The Conoco – Somalia Declassification Project # 4

Raymond Marchand, President of Conoco Somalia

1. “Views of an Old Africa Hand.” Cable from US Embassy in Mogadishu to State Department Headquarters. 30 September 1990. Cable Number: Mogadishu 08487. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2006-01-288) to Keith Yearman. Conoco Somalia’s President, Raymond Marchand, met with Ambassador James K. Bishop to discuss the security situation in Somalia. “[He] took his family out of Somalia in August because he decided the Siad regime could not last much longer and that its demise probably would be chaotic. [He] closed down Conoco’s field operations in northern Somalia at the same time, because insurgent activity in the country side [sic] made it impossible to transport necessary supplies to the site where the company was preparing to drill its third well…He feels the current government will be overthrown by the end of the year.”

2. “Your Meeting with Raymond Marchand, President of CONOCO Somalia, April 2, at 2:30 p.m.” Letter from Martin L. Cheses, Bureau of African and Near Eastern Affairs, to Herman J. Cohen. 31 March 1992. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2004-04-554) to Keith Yearman. This letter is a briefing for a meeting between Raymond Marchand and Cohen. “…Marchand, in contrast to almost everyone else, has some optimistic thoughts about Somalia.”

3. “TSF001 – Letter to Conoco.” Cable from US Liaison Office Mogadishu to State Department Headquarters. 15 December 1992. Cable Number: Mogadishu 000004. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2004-04-554) to Keith Yearman.Oakley writes to Brandon Grove, leader of an interagency task force on Somalia, to “arrange a letter of appreciation from President Bush to the president of Conoco for the tremendous support that Conoco as a corporation and Raymond Marchand as an individual have provided here.” This document was forwarded to the United States Delegation as State 403689 on 16 December 1992.

4. “Situation in Somalia: Conoco Ready to Return.” Cable from US Embassy in Djibouti to State Department Headquarters. 14 April 1991. Cable Number: Djibouti 00976. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman.Entitled “Situation in Somalia: Conoco Ready to Return,” Conoco personnel noted a “stable” security situation in northern Somalia. In an apparent reference to Conoco Somalia’s President Raymond Marchand, “he would be happy to take Djibouti [embassy officers], Mogadishu [political officer] John Fox, or other American officials with him on his next trip to Berbera.” In this briefing of Djibouti embassy officials, Marchand described a recent trip to northern Somalia. In Berbera, “the SNM has succeeded to a great degree in disarming the population and has established a rudimentary justice system which sounds like something from the Old West: Murder, armed robbery and certain other ‘weapons offenses’ are capital crimes, and several executions have occurred. The frontier justice system seems to be working…”

5. “Condition of IPAC Facilities in Berbera.” Cable from US Embassy in Nairobi to State Department Headquarters. 15 April 1991. Cable Number: Nairobi 09509. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman. The Navy and IPAC had previously been quite active in the city of Berbera. Marchand, upon returning from his trip to Berbera, informed the State Department that the US government residences in Berbera had “been looted of all furniture and are in need of a thorough cleaning..[but he] gave no information on the condition of the fuel storage and pumping equipment in Berbera.”

6. “TFS001: ETA – Admoff Swenson.” Cable from US Liaison Office Mogadishu to State Department Headquarters. 26 December 1992. Cable Number: Mogadishu 000068. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2004-04-554) to Keith Yearman. Oakley describes Conoco representative Raymand Marchand as “one of our major supporters to our reentry into Mogadishu.” Also, “this would be an ideal opportunity to work out future arrangements in continuing to occupy Conoco’s compound and its resources.”

Conoco’s Role in Reconcilliation

1. “SNM to Propose Federation.” Cable from US Embassy in Nairobi to State Department Headquarters. 18 June 1991. Cable Number: Nairobi 14987. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman. The Somaliland National Movement was preparing a proposal to form a federation with the Ali Mahdi government in Mogadishu. The source of this information apparently came from within Conoco. Cable from US Embassy in Nairobi to State Department Headquarters. 19 June 1991. Cable Number: Nairobi 15103. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman. A source (a Conoco employee) reported fighting in Mogadishu on June 16 and 17. The fighting “involved some heavy guns” and “was serious enough to force the closure of the Ministry of Mineral Resources on June 17 and to scare bus traffic off the streets…[The political officer] was able to hear sounds of automatic weapons firing over the telephone.”

2. “Somali National Reconciliation Conference: An Organizer’s Views on Next Steps.” Cable from US Embassy in Djibouti to State Department Headquarters. 20 June 1991. Cable Number: Djibouti 01559. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman. This cable discusses reconciliation conferences. The US government was asked to “play a greater role in the reconciliation process.” Conferees sent a message to the Europeans. As Ambassador Barrett reported, “One element of this message is said to be a reference to a possible future request for international military intervention for the purpose of disarming tribal militias and restoring order…”

Concerning Conoco, Barrett’s source “claims to have seen an internal document of Conoco (Somalia), which states that sites in the Garoe-Las Anod area are capable of producing 300,000 barrels of oil per day. Conoco’s drilling rig near Garoe is, we understand, technically outside the boundaries of former British Somaliland. However, if the presence of large quantities of oil is confirmed, the bulk of the Somali oilfield will probably lie under soil controlled by the SNM. A confirmed strike could pre-empt moves toward reconciliation by making it appear more likely to northerners that the ‘Somaliland Republic’ is a viable economic entity. It could also set off battles between clans for control of land where drilling is expected.”

Miscellaneous Documents

1. “[Excised] Security in Northern Somalia.” Cable from US Embassy in Djibouti to State Department Headquarters. 13 April 1991. Cable Number: Djibouti 00967. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman.Ambassador Robert S. Barrett reported on a visit by Conoco personnel to the Somali cities of Berbera, Hargeisa and Garoe. The Somaliland National Movement were reportedly “anxious to have ‘visitors from the State Department,’ and that any Americans traveling to northern Somalia would be met ‘with open arms.'”

2. “Somalia Weekly Wrap-Up No. 15.” Cable from US Embassy in Nairobi to State Department Headquarters. 13 June 1991. Cable Number: Nairobi 14783. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman. A weekly overview of the situation in Somalia; apparently a source in the redacted portions of the document was connected to Conoco.

3. “Mogadishu Daily Report for 9/30/9L.” Cable from US Embassy in Nairobi to State Department Headquarters. 1 October 1991. Cable Number: Nairobi 23995. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2005-05-183) to Keith Yearman. “Conoco (Somalia), Ltd. expatriate employees returned to Somalia today. After visiting their rig site in Garoe and stopping for one day in Hargeisa, they will re-open their offices in Mogadishu.”

4. “Guidance for Personnel Travelling to Mogadishu” [sic]. Cable from US Liaison Office Mogadishu to State Department Headquarters. 20 December 1992. Cable Number: Mogadishu 000029. Source: Freedom of Information Act release (2004-04-554) to Keith Yearman. This cable provides a travel guide for incoming personnel regarding food and vaccinations.

Leave a Reply

Be the First to Comment!

Notify of
avatar
wpDiscuz
error: Content is protected !!