318. Telegram From the Embassy in South Africa to the Department of State1

11. In preparing position papers for twelfth UNGA on South African items, Department will doubtless give consideration measures US might take, without sacrifice essential principles, to encourage Union return full participation in UN. I assume Department agrees such return would be in interest US, UN and Western world. I also assume Department agrees that US past actions in UN on South African issues, however justifiable, have not produced benefits for groups subjected to Union Government’s policies or any softening in government or public attitudes in Union.2 In circumstance, problem is to encourage Union to reconsider its relations with UN, and to open door to more constructive approach to issues of Southwest Africa, Apartheid, and Indians in South Africa.

Of these issues, Southwest Africa undoubtedly attracts little or no domestic interest in United States and little public interest elsewhere. As gesture our part, could not US retire gracefully from committee on Southwest Africa on which it has served since inception in 1953?

Also, if US should seek obtain moratorium on fruitless UN discussion of other items, perhaps by accepting Union’s contention as to “domestic affairs”, opportunity for indirect influence by the US on Union Government might be improved. Regardless of pessimism about possibility changing direction of present government’s racial policy, effecting such change should remain primary objective of US [Page 829] policy and thus any means that will increase this government’s receptivity to US influence would seem to warrant full exploration.

If Department disposed consider possibility (1) withdrawal from SWA Committee and (2) exertion efforts for moratorium, opportunity might be provided undertake explorations with government here of possible compromises to facilitate return UN, such as submission reports SWA, etc. Instructions in some such connection would be welcome.

It is not our purpose suggest any appearance of US support for racial policies of the Union (this could of course be made clear by our delegation in agenda committee or Assembly debate) but rather that we face up to fact UN discussion these matters under present circumstances accomplishes no good (in fact some harm, in stirring resentment and inter-racial feeling here). Suggest Department explore carefully whether this loss is in fact balanced by positive gain with other nations from our continued support for inclusion items on agenda and voting position.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 845A.411/7–1257. Confidential.
  2. Byroade met with Walter N. Walmsley in Washington on June 18. The Ambassador related the South African view that the United States had gone farther than it had to in the United Nations on the issues of apartheid and Indian settlers. (Memorandum of conversation by Walmsley; Ibid., IO/ODA Files: Lot 62 D 225, South Africa)