229. Memorandum From Secretary of State Vance to President Carter1

1. Meeting with Foreign Minister Bouteflika—During a lengthy conversation with Algerian Foreign Minister Bouteflika today he gave me a letter from President Boumediene to you protesting France’s military intervention in the western Saharan conflict.2 I outlined at some length our African policy. It was useful to have the chance to discuss these issues with him. I stressed the importance of prompt resolution of the Namibian and Rhodesian problems and asked their support, particularly with Nujomo—with whom they have a close relationship. He indicated they would help. Bouteflika correctly pointed out that a solution to the Namibian problem would have a positive spill-over effect on Angolan-Zairean issues.3

Bouteflika acknowledged there have been secret peace talks between Rabat and Algiers on the western Sahara war. However, he said these have not been productive. I indicated we would continue to be neutral on this issue.

[Omitted here is material unrelated to the Western Sahara.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Subject File, Box 20, Evening Reports (State): 6/78. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum.
  2. See Document 63. In telegram 148838 to Algiers, the Department transmitted the text of the English translation of Boumediene’s letter. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780246–0111)
  3. Carter wrote in the left-hand margin: “Many leaders say that Boumedienne is a top man—very influential. Again—we should strengthen ties with him.” For Carter’s reply to Boumediene’s letter, see Document 64.