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

239613. Subject: Moroccan Use of F–5 Aircraft.

1. Department believes that Moroccans and Algerians are again exploring possibility of a negotiated settlement to the Sahara conflict. We realize that before a settlement is in sight, or replacement aircraft are available, Moroccans are unlikely to withdraw F–5s currently stationed in Sahara. However, to remind King that this use of F–5s creates a serious problem in Morocco’s military assistance relationship with U.S., and thereby hopefully put some additional pressure on him to seek a political settlement to the dispute, Ambassador is requested to make following points during his farewell audience with Hassan.2

—U.S. understands GOM continues to station F–5 aircraft in Sahara. Given our disagreement regarding the consistency of this use of American supplied equipment with the terms of the 1960 U.S.-Moroccan military assistance agreement, and the reluctance of Moroccan authorities to guarantee that military equipment to be purchased in the U.S. will not be employed for the defense of the Sahara, the U.S. has found it necessary to suspend action on requests for sales of most significant combat items.

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—Time is fast approaching when administration must inform Congress there has been a violation of U.S.-Moroccan military assistance agreement. It would be very helpful when giving this notification to be able to inform the Congress that some assurance had been received from the Moroccan Government regarding the eventual withdrawal of the F–5s from the Sahara. If the administration cannot inform the Congress that some such assurance has been received, it is possible that even more serious problems could arise in our military assistance relationship.

—The administration hopes it will be possible to reach some understanding on this issue prior to the King’s State visit3 to avoid having it arise during the visit, when we would prefer that the emphasis be on the broad range of shared objectives and cooperation between Morocco and the U.S.

  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, Middle East, Subject File, Box 69, Morocco: 7/78–8/80. Secret; Niact Immediate; Exdis. Sent for information to Nouakchott, Paris, and Madrid. Printed from a copy that was received in the White House Situation Room. Drafted by Bishop; cleared in PM/SAS and AF/W; approved by Draper. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780384–0711)
  2. An unknown hand placed a checkmark next to this sentence.
  3. See Document 161.