US embassy cable - 87KAMPALA184

MEETING WITH MUSEVENI.

Identifier: 87KAMPALA184
Wikileaks: View 87KAMPALA184 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Kampala
Created: 1987-01-21 13:58:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: EAID PREL PHUM US
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
R 211358Z JAN 87
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6103
USDOC WASHDC
INFO AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM
AMEMBASSY KIGALI
AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA
AMEMBASSY KINSHASA
AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
AMEMBASSY LONDON
USIA WASHDC 3249
SECDEF WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE
USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 04 KAMPALA 00184 
 
E.O. 12356: DECL:OADR 
TAGS: EAID, PREL, PHUM, US 
SUBJECT:  MEETING WITH MUSEVENI. 
 
1.  CONFIDENTIAL - ENTIRE TEXT. 
 
2.  INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY: 
 
AMBASSADOR ACCOMPANIED BY PAO MET WITH UGANDAN PRESIDENT 
YOWERI MUSEVENI FOR ALMOST TWO HOURS AT STATE HOUSE ENTEBBE 
JANUARY 15.  THE MAJORITY OF THE MEETING CONCENTRATED ON 
HUMAN RIGHTS AND NRA USE OF "3-PIECE TIE".  AMBASSADOR 
DESCRIBED HIS EFFORTS TO ENCOURAGE US TRADERS TO JOIN IN 
BARTER TRADE WITH UGANDA.  MUSEVENI WELCOMED US WILLINGNESS 
TO RESPOND TO RECENT PL-480 REQUEST.  THE PRESIDENT CLAIMED 
THAT DESPITE SOME RECENT SHARP ENGAGEMENTS WITH UNLA 
REMNANTS IN THE NORTH, HE FELT THAT THE SECURITY SITUATION 
IN THE NORTH WAS QUICKLY COMING UNDER CONTROL.  THE 
PROBLEM COULD BE AT AN END WITHIN TWO MONTHS.  THE PRESIDENT 
CASTIGATED THE FOREIGN MINISTRY FOR ITS INEPTITUDE IN 
ATTEMPTING TO ARRANGE A VISIT FOR HIM TO THE UNITED STATES 
LAST YEAR, AND ASKED THE AMBASSADOR'S ASSISTANCE IN PROPERLY 
WORKING OUT A VISIT TO WASHINGTON AND A CALL ON PRESIDENT 
REAGAN THIS FALL.  END SUMMARY. 
 
3.  HUMAN RIGHTS: 
 
THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT UGANDA HAD SUFFERED A "HANGOVER" 
FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES OF THE AMIN AND OBOTE PERIODS 
AND THAT IN RECENT MONTHS THE SPECIAL HUMAN RIGHTS SCRUTINY 
THAT HAD BEEN APPLIED BY THE USG TO THINGS SUCH AS MULTI- 
LATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANK LOANS TO UGANDA HAD EASED AS A 
RESULT OF THE IMPROVED HUMAN RIGHTS PERFORMANCE OF THE NRM 
GOVERNMENT.  THE USG WOULD CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE HUMAN 
RIGHTS SITUATION IN UGANDA CLOSELY AND HOPED THAT THE FORMER 
SENIOR MEMBERS OF GOVERNMENT WHO HAD BEEN ARRESTED ON TREASON 
CHARGES WOULD SOON COME TO TRIAL AND RECEIVE THE FULL 
PROTECTION OF THE LAW DURING THE HEARING OF THEIR CASES.  THE 
PRESIDENT SAID THERE NEED NOT BE ANY FEAR ON THAT SCORE AS 
THE TRIALS WOULD TAKE PLACE SOON.  HE ADDED THAT IF THERE WAS 
NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO BRING A PARTICULAR CASE TO TRIAL THE 
INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED WOULD BE RELEASED.  BASED UPON HIS 
MONITORING OF THE INVESTIGATION SO FAR, HE FELT THAT THERE 
WOULD BE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO BRING SOME TO TRIAL, WHILE 
OTHERS IN CUSTODY WOULD BE RELEASED BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT 
EVIDENCE. 
 
