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Memorandum From Michael A. Guhin of the National
Security Council Staff to the President's Assistant for
National Security Affairs (Kissinger)1

Washington, November 19, 1971.


Proposed Nuclear Fuel Agreement with South Africa

Ted Curran (State Secretariat) has written you regarding State/ AEC plans to begin negotiations with South Africa on a 30-year agreement to sell nuclear fuel enrichment services for two power reactors in South Africa: one to be completed in 1978, the other several years later (Tab A).2

We already provide relatively small amounts of enriched uranium for a South African research reactor. This agreement elicited only moderate domestic and international criticism when, in 1967, it was extended for ten years. The power agreement would involve about 20,000 kg. [We have agreements with about 19 countries to provide nuclear fuel for research and power reactors, ranging from 500 kg (Argentina) to 335,000 kg (Japan).]3

State notes several factors supporting an agreement with South Africa including (1) our announced policy that we are prepared to enter into new agreements; (2) our effort to establish the US as a reliable supplier not overly susceptible to political considerations; (3) the foreign exchange benefit to the US of about $250M over the 30 years; (4) South Africa's adherence to non-proliferation safeguards on its exports of uranium to other countries; (5) South Africa's acceptance of International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards; (6) the mutually beneficial cooperation between the US and South Africa in the nuclear energy field; and (7) the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy's informal indications of its support for such an agreement.

State also notes that if South Africa builds several more plants before the year 2000 as planned and uses US-type reactors, Ex-Im Bank policy guidelines toward South Africa may have to be reviewed. At present, however, indications are that South Africa considers financing no problem.

1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 744, Country Files, Africa, South Africa, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for information. Sent through Walsh. A stamped notation on the first page reads: “HAK has seen."

2 Dated November 15, attached but not printed.

3 Brackets are in the original.

On the negative side, State notes that there is a likelihood of some adverse domestic and international criticism of an agreement with South Africa because of (1) its apartheid policy, (2) the possible military applications of the technology and materials involved, (3) the long-term nature of the commitment, and (4) the fact that South Africa has not signed the NPT.

We agree with State that the factors supporting such an agreement clearly outweigh the political disadvantages.

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The President has directed that a review be made of the implications for U.S. policy of a British-Rhodesian settlement acknowledging Rhodesia's independence and calling for the termination of sanctions. The study should also deal with the implication of failure of the present negotiations to produce a political settlement. The study should, inter alia:

1. Assess the probable reaction in the United Nations and elsewhere to a British-Rhodesian agreement and the issues which this development is likely to pose for U.S. policy.

2. Assess the probable reaction in the UN and elsewhere to failure of U.K.-Rhodesia negotiations and the issues which such a development is likely to pose for U.S. policy including the sanctions program.

3. Examine the legal, political, and economic implications involved in (a) U.S. recognition of an independent Rhodesia, and (b) the establishing of diplomatic or consular relations therewith.

1 Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, NSC Institutional Files (H-Files), Box H-188, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 142. Confidential.

4. Identify the probable consequences of each possible U.S. action for our immediate and longer term interests in the United Nations and for our bilateral relations with the countries primarily concerned.

The study should be prepared by the NSC Interdepartmental Group for Africa and should be submitted to the NSC Senior Review Group by December 13, 1971.2

Henry A. Kissinger

2 In a July 18, 1972, memorandum to Kennedy, Fred Rondon wrote: "NSSM 142 on Rhodesia was predicated upon a successful British settlement with lan Smith. It did not come about. With no early prospects for British recognition of Rhodesia, I see no need for us to further consider the policy options in the NSSM 142 study." (Ibid., Box H-181, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 115) The study is ibid., Box H-188, National Security Study Memoranda, NSSM 115.


Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in
South Africa1

Washington, November 23, 1971, 0305Z.

212392. Eyes only for Ambassador Hurd.

1. Following is text of message which you should deliver by means you consider most appropriate to Air Vice Marshall Hawkins, (or in his absence ranking subordinate) for urgent transmittal to Ian Smith. Message should reach Salisbury ASAP, but in any case no later than COB November 23.2

2. Begin text quote: In view of the importance of the talks in which you are now engaged, the USG thought it right to set forth to you its views. The USG sincerely hopes that these talks will come to a successful conclusion.

