156. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Morocco1

70308. Subject: Meeting With Moroccan Minister Boucetta.

1. Foreign Minister Boucetta met for approximately thirty minutes with Vice President Mondale on March 14. Also present were Ambassador Bengelloun, Ambassador Anderson, DepAsstSecy Veliotes and Mr. Clift, Foreign Affairs Adviser to the Vice President.

2. Boucetta emphasized Morocco’s desire to maintain the best of relations with the US. Noted that such relations were in our mutual interests given shared values of freedom and liberty, and common views on security goals. Noted this is critical period in Africa and Middle East and emphasized Morocco intends remain on path of moderation, wisdom and freedom. Emphasized significant progress in Morocco in field of human rights and political freedoms, drawing on his own personal experiences to underscore this fact, cited comparison with unnamed “other” countries, and made point that Morocco is model in Third World. Boucetta congratulated President Carter for his leading role in sensitizing world to human rights considerations.

[3.] In turning letter over to Vice President, Boucetta emphasized the handwritten comment by King in margin which emphasized King’s personal dedication to US-Moroccan friendship (unofficial English translation of letter follows septel minus King’s marginal comments which apparently were only on French original).2 Boucetta explained that subject of letter concerns preoccupation of King and GOM with Sahara. He stated that he had discussed this issue in great detail with Secretary Vance;3 he put Sahara into context of Soviet and Cuban threat to Africa, noting in this context that Morocco has chosen the side of the United States.

[4.] Boucetta said that letter dealt with “certain public statements” by administration officials (letter cites Mar. 1 remarks by Veliotes before congressional committee),4 which distinguish between Moroccan [Page 377] administrative control and sovereignty in the Sahara, noting such statements would be seized on by Morocco’s “opponents” and could cause problems in our relations. Boucetta noted that decision to send him here had been made by King, and King’s letter written, before U.S. had informed Morocco of decision not to sell OV–10’s and Cobra’s to Morocco for use in the Sahara. He stated that the King was dismayed and very sorry to receive our negative reaction and could not understand why we would not help Morocco against an adversary who was receiving unlimited arms from the Soviet Union. Boucetta said that in the message conveying negative decision, Secretary had indicated we could not go forward “at this time” to the Congress. He understood that there may be some reason on our part to delay such action but he hoped and urged us to review situation and to present Moroccan request to the Congress as soon as possible.

[5.] At appropriate points during Boucetta’s comments, Vice President Mondale emphasized great importance to US of our close relations with Morocco and our respect and appreciation for King. Vice President assured Foreign Minister that he would personally deliver King’s letter to President and that he would also discuss issues raised by Boucetta with Secretary Vance. He noted that President Carter would focus personally on letter and would reply in near future.

[6.] Boucetta expressed his condolences on the death of Senator Humphrey, extolled the Senator’s virtues as a human being and statesman and stated that Morocco would like to be officially associated with any memorial planned for Humphrey. He emphasized that Senator Humphrey belonged to all of the people of the free world, to which, of course, Morocco belonged. Vice President expressed his deep personal appreciation for Foreign Minister’s tribute to Senator Humphrey and he asked his assistant, Mr. Clift, personally to follow up with Ambassador Bengelloun concerning a Moroccan contribution to the HHH memorial.

[7.] At very end of meeting, Boucetta stated that the King very much hoped to come to the United States for an informal working visit of perhaps a day and a half in near future. In making this presentation, Boucetta emphasized that what he meant was that the King wanted to come here in the very near future. In reply, Vice President expressed our great appreciation and respect for the King and noted that we would of course be happy to welcome him to the United States. The Vice President cautioned, however, that the date for any visit would depend upon President’s schedule. Boucetta said he understood and repeated how much the King wanted to come in the very near future.

[8.] On behalf of the Vice President, Mr. Clift emphasized to both Ambassador Anderson and Veliotes after the meeting that the Vice President had not made any commitment as to timing for such a visit and he hoped this was clear to the Moroccans.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780121–0575. Secret. Sent for information to Algiers, Nouakchott, Paris, and Madrid. Drafted and approved by Veliotes; cleared in the White House.
  2. Telegram 66888 to Rabat, March 15. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P840176–1469) A copy of the unofficial translation of Hassan’s March 8 letter is in the Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 69, Morocco: 3–6/78.
  3. See Documents 223 and 224.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 154.