385. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Williams) to the Deputy Secretary of Defense (Gilpatric)0

I-16, 421/61


  • South African Tracking Facilities

Foreign Minister Louw’s reaction to the U.S. aide-memoire explaining its policy towards South Africa (Tab A)1 was adverse in the extreme (Tab B).2 In essence, he interpreted our policy as one in which we would [Page 602] cooperate with the Federation only in matters of benefit to the U.S., such as the missile and satellite tracking facilities. On other matters we would not only not cooperate with South Africa, but would oppose it, until it changes its apartheid policy. In Louw’s view, the U.S. appears to want “to have its cake and eat it too.”

There are two matters of immediate interest to South Africa which, if the U.S. fails to cooperate, would most likely mean the end of South African assistance with respect to our missile and satellite tracking activities there. The first concerns the possibility of South Africa seeking a second drawdown of IMF funds. According to Louw, South Africa hoped not to have to make this second drawing, but would seek it if necessary to strengthen the economy of the country and further to improve the welfare of the Bantu. Louw, however, had heard that the U.S. intends to oppose the second drawdown and indicated that, if this were so, it was a most serious matter in our relationship. The second matter concerns the recent formal request by the South African Embassy here for approval of the sale of seven C-130 aircraft by Lockheed. It is Ambassador Satterthwaite’s view that refusal of the sale may foreclose any further South African cooperation in the field of mutual defense and make it impossible to negotiate arrangements for the continued use of the tracking facilities.

We understand that the State Department is seeking Secretary Rusk’s approval of a reply to the South African Embassy which would deny its request for the sale of the seven C-130s. I strongly recommend that you call Secretary Rusk personally, asking him to hold up action on this until our two Departments can review thoroughly the South African response to the U.S. aide-memoire and its implications concerning future South African cooperation in the field of mutual defense. In this regard, Foreign Minister Louw will attend the UN General Assembly next week and is scheduled to meet with Secretary Rusk. I further recommend that you arrange a meeting with Mr. Rusk before then to discuss these problems with him.

If Secretary Rusk should indicate that it had previously been agreed between State and Defense that the sale of aircraft to South Africa should not be authorized, you may wish to point out that this was done in the context of South African desires for F-104s as well as C-130s and with the anticipation that this could be accomplished without jeopardizing arrangements for the tracking facilities.

Haydn Williams
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 65 A 3464, Africa, 000.92-Africa 452, 1961. Secret.
  2. Not attached to the source text. See Document 384.
  3. Not attached to the source text. See footnote 3, Document 384.