Secret White House Tapes

918-017b

About this recording

918-017a
  • President Richard M. Nixon
  • Haile Selassie
  • Minassie Haile
  • Brent G. Scowcroft
  • White House photographer
May 15, 1973
Conversation No. 918-17

Date: May 15, 1973
Time: 11:07 am-12:13 pm
Location: Oval Office

The President met with Haile Selassie, Minassie Haile and Gen. Brent G. Scowcroft. Members
of the press and the White House photographer were present at the beginning of the meeting.

Minassie Haile as interpreter
-Significance


Selassie’s command of English language


[Photography session]


[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]


US-Ethiopian relations

-Selassie’s visit to White House

-Friendly reception in US

-21-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-President’s visit to Ethiopia
-Purpose
-Soviet Union’s influence in Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Africa

[Selassie’s prepared statement in Amharic]

US-Ethiopia relations
-Regional security

-Red Sea, Indian Ocean

-Soviet Union influence

-Common objectives between Ethiopia, US, and Western Europe

-Peace and security

-Freedom of navigation

-Red Sea

-Access to natural resources

-Oil

-Protection against enemy takeover

-Shared desire for peace

-Ethiopian armed forces

-US aid

-United Nations [UN] participation


Soviet Union
-Expanding influence
-Goals for Red Sea, Indian Ocean
-Replacement of Western influence
-Great Britain armed forces

-Control of Red Sea commerce and resources

-Ethiopia

-Strength as compared to Arab states

-Cooperation with Western nations

-US

-Arab states

-Convergence

-Danger

-Red Sea

-Israel
-22-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-Somalia

-US support for Ethiopia

-Objectives

-Ethiopia’s weakness

-Support for Eritrean Liberation Front [ELF]

-Relations with Somalia

-Support for territorial claims

-Weapons


Somalia
-Territorial claims

-Somali language speakers

-Africa

-National boundaries

-Colonial origins

-London, Europe

-Linguistic boundaries

-UN resolution

-Refusal to recognize colonial borders

-Ethiopia’s offer to demarcate

-UN

-Provisional agreement

-Refusal

-Militarism

-Support from Soviet Union

-Arms

-Naval bases, air bases, communication bases


People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen [South Yemen]
-Strait of Bab el Mandeb [?]
-Territorial claim

Djibouti
-Somali claims
-Soviet Union support
-Tribal ethnicity
-Ethiopian origin
-23-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)


Somalia
-Soviet Union aid
-Military resources compared to Ethiopia
-Tanks

-Armored personnel carriers [APCs]

-Radar

-Aircraft fleet

-MiG-21s
-IL-28s

-Anti-aircraft batteries

-Rocket launchers

-Policy of Soviet Union

-Goals

Ethiopia
-Role in maintaining peace in region
-Possible consequences
-Possible effects on US interests

Somalia
-Incursions into Ethiopia
-Djibouti
-Request

-Possible effects of aggression

-Support by Arab nation states, Soviet Union

-Libya

-Uganda

-Soviet advisors

-Number

-Anti-aircraft

-Coalition


Ethiopia
-Contested with Somalia

-Past experience

-Arms gap

-24-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-Somalia’s tactical position

-US support

-Somali attack

-Soviet Union assistance

-Arab assistance

-Contingency plans

-Balance of power in region

-Military requirements

-Emergency assistance

-Parity with Somalia

-Threat of defeat

-Consequences for Europe, US

-Cooperation

-Plans to improves armed forces

-Timing

-Requirements

-Discussions

-Military hardware

-Somalia

-Replacement of aircraft, tanks

-Request for US support

-Military compared to economic threats

-Diversion of resources

-Security

-US aid

-Immediate threat

-Military hardware

-Soviet Union goals


Documents relating to Ethiopia
-Selassie’s statement
-Emergency plans
-Long-range plans for armed forces

[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]

Arab-Israeli peace negotiations
-25-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-Selassie’s previous conversation with Anwar el-Sadat

-Messages for President

-Recovery of territory from Israel

-1967 war

-Views on Israel

-Opening of Suez Canal

-Provisional basis

-Condition

-Withdrawal of Israeli troops

-Egypt’s proposal

-Hafez Ismail’s visit to US

-Sovereignty compared with security of Israel

-Popular opinion

-Sovereignty
-Israel’s occupation

Ethiopia’s concerns
-Peace [?]

US foreign policy
-Africa
-Common objectives with Ethiopia

Need for translation

US foreign policy
-Ethiopia
-Consideration of military assistance and economic aid
-Scowcroft’s role
-Documents regarding Ethiopia
-William P Rogers’s absence
-[David] Kenneth Rush
-Under Secretary of State
-President’s confidence
-Previous experience at Defense Department
-Foreign aid

-Difficulties with Congress

-26-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-Appropriations

-Contrasted with Selassie’s requests

-Supplemental credit assistance

-Selassie’s analysis of regional security issues

-President’s concerns

-Congressional support

-History of non-aggression

-Resistance to Soviet Union

-Selassie’s appearance at League of Nations

-Role in peacekeeping missions

-US views

-Forthcoming Soviet Summit

-Middle East

-Conflicts

-US-Soviet Union interests

-Importance of region

-Possible role of US, Soviet Union

-Egypt

-Sadat

-Contrasted with Israel

-US support for Ethiopia

-Review of Selassie’s concerns

-Scowcroft

-US Congress

-President’s sentiments


[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]

US foreign policy
-Challenges

-Peacekeeping

-Variations

-President’s accomplishments

-Détente

-Innovation


US-Ethiopia relations
-27-

NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM

Tape Subject Log
(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-Ethiopia’s security, power

-Papers [?]

-Soviet Union policy

-Arms escalation

-US aid

-Quantity and quality

-Self-defense

-President’s consideration

-Selassie’s gratitude

-Vital need

-Soviet Union


[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]

Soviet Union
-Knowledge of US-Ethiopian relations
-Pressure on Ethiopia
-Policy

[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]

Ethiopia – Soviet relations
-Communist associates’ support
-Loan
-Unpaid balance

-Nature of relationship

-Soviet Union policies

-Ethiopia’s role

-US role

-Selassie’s possible visit to Soviet Union


[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]

Ethiopia’s foreign relations
-People’s Republic of China [PRC]
-Egypt
-Boundary resolution
-28-


NIXON PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY AND MUSEUM


Tape Subject Log

(rev. June-2012)

Conversation No. 918-17 (cont’d)

-Soviet Union

-Concern

-Military assistance

-Somalia

-Cooperation with US


Forthcoming State Dinner

-Seating arrangements

-Forthcoming conversation between President and Selassie


[Selassie’s remarks in Amharic]

Documents relating to Ethiopia

-Scowcroft

-Henry A. Kissinger’s location


Scowcroft

-President’s confidence

-Position as general


Selassie’s schedule

-Chief of Staff

-Possible meeting with Defense Department

-Meeting with Rush


The President et al. left at 12:13 pm.
Secret White House Tapes |

918-017b

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