Just a list of cables concerned with the Chagos/Diego Garcia issue. Despite the one or two quotes dumped for each cable you’re encouraged to follow the links and visit the full text, some of which is interesting shit.
If you find further relevant cables, tell me and I’ll add them.
Note: this chronology is currently being extended backwards in time, by including the Kissinger Cables. Mind the usual traps that come with construction sites — Eltern haften für ihre Kinder.
1974-09-27 Port Louis, Mauritius [link]
DIEGO CARGIA — MAURITIAN CONSIDERATIONS
1. SUMMARY: OUR DIEGO EXPANSION AND ITS CONNECTION WITH UK-GOM DEFENSE AGREEMENT IS LIKELY TO BE HOT POLITICAL ISSUE IN ELECTION EXPECTED NEXT AUGUST. WHOEVER WINS WILL HAVE CAMPAIGNED ON ANTI- DIEGO PLANK, WILL BE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO NON-ALIGNED VIEWS (ESPECIALLY INDIAN) AND TO SOVIET MACHINATIONS, AND WILL PROBABLY PRESS FOR MODIFICATION IN UK-GOM AGREEMENT TO PREVENT DIEGO EXPANSION. TIMES HAVE CHANGED SINCE 1965 WHEN WE MADE DIEGO ARRANGEMENTS IN RELATIVE VACUUM, AND WE SHOULD NOW LOOK HARD ATIMPLICATIONS OF POTENTIAL EROSION OF OUR LEGAL/POLITICAL BASIS FOR DIEGO. END SUMMARY
2. I HAVE REPORTED THAT PRIME MINISTER RAMGOOLAM IS GRADUALLY BECOMING MORE ACTIVE THAN PASSIVE IN HIS OPPOSITION TO OUR DIEGO EXPANSION (REFTELS). HIS REASONS ARE MANY AND OFTEN DEVIOUS, BUT ARE MAINLY THESE PROBABLY IN FOLLOWING ORDER:
A) HE WANTS TO CLING TO POWER IN THE NEXT ELECTION, WHICH IS NOW GENERALLY ANTICIPATED FOR AUGUST 1975. HE IS WORRIED BY BOTH LEFT AND RIGHT WING OPPOSITION PLUS DIVISIONS WITHIN HIS OWN LABOR PARTY. ONE OF THE FEW ISSUES ON WHICH NEARLY ALL THE OPPOSITION CAN AND WILL AGREE IS DIEGO. IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF HIS OWN PARTY ARE ALSO ANTI-DIEGO. THUS DIEGO — NOT JUST OUR EXPANSION BUT MORE FUNDAMENTALLY RAM’S SO-CALLED MISTAKE OF LET- TING UK KEEP IT IN FIRST PLACE — IS BOUND TO BE A MAJOR ELEC- TION ISSUE.
B) HE FEELS HE HAS MORE TO LOSE THAN GAIN BY RESISTING PRESSURES FOR IOZP AND AGAINST DIEGO FROM NON-ALIGNED. PRESSURE FROM INDIA IS STRONGEST AND HERE THE CHEESE REALLY BINDS FOR HIM. NEW DELHI HAS BEEN BACKING HIM TO THE HILT — TO THE POINT OF BLATANT INTERFERENCE SOME SAY. THUS HE IS VERY SUSCEPTIBLE TO INDIAN PRESSURES AND HE WOULD BE IN SERIOUS TROUBLE IF DELHI SHOULD EVER DECIDE TO SWITCH HORSES.
C) HE IS ALSO SUSCEPTIBLE TO SOVIET VIEWS AND PRESSURES. FOR YEARS SOVIETS HAVE BEEN ASSIDUOUSLY WOOING GOM AND MAY BE PRE- PARING, IF THEY HAVE NOT ALREADY, TO MAKE A LITTLE INVESTMENT IN RAMGOOLAM’S RE-ELECTION. WHAT DO SOVIETS EXPECT TO GAIN, IN STRATEGIC SENSE, FROM SUPPORTING HIM? MY ANSWER WOULD BE AT MINIMUM ACTIVE OPPOSITION TO OUR DIEGO EXPANSION AND AT MAXIMUM SOME KIND OF SOVIET NAVY/”FISHING” FLEET FACILITY HERE. I JUDGE RAM’S POSITION AT THIS STAGE TO BE SOMETHING LIKE THIS: GET SOME LIMITED SUPPORT FROM SOVIETS AS ELECTION APPROACHES AND TRY TO PAY OFF WITH OPPOSITION TO OUR DIEGO EXPANSION WITHOUT COMMITING HIMSELF TO ANY RUSSIAN NAVAL FACILITY. RAM’S COMMENT TO CANADIAN HIGH COMMISSIONER BARKER LAST MARCH THAT IF WE WENT AHEAD WITH DIEGO HE MIGHT HAVE TO GIVE NAVAL FACILITY TO SOVIETS HERE MAY HAVE BEEN MERELY AN EXERCISE IN “POLITICAL STREAKING” AS BARKER CHARACTERIZED IT TO ME RECENTLY. BUT I THINK A MORE REALISTIC INTERPRETATION WOULD BE THAT (1) RAM MEANT TO SHOW UK AND US THAT HE PREFERS NOT TO WHEEL AND DEAL WITH SOVIETS BUT WANTS US TO LAY OFF DIEGO EXPANSION AND (2) SOVIETS REALLY HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET SOME SUCH CONCESSION FROM GOM.
D) RAMGOOLAM HAS SOME GRANDIOSE HOPES AND EXPECTATIONS ABOUT FUTURE ECONOMIC GAINS FROM OIL AND FISHING RESOURCES IN AREAS NORTH OF MAURITIUS, WHICH MIGHT SOME DAY BE SOUGHT ALL THE WAY TO AND IN CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO (THESE GOM RIGHTS ARE SPECIFICALLY RECOGNIZED IN UK-GOM DEFENSE AGREEMENT). HE HAS RECENTLY BEEN PLAYING UP THIS IDEA NOT ONLY BECAUSE HE REALLY BELIEVES IN IT BUT ALSO AS ELECTORAL COUNTER-PROPAGANDA TO SHOW HE IS DEFENDING MAURITIAN RIGHTS AND PROMOTING MAURITIAN ECONOMIC POTENTIAL.
3. WHAT IS RESULT LIKELY TO BE WHEN NEXT ELECTION TAKES PLACE FOR MAURITIAN ATTITUDE ON DIEGO AND RELATED QUESTIONS?
A) IF RAMGOOLAM MAINTAINS HIS CANDIDACY AND STAYS IN SADDLE, HE WILL SURELY HAVE TO TRY TO TAKE DIEGO ISSUE AWAY FROM OPPOSITION BY COMING OUT STRONGLY AGAINST DIEGO EXPANSION AND PROBABLY PROMISING TO RENEGOTIATE UK-GOM AGREEMENT RE DIEGO TO PREVENT EXPANSION. IF BRITS STONEWALL HIM, HIS RE-ELECTION CHANCES WILL BE DAMAGED (THOUGH PERHAPS NOT FATALLY), HE MAY BLAME US MORE THAN UK, HE WILL PROBABTY DRAW CLOSER TO INDIA AND OTHER NON-ALIGNED AND HE MAY EVEN START FLIRTING MORE SERIOUSLY WITH SOVIETS.
B) IF RAMGOOLAM IS FORCED TO SURRENDER PARTY LEADERSHIP TO SOMEONE ELSE WHO THEN WINS ELECTION, ONE OF MAIN REASONS FOR SUCH SWITCH IN LABOR PARTY COULD WELL BE DIEGO ISSUE AND RESULTS WOULD STILL BE MUCH THE SAME AS IN (A) ABOVE.
C) IF LABOR PARTY UNDER RAMGOOLAM OR ANYONE ELSE LOSES ELECTION, NEW PRIME MINISTER WOULD NO DOUBT GIVE SOME OF CREDIT FOR HIS SUCCESS TO HIS OPPOSITION TO DIEGO AND HE WOULD BELIEVE HE HAD MANDATE TO RENEGOTIATE UK-GOM AGREEMENT.
