education in Amharic
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICAN AFFAIRS
DICK CLARK, Iowa, Chairman
ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN OF AFRICA WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 4, 1976
United States Senate, Subcommittee on African Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C.
The subcommittee met at 10 a.m., pursuant to notice, in room 4221, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Hon. Dick Clark (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Senators Clark and Biden.
Senator Clark. The hearing will come to order.
Over the next 3 days the Subcommittee on African Affairs will examine the problems and prospects of American relations with Ethiopia and Ethiopia's neighbors in the Horn of Africa.
For many decades, our relations with Ethiopia were built on the expectation that this ancient monarchy, though deeply traditional and autocratic, would survive as a bastion of stability and as a safe and reliable friend to the United States. In American minds, Ethiopia was personified by its redoubtable Emperor, Haile Selassie, but most Americans could tell you little else about Ethiopia except perhaps that it was one of the few nations on the African Continent never to have been subjected to European colonial rule except for a single half decade of Italian occupation.
Most of us still regard Ethiopia as a strange—perhaps mysterious— land, and that is one reason for these hearings. An even more compelling and more urgent reason for this inquiry is the fact that Ethiopia's traditionalism and stability have been swept away on a tide of revolutionary turmoil, and with them have gone our long- standing assumptions about the role of Ethiopia in our foreign policy and its relevance to our national interest.
In place of the traditional monarchy—overthrown by the revolution of 1974—the country is now ruled by a military dominated committee, or "derge," professing socialist revolutionary objectives. The character, composition, competence and prospects of this regime are still largely unknown to us.
We hope to remedy this lack of information, so far as it can be remedied, over the next 3 days. We start with the premise that a radically altered situation re- quires a fundamental reassessment of American policies. Not only has the stability of Ethiopia's internal life collapsed: so too has the stability of Ethiopia's relations with her neighbors. Eritrea, always uneasy in federation with Ethiopia, is now in full rebellion, and the efforts of the Addis Ababa government to suppress this rebellion thus far have proven futile.
Somalia, with its long border with Ethiopia, has become an assertive, threatening neighbor, aligned with and heavily armed by the Soviet Union. Sometime in the near future the French are expected to with- draw from the territory of Afars and Issas with its Port of Djibouti, which serves as a vital seaport and principal rail terminus for Ethiopia. The Somalis have made claims upon this territory, and if they press these claims, there is likely to be open conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia.
The capacity of the Ethiopian Government to deal with these incipient challenges is cast in doubt by the instability within the country. Since the overthrow of the old regime and the deposition of the old Emperor in 1974, the Constitution has been scrapped, demonstrations have been banned, curfews imposed, students beaten up, and repeated rounds of arrests have been made. Many thousands have been imprisoned; many officials of the old regime have been executed; and more recently, officials of the new revolutionary government itself have been deposed and executed. In this frame of reference the U.S. Government must make both long-term and short-term policy decisions with respect to Ethiopia.
For the long term, we must consider whether and for what purposes Ethiopia is to be considered a friend and collaborator to the United States. Over the past 25 years, the United States has served as Ethiopia's foreign economic and military mainstay, having provided her with $350 million in economic aid and $278.6 million in military assistance.
We must consider whether the reasons for our support remain valid. We must reevaluate Ethiopia's strategic and political role in east Africa and the broader significance of east Africa for our interests in the Red Sea, the Arabian Peninsula, and the Indian Ocean. In the immediate future, we must consider the advisability of continuing our military and economic aid, and if so, in what amounts and for what purposes. In response to a request by the Ethiopian revolutionary government, the United States has programed $6 million worth of military equipment for Ethiopia for fiscal year 1977.
In the course of providing this assistance, we must examine closely the probable and possible uses of our military aid in the context of our own policies and interests. Undeniably our relations with Ethiopia have deteriorated since the revolution of 1974, and our contacts have become increasingly sparse. As the Eritrean rebellion continues, with uncertain prospects of a solution, and as the prospects for conflict with Somalia increase, a primary question for U.S. foreign policymakers will be whether to continue our military assistance, and if so, in what form and under what conditions.
For this purpose, it becomes highly relevant for us to examine internal developments within Ethiopia as well as Ethiopia's volatile relations with her neighbors. We must consider carefully whether the legitimate interests of the United States are or are not involved in such occurrences as the nationalization of banks, insurance companies and other corporations. We must also consider carefully whether—and if so, in what precise ways—American interests are involved in the future of Eritrea and of the now French territory of Afars and Issas. We must also stay alert to violations of human rights in all U.S. aid recipient countries.
With the assistance of the distinguished witnesses who will testify before this subcommittee over the next 3 days, we hope and expect to gain valuable information on these problems.
On this first day of the hearings, we will focus on the internal situation in Ethiopia as well as the background of U.S. relations with Ethiopia since World War II, and especially since the revolution of 1974.
On the second day, we will examine Ethiopia's relations with her neighbors, including the rebellious province of Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti [Territory of Afars and Issas] and also Sudan and Kenya. On the third and final day of the hearings, the subcommittee will hear testimony on U.S. policy toward the Horn of Africa by the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs.
Our panel today consists of three distinguished witnesses:
Ambassador Edward M. Korry, former Ambassador to Ethiopia;
Dr. John Hathaway Spencer, formerly an adviser to Emperor Selassie
Prof. Donald Levine, of the University of Chicago.
I would suggest that we initiate the proceedings with a brief statement by each member of the panel starting with Professor Levine, then Mr. Spencer and Mr. Korry, to be followed by a general seminar discussion among the panel members and the members of the sub- committee. We certainly welcome our witnesses today and appreciate very much their taking time from busy schedules to join us in these proceedings.
Senator Clark. Mr. Spencer, do you want to continue?
Mr. Spencer. Senator, I have abused my time. I am going to move very rapidly.
UNITED STATES/ETHIOPIAN RELATIONS
How about the United States? Well, I should point out initially there were some severe obstacles to relations between the United States and Ethiopia. Let me just point out some principal ones first and these operate throughout. One, in the early period, there was the Monroe Doctrine which applied in the sense that if we are telling the European colonizing powers to stay out of the Western Hemisphere, we pretty well had to stay out of Africa. This was reflected in various ways. For example, at the time of the Ethiopian War, Secretary Hull ordered the cancellation of the Standard-Vacuum oil concession between the Emperor of Ethiopia and that company. He wanted to stay out of the Ethiopian War.
Then there came in the principle of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] which profoundly affected relations later the Cuban missile crisis having washed out the Monroe Doctrine.
Again, the same principle: we can't jeopardize our relations in Africa with the members of NATO. That policy was followed on down to Angola. Third, later, as early as the Suez crisis of 1956, we began to get the emergence of a policy of accommodation with the Arab States.
You will remember this from Secretary Dulles' sudden shift of position at the Suez Conferences of 1956. Accommodation of the Arabs gradually emerged and as I said earlier, the Arabs have been in resolute opposition to Ethiopia principally in connection with both Eritrea and the Greater Somaliland issues.
Fourth, then came in the concept of detente, which has been operating since the Soviets have become powerful in Somalia.
Fifth, there was the matter of an autocratic regime in Ethiopia which kept the United States at a distance. These were operating principles that created obstacles. In addition to that, there was the fact that the British, when I went back in 1943, were in total control of the country. They had absolute control of all communications, even the establishment of the U.S. legation proved difficult. It was extremely difficult to put in an independent currency because the British had substituted their own. So it was that American, like the governor of the State Bank and myself, had to take the initiative. Once the initiative had been taken then the United States could help. They did help powerfully, for example with the silver loan for introducing the new currency. They helped powerfully on the lend lease and so on. There were factors which I don*t have time to go into which brought the two countries somewhat more closely together. But I have to run on now to the next big problem which was the question of the Italian colonies and obtaining the territory of Eritrea.
