353. Letter From the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (Hare) to the Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Williams)0

Dear Mr. Williams: I am writing to you to confirm our conversation of August 16, 1960,1 concerning the proposal of the Department of Defense to secure the approval of the South African Government for the establishment of a facility in the Union in connection with the Department’s missile and satellite program, and the Department of State’s agreement to enter into negotiations for that purpose.

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As you are aware, the survey and briefing trip to South Africa by General Yates and his party was based on the understanding between our Departments that the United States would not alter its basic policy toward the Union of South Africa in order to secure the approval of the South African Government to the establishment of the proposed facility. While the separate reports of Ambassador Crowe2 and General Yates to date indicate that the South Africans will not raise this point, should they do so during the course of any negotiations on this subject, we would abandon our plan to have the facility in the Union of South Africa.

As I outlined during our discussion, agreement was reached with Mr. Knight and General Yates that, in the event political developments in the African area result in the proposed facility becoming a net disadvantage to United States interests, it would be removed. It was also decided there should be no publicity by the U.S. concerning the negotiations or the establishment or operations of the facility. We should assume, however, that the existence of the facility will become known and may be subjected to attack and misrepresentation. Accordingly, it was agreed that a public information policy should be prepared for contingency use which would be honest and forthright and which would be based on the following points: (a) the purpose of the facility is research and development related to military purposes; (b) it is in no sense a military operational installation; and (c) a civilian contractor manages the facility which is maintained and operated by civilian personnel.

In view of the potential political implications in Africa of the establishment of the facility, I believe that representatives of our Departments, in Washington and in the Union of South Africa, should maintain close liaison on developments which may affect the facility.3


Raymond A. Hare4
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 745A.56311/8–1960. Secret. Drafted by George S. Newman, Special Assistant for Politico-Military Affairs in Hare’s office.
  2. No record of this conversation has been found. On August 15, Hare met with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Robert H. Knight and Lieutenant General D.N. Yates, Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering, Department of Defense; Yates reported on a survey trip investigating sites in South Africa and Bechuanaland for a proposed missile and satellite tracking station. (Ibid., 745A.56311/8–1560)
  3. Telegram 93 from Pretoria, August 6. (Ibid., 745A.56311/8–660)
  4. A letter from Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs John N. Irwin, II, to Hare, dated September 10, confirmed the understandings in this letter. (Ibid., 745A.56311/9–1060)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.