384. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in South Africa 0

175. Reurtels 665 and 3.1 Department has given careful consideration to points raised by FonMin Louw with Ambassador on June 30 when he requested an indication of attitude of USG regarding future cooperation. Department agrees SAG should have clear and frank statement US policy both in interest of South African Government and to clear air for future cooperation. Department has therefore prepared Aide-Memoire for presentation to FonMin Louw or for Ambassador’s background use in conversations with PM and Cabinet officers. Aide-Memoire is in accord with new policy paper now in final stages. Text of Aide-Memoire follows:

Begin Verbatim Text

“Upon instruction from his Government Ambassador Satterthwaite called on FonMin Louw to discuss with him questions that had been [Page 599] raised by Mr. Louw in his conversation with Ambassador on June 30 as recorded in informal memorandum handed to Ambassador on that occasion.

USG has carefully studied Ambassador Satterthwaite’s report of this conversation as well as memorandum confirming frank observations made by Mr. Louw. It wishes to respond with equal frankness to those observations because it believes that relations between our two countries should be based, above all, on a clear understanding of respective viewpoints.

The US is mindful of long tradition of collaboration between our two countries as exemplified by our brotherhood in arms during First and Second World Wars, during Berlin blockade, and in UN resistance against Communist aggression in Korea. US is gratified to note that SAG still adheres to convictions which led to these common actions, convictions to which US continues to be devoted in equal measure. US also is mindful of wholehearted cooperation it has received from SAG in connection with US civilian and military space vehicle and missile research programs, and others.

US however would be lacking in honesty and would be untrue to feelings of friendship it holds for peoples of South Africa if it failed to state its profound concern at evidence of increased racial tensions in South Africa and in country’s drift toward international isolation. US can only view continuance of South Africa’s official policy of apartheid in terms of ultimate disaster to South Africa.

US would agree that there is much misunderstanding and misrepresentation in world concerning South Africa’s racial problem, and an unwillingness to give credit for what is being done for benefit of Republic’s non-white population. There is no escaping fact however that most nations of world, including many who wish to retain close friendship with South Africa find themselves unable to accept a governmental policy which compels and perpetuates a system which denies fundamental human rights to vast majority of country’s population only because of color of their skin.

Position of USG in this respect is well-known to SAG. US had taken view before Mr. Williams assumed his duties as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs that situation in South Africa ‘is one that has led to international friction and if continued might endanger international peace and security’ as expressed in resolution of UNSC of April 1, 1960.2 US finds itself unable to agree with SAG’s contention that Republic’s racial policy represents exclusively a domestic matter. In our view this policy not only does violence to human rights provisions of UN Charter [Page 600] but tends to weaken position of West in its efforts to resist Communist influence and penetration in newly emerged Afro-Asian nations, a matter in which SAG itself has expressed deep concern. As a consequence US for its own and for world security must continue its disapproval of a policy which arouses emotions and resentments of such large segments of population of world.

US regrets that press reports of statements by Assistant Secretary Williams have given impression in some circles in South Africa that we regard white population as being expendable and that we urge immediate and unqualified granting of political power to vast non-white majority of South African population. This certainly has never been and is not now intention or desire of US. It is because US is thoroughly aware of great complexity of problem and tremendous importance of white population to future well-being of South Africa that it believes in a planned, purposeful and progressive evolution of institutions that would safeguard basic rights of all elements of South Africa’s population.

US is deeply concerned over ever-widening chasm between whites and non-whites in South Africa and evidence that non-white moderation is being supplanted by non-white extremism which can only endanger future stability of country. US therefore would warmly welcome the beginnings of any steps which SAG could take to permit non-whites to play a greater role in life of their country and which would be apt to remove some of opprobrium which attaches to South Africa not only in eyes of colored people of world but also in eyes of people of most white nations. Should such steps be taken with view to ultimate full participation US would gladly cooperate to fullest extent possible with South Africa in all fields of endeavor to mutual benefit of both countries and to Free World generally. In absence of such indications of change however US could not be expected to cooperate in matters which it believed would lend support to South Africa’s present racial policies.

On other hand USG agrees with Mr. Louw’s view which we believe is shared by SAG that there are numerous fields in which our two countries can continue to collaborate closely and fruitfully to our mutual benefit and for good of Free World especially in areas of common defense against threats emanating from Communist Bloc. Mention might also be made of our continued desire to cooperate in fields of missile activity and space exploration, atomic energy and in entire range of scientific, technical and research activities. Furthermore USG believes it desirable to maintain and strengthen mutually desirable cooperation and exchanges which have existed in cultural, educational, health and welfare and other fields. USG is confident now that divergent views of both Governments have been made clear that relations between our two countries will continue to be characterized by frankness, sincerity and mutual trust as in past.” End Verbatim Text.

[Page 601]

State and Defense have agreed on desirability negotiating with SAG for continued use and planned expansion of AMR tracking facilities, at least through 1963.

Department has received impression that until US policy towards Republic clarified we cannot expect their cooperation on matters of interest to us. Situation may have changed since July 1 however and Ambassador may feel it desirable to advise SAG and SAAF informally of US desire discuss tracking station arrangements even before presentation of aide-memoire, particularly if it appears appointment with FonMin will be delayed. As Embassy is aware USAF would like to let contracts within next few weeks for construction necessary to install Phase 2 equipment which should be operational in January. Department’s hope is that SAG’s reaction to aide-memoire will be reasonably favorable and that Ambassador can indicate at same time or shortly thereafter US desire discuss tracking arrangements. (FYI: If SAG agrees to discussions Department and Defense would send small joint team to assist Ambassador in negotiations and to explain USAF plans and needs. End FYI)3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.70X/7-161. Confidential; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Wight on August 22; cleared by Packard, Hennes, Winfree, and Bronez (OSD); and approved by Fredericks.
  2. Telegram 665, June 30 (ibid., 110.15-WI/6-3061), and telegram 3, July 1 (ibid., 611.70X/7-161), reported Ambassador Satterthwaite’s June 30 meeting with Foreign Minister Eric Louw.
  3. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1960, pp. 635-636.
  4. On September 5, Ambassador Satterthwaite reported that Louw’s reaction to the aide-memoire giving the U.S. position on future cooperation with South Africa had been so negative that he had not raised the question of the U.S. tracking station with the Foreign Minister. (Telegram 178, September 5; ibid., 611.70X/9-561; telegram 180, September 6; ibid., 611.70X/9-661)