D) THUS NO MATTER HOW NEXT ELECTION COMES OUT, EXISTING LEGAL UNDERPINNING FOR US IN DIEGO LIKELY TO BECOME LESS DEPENDABLE THAN HERETOFORE.
4. 1974 IS NOT 1965. WHAT WE COULD DO THEN IN RELATIVE POLITICAL/ STRATEGIC VACUUM DEPENDING BASICALLY ON COLONIAL SITUATION IS MUCH HARDER TO DO NOW IN FACE OF RISING TIDE OF NON-ALIGNED NATIONALISM, OFTEN CLEVERLY MANIPULATED AND EXPLOITED BY MOSCOW NOT TO MENTION PEKING, AND CONTINUING BRITISH WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS. SOONER OR LATER NEWER YOUNGER NATIONALISTIC LEADERSHIP IN LITTLE MAURITIUS, UNCOMMITTED TO AND UNATTRACTED BY TRADITIONAL SECURITY TIES WITH BRITAIN, WILL COLLABORATE WITH INDIA AND OTHER NON-ALIGNED TO DILUTE OR ABOLISH UK-GOM DEFENSE AGREEMENT. AND SOONER OR LATER UK, I WOULD GUESS, WILL TIRE OF THEIR DEFENSE COMMITMENT TO INCREAS- INGLY PESKY MAURITIUS — AN ARRANGEMENT WHICH BRITS WERE NOT ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT IN THE FIRST PLACE. SO WE OUGHT TO BE THINKING HARD ABOUT THE IMPLICATIONS OF POTENTIAL LEGAL/POLITICAL EROSION OF OUR FOOTING IN DIEGO. WHAT ONCE LOOKED SOLID MAY TURN INTO QUICKSAND BEFORE TOO LONG.
1974-10-11 Department of State [link]
DIEGO GARCIA – MAURITIAN CONSIDERATIONS SECRET
1. APPRECIATE EMBASSY PORT LOUIS’ REPORT (REF A) ALERTING US THAT DIEGO LIKELY TO BE HOT ELECTION CAMPAIGN ISSUE, THAT THE GOM PROBABLY WILL BE INTENSIFYING ITS OPPOSITION TO OUR PLANS FOR DIEGO, AND THAT OUR LEGAL/POLITICAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR DIEGO MAY BE SUBJECT TO EROSION.
2. ACCORDING TO BRITISH EMBASSY WASHINGTON, THE GOM’S RESIDUAL RIGHTS IN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO WERE SET OUT IN THE AGREED RECORD OF THE LANCASTER HOUSE MEETING ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1965. IN THIS AGREED RECORD NO RESTRICTION WAS PLACED ON THE DEFENSE USE OF THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO BY EITHER HMG OR THE USG. THERE WAS NO UNDERTAKING THAT DIEGO’S USE WOULD BE CONFINED TO COMMUNICATIONS PURPOSES. THE NOVEMBER 8, 1965, ORDER IN COUNCIL WHICH ESTABLISHED THE BIOT AND A NOVEMBER 10 STATEMENT IN COMMONS (PUBLISHED BY THE CHIEF SECRETARY’S OFFICE IN PORT LOUIS) MADE CLEAR THAT “IT IS INTENDED THAT THE ISLANDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF DEFENCE FACILITIES BY THE BRITISH AND US GOVERNMENTS, BUT NO FIRM PLANS HAVE YET BEEN MADE.” HMG DID AGREE “THAT IF THE NEED FOR THE FACILITIES ON THE ISLANDS DISAPPEARED THE ISLANDS SHOULD BE RETURNED TO MAURITIUS.” ALSO,MAURITIUS WAS TO RETAIN THE BENEFIT OF ANY OIL OR OTHER MINERAL EXPLOITATION IN THE CHAGOS AS WELL AS THE RIGHT TO FISH. FOR A SIMILAR, MORE COMPLETE ACCOUNT OF THIS MEETING SEE REF (B). ACCORDING TO BRITISH EMBASSY, THE COLONIAL OFFICE MADE IT CLEAR IN A TELEGRAM TO THE GOVERNOR OF MAURITIUS DATED NOVEMBER 19, 1965, THAT A DECISION ABOUT THE NEED TO RETAIN THE ISLANDS MUST REST ENTIRELY WITH HMG AND THAT IT WOULD NOT BE OPEN TO THE GOM TO RAISE THE MATTER, OR PRESS FOR THE RETURN OF THE ISLANDS, ON ITS OWN INITIATIVE.
3. FROM A LEGAL STANDPOINT, THE CREATION OF THE BIOT WAS A UNILATERAL ACT BY HMG FULLY WITHIN THE SCOPE OF ITS POWERS. ALTHOUGH HMG DID MEET WITH A MAURITIAN DELEGATION BEFORE TRANSFERRING THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO FROM THE COLONY OF MAURITIUS TO THE BIOT, IT WAS UNDER NO OBLIGA- TION TO DO SO SINCE MAURITIUS WAS THEN STILL A COLONY. FURTHER, HMG MADE IT CLEAR AT THE TIME THAT HMG RESERVED THE RIGHT TO RETAIN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO SO LONG AS IT DEEMED THE ISLANDS WERE NEEDED FOR DEFENSE PURPOSES (SEE PARA 2). UNLESS THERE IS ANOTHER HMG/GOM AGREEMENT OF WHICH WE ARE NOT AWARE, OUR LEGAL RIGHT TO CONSTRUCT AND USE FACILITIES AT DIEGO GARCIA JOINTLY WITH THE BRITISH DEPENDS ONLY ON BRITISH AGREEMENT AND IS NOT OPEN TO NEGOTIATION WITH THE GOM. (IF ACTION ADDRESSEES ARE AWARE OF ANY HMG-GOM AGREEMENT OR EXCHANGE SETTING OUT THE GOM’S RIGHTS (EXCLUSIVE OF FISHING AND MINERAL ONES) IN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, OTHER THAN THE LANCASTER HOUSE MEETING, PLEASE ADVISE ASAP.) THE HMG-GOM MUTUAL DEFENSE AND ASSISTANCE AGREEMENT OF MARCH 12, 1968, DOES NOT MENTION THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO AND THE GOM NEITHER GAVE NOR RECEIVED RIGHTS IN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO WHEN IT SIGNED THIS AGREEMENT. THUS WE BELIEVE THE POTENTIAL THREAT TO OUR POSITION ON DIEGO GARCIA FROM THE GOM IS MORE POLITICAL THAN LEGAL IN NATURE.
4. AS SET OUT BY EMBASSY PORT LOUIS, THE PRINCIPAL AVENUES THROUGH WHICH THE GOM CAN APPLY PRESSURE ON US APPEAR TO BE THE FOLLOWING: (A) THE BRITISH. RAMGOOLAM RECENTLY FORCEFULLY ASKED HMG TO OPPOSE OUR PLANNED EXPANSION OF OUR FACILITIES ON DIEGO, BUT APPARENTLY THE BRITISH REPLIED THAT THEIR POSITION REMAINED UN- CHANGED. (B) BY THREATS TO PROVIDE A NAVAL FACILITY TO THE SOVIETS IF WE GO AHEAD WITH DIEGO EXPANSION. RAMGOOLAM DID MAKE SUCH A THREAT LAST MARCH, BUT HAS NOT REPEATED IT. HE MAY THREATEN AGAIN, BUT WE AND BRITISH TEND TO DISCOUNT LIKELIHOOD THAT HE WOULD FOLLOW THROUGH ON SUCH A THREAT. (C) PUBLIC DENUNCIATION OF OUR DIEGO PLANS. COMPARED TO SEVERAL OTHER INDIAN OCEAN LITTORAL STATES, THE GOM’S DISAPPROVAL OF OUR EXPANSION PLANS HAS BEEN RELATIVELY MILD. RAMGOOLAM PROBABLY WILL DENOUNCE OUR DIEGO POLICY MORE STRONGLY IN FUTURE PUBLIC STATEMENTS ON THE SUBJECT. MAURITIAN UNGA SPEECH, IN FACT, SAID DIEGO EXPANSION WOULD BE “FLAGRANT VIOLATION” OF IOPZ RESOLUTIONS AND MADE DIRECT APPEAL TO US TO RECONSIDER ITS INDIAN OCEAN POLICY. (D) SUPPORTING/HOST- ING A CONFERENCE ON THE INDIAN OCEAN. (SUCH A CONFERENCE, UNDER CONSIDERATION IN THE UN INDIAN OCEAN AD HOC COMMITTEE, WOULD PROVIDE A FOCAL POINT FOR REGIONAL OPPOSITION TO OUR DIEGO PLANS.
