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Memorandum From Richard T. Kennedy and Melvin H.
Washington, July 6, 1972.
Assignment of Black Diplomatic Officer to Pretoria
On June 4 our Ambassador to South Africa, John Hurd, wrote to Peter Flanigan objecting to the assignment of a black foreign service officer to his Embassy (Tab B).? Hurd was concerned that our bilateral relations with South Africa would suffer and also that our domestic conservative opinion might attack the move as a questionable political appeal to black voters in an election year. Flanigan asked Al Haig if we really needed to move this year.
The answer was that it was too late to consider doing anything else. (Memo at Tab C).” In April the President had been informed of State's decision (Tab D),* and, in May, Foreign Minister Muller told his Parliament that South Africa would not object to a black diplomat (Tab E)." A black FSO in Tokyo, James Baker, volunteered; State cut orders, unclassified as is normal, and the news spread. Congressman Diggs, a leader of the Black Caucus, learned of the assignment from Baker in Tokyo. Newsmen gradually picked up the story, which was broken in the South African press. Peter Flanigan agreed that we should not block the assignment, and State—with our and Flanigan's concurrenceconfirmed it on July 6.
Flanigan has asked us to reply to Ambassador Hurd for him. Our proposed letter (Tab A) is designed to assure Hurd that his views were taken into account, but to avoid putting on paper anything that could be used against us.
Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, Box 744, Country Files, Africa, South Africa, Vol. II. Confidential. Sent for action. The tabs are attached but not printed
2 Tab B is a personal letter from Hurd to Flanigan, June 4.
3 Tab C is a July 6 memorandum from Haig to Flanigan, in which Haig noted the President was told in April that, “The South Africans had already been informed of the move, that they were unhappy, but had not rejected the idea," and suggested that White House intervention might embarrass the administration.
4 Tab D is an April 19 memorandum from Kissinger to Nixon informing the President of the Department's decision to assign a black officer to Pretoria. A note on the first page reads, "The President has seen."
5 Tab E is telegram 431 from Cape Town, May 5.
6 Tab A is an undated letter from Haig to Hurd explaining the decision to move forward with the appointment. Haig signed the letter.
That you sign the letter at Tab A.
Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the
Washington, November 27, 1972, 2200Z.
214498. Subject Escher Report on Namibia.? Ref: USUN 4982, 4985.3
1. Dept concurs that we should do what we can to continue SYG mandate on Namibia. Problem is how to do so in face of widespread disapproval of Escher report and of need to avoid US or Western imprint on any future efforts. We wish to avoid being closely identified with any particular course of action at initial Council meeting but believe we (or French if they are willing to continue leading role) can make certain observations along following lines to guide discussion in a useful direction. Purpose of early discussion should be to draw out Africans on whether and how they think mandate should be extended and what they realistically think can be achieved.
2. Discussion should take note of what two missions to Namibia/ South Africa have already accomplished. Most important development is that a UN presence has been established and UN now has access to peoples of the territory. The Escher report has confirmed certain UN tenets on Namibia: the overwhelming majority of black Namibians are against continued South African presence in the territory and do not want separate development. Exercise has clearly heightened awareness among Namibians of alternative to continued South African rule. South Africans are now less likely to rush into repressive policies in Namibia than in the past.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR. Confidential. Drafted by Halsted (10/UNP); cleared in AF/S, 10/UNP, AF, L/AF, and AF/RA; and approved by Herz. Repeated to London, Pretoria, and Paris.
2 In an effort to continue contacts between the U.N. Secretary General and South Africa concerning self-determination and independence for Namibia, the Security Council appointed a representative, Alfred Martin Escher. Escher visited Namibia and South Africa in October and November 1972. His report is summarized in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1972, pp. 607–610.
3 In telegram 4982 from USUN, November 25, the Mission reported on the negative response to the Escher report in the Security Council, and possible suspension of the Escher mission. In telegram 4985 from USUN, November 25, the Mission reported on a meeting between Waldheim and a group of African representatives opposed to continuing the Escher mission, believing he went beyond his mandate in negotiations with South Africa. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR/UN)
4 See footnote 2, Document 74.
3. Security Council should not become deeply involved in discussion of merits of Escher report. Escher's efforts should be viewed as a stage in continuing process and not as a definitive indication of where UN and SAG stand on Namibia. While Council free to reject Escher's efforts, we believe it would be short-sighted to do so in view of some positive aspects of discussions with Vorster, i.e. Vorster's implicit willingness to treat Namibia as a whole by appointment of advisory council directly under him, his readiness to examine removal of restrictions on movement and to permit legitimate political activity. Council could deal with problem of Escher/Vorster statement in eventual resolution by taking note of Escher report. FYI. We do not believe we should make any effort to retain Escher as SYG's representative. It would be better to treat his mission as if it all along had been intended as a one-shot affair. End FYI.
