320/8–351: Telegram

The Chargé in the Union of South Africa (Connelly) to the Secretary of State


38. Union unlikely accept UN counterproposal on South West Africa Secy FonOff Forsyth1 said privately Aug 1 during our discussion based on Deptel 13, July 17 and Depgam 4, July 18.2 He stated officially Cabinet now considering matter and thought its decision wld be taken in about two weeks.

Forsyth expressed his appreciation of ad hoc comite’s efforts, their proposal showing they had given careful and sympathetic consideration to problem and Unions view. But comite proposal still required submission reports petitions to UN body reporting to GA, and he did not see how Caibinet cld agree to this in view Prime Minister’s several public statements Union wld not submit reports to any UN body and low esteem in which Cabinet regard UN. To comment that if problem not settled and taken out of lime-light South Africa wld continue be subject charges and adverse criticism in UN he replied he thought present govt did not particularly care if this happened. He agree proposal took case out of Comite 4 and acknowledged unanimity requirement protection for Union but remarked countries like India, Arabs States, Mexico, etc., which were Union’s severest and loudest critics altho they had no direct interest in or knowledge of colonial problems wld still be able make accusations when 15 nation comite reports to GA. Attitude these countries long been sore point with Union.

In addition UN connection, another unacceptable point in comite proposal Forsyth mentioned was obligation enfranchise natives (presumably para 6 draft) even the such a stand wld be very long way off. This he said wld be polit impossible for any South African Govt in view public opinion as wld lead to end white supremacy. (We feel he is correct on this point).

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Asked about Union’s attitude if body to which reports were submitted was composed of countries having overseas possessions and thus familiar with problem and nominated by, for example, ICJ, he replied that in that event he did not foresee great difficulty in a satisfactory agreement being reached.

From Forsyth’s remarks we conclude (1) Union wants settle SWA case but (2) almost no chance it will accept any agreement giving GA final say in matter.

  1. D. D. Forsyth, Secretary for External Affairs (Prime Minister D. F. Malan was Minister of External Affairs).
  2. Not printed.