32. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

[Omitted here is an item unrelated to the Horn of Africa.]

2. US Response to Somali Proposal. Yesterday afternoon Phil Habib gave to Somali Ambassador Addou our agreed response to the Somali proposal.2 In brief, after congratulating Addou on Somalia’s statesmanlike cooperation with the Lufthansa hijacking incident,3 Phil turned down the Somalis, but gently. He said that Somali relations with the Soviets were for Somalia to decide, though we would hope they would not compromise our relations with Somalia and would permit Somalia to pursue a non-aligned policy; that no formal agreements were needed for us to cooperate in the military, economic and political fields to the extent that circumstances permitted; we already have a program of cooperation in the economic field; however, circumstances did not permit cooperation in the military field as long as the Ogaden fighting continued. Phil made it abundantly clear that we were aware of the full extent of the Somali Government involvement in the Ogaden fighting. He urged the Somalis to pursue a peaceful solution through the [Page 76] OAU mediation effort which Nigeria is seeking to revive. He stressed that we were not and would not become involved on either side in the Ogaden.

Addou said the US position would be fine if the USSR did the same, but instead they were arming Ethiopia to the teeth so that within six months Somalia, cut off from both Soviet and US arms, would be defeated and would have to accept Soviet terms. Phil noted that Somalia did not seem to lack for arms suppliers, but in any event if Somalia foresaw such a dim future that was all the more reason for pursuing a peaceful solution now through OAU good offices. Addou put in the usual Somali pitch for third-country transfers from Iran and Saudi Arabia, which Phil turned aside.4

[Omitted here are items unrelated to the Horn of Africa.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Plains File, Subject File, Box 13, State Department Evening Reports, 10/77. Secret. In the upper right corner, Carter initialed and wrote, “Cy.”
  2. In telegram 252186 to Mogadiscio, October 20, the Department reported on Habib’s October 13 meeting with Addou during which Addou delivered a written proposal for Somalia to end military ties with the Soviet Union, including ending the 1974 Soviet-Somali friendship treaty; request the withdrawal of Soviet military and civilian advisers; conclude military, political, and economic agreements with the United States; and provide port facilities to the U.S. Navy. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840081–2299)
  3. On October 18, West German commandos freed hostages aboard a hijacked West German airliner that had landed at Mogadiscio airport. The West German Government issued a statement praising the cooperation and help of the Somali Government. (Henry Tanner, “German Troops Free Hostages on Hijacked Plane in Somalia; Four Terrorists Killed in Raid,” New York Times, October 18, p. 1)
  4. Carter wrote “good” in the left margin.