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to keep ourselves in a position where we can move and play things off the cuff."
6. Richard said that if Smith sticks to his so-called "contract", the conference will be in dire peril and even a new package would not make any new difference. He reiterated what he had said to Assistant Secretary Reinhardt, that Annex C, for all intents and purposes, is dead. He would be reluctant to propose to Crosland that the British try to table a package of UK responsibilities until they have had a chance to get some indication from the Africans and South Africans that such a package might be acceptable.
7. When I asked Richard about the current mood in London concerning the talks, he replied that in general the attitude was good, principally because the British had finally become comfortable with the idea that it would take a more active British role if a settlement is to be achieved. He noted that many had not expected the conference to get as far as it has. Not only has the conference held together, but the parties have spelled out their positions in clear detail and we now have a better assessment of where the gaps lie and what will be necessary to bridge them. The gaps remain wide and it is clear that the nature of UK involvement will have to be much greater, to include voting participation in a body like the Council of State and perhaps a tie breaking role in the Council of Ministers as well. Some UK involvement in the security aspects would also have to be contemplated. But he believes the British by and large are better prepared to accept such responsibilities now than at any time since the negotiations began.
230. Telegram From the Embassy in Tanzania to the Department
Dar es Salaam, December 9, 1976, 2000Z.
4533. Department pass Secretary. Subject: Rhodesia and Namibia: President Nyerere's Reply to Secretary's Letter of December 6. Ref: State 296389.2
1 Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis.
2 See footnote 1, Document 228.
Following is letter from President Nyerere received 10:00 p.m. local Dec 9:
"Dear Dr. Kissinger,
Thank you for so quickly following up on my discussions with Mr. Reinhardt in your letter of 7th December-and indeed for sending him to Dar es Salaam in the first place.
Until early in September I was urging the British Government 'to do nothing until there has been time for the pressures of guerrilla warfare and sanctions to deliver Smith to London'. I persistently argued that Smith cannot be begin underline converted, end underline he can only be begin underline forced end underline to accept majority rule. Thus, for example, on 28th August, I had two meetings with your emissaries. I called for the second meeting to make quite sure that they understood that I was asking the U.S.A. and the U.K. to 'do nothing about Rhodesia until guerrilla pressures, the sanctions, and now the declared American policy in favour of majority rule, had forced Smith to face reality. On 29th August I argued the same case to the British emissaries.
But the British argued that the situation had changed, because a new factor had emerged. That new factor was American power. They mapped out a scenario which could follow: Smith would fall, a caretaker government would take over, and that caretaker government would announce the acceptance of the Callaghan terms for a Rhodesia settlement.
There was no misunderstanding between us. I received a message from you dated 1st September. It included the following: 'You are aware of the framework I propose for a settlement. It involves (A) the withdrawal of the present government in favour of a black majority government of transition; (B) the drafting of a constitution which includes basic protection for minority rights; (C) full independence under majority rule in 18 months, two years, or earlier.' Then on 3rd September I received your response to my ‘do nothing' message. It says, inter alia, 'I have just received the message that you asked be passed to me. I have carefully considered the points you made and appreciate your reasons for saying that you need more time to prepare the ground for a Rhodesian settlement. You have asked that nothing be undertaken with respect to Rhodesia until conditions are right.
That then, was my position until early in September. I changed. I changed because, and only because, of the British and American insistence that the American entry on to the Rhodesian scene in support of majority rule provided what was lacking before—i.e. power. For America represents power; I know this as well as Smith does. But even when we met on 15th September I was still worried, and again expressed my concern about Smith's capacity to survive, together with his minority rule. You reassured me with the words 'yes, but he has never been up against the U.S. before'. And you went on to say in effect (I do not have your actual words) that what you had in mind was to get Vorster to get rid of Smith and then the new man would accept the Callaghan proposals.
3 Reported in telegrams 3136 and 3138 from Dar es Salaam, August 28. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
4 Transmitted in telegram 216022 to Dar es Salaam, August 31. (Ibid.)
5 Telegram 218974 to Dar es Salaam, September 3, transmitted Kissinger's response. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P840084–0454)
You saw Vorster and Smith' and I became confident that you had 'pulled it off'. For although you had decided that Smith should himself be forced to say that he accepted majority rule, it was still obvious from his broadcast that he had accepted it only because he had no alternative; he was confronted with American and Western power. So American power was being used in support of majority rule.
With this background you will appreciate why I feel slightly irritated to find now that Smith's power, together with American, British, and South African combined 'powerlessness', is being advanced as the reason why the front-line states must ask the nationalists to abandon their legitimate demands.
For let me repeat: I changed my approach in early September because I had been brought to believe (as I have continued to believe until now) that American power would be brought to bear, and maintained as long as necessary, in support of a transfer of power from the minority in Rhodesia. This support was limited in action to support for a transfer by peaceful means; but it was still without question support for a definite transfer of power to the majority. It has been on that basis that my colleagues and I have been acting from September until now. But after receiving your letter yesterday I am now a little worried that this U.S. commitment is being reconsidered. I hope I am wrong, and that such a worry is without foundation.
