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the interim government as to ensure that there are some white ministers. But they will be in a minority; and they will have to be people who are committed to Zimbabwe, not to minority rule in that country. I am confident that white Rhodesians do exist to whom these things are acceptable, and who recognise that anything else is impossible after the experience of the past eleven years.
So what is the difference between us? The conference at Geneva is proving even more difficult than I had anticipated. But it could still succeed, provided that full pressure is kept upon Smith and his minority regime. If, however, there is still a reality in the possibility of Smith getting outside support, either from South Africa or from America, then it will fail. Because Smith will make it fail. And then there will be no other recourse except guerrilla war until the end, regardless of the effect on the front-line states. You ask me whether we can control their source of arms. They have no choice. They will continue to get them from the Communists.
We are committed to independence on the basis of majority rule. For the sake of a peaceful transfer of power, and an end to the horrors and political dangers of war, the nationalists and the front-line states are prepared to accept an interim arrangement even at this date. But it has to be one which marks a transfer of power from the minority in such a way that they can never recover it.
Believe me, Dr. Kissinger, I do appreciate your desire to see this conference brought to a successful conclusion quickly. I too get impatient at the way it is dragging on. But what matters is not the manoeuvring, but the ultimate success, and I think we must be prepared for day-to-day frustrations and disappointments. If it does finally succeed, the initiative you took will be vindicated. If, unfortunately, it does not succeed, and that failure cannot be attributed to a withdrawal of pressure on Smith, than your initiative will still have been a brave and historic attempt.
Let me now turn briefly to the question of Namibia.
Here it may be that we have got into a communications muddle. In your letter of 4th October,12 when you said that the Windhoek conference would only send a representative delegation to a conference at Geneva, you also said that you would take no further action until you heard from my colleagues and myself. But I was under the impression that we had cleared this matter up through my discussions with Ambassador Spain, and that you were going to ask Dr. Waldheim to call a conference which we would get SWAPO to attend. Now, in your letter of 7th December, you say that this is not good enough because of Sam
12 Transmitted in telegram 246530 to Dar es Salaam, October 4. (Ibid.)
Nujoma's pre-conditions. These, as I understand it, are that he should be assured that the people he needs on his delegation will be released from South African controlled prisons, and that he would be negotiating with South Africa as the de facto government of Namibia, and the U.N. as the de jure government. But there is nothing new in this? These are the same conditions we talked about twice in September. So I have to ask what new thing is it that you feel is necessary as a result of the ‘problems we have run into at Geneva'? I cannot consider whether there is anything more we can do to help until I understand the problem myself.
Is the problem still the status of the Windhoek conference people? I thought we had understood each other on that. They are a group of people called together by South Africa, under South African auspices, in a territory under de facto South African control. Even if you do not say—as we do—that they are merely the puppets of South Africa, surely those other points are incontrovertible. I had told you that they could go to Geneva as part of the South African delegation. I thought that is what you meant in your letter of 4th October.
For as I said on 21st September, it is not for SWAPO to select the South African delegation, any more than it is acceptable for South Africa to select SWAPO's delegation—which is why the question of SWAPO people in prison is also relevant. What is necessary is that the discussion should be between fully authorised delegations from (A) SWAPO, and (B) South Africa, under U.N. auspices. The persons in each delegation are a matter for the respective authorities to decide. I am sorry if I seem dense, but I cannot see what is so difficult about this, and why you do not now feel able to ask the U.N. Secretary-General to convene a constitutional conference.
Dr. Kissinger: Our letters inevitably concentrate on difficulties and disagreements because it is they which require our thought, and perhaps action. But I do want to emphasize my very great appreciation of the efforts you have made this year to get a settlement on the basis of majority rule in Zimbabwe and Namibia. That there has been movement on the non-military front in southern Africa during 1976 is due in very large part to the initiatives you have taken, and these have demanded a great amount of time and travelling and negotiation (perhaps not always easy or pleasant) on your part. We do not yet know whether, when this vortex of negotiation has settled, we shall have reached the objective; we are dealing with questions of long-standing which have become even more difficult as time has passed. But whatever happens I want to stress that I do appreciate your efforts, and I do hope that you will not allow any disappointments (temporary or otherwise) to lead to doubt either about the validity of this attempt, or about the cause of majority rule in southern Africa for which we have been working.
This letter therefore comes to you with my very warm personal good wishes once again. I am sure we shall have further contact in the future-after January as well as possibly again before the change in the American government.
231. Telegram From the Embassy in Zambia to the Department of
Lusaka, December 9, 1976, 2135Z.
3292. Department pass Secretary. Department of State for Schaufele. Subj: Kaunda Reply to Secretary's Letter.?
Following is text of letter to the Secretary given me Thursday night by Pres Kaunda at end of conversation reported septel.”
