391. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in South Africa0

352. Urtel 327.1 Fol summary uncleared memorandum conversation Rusk-Louw Oct 20:2

Louw stated South Africa’s position international issues clearly on side West, anti-Communist, and SAG support could be depended on any future world conflict. However, South Africa unclear where other Western countries stand in relation South Africa. At UN his delegation not taken into confidence of West and therefore resented being asked how they will vote on UN matters just before vote taken. Ambassador Naude interjected at this point to say day to day contacts with West at UN quite satisfactory but would prefer systematized arrangement. As further example isolation Louw said he not informed US and Western views Berlin issue. Secretary thereupon informed Louw frankly and at length US policy on Berlin, position principal allies, Soviet objectives and our estimate long-range outlook for reunification Germany.

Louw said his government disturbed by US aide-memoire September 5 especially what he regarded as our policy of “divided cooperation.” Indicated not satisfied so far with US explanation this policy which seemingly based on premise US cannot cooperate with South Africa because it denying human rights. Such conception apparently based misapprehension conditions South Africa and reasons for its policy. Wrong describe South Africa’s policy “separate development” as denial human rights since this policy necessary to ensure most fundamental human rights of survival to which South Africa’s whites entitled.

Louw said objective observer in South Africa would see Bantu developing own independent political and social system. South African white knows we can’t transplant white man’s system government on Bantu. Therefore SAG helping them develop their own systems on ethnic basis to preserve own cultural values. He noted Ambassador Satterthwaite in discussion with him had noted “job reservation” as one example denial human rights. FonMin said this not case, that reserving certain jobs for whites and blacks related to question “survival” and was also means protecting whites and blacks against Coloreds.

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Louw summarized by saying despite our misapprehensions and despite our criticism and opprobrium toward his government on race policy, South Africa has cooperated and continues cooperate with US in providing missile tracking stations and military facilities, her ports and airfields on highly confidential matters often on short notice. Now he wanted know how USG intended cooperate with SAG.

Secretary stated he would like see total US-SA cooperation in this troubled world. However, we cannot as nation and people with our history accept apartheid policy. This a major moral issue which affects our relations with other countries and we have chosen take our stand forthrightly in UN in accordance with our beliefs and conscience. Despite this we have for considerable period attempted to act as moderator in UN on items involving SA and this role quite frankly has been an increasing burden to us. We sincerely hope SA can find ways improve her position in UN these matters and give opportunity for wisdom and time to moderate these issues. Secretary observed that all of us in West presently faced historical problem of coming into some reasonable relationship with non-white world. In this connection he expressed to Louw concern that our Embassy in SA cannot have normal relationship with population that prevails all other countries. Louw responded if Secretary meant that Embassy cannot have Bantu at its receptions that he would always oppose any change in this policy since it would mean for SA accepting social integration and the end of SA Race Pride to which it had a right. Secretary summarized by stating that while US and SA cannot agree on matter race relations he saw no need why this disagreement should infect total range our relations.

Louw complained failure US Delegate support his right free speech in GA debate rather than in statement issued after session adjourned and observed that seemed to him US fearful antagonizing African members UN. Secretary replied principal US delegate unable attend session in question and issued statement as soon as he learned what had taken place. Secretary told Louw he could not accept inference that US positions based on fear other nations rather than on our best judgment what would be in best interests free world. Louw said he wished retract statement.

Call ended on cordial note Louw stating he expected be in attend-ance at UN until end November and Secretary suggesting they might meet again in New York to continue discussion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 611.70X/10-2461. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Durnan and Deming, cleared by Manfull and Swanks, and approved by Fredericks. Repeated to USUN.
  2. Dated October 24. (Ibid.)
  3. The memorandum of conversation is ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330.