362. Telegram From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations0

1558. Subject: Angola. We most concerned over reported move introduce Committee 17 draft res on Angola into plenary and believe we should wage major battle to muster blocking third against its passage.1 This resolution aimed not only at Portugal but also at NATO and U.S. and Dept judges it imperative to make strenuous effort defeat it.

We realize that vote in Committee of 17 has made your position most difficult. However, Dept intends circularize all LA Capitals on this question emphasizing reasons why we believe it in their interest oppose resolution. We assume that all NATO delegations, including that of Italy, will line up solidly against res and we are of course prepared to go to any NATO Capital at once should any division develop. You should make it clear that this res totally out of keeping with Salamanca Report on which consideration of Angola question should logically be based. You should also point out that GOP’s admission of ILO visiting mission, announcement of reforms, participation in debate, willingness accept rapporteur should call, if not for recognition in resolution, at least for some diminution in its tone and temper.

In corridor discussions we believe you should take following line. (1) US position on self-determination for Angola peoples is constant. To advance towards this goal we put heaviest diplomatic pressures on GOP and our efforts met with success: Portugal agreed accept rapporteur. (2) In spite of this forward step, and in spite of new spirit of moderation Portugal has displayed at this GA, some Africans and Asians apparently intend to torpedo this progress by introduction of propagandistic resolution. (3) Resolution factually wrong on following points: (a) reference to mass extermination of indigenous population is fantasy. While Portuguese claims of peace, order and normalcy are undoubtedly overdone, we know from our own reports and assessments that this much nearer to [Page 565]truth than wild charges of mass extermination; (b) no arms being supplied by “certain member states” i.e. US, for Portuguese use in Angola; (c) accusations that GOP denies all rights and freedoms, practices racial discrimination and uses forced labor are at best distortions of truth and, as far as forced labor concerned, explicitly contradicts findings of ILO report. (5) US of opinion Salamanca group did responsible job and we ready support resolution roughly along lines recommended paragraph 227 of report. In particular attention all should be called to para 230 which states that chances of peaceful solution would be greatly enhanced if member states tried convince GOP of need to “face political realities and adjust its policies thereto.” This exactly what US has done and precisely what GOP has taken step toward. Tragedy is that entire effort will go for naught because of penchant of some nations heap more and more abuse on Portugal.

Dept aware our drive to defeat resolution could possibly endanger whatever chances remain for success rapporteur initiative. On other hand, you have indicated rapporteur has no chance unless GOP agrees more than one representative and blocking third against extreme res may be what is required to increase GOP flexibility on this point.

Rusk
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 753N.00/12-862. Confidential. Drafted by White; cleared by Stone, Fredericks, Sisco, and Buffum; and approved by Cleveland. Repeated to Lisbon and by pouch to Luanda and Lourenco Marques.
  2. The Committee of 17’s draft resolution condemned the mass extermination of the population of Angola and Portugal’s colonial war; requested all U.N. members to deny Portugal any support which could be used to suppress the Angolan people and to terminate the supply of arms to Portugal; and asked the Security Council to take appropriate measures, including sanctions, to secure Portugal’s compliance. On December 18, the General Assembly adopted a resolution very similar to the Committee of 17 resolution by a vote of 54 to 14 (including the United States), with 18 abstentions. For text of Resolution 1819 (XVII), “The Situation in Angola,” see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1962, pp. 954-955.