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-urging the cessation of all foreign assistance to the warring liberation groups,
-calling for a cease-fire and a government of national unity. The South African Factor
3. The presence of South African combat forces in Angola has given the MPLA a big advantage in the contest for legitimacy between the rival regimes. This increases the likelihood that the MPLA's supporters will win out at the OAU meeting.
— Pretoria's assistance makes it emotionally impossible for most black African states to remain neutral and makes it politically difficult if not impossible for most to support a government of national unity.
-South African support of UNITA and the FNLA has seriously tarnished the image of these organizations as legitimate Angolan nationalist groups in the eyes of many African nations.
- Pretoria's involvement in Angola was the deciding factor in prompting Nigeria, Ghana and Burundi to recognize the MPLA. A South African presence in Angola at the time of the summit will prompt other African states to follow suit, and probably produce a majority in favor of recognizing the MPLA.
4. The OAU members will also be keenly sensitive to how the fighting in Angola is going. Should it appear that the MPLA were on the verge of gaining a clear-cut position of predominance or that the FNLA/UNITA coalition were collapsing, some OAU states would probably move quickly to recognize the MPLA, in effect getting on what appeared to be the winning side. As matters now stand, however, it does not appear that the fighting will be at such a point before the summit occurs. The MPLA has stepped up its activities, but no decisive breakthrough appears imminent. Moreover, the rainy season is now underway in Angola, and this should serve to complicate military action.
5. Pretoria has recently indicated privately that it plans to withdraw its forces from Angola by the time the summit begins.? If this is in fact a firm decision and some way can be found to make it credible to the African audience and to make diplomatic use of it, it would strengthen the position of African countries that were prepared to hold off on recognition of the MPLA until some steps could be taken toward a political settlement. Such a development might also stimulate diplomatic efforts by "neutrals" or FNLA/UNITA supporters to promote a compromise solution. Indeed, such follow-up would probably be necessary if FNLA/UNITA were to gain any benefit from South African withdrawal.
2 See Document 165.
6. Since Pretoria has not announced a decision to withdraw, FNLA/UNITA supporters may try to use the issue of withdrawal as a lever to pry concessions out of the MPLA side, either at the summit or in the preceding diplomatic activity. It is difficult to foretell the success of such efforts. On the one hand, the prospect of bargaining over Pretoria's presence might make some MPLA supporters dig in more; on the other hand, some might think more seriously about a compromise solution. One factor influencing the situation would be whether or not those Africans who are neutrals or at least not hard-core FNLA/ UNITA supporters endorsed the idea of bargaining over South African withdrawal.
7. South African withdrawal before the opening of the summit would put moderate OAU members in a better position to insist on withdrawal of all foreign forces from Angola. It would also markedly reduce the chance of the OAU officially endorsing the MPLA.
8. Even with a South African withdrawal, however, the MPLA would continue to charge that UNITA and FNLA were obtaining clandestine assistance from Pretoria, and such an accusation would have some credibility because of South Africa's past support. Similar criticism would also be directed against the US. In addition, a South African withdrawal would also serve to persuade the Luanda-based regime to step up military operations in order to take advantage of the damaging effect a withdrawal would have on the military capabilities of its rivals.
9. In any event, the best that UNITA and the FNLA can probably expect is that a stampede of recognitions for the MPLA can be averted at the summit and that the OAU reaches no formal decision as a body. There would then be some chance that a number of African states would become disenchanted with the MPLA's refusal to agree to a government of national unity, and that this, in turn, would create new possibilities for a future political settlement. Even this evolution of events is questionable, however, unless South Africa actually withdraws from Angola.
10. In the week ahead, ongoing diplomatic activity will assume great importance. Among the several areas where there could be some movement are:
-Zambian efforts to persuade Mozambique, Tanzania, and perhaps other pro-MPLA states to accept a government of national unity. It is possible that the Zambians are trying to use South African withdrawal as a bargaining chip.
-Efforts by governments sympathetic to FNLA/UNITA or to reconciliation (e.g., Senegal, Ivory Coast) to hold the line among like-minded states and line up additional support from fence sitters.
—The continuing attempts by pro-MPLA states to turn the accumulation of MPLA strength into a bandwagon. The caucus of states recognizing the Luanda regime, which will reportedly meet just before the summit, will be one such effort.
A critical point will be whether or not the divisions among states recognizing the MPLA may be sufficiently wide to affect the outcome of the OAU meeting. Some states recognizing the MPLA, such as Nigeria and Ghana, appear to be primarily concerned about the South African role and if they could get some satisfaction on that point, might support a serious compromise effort. There will be great efforts made, however, to hold the MPLA group in line.
