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ment, we need to determine U.S. policy towards the Territory over the longer term, involving, as it does, our bilateral relations with South Africa, our relations with black Africa, and our role in the UN. In this broader context we need to determine whether there is anything that can or should be done to bring about accommodation between South Africa and the United Nations.
South West Africa is an international Territory illegally occupied by South Africa. South Africa became the administering power by virtue of a League of Nations mandate of 1920. Following the demise of the League, International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinions established that the mandate continued in effect, that South Africa could not alter the status of the Territory without UN consent, that the UN had supervisory authority, and that South Africa was obligated to “promote to the utmost the material and moral well-being and social progress of the inhabitants". When, in 1966, the International Court of Justice refused to pass on the merits of a contentious proceeding brought by two former League of Nations members to contest South Africa's administration, the United Nations decided (GA RES 2145 (XXI), October 27, 1966), that (1) because of South Africa's violations of its obligations and disavowal of the Mandate, the Mandate conferred on it was terminated, (2) that South Africa had no other right to administer the Territory which (3) thenceforth came under the direct responsibility of the United Nations.
Although South Africa acknowledges that South West Africa has an international character and periodically makes available reports on developments there, it denies that the United Nations is responsible for the Territory and for over two decades has failed to submit to the United Nations the reports and petitions required under the Mandate. Under South African administration, the developed areas, comprising half the Territory, have been reserved to the white minority and apartheid and repressive measures on the South African model have been introduced. South Africa regards the Territory as an important security buffer and economic asset. Short of the use of force, therefore, we do not see any immediate possibility of inducing South Africa to withdraw.
Our direct economic and strategic interests in South West Africa are limited. We have approximately $60 million in direct investment, accounted for largely by the Tsumeb mining complex. Several oil and mining companies are also engaged in exploratory work in the Territory. Apart from current direct investment controls, our policy is nei
ther to encourage nor discourage U.S. investment; we carry on some trade with the Territory.?
The Military Airlift Command (MAC) and U.S. Air Force overfly the Caprivi Strip but otherwise the U.S. Government makes little use of South West Africa.
The U.S. supported Resolution 2145 and we have made clear in our bilateral relations with South Africa and at the UN that we regard South Africa as illegal occupant of the Territory. The U.S. Ambassador has refrained from visiting South West Africa to avoid any implication of recognition of South Africa's illegal occupation. We have not permitted U.S. Defense Attachés to travel in the Territory to avoid any U.S. association with the stringent internal security and military measures being pursued there by South Africa. We have protested South African violations of the rights of the inhabitants, especially the introduction of the Terrorism Act, whose application to the Territory we regard as both obnoxious and illegal.
We have not in recent years contributed to the UN training program for SWA refugees.
We participated in the work of the 1967 Ad Hoc Committee on South West Africa which sought practical means to administer the Territory while the inhabitants were being prepared to exercise their right of self-determination. We urged that alternative arrangements for the administration of the Territory be thoroughly studied. The Africans and others called for various approaches to a UN takeover of South West Africa.
When the Committee failed to reach agreement, the General Assembly established a UN Council for South West Africa to take over immediate control of the Territory. None of the big powers supported establishment of the council-whose terms of reference, in our view, were impractical—or accepted membership in it. As a result, the Council is virtually powerless. Nevertheless, the majority of UN members would contend that it is the UN body designated to administer South West Africa should South Africa withdraw or be forced out.
The U.S. has supported Security Council resolutions calling on South Africa to withdraw its administration and has made similar representations in bilateral discussions with the South African Government. At the same time, we opposed the setting of arbitrary time limits for withdrawal and have opposed calls for extreme measures such as the use of force or economic sanctions against South Africa. We have
2 We apply our South African arms embargo to South West Africa. (Footnote is in the original.)
3 The reference is to the UN Council for South West Africa, or the UN Council for Namibia, established by General Assembly Resolution 2248, May 19, 1967.
stated in the Security Council that the present situation in South West Africa is not one which can sensibly and humanely be remedied by mandatory sanctions.
The 1965 Security Council study concluded that the South African economy, though not immune, would not be "readily susceptible" to the effects of sanctions. Even if the South African economy were less self-sufficient, sanctions are unlikely to be effective without universal support, especially of the major powers. The UK, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, Japan and a number of other trading nations are actively seeking to expand their shares of the South African market. None of these countries would be likely to support a call for sanctions, and we could expect that evasions would occur. Enforcing sanctions with a blockade, moreover, would involve immense cost and effort, the brunt of which would have to be borne by the U.S.
On January 30, 1970, the U.S. supported a Security Council resolution establishing a subcommittee to prepare recommendations by April 30 on the implementation of UN responsibility for the Territory. The immediate problem posed for the U.S., in view of the pressure being put on us by African leaders to take effective action against South Africa, is how to encourage the subcommittee to take a constructive approach and to avoid inappropriate recommendations.