4.  THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE WAS DISTURBED TO HEAR THAT THE 
NRA WAS USING THE "3-PIECE TIE" IN THE NORTH AS A MEANS OF 
EXTRACTING INFORMATION DURING THE INTERROGATION OF PRISONERS. 
MUSEVENI ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THE 3-PIECE TIE WAS BEING USED 
AND WONDERED WHY IT SHOULD CONCERN OUTSIDE OBSERVERS.  THE 
AMBASSADOR REPLIED THAT THE INFLICTION OF PAIN TO ELICIT 
INFORMATION FROM A DETAINEE WAS TORTURE AND A VIOLATION OF 
HUMAN RIGHTS, ADDING THAT HE HAD HEARD OF CASES WHERE 
GANGRENE HAD DEVELOPED AND ARMS HAD TO BE AMPUTATED AS A 
RESULT OF THE USE OF THE 3-PIECE TIE.  MUSEVENI PROTESTED 
THAT IF PROPERLY APPLIED THE 3-PIECE TIE SHOULD NOT RESULT 
IN SUCH INJURY.  HE WENT ON TO CLAIM THAT WITHOUT ITS USE 
THE NRA WOULD BE SEVERELY HAMPERED IN BRINGING PEACE TO TESO 
AND SOUTH KARAMOJA WHICH WERE CURRENTLY BEING PLAGUED BY 
ARMED RUSTLERS.  "I DON'T LIKE CRUELTY BUT WE MUST HAVE 
TOUGHNESS," CONTINUED THE PRESIDENT.  "THESE PEOPLE ARE 
USED TO A ROUGH LIFE; THEY ARE NOT PUNISHED BY BEING LOCKED 
UP.  IF YOU'RE NOT TOUGH WITH LAWLESS ELEMENTS, THE LAW 
ABIDING FEAR TO TALK.  IF YOU JUST USE VERBAL INTERROGATION, 
IT WON'T GET ANYWHERE."  THE AMBASSADOR SAID THAT THE USE 
OF TORTURE COULD NOT BE RATIONALIZED BY CLAIMS THAT IT WAS 
USED IN THE PURSUIT OF A "GOOD CAUSE."  "THE 3-PIECE TIE IS 
A FORM OF TORTURE AND CLEARLY A HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSE WHICH IF 
CONTINUED BY THE NRA WILL SERIOUSLY UNDERMINE THE FAVORABLE 
HUMAN RIGHTS REPUTATION WHICH HAD BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE 
NEW NRM GOVERNMENT." 
 
5.  IN RESPONSE TO MUSEVENI'S REQUEST THAT THE AMBASSADOR 
DEFINE TORTURE THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE WOULD BE HAPPY TO 
OBTAIN A PRECISE DEFINITION FROM THE HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS 
IN WASHINGTON, BUT THAT AS FAR AS HE WAS CONCERNED THE 
INFLICTION OF PAIN TO ELICIT INFORMATION WAS CLEARLY TORTURE 
AND A HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION.  THE PRESIDENT REJOINED THAT 
HE WAS NOT INTERESTED IN HURTING ANYONE BUT SIMPLY WANTED 
TO BRING STABILITY.  THERE WAS A CULTURAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 
UGANDA AND THE WEST.  THE PRESIDENT ASSERTED THAT IF HE 
TRIED TO USE MORE HUMANE METHODS HE WOULD BE SWIMMING 
AGAINST THE TIDE OF POPULAR OPINION.  THE POPULAR VIEW IS 
THAT THIEVES SHOULD BE HURT.  MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE THE LEGAL 
MACHINERY IS HOPELESS AND AS A CONSEQUENCE TAKE THE LAW 
INTO THEIR OWN HANDS.  THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE DID NOT WANT 
TO BELABOR THE POINT BUT IF THE NRA PERSISTED IN THE USE 
OF THE 3-PIECE TIE THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM THAT THEY WERE 
TRULY DIFFERENT FROM PREVIOUS UNPOPULAR REGIMES WOULD HAVE 
A HOLLOW RING. 
 
