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6. Buchanan argues that importing this chrome will actually hurt the Rhodesians by depriving them of a valuable asset which they might sell on the black market. The fact is that Ian Smith has not been able to sell all the chrome he's got, let alone these 200,000 U.S. tons. Most important, however, neither the Rhodesians, nor the Africans, nor our own Congress would see this as a simple economic deal. Sanctions are nothing if not a political instrument. Ian Smith and his supporters will jump on this licensing and play it for all it's worth as a softening of U.S. pressure, a lessening of our support for the UN, and a signal to other countries to throw in the towel. The President may wish to do that, but that is a decision that has to be taken after the most careful review of all the consequences and in the framework of our general policy objectives in Southern Africa. This is not only an economic benefit to U.S. firms, but a clear political windfall for Rhodesia. We could reasonably extract some quid for the chromium quo.
7. Buchanan says a license would win us some friends in the business community and encounter only "short-lived ... flak from the Left." I must say this seems to me the most dubious proposition of all, when Senator Kennedy et al. are looking for every chance to embarrass the Administration on racially loaded issues such as Southern Africa. As for our business friends, other users and importers of chrome might well frown on a deal which gave Foote and Union Carbide special access to captive chrome supplies. Then too, we can expect the nickel, asbestos and lithium people to seek similar relief. The door would be open on sanctions, or we would indeed lose some business friends.
Again, a case can be made for the President taking that heat as the cost of a conscious policy calculated to be in the national interest. But that only argues further for the most rigorous and comprehensive look at all sides of the problem.
8. Chrome companies, Southern Africa and the Congress aside, our British allies are in Rhodesian sanctions up to their necks. If nothing else, the President's relationship with Harold Wilson demands that we look at Rhodesian chrome as a decidedly political commodity.
9. Finally, if this is to be, as Buchanan presents it, a “one-shot” deal, it solves neither the long-range problem of chrome supply which is allegedly hurting the industry nor OEP's desire for U.S. industry to be freed from greater dependence on the world market (read the USSR). Recommendations:
1. That you reply to Haldeman that this decision has wide implications for Southern African policy, and we should hold implementation
Senator Edward M. Kennedy (D-MA).
a few weeks pending the current NSC study (a note to that effect is at Tab C).
2. That I introduce the chrome problem as a specific issue for decision in the NSC paper.
Approve Disapprove Speak to me
7 Tab C is not attached.
Kissinger initialed his approval and wrote: “Do memo for Haldeman. Also point out that Pat shouldn't by-pass chrome channel." A May 16 memorandum from Kissinger to Haldeman emphasized the need to address the issue as part of the administration's policy review of southern Africa. (National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 743, Country Files, Africa, Rhodesia, Vol. I)
Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National
Washington, May 15, 1969.
Black African Manifesto on Southern Africa
Fourteen states held the fifth East and Central African Summit meeting earlier this month in Lusaka, Zambia. The main product of the summit was a joint manifesto which is rather remarkable for its conciliatory tone toward the white states in Southern Africa. Attached is a copy of the manifesto, which is worth skimming as background for the upcoming NSC consideration of U.S. policy toward Southern Africa. (I have taken the liberty of marking important passages in the document).
The black Africans are never at a loss to condemn minority rule in the white regimes or to criticize the West for its failure to take tougher action on the problem. But this latest statement is notably more moderate than those of the past. Some of its main points:
1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 747, Country Files, Africa, Zambia, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.
2 Attached but not printed. The Fifth Summit Conference of East and Central African States was held April 14–16. The “Manifesto on Southern Africa" was issued on April 16.
(1) The “liberation" of Southern Africa does not mean racialism in reverse. All people now living in the area are judged to be “Africans” regardless of skin color.
(2) The Portuguese hold on Mozambique and Angola was criticized not for racialism, but for “the pretense that Portugal exists in Africa.” If the Portuguese would accept the principle of selfdetermination, the African states would try to get the guerrilla movements in the territories to put down their arms and work for a peaceful transfer of power. White settlers would be welcomed by new black governments, however, with the hope that a "liberated" Angola and Mozambique would simply become African versions of Brazil.