5. WE ARE MOST INTERESTED IN ANY GOM MOVES ON DIEGO AND WOULD APPRECIATE EMBASSY PORT LOUIS’ CONTINUING ITS THOROUGH REPORTING.
6. FOR PORT LOUIS AND LONDON: WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR COMMENTS ON ABOVE.
7. FOR LONDON: PLEASE FORWARD COPY OF AGREED RECORD OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1965, LANCASTER HOUSE MEETING, OR AT LEAST A WRITTEN SUMMARY THEREOF IF AVAILABLE. (SEE LONDON 730 OF JANUARY 19-1.) INGERSOLL
1974-10-29 Port Louis, Mauritius [link]
DIEGO GARCIA – MAURITIAN CONSIDERATIONS
1. CONCUR FULLY IN DEPARTMENT’S ANALYSIS OF LEGAL BASIS AND ARRANGEMENTS FOR OUR USE OF DIEGO GARCIA AND WE ARE UNAWARE OF ANY FURTHER HMG-GOM AGREEMENTS BEYOND THOSE MENTIONED IN REFTEL. INPORT LOUIS 881 I ERRED IN IDENTIFYING RESIDUAL GOM RIGHTS TO MINERAL AND FISHING EXPLOITATION IN CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO WITH UK- GOM DEFENSE AGREEMENTS. AS DEPARTMENT CORRECTLY POINTS OUT THOSE RIGHTS WERE CONTAINED IN AGREED RECORD OF 1965 LANCASTER HOUSE MEETING.
2. FURTHER AGREE THAT POTENTIAL THREAT TO OUR POSITION ON DIEGO FROM GOM IS MORE POLITICAL THAN LEGAL IN NATURE. THE POINT WHICH I AM TRYING TO MAKE, AND WHICH I THINK ALL CONCERNED SHOULD TAKE VERY SERIOUSLY, IS THAT ANY INTERNATIONAL LEGAL AGREEMENT NO MATTER HOW TECHNICALLY SOUND NEEDS A SOLID POLITICAL BASIS IN ORDER TO BE ENDURING AND DEPENDABLE. SOME CYNICAL BOOKWORM ONCE FOUND THAT ALL INTERNATIONAL TREATIES SIGNED “IN PERPETUITY” SINCE 1815 LASTED AN AVERAGE OF ONLY 25 YEARS AND THAT AVERAGE LIFE HAS BEEN CONSTANTLY DECREASING. WHEN ONE OR MORE PARTIES DECIDE THAT IT IS NO LONGER IN THEIR INTERNAL AND/OR EXTERNAL INTERESTS TO ABIDE BY AN AGREEMENT THEY WILL CERTAINLY TRY TO MODIFY OR ABOLISH IT.
3. UNFORTUNATELY IT SEEMS TO ME THAT PRIME MINISTER RAMGOOLAM IS APPROACHING THIS STAGE IN HIS THINKING, FOR BOTH INTERNAL AND EX- TERNAL REASONS. HE IS AN ANTI-COLONIAL NATIONALIST. HE TAKES THE LONG VIEW. HE IS ASTUTE AND CRAFTY. HE SEES THIS PART OF THE WORLD CHANGING RAPIDLY FROM WHAT IT WAS A DECADE AGO. HE SEES THE BRITISH OPERATING A STRATEGIC WITHDRAWAL AND DOUBTS HE CAN LONG DEPEND ON THE UK DEFENSE COMMITMENT TO MAURITIUS. NON-ALIGNMENT AND REGIONAL COLLABORATION CONSITITUTE HIS LINUS BLANKET–HIS COUNTERWEIGHT TO BIG POWER RIVALRIES IN THIS OCEAN. OUR STANCE ON DIEGO IS NOW A THORN IN HIS SIDE AS HE FACES HIS DOMESTIC OPPOSITION AND HIS NON-ALIGNED NEIGHBORS. HE KNOWS PERFECTLY WELL HE IS IN A WEAK LEGAL POSITION TO ARGUE ABOUT DIEGO. SO HE TRIES TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EXTERNAL POLITICAL AMBITIONS AND PRESSURES (PARTICULARLY FROM INDIA, USSR AND LOCAL NON-ALIGNED) WHILE CASTING ABOUT FOR LEGAL LOOPHOLES ON DIEGO. PERHAPS HE THINKS HE HAS NOW FOUND ONE: WHAT I CALL HIS “NUCLEAR INTERFERENCE” GAMBIT REPORTED IN PORT LOUIS 0903. (NOTAL)
1975-01-15 Department of State [link]
DIEGO GARCIA: MISCELLANEOUS UK ACTIVITIES
2. BILLY BLUE. OWNER OF YACHT BILLY BLUE REQUESTED BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION MOMBASA OFFICE TO SEEK HMG PERMISSION FOR A STOPOVER IN DIEGO BY BILLY BLUE ENROUTE AUSTRALIA. HIGH COMMISSION WAS INSTRUCTED TO INFORM BILLY BLUE SKIPPER THAT VISITS ARE NOT PERMITTED. HIGH COMMISSION DID SO BUT IN FINAL REPORT TO FCO SAID THAT THEY WERE LEFT WITH IMPRESSION THAT SKIPPER STILL INTENDS TO TRY TO STOP AT DIEGO. BILLY BLUE HAS DEPARTED MOMBASE BRITISH REPRESENTATIVE ON ISLAND HAS BEEN INFORMED. INTERESTING POINT IS THAT SKIPPER AND OTHERS ON YACHT ARE JOURNALISTS AND IN ORIGINAL REQUEST SAID THY WOULD LIKE TO WRITE STORIES ABOUT DIEGO GARCIA INSTALLAITH IN ORDER FINANCE JOURNEY TO AUSTRALIA.
3. BIOT ADMINISTRATOR TRAVEL. ADMINISTRATOR C LIN ALLEN PLANS TO VISIT CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO (INCLUDING DIEGO GARCIA) ABOUT BIOT SHIP NORDVAER. VISIT WILL TAKE PLACE IN LATE JANUARY THROUGH MID-FEBRUARY. ALLEN WOULD BE PLEASED HAVE A USG REPRESENTATIVE ON TRIP IF WE DESIRE. TRIP DEPARTS AND RETURNS TO PORT VICTORIA, MAHE. PLEASE ADVISE IF ANY U.S. INTEREST IN TRIP.
4. ROYAL NAVY DANGER ISLAND TRIP. THE ROYAL NAVY IS (JAN. 7-19) MAKING A VISIT TO SOME OF THE ISLANDS IN THE DANGER ISLAND GROUP OF THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO. TRIP IS FOR SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATION. HEADQUARTERS OF EXPEDITITN IS ON EAGLE ISLAND. THE RN UNIT DOES NOT PLAN TO CALL AT DIEGO GARCIA IN THE COURSE OF ITS OPERATION. FCO HOTES THAT A BBC CAMERA CREW IS ACCOMPANYING THE EXPEDITION.