Although we will be credited with steps we have taken in the past, we must expect to be under continuing pressure to do more. We must anticipate that we will be confronted with proposals for sanctions which, if presented in mandatory form, could require the exercise of a veto. We have already abstained on, or opposed, such proposals in the General Assembly. Thus our suggestion of alternatives to sanctions in the Security Council subcommittee could have some positive impact on African opinion, but it is probable that it would only postpone the day when the Western powers are faced with a Security Council call for more extreme measures and possibly the need to cast a veto. III. U.S. Interests and Objectives
The U.S. is committed by its national experience, public policy, and international undertakings to support the principles of human rights and self-determination. That commitment was reaffirmed by the President in his recent Report to the Congress "US Foreign Policy for the 1970's" as follows:
“Clearly there is no question of the United States condoning, or acquiescing in, the racial policies of the white-ruled regimes. For moral as
4 1965 Joint Chiefs' study of naval blockade in support of sanctions estimated a requirement for 4 carrier task forces. In event blockade would have to be extended to Mozambique and Angola to make it effective, 3 additional carrier task forces would be needed. [Footnote is in the original.]
well as historical reasons, the United States stands firmly for the principles of racial equality and self-determination.”
The way in which we deal with the South West African issue will be taken as a measure of our commitment to these principles. In particular, it will affect our credibility on a range of questions pertaining to southern Africa and will help to determine the degree to which the Africans listen to and are influenced by our views.
The U.S. has an important interest in placing itself in the best position to dissuade or at least delay African insistence on inappropriate coercive measures against South Africa and, if a U.S. veto of such measures should prove unavoidable, to be able to put the best face on it. Pursuit of this interest involves readiness to put forward and support reasonable alternatives, while avoiding a commitment-or even an implication of readiness—to use force.
Any choice of options will affect U.S. economic ties in Africa outside the white-controlled areas ($1.7 billion in trade; nearly $2 billion in direct investment) as well as our ties to South Africa ($750 million in trade, $700 million in investment). Other factors involved include strategic interests in both the black and the white-ruled parts of the continent, and NASA space-tracking facilities in both areas. IV. Range of Options
The South West African problem is included in the study prepared in response to NSSM 39. For reasons of feasibility, options suggested here are in the middle range of those set forth on SWA in NSSM 39. This, however, does not exclude the possibility, indeed the probability, that we will be faced with demands for actions on the more extreme part of the spectrum. The international status of the Territory makes it possible for us to take action on South West Africa without necessarily foreclosing options on Rhodesia, the Portuguese Territories, or South Africa contained in the NSSM 39 response.
Underlying the options are three basic assumptions:
--that the U.S. regards the present South African administration of the Territory as illegal;
—that the U.S. does not support the use of force or measures that would not be effective without the use of force to terminate South Africa's control over South West Africa;
—that South Africa will remain in effective control of the Territory for the foreseeable future.
Within these limits, the options set forth possible U.S. actions in ascending order of U.S. initiative: they begin with continuation of present
5 AF/NSC-IG 69–8 Rev. A, December 9, 1969. [Footnote is in the original. Printed as Document 17. NSSM 39 is Document 6.)
restrictions on U.S. activities in South West Africa and work their way up through supporting measures to implement the UN administrative authority. V. The Options
The options are:
1. Continue present restrictions on U.S. activities in SWA but avoid any major new action involving Territory.
2. Take selective actions in addition to present restrictions to dissociate ourselves from South Africa's illegal administration of Territory.
3. Join in international efforts to assert UN responsibility for Territory. Option 1–Continue Present Restrictions on U.S. Activities in SWA But
Avoid Any Major New Action Involving Territory Posture: Although continuing to support principle of international responsibility for South West Africa, we would try to play down issue in the UN and avoid any major new action. We would counsel moderation and encourage the UN and South Africa to seek accommodation. To put best face on our inaction, we would continue present restrictions on U.S. activities in Territory. Operational Examples:
Neither encourage nor discourage U.S. investment in South West Africa.
Continue trade with Territory.
Continue restrictions on U.S. Defense Attaché visits, Ambassadorial visits, overflights and port calls in South West Africa. Restrict EXIM Bank facilities.
Support efforts to establish contact between UN Secretary General and South Africa; quietly promote talks within or outside framework of UN, whichever will help to break deadlock.
Encourage Security Council subcommittee to avoid impractical measures and to examine alternative approaches to the problem.
Encourage UK and others to veto mandatory sanctions and be prepared to take such veto action ourselves as last resort.
Would tend to serve U.S. trade and investment interests in South West Africa.
Would limit irritant effect of SWA issue in U.S.-South African relations.
Would afford some credibility to our stated position on SWA