350. Editorial Note

At the 439th meeting of the National Security Council on April 1, Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles discussed developments in South Africa during his briefing on significant world developments, and a brief discussion followed. The relevant portion of the memorandum of discussion by Deputy NSC Executive Secretary Marion W. Boggs, dated April 2, reads as follows:

“Mr. Dulles thought that the events in South Africa had been well described in the press. The principal questions now were: what is the shape of the future? and what political decisions are needed? He believed the South African Government would be able to hold the situation in check but noted that the blacks in South Africa had gained a substantial victory for the first time in forcing the abandonment of the identity papers system. This first victory would probably spur the black population of South Africa on to attempt other victories. However, very few arms were in the hands of the natives because of past restrictions and penalties against the possession of arms. This situation would provide an opportunity for exploitation by the Soviet Bloc. Especially after the Congo becomes independent, there would be great opportunities for smuggling arms to the natives of South Africa. Mr. Dulles said this problem would be with us for a long time. He was discouraged at any possibility that a liberal government would be formed in South Africa, or if formed would be able to negotiate a workable settlement. He thought the present repressive measures would continue. The President asked whether South Africa was likely to withdraw from the UN. Secretary Herter said the South African representative had remained in the room during UN Security Council discussion of the situation in South Africa and had asked for an opportunity to speak once more on the question of principle, although not on the Security Council Resolution. In direct answer to the President’s question, Secretary Herter said he believed not even the South Africans knew what their future course of action in the UN would be. The President asked whether any nation had ever withdrawn from the UN. Secretary Herter said no UN member had ever withdrawn permanently; however, South Africa had withdrawn in 1955 and had returned to membership two years later. Mr. Dulles did not believe that the South Africans would withdraw from the UN if they could avoid it.” (Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)