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Kissinger: When would you talk to the Rhodesians?
Richard: After.
Kissinger: Will you say the United States is behind it?

Crosland: We won't explore it; we'll sell it. We hope the United States will be for it.

Kissinger: Do you want to sell it to the blacks and then turn it over to us and say it's our job to sell it to the whites? Or should it be something that has been explored with the whites so it's not a new idea?

Richard: We wouldn't object to that.

Crosland: Wait a minute. They're all suspicious of the United States and Great Britain. They think we're doing this to avoid majority rule.

Kissinger: But if we explore it first with not the Rhodesians but the South Africans ... It would be helpful if at the time you try to sell it to the black Africans we know the South Africans will be helpful.

Crosland: We can't do a lot of bargaining with the South Africans on what we will try to sell.

Kissinger: You have to have enough discussions so they feel convinced they want to support it.

Crosland: (Pauses) Let's pursue this. As Ivor tells it, we want to get into a take-it-or-leave-it situation. Suppose we get something that safeguards white interests? We'll have to put it on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

Kissinger: Then you don't need us.
Crosland: But we would want support.
Kissinger: We won't oppose it. Frank had an idea.

Wisner: Which is pretty close. It had a second tier but I admit it will be hard. Perhaps there is some hope in running a two-tier system—the top tier you would chair and be the tie-breaker. And a Council of Ministers.

Richard: What powers would it have?

Wisner: The original legislative powers in Annex C. There are a lot of presentational advantages in this structure.

Crosland: Parity can't be sold anymore.

Richard: That's dead. But I think we could sell a kind of blocking mechanism.

Kissinger: But that's a veto.
Crosland: It depends on whether it's British or Rhodesian.
Wisner: How do you see this Privy Council?

Rowlands: A two-thirds majority wouldn't work. A balance of the Council of Ministers would mean the Africans have a two-thirds majority.

We're substituting for parity a Resident Commissioner. He would have authority for defense and law and order. Power may be vested in him.

Kissinger: My fear that you may be going too fast is two-fold.

I wrote to Nyerere to make clear there was a possibility of a breakup, that there was a limit beyond which things couldn't be pushed. His reply was conciliatory? I don't take that argument about their suspicion we're not really for majority rule, all that seriously. That is their specialty—to make us constantly apologize. I think our interest is to keep the limits clear.

Second, we got it to this point by combining our power with South African power. If we don't bring the South Africans into it, what you work out with the blacks won't mean anything. I'd hate to see you and blacks agree on something we couldn't deliver.

This is the first hearing. I'd have to see it on paper. But this is a drastic change and the Rhodesians will possibly see it as total surrender to the blacks. I'm not saying it is.

My instructions to my people were to talk about Annex C, not about getting rid of Smith.

Crosland: We spent a lot of talk about this, Henry. We talked about a transitional government without Smith. After your talks with Vorster, we switched to the idea that Smith would sell it but then disappear. But this hasn't happened. The five points would have to be modified. It's been changed because Smith is still there; there will have to be a change on the other side.

Kissinger: The easiest way to get rid of Smith is to set up a transitional government.

Richard: But the Rhodesian delegation at Geneva assumes Smith will still be there.

Kissinger: I would separate the setting up of a transitional government from the membership of Smith. I was afraid the immediate elimination of Smith would create a collapse of the whole structure.

Rowlands: The question now is what assurances do the whites need?

Kissinger: Your proposal can have two purposes. One is to put something forward that you know will be rejected. We're not there yet. If it isn't that, then we have to see what the South Africans can go along with. We don't have to let it be known it's been discussed with the South Africans. They've kept secrets.

7 See footnote 1, Document 228.

Crosland: We've talked with Fourie. We all have the impression what they want above all is a settlement.

Kissinger: But I believe Nyerere will buy a better deal than what you propose, which is what the nationalists want.

Grennan: The whites want a structure that allows them to continue to run the country. But a Resident Commissioner will always be able to block majority will and run security affairs.

Kissinger: We don't have to settle it now.
Crosland: We'll refine these ideas further and then put it to you.
Kissinger: I know what you'll do. If you don't put it to the Cabinet,

I it has no standing; if you do put it to the Cabinet, it can't be changed!

If we do come to agreement on what may be saleable to both sides, then we—you or we, probably we-should go to the South Africans to see what you're up against when you do sell it to the blacks.

Crosland: The nationalists now at Geneva are a lot less likely to take the fire from the front-line Presidents. A lot has changed in the balance of power since September.

Richard: This was clear in my talks with Nkomo.

Kissinger: But if the conference breaks down, Nkomo is finished, and also Sithole and the Bishop.

