Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Statement by the President in Support of a Truce in Nigeria.

December 21, 1968

HIS IMPERIAL MAJESTY, the Emperor of Ethiopia, has appealed to both sides in the Nigerian civil war to observe a weeklong truce on the occasion of Christmas and the Moslem holiday of 'Id al-Fitr.

I wish to express the heartfelt support of the American people for this statesmanlike act. We earnestly hope that all nations will join us in urging the parties in this tragic conflict to accept this truce.

The Nigerian Government has already issued orders for a 2-day cease-fire. It is the fervent desire of all Americans that this action will be reciprocated by the Biafran authorities and that both sides will agree to extend this arrangement to the full period proposed by the Emperor.

A cease-fire, however brief, will be a precious respite from the bloodshed and destruction that has stricken Nigeria. But silencing the guns for 7 days will not alone save the millions who face starvation or heal the deep wounds dividing a great nation.

Only the end of fighting will permit a deeply concerned world to provide the necessary quantities of food and medicine to those in desperate need on both sides of the lines of battle. From this pause we hope that both sides will summon new courage to make peace.

Note: The statement was released at Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Statement by the President in Support of a Truce in Nigeria. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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