309. Telegram From the Mission at the United Nations to the Department of State 1

Delga 128. Re South Africa (Gadel 202).

Senator Knowland3 spoke to FonMin Louw this afternoon along lines Gadel 20, stressing importance U.S. Government and Delegation attached to continued participation Union of South Africa in UN and requesting him convey U.S. views to his government.
Louw stated he expecting instructions in few days but gave no indication re any recommendations he may have made and shed no light on status their thinking. He stated he had gone over general line of comments he made in Plenary with Prime Minister before departure, and had also raised question of policy if items inscribed. Prime Minister had approved his planned remarks and had suggested decision South African attitude if items inscribed be deferred until Louw’s arrival New York and his assessment attitudes and situation there. (Forsyth (Australia) had previously informed USUN officer Louw had also told him he had no instructions yet on attitude toward UN participation.)
Louw maintained UN debates and “condemnation” South Africa before world bar were most important cause dissension of native and Indian populations in South Africa. He pointed out UN debates were reported widely in South African vernacular press as expressing world disapproval South African government. Repeated formal arguments made in Plenary that subject outside competence UN by virtue Article 2(7), in spite of Articles 55 and 56, and repeated that after 10 years’ attack in UN, South Africa had about come to end of rope. He referred to Indian attitude as “vendetta”, and saw situation in UN getting only worse as result enlarged Asian and Communist membership.
Re U.S. policies, Louw said he was officially and personally deeply disappointed. He described South Africa as bastion European civilization in Africa, referred strategic importance of control of Cape, and noted importance South Africa as U.S. customer. Said U.S. had never supported them on this question and was afraid there was [Page 799] one law for big powers and another for small. He referred to U.K.-French “aggression” in Egypt which he said was just that, and stated U.S. had only reacted mildly. Noted that South Africa had contributed to UN action in Korea although it had no Asian interests. Complained about hostility U.S. press, which he said distorted South African situation tremendously. Attacked Stevenson for his comments after nine day visit,4 including “secret” meeting with native leaders on last day.
Louw defended present policies South African Government, contending native population contented except for external agitation, and that Indians were better off than in India. Stated Indian and native national congresses were Communist-dominated. Noted government efforts provide housing, medical services and other advantages to natives. Said they had given native populations certain types electoral rights but could not give them equal electoral status without turning over whole country to them with consequent departure white population.
Senator Knowland reiterated at several points hope South Africa would not leave, main arguments being (1) South African departure would not stop attacks and would only result in further discussions without South Africa’s case being presented; (2) South Africa had been important founder and supporter UN and had valuable role to play; and (3) in time of world stress such as now, its absence as member of Commonwealth and as non-Communist country would be especially unfortunate.5
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 845A.411/11–1956. Confidential.
  2. Dated November 17, Gadel 20 expressed concern at statements made by Louw implying that South Africa might withdraw from the General Assembly session or from the United Nations and requested that Lodge approach Louw and urge that it was in South Africa’s interest to remain in the United Nations. (Ibid., 845A.411/11–1756)
  3. Senator Knowland was a member of the delegation to the Eleventh Regular Session of the U.N. General Assembly.
  4. See footnote 3, Document 316.
  5. Gadel 29 to USUN, November 21, advised that approaches should be made to the Representatives of Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom at the United Nations proposing that they contact Louw in a manner similar to the Knowland approach. (Department of State, Central Files, 845A.411/11–2156)