(a) the British should “re-assert" their authority in Rhodesia to bring about majority rule (just how this is to be done the statement doesn't make clear);
(b) the UN should enable Southwest Africa to exercise self-determination (again the means are not specified); and
(c) South Africa should be kicked out of the UN and generally ostracized by the world community.
We should not read too much into the manifesto. The hard political realities of the area remain: (1) for reasons of domestic politics and racial pride, African leaders will not abandon their basic opposition to white minority rule, yet (2) they can't reach their objective in Southern Africa without outside and especially U.S.-support. The long-run problem here for black Africa is how to reconcile their passion with that dependence.
We certainly cannot deduce the ultimate thrust of black policy from this manifesto. But it is interesting for its departures from the standard rhetoric. For the moment at least, the Africans may have found tactical reasons for trying a milder approach in talking about their problem.
Intelligence Note From the Director of the Bureau of
Washington, June 24, 1969.
South Africa: The Invisible Government
A South African law, soon to take effect, further strengthens the secret police at the expense of an open society. While there is no visible threat to white domination, the government continues to extend its repressive legislation.
The Latest Club. Under South Africa's weird blend of parliamentary democracy and totalitarianism, the government has once more passed another bill to further limit civil rights. A recently enacted law makes legally unanswerable to the courts the Bureau for State Security, a combined police and intelligence agency. In essence, the new legislation forbids disclosure of any information concerning BOSS (an acronym bestowed by the English-language press), even in judicial proceedings, without the government's authorization. The government, for example, can prevent accused persons from testifying even in their own defense, if it wants to suppress their evidence. The law is vague enough to encompass most public discussion of police activities and may silence future criticism in this area.
Who's BOSS? Formed earlier this year by a merger of military and police intelligence, BOSS has a direct line to Prime Minister John Vorster. It is headed by General H.J. Van den Bergh, probably the strongest man in the country after Vorster. The two men have been close friends for years, dating from when both were imprisoned during World War II by the Smuts government for pro-Nazi activities. Van den Bergh, who rose to be head of the Security Branch when Vorster was Minister of Justice, has successfully crushed white and non-white opposition in the country; he even felt strong enough in 1968 to crack down on extreme-right Afrikaner critics of Vorster.
Overkill. There is no imminent foreign threat, and Pretoria's military and police power have the internal security situation under firm control. An arsenal of legislation already exists, providing for indefinite detention without trial, house arrest, banishment, and other forms of intimidation, so that the BOSS law will not really cover any serious chink in the government's defensive armor.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL 23 S AFR. Secret; No Foreign Dissem; Controlled Dissem. Denney initialed for Hughes.
Embarrassment. The law, however, will plug the few remaining loopholes that permit publicity damaging to the regime's efforts to improve South Africa's image overseas. One recent subject of press coverage has been the death of James Lenkoe, a Lesotho national caught in a minor pass raid, who was reputed to have hanged himself in jail. A public inquest has suggested the likelihood that he was electrocuted during police interrogation. An on-going trial of a liberal antigovernment newspaper has given publicity to torture and brutality in prisons. In 1968 Gabriel Mbindi, a South West African, became the latest of a number of political prisoners to have his case for damages stemming from police beatings settled out of court by the government; the case was widely publicized in the English-language press. The act also reflects the government's mounting resentment of overseasfinanced legal aid programs for political prisoners. The BOSS law will probably stop all this.
No Signs of Loosening Up. In spite of a booming economy and an ever increasing standard of living for whites (and for some non-whites too), a growing trade with black Africa, and a desire to establish better contacts with the outside world, South Africa's repressive legislation has multiplied in the past decade. The fact that the government is so strong and yet still goes to such lengths to quell even mild criticism suggests that South Africa has no intention of easing rigid controls or of liberalizing the political system.
2 See RAF RM-3, “South Africa: Further Curbs on Press Freedom,” April 10, 1969 (Confidential/No Foreign Dissem/Controlled Dissem). [Footnote is in the original.]