5. VISIT BY ENVIRONMENTALIST. DAVID STODDARD, THE SCIENTIST WHO ACCOMPANIED THE INITIAL CB DEPLOYMENT TO DO A REPORT ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF THE CONSTRUC- TION OF THE COMMUNICATIONS FACILITY, HAS ASKED FCO FOR ASSISTANCE IN VISITING THE ISLAND AGAIN TO DO A SIMILAR REPORT ON ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF THE PROPOSED EXPANSION OF THE FACILITY. STODDARD MADE PREVIOUS TRIP AS REPRESENTATIVE OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY. IT IS NOT CLEAR WHAT HIS SPONSORSHIP WOULD BE FOR PROPOSED SECOND VISIT. STODDARD MENTIONED IN HIS APPROACH TO FCO THAT HE WOULD BE REPRESENTING A J.C. WILSOH OF LOS ANGELES ENVIRON- MENTAL CONSULTANTS (FIRM NAME?) IN ADDITION TO HIS BRITISH INTERESTS ON THE VISIT. FCO ASKS IF USG CAN GET ANY INFORMATION ON L.A. CONSULTANTS OR ON WILSON. PLEASE ADVISE.
1975-01-16 Department of State [link]
TRADE ACT OF 1974–GENERALIZED SYSTEM OF PREFERENCES (GSP)
SECTION 502(B) [of the trade act of 1974] CONTAINS A LIST OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES WHICH MAY NOT RPT NOT BE DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY DEVELOPING COUNTRIES. NO APPROACH SHOULD BE MADE TO GOVERNMENTS OF THESE COUNTRIES UNLESS THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXTERNAL RELATIONS OF ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING TERRITORIES:
BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY (ALDABRA, FARQUHAR, CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, DES ROCHES) […]
1975-02-12 Department of State [link]
COUNTRY ELIGIBILITY FOR GENERALIZED PREFERENCES (GSP) UNDER SECS. 502 (B) (4) AND (6) OF TITLE V OF THE TRADE ACT OF 1974
FYI. THE FOLLOWING UK DEPENDENCIES ARE POTENTIAL BENEFICIARIES: […] BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY (ALDABRA, FARQUHAR, CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, DES ROCHES) […]
1. EMBASSY HAS RECEIVED REPORT FROM COMMANDER, USAF TRACKING STATION IN SEYCHELLES SUMMARIZING CONVERSATION BETWEEN PAUL MOULINIE, A PROMINENT SEYCHELLOIS, AND AMERICAN VISITOR TO SEYCHELLES IN WHICH MOULINIE REPORTEDLY SAID THAT SOVIETS ARE APPLYING PRESSURE ON HIM TO QTE SELL UNQTE AGALEGA ISLANDS, TWO SMALL, ELONGATED ISLANDS (TOTALLING 27 SQUARE MILES) LOCATED ROUGHLY 450 MILES S-SE OF MAHE, SEYCHELLES AT 10 DEGREES 25 MINUTES SOUTH 56 DEGREES 35 MINUTES EAST. ACCORDING REPORT, SOVIETS SAID TO BE INTERESTED IN ESTABLISHING QTE NAVAL PORT UNQTE.
3. COMMENT: MOULINIE IS MEMBER OF IMPORTANT SEYCHELLOIS FAMILY WHICH FORMERLY OWNED LARGE NUMBER OFISLANDS IN OR NEAR SEYCHELLES. WE UNDERSTAND MOST OF THESE HOLDINGS (WHICH REPORTEDLY INCLUDED FARQUHAR AND CHAGOS) WERE SOLD TO BRITISH TO FORM BIOT.
1. AGALEGA, AN INTEGRAL DEPENDENT ISLAND OF MAURITIUS, HAS ABOUT 300 INHABITANTS OF WHICH A FEW ARE MAURITIANS AND SEYCHELLOIS, BUT MAJORITY BORN ON THE ISLAND. APPARENTLY ALL WORKERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF A SCHOOL TEACHER AND TWO METEOROLOGICAL EMPLOYEES, ARE EMPLOYEED BY SEYCHELLES BASED COMPANY THAT FORMERLY OPERATED AS WELL IN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO AND THE CARGADOS SHOALS, COMPANY DIRECTOR AND AGALEGA RESIDENT MANAGER ARE SEYCHELLOIS.[…]
2. WE UNAWARE SOVIET INTEREST IN PURCHASING AGALEGA OR INITIATIVE WITH GOM FOR “NAVAL BASE” ON ISLAND, BUT WILL REPORT ANY DEVELOPMENTS ALONG THAT LINE.
DIRECTOR OF NAZARETH FISHING CO. PORT LOUIS HAS INFORMED EMBASSY THAT ITS FISHING VESSEL M/V NAZARETH NO. 1 DEPARTED PORT LOUIS 24 JUNE ENROUTE TO GREAT CHAGOS BANK, PEROS BANKS, SALOMON ISLANDS AND SPEAKERS BANKS. DIRECTOR’S LETTER CONTAINED FOLLOWING INFORMATION: […]
1. SEPTEMBER 12 GUARDIAN STORY ON DIEGO GARCIA EVACUEES SHORT AND GIVEN LESS PROMINENCE ON FRONT PAGE. STORY CONCENTRATES ALMOST ENTIRELY ON ACTIONS BY SENATORS CULVER, KENNEDY, AND HUMPHREY TO FORCE FURTHER DISCLOSURE BY “THE PENTAGON” OF DETAILS OF ALL UNDERTAKINGS INVOLVING THE ISLAND. STORY REPORTS FCO HAS SO FAR DECLINED TO COMMENT ON SOME SPECIFICS. OTHER LONDON PAPERS HAVE DROPPED SUBJECT BUT WE UNDERSTAND TELEGRAPH WILL CARRY ARTICLE IN DIEGO ON SEPTEMBER 14. SO FAR TIMES HAS NOT CARRIED STORY.
2. RE EVACUEES, FCO IS STANDING BY ITS PRESS GUIDANCE ISSUED SEPTEMBER 10, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS: […]
THE GOM DECIDED TO DISBURSE THE
650,000 POUNDS WHICH IT RECEIVED FROM UK AS COMPENSATION FOR MOVING IN PORT LOUIS FOR ILOIS. THE INSTRUCTION WAS DELAYED BY THE THRONE (OBVIOULSY MEANING GERVAISE IN FEBRUARY THE YEAR, I.E., ABOUT THREE YEARS AFTER UK TURNED OVER THAT SUM TO GOM.) ABOUT THIRTY FAMILIES WISH TO RETURN TO THEIR NATIVE ISLAND. THEIR LIVING CONDITIONS IN MARITIUS ARE BAD AND THEY RECEIVE ONLY SMALL ASSISTANCE ALLOTMENTS.
SINCE LAST WEEK LOCAL PRESS HAS BEEN HAVING FIELD DAY WITH ARTICLES ON DIEGO GARCIA ILOIS (EVACUEES) RANGING FROM REPRINTS OF US AND BRITISH PRESS ARTICLES TO COVERAGE OF LOCAL REACTIONS. AMONG LATTER PRESS HAS FEATURED DEMAND BY OPPOSITION LEADER DUVAL, NOW ACTING AS LEGAL COUNSEL FOR ILOIS, FOR 15 MILLION POUNDS AS ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION FOR FORMER DIEGO INHABITANTS, ALLEGED “PANIC” IN GOM CAUGHT SHORT BY AGITATION IN INTERNATIONAL PRESS, HARSH CRITICISMS BY MOST OPPOSITION PAPERS PINNING BLAME MAINLY ON RAMGOOLAM ADMINISTRATION FOR NOT UTILIZING 650,000 POUNDS TURNED OVER BY UK TO GOM FOR RESETTLEMENT IN 1972, AS WELL AS FEATURE ARTICLES EMPHASIZING MISERABLE CONDITIONS OF ILOIS HERE. SOME EDITOR- IALISTS HAVE ALSO COMPLAINED BITTERLY THAT PROBLEM STEMMED ORIGINALLY FROM US INSISTENCE ON OBTAINING DIEGO BASE WHICH CONSIDERED UNWELCOME AND “THREAT” TO INTERESTS OF ALL INDIAN OCEAN COUNTRIES. THIS WEEK PRESS FEATURED PRIME MINISTER’S INTENTION TO SEEK MORE FINANCIAL AID FROM UK FOR RESETTLEMENT OF ILOIS.