6.  COMMENT:  MUSEVENI'S ATTEMPT TO LIGHTLY DISMISS AND 
THEN DEFEND THE USE OF THE 3-PIECE TIE WAS DISAPPOINTING 
AND SOMEWHAT DISTURBING.  BASED ON HIS REACTIONS, I SUSPECT 
THAT OUR INTERVENTION WAS THE FIRST TIME HE HAD BEEN 
SERIOUSLY CHALLENGED ON IT.  THE EMBASSY WILL BE APPROACHING 
OTHER EMBASSIES AND MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO REINFORCE 
THIS DEMARCHE TO THE PRESIDENT. 
 
7.  BARTER TRADE: 
 
THE AMBASSADOR SAID HE WOULD NOT REVIEW THE OBVIOUS LIMITATIONS 
OF THE BARTER TRADE AS IT ALREADY HAD BEEN DISCUSSED IN DETAIL 
WITH MANY MINISTERS.  HE SIMPLY WANTED THE PRESIDENT TO KNOW 
THAT IF HIS GOVERNMENT WAS HELL-BENT ON PURSUING THIS FORM OF 
TRADE, HE WANTED HIM TO KNOW THERE WERE A NUMBER OF AMERICAN 
FIRMS ENGAGED IN THIS TYPE OF ECONOMIC ACTIVITY AND THAT THE 
GOVERNMENT MIGHT FIND IT MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO DEAL WITH THEM 
THAN TO PURSUE SOME OF THE GOVERNMENT-TO-GOVERNMENT DEALS 
CURRENTLY BEING DISCUSSED.  THE AMBASSADOR MENTIONED THAT ONE 
OF THE FRUSTRATIONS IN TRYING TO ASSIST AMERICAN COMPANIES, 
SUCH AS GENERAL MOTORS, WHO WERE INTERESTED IN GETTING 
INVOLVED IN BARTER TRADE WITH UGANDA WAS THE DIFFICULTY OF 
OBTAINING GOOD INFORMATION ON THE TYPES AND QUANTITIES OF 
COMMODITIES UGANDA COULD MAKE AVAILABLE FOR BARTER.  REFERRING 
TO THE CIVIL SERVANTS IN THE VARIOUS MINISTRIES, THE PRESIDENT 
SAID "THESE FELLOWS ARE NOT SERIOUS" AND THEN INSTRUCTED HIS 
PERSONAL ASSISTANT TO SEND THE AMBASSADOR THE REQUESTED 
INFORMATION.  THE AMBASSADOR MENTIONED THAT AN AMERICAN 
BARTER TRADING FIRM, THE IBE CORPORATION OF NEW YORK, WOULD 
BE SIGNING AN AGREEMENT-WITH THE MINISTRY OF COMMERCE WHICH 
WOUL? P?OIDE THE FRAMEWORK (E.G., SWING CREDIT ARRANGEMENTS) 
FOR THEM TO TRADE WITH UGANDA.  IBE WOULD BE IN A POSITION 
TO PROVIDE FARM EQUIPMENT ON CREDIT AND THEN TAKE PAYMENT 
IN AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE TO LIQUIDATE THE DEBT.  THE PRESIDENT 
BEAMED THAT THIS WAS EXACTLY THE TYPE OF DEAL HE WOULD LIKE 
TO FOSTER AND THANKED THE AMBASSADOR FOR ENCOURAGING 
AMERICAN FIRMS TO CONSIDER BARTERING WITH UGANDA. 
 