QUESTION OF ITALIAN COLONIES, OBTAINING TERRITORY OF ERITREA
Here, the British, despite the fact that they had been an obstacle to the U.S. relations in the first place, were really helpful to Ethiopia in getting Eritrea, more so than was the United States since they wanted to drive a hard bargain and obtain the area called Ogaden for their support for Eritrea. It was only with that event that the United States came in and began to develop closer relations. This was partly also due to the fact that the United States wanted the base at Kagnew, a communications center and this in turn led to the possibility of bargaining for an arms assistance agreement. This arms assistance agreement was essentially based on the "Northern Tier" concept which Dulles had put out in 1953 with the gradual development of the Baghdad Pact. Of course, that basis was destined later to disappear.
How am I on my time? Shall I stop? I have some more.
Senator Clark. Why don't you take a couple more minutes?
Mr. Spencer. Excuse me for talking so rapidly. So with the conclusion of the arms agreement and the base agreement, relations began to flower and they developed very intensively. The Emperor came to the States (1954) and so on. The United States eventually became the largest donor of assistance, technical and military. So Ethiopia stood at the absolute top in Africa in military assistance.
NEW FORCES ON THE HORIZON
I should point out in the very brief stenographic sketch that I have here, that there were new forces that were coming up on the horizon.
The Bandung Conference of 1955 swung Ethiopia inevitably into the Third World Camp.
The troubles that Ethiopia was thrown into were: a sudden reversal by Dulles in 1956 exposing Ethiopia to the wrath of Nasser which I can explain in the question period, if necessary, and finally in 1959, the decision of the United States to support the British project for the union of British with Italian Somaliland threatening Ethiopia, with a Greater Somaliland. These were matters to be taken into consideration and in the end, if I may jump to the end period, the same fears that I mentioned in the beginning, the fears of Arab encirclement led to desperate attempts to obtain additional aid from Washington.
Now I came back to where I started: in 1973, the Emperor going to Washington and then to Moscow and seeking the support of the conservative Arab states. This is a very inadequate outline.
We appreciate it. We are going to hear now from Ambassador Edward Korry, former Ambassador to Ethiopia.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR EDWARD KORRY, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO ETHIOPIA, BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y.
Mr. Korry.Mr. Chairman, I would like to begin by emphasizing that I am here as a private citizen. I have not spoken to any member of the executive branch about this testimony. I have no policy to pro- pound, no recommendations to push. I was nominated by President Kennedy to be Ambassador to Ethiopia in January 1963, and arrived there some 2 months later. My briefings in Washington were rather depressing except for the ebullient Peace Corps.
U.S. INTEREST IN ETHIOPIA:
The U.S. interest in Ethiopia was simple then for Washington. The Government defined it as "the unhampered use of Kagnew Station." This facility was deemed then to be "strategically vital" to the United States, the only such military installation in Black Africa.
We had 1,800 officers, men, and civilians working there, plus 800 dependents, a total of 2,500 with plans well advanced during mv briefing period to raise that number to 3,500 within a year, as did occur. The defacto price the United States paid for Kagnew was military aid, roughly, $10 million to $12 million a year on the books. I say "on the books" because the Pentagon in those days often put replacement- cost price tags or near-replacement costs for certain military items in order to get more from the Congress in appropriations for new equipment.
USE OF U.S. MILITARY AID IN ETHIOPIA
The reports on the use of our military aid in Ethiopia were depressing. Much of the equipment was quickly ruined and junked by ill- trained soldiers. The Ethiopian Army was regarded as little more than a ragtag force, and when I asked the briefing officer at the Pentagon what we were doing about it, he said that there wasn't much we could do with the Ethiopians, and it was really Kagnew rent money, and if the Emperor wanted it in "solid gold Cadillacs," that was his term, he could have it that way.
These briefings struck me as curious for two reasons. First, we had a large Military Assistance and Training Group in Ethiopia, a MAAG [Military Assistance Advisory Group] sent there presumably to do the job the Congress and the taxpayer had been led to expect, whereas the reality was quite different. Second, if the Ethiopians were really not trainable, then why did, according to the Pentagon their battalions perform with such distinction as part of the United Nations forces in Korea, and later in the Congo?
Mr. Chairman, I suspect part of the answer I don't want to over state it resides in the fact that racism within the American military establishment as in all branches of American society, had a certain impact. Indeed, before I went to Ethiopia, I was told that the Ethiopians themselves were racist and we shouldn't have black Americans there because the Ethiopian ruling class regarded itself as Semitic. Since this topic of blacks in U.S. Embassies has been touched upon in a related way in the news in the last 48 hours. I would just like to mention the fact that in the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia in the years 1964 to 1967, American blacks served as Deputy Director of the large AID [Agency for International Development] Mission, as Deputy Director of a fairly substantial USIA [U.S. Information Agency] Mission and as the most influential State Department officer in the Embassy.
No less perplexing and pessimistic than the Pentagon insights were the AID briefings. There were many AID training projects in Ethiopia and scores and scores of Americans to carry them out. Yet, in an agricultural country, a country in which agricultural development was its only potential, we had formally broken relations with the Ministry of Agriculture because of incompatibility.
AID, after more than a decade of frustrations with a feudal, autocratic, Byzantine and corrupt ruling class had decided, very much like the Pentagon, that it could not do very much except train people, particularly in fields of education and health. The AID program for fiscal 1964 was only 2.4 percent or less than 5 million U.S. dollars of the total AID program for Africa.
The glamour countries for the New Frontier Administration in those days were Ghana with Nkrumah, Guinea with Sekou Toure, Algeria with Ben Bella, and the theory was that our money and presence in those lands would buy us friendship and stall off the Soviet and Communist influence. It didn't quite work out that way. U.S. POLICY Rather reluctantly, the historical ties to the Emperor were recognized as was the symbolic importance of Ethiopia as the first victim of Fascist aggression in World War II and the first African state to have gained independence and sovereignty, and the first to join the United Nations. But the nature of the Emperors regime—the illiteracy of his nation of some 22 million in 1964 was about 99 percent, its poverty, about $46 per person per year income in 1963-64, its lack of easily exploitable resources, and the unceasing reports from the field of frustrations and failures—had relegated Ethiopia to a very low priority in Washington.
The policy was to do only enough to keep Kagnew, and we deliberately dragged our feet on military and economic assistance. By 1963, the recurrent reports of possible new coups following the 1960 real coup, and even more the pressures of the Ethiopian Government in Washington most effectively transmitted by Mr. Spencers successors and other Americans close to the Imperial family, persuaded the Kennedy Administration that a change was necessary. So I was made Ambassador, but as these things usually happen, without any instructions of any kind except to maintain Kagnew and to prevent harm being done to the 6,000 Americans soon to be 7,000 in the official U.S. family in Ethiopia, plus the few hundred private Americans, mostly missionaries. Our 6,000 to 7,000 were in a large MAAG mission, a large U.S. mapping mission, Kagnew Station, the largest Peace Corps contingent in the world at the time, a very small embassy, and other small programs including NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). I was told over and over again the country "is certain to blow up," and that "the Emperor cannot live or survive much longer," and "we must prepare for that contingency." I was also told that we should maintain good relations with the Emperor—this was written into the National Policy Paper for Ethiopia—as well as with those who might replace him by either evolution or revolution. Ethiopia then was seen in a very parochial terms as part of Africa, at best, but not of black Africa because of the Semitic self-appreciation by the Amhara ruling class. Therefore, there was a very narrow view of it in the State Department, particularly because Ethiopia was part of a State Department office for nine countries that included eight Islamic states.
