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

293672. Subject: Royal Visit: Secretary’s Conversation With Hassan.

1. Secretary met with King Hassan at Blair House following Moroccan Embassy reception evening November 15.2 Moroccan Ambassador Bengelloun, Moulay Hafid el Alaoui, Dlimi, Saunders and Parker were present. Boucetta and Boutaleb joined meeting later. Conversation began with military supply (septel),3 continued with Sahara and later turned to situation in various countries in Middle East and Africa.

2. Following discussion of military supply, Secretary said there were two other things he wished to bring up. First of all, he had heard that the King’s appearance at the National Press Club lunch had gone very well and had been well received. He congratulated King. Secondly, he had talked to the Secretary of Commerce and they had agreed to put together a group of government and business people under Mrs. Kreps, at a time to be agreed on, to follow up on President’s suggestion regarding a trade mission made that morning. It remained to be decided when group should go. King said the sooner the better. Secretary said he had asked Mrs. Kreps to get in touch with Ambassador Bengelloun.

3. Returning to Sahara, Secretary said he had been pondering King’s earlier remarks on subject and agreed with him that it was not in our joint interest to have a weak, independent state at that location on the Atlantic. On the other hand, we must be realistic. There was a political [Page 393] problem. With regard to the United Nations, Moroccans could count on our support for their position that question should be left in hands of OAU Wise Men rather than be subject to new resolution. (This had been requested during talk between Secretary, Boucetta and Bengelloun at morning White House meeting); on other hand, His Majesty, as a statesman and politician, must recognize that there was a difficult problem for us. We had voted for the UN resolution regarding self-determination and we had a problem with our Congress over this issue. King interjected that this was a formal problem having nothing to do with our fundamental relationship. Secretary agreed, but said we must nevertheless follow a neutral policy.

4. King said this was of course a topical (ponctuelle) neutrality. The Sahara problem was his to resolve. He thought it would diminish as Boumediene went. In that regard it would not be easy to pick a successor. Two candidates had already asked him to sponsor them during his visit to the United States. He refused to say who they were, noting that there were others who would also ask the same service. He seemed to be in high good humor over this.

5. King said that whoever succeeded Boumediene would not have his influence. He would have many domestic problems and would not wish to be involved in external ones. Secretary asked King’s views as to who successor would be. King said there were at least three factions (clans). First was Bouteflika’s. His position was weakened by his playboy image and fact he was gone from Algiers most of the time. He nevertheless had support of the frontier army (sic) because he came from border area. Second was Yahiaoui, former Commandant of military academy, who controlled the party aparatus. Third was Mirbah, Chief of Military Security, who had control of individual liberties of Algerians. Whoever arrived to power would not stay in place too long.

6. King said Yahiaoui’s mentor was Zbiri who had been in exile in Morocco for last five years. Yahiaoui could not act without his blessing. Mirbah had caused too much harm to too many people to be popular.

7. King said Boumediene and he were to have met in Belgium the last week in September, at Algerian request. Col. Dlimi had been at the office of Col. Raas, Chief of Belgian Intelligence, when Mirbah had arrived and said the meeting was off. Raas had been very embarrassed. He had already arranged for three chateaus to be available, one for each party to live in and one of them to meet in. Belgians had nevertheless kept the whole affair secret.

8. Dlimi had asked why meeting was cancelled and Mirbah said he did not know. King had then received letter from Boumediene saying that Moroccan position on Palestine made it difficult for him to meet with Hassan. King chuckled over this and wagged his head [Page 394] in jolly fashion noting that when letter had been sent Boumediene was already en route to Moscow for treatment.

9. King said he belonged to ancient school of diplomacy, that of Mohamed. One should talk and talk, and strike (taper) the other from time to time. He was not a violent man and he did not want war. He must admit, however, that had he had the means to reduce Algeria to impotence for 30 years he would have done so.

10. Secretary asked which of the men King had mentioned was closest to Soviets. King said it was certainly not Bouteflika. He thought it was Mirbah. The Algerian Intelligence Services were closely patterned after the KGB. He turned to Dlimi for confirmation and latter agreed and said all their training was Soviet. He was sure Secretary would agree that Soviet training could mean a change in geopolitics of the region if a Soviet protege came to power.

11. Secretary asked what Qadhafi was going to do in near future. King said if Boumediene remained they would have to fight sooner or later when Bourguiba disappeared. The eclipse of Boumediene would mean that Qadhafi would move into the ascendant. If a new leader of Algeria was not a member of the refusal front, that would cause changes in the area.