ACTING PRIME MINISTER RINGADOO HAS JUST INFORMED ME THAT GOM DECIDED SEPTEMBER 30 TO TRY TO RESETTLE AS MANY ILOIS AS POSSIBLE ON AGALEGA ISLAND. GOM WILL BEGIN IMMEDIATELY TO PLAN FOR ALL NECESSARY INFRASTRUCTURE FOR THEM ON AGALEGA INCLUDING HOUSING, SCHOOLING AND WORK SIMILAR TO THEIR PREVIOUS OCCUPATIONS IN CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO. ALTHOUGH LIVING CONDITIONS WOULD BE MUCH BETTER THAN THEIR PRESENT SITUATION IN MAURITIUS AND EVEN VREVIOUS CONDITIONS IN CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, RINGADOO FELT MOST ILOIS WOULD BE RELUCTANT TO LEAVE MAURITIUS AT THIS STAGE, BUT HE HOPED THAT GIVEN ADEQUATE PREPARATIONS AND CAREFUL PHASING OF RESETTLEMENT PROGRAMS INCREASING NUMBER OF ILOIS COULD GRADUALLY BE PERSUADED TO RESETTLE IN AGALEGA.
HE SAID NOTHING FURTHER ABOUT GOM INTENTIONS OR PROSPECTS TO OBTAIN ADDITIONAL RESETTLEMENT FUNDS FROM UK.
USG AND HML HAVE AGREED TO DECLASSIFY BIOT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS. IF ASKED, POSTS MAY RESPOND AS FOLLOWS:
THE DETACHMENT FROM MAURITIUS AND THE SEYCHELLES OF THE ISLANDS NOW COMPRISING THE BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY REQUIRED COMPENSATION TO THOSE GOVERNMENTS FOR SUCH MATTERS AS LOSS OF SOVEREIGNTY, PURCHASE OF PRIVATELY OWNED PROPERTY OR LAND, AND RESETTLEMENT OF MIGRATORY WORKERS. THE USG AGREED IN 1966 TO PROVIDE HALF OF THE TOTAL COST INVOLVED IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE BIOT UP TO A MAXIMUM OF 5 MILLION POUNDS STERLING (14 MILLION DOLLARS) BY WAIVING TO THAT EXTENT RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT SURCHARGES FOR UNITED KINGDOM PURCHASE OF THE POLARIS MISSILE SYSTEM.
GOM ISSUED FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE OCTOBER:
THE GOVERNMENT OF MAURITIUS IS BUYING THE FREEHOLD OF THE TWO AGALEGA ISLANDS OWNED BY CHAGOS AGALEGA LTD. SINCE 1962.
THE PRICE HAS BEEN AGREED BUT TO AVOID DELAY THE ACQUISITION WILL BE MADE COMPULSORILY.
THE GOVERNMENT PLANS TO FORM A CORPORATION TO EXPLOIT AND DEVELOP THE AGALEGA COCONUT PLANTATIONS AND TO IMPROVE THE LIVING AND WORKING CONDITIONS OF WORKERS IN THAT PART OF THE STATE OF MAURITIUS.
EVERY CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO RECRUITING THOSE WHO USED TO WORK IN DIEGO GARCIA FOR WORK IN AGALEGA, AND TO PROMOTE THEIR SETTLEMENT THERE.
IN PREPARATION FOR THE UPCOMING US-UK TALKS SCHEDULED IN EARLY NOVEMBER, THE DEPT IS RESTUDYING THE PROPOSAL IN- CLUDING ITS LEGAL IMPLICATIONS. OF CONCERN IS WHAT EFFECT RETURN OF THE ISLANDS TO THE SEYCHELLES WOULD HAVE ON THE BIOT, AND WHAT PRESSURES RAMGOOLAM MIGHT EXERT TO HAVE THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO RETURNED, CITING THE SEYCHELLES EXAMPLE (IF THE BRITISH DECIDE TO RETURN THE ISLANDS) AS A PRECEDENT.
DEPARTMENT SUBMITTED REPORT ON RESETTLEMENT OF INHABITANTS OF THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO TO KEY GONGRESSEIONAL CHAIRMAN ON OCT. 10. NY TIMES CARRIED ARTICLE OCT 17, CITING INTER ALIA BRITISH PAYMENT OF 1.4 MILLION DOLLARS FOR RELIEK AND RE- LOCATION OF PERSONS REMOVED FROM THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO AND FACT THAT MOST OF RESETTLEMENT FUNDS HAD NOT BEEN SPENT BY MAURITIUS GOVERNMENT.
IN MY NUMEROUS DISCUSSIONS WITH RAMGOOLAM ABOUT DIEGO AND INDIAN OCEAN IN LAST SEVENTEEN MONTHS I HAVE DETECTED NO INTENTION WHATSOEVER ON HIS PART TO SEEK RETURN OF CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO TO MAURITIUS. HIS MOST RECENT PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENT ON DIEGO ON OCTOBER 19 WAS HIS SPECIFIC RECOGNITION OF UKG RIGHT TO RETAIN CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO PER UK-GOM AGREEMENTS AT TIME OF MAURITIAN INDEPENDENCE.
1975-11-18 Department of State [link]
US-UK INDIAN OCEAN TALKS, NOVEMBER 7
[George Southall] VEST REPORTED ON RECENT CONGRESSIONAL ACTIVITIES RELATING TO OUR DIEGO GARCIA EXPANSION REQUEST, AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE CULVER AMENDMENT FOR THE FY 1976 MILCON APPROPRIATIONS BILL. HE EXPLAINED THAT THE AMENDMENT WOULD DELAY ONLY EXPENDITURE OF FY 1976 FUNDS, LEAVING FY 1975 FUNDS (18.1 MILLION DOLLARS) STILL AVAILABLE FOR USE ONCE THE BRITISH APPROVED THE US-UK EXPANSION AGREEMENT. THOMSON REPORTED THAT BEXORE THE AGREEMENT COULD BE SIGNED BRITISH MINISTERS WOULD HAVE TO COMPLETE THEIR FINAL REVIEW. AS A CONSEQUENCE A FURTHER DELAY COULD BE ANTICIPATED. THOMSON SAID HE WOULD ASK HIS PRINCIPALS TO CONSIDER OUR REQUEST FOR INTERIM BRITISH APPROVAL FOR CONSTRUCTION TO COMMENCE BEFORE THE AGREEMENT IS SIGNED. BOTH SIDES AGREED THAT APPROVAL OF JOURNALIST VISITS COULD NOT BE GIVEN UNTIL THE AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED AND MIGHT EVEN THEN PROVE PROBLEMATIC. VEST COMMENTED THAT THE LEVEL OF FUTURE US NAVAL ACTIVITY IN THE INDIA OCEAN IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN THE SAME, I.E. A NAVAL TASK GROUP EACH QUARTER (LED BY A CARRIER EVERY OTHER QUARTER)FOR A 4 – 6 WEEK PERIOD.
TODO: research/FOI request required.
TODO: research/FOI request required.