8.  U.S. ASSISTANCE: 
 
THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THE PL-480 REQUEST RECENTLY RECEIVED 
FROM THE GOU, COMMENTING THAT IT WAS RECEIVING EXPEDITIOUS 
CONSIDERATION IN WASHINGTON.  MUSEVENI ACKNOWLEDGED THAT 
THERE HAD BEEN AN EVOLUTION IN GOVERNMENT THINKING REGARDING 
FOOD AID AND THAT THERE WAS NOW AN APPRECIATION THAT PL-480 
COULD BE IMPORTANT IN MEETING NEAR-TERM FEEDING REQUIREMENTS, 
AS WELL AS IN GENERATING RESOURCES FOR LONGER-TERM DEVELOPMENT. 
THE AMBASSADOR COMMENTED THAT THE EMBASSY WAS FOLLOWING VERY 
CLOSELY GOVERNMENT'S DIALOGUE WITH THE WORLD BANK AND THE IMF 
ON ECONOMIC POLICY, EMPHASIZING THAT OUR LONGER-TERM 
ASSISTANCE PLANNING WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO ACCOMPLISH BEFORE 
GOVERNMENT REACHED SOME BASIC DECISIONS ON ECONOMIC POLICY 
(E.G., EXCHANGE RATE ADJUSTMENT).  THE AMBASSADOR SHARED 
WITH MUSEVENI A COPY OF A DRAFT PLANNING CONCEPT PAPER 
PREPARED BY THE AID MISSION STATING THAT WHILE IT HAD NO 
APPROVAL OR STATUS IN WASHINGTON, WE WOULD LIKE TO USE IT 
AS A BASIS FOR DISCUSSING WITH GOVERNMENT ITS DEVELOPMENT 
OBJECTIVES AND PRIORITIES, AND HOW THE USG MIGHT BEST ASSIST. 
MUSEVENI SAID HE WOULD READ THE PAPER AND LOOKED FORWARD 
TO OPENING A DIALOGUE ON DEVELOPMENT PLANNING. 
 
9.  SUDAN SITUATION: 
 
THE AMBASSADOR ASKED FOR MUSEVENI'S ASSESSMENT OF WHAT WAS 
HAPPENING IN THE SOUTHERN SUDAN AND WHETHER THERE WAS ANY 
USEFUL ROLE WHICH THE USG OR OTHER OUTSIDE PARTIES COULD 
PLAY TO BRING THE PARTIES TO THE NEGOTIATING TABLE.  MUSEVENI 
SAID HE DID NOT HAVE ANY RECOMMENDATION AT THIS TIME BUT THAT 
HE WOULD THINK ABOUT IT.  HE SAID HE HAD ADVISED GARANG LAST 
YEAR TO TALK SERIOUSLY WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN KHARTOUM.  AS 
FAR AS THE PRESIDENT WAS CONCERNED THE CONFLICT HAD TO BE 
SOLVED POLITICALLY; HE COMMENTED THAT HE THOUGHT THE SUDANESE 
GOVERNMENT WAS PARANOID ABOUT GARANG'S RELATIONSHIP WITH 
ETHIOPIA.  GARANG WAS NOT IN ADDIS BECAUSE HE SUPPORTS THE 
ETHIOPIAN GOVERNMENT BUT RATHER BECAUSE THEY ARE HIS ONLY 
SUBSTANTIAL SOURCE OF SUPPORT.  THE PRESIDENT SAID THE 
SUDANESE HAD MADE TWO FUNDAMENTAL ERRORS: THEY ASSERTED 
THAT THE SUDAN WAS AN ARAB NATION AND AN ISLAMIC COUNTRY. 
 