The USG wants normal intercourse and trade with all peoples. Until the proper conditions are created, however, it is difficult if not impossible to remove current constraints limiting the contacts between

1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 16 RHOD. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Repeated Priority to London. Drafted by Wright and Crosby; cleared in EUR, U, and by Kissinger; and approved by Moore.

2 In an undated message to Nixon, Heath requested assistance to convince Smith to accept the British proposal for a Rhodesian settlement. The message was transmitted by Cromer on November 22. (Ibid., Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 729, Country Files, Europe, United Kingdom, Vol. VII)

the US and Rhodesia. It is the view of the USG that you now have an opportunity to create such conditions by a settlement fully responsive to the five principles3 proposed by the United Kingdom.

The USG believes a lasting agreement genuinely in accordance with those principles is in the long range interest of Rhodesia and its peoples repeat peoples. The USG therefore urges the Rhodesian authorities to make every effort to reach such an agreement with the United Kingdom.* End quote.


3 See footnote 2, Document 3.


A follow-up telegram authorized Hurd to state that these views represented those of the highest levels of the United States Government. (Telegram 212398 to Pretoria, November 23; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 16 RHOD)


Message From British Prime Minister Heath to President


Dear Mr President

I wished to let you know at once of the outcome of Alec Douglas-Home's personal visit to Rhodesia. He has managed, in spite of all the difficulties, to obtain the agreement of Mr Smith and his colleagues to proposals for a settlement which we believe can be demonstrated to be in full accordance with the first Four Principles, and which we shall hope to show to be acceptable to the Rhodesian people as a whole under the Fifth Principle. I am sure that the settlement offers the Africans in Rhodesia a real prospect of political, social and economic advance. It is moreover likely to be the last opportunity for achieving this.

Joe Godber, whom I have asked to bring this message, was hoping to see Secretary Rogers and Henry Kissinger but as I understand they

1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970-73, POL 16 RHOD. Secret. An advance text of the message was transmitted by Cromer to Nixon on November 24.

will both be away from Washington I hope he will be able to see other representatives of the State Department and your own staff. The purpose of his visit will be to give your people the background, and full details of the agreement reached and of our plans for conducting a "Test of Acceptability" in Rhodesia. He will also wish to discuss future. tactics, particularly in relation to the United Nations. He will of course be at your disposal should you wish to have a personal report from him. He will be planning later to go to New York for talks there.

The way ahead now hinges on our demonstrating, in the "Test of Acceptability" which is to be carried out by a Commission led by a British Judge, that all the races in Rhodesia accept the settlement as the way out of present stagnation and an increasingly dark future. Subject to this, we would pass the necessary legislation granting Rhodesia independence, and at this stage our sanctions legislation would be terminated. All this will of course take a little time.

Meanwhile, it will be all-important to aim for the greatest degree of international acceptance which it is possible to obtain for the settlement. There are opponents of any agreement with the Rhodesians. There is an obvious danger that they will use every effort in the OAU and the UN to engineer opposition to the settlement regardless of the views or interests of the Rhodesian Africans. They may well try to forestall the outcome of the "Test of Acceptability" by action in the Security Council. We shall at all costs have to prevent this. In the first instance our aim will be to persuade as many Governments as possible not to take up firm positions against the settlement before the result of the "Test of Acceptability" is known. In particular we shall be seeking the necessary number of supporting votes (or at least absentations) to prevent any unacceptable resolution being passed in the Council. In the longer term we shall all need to have it accepted that the implementation of a successful settlement has brought about a situation in which sanctions resolutions have lapsed. Here again we must expect strong opposition from some quarters.

I believe that we are agreed that the existing situation had become increasingly unrealistic and damaging, and I hope that you will feel that Alec Douglas-Home has achieved a solution which we can all support. Certainly your help will be immensely valuable to us in the task of explaining the settlement and resisting attempts to undermine and destroy it. It will be a great encouragement to us if we know we can count on this.

2 See Document 67.

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