148. Telegram From the Embassy in Morocco to the Department of State1

835. For Secretary’s party. Subject: U.S. Military Facilities in Morocco. Ref: State 032727.2

1. During hour-long February 14 meeting alone with the King, I made the Kenitra and GEODSS demarches as instructed by reftel. Discussion of other matters is being reported septels.3

2. The King said he understood perfectly reason for eventual phaseout of Kenitra complex, appreciated the spirit behind our GEODSS proposal, and indicated he would welcome this facility.4 He then recalled that when he had seen former DOD DepSec Clements in July, 1975,5 the latter had lamented that unlike the Soviets, the U.S. had no Mediterranean facilities for its nuclear powered submarines, and only had Tunisia where they could resupply on the southern littoral. Hassan said he had told Clements on an “ultra secret” basis that he would be willing to receive American experts to look into the possibility of establishing bases for nuclear submarines along Morocco’s Mediterranean coast in “one or more locations”,6 noting there were many protected areas along this coast which would be ideal for such [Page 354] facilities. The King said he wished me to reiterate to Secretary Vance his willingness to discuss this question, adding that he did not exclude the possibility that the U.S. and Morocco might be able to reach agreement.

3. As he had throughout the conversation, Hassan repeated that he and his country were firmly opposed to Communism, that “the Soviets are my enemy”, and that he wished to help the U.S. in any way he could. He had earlier gone on at some length about how the U.S. should “use” Morocco and its unique position in Africa to help stop Soviet encroachments. He displayed a particular sensitivity on the question of Libya, which he charged was the Soviet Union’s arsenal for future subversion in Africa.

4. As a seeming afterthought, the King said that while new technology may have made our communications facilities in Morocco obsolete, he recalled reading recently that U.S. communications satellites might be vulnerable to Soviet attack. Speaking for himself, he said that he always sought to leave himself more than one escape hatch and suggested the U.S. might want to consider retaining a part of what it already had just in case.

5. I suggested that we maintain strict confidentiality on this subject to avoid giving any wrong impressions as the scenario developed. He wholeheartedly agreed. I said I would request a further audience when I received detailed description on the Kenitra phaseout and on GEODSS. He said he looked forward to seeing me after Amman.

6. Comment: King Hassan’s preliminary reaction to both Kenitra and GEODSS was positive. I interpret this initial conversation as reflecting the King’s understanding of our position and his willingness to cooperate with us. We should be able to proceed without any fundamental damage to our excellent relations provided we implement our plans with full sensitivity to Moroccan concerns.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 69, Morocco: 1–6/77. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room.
  2. See Document 147. Vance was en route to the Middle East.
  3. In telegram 852 from Rabat, February 15, Anderson reported on Hassan’s views on the Middle East and the Soviet threat. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, N770001–0546)
  4. An unknown hand underlined the phrase “welcome this facility.”
  5. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, vol. E–9, Part 1, Documents on North Africa, 1973–1976, Document 70.
  6. An unknown hand underlined the phrase “possibility of establishing bases for nuclear submarines along Morocco’s Mediterranean coast in.”