1976-04-23 Department of State [link]
CLEARANCE FOR THIRD COUNTRY VISITS TO DIEGO GARCIA
AS THE EXPANSION OF THE DIEGO GARCIA FACILITY PROGRESSES (INDIAN OCEAN), WE CAN EXPECT OCCASIONAL REQUESTS FROM THIRD COUNTRIES FOR BUNKERING, AIRCRAFT STAGING, AND OTHER REQUIREMENTS. WE WILL WANT TO ACHIEVE A BALANCE BETWEEN ACCOMMODATING SUCH REQUESTS SO AS TO ESTABLISH THE OPEN AND ABOVE-BOARD NATURE OF THE DIEGO FACILITY, AND PREVENTING USAGE THAT WOULD HAMPER ITS MISSION OR ESTABLISH A PATTERN OF CALLS THAT WOULD BE HARD TO DISCONTINUE. THE USG AND HMG HAVE AGREED ON THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE FOR CLEARING SUCH VISITS:
SINCE SOVEREIGNTY OVER THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO RESTS WITH THE UNITED KINGDOM, POSTS RECEIVING QUERIES ABOUT THIRD COUNTRY USE SHOULD INFORM INQUIRERS THAT ALL SUCH REQUESTS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE UK IN THE FIRST INSTANCE. HMG WILL SEEK OUR VIEWS ON EACH REQUEST. IF USG AND HMG VIEWS DO NOT COINCIDE, THE FINAL DECISION WILL BE A MATTER FOR CONSULTATION BETWEEN THE TWO GOVERNMENTS. IN EVERY CASE, HMG WILL INFORM THE INQUIRING PARTY OF THE JOINT DECISION. KISSINGER
TODO: research/FOI request required.
TODO: research/FOI request required.
FONMIN ASKED AT CONCLUSION WHETHER IT IS TRUE, AS HE HAD HEARD, THAT RESIDENTS OF CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO HAD, IN FACT, BEEN REMOVED FROM DIEGO GARCIA AND TRANSPORTED AGAINST THEIR WILL TO SEYCHELLES. IT SEEMS THIS CHARGE WAS ADVANCED BY AN UNNAMED PARTY AT COLOMBO NAM. AGAIN MOLAPO SEEMED TO BE SAYING THAT, IF TRUE, THIS WOULD MAKE US CASE ON DIEGO GARCIA DIFFICUT TO SUPPORT. HE ASKED CHARGE TO INFORM HIM ON THIS POINT. CHARGE NOTED CHAGO ARCHIPELAGO IS UNDER UK SOVEREIGNTY.
IN ORDER TO SATISFY NAUTICAL CHARTING REQUIREMENTS, THE US NAVY DESIRES TO CONDUCT HYDROGRAPHIC SURVEYS IN THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO COMMENCING EARLY DEC 1976 FOR A PERIOD OF ABOUT TWO YEARS. WHILE EFFORT TO BE DIRECTED TOWARD HYDROGRAPHY, SOME OCEANOGRAPHIC DATA MAY BE COLLECTED. THE RESULTING NAUTICAL CHART AND OCEANOGRAPHIC INFORMATION WOULD BENEFIT BOTH THE US AND UK. APPROACH CHART TO DIEGO GARCIA AS WELL AS NEW COASTAL CHARTS OF THE CHAGOS BANKS ARE PLANNED AS A RESULT OF THE SURVEY.
SESSION BEGAN WITH REVIEW OF PROGRESS AND THOUGHTS IN THE FIELD OF REMOTE SENSING. HYDROGRAPHIC CHARTS PREPARED BY THE U.S. NAVY OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE OF THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO, USING LANDSAT DATA, ATTRACTED CONSIDERABLE INTEREST. INDONESIA DISPLAYED AN EXCELLENT GEOLOGIC MAP DERIVED FROM LANDSAT DATA AND THE PHILIPPINES DESCRIBED A JET OF EXCITING USES.
Summary: The UK High Court May 11 overturned the 2004 Orders in Council which barred the Chagossian Islanders from resettling the islands around Diego Garcia from which they were forcibly removed in the 1960s when the U.S. sought to establish the Naval Support Facility there. HMG has confirmed to us but not announced that it will appeal the decision based on economics and the security of the military base. The Mauritian High Commissioner in London submitted a request to the Ambassador May 11 that the USG enter into trilateral discussions with the UK and Mauritius to return sovereignty of the islands to Mauritius at some point in the future. FCO believes such a discussion is particularly ill timed, as the Chagossians are likely to strongly object to the UK bargaining away their islands after the court has firmly sided with them. The Mauritians may be pushing the issue now because they fear the Chagossians will prefer to resettle the islands as British subjects and object to Mauritian sovereignty claims. End Summary.
FCO says the court verdict complicates any discussion of sovereignty as the court (and Chagossian advocates) would view dimly HMG’s negotiating away the islands after so recently reaffirming them as a Chagossian homeland. Furthermore, FCO feels such discussions could raise “unreasonable expectations” in Mauritian minds about when the islands might be turned over. HMG would consider, however, a conciliatory gesture that might persuade Mauritius not to take its case to the International Court of Justice, which it has threatened to do in the past.
FCO has heard that Mauritian FM Dulloo will be visiting Washington in the coming weeks and recommends we coordinate closely on how to respond to the proposal for trilateral talks.
The Mauritian High Commissioner in London has approached the Ambassador again asking the U.S. to press the UK to negotiate a treaty with Mauritius that would give sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago’s outer islands (i.e. not Diego Garcia) to Mauritius. During this encounter on the margins of the UK Labour Party’s September party conference, the Mauritian HiCom did not indicate whether he thought the treaty should be a bilateral treaty (UK-Mauritius) or trilateral (UK-U.S.-Mauritius). The Ambassador told the Mauritian HiCom that sovereignty of the islands is a UK-Mauritian issue and not one for the U.S. to involve itself in. (Comment: The HiCom apparently realizes that, given U.S. security interests there, no agreement is possible without at least tacit U.S. approval. End Comment.)
HMG tells us it was surprised that, at a recent bilat between FCO Minister Lord Triesman and Mauritian FM Dulloo on the margins of UNGA, the subject of the Chagos Islands and Diego Garcia was never brought up. This was the second time HMG has granted a high level meeting to senior Mauritian officials at the request of the Mauritian Ambassador here to discuss these issues, and the second time the issue was never raised. FCO contacts believe the Mauritian ambassador in London may be out in front of his own government on this issue. Per ref A, FCO has reaffirmed to us its position that it would be extremely ill advised to open negotiations with Mauritius over sovereignty of the islands while locked in an ongoing legal battle with the Chagossians who want to repopulate the islands, but under British sovereignty.
Embassy requests guidance for use in the event the Mauritian HiCom raises the issue with the Ambassador again.
Notwithstanding official denials, Mauritian commentators continue to suspect that India wants to use Agalega for strategic purposes, possibly by establishing a military or naval base or an eavesdropping station. Pundits have warned the government against repeating the 1965 mistake of their predecessors who accepted Britain,s offer of independence but without the Chagos Archipelago. Subsequently, the British removed the inhabitants of the archipelago to make way for the construction of the U.S. naval support facility at Diego Garcia.
Given these oversights, and other lapses that proved embarrassing to HMG (i.e., renditions through Diego Garcia and improperly documented shipments of weaponry through Prestwick Airport in Scotland), MOD wants to establish a file for each operation that will constitute an “audit trail” of approvals on which HMG can rely if called upon to explain itself. MOD proposed that, instead of the consolidated map and the table on these flights that it currently receives from EUCOM, MOD would like a map and one-page paper on each operation that contains the following information: […]
On May 8, DCM met with Anand Neewoor, the Mauritian Secretary General for Foreign Affairs and the senior MFA representative since last month’s dismissal of the Foreign Affairs Minister, to push for GOM immediate recognition of Kosovo. Neewoor stated that the GOM had not changed its most recent position (see ref B); and that the GOM would not be recognizing Kosovo anytime soon because of their concerns that it would have implications for their “fight to regain the Chagos Islands.” Neewoor granted that a few African countries had recognized Kosovo, but noted they were “only countries without concerns of split away regions.”
COMMENT: The GOM seems to have firmly decided that linking Kosovo to their argument on Chagos Islands is beneficial to their policies. Contacts in the UK High Commission, which lobbied Neewoor regarding Kosovo recognition on a number of occasions over the past few months, reported receiving the same Mauritian response as reflected above and in ref B. Post will continue to push the issue at high levels for reconsideration of GOM’s stance on Kosovo. END COMMENT.
