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

66285. Subject: Secretary’s March 12 Meeting With Moroccan Foreign Minister: Sahara.

1. At March 12 follow-up meeting (see septels for other details) Secretary told Boucetta that although he would look himself at background to Sahara situation it was clear there could be no change during 1978 on OV–10s and Cobras.2 He then mentioned his concern about use of F–5s in Sahara. Stating that certain Congressmen who are aware F–5s are there may use this knowledge to try to defeat arms package for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel, Ambassador Anderson added there [Page 554] had been numerous press reports about presence of F–5s in Sahara as well as in Mauritania, and that these Members of Congress and their staffs, focusing on our relations with Morocco, were well aware of them. Secretary then explained that some Congressmen claim F–15s sold to Saudis will be used against Israel, and Department has been arguing that U.S. would impose restrictions prohibiting such use. Congressional opponents might well cite presence of F–5s in Mauritania and Sahara as evidence such restrictions are ineffective.

2. Continuing, Secretary said he also concerned that in current week’s markup of 45 million dols FMS program for Morocco some Congressmen may claim presence of F–5s and other U.S.-furnished equipment outside Morocco require imposition of restrictive amendments to FMS legislation. Secretary said he did not wish see any obstacle created for traditional military sales program, which he valued in our relations and wished to see continue.

3. Boucetta said he thought these were matters which would not arise unless stirred up. Noting that no one had brought them up before, he saw no need to bring them up now. Continuing, FonMin commented he could not state that there was a difference between two parts of Morocco—Morocco with and Morocco without the Sahara. With the passage of time, and with no questions asked, problem would take care of itself. Morocco needs U.S. help, he said, but not at expense of its basic principles. (In separate conversation with Ambassador Anderson previous evening on limitation of use of U.S. arms imposed by 1960 agreement, a troubled Boucetta reiterated non-aggressive, purely defensive purposes, and went on to say that if Morocco could not use U.S. equipment for these purposes, it would have no choice but “to take other dispositions”; even though it preferred to retain its close military relationship with the U.S.)

4. Secretary said Department understands subject will be raised, and that it will be used against MidEast arms package. Ambassador Anderson added that the Congress had already raised these issues; after Veliotes’ recent appearance at committee hearings, Department had been given about thirty supplementary questions to answer for record, and use of U.S. equipment outside Morocco is raised in these questions. Secretary suggested Department and Moroccan Ambassador Bengelloun work together to deal with these questions.3 FonMin agreed with this suggestion.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 69, Morocco: 3–6/78. Secret; Exdis. Sent for information to Algiers, Paris, Nouakchott, and Madrid. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Bishop; cleared by Veliotes; approved by Houghten. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780115–0687)
  2. An unknown hand placed a checkmark in the right-hand margin next to this sentence.
  3. In telegram 69811 to Rabat, March 18, the Department summarized the March 13 meeting among Boucetta, Bengelloun, Anderson, and Department officials. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780120–0759)