The folks at Wikileaks have just released another huge batch of US diplomatic cables, this time dating from 1972-1976. They’re calling them the Kissinger Cables, after the controversial US Secretary of State at that time.
With nearly two million cables, this is a vast resource for historians with an interest in US diplomacy at the height of the cold war.
There are over 4,000 cables sent from Tanzania, as well as nearly 11,000 cables sent to the country, making it rather more than an afternoon’s work to look through. But skimming through, there’s clearly a wealth of information here, most particularly on Tanzania-Uganda relations during this difficult period, and on President Nyerere’s views (privately expressed to various US diplomats) on African politics.
Around 230 more cables relating to Tanzania were released over the weekend, bringing the total to over 700. And just to make things complicated, the most recent batch are not separated from the previously released cables, so looking through the new ones requires that you also look through all the old ones.
But let’s get to the point. And there are three more points of particular interest that I have found in the new releases, as follows.
First up, the one cable that has attracted the most headlines and an emphatic denial – the claim by a former US Ambassador to Tanzania than the Kempinsky Hotel chain paid for President Kikwete to travel to London and to buy five tailor-made Saville Row suits. Continue reading →
Last week’s release by Wikileaks of the US Diplomatic Cables on Tanzania was not the “smoking gun” on the corruption scandals to have struck Tanzania in the last 5 years that some people were hoping for. But nor does it make for entirely comfortable reading for those in government who are subject to some unusually undiplomatic criticisms from the US diplomats. Continue reading →