Page images

whole question. Much will depend on determining what people of South West Africa want and South Africa hopes to do this over next several months by quiet soundings. South Africa will not necessarily be bound by assumptions of past. When Newsom asked about SWAPO, Fourie said South Africa was not clear whom SWAPO really represented. He did not exclude possibility that SWAPO might at some point play role in solution.

4. Newsom said he also, speaking personally, had felt that at least some Africans recognized realities South West African problem and that South Africa should not exclude possibility of Africans accepting approach to issue which recognized in some form African interests.

5. South Africa had expressed its readiness discuss area with Secretary General of UN. Would South Africa also be prepared for OAU representatives accompany SYG? Fourie said SAG would be unable accept anyone coming under OAU label. He did not rule out possibility individual Africans, including President of OAU in national capacity, coming to South Africa.

6. Newsom asked whether despite South Africa unwillingness accept conclusion of ICJ opinion South Africans might be prepared leave this question aside and talk about future, including removal of legal irritants, such as Terrorism Act. Fourie said, again speaking personally, South Africa might be prepared put less stress on legal status and perhaps talk about future leading toward conferences with peoples or referendum.

7. Pressures of time did not permit further conversation. Fourie expressed appreciation for discussion and said he would perhaps be floating some thoughts with Ambassador Hurd after SAG had given matter additional thought.

For London and Paris-Ref State 174301:3 Without referring to foregoing conversation you may inform respective governments that U.S. has suggested to South Africa possibility their receiving Secretary General perhaps accompanied by some Africans and discussing future of SWA possibly without direct reference to Court decision. U.S. had impression South Africa may be rethinking approach to SWA in which ways suggestions from friends for more flexible outlook may be helpful.




Document 54.


Memorandum From the President's Assistant for National
Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon

Washington, November 9, 1971.


Rhodesia: British Seem Close to an Agreement

Alec Douglas-Home announced to the House of Commons today that he will go to Rhodesia on November 14 to attempt to reach an agreement with lan Smith.

The British have informed our Embassy in London that there are still two elements in dispute between Britain and the Rhodesians. The first concerns the British insistence on the rollback of racially discriminatory laws enacted by the lan Smith regime since the declaration of independence. The second concerns the politically sensitive British need to establish that they have independently examined and ascertained the public attitudes of Rhodesians toward the settlement.

Nonetheless, it is highly unlikely that Sir Alec would be going to Rhodesia if he were not confident that a settlement will result from his visit. The British, in fact, have already worked out a scenario by which the initial agreement would be followed by a two or three month period during which the British will, somehow, discharge their commitment to “examine" the attitude of the Rhodesian people. The British consider that this will be a period of particular sensitivity, and they will be sending a senior official (Lord Godber) to Washington to explain to us the mechanics they have in mind and to underline their need for a moratorium on criticism during this two to three month period. The British will then report to the President of the Security Council that an agreement has been reached and that, therefore, the UN sanctions on Rhodesia are no longer necessary. Only at that point, will the British themselves terminate their sanctions program.

Clearly, the British are hoping to avoid a Security Council meeting on the termination of sanctions. I would judge that hope to be extremely naive. No agreement that the British can make with lan Smith is at all likely to be satisfactory to a majority of UN nations or, indeed, a majority of Security Council members. The Rhodesian issue will proba


Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-188, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 142. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation indicates the President saw it. The document is incorrectly dated November 17. Douglas-Home made his announcement on November 9. (Keesing's Contemporary Archives, 1971-1972, p. 24982)

2 Not further identified.

bly be seized upon by the Chinese representatives as an opportunity for them to assert leadership among non-white countries. The Soviets can also be counted upon to be super-virtuous in supporting African denunciations of the British "sellout".

Assuming that the British go ahead with their present plans, our problem will be to walk a narrow line between making the British position more difficult, and taking positions in which we, ourselves, become the villain of the piece and pay the political costs for the British initiative.

The British have taken their initiative without consultation with us and played a distinctly unhelpful role on the recent Chinese representation matter. They, therefore, have no particular claim on us in connection with this problem.

