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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 29, 1977

ATTACHEMENT TO THE MEMORANDUM OF CONVERSATION WITH ETHIOPIAN FOREIGN SECRETARY DAWIT WOLDE GIORGIS.

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    Memorandum on US Operation "Fakel" [Torch], which the United States was supposedly planning in order to destabilize the Ethiopian regime. It involved the arming of internal opposition groups with US weapons. This report was attached to the memorandum of conversation with Ethiopian Foreign Secretary Dawit Wolde Giorgis.
    "Attachement to the memorandum of conversation with Ethiopian Foreign Secretary Dawit Wolde Giorgis.," September 29, 1977, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, TsKhSD, f. 5, op. 73, d. 1636, ll. 129-134; translated by Bruce McDonald. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/111028
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[Stamp]
Attachment to Doc. No. 352
dated 9/29/77
Translated from English [into Russian]

OPERATION "FAKEL"

Preparation of the creation of a paramilitary unit for the execution of intervention in Ethiopia and destabilization of circumstances there shall commence on 14 April 1977. According to information available to us, all preparations, including the delivery of materials necessary for military operations, and training of a reserve contingent, shall be completed by 16 September 1977. The operation, which shall commence on 1 October 1977, is designated by the code name "FAKEL."

The forces to be implemented in the said operation shall consist of three separate groups:

Force No. 1 - Nuba group.
Force No. 2 - Anyanya group.
Force No. 3 - Hostile elements from the southeastern region of Ethiopia.

Forces No. 1 and 2 will operate in the southeastern region of Ethiopia and, according to the plan, shall direct their attention toward adaptation to conditions in the given location.

In the preparatory period, Group No. 3 will operate mainly in Kenya, but after the commencement of military operations, responsibility for it shall be transferred to Somalia.

The above information constitutes the essence of telegrams and instructions of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi to the American Embassador in Dar-es-Salaam during the period between 12-26 February 1977, sent by Dixon Werdner, an employee of the political section of that embassy, who is believed to be a CIA agent.

Subsequent communications, sent from the American Embassy in Nairobi to the U.S. Ambassador in Khartoum and Dar-es-Salaam under the signature of Major Eddy Kelly, describe the make-up of the staff, the preparation, and the objectives of the said operation. It is known that Major Eddy Kelly, who apparently has replaced Dixon Werdner, leader of operation "Fakel," is none other than Edmund Kelly, the third secretary of the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi.

The first communication from Kelly, dated 4 May 1977, indicates that military fortifications are located en route to Mombasa (Kenya) and that the dispatch of materials to designated points shall be implemented at night and by separate parties in order to prevent the leak of information. Fortifications shall be delivered to the northwestern region of Kenya, i.e., to the location of the prospective conflict, within 20-30 days from day "X".

His second communication, dated 18 May 1977, indicates that the materials necessary for military operations were dispatched from the northwestern region of Kenya to the designated point in the Sudan. Recognizing that fortifications of the principal strike force are undergoing intensive preparation, Kelly emphasizes the need for absolute secrecy and the paramount concentration of attention on the principal objective (Ethiopia) and rapid preparations.

On 23 June 1977, Kelly dispatched a telegram to the American Embassy in Khartoum, demanding the completion of the following four specific assignments:
-assessment of the strength of enemy forces;

-determination of the actual disposition of military forces in conformance with communist military doctrine, as well as the quantity, methods and means for the transfer of reinforcements;
-confirmation of the receipt of materials as soon as they are delivered; and
-completion of all preparations by 16 September 1977, in order to avoid any alteration of the plan.

On 2 July 1977, Kelly sent two telegrams to the U.S. Embassies in Khartoum and Dar-es-Salaam.

In the first telegram, the objective and plan of action, projected for day "X", are set forth as follows:

Objective: Carry out the assassination of the head of the Ethiopian government with the aim of creating a panic situation in the country. Following that will be the coordination of an attack by forces hostile to Ethiopia, from the southwest and east.

Plan of action: Forces No. 1 and 2 will commence operations on 1 October 1977. Force No. 3 will commence military action two weeks thereafter.

Rear section and fortification: support for the southwestern group shall be provided from "Point No. 1." Force No. 3 will receive support from the side of a friendly country on the southeast of the country.

A command and support group for the forces of No. 1 and 2 will be located in the region of Juba and Lyuan [sic], and, for the forces of No. 3, in a friendly country.

Timetable for operation: Hour "X" and the signal for commencement of operations will be communicated later.

The second telegram describes the conduct of operations envisioned in the first telegram:

- Assassination of the head of government will lead to chaos and disorder in Ethiopia. Following that the advancement of Forces 1 and 2 into the southwest will ensue.

- Establishment of this second front will prevent the Ethiopian forces from focusing attention on the other front. This will create a desirable opportunity for an attack from the southeast and will result in a two-pronged conflict.

- Ethiopia will automatically attack the Sudan, and the intensification of activity in the southeast will, within two weeks, lead to a similar situation in Somalia.

- The center of the rear forces and material fortification in Mandera will provide for support to Forces 1 and 2.

- If Kenya suffers an attack, then subdivisions of the marines and forces of other moderate governments will be deployed to this region.

On 4 July 1977, Kelly sent four telegrams to Khartoum and Dar-es-Salaam.

Two of these telegrams contain a detailed enumeration of the military fortifications which are already delivered or are located en route from the USA and a "Country of apple juice." In sum, this includes 16,000 rifles, 559,000 rounds of ammunition, as well as an undisclosed quantity of tear gas canisters, tracer bullets, bombs, mines, and propaganda materials. This equipment will be stored for transport and will be delivered to "Point One" by "friendly hands." Transportation will begin on 27 August and the equipment will arrive at "Point One" on 30 August 1977.

Two other telegrams are addressed to that portion of the operation which relates to elimination of the head of the government. The assassin, as they refer to him, from the Nuba group (Force No. 1), will liquidate the head of the government (Bomen) on 1 October 1977, during his trip to southwestern Ethiopia, scheduled for September. The second participant (referred to in the text as the "third"), to be selected for completion of this assignment, will be offered by the Nuba group (Force No. 1).In the event that the trip to the southwest is cancelled, the means must be found to send all groups to Addis Ababa for execution of the operation. In the event that the assassination of the head of the government (Bomen) is unsuccessful, then his deputy is to be killed. N.B. - Kelly has repeatedly warned that all preparations must be completed by 16 September 1977, that the date for execution of the operation - Day "X" - is set for 1 October that it is necessary to maintain this timetable, and that it is essential to do everything in order to ensure the success of this operation.

At the end of all his telegrams, Kelly also instructs those who receive them to direct their responses to the Division of Covert Operations for Eastern and Central Africa of the State Department.

Transmitted by: /s/ V. Mishachev
/s/ V. Mikhailov