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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 01, 1960

LETTER TO THE GPRA PRIME MINISTER, ‘MISSION SUMMARY’

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    A letter to the Algerian Prime Minister, describing diplomatic meetings in Cairo with ambassadors from China and the Soviet Union. In meeting with Chinese ambassador, discusses China's delivery of supplies and war materials for Algerians, Chinese training of Algerian communications technicians, and economic arrangements between the two countries. In meeting with Soviet ambassador, Algerian ambassador requests a specific list of weapons provided by the USSR from 1956-58, and other general areas of Soviet assistance for the Algerian cause.
    "Letter to the GPRA Prime Minister, ‘Mission Summary’," September 01, 1960, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Dossier 11/01/13; Fond: GPRA, 1958-62; Archives Nationales d’Algérie, Alger. Translated from French and transcribed by Pierre Asselin, with Paulina Kostrzewski. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121598
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Date: 1 September 1960

To: Mister Prime Minister

Subject: Mission summary

Mr. Prime Minister and Dear Brother

It is my honor to apprise you of a mission I conducted on 24 August 1960 in Cairo to the Ambassadors of the People’s Republic of China and the USSR. I arrived in Cairo on 24 August and made contact with the two Ambassadors that same day. The meeting with the Chinese Ambassador took place at his home, and that with the Soviet Ambassador took place at the embassy itself.

1. Meeting with the Chinese Ambassador

I asked him an approximate date for the delivery of supplies and war material. I explained to him that because of the bad weather that begins in Algeria in October, we were expecting all these deliveries by September, and that we could not wait any longer. I informed him of the imminent departure for Beijing of 3 technicians of the Communications Service, invited by the Chinese government for training in radio broadcasting. I insisted to the Ambassador that the stay of our technicians in China not be extended.

In response, the Ambassador began by expressing the condolences of his government for the death of Brother Ferroukhi. Then, he asked me to inform Brother Francis that there would be no way to reduce the amounts stated on invoices by more than 15 percent. He specified that since the Chinese market has international obligations, it cannot make unreasonable deals because this would significantly impair the commercial appeal of China in other countries. However, he added that the Chinese government understood the worries of the GPRA concerning customs tariffs. On this issue, he specified that the amounts mentioned on the invoices would not be those agreed through the Sino-Algerian accord, but would correspond to only 85 percent of their actual value. To avoid all confusion, the actual value will be stated on the invoices, inclusive of the 15 percent reduction. Lastly, he told me that the only formality in Tunis would be our signing of the ship captain’s delivery manifest, following inspection of the goods. Concerning the delivery date, the Chinese Ambassador told me that he had not yet received an answer from Beijing and asked me details about the last list of supplies presented by Francis. The Chinese government would like to know if those supplies are indented for the East [i.e., eastern front] or the West [i.e., western front]. I told him that they were destined for the East, and added that with respect to the order for 5000 pairs of binoculars of different grades, 3500 pairs were destined for the East, and 1500 for the West. Lastly, he promised that as soon as the communications technicians will arrive in Cairo, they will be immediately sent to Beijing where they will not stay longer than agreed.

2. Meeting with the Soviet Ambassador

Three issues were raised by me.

a) The answer of the Soviet government regarding the assistance pledged.

b) The list of weapons supplied by the USSR to Algeria between 1956 and 1958 via the intermediary of the Syrian and Egyptian governments at their request, in the name of Algeria.

c) Soviet technical assistance.

The Ambassador first expressed the condolences of his government concerning the death of Brother Ferroukhi. Then, on the first issue, the Ambassador specified that he had told Brother Krim that it was the GPRA’s responsibility, and not the Soviet government’s, to find means of delivering the material pledged. Moscow, he said, has no reliable means. I concluded from his answer that the Soviet Union wanted to assume no international responsibility and, specifically, did not want to compromise its policy of exploiting existing contradictions within the capitalist camp [peaceful coexistence?]. Concerning the second issue, the list of weapons already provided by the USSR, the Ambassador took note of my request in the name of the GPRA. Then, the Ambassador shared the answer of his government concerning financial assistance to be requested from socialist countries. He stated that his government cannot undertake such an initiative toward socialist countries, and that he preferred that the GPRA itself make the request directly. I took note of this statement without reply. Concerning assistance in supplies and equipment, the Ambassador gave me a list of two pages, copies of which are attached. This assistance comes from two organizations: The Soviet Society of the Red Cross, and Soviet Labor Unions. Moreover, the Ambassador told me that his government was willing to take charge, starting in 1961, of:

- 120 workers to form them.

- 15 orphans to place them in pioneer camps.

- A group of union leaders of unspecified size.

On this last issue our meeting adjourned.

Fraternally, the Minister