. 11. All elements of the intelligence community (less than 1 line not declassified) on alert to watch for and report any change in the positions of OAU states on the subject of recognition of the MPLA. It must be recognized, however, that while we will probably know the positions of most African states in advance of the summit meeting, we cannot provide assurance that we will know the positions of all. In addition, we can provide no assurance that these positions will not change during the meeting
12. This memorandum has been coordinated among the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the Department of State, and the (less than 1 line not declassified]
168. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain African
Washington, January 3, 1976, 0147Z.
1374. Subject: Presidential Message on Angola.
Please deliver following letter from President Ford to head of host government as soon as possible:
Quote Dear Mr. President:
As the OAU summit approaches I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on the Angolan problem. I hope that you will feel
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850083–2272. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Schaufele, cleared in NSC and AF, and approved by Kissinger. Sent to Kinshasa, Lusaka, Libreville, Dakar, and Abidjan.
free to give me your own, as well as any further suggestions you may have concerning further initiatives that might be undertaken by you or by my government to promote a settlement in Angola that does not leave that country in the hands of the Soviets.
My government remains determined to support the FNLA/ UNITA forces in Angola until the MPLA is convinced it must negotiate and precipitate the withdrawal of their Soviet and Cuban support for the MPLA. We intend to utilize the means which are still available to us in the most effective way to enable us to continue and increase our present efforts. The vote in the Senate on December 19 was primarily directed against covert assistance and, should it be necessary, we will renew our efforts to obtain wider Congressional backing for additional resources to block Soviet and Cuban intervention in Angola's internal affairs.
On the South African question, about which there has been so much concern in Africa, I believe you are aware that the US in no way sought or encouraged the South Africans to become involved in Angola nor was our advice sought. It is reasonable to assume that they acted in defense of their national interest as they see it. We did not initiate any consultation with them and have maintained our military embargo on all arms to South Africa. Our desire is that a negotiated solution can be found so that all intervention-Soviet, Cuban and South African-ceases. We are confident that once Cuban and Soviet forces are withdrawn the weight of world opinion will bring about a withdrawal of South African forces as well.
The upcoming OAU summit meeting on Angola can clearly be extremely important in promoting an early end to the fighting and a peaceful settlement of the civil war. It is our hope that through your efforts and those of like-minded chiefs of state the OAU will insist upon a prompt end to all foreign involvement in Angola, arrange a standstill ceasefire between the forces in Angola, and bring about negotiations among the Angolan groups. My government would support such an initiative and cooperate with it, provided other distant powers do so as well. We would also in that case urge South Africa to end its involvement. I wish again to assure you, however, that we cannot stand idly by if the Soviet and Cuban intervention persists.
I would hope we can continue to exchange views on this and other matters of mutual concern as the need for further consultation arises. Sincerely, Gerald R. Ford. Unquote.
French text being sent septel except to Lusaka.
Ingersoll 169. Message From the Soviet Government to the United States
Moscow, naturally, continues to follow closely the developments in Angola and in this regard is ready to maintain an appropriate contact with the American side.
We have in respect of Angola one clear and consistent policy. If we say that the Soviet Union is against foreign interference in the affairs of Angola, we say it to everyone and publicly too.
It is important, certainly, to discern a clear dividing line between a real interference in the affairs of Angola, meaning the military intervention of the Republic of South Africa and the actions of her accomplices, and the support rendered by many states to the lawful government of that country precisely for putting an end to such interference, for securing freedom, independence and territorial integrity of Angola.
When the foreign interference-not the fictitious but the real onein the affairs of the sovereign state of Angola is stopped and the people of Angola get an opportunity to manage by themselves their affairs, then, it goes without saying, there will be no need to render them assistance in the form required by and granted to the People's Republic of Angola now. Then the question about anybody's “military presence" in Angola will solve itself in a natural way.
That is the principled position of the Soviet Union. It is our deep belief that it contains nothing which would hurt anybody's interests including those of the United States. Therefore it cannot and should not lead to any complications in the Soviet-American relations.
We would like to hope that the United States will not permit rash actions in connection with Angola, including actions against countries rendering assistance to her lawful government, which could really complicate both the Soviet-American relations and the cause of relaxation in general.
Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office Files, Box 29, General Subject File, USSR—The “D” File. No classification marking. There are two handwritten notations on the first page: "Rec'd 1/9/76" and "Reply to HAK-AD talk of Jan. 5." No record of that conversation has been found.