396. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Southwest Africa, the United Nations, and Self-Determination


  • His Excellency Dr. Willem C. Naude, South African Ambassador
  • Mr. Pieter H. J. J. van Vuuren, First Secretary
  • The Secretary
  • Mr. Richard H. Sanger

Secretary Rusk then asked Ambassador Naude regarding the size of population of South West Africa and was told it was about one-half million persons. On being asked what the attitude was towards their present associations with South Africa, Ambassador Naude remarked that a plebiscite had been held in 1946 which indicated that the majority wished to continue their association with South Africa. The South African Ambassador then reminded Mr. Rusk that, at Versailles, Smuts had pressed hard for the mandate system for places such as Iraq where eventual independence could be envisioned. However, some places in [Page 620] the world were of such a nature that they had to be regarded as an integral part of the mandating power.

Mr. Rusk confirmed his knowledge of these “C” mandates, and asked the Ambassador what he felt was the attitude of the inhabitants of South West Africa towards South Africa at the present time.

The Ambassador said he did not feel he could express himself on this topic. He stated that some of the inhabitants of South West Africa are not happy with the present situation, but he felt that the so-called “representatives of the people of South Africa” did not represent the thinking of the majority of the people of that area when they testified at the UN. One South West African who was at New York three years ago was now completely discredited by his own people, and had gone to live in Scandinavia.

Secretary Rusk then asked the Ambassador why, if his Government really had confidence in the attitude towards it of the people of South West Africa, they did not “nail down” the fact that those Africans were pleased with their present relationship to South Africa.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 601.70X11/8-3162. Confidential. Drafted by Sanger and approved in S on October 4. Secretary Rusk and Ambassador Naude’s discussion of other subjects on August 31 was recorded in four additional memoranda of conversation. (Ibid., Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 65 D 330)