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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 31, 1977

REPORT FROM CPSU CC TO SED CC, RESULTS OF N.V. PODGORNY'S VISIT TO AFRICA (EXCERPTS)

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    Report from CPSU CC to SED CC, Results of N.V. Podgorny's Visit to Africa (excerpts) discussing the growing enmity between Ethiopia and Somalia and concerns from African nations over this tension
    "Report from CPSU CC to SED CC, Results of N.V. Podgorny's Visit to Africa (excerpts)," March 31, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SAPMO, J IV 2/202 584; obtained and translated from Russian by V. Zubok. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111610
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Report from CPSU CC to SED CC, Results of N.V. Podgorny's Visit to Africa, late March 1977 (excerpts)

Strictly confidential

On the results of an official visit of N.V. PODGORNY to Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and also of an unofficial visit to Somalia and a meeting with the leaders of the national-liberation organizations of the South of Africa that took place in Lusaka on 28 March [1977]

[Received on 19 April 1977]


During the negotiations between N.V. Podgorny and the leaders of the mentioned countries they discussed issues of bilateral relations and relevant international issues.

The main results of the visit were covered in published communiques, as well as in joint declarations.

In addition, we would like to inform you in a confidential manner about the following....


During the talks they discussed the issues of the situation in the African Horn with regard to the aggravation of Ethiopian-Somali relations. The presidents, particularly Nyerere and [Mozambican President Samora] Machel, voiced their concern at the growing enmity between the two progressive countries and expressed regrets regarding the unfriendly position of the Somali leadership towards the "revolutionary regime" in Ethiopia. In the opinion of Nyerere, for the foreseeable future one cannot expect the establishment of a friendly relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia. The maximum one can achieve is to avoid an open clash between Ethiopia and Somalia, by persuading both sides of the need to maintain mutual restraint. Nyerere and Machel said that satisfaction of the territorial demands of Somalia would automatically result in the collapse of the progressive regime in Ethiopia. All three leaders evaluated very highly the position of the Soviet Union and agreed with our opinion that progressive states must more actively come out in support of the Ethiopian revolution and advocate the normalization of Ethiopian-Somali relations....


The main topic of conversation [of Podgorny] with Siad Barre was the issue of the relationship between Somalia and Ethiopia, and also the situation emerging in this region of Africa in connection with activities of reactionary Arab forces. Exchange of opinions revealed that the Somali leadership adheres to its old positions regarding its territorial demands on Ethiopia. Siad Barre justified this stand [by referring] to the pressure of internal nationalistic circles of Somalia.

At the same time Siad Barre did not deny that there were progressive developments in Ethiopia. He distanced himself from reactionary leaders of Arab countries: Sudan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, who sought to liquidate the progressive regime in Ethiopia. Siad called the President of the UAR [Anwar] Sadat a convinced adherent of capitalism, a reactionary, anti-Soviet schemer. In the opinion of Siad, Nimeiry is a man without principles who fell under the influence of Sadat [and] the leadership of Saudi Arabia, as well as the Americans and the British.


Siad declared that Somalia, now as before, seeks to expand cooperation with the USSR. He said that he deems it advisable to hold a meeting with Mengistu with the mediation of the USSR and underscored that only the Soviet Union which possesses great authority and experience could help Somalia and Ethiopia to work out "a formula of honor" that would allow both countries to find a road to reconciliation without losing face....