38. Telegram From the Embassy in Nigeria to the Department of State1

8092. Subject: Nigerian Advice to the Cubans. Ref: (A) Lagos 8033; (B) Lagos 6853.2

1. The Ambassador of Togo told me today that Obasanjo had informed the Togolese Ministerial Mission (reftel A) earlier this week that the FMG recently sent the Cubans a written communication regarding the presence of their troops in Africa. According to Ambassador Apedo-Amah, the gist of the message had been that Nigeria appreciated the assistance which Cuban troops in Africa had provided in the past but that enough was enough and the FMG now hopes that Cuban troops in Africa will be withdrawn. Obasanjo indicated that the FMG will take additional steps in the future designed to encourage the withdrawal of Cuban troops.3

2. This information indicates that there was a great deal of significance behind the statement in the FMG’s press release (reftel A) that Nigeria’s opposition to the presence “of any foreign troops on African soil . . . had been brought to the notice of all the countries concerned.”

3. We reported earlier (reftel B) that the sending of peacekeeping forces to Shaba Province had significantly increased existing Nigerian [Page 118] uneasiness about the continued presence of African troops in Cuba. The present information shows that Nigerian rethinking in this respect has gone considerably farther then seemed likely at that time. We feel sure that there are many within the government who do not agree with the advice which the FMG has now given the Cubans.

4. We will discreetly endeavor to obtain corroboration of this report as circumstances permit.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Country File, Box 57, Nigeria 1–12/78. Confidential; Immediate, Exdis. Sent for information Immediate to Lome. Sent for information to Moscow, the Interests Section in Havana, and USUN.
  2. In telegram 8033 from Lagos, June 29, the Embassy reported that Obasanjo had “reaffirmed that Nigeria was against foreign intervention in the continent either directly or indirectly through military force.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780271–0952) In telegram 6853 from Lagos, June 3, the Embassy reported: “The Cuban role in the Shaba affair has apparently set off a reevaluation of Cuban involvement in Africa generally within Nigerian government circles which could ultimately redound to our favor.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780232–0951)
  3. Brzezinski highlighted this paragraph, drew an arrow next to it, and wrote at the top of the page, “This certainly would have never happened (if it has!) if we had not kept raising the issue. ZB.” Beneath this Carter wrote “Good, J.”