Dear Mr Secretary,
I have received your letter of 7th December, 1976. I must say that this was a most surprising letter to say the least. I was greatly disturbed by the inference and insinuations that appeared to cast doubt on our good faith relative to the Anglo-American proposals on the resolution of the conflict in Zimbabwe. Your message was couched in terminology which is manifestly unacceptable.
I want to make it quite clear, Mr. Secretary, that threats from whatever quarter make no impression on us. In a way it was good that this
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Cherokee; Niact Immediate; Nodis.
See Document 228.
3 Telegram 3293 from Lusaka, December 9, reported on Schaufele's meeting with Kaunda. The President apologized for betraying a confidence by showing Nkomo the five points. He then expressed frustration with Kissinger's point that "the US could not ignore foreign intervention," and said it was not “necessary to make the point to him.” Finally, he said "he would only work to establish the mechanics of a constitutional government and that he felt he had a sacred trust not to influence things in another country by trying to choose its leaders.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)
letter came through to us at this time because it has revealed that we have, after all, been working at cross purposes in this exercise.
You mention that the concept of sharing power on the basis of a two-tier system was never challenged. I wish to state with equal frankness and unequivocally that neither the words two-tier system nor power sharing on this basis were ever mentioned at any one time during our conversations.
Further, your emissaries had assured me and you, yourself, said later that the 5 points which you now refer to were merely talking points. They could never be considered on a take-it or leave it basis; this is the impression we gained. Frankly, this was not our understanding and this could not have been the spirit of your message of 31st August and 26th September, 1976. However, I consider that the matters at hand are so grave and the stakes so high that I should set out the basis upon which Zambia got involved in the present exercise.
First, I want to say that we have always acted in good faith. We agreed to co-operate in the finding of a peaceful solution even though we were already on the road to armed struggle. I informed you about this during your African tour. Indeed, on the 27th of April in Lusaka during a luncheon which I gave in your honour, I embraced you at the end of your speech out of respect for what you had said. My embrace was not a matter of ceremony but a demonstration of the depth of my feelings which grew with every conversation and communication we had on the matters at hand.
Second, the conversations which we had with your officials, Under Secretary Rogers and Ambassador Schaufele on the various occasions left us with the clear impression that the Smith government would withdraw in favour of a caretaker government which would in turn announce its acceptance of majority rule and call for discussions on how to implement majority rule with the nationalists. Prior to your departure for Pretoria we warned you that Smith was a very slippery character who had defeated every major effort by successive British governments to find a solution to the problem of Zimbabwe. We cautioned about any meeting that would give respectability to Smith. You assured us that you did not come to fail and that if we heard that you had
4 In telegram Secto 32060 from London to Lusaka, December 11, Kissinger attempted to clear up any misunderstandings with Kaunda. He assured the President that the United States was "committed to the achievement of majority rule." Kissinger expressed hope for increased British involvement in the process and for continued association and friendship with Kaunda. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 96, Geopolitical File, Africa, Chronological File, December 10–11, 1976)
For the September 26 letter, see Document 211.
met Smith it should be considered good news. On your return, however, we noticed that you appeared to have given to Smith certain undertakings which it is clear from your letter prompted Smith to accept the Anglo-American proposals.
The third point is that the conversations which we had with your emissaries and the clearly encouraging picture which emerged was further buttressed by your letter of 31st August, 1976, in which you clearly stated:
(A) There would be withdrawal of the present government in favour of a black majority transition;
(B) The drafting of a constitution which includes a basic protection for minority rights and;
(C) Full independence under majority rule in 18 months, 2 years or earlier.
This set against the background of the clear picture we had gained with your emissaries earlier about the seriousness of your proposals clearly increased credibility that you had chosen a path that was worth our support.
It was sincerely on this basis and out of faith in your ability to honour your word once you gave it that we agreed to give our co-operation to the Anglo-American proposals.
Our confidence was further increased by the reassuring message which you sent on the 26th of September, 1976, following Smith's broadcast two days earlier. At this time the presidents of the frontline countries were meeting in Lusaka. Again when we combined your reassuring statement of 26th September with the scenerio that had emerged with your emissaries, we were satisfied that there was a clear and irrevocable commitment to the road which we believed we were traversing together. This gave us faith and provided further ground for our maximum co-operation. Indeed, only recently at the opening of the Geneva conference the British Chairman Ivor Richard in his opening remarks said among other things—"we are not concerned with whether there will be majority rule in Rhodesia, we are concerned with when and how. We are not discussing whether power will be transferred to the majority, we are discussing the modality of that transfer."
Very little have we known that there has been a grave misunderstanding about the interpretation of the cooperation which we have given all along in this exercise until my conversation with Ambassador Reinhardt and now your letter of December 7. I must now and equally
See Document 205.
The letter was transmitted to Lusaka in telegram 216314, September 1. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P840096–1632)
9 Document 211.