12. Secretary said we understood Sudanese had taken very strong position at Baghdad and that various threats had been made by the hardliners against Numayri. What did King think this might lead to and what could we do to help them? King said it was, of course, Iraq and Algeria who were the menace to Sudan. King said we should keep Sudanese close to Egypt and give a hand to Zaire. Secretary said we were trying to help Numayri with F–5s and C–130s. We needed to give him high priority regarding other material he needed. We could also help him economically, perhaps with an agricultural program. King said we should ask the Vatican to use its influence so that there would be no more fighting in the south. Most of the people there were Christian. Secretary said we might be able to do something in that respect.

13. Secretary noted that Kenya played a key role in Africa and asked if we should try to help there as well. King said yes we should, but we should also watch out for the British and keep them from playing their traditional role of tribal politics, which was very dangerous.

14. King noted that he had been asked at lunch about the Baghdad Summit. He had replied that Khartoum had been a war summit, while Rabat had been a peace summit. The Baghdad Summit, with its emphasis on no separate peace, was simply a hard-line application of the [Page 395] Rabat Summit.4 As he had told the President earlier, he was convinced that the latter’s use of antibiotics at Camp David had reduced the abscess and that which remained could not cause much harm. Jordan, Iraq and Syria, together or separately, could not harm Israel seriously. Begin should not capitalize on this too long but it was a fact. Meanwhile, something must be done about Jerusalem. This issue was particularly troubling to the Saudis; Secretary said he hoped we would be able to come up with an answer regarding Jerusalem, but this would take time. We obviously could not do it today; King nodded and said emotions are obviously running too high.

15. Secretary said he wanted pose question to King as friend. Would it be a good idea to have Prince Fahd come to the states to talk about Arab-Israeli problem? King said he would not come if Egyptian and Israeli delegations were here and negotiating or if the treaty had just been signed. If he came he should come in a crisis scenario, i.e., when negotiations were broken off and both parties had gone home.

16. Discussion turned to Guinea and Secretary said we had feeling Sekou Toure was about to change his line. King said he would turn, but he had to be approached on tip toes. He had been sent to Czechoslovakia by the French for training in postal work and had returned with a Marxist veneer which had no substance beneath. He was a “primaire” who did not even have a college degree. He would change, but he was afraid to have it said he had done so. The key lay with Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast, who had a father and son relationship with Sekou.

17. Secretary said he wanted skip again to other side of continent and asked about the two Yemens. What did King think about situation there? King said that existence of two Yemens was mistake of British imperialism. Frontiers in that area were largely superimposed and meaningless. Secretary noted that we had been prepared to send delegation to South Yemen to look into restoration of relations, but Saudis, who had originally encouraged us to do so, had subsequently changed their mind and asked us not to. Now Saudis themselves had informed us that they were in contact with South Yemenis and they seem to be returning to the idea that we should try to reestablish relations. We were bemused by the Saudi reversals.

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18. King said Saudis had recently installed perfect young man, Prince Turki, as a Chief of Intelligence; he seemed, however, to be the only man they had, and their information on the Yemen was poor. A few months ago they had been proud to say that 50 percent of the South Yemenis were in Saudi Arabia working and that they were being allowed to repatriate their earnings to Aden. Some two months ago, however, Moroccans had become very concerned at number of South Yemenis fleeing to Saudi Arabia because they suspected there were some black sheep among them. (Implication was that change in Saudi policy might relate to this.) In any event, if there were further untoward incidents in South Yemen, Saudis would reverse their policy again.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780476–0283. Secret; Exdis. Sent for information to Algiers. Sent for information Priority to Paris, Nouakchott, Madrid, Tunis, Tripoli, Jidda, and Khartoum. Drafted by Parker; cleared in S; approved by Saunders.
  2. Vance also met with Hassan on November 14; see Document 236.
  3. See Document 162.
  4. The Arab League Summit convened in Baghdad November 2–5 in response to the Camp David Accords signed in September. The Summit resolved that the Accords harmed the rights of the Palestinian people and urged the Egyptian Government not to ratify the agreements and to align itself with the Arab League. The League also froze its relations with the Government of Egypt. For a summary of the meeting and text of the final communiqué, see Keesing’s Contemporary Archives, 1979, pp. 29659–29660. Regarding the Rabat Summit, see footnote 4, Document 161.