Palliser: They might not share your view.

Kissinger: One thing that has impressed us is their highly developed instinct for their survival. There is no chance they'd survive a guerrilla war.

Reinhardt: What is the timing of this?
Richard: We would start out on the 28th.
Reinhardt: For ten days or so.
Richard: No, two weeks. They would have time to form a view.
Kissinger: The best way to find out their view is to ask them.

I would suggest that Frank (Wisner) and Jack (Reinhardt), who know more about what's happened at Geneva than any two people we have, meet with any people you designate once you have a paper.

It's an ingenious scheme. The trick is to convince the South Africans it's not a total sell-out.

Crosland: It has to be saleable to both.
Richard: It's really going back to a British presence.
Kissinger: My first idea was a British presence.
Richard: That's right. I'm just saying ...

Kissinger: Smith once proposed going back to the Constitution of 1961. Would you, under that Constitution, have authority to implement all of this?

Grennan: No, we wouldn't.

Rowlands: Parity is dead, so the question is how to give assurances and balances by other means than simply looking at the color of the faces around the table.

Kissinger: What the whites fear most is—they're not determined to prevent any action-but that the system after it's set up, will be overthrown, as all other systems in Africa.

Crosland: This is what the blacks fear, too.

One idea is Commonwealth presence. The Chairman of the Commonwealth is keen on this; he's talked to the Canadians. We are afraid of getting into an Ulster situation when in effect we have only one chap out there. This would be much harder for either side to bust up.

Kissinger: I'd like to see it on paper, with all the suitable disclaimers. (Laughter) Can we see it, with full understanding that it's a think piece?

Crosland: Yes.
Kissinger: When do you think it'll be ready?
Crosland: Wednesday.

Kissinger: Then Frank and Jack will come back Wednesday or Thursday.

Crosland: The objective is to have something that can win the acceptance of the South African Government but will be acceptable to the blacks.

Kissinger: The whole point is to liquidate the Rhodesian problem.

Crosland: The blacks are getting stronger and stronger every day. All intelligence reports indicate it.

Kissinger: Yes. The South Africans are looking for an honorable way to get out. Their definition of honorable is something that appears as a logical evolution from the earlier discussions.

Richard: Smith wouldn't see this as a logical evolution from the previous

Kissinger: But the South Africans kept their secrecy scrupulously before.

By the end of next week, we will have some kind of agreement. Then we'll discuss it with Fourie. You'll have their reaction before you go. I wouldn't say they have a veto over your trip.

Rowlands: There is a great and growing consensus in favor of a British presence.

Kissinger: It's a very important step, your willingness to undertake this.

Your statement Tuesday will give some hope?


Crosland: Oh yes. It will be a hint of a British solution.”

Kissinger: It is interesting that the Nigerian observer spoke of a 60–40 split

Wisner: Ten bottles!

Kissinger: Ten bottles, of which four could go to the whites. He didn't say which four.

Crosland: We're proposing 6643 and 33/3.

Wisner: What assurances would you give to the blacks on your shuttle?

Crosland: We would make clear our commitment to the British presence is conditional on a cessation of guerrilla war when the internal government is formed, and the lifting of sanctions. And making it clear we won't stand for being stuck there in a civil war. There will be the strictest conditions.

Kissinger: You judge what the Nigerian statement is worth. (Reads:) “We shouldn't take too seriously the rejection of a two-tier structure. We should get away from the term though not the concept of power sharing. The term suggests to them Smith's idea of parity. Picking up on a metaphor earlier, Anyuoko said if there were ten bottles, four could go to the whites."

Rowlands: That's not bad.

Crosland: We want to agree on this fairly quickly because time is of the essence.

Kissinger: We're not proposing any delay. You're proposing to leave on the 28th. Our suggestion is that Jack and Frank talk with you next week. Our capacity to develop British constitutional forms is in any case limited.

Crosland: But it's greater than it was three months ago. (Laughter)
Reinhardt: How do you end the conference on a note of optimism?

Richard: We'll say that we will develop possible proposals to put forward and we will consult.

Reinhardt: Will that bring Mugabe back? Some observers think Mugabe won't come back and Nkomo won't be able to.

Kissinger: That problem exists anyway.

Richard: We'll have talked to them all, the front line Presidents and the nationalists.


In telegram 20257 from London, December 15, the Embassy provided excerpts of Crosland's December 14 Parliamentary statement on Rhodesia in which he discussed adjournment of the Geneva conference to permit further consultations in southern Africa. He also mentioned a direct British role during the Rhodesian transitional period which "would not include British troops." (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files)

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