73. Telegram 278 From the Embassy in Morocco to the Department of State1

278. For the Secretary from Ambassador Neumann. Subject: U.S. Arms Delivery to Morocco: Action on Requested F–5 Aircraft. Ref: Rabat 122, Rabat 121, Rabat 123, Rabat 124.

1. However sound reasons may be for protracted holdup in Department’s clearance, I fear any further delay may be interpreted by King as signal that he had best look elsewhere for support in what he sees as long-range, cold war type struggle against an Algerian rival backed by USSR. I am convinced that for many reasons, including your own efforts to bring peace in the Middle East, this would have many consequences seriously adverse to long-range as well as short-term U.S. interests.

2. While I am most reluctant to personalize this policy issue, you should know that I have received various signals from several good Moroccan sources that King was surprised by decision to change Chiefs of Mission here; and in typically oriental fashion may be construing it as possibly signaling change in U.S. policy. Naturally I wish to do whatever I can to help see that the turnover is accomplished in whatever way best supports U.S. bilateral and regional interests. I would be most distressed should the King take USG failure to act on the F–5’s and pending ambassadorial change as mutually reinforcing bits of evidence to confirm his concern that he cannot count on U.S. support. While I wish to do what I can to avoid this, actions speak louder than words and nothing I could possibly say at this end would be as useful as affirmative action now on the F–5’s.

  1. Summary: Neumann expressed concern that the pending ambassadorial change in addition to the delay in clearing the F–5 aircraft for Morocco might lead King Hassan to doubt U.S. support.

    Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P840098–2129. Secret; Immediate; Nodis.