, 1974, the United States promptly diverted a vessel bearing 1500 tons of biscuits to Mogadiscio, where it arrived on December 25. The total value of U.S. drought relief aid to Somalia in 1974 and 1975 was almost dols 10 million. In response to your government’s request last year, the U.S. shipped another 10,000 tons of drought relief grain at a cost of over dols 2.5 million. The United States Government remains prepared to assist in the relief of natural catastrophes should they reoccur in Somalia or elsewhere.

6. In closing, I should like to thank you again for the time you spent with me in Zanzibar. I hope that our exchange there and through [Page 7] this letter will be followed by an intensified dialogue between our two governments which will result in better relations between our two countries. Fortunately, an opportunity for a continuation of this dialogue will present itself on March 1 and 2 when Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Talcott W. Seelye will be visiting Mogadiscio. I hope your schedule will permit you to receive him so that the exchange which we have begun can be continued.3 Sincerely, Andrew Young. End quote.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770062–1143. Confidential; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by Post and Scott (AF/E); cleared by Helman (IO/UNP), Glassman (EUR/SOV), Young (USUN), and in S/S; approved by Schaufele. Sent for information to Lagos, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam, London, Moscow, Nairobi, Pretoria, Paris, and USUN.
  2. In telegram 1461 from Lagos, February 8, the Embassy reported on Ambassador Young’s meeting in Zanzibar with President Siad. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770044–0904)
  3. Seelye visited Mogadiscio March 1–3. In telegrams 364 and 365 from Mogadiscio, March 6, the Embassy reported on his meetings with Siad and Foreign Ministry officials. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D770077–0408 and D770077–0420)