Summary. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is “cautiously optimistic” that the Law Lords will grant HMG’s final appeal and block the court-ordered resettlement of Chagossian islanders seeking to return to their ancestral home. Though the Lords’ decision is not expected before late September or October, their questions during arguments suggested they may be more sympathetic to HMG than were the lower courts, all of which ruled for the Chagossians and ordered the British government to pay for their resettlement. In a discussion with emboff after the hearing, a contact in the FCO’s Overseas Territories Directorate said the FCO’s Legal Advisor is “not pessimistic” about the chances the Lords will rule in favor of HMG, though this contact stressed the outcome is far from certain. According to the FCO, the three possible outcomes of the appeal are:
–The Chagossians are granted the “right to abode,” which would legally allow them to resettle on the islands;
–The Chagossians are granted only the “right of return,” which would allow them to visit the islands but not establish a permanent settlement; or
–The Chagossians are granted neither right, and are not allowed to visit or settle on the islands. End summary.
Though they have no evidence that the Chagossians will attempt to illegally return to the Chagos Islands if they lose the case, HMG has developed a contingency plan to prevent them from illegally settling on the outer islands. The FCO does not seem to have a “Plan B,” however, to handle a Chagossian court victory that grants them the right of permanent settlement.
Comment: In other recent demarches on Kosovo, Cure continued to hold the GOM line connecting Kosovo to Chagos issues. It remains, therefore, that only the Prime Minister, who took on the Foreign Affairs portfolio when he fired his Foreign Minister many months ago, is in a position to break the GOM stated linkage between Kosovo and the Chagos Archipelago. Despite initial promising discussions last year, however, we have observed no willingness by the PM to change the GOM position, and believe any changes unlikely at this time. End Comment.
On September 5, Ambassador Cabrera took advantage of a meeting with Mauritian Foreign Secretary Anund Neewoor to raise ref A and other Department provided points on Georgia. Neewoor responded that the GOM official position would be to “support the territorial integrity of Georgia.” He added that this policy is in line with their policy on the Chagos Archipelago, and the GOM’s own desire “of having their territory returned to them” by the U.K.
Comment: As noted in ref B, Mauritius is unlikely to act alone on Georgia, but could act as part of a wider group, such as the African Union. Linking Chagos to their position on Georgia is not a surprise — the GOM has been making such linkages regularly as the opportunity arises. End Comment.
Using the “friendship” between the U.S. and Mauritius as a springboard, Ramgoolam segued into the issue of Diego Garcia. He began this portion of the conversation by referring to his conversations with UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whom he says expresses that HMG wants to assist on the sovereignty issue but cannot because of the “Americans.” Ramgoolam preempted the Ambassador by saying that he understands the official lines of both parties and respects the “geopolitics of the game,” but that all Mauritius asks for is sovereignty of the Chagos Archipelago. He further noted that he wants the U.S. to keep the military base of Diego Garcia and is willing to sign an agreement with either the U.S. or the U.K., although he said he felt that Brown preferred the agreement be signed directly with the U.S.
Despite his knowledge that USG considers all Diego Garcia issues as sovereign issues between the U.K. and Mauritius, Ramgoolam kept citing his understanding and willingness to work with USG. He first cited his 1995 reversal of the 1982 ruling of the Mouvement Militant Mauricien (MMM) that no US ships would be allowed in port unless nuclear weapons were declared. He said his reasoning for reversing this rule was his understanding of geopolitics and the interests of his nation. He further noted that at the time, he realized that US ships had to come or they would all go to Seychelles anyway, “which is close enough for any nuclear fallout to hit Mauritius,…so, why take the risk without the reward possibility,” he said. For his second example, Ramgoolam drew parallels between him and his father by citing the political context coloring his father Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam’s, Mauritius’ first president, decision to cede the Chagos territory to gain their independence. Ramgoolam suggested that his father saw the geopolitical importance of not only independence, but of having like-minded allies in a time and a region where Russia funded coups that destroyed democratic governments. Ramgoolam concluded this anecdote by saying that “…like my father understood, I understand.”
With regard to the PM‘s proposal on Diego Garcia, Post has no plans to follow-up or comment on the issue with GOM. Department leadership, however, should be prepared to receive similar talking points when they meet with GOM officials in coming months
The UK maintains its legal sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago (which includes the island of Diego Garcia), although the Government of Mauritius continues to challenge it. An October 22 ruling by the House of Lords’ Law Lords (the UK’s highest court) overturned a previous High Court ruling that ordered HMG to return and resettle residents of the Chagos islands forcibly removed in the 1970’s when the UK first allowed the USG to open a military base on the archipelago’s largest island, Diego Garcia. Riley said that since the October 22 ruling, the Government of Mauritius (GOM) has formally requested to re-start a dialogue to acquire the islands. HMG will open a dialogue with the GOM to discuss fishing rights and other natural resource issues, but will not discuss the issue of sovereignty, as HMG “has no question about its legal ownership of the islands”
Of course, he said, he would like to raise Mauritian concerns about Diego Garcia and the Chagos archipelago, noting that he believes he has a “solution which would be good for the UK and the U.S.” The Ambassador demurred on the last point, and simply reminded the PM that issues regarding Diego Garcia should be raised with the UK.
It is likely unavoidable that the PM would use the opportunity of such meetings to raise Diego Garcia, and more expressly the Mauritian desire to cut a deal with the U.S. If for no other than political reasons — especially with elections coming no later than 2010 — Ramgoolam would need to return from a visit in the U.S. saying that he discussed Chagos with the new U.S. administration.
“Further to our earlier discussions, I have been authorized to hereby affirm on behalf of the United States Government that there were no Chemical Weapons Convention declarable activities on the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) during 2008. I further affirm that there are no chemical weapons stockpiles or anything whatsoever in contravention of the Chemical Weapons Convention on the BIOT.”
Yeadon confirmed that delivery of this letter satisfied in regard to the BIOT the November 24, 2008 UK Department of Energy and Climate Change request to the Overseas Territories Directorate “to confirm whether your Territory has any CWC declarable activities for 2008.”
Despite initial promising discussions with GOM at the onset of Kosovo’s movement towards independence, recent demarches suggest that GOM is unlikely to recognize Kosovo. Post has delivered various high-level demarches to debunk the linkages between Kosovo and the Chagos Archipelago, but as long as even the smallest link of territorial integrity can be argued, Post doubts that Mauritius will change its position.
Mauritian Prime Minister Ramgoolam in a letter to Obama:
I would like to have an appointment with you to discuss […] the issues of the Chagos Archipelago, which has been the subject of comments by the British Courts and the international press. I have raised the issue with the British Prime Minister, Rt Honorable Gordon Brown, as the lease of the islands is due for renewal in 2016 with two years prior notice and we have restarted discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The meeting could take place at a time convenient to you.
Diego Garcia, in the BIOT, presently is home to a joint U.S.-UK naval support facility. The atoll is of vital strategic importance for defense purposes to the U.S. and UK, including in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He agreed that the UK and U.S. should carefully negotiate the details of the marine reserve to assure that U.S. interests were safeguarded and the strategic value of BIOT was upheld. He said that the BIOT’s former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve.
Roberts acknowledged that “we need to find a way to get through the various Chagossian lobbies.” He admitted that HMG is “under pressure” from the Chagossians and their advocates to permit resettlement of the “outer islands” of the BIOT. He noted, without providing details, that “there are proposals (for a marine park) that could provide the Chagossians warden jobs” within the BIOT. However, Roberts stated that, according to the HGM,s current thinking on a reserve, there would be “no human footprints” or “Man Fridays” on the BIOT’s uninhabited islands. He asserted that establishing a marine park would, in effect, put paid to resettlement claims of the archipelago’s former residents. Responding to Polcouns’ observation that the advocates of Chagossian resettlement continue to vigorously press their case, Roberts opined that the UK’s “environmental lobby is far more powerful than the Chagossians’ advocates.”
She underscored, as the FCO had done during a meeting with the Political Counselor in May (ref), that HMG intends that any marine reserve have no negative impact on U.S. or UK military operations or navigational rights.