4. Although SYG's mandate should continue it obvious that he cannot personally undertake travel and consultations necessary. A Secretariat official (FYI, perhaps Guyer or Chacko End FYI) would probably be a better choice than again going through tedious process that resulted in appointment of Escher. Council should try to avoid putting future representatives under same pressure that Escher faced to bring home the bacon in a very short period of time. Deadlines lead to one-shot operations instead of a continued UN presence. There should be periodic review to keep pressure on SAG but timing should be at about six-month intervals to allow room for maneuver and more opportunity for SYG to be involved.
5. We believe that three-member advisory committee should maintain its present role. More direct participation such as accompanying SYG's representative on his rounds would probably be rejected by South Africa. Council could ensure that SYG's mandate does not allow for any commitments without Council approval and in this way there would be no need for advisory group to play a greater role as watchdog.
Telegram From the Embassy in South Africa to the
Cape Town, May 7, 1973, 1035Z.
345. Subj: Namibia in SC: SAG Position. Ref: USUN 1669.2
1. After studying SAG response to SYG last week, it became clear to me that what faces USG now is decision whether we should stay entirely on sidelines, adopting neutral posture, or play more active role. Our in-house analysis led me to conclusion that however attractive hands-off policy might appear to be, our own interests would be better served by some degree of activism. Prior to receipt of reftel, I had therefore instructed my staff to draft telegram which was to have recommended similar course of action as that set forth by USUN. This exercise no longer necessary, for I concur fully in both analysis and recommended courses of action proposed in excellent reftel.
2. I would like reiterate, however, certain points made by USUN which are particularly pertinent from this vantage point.
(A) First is my conviction that despite ambiguities and possible loopholes, SAG statements are indeed most positive and forthcoming ever made on this subject and that they represent significant concession on its part.
(B) I regard SAG statements as genuine attempt to continue dialogue on Namibia, and at some considerable domestic risk from its right-wingers in Cabinet as well as from much of white public in both South Africa and Namibia. In this connection, SYG quite correct in his statement that FonMin Muller was in a difficult position with SAG Cabinet (USUN 1667). If present SAG efforts are summarily rejected, I predict almost immediate SAG return to previous hard line on SWA. One outcome of this could well be sharp upturn in repression of black political leaders in Namibia-men like Chief Kapuud could be silenced.
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR/UN. Confidential; Immediate; Limdis. Repeated Immediate to USUN and also repeated to Pretoria.
2 In telegram 1669 from USUN, May 4, the Mission recommended several steps to promote continuing dialogue between the U.N. and South Africa. In addition to praising the efforts made by both parties thus far, the United States would encourage the United Kingdom, France, the OAU, and other states to support continuation of the mandate. (Ibid.)
3 Foreign Minister Muller submitted a statement to Secretary General Waldheim on April 30 clarifying his government's position on the future of Namibia. See Yearbook of the United Nations, 1973, p. 722.
* Dated May 4. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR/UN)
(C) SAG's reversion to hard line on SWA in turn would almost certainly lead to spate of boycott and sanctions proposals, more inflamed rhetoric, and very painful decisions for us to make re how to vote on what will almost certainly be unrealistic, ineffective or simply unacceptable resolutions.
(D) I strongly agree that some acknowledgement by USG of SAG movement on this question is called for. Similarly, importance we rightly attach to keeping dialogue alive and fact SAG has not been forthcoming lends great weight, in our judgment, to USUN's recommendation that we join in urgent and concerted effort to keep it alive.
3. To be sure, undertaking an effort to prolong SYG's mandate poses certain risks. We cannot be certain SAG will act in good faith in conformance with language of its own proposals or will instead exploit its ambiguities. And even if intentions are good now, there no rpt no assurance that domestic pressures will not induce the pragmatic Mr. Vorster to change once again his stance on SWA. Nevertheless, I feel that these risks are worth running. Without underestimating either the dangers of US “activism” on this question or the difficulties of US démarches in certain AF capitals. I therefore strongly recommend approval of steps suggested in para 5 reftel.
Intelligence Note Prepared in the Bureau of Intelligence and
Washington, May 10, 1973.
A series of contacts between the South African Government and UN Secretary-General Waldheim have produced perceptible movement in Pretoria's declared policy on South-West Africa (Namibia). But there are also major ambiguities, and serious doubts that South Africa's new stance will be acceptable to the African group in the UN. This
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR/UN. Confidential; No Foreign Dissem. Drafted by Lambert Heyniger, cleared by G.H. Summ, and released by David E. Mark (INR/Africa and the American Republics). All brackets are in the original.