At that time the nine country area ran across North Africa from Morocco and Mauretania down through the Sudan, then to Ethiopia and Somalia. So Ethiopia as the only non-Islamic Christian country! in the entire area, as organized within the State Department, was regarded as a very strange, nonconformist, and incompatible entity.
FORMATION OF OAU WITH HEADQUARTERS IN ADDIS ABABA.
However, I went to Ethiopia without any ideas as to what we might do. I stumbled into the year of great change, 1963, for Africa.- The biggest surprise was the unexpected, totally unexpected in Washington, agreement by the heads of state of Africa to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and to locate its headquarters in Addis Ababa. This had an enormous impact on Ethiopian outlook, on the formation of Ethiopian youth, and it led soon enough to a request by His Imperial Majesty, Haile Selassie, to see President John Kennedy.
HAILE SELASSIE OFFICIAL STATE VISIT
He was the last official state visitor to the President, 1 month before the assassination of President Kennedy. His Ministers of Finance and Defense, plus assorted officials, arrived 1 week before, having boarded the plane from Addis with a $300 million shopping list which they wanted the United States to fill, and getting off the plane with me at the end of the 2-day journey, having trimmed it down to $30 million, and getting, in fact, from President Kennedy only $600,000.
ARAB IMPACT THROUGHOUT AFRICA IN 1963
But that did not end the problems because the second important development in 1963 was that the Arab awakening from its long slumber and the growth of Islam began to have a very dynamic impact throughout Africa; the number of conversions throughout Africa was very great as were the audiences listening regularly to Cairo Radio. The effects on Ethiopia, which had turned inward a thousand years earlier because of invasion by Arab countries and of constant encirclement by the peoples then living in what became later Arab or Islamic lands, was to arouse more and more of the paranoid feelings of the Ethiopian Government
SOVIET MOVE TOWARD GLOBAL POWER STATUS
Third, the Soviet Union was beginning to arrive at a point of stability in its relationships in Europe, vis-a-vis the West, and it was moving more and more toward a global power status. Until that point, the United States alone had global power status, global in its outlook and use of power.
ISRAELI POLICY IN AFRICA
Fourth, Israel was becoming very concerned by these developments and was starting to pursue a very energetic policy in Africa. It located its most important mission for all of Africa in Ethiopia.
BRITISH WITHDRAWAL FROM AFRICA -
fifth, the British, as in the previous decade when it had no longer is not able to fulfill its commitments in Greece, Turkey, and other places, ; starting to show signs of giving up in Africa. That withdrawal raised, all sorts of problems for the United States in terms of African nationalism, particularly in the southern third of Africa—Rhodesia, the Portuguese colonies and South Africa—and these combined with "the location of the OAU and Addis Ababa had a tremendous impact on Ethiopian opinion.
FRENCH INTEREST IN DJIBOUTI
Finally, the French, which had been preparing to relinquish Djibouti on the Red Sea, when de Gaulle returned to power, started to take an interest in extending its tenure in Djibouti by one means or another and. in trying to stabilize and contain the increasing tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia.
AMBASSADOR KORRY's INTRODUCTION INTO ETHIOPIA
To finish up, when I arrived in Ethiopia, three things struck me as inescapable and difficult:
1. The inefficiency in the army, for whatever reason—that is, "whether the Ethiopians were incapable of being trained, which I did not agree with, or that the United States simply didn't want to get too involved in the military program—created the very problems which we wanted to avoid. First, it led to greater instability in Ethiopia because it increased the invasion or subversion fears of those Ethiopians who could be considered quite serious in these matters. Second, this instability heightened the dangers to the very large American community and to the perpetuation of U.S. use of Kagnew station. Third, maintaining an inefficient army increased the cost to the Ethiopian Government and, therefore, reduced the chances of having social and economic development of the kind that I considered to be essential for relative stability and for the achievement of the primary American objective.
2. I said that AID was deliberately fostering revolution by concentrating on training cadres who had no outlets in terms of jobs, in terms of revenue-producing projects, or in terms of reforms which could satisfy their aspirations to catch up with those African states -which had lived under colonialism, unlike Ethiopia's independence.
3. The interplay of the first two with the growing Soviet-Arab- Somali convergence, with other foreign interests, was in danger of creating power vacuums, and the absence of power can sometimes be just as dangerous as the implementation of power in that it attracts. That, Mr. Chairman, is my introduction to Ethiopia, as of 1963-64. I have brought along some documents, official documents which I wrote at the time, which might help to illuminate some of these matters further as to what the United States attempted to do in that period in dealing with the complexities of the problems and which I hope we shall have an opportunity to discuss later. Thank you.
Senator Clark. Thank you, very much. I -want to have a discussion where any of us can break in in kind of a question and answer session.
SHOULD THE UNITED STATES CONTINUE MILITARY ASSISTANCE?
I think the major question I have and I would like to ask that at the outset and get each of your judgments on it. Professor Levine hasn't spoken for a while. We will start with him and then go to Mr. Spencer and Mr. Korry. It seems to me to be the essential question as far as I am concerned of American policy. That is, should the United States continue military assistance to Ethiopia? If so, why? If not, why not? What are the consequences of cutting off military assistance to Ethiopia, in your judgment?
Mr. Levine. That is an extraordinarily complex question and I am still thinking it through myself. I will think out loud here for a minute with you on it. I can think of two good reasons not to cut off military aid to Ethiopia. One is that this might signal to the Somalis and their Soviet and Arab backers that they could go ahead with whatever aggressive intentions they have in the Horn, which is likely to include the annexation of Djibouti and possibly constriction to shipping in the Red Sea.
Second, I think that there are many elements in Ethiopia, including within the Dergue, who for all the public display of attachment to the Communist bloc countries—one now sees in the ministries no longer European and American publications, but exclusively Soviet and Chinese publications, for example, and one sees the United States and European "imperialists" scored in the newspapers and only flattering stories about the bloc countries—for all of that, I think there remains an undercurrent of interest in retaining the friendship of the United States and at various levels. I can think of some good reasons for cutting off that aid.
As I indicated, the present regime is extremely unpopular, extremely repressive, and a policy of unrestricted aid today, as in the time of Emperor Haile Selassie, would signify a callous attitude toward human rights and basic human needs in Ethiopia. Even though one understands from Ambassador Korry and Ambassador Hummel that discreet pressures were placed on the former regime to be responsive to Ethiopia's problems. It still appeared to the public opinion bearers and makers under the old regime that the earlier statement was really operative: "Let the Emperor spend the money on gold Cadillacs or any other way he wants, as long as we have the Kagnew base." So it looks today that there would be a repetition of that policy of unrestricted aid for a very repressive and unpopular regime and, as I have suggested, the continuation of that regime without restraints can only lead to the weakening of Ethiopia, to the fragmentation of the country, to the possible outbreak of civil war; perhaps the sooner it is replaced, the better. So, as I have suggested, I think both of these extreme positions of abrupt cutoff of aid or unrestricted aid have very serious arguments asgainst them and some kind of a middle ground seems to me to be indicated.
MIDDLE GROUND AID SOLUTION
Senator Clark. What is that middle ground?
Mr. Levine. That middle ground, I suggest, would consist in tying a reduced amount of military aid to pressures on the Dergue to open up the political process, to reverse the direction of their activity which has been increasingly to isolate themselves from constituency within the country, to perhaps permit the formation of political parties and to turn from a policy of vengeance and sloganized politicization to serious concern with economic development. I realize this sounds quite idealistic, but I tend to believe that the only genuine solution in northeast Africa is a preventive conference which would be multilateral, in which the Soviet Union, some other European powers, some Arab States and all of the interested parties in northeast Africa would convene and work out a more cooperative program for dealing with the political tensions and economic crises of the region.
