Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Message to Haile Selassie, Chairman of the Consultative Committee on Nigeria of the Organization of African Unity.

August 05, 1968

Your Imperial Majesty:

The starvation and suffering in Nigeria have aroused the conscience of men everywhere. Friends of Africa around the world share the profound hope that the negotiations you and your distinguished colleagues begin today will bring an end to this tragic conflict.

I know the task is complex and the bitterness deep. But I know all Americans join me in urging that means be quickly found to ensure that innocent civilians are no longer made the victims of war.

Relief supplies are already nearby. The International Committee of the Red Cross, supported by many voluntary agencies and governments, including our own, stands ready to mount a major relief effort in the affected areas. That effort has already been frustrated too long.

Your Majesty, we in the United States remain ready to continue in every possible way to help in the humanitarian task of providing and moving supplies to the people who need them so desperately. The political aspects of the problem obviously must be settled by the parties concerned, with the help of their African neighbors. But feeding the starving and casing the suffering of civilian populations are the most basic obligations of common humanity. I know that you and your fellow statesmen will extend every effort to allow these obligations to be met.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sincerely,

LYNDON B. JOHNSON

[His Majesty Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia]

Note: The Committee, which was beginning negotiations in Addis Ababa, is composed of the heads of state of Cameroon, the Congo (Kinshasa), Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, and Niger.

The text of the message was released at Austin, Texas.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Message to Haile Selassie, Chairman of the Consultative Committee on Nigeria of the Organization of African Unity. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237732

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