10.  SITUATION IN THE NORTH: 
 
THE AMBASSADOR ASKED HOW THE FIGHTING IN THE NORTH WAS 
PROGRESSING AND MUSEVENI REPLIED THAT THE NRA'S RECENT 
OPERATIONS ALONG THE SUDANESE BORDER HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL. 
THE UNLA REMNANTS LACKED A CENTRAL COMMAND, A COHERENT 
STRATEGY, AND POLITICAL PROGRAM.  HE ADMITTED THAT THE 
REBELS HAD TAKEN THE NRA BY SURPRISE WHEN THEY ATTACKED 
LAST AUGUST BUT FELT THAT THE NRA NOW HAD ADEQUATE FORCES 
IN THE NORTH AND WAS IN A POSITION TO "FINISH THEM IN 
TWO MONTHS."  HE OBSERVED THAT THE KEY PROBLEM IN TRYING 
TO PURSUE A NEGOTIATED END TO THE CONFLICT WAS THAT THE NRA 
WAS FACING PEOPLE WHO WERE "POLITICALLY PRIMITIVE."  HE 
CLAIMED THAT EVIDENCE HAD RECENTLY COME TO THE NRA'S 
ATTENTION THAT THE UNLA FORCES WERE INVOKING WITHCRAFT 
TO ENTHUSE THEIR FORCES.  IT WAS NOT WORKING AND WAS 
LEADING TO THE LOPSIDED CASUALTY FIGURES IN THE NRA'S 
FAVOR. 
 
11.  MUSEVENI TRIP TO WASHINGTON. 
 
WHEN THE AMBASSADOR ASKED IF THE PRESIDENT HAD ANY ISSUES 
HE WANTED TO RAISE, MUSEVENI SAID HE HAD BEEN EMBARRASSED 
AND ANGERED BY THE POOR ADVICE AND PERFORMANCE OF THE 
FOREIGN MINISTRY WHEN IT RECOMMENDED HE VISIT WASHINGTON 
LAST YEAR.  THAT SAID, THE PRESIDENT QUICKLY CONTINUED 
THAT HE WOULD LIKE TO VISIT WASHINGTON LATER THIS YEAR. 
THE AMBASSADOR NOTED THAT THE PRESIDENT WAS PLANNING TO 
ATTEND THE COMMONWEALTH MEETING IN CANADA AND WOULD PROBABLY 
ALSO BE INTERESTED IN ATTENDING THE UNGA.  THOSE TWO EVENTS 
SUGGESTED A GENERAL TIMEFRAME FOR A VISIT TO WASHINGTON 
WHICH THE AMBASSADOR WOULD SO RECOMMEND TO HIS GOVERNMENT. 
THE AMBASSADOR ADDED, HOWEVER, THAT ARRANGING A MEETING 
WITH PRESIDENT REAGAN WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT AND COMMENTED 
THAT HE HAD BEEN DISAPPOINTED WHEN MUSEVENI DECIDED NOT TO 
TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES LAST YEAR, WHEN IT BECAME 
APPARENT THAT A MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT WOULD NOT BE 
POSSIBLE.  A NUMBER OF VERY USEFUL MEETINGS WITH SENIOR 
MEMBERS OF THE ADMINISTRATION SHORT OF THE PRESIDENT, AND 
KEY FIGURES IN THE CONGRESS AND THE PRIVATE SECTOR COULD 
HAVE BEEN ARRANGED.  ASSURING MUSEVENI THAT HE WOULD MAKE 
HIS BEST EFFORT TO TRY TO ARRANGE A CALL ON PRESIDENT 
REAGAN, THE AMBASSADOR ADDED THAT SHOULD IT NOT BE POSSIBLE, 
A VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES TO MEET OTHER INFLUENTIAL 
PERSONALITIES IS STILL VERY MUCH IN HIS INTEREST. 
 
12.  COMMENT: 
 
MUSEVENI OBVIOUSLY WANTS VERY BADLY TO VISIT WASHINGTON 
AND CALL ON THE PRESIDENT, AND FINDS IT HARD TO BELIEVE 
THAT IT IS SO DIFFICULT TO ARRANGE, ESPECIALLY AFTER HIS 
SUCCESSFUL TRIP TO EUROPE WHERE HE MET WITH PRIME MINISTER 
THATCHER, THE QUEEN, THE KING OF THE BELGIANS, THE POPE, 
ETCETERA.  MUSEVENI KNOWS LITTLE OF THE WESTERN WORLD 
AND A VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE MOST BENEFICIAL. 
LET US START NOW TO TRY AND ARRANGE AN OFFICE CALL ON THE 
PRESIDENT WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF HIS TRAVEL TO NORTH AMERICA 
IN THE FALL. 
 
 
HOUDEK 

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