She noted that the UK would continue to argue before the Court that the European Convention on Human Rights does not apply to BIOT; she asserted that all five Law Lords who had considered the case in Britain had agreed upon this point, even those who had ultimately favored the Chagossians’ position under British law. HMG will respond to the substance of the Chagossians’ allegations by asserting to the ECHR that the Chagossians have already received sufficient compensation and, further, that “they do have a right of abode — in the United Kingdom.”
The Government of Mauritius sovereignty claim over the British-controlled Chagos Archipelago, which includes a strategic U.S. military base on Diego Garcia, is a long-standing dispute which has not negatively affected bilateral relations. In a radio interview in early 2007, President Jugnauth stated that Mauritius would be willing to withdraw from the Commonwealth to pursue its sovereignty claim. However, the Prime Minister quickly clarified that this was not the official government stance.
Most of the Chagossians who inhabited the archipelago were relocated to Mauritius. These former inhabitants continue their quest to return to the island through legal channels. The Mauritian media and government are publicly sympathetic to the plight of the Chagossians, but some have privately expressed doubt about the strength of the Chagossians’ intention to return. While the USG has an interest in these matters, they are bilateral issues between Mauritius and the UK.
Ramgoolam then brought up the U.S. military base in Diego Garcia, saying he had recently spoken with Prime Minister Gordon Brown who told him that it was “up to the Americans” to decide what they want to do with the Chagos Archipelago. Ramgoolam stated that if Mauritian sovereignty over the archipelago was recognized by the U.S., Mauritius would “immediately offer it right back to the U.S. with a 100-year lease.” The Charge and General Ward noted that the U.S. recognizes UK sovereignty o ver the Archipelago, and encouraged the GOM to continue to address concerns to the British.
They cited annual U.S.-UK talks regarding Diego Garcia as a useful opportunity to review issues of mutual interest concerning the British Indian Ocean Territory. They said that HMG does not seek to “institutionalize” Ascension Island discussions into an annual event, as it is for Diego Garcia, but would welcome an opportunity to discuss U.S. use of Ascension Island.
He said that the “fallout” from two renditions in 2002 involving Diego Garcia had raised the overall profile of U.S. military use of British Overseas Territories.
For background on the renditions:
COMUSEUCOM has requested a host nation sensitivity survey for the USN plan to homeport a submarine tender to Diego Garcia in 2010.
In fact, the UK shared a nonpaper with U.S. officials dated September 7, 2009, which includes the express assurances, among others, that “there will be no change to the fundamental purpose of BIOT; to serve the defence interests of the UK and U.S.” The nonpaper also states that “Diego Garcia and its 3 mile territorial limit will be excluded from the MPA.” Embassy London notes the possibility that, at some future date, a public pressure group or groups might argue that military use of the BIOT is inconsistent with its designation as a “marine protected area.” However, there is no indication that the current British government or the opposition Conservative Party would endorse this view.
2009-11-05 United Nations (New York) [link]
UN GENERAL DEBATE CONTINUES (SEPTEMBER 25 AM)
Ramgoolam criticized the unconstitutional governments in Madagascar and Honduras, and the United Kingdom for not returning the Chagos Archipelago.
After opening pleasantries, PM Ramgoolam started the meeting voicing his frustration over the UK handling of the announcement regarding the proposed Marine Protected Area in the Chagos Archipelago. The PM said that his government had been given very little time to review the proposed announcement and plan, noting that the first news he had was a phone call from British Foreign Secretary David Miliband a few days prior. The PM had to drop a number of high priority issues (such as review of the upcoming GOM budget) to quickly review the proposal and make a few adjustments. Although he was pleased that HMG accepted input and changes made by the GOM, he felt inappropriately rushed. Ramgoolam speculated that the idea of the Marine Protected Area was one that Miliband was pushing either for UK election purposes or, more likely in the PM’s view, to place Miliband in a strong position to leverage for a senior EU spot. The PM finished by saying that the GOM does not support this plan or the way it has been rolled out.
An additional point was later raised by Mrs. Narain. Due to Mauritian sensitivities over Diego Garcia and the Chagos Archipelago, she said, the GOM could not consider entering into a SOFA without understanding how the U.S. SOFA with the UK refers to that disputed territory. She asked for a copy of the agreement with the UK. The FoRmin agreed that the GOM would like to see a copy of the agreement, noting the sensitivities surrounding the UK proposal, recently in the news, for a protected marine park in the Chagos Archipelago. He asked for a copy of the latest SOFA agreement with the Seychelles as well, and “others, if possible.” Charge noted that the Seychelles agreement was, in essence, nearly identical to the boilerplate proposal made to Mauritius the previous year.
According to Ruhee, Rangoolam seeks to initiate “an understanding” with UNODC which will authorize the transfer to Mauritius of some suspected pirates captured in the international anti-piracy effort, together with their prosecution in Mauritian courts and detention in Mauritian prisons. Ruhee believes that this agreement with the UN will satisfy U.S. needs regarding pirates caught by U.S. ships (as the U.S. is obviously part of the international anti-piracy effort).
Rangoolam believes that a formal agreement (perhaps an exchange of letters) with the UN — rather than a bilateral MOU with individual countries or with the EU — will provide his government with political cover, making it palatable domestically.
Ruhee judges that any US attempt to secure a bilateral MOU with Mauritius is a “no-go” before the 2010 elections, as it would provide the opposition an opportunity to hammer Rangoolam on an already emotionally-charged issue, offering charges such as: “His father gave away Diego Garcia and the Chagos, now the son is giving away Mauritian sovereignty.”
1. The Embassy has received a diplomatic note from the government of Mauritius objecting to the summer 2010 visit of the USS Emory S. Land to Diego Garcia.
2. The note refers to an announcement made by Rear Admiral Douglas McAneny, Commander Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet, regarding the Land’s visit and states (stripped of formulaic opening and closing):
BEGIN TEXT: “The Government of the Republic of Mauritius strongly objects to the proposed deployment of the USS Emory S. Land to Diego Garcia, which forms an integral part of the territory of the Republic of Mauritius. The Government of the Republic of Mauritius reiterates that the Chagos Archipelago, including Diego Garcia, is part of the sovereign territory of the Republic of Mauritius under Mauritian law as well as international law. It deplores the fact that Mauritius is still not in a position to exercise effective control over the Chagos Archipelago in view of its illegal excision by the British Government from Mauritius prior to its independence. Moreover, as a party to the African Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty), the Republic of Mauritius has the obligation to prohibit in its territory the stationing and the testing of any nuclear explosive device.” END TEXT
3. COMMENT: The sovereignty of Diego Garcia is an emotional issue for Mauritius. It is also a political issue which is receiving increased attention as the country moves toward national elections this year. The diplomatic note is a result of significant newspaper coverage of Rear Admiral McAneny’s announcement and the well-publicised claims of environmental NGOs regarding the possible presence of nuclear weapons on Diego Garcia. Mauritian criticism may be expected to resurface as the date for the Land’s visit approaches. END COMMENT
Diego Garcia/Chagos is a highly-emotional issue in Mauritius, with the GOM claiming that the archipelago is an integral part of the territory of Mauritius which “the British government illegally excised from Mauritius prior to independence.” Unfortunately, our attempts to secure a SOFA with Mauritius have become entangled in the Diego Garcia/Chagos issue.
The polite Mauritius-France discussions regarding Tromelin are in marked contrast to the frosty diplomatic chill hanging over the Mauritius-UK negotiations concerning Chagos/Diego Garcia (islands similarly claimed by Mauritius). The UK last year unilaterally proposed a vast Marine Protected Area surrounding the Chagos, which Mauritius has strongly opposed (arguing that any such proposal should be the result of direct bilateral negotiations between Mauritius and the UK).
HMG: Her Majesty’s Government (Government of the United Kingdom)
Ilois: Îlois, also Chagossians or Chagos Islanders.
USNS: United States Naval Ship