We are issuing a NSSM on this matter, and will be coming to you with recommendations on the posture which will minimize our political costs while not undercutting the British attempt to terminate the Rhodesian sanctions.


Document 64.


Conversation Among President Nixon, the White House
Chief of Staff (Haldeman), and the President's Assistant for
National Security Affairs (Kissinger)

Washington, November 18, 1971.

[Omitted here is conversation unrelated to Rhodesia.]

Nixon: Let me ask you one thing, Henry: what in the name of God does that damn United Nations mean on that Rhodesian chrome thing? Are we going to do what they say? How do we deal with this thing? Do we have to follow it-?

Kissinger: Of course not.

Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, Executive Office Building, Conversation 294–11. No classification marking. The editors transcribed the portions of the tape recording printed here specifically for this volume. The exchange is part of a larger conversation, 10:55 a.m.-12:42 p.m.

2 General Assembly Resolution 2765 adopted November 16 called on the United States to take all measures to prevent the importation of chrome from Southern Rhodesia. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1971, p. 103.

Nixon: How do the British feel about that?
Kissinger: They voted against it.
Nixon: With one of their two votes, huh?
Kissinger: But what I think, Mr. President, is the best-
Nixon: Because I don't want to get into it,
Haldeman: The damned Congress is going to vote the other way.
Kissinger: But, it has already (unclear).
(unclear exchange]

Nixon: I just want to be sure. I want to stay out of it. What's Ziegler going to say?

Kissinger: Well, yesterday, State sent over a statement they wanted

you to make.

Nixon: Yeah, then stop saying we'll support the United Nations.
Kissinger: Exactly.
Nixon: No, sir. Never.
Haldeman: [laughs]
Nixon: Never.

Kissinger: But Mr. President, I felt so confident about your views that I didn't bring in to you

Nixon: Yeah. You're damn right.

Kissinger: I filled in. Then they wanted you, when you signed the procurement bill, whatever this chrome was attached to

Nixon: That's right.

Kissinger: —to say you are reluctantly going along with the chrome part

Nixon: No, no. That's good

Kissinger: -but you're not going to do with any other part. But what's going to happen, Mr. President, is that Home is now in Rhodesia.

Nixon: They're trying to make a deal again and we're—I hope you got to Cromer the [idea], the thing I that I told Home

Kissinger: I told him.
Nixon: -at the last of the meeting,
Kissinger: Because he wanted to—

Nixon: And I want him to—I wish he-could I suggest something? That you make a telephone call, and you say: “Now, look here," and then let him in. Say: “Now, with Rhodesian chrome, the President's taking a hard line. You know, with the U.N. wouldn't want him to take the hard line. Second, he wants you to know that whatever deal you make in Rhodesia, we'll back him."

Kissinger: Right.
Nixon: I think we ought to tell him that.
Kissinger: Yeah.

Nixon: 'Cause, you know, this will be great if they can make a deal with them,

Kissinger: If they make-
Nixon: —then we can tell those goddamn Africans to go to hell-

Kissinger: If they make a deal with Rhodesia, the British will abolish their sanctions.

Nixon: Right.

Kissinger: The British sanctions are about 80 percent of the total sanctions, so after that, there'll be no sense for anyone else having any sanctions. So I think that we should just keep quiet about the U.N. thing because, it will become a moot issue if the British make a deal, and

Nixon: Well, that's the thing to tell State: that the British are leading here, and we don't want to get into it now. But what would you tell them?

Kissinger: I just told them not to have the (unclear). They're probably saying (unclear] I didn't want them to leak that (unclear] set up for the President, if he has anything to say (unclear). I felt it was better that they would think that I screwed it up than it would (unclear). It doesn't do any good to have you, personally

Nixon: Fighting the Africans.
Kissinger: Uh, on a crappy little thing like the U.N. vote (unclear).
[Omitted here is additional conversation unrelated to Rhodesia.]


« PreviousContinue »