228. Central Intelligence Agency Intelligence Information Cable1

IN 0611241


  • Morocco/Algeria/Mauritania


  • Possible Meetings Held Between Representatives of Morocco and Algeria to Discuss a Settlement to the Dispute in the Western Sahara [less than 1 line not declassified]


  • See below

1. [4 lines not declassified]

2. The Governments of Algeria and Morocco are conducting direct bilateral negotiations in an effort to finally resolve the dispute regarding the sovereignty of the Western Sahara. Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu has offered to host these negotiations in Romania but with no active role as mediator. Discussions are held directly between Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Bouteflika and one of King Hassan’s most trusted political advisors, Ahmed Reda Guedira. Bouteflika and Guedira have met on two or three occasions in Bucharest, but have been unsuccessful in formulating an agreement acceptable to both parties. The Algerians continue to insist on a role for the Polisario and question the legitimacy of Moroccan sovereignty in the Western Sahara. ([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: King Hassan will never accept debating Moroccan sovereignty in the Sahara. However, Morocco is willing to continue negotiations until the issue is resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.) [2 lines not declassified] Bucharest State telegram 0379, 20 January 1978,2 reported the possible involvement of Romania in negotiating a settlement between Morocco and Algeria but Rabat Embassy telegrams 383 and 548, and Nouakchott Embassy telegram 208,3 all of late January 1978, contained information from high-level Moroccan and Romanian officials disputing Romanian involvement in any negotiations.)

[Page 561]

3. [2 lines not declassified]

4. In late March–early April 1978, there were two meetings between Moroccan and Algerian Government representatives to discuss the dispute in the Western Sahara. [2 lines not declassified] Morocco was represented by King Hassan’s brother, Prince Moulay Abdallah, and Algeria was represented by Foreign Minister Abdelaziz Bouteflika. Both meetings should be characterized as tentative and exploratory. There are no plans to hold further meetings. [4 lines not declassified] Comment: Although the second meeting ended without specific plans for another meeting, the possibility of holding future meetings was not discounted.)

5. At the first meeting, the two representatives agreed that a political solution must be sought to settle the Sahara dispute and that this would best be accomplished by direct contact between the two governments without the use of intermediaries. Morocco stated that Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara is not subject to negotiation or discussion. At the second meeting, the Algerians, who initiated the meeting, proposed accepting Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. However, Algeria would force Mauritania to give up its claim to that portion of the Western Sahara now within Mauritanian borders—a claim the Algerians say is unjustified. The Moroccans responded that this formulation surpassed the limits of a realistic solution. ([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: The Algerians are suggesting that the portion of the Western Sahara claimed by Mauritania be turned over to the Polisario/Saharan Democratic Arab Republic (SDAR) under the rule of the SDAR. The initial meeting between Morocco and Algeria took place without the knowledge of Mauritania. Mauritania has since been advised by the Moroccans of the negotiations.) ([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: On 13 April 1978, Mauritanian President Moktar Ould Daddah arrived in Libya on an official visit to request Libyan President Mu’ammar Qadhafi to mediate the Western Sahara dispute. It would appear that the Mauritanian leader was not aware of the on-going negotiations between Morocco and Algeria.)

6. ([less than 1 line not declassified] Comment: [1 line not declassified] Both Algeria and Morocco have publically denied recent press reports of secret negotiations.)

7. [1 line not declassified]

8. [less than 1 line not declassified] Dissem: [2 lines not declassified]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 1, Algeria: 1–12/78. Secret; [handling restriction not declassified].
  2. Not found.
  3. Telegram 383 from Rabat, January 20, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780031–0907. Telegram 548 from Rabat, January 26, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780042–0148. Telegram 208 from Nouakchott, January 20, is in the National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780033–0008