CHANCES OF MIDDLE GROUND SOLUTION
Senator Biden. Professor, what realistic chance do you think there is that this middle ground of attempting to bring pressure by a reduction of aid would have an effect?
Mr. Levine. I think that the Dergue basically considers itself quite dependent on continued U.S. aid. I do not think that the Russians are going to jump into that particular hole. Senator Biden. Why? Mr. Levine. For two reasons: One, the Russians are already very well established in Somalia. As you know, they have engineered a huge military buildup in Somalia to the point where what was not too long ago a very inferior force is now considered by some to have parity and probably superiority over Ethiopia, and they have stationed Cuban units in Somalia. So the Russians are very strongly allied with Somalia. They are also, through Syria, allied with the Eritrean Liberation Front. Finally, I think the Russians are aware of the problematic position of the Dergue and that it is not all that competent and reliable a partner to deal with. So my guess is that the Dergue believe that for continued aid, they must keep coming to the United States; and that it is even conceivable that the Dergue might welcome some outside restraint.
U.S. MILITARY ASSISTANCE
Senator Clark. Mr. Spencer, let me rephrase it. Should the United States give military assistance to Ethiopia, should they end it, should they cut it back, should they put conditions on it? What is your view of it?
Mr. Spencer. I would think aid would have to continue. I have some difficulties. I think the military aid will have to continue, but I have some difficulties with this. The basic problems I see with aid right now is if we look at the published figures—I may be wrong in the latest data—but in published figures there is the strong indication that the Soviet installation in Somalia is so far advanced over the program of military development in Ethiopia that we have an almost irretrievable advance, and note that there are two Soviet bases, the most important of which I would say would be the one opposite Aden, whereas at the same time, the United States has almost completely withdrawn from Kagnew. But if you look at the figures, you are disturbed necessarily by the imbalance. If we have the imbalance and irretrievable situation for the present time, then isn't an assertion of aid to the Dergue an assertion of political rather than realistic military support? It takes some time logistically to get the additional materials out there. That is one of my difficulties. Do we want to give political support to a regime that is assailed from all sides, that may very well disappear? The calculation, I think, was validated, I mean operated for the United States in the last days of Haile Selassie. They said why should we identify ourselves with a regime that will fall? Don't we have the same problem again? This is one of my biggest difficulties, point 1.
COMPARABILITY OF SOVIET BASE WITH KAGNEW, ASMARA
Senator CLARK. Before you leave point 1, I was interested in your comparison between the base that the Soviets established and Kagnew and Asmara. Are those really necessarily comparable? In one case, as I recall, you were dealing with the establishment of the Soviet naval, whatever—it has been very much argued as to exactly what it is, but presence there as well as apparently constructing a long airfield there and on the other hand, Kagnew, an intelligence unit which apparently the United States no longer feels is wise to keep there. I am not quite sure. I assume we went out of there in part out of our own interest. I just wonder if those two bases necessarily balance each other off in terms of who is gaining influence or losing influence? Maybe they do. I don't know.
Mr. SPENCER. Senator, of course there is the strategic distinction between the two. But I do think that there is a valid distinction on the political grounds. Note, for example, two things: That the Kagnew was being withdrawn at the very period of the Eritrean dissidence. If Kagnew were there, there is certainly some inhibition. The United States would be playing some role. It is being withdrawn. After all, it is military, navy and army, it is being withdrawn at the same time that Soviet military assertion is being made to the south.
Senator CLARK. I see what you are saying.
Mr. SPENCER. So there is this problem. CONTINUATION OF U.S. AID You come back to the question, the second point would be this, repeating my first observation, that I do think aid will have to continue. Why? Well, Professor Levine has mentioned a clear necessity. I agree with that. Ethiopia would not have retained Eritrea under the heavy Soviet arms infiltration brought in by the Arab States. This we have to remember goes back to the mid-sixties. Ethiopia would not have retained it unless it had some strength internally, military strength internally. Eritrea would have been lost.
True, the use of the U.S. arms at this time is being abused against Eritreans. There is bombing, slaughtering, burning, and so forth. But we can't divorce that fact from the other fact, that it is part of the Arab picture and there is a heavy infiltration in there. So just to say that the arms are being abused is not to answer the whole question. We have the same problem in the Ogaden. The Ogaden is that area adjoining Italian Somaliland. The disturbing part of the whole thing is that that same issue has been alive for 40 years. That is where the war between the Italians and Ethiopians broke out 42 years ago. If Ethiopia should not be in the position to maintain some internal strength there, what is going to happen? We are going to have the partitioning, really, of Ethiopia under these pressures. So I think military aid will have to be continued.
U.S. INTEREST CONCERNING LOSS OF ERITREA
Senator BIDEN. Professor, let me ask an almost heretical question. What happens if Eritrea is lost? So what?
Mr. SPENCER. If Eritrea is lost, I think that the Senator BIDEN. In terms of U.S. interest.
Mr. SPENCER. I would say that this would mean that the Soviets have basically been able to obtain the entire Horn of Africa. This is a generalized statement. They are today situated in the periphery. It would mean essentially that if Eritrea is lost, Ethiopia would be lost, and is that a big danger? I think it would be a danger, strategic danger in a sense.
WHY WOULD ETHIOPIA BE LOST?
Senator BIDEN. Why would Ethiopia be lost?
Mr. SPENCER. I think Ethiopia would be lost because Eritrea is related to the threat of losing Djibouti—Djibouti can very well be lost under the Greater Somaliland theory. Remember, in Mauritius, this last month, Somalia refused, flatly refused to give any guarantee to respect the independence of Djibouti when it becomes independent. If that is the case, supposing they go in and seize it. Ethiopia ostensibly would have to respond. If she responds, I think we have an automatic action in the Ogaden. Somalia would make a left flank move into Ethiopia. I think that is inevitable. Let us assume the worst in the situation. I think it is valid to respond to your question by assuming the worst that Djibouti then would be sealed off.
Then your question of the loss of Eritrea arises. Eritrea was substantially the only answer for Ethiopia for access to the sea in response to the loss of Djibouti. It would be the only answer and has indeed been the only answer in the past. Under the French regime, you perhaps may recall that Ethiopia lost the war with Italy because Pierre Laval said we are going to close Djibouti to the passage of arms to Ethiopia. You couldn't get arms there. So there was tremendous pressure at the Paris Peace Conference to give Ethiopia access to the sea. They did it over French opposition by giving Eritrea to Ethiopia. So if Eritrea is lost, then Ethiopia is completely cut off from the sea. She will have lost then as I see it I don't think this is a nightmare escalation—she will have lost the Ogaden, she will have lost Djibouti she will have lost access to the sea and what is the situation in terms of the U.S. interest? That is your basic question.
The basic question is that in that case, the Soviets would have the full hypotenuse of control from Mogadiscio right straight across to the Strait of Bab al Mandab. That is one of the reasons why there has been so much pressure in obtaining the Ogaden in the southeast corner because they can make their direct connections. In that case, I would say strategically, it would not be to the advantage of the United States.
U.S. CONTRIBUTION TO LOSS OF ERITREA
Senator CLARK. Let me ask this, Ambassador Korry. Is it not possible that we are contributing to the loss of Eritrea by providing the government of Addis Ababa bombers and equipment to bomb them and that this in turn seems to have led to a greater pressure for independence by the Eritreans, and particularly if we associate ourselves- I am only speculating on this increasingly with the popular government in Addis Ababa, if the Eritreans will not be successful in their movement.
Mr. SPENCER. I agree with that. That is basically my third point, if I might make it. I think this is a disastrous situation. Therefore, we must bring that to a close. I think if we can pinch out first of all the Eritrean threat, one way or another, we are answering Senator Biden's question. We are preserving access to the sea for Ethiopia despite a loss of Djibouti. There might be some means of avoiding a holocaust in the Ogaden and so on if that situation can be retrieved. How do you do that? I don't want to get into too many details here. But it does seem to me that the United States and in particular the Sudan are in position to push through another attempt at a cease-fire and a political solution. My offhand suggestion, I realize this is by a layman, would be that the Sudan is in position to impede the import of the Soviet arms which are being brought over by the Arabs into Eritrea. This revolt is being fueled by these arms. They are in the position to stop it not only by land, but by sea. They would therefore have a bargaining point with the Dergue. I would suggest that they might even go to the Dergue and say “look, you pull out your troops except, shall we say, for a brigade in Eritrea. You stop this fighting and we, on our part, will guarantee as far as we can guarantee that there will be no more influx of arms from the outside." This does pose the broader political problem of timing in respect of Eritrea and so on. I think here again Sudan has a wonderful line of approach here. She has a similar problem in southern Sudan. Note, I find this interesting, that the southern Sudanese, the Christians, themselves are opposed to the secession of Eritrea. I can go into that. It is a long, complicated problem. So I think the first question is getting that out of the way. I am going on too long. I have other suggestions.
CONTINUATION OF MILITARY ASSISTANCE
Senator CLARK. Ambassador Korry, should we continue military assistance at the present levels or increase it, cut it off? If so, or if not, why not and what would be the consequences for the United States?
Mr. KORRY. I will answer that question by just giving you our experience with these exact same questions at the time.
Senator CLARK. This would have been about 14 years ago.
Mr. KORRY. It is 1964 to 1967, really, just a decade ago, basically. One, it was the State Department's assumption and the majority view of our Joint Chiefs of Staff before which I testified twice in secret in that period, that the Soviets would not establish bases in Somalia and would not go forward with the heavy armament of Somalia.
The only dissenting voice that I encountered at that time was that of the U.S. Navy. I was criticized as suffering from “localism” when I said that the Red Sea Basin had to be viewed as part of the Near East problem, and that the Soviets, as part of a Russian, historic thrust across the Mediterranean, down through the Red Sea and into the Indian Ocean was not containable—that is, Moscow was going to do it, in a rash or dangerous way, but it was going to do it, and it would inevitably establish itself in Somalia. In 1963 and 1964, the Soviets at the same time that they started to provide large amounts of equipment to Somalia and when Marshal Grechko came to visit Somalia, also went to the Ethiopian Government simultaneously and said if it would get rid of the Americans, get them out of Kagnew, in effect, and follow a strictly "neutral” policy, "we will give you all the arms you need, much more than to the Somalis.”
Let me move to the question of Eritrea that was raised. The reason that the detachment of Eritrea would be considered a problem by U.S. policymakers is that, as both witnesses have pointed out, we have an interest in the Arabian Peninsula and the survival of Israel; to move out of that area and to have a vacuum created on the southern flank and the western flank of the entire Arabian Peninsula and of Israel might be considered inimical to U.S. national interests insofar as access to oil supplies over the long term is concerned and insofar as we are committed to the survival of an independent Israeli State. A third reason that we came in the years 1964 to 1967 to support Ethiopia's territorial integrity, a principle also written into the OAU Charter as article II, was that we saw that if the fissiparous tendencies in countries such as Ethiopia were to explode, that land would fission into several unviable parts which would then become totally dependent on charity, which would not be forthcoming in adequate amounts, as the cases of Bangladesh and others prove and, that the disintegration of Ethiopia would then be a rather poor example for other African countries composed of disparate tribes and varied linguistic groups such as Nigeria or the Congo, and you can go on with that list. And this, in turn, would be a very poor precedent for those, such as myself, who had an interest in seeing Africa move toward greater unity and not toward greater fragmentation. Those are three reasons. When you talk about "pinching off” the Eritreans, let me just say that having listened for 412 years to the experts in military and other matters debate this question, I know of no way, literally, that it can be "pinched off.”
The Emperor made his deal -with the Sudanese, to damp the Eritrean insurrection in the years 1964-67 and the southern Sudanese were the tradeoff; the world closed its eyes while the Sudanese smashed the rebellion in the south with a great loss of life there at the time and with the use of equipment that was not American. The Eritrean Liberation Front is closely attached to the Palestinian Liberation Front. It has been getting arms for many years and funds from both the Syrian Baath regime and the Libyan regime of Colonel Kaddafi. I don't know of any way short of settling the Middle East dispute in the first instance that you are going to persuade anybody to stop funneling money and arms into Eritrea or to convince the Islamic 50 percent of the population in Eritrea not to regard itself part of a greater world Islamic movement. I know of no way. That does not mean that one should not try. The $29 million in aid, incidentally, sounds a lot more than it usually works out in the field; usually, from my experience with military assistance programs, two-thirds is just to keep the equipment going. It is replacement and operating items that very often are essential for a military program just to stay at an even keel. Perhaps a third of it is incremental. For example, when we supplied F-5's to Ethiopia to replace the overaged F-86's, then you had F-5 parts and all the rest that had to keep coming in on a regular basis just to keep a certain number of planes in operation.
Senator Clark. So you feel that the program of military assistance is in order and that you would support that?
Mr. Korry. No. I prefer to stick to my opening paragraph at this point; I would prefer to listen because I have been out of these affairs for 10 years. I would prefer to listen to the various proposals that come forward before I reach any conclusion. I am trying to say only that the choice for the Congress is which is the lesser or the least of many evils? Is it better to create deliberately a vacuum which on the basis of past evidence will be filled by those who have very specific ideas in mind? What are the costs of that contingency versus the costs of the contingency involved in putting in more aid, and what amounts and with what conditions? The conditions are very important. I am sure it comes as a surprise to Professor Levine or to Mr. Spencer, but for example, when the Ethiopians bombed Hargeisa in 1964, in northern Somalia and went pellmell with its Army down to the Somali frontier, the only thing that stopped that Army was the strenuous intervention by the U.S. Embassy, the threat to cut off aid.
There are many examples I can give and I don't think it is necessary to detail everyone, but starting with the introduction of a concept of law, with the creation of a law school, with the first writ of habeas corpus ever issued in Ethiopia, with the steady pressure for governmental decentralization and Eritrean federation, that is, the refederation of Eritrea with Ethiopia, with strengthening the position of the legislature, the Parliament of Ethiopia, with land reform, the U.S. Embassy 1963-67 kept pushing for those reforms which we deemed essential to stability-with-progress. Such changes are not done one day to the next, not in an ancient empire with a feudal structure, but all of that was tied, and deliberately by my request, to the levels of U.S. military assistance. We operated to the extent that we could that "no tickee, no laundry." You cannot impose your will and you should not impose your will because, as the Emperor often complained to me, Ethiopia was not ready for Jeffersonian democracy, and I agreed with him. But that does not mean that you cannot impose certain minimal conditions as has been done recently in another country about which I know something, Chile, to get certain humanistic changes in governmental operations. We can be joined in such an effort in Ethiopia by organizations which, unfortunately, and to my despair, the United States has not done much about strengthening, such as the organizations that the Africans themselves have formed, the Organization of African Unity (OAU). That is where the primary responsibility should be. That is where I tried to put it in 1964 insofar as the dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia was concerned, by having the OAU and the African Development Bank, by having those organs of the U.N. such as the UN. Economic Commission for Africa, play more than a dead center, inactive, passive role.
Senator Clark. Let me stop just long enough to say that I promised to take only 5 minutes with my questioning. It has now taken 40. Senator Biden?
Senator Biden. No; go ahead.
Senator Clark. I have about 10 or 15 more questions. I know you have some.
MILTTARY AID TIE TO LOSS OF ERITREA
Senator Biden. I will feel free to interrupt you. I would like to make sure I understand one thread that I think is running through all of your comments that is that if military aid to Ethiopia were terminated today, one of the likely results would be the loss of Eritrea. Do you all agree to that?
Mr. Korri. I just don't know the operational situation there. I don't know what is going on there. I have not seen their request. I don't know the justification for it.
Senator Biden. I am not asking whether it should or shouldn't.
Mr. Korry. I am asking if they need it; that is what I am really questioning. I don't know. Nobody else demonstrated to me the need for it. But assuming they need it in order to go forward with minimal programs, the answer to the question is yes, probably.
Senator Biden. Do you other two gentlemen agree? Is that what you are saying, Mr. Spencer?
Mr. Spencer. Mr. Senator
Senator Biden. I ask you to agree and then you can say whatever you want, I would like to get it clear in my mind.
Mr. Spencer. Yes, as I understand your question, I agree with you; yes. Senator Biden.
Professor Mr. Levine. I am not sure.
Senator Biden. Go ahead with your question. I will interrupt. That is all I wanted to find out.
WEAPONS SUPPLY TO COUNTRY AT CIVIL WAR
Senator Clark. In connection with that same point, if we are de- pendent—I think Mr. Spencer indicates he assumes so and the Ambassador indicates that he is not sure of that, but that it could well be— should we involve ourselves in supplying weapons for a country at civil war? We did that once before.
Mr. Spencer. I am afraid we have the question of definition of what is a civil war.
Senator Clark. Yes.
Mr. Spencer. In that respect, it is not unlike the other analogies that you have in mind. I must say that from my recent exposure to the problems in the area, I have difficulty considering that it is distinctly a civil war.
Senator Clark. The Eritrean Ethiopian input?
Mr. Spencer. That is right, the heavy foreign input, the injection of the Arabs. Their input is very heavy, indeed, there.
Senator Clark. In other words, you think the Eritreans are simply acting as the surrogates or the tool of the Arabs?
Mr. Spencer. No, I wouldn't say that. I would say there were abuses by the Ethiopian Government, particularly, for example, in 1962, termination of the federation despite the U.N. resolution, and so on. There have been severe, terrible abuses. There is that whole aspect. There is revenge. But you can't ignore the external aspect. Since you can't ignore it, then we have to take that into consideration with continued arms assistance.
ERITREAN FREE-ELECTION DECISION
Senator Biden. To clarify that point, if the Eritreans had an opportunity to determine in a free election whether or not they wanted to be separate, do you think there is any question they would vote to stay within Ethiopia? What is your view?
Mr. Spencer. I think there would be very serious doubt about that at this time. Yes, I do. We have to remember that, however, that when the original decision was taken to give Eritrea to Ethiopia, there were two consultations held, an attempt to have self-determination for the area. Indeed, in the late forties, there was heavy Arab opposition because part of the population, roughly, half of the population was Islamic. The pressure was so heavy that Ethiopia said, "Look, we throw ourselves on the decision of a plebiscite. If the Eritreans don't want to go to Ethiopia, that is all right. We will sacrifice it." That proposal was rejected at the U.N. The U.N. had an additional investigation made and it was determined that the Eritreans did want to come to Ethiopia. This applies, of course, I want you to remember, to the Islamic element as well as the Christian, because the western province of Eritrea, basically and particularly the Muslim League of the western province had little desire to become a minority in the Sudan. Therefore, they opted for Ethiopia. So we have to put this against a backdrop. I would say frankly, yes. I would say today that probably it would be because of the abuses. The Dergue is destroying any element of credibility there; yes. Could I add one point?
Senator Clark. Yes. I want to get Professor Levine and the Ambassador's answer. Go ahead.
Mr. Spencer. I will do it later.
Mr. Levine. I would like to make a few points that bear on this question of Eritrea. First, there has been a lot of propaganda that has been misleading about the condition of Eritrea. Eritrea is not historically a distinct entity; historically and culturally it is part of greater Ethiopia. It is an artifact of the uneven penetration of the Italian colonialism in northeast Africa. So one cannot claim on the basis of sentimental or historical ties that Eritrea has an historic right to self-determination. The second point, is that again, contrary to propaganda which Muslim representatives of the ELF—Eritrean Liberation Front—the people who make the contact with Syria and Libya, contrary to what they say, Eritrea is not 90 percent Muslim. It is as Mr. Spencer has indicated, 50 percent Muslim, 50 percent Christian. The Muslim groups in the population inhabit the coastal regions, and for the most part are nomads. The dominant highland population has overwhelmingly been the Christian Tigrinya-speaking people, who are identical ethnically, linguistically, and culturally with their neighbors across the border. It is the same ethnic population.
MUSLIM/CHRISTIAN TIGRINYA INCLUSION WITHIN ETHIOPIA
Senator Biden. In your opinion do either of those distinct groups that you have pointed out in Eritrea wish continued association to be included within Ethiopia or do they both share a view that they would like to be out?
Mr. Levine. At this point, I think they overwhelmingly share a view that they would like to be out.
Senator Biden. Both groups?
Mr. Levine. Yes. I think that is counter to, as Mr. Spencer indicated, the condition that obtained as recently as 1952, when the over- whelming majority of the Christians and some of the Muslims wanted to be included with Ethiopia.
Senator Biden. Thank you.
Mr. Levine. But if Eritrea becomes independent on the next day, the attempt to make Eritrea an Arab State will provide a kind of civil war such as we have been seeing in Lebanon. I think there is no doubt about that. Senator Clark. I think the Ambassador wanted to comment.
Mr. Korry. I would endorse the point that Professor Levine just made. It is an area very much akin to Northern Ireland, or Lebanon; if you did create a vacuum, you would perhaps be guilty of participating in or contributing to an unwanted blood battle.
Senator Biden. It is the same rationale the British used for 300 years to keep Ireland under suppression.
Mr. Korry. I am talking about Northern Ireland.
Senator Biden. I understand Northern Ireland. I understand a lot about Ireland. That is the exact same rationale.
Mr. Korry. We are not in that one, though. The question is do you wish to set these Eritrean forces loose? I don't know the answer. It is a Muslim-Christian issue. It is a bloody one. When they go at each other, it is very bloody.
Senator Biden. The reason why I raised the question was to further clarify the question raised by Senator Clark. Should we be involved in this civil war? Your immediate response concerned our definition of the civil war; the clear indication from up here was that down there you didn't feel it was a civil war. We started to define civil wars. It seems to me if you have a significant portion of a population, which feels they want out, that is by definition a civil war whether or not there is any history of a right to be a separate entity. I was just relating to the question of defining what we mean by civil war. I find it incredibly intriguing—I find I should stop talking.
Senator Clark. No; go right ahead.
Senator Biden. I am here to find out.
Mr. Korry. If I may go on, I think the point you are making is well taken. The difficulty with giving a recommendation is that as every scientist knows, there isn't just one side of a problem. It is terribly hard on moral grounds as well as political and strategic grounds plus the economic issue of who is going to support them, to find answers. The fact of the matter is that the proportion of Ethiopians that we are talking about, because I understood your question as to civil war to include all of Ethiopia, is the 50 percent Muslim of 1 million Eritreans versus the 50 percent Christian of that million as part of a national population of 25 million. My own guess would be that if the 1 million were offered independence today, they might opt for it, but they would not be independent very long because there is no way they can sustain themselves. There is just no way. Second, if you supply weapons as we discovered in 1963 and 1964, you can do it in a way to reduce the amount of bloodshed, if you impose your conditions intelligently. Twenty-nine million dollars may not be a lot of money, I don't know, but it seems to indicate that the Dergue's Army is dependent right now to a very great extent on the U.S. military delivery system, not simply because of the $29 million but because the whole armed forces are built on that system. Turning around an army takes years of turnover, equipment, and so forth. The Dergue knows whether it likes it or not, that it cannot sustain itself in those conditions. That opens the way, it strikes me, for certain conversations which I assume are going on between or among various powers, including the United States, and they with elements of the Dergue, particularly its leaders, to see how we might influence them in order to help resolve or reduce the problems.
ARMS SALES JUSTIFICATION
Senator Biden. This would be one of the real tests of our entire theory of arms sales, wouldn't it? We continually use as justification for our worldwide arms sales that without supplying spare parts the turnaround of armies is an impossibility. So we should continue to make the -world a tinderbox on the grounds that we control it better that way. I think this is a perfect place to test it, to see whether or not that theory is correct. I would like to point out that I am being—as those who are on the committee know—a bit of a devil's advocate. I have come to no conclusion about this. I am really here to learn about it, but I find it intriguing that we have a situation here where you three gentlemen in one way or another pointed out that Ethiopia without Eritrea can't make it, and Eritrea with Ethiopia can't make it. It is too bad they don't apparently understand that because you make compelling arguments that one cannot make it without the other in spite of the fact that (you also agree) one does not want the other now. It is intriguing.
Mr. Korry. May I say one more thing about that? We did for ex- ample, say "no" when the Ethiopians in 1967 insisted that we give them a lot more armaments. There was a great hullabaloo over this because I had never before been as hard-nosed directly with the Emperor as well as the Ethiopian Government. They appealed over my head to a visitor named Richard Nixon, who came to Ethiopia at that time. They put on tremendous pressure. We remained steadfast and said "absolutely no", and no ifs about it. So they went out and bought Canberra bombers from the British at a high cost and although they were dreadful, overaged planes, they excited the Somalis to ask for more from the Soviets, et cetera. We also had followed the policy deliberately in the case of Somalia in 1963 to 1967 of not bidding against the Soviets with arms. We couldn't in any event, outbid the $32 million. 10.000-man army sustenance plus Migs that the Soviets offered to the Somalis. We assumed or hoped that the Soviets would pursue a go-slow program in Somalia, We were wrong. The Soviets carried out their obligations with remarkable alacrity. The Somalis didn't know how to use the equipment terribly well. That is perhaps what both major powers were counting on.
Senator Biden. I have other questions. I would like to yield to Senator Clark. I would like to make one point before we break to go back a little bit to find out whether our two professors agree with the Ambassador's assessment of the impact upon the survival of Israel— the Israeli connection here. I would like to go into that, if I could.
DERGUE IDEOLOGICAL UNDERPININGS, STABILITY
Senator Clark. Let me ask this question and ask you to try to limit your answer to a minute or two and then let's go "back over to that question. If, then, we are to continue supplying military, and I assume economic, aid to this region, to the Dergue, what kind of a regime is it? What are its ideological underpinnings, and how stable is it? Mr. Spencer?
Mr. Spencer. I tried to touch on that earlier. It does seem to me very significant that the EPRP
Senator Clark. What is that?
Mr. Spencer. Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party, which has been underground, but which is bringing increasing pressure on the Politburo of the Dergue, has now scored a success. For example, with respect to Sisay, who was executed 2 weeks ago. It does seem to me to be very much oriented toward the Soviet Union rather than the Maoist form of Communism at this time.
Senator Clark. But clearly, very anti-Western, anti-Imperialist?
Mr. Spencer. Note that Sisay, among other things, was accused by the EPRP of having collaborated with the West, taking trips to the West. And now when he is executed, the government which had been attacked by the EPRP adopts the same argument and goes ahead and says further we are executing him because he refused to go to Moscow.
Mr. Levine. The Dergue basically had little ideological orientation when they came to power. They were mainly soldiers; they had general enthusiasms and patriotism and populism, but very little specific ideological orientation. That was injected into them by a few intellectuals around the University and by the student movement, which was intensively Marxist oriented. Again, if the Dergue came into a political vacuum when seizing power, they entered an intellectual vacuum as well, due to the Haile Selassie regime's prohibition that any of these issues be discussed publicly, and they have sort of let the intellectual vacuum be filled by militant Marxist slogans. How deeply committed they are ideologically to Marxist-Leninism is something I am not sure about.
DERGUE ATTITUDE TOWARD WEST, U.S. PRINCIPLE
Senator Clark. There is no indication from your testimony, as I interpret it, that there is any attitude of friendship toward the West or toward the United States and toward the principles that we propound?
Mr. Levine. That is correct. However, I had a conversation with one of the majors who was working with the Dergue when I was there recently. He said: I hope that you will be an intermediary between our regime and the American people. You were able to support Yugoslavia, which was Communist, but which tried to be independent from the Soviet Union. This is the way in which we would like to see ourselves and have our relationship with the United States.
Senator Clark. I know, Mr. Ambassador, you have been out of touch a little bit.
Mr. Korry. If it is as unstable a government as mv fellow witnesses say, then it is at least arguable in the abstract, without knowing the details, that if the United States did nothing or very little, that you would then get a regime that was more responsive to the desires of the majority of the people and their needs.
Senator Clark. I gather from what Professor Levine and Mr. Spencer have said, that the sole interest in the United States is in continuing to give military equipment and perhaps economic equipment but there is no love lost for this country at all. Is that an accurate statement?
Mr. Levine. I think that is accurate on the part of the Dergue themselves, not on the part of the number of civilian ministers, who have been working under the regime, however.
Senator Clark. Senator Biden?
ISRAELI SURVIVAL CONNECTION
Senator Biden. How about the Israeli connection here? Do you gentlemen agree with what the Ambassador only mentioned because I didn't give him much time that it is somehow connected with the survival of Israel?
Mr. Levine. I will make two brief points. One is the flow of shipping through the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba is crucial for Israel. The second is that Ethiopia is one of the few African countries in the United Nations which has a more moderate position toward Israel. This is long standing and I think will probably continue.
Senator Biden. Probably?
Mr. Levine. Will probably continue.
Senator Biden. Including the present regime if the present regime continues?
Mr. Levine. Yes.
Mr. Spencer. Senator, yes, in response to your question. I would agree with what Professor Levine has said. I would add something. The lifeline to the Persian Gulf is, of course, absolutely essential to Israel. I look with great concern on the threat to that lifeline. It is more than simply the shoreline of Ethiopia that is involved here. We have a sort of Fort Knox situation. It is true that during the Yom Kippur war it was possible to threaten that lifeline and you may recall that the Egyptians posted a destroyer at the Straits of Bab al Mandab. They did not actually intercept anything at the time. They had earlier. We will call this the outer door of Fort Knox. But there is an inner door of Fort Knox. That inner door is certain lands that belong to Ethiopia and the crucial
ISRAELI LIFELINE DEFINITION
Senator Biden. Can you define for me what the lifeline is? The life- line runs down the canal, down through the Red Sea and around. Is that what you mean by the lifeline?
Mr. Spencer. Yes; in the Gulf of Aqaba.
Senator Biden. I just wanted to make sure.
Mr. Spencer. That inner door of Fort Knox involves some islands where the main shipping line actually passes in a channel which is 2 miles wide between two of those islands. At that point, every half hour, Israeli tankers pass through. This is involved with the Ethiopians. If Eritrea falls, that control goes too.
Senator Biden. That assumes then—just so I understand the life- line connection here—that Israel somehow maintains a presence in the Sinai in order not to have to rely on their ability to have the canal cut off?
Mr. Spencer. Yes; it does, of course.
Senator Biden. Thank you.
Mr. Korry One addendum is that the Israelis themselves, in my time, placed enormous importance on Ethiopia. I had the privilege of lunching alone with then Foreign Minister Golda Meir, in Addis, in those years, and I came to understand from her, as I had through their Ambassador, just how much they valued friendship with the Addis government, and the need, as they saw it at that time—I don't see any reason for them to have changed—to maintain this lifeline. To them it was absolutely vital. In Eritrea, where we had forbidden any U.S. military activity of any kind, despite Kagnew—we would not allow the MIG in there— it was the Israelis who handled all of the intelligence functions of ad- vising the then Ethiopian Police and Army.
THE PROBLEM OF DJIBOUTI
Senator Clark. Let me ask something that Dr. Levine raised and I thought was interesting. The problem of Djibouti and what is going to happen there is the immediate problem that we face in terms of policy m the area. We don't have a definite date, as I understand it, when the French are going to leave, but it is assumed that they will probably pull out their forces next year. In many ways, it seems to me, you could argue in the short run that Djibouti is more important to the Ethiopians as an outlet to the sea than all of Eritrea, because at least a major railroad outlet for Ethiopia is in Djibouti. It is not in any of the Eritrean areas. As I understand it, very few of the Eritrean ports are used now and haven't been for some time in terms of bringing in or taking out exports to Ethiopia.
POSSIBILITY OF CONFERENCE ON DJIBOUTI
Professor Levine talked about the possibility, as I understood him, of the conference being held, perhaps an OAU Conference, perhaps a U.N. conference, perhaps a conference of international countries to try to deal with this problem before it gets out of hand because the current thinking seems to be if the French leave, the Somalis will attack; they will take Djibouti; the Ethiopians will feel the necessity to counterattack and we are at war with two African countries strongly or at least supported by the United States and the Soviet Union. What about the feasibility of that? Could that be done in the OAU; should it be done in the United Nations; should it be done by some kind of diplomatic relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States, and others? How feasible is this? I think I will call first upon Professor Levine to summarize what his thinking is again, and then go to the other two panelists.
Mr. Levine. I don't have a whole lot of thinking about it. The idea has been germinating as I have been working in the crucible of this question. I don't think that any of the existing options that we have been thinking in terms of are going to lead us where we want to go. I might as a footnote on that related Eritrean question say that even if one grants the indispensability of keeping Eritrea somehow connected with Ethiopia, military aid to the Dergue is by no means the clearest way to achieve that, that it is precisely the Dergue's military actions there that have driven Eritrea virtually to the point of no return. The second division in Asmara is to some extent sitting in the barracks and no longer wanting to go on combat missions against the Eritrean troops. So it seems to me some formula that transcends this deadlock absolutely is the only way out. I leave to the experts what the details of such formula might be, but that is the general idea I would like to propose.
Senator Clark. What do you feel? Do you think some kind of inter- national conference makes sense in terms of Djibouti?
Mr. Spencer. I don't see any arena for an international conference. First of all, the French have thrown over their ballast. They have dumped Ali Aref, who was their man only recently.
Senator Clark. Last week?
Mr. Spencer. Yes. Ali Aref said very recently that Djibouti is like Warsaw. The Soviets are in Warsaw and the Somalis are in Djibouti already. Then you pile onto that the OAU meeting last week where there was a 13-hour filibuster by Somalia against any guarantee of the independence of the territory. So I really don't see the possibility of any concession by Mogadiscio on this. After all, they had their 1959 Mogadiscio Manifesto, which formally laid claim to this territory. It means a political crisis for them to get out. I don’t see any concession on the part of Somalia at this time. As to the U.K"., but I don't see any possibility here at all, the issue would have to be really significant to go to the Security Council, and you can be certain that there will be a Soviet veto of anything more.
SOVIET INTEREST IN ENCOURAGING SOMALIA TO TAKE DJIBOUTI
Senator Clark. Why so? I am not sure it is in the Soviet interest necessarily to encourage Somalia to take Djibouti and in view of a lot of other factors that are involved there?
Mr. Spencer. Can they turn against Somalia in the first place and can they turn against the rest of the Arab group represented in the Security Council? I would say definitely not. After all, Somalia is now a member of the Arab League and the Arab League had fully endorsed this policy of the acquisition of the Djibouti territory. So I really don't see any feasible possibility in that category. The OAU has constantly tossed back to the U.N. its problems and the U.N. has tossed its problems back to the OAU. So we get nowhere.
INTERNATIONAL AREA OF AVOIDING WAR IN DJIBOUTI
Senator Clark. So you see no international area, diplomatically or otherwise, to avoid a war in Djibouti?
Mr. Spencer. No. Of course, the only possible solution would be retention of the French there. But the French are under terrible pressure to get out. If by any chance they could be persuaded to stay, we might gain some time, but that would be difficult.
Senator Clark. Mr. Ambassador?
Mr. Korry. I would add that the French to everyone's surprise in Washington changed their minds and stayed in Djibouti after the visit of President de Gaulle to the colony on his way to Cambodia. The French are the only ones who can take the initiative in this matter because neither the OAU nor the U.N., for the reasons stated by Mr. Spencer, would be in a position to take any definitive stand. If the French were to take some initiatives with other Western powers, perhaps even with the Soviets too, I don't know what might result. It is a very uncertain business to ask the Soviets to get involved in the disposal of such territories.
There are lots of side effects which I am sure experts could detail for you. But I think that your point of some international action or testings through diplomatic channels, if the French wish to do it—certainly one could ascertain from the French easily enough what they had in mind or what they thought might be feasible—would be helpful. You are quite right in the sense that Djibouti is essential as an outlet for Ethiopia. At one point when I was there, some Ethiopian officials, whose judgment I particularly valued, said to me that they could conceive of an independent city-state there with international guarantees for access by them and with unimpeded cargo transfers, and so on, at the docks. Maybe that is one possibility.
ETHIOPIAN IMPORTANCE TO U.S. INTEREST
Senator Clark. I see we are going to vote. I think I have 2 or 3 minutes. Let me ask each of you just very briefly to summarize in 30 seconds, if you can, why Ethiopia is important to the U.S. interest. Mr. Korry?
Mr. Korry. I would say primarily because of its geopolitical situation in an area which is generally referred to as the Red Sea Basin, but which encompasses all of the Arabian Peninsula, Egypt and Israel, and is part of the Middle Eastern and Indian Ocean complex.
Mr. Levine. I would second that. I think the Ethiopian connection with the whole Middle East crisis is very crucial.
Mr. Spencer. These comments are entirely correct. I agree 100 per- cent. Ethiopia is basically more of the Middle Eastern state than it is an African state. I would add this: It does seem to me that the Soviet control of the Horn of Africa, which is implicit in this greater Somaliland movement is a very terrible threat to the lines of communications through the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and the line of oil tankers from the Persian Gulf around the cape to the ports of 'West- ern Europe.
SOVIET CONTROL OF GREATER SOMALIA
Senator Clark. It seems to me your comments reflect a feeling that Somalia is really almost totally the tool of the Soviet Union and that if they were to control what you call Greater Somalia or even what they control now, that the Soviets would have a free hand to do almost anything they wanted to? Is that an accurate representation of your view?
Mr. Spencer. I would say so. I would say with 2,000 advisers and technicians that would be the case, plus their arms. The bases there.
Senator Clark. Do you feel pretty much that way, Dr. Levine?
Mr. Levine. Yes.
Mr. Korry. I am in no position to judge today.
Senator Clark. I think it has been very, very useful and very interesting and very helpful to us. Thank you very much.
We are going to continue these hearings tomorrow at 10 o'clock, same place, same station. We were very, very appreciative of having your ideas and your interpretations. Needless to say, we are going to continue to get additional feelings and interpretations as these hearings proceed. Thank you again. The hearings are adjourned.