407. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Kennedy0


  • Missile Tracking Station in South Africa

Finding the official comments on our South African holdings somewhat vague, I made some inquiries and discovered that while nothing we have there is vital, there is a close relation between the South African missile tracking station and our satellite photography. This station is a part of the system of observation of these satellites, and while the program would not be interrupted if we should lose it, prudence would dictate certain additional technical developments to permit effective observation of the satellites, and the total cost of replacement is estimated to be on the order of $50 million.

In the context of the importance of satellite photography as a whole, $50 million is not an enormous amount of money, and undoubtedly some part of this sum will be paid out even if we keep the missile tracking station in South Africa because of a constant desire to refine and improve this vital system of information gathering.

Finally, there is a good deal of reason to doubt that we would lose the missile tracking station automatically even if we take a stiff line on arms shipment.

Still, I thought you would wish to know the order of magnitude of the replacement cost that we might face. I myself remain quite favorable to the Black African position, in spite of this possible dollar cost.

McG. B.1
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, South Africa, 7/13/63-7/31/63. Secret.
  2. Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.