When we met on 15th September, we were talking in terms of a solution in Rhodesia without Smith. I specifically said that I liked the American suggestions that Smith would be pressured to resign, and that an interim government would be worked out between the nationalists and a caretaker government. I was, however, pessimistic about the chances; and you did mention Vorster's idea that Smith should be the one to announce acceptance of majority rule. But whoever accepted
6 See Document 204. 7 See Document 206. 8 See Document 204 and footnote 1 thereto.
the Callaghan proposals, I stressed that the rest of us should keep out once the negotiations had started; that we cannot deal with the details—although I did add that the “Council of State" you mentioned would not be acceptable to the nationalists.
After you had seen Vorster and Smith you outlined your ideas, and what you thought you had achieved.' Frankly, I ignored the details; I had always insisted that details must be left to the conference. I certainly did not realise that you were committed to a Council of State which would be supreme, and to white ministers for Defence and Law and Order. I thought these matters would be the subject of negotiation. What I was happy about was your statement that Smith had accepted independence on the basis of majority rule in two years, and a conference to work out the interim government, although you will remember that I doubted the procedures, and said that the nationalists could not meet Smith in Rhodesia. It seemed to me then that Smith had realised that he could not withstand American power on top of the other pressures on his regime.
Smith's broadcast was a shock to me. 10 But I was concerned to save what I regarded as your achievement. This is, his commitment to accepting independence on the basis of majority rule in two years, and to negotiations about an interim government. It was for that reason that my colleagues and I urged the British to take over the arrangements, and to call a conference themselves. We accepted Geneva rather than London as a compromise; we accepted the absence of a British minister in the chair as a second compromise. For our purpose was, and is, to use that conference to get an interim government; that is, one which would, in your own words, provide 'a transition during which the whites could adjust to the changes taking place and either be assured of their personal safety and well-being or withdraw'.
But, as I thought you had understood very early in our discussions, there could be no question of Smith or the white minority controlling Rhodesia during that interim period. In my letter to you of 5th Octoberol I explained again that a transfer of power by easy stages is not possible in 1976. The nationalists cannot share power with the Rhodesia Front; many of them have spent ten years in Smith's jails and their friends and colleagues have been 'executed by his illegal regime. Too many previous attempts to settle this matter peacefully have been manoeuvred by Smith into serving the strengthening of his cause. The nationalists are very suspicious. So am I. I have been working actively
They met on September 21; see footnote 3, Document 207.
Transmitted in telegram 3718 from Dar es Salaam, October 6. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
for NIBMAR-majority rule before independence-since 1964, and have watched Smith out-manoeuvre the British, the international community, and finally myself and my colleagues, when each of us in turn thought we had got him to agree to a phased transfer of power. I warned that he would use another conference for the same purpose; and there is plenty of evidence that he is doing just that.
The nationalists and the front-line states do accept the principle of an interim government, in which adjustments can be made by individuals affected. That is why, despite our many disagreements with the British Government about Rhodesia in the past, we are demanding that the British Government should participate in the interim government. I do know why Smith and Vorster have always been opposed to British participation even in a constitutional conference. They believe that Britain is now committed to NIBMAR. But I do not understand your own opposition to British participation.
The first of our two reasons for insisting upon active British involvement is a legal one. During the transition period Rhodesia is not independent. There are certain functions which will belong to Britain as the sovereign state. Those ‘residual powers' are defence, external affairs, and constitutional affairs. If Britain does not exercise those powers during the interim, who would exercise them on her behalf?
The second reason is political. You had apparently agreed that Defence, and Law and Order, should be under the control of the Smith forces. This is clearly not acceptable to the nationalists—it could not be. But in all these matters one must try to find a compromise. The possible compromise is that Defence (but not Law and Order) could be held by a white minister who is appointed by Britain in consultation with the Prime Minister. This would be done by the British ‘Resident Commissioner'. But if Britain does not agree to accept responsibility for these residual powers, how do you compromise on the demand that Defence be held by a nationalist without leaving it in the hands of the supporters of minority rule?
It is obvious that the person appointed by Britain to be “Resident Commissioner' would have to be someone the nationalists can work with; it would be no use appointing Patrick Wall or Enoch Powell. But I do not understand why you say that the British official representative would be chosen primarily by the nationalists and dismissed at their will. I have never heard that suggested by anyone until now.
To avoid continued misunderstanding let me also make it clear that no one, to my knowledge, has suggested that there should be no whites in the interim government, apart from this British participation of a kind that all ex-British colonies are familiar with in the last stages before independence. As I have said to you before, I expect-and I know the nationalists do